Thursday, March 17, 2011

Texas Reds, Part 2

Redfish fishing in Rockport Texas was an experience I will never forget.  I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to fish in a number of interesting areas around the country and each has their own unique set of circumstances.  By now you probably have figured out that I love to fish.  Whether it's fishing suckers off the dock or hauling in halibut in Alaska, there is another common thread that always adds to the experience, the people I have the pleasure of meeting.  Over the years those people have become good friends, whether it's Jeff King, Mile 14 fame, Ken and Judy Marlow, Keith Holtan, Bill and Kathy Lundeen, and for the most part all of my close friends, we have a common bond, fishing!  My trip to Texas was no different, new friends were made and it was though I have known them all my life.  My host for this trip was Joe Stanfield (sitting on top, to the left).  Having met Joe over 20 years ago at a trade show in Cincinnati, it was clear we had much in common.  He's quite the Joe, a Texas boy, has that typical Dallas accent with a heart that I cannot figure out how it fits in that short little body of his.  Although I only get to see him once a year we make up for lost time pretty fast.  This years APEC conference (work related) was in Fort Worth and Joe suggested that our friend Jim Cox (lower left) from California and I join him the weekend before for a Texas adventure.  Jim is an avid fisherman himself and often seeks tuna off the coast of California as well is at home being an independent judge for billfish tournaments in Costa Rica.  Joe met both of us at the Corpus Christi and took over from there. From the hotel to the guided trip he took care of everything. 

After checking into our hotel the next item on the agenda was to make contact with Butch and Penny (Butch is in the yellow jacket), Joe's old neighbors when he lived in Rockport.  From the minute we walked in you could sense that any friend of Joe's was a friend of theirs.  The have a beautiful home on a canal that is connected to the main waterway leading to the popular fishing spots in Rockport.  Built above a sacrificial floor designed for hurricanes, their house became our home for the next 2 days.  After catching our fish, Butch and Penny hosted our fresh fish dinner as long as we furnished the wine.  The redfish on the grill with Butch's recipe was incredible.  Although he cooked each of us a fillet, half way through mine I knew it was not going to be enough and weaseled my way into having him cook another whole fillet for me.  Truth be told I could have ate a third one but decided not to make a total pig of myself.  Here is a picture of Joe, Butch and Penny.........I left with an open invitation to visit them again.  I hope that it will be possible in the future.

Jim had to fly back to Dallas on Sunday morning so after dropping him off at the airport, Joe and I headed up the coast to Galveston, meeting up with his good friend's Dick and Horacene Daugird.  These two amazing people run the Lighthouse Charity Team, a charity dedicated to helping people in need and assisting in raising money for other charities through providing meals to raise funds.  Completely made up of volunteers and sponsors they have carved a valuable need for servicing those less fortunate.  Dick, Horacene, and their crew served over 3000 meals a day for a month, helping the victims if Hurricane Ike, which devestated Galveston in 2008.  Arriving at their Galveston home it was pretty incredible.  A sizable building sitting on the water front, it served as a base for charitable events in the area.  I was to meet Dick last summer while he was in Minnesota however the storms prevented us from getting together.  We sure made up for it in Texas.  After having a couple for beers Dick and Horacene gave us a tour of the town, checking out a friends $1,000,000 house before treating Joe and I to dinner at a waterfront restaurant.  Here is a picture of my new friends as we enjoyed our dinner.  It was clear that Dick enjoys smoke cooking as much as I do and has the equipment to prove it.  Our discussions lead to turkey brine's and I sent him a few packages of PS Seasonings Maple Cure to try out.  Somehow I think that it will become his favorite. 

Leaving Galveston Joe and I drove to the marina where he moors his 58 foot yacht.  Although he would probably disagree with me, where I come from 58 feet is a damn big boat.  Finishing the night at the "club" we met a few other amazing people before we hit the sack, ready to head to Dallas the next day.  The fishing was great but the people you meet makes these trips even more memorable.

Of course I did go fishing on Sunday.  Inviting my friend Mark Applen to head up for another batch of tullibee's, having never targeted these fish he readily agreed.  We picked up Lory and headed to Mille Lacs.  The ice season is winding down as the walleye fishing is now closed.  We still were able to drive out to the hot spot and by dark had 26 tullibees for Lory to pickle.  This will probably be our last trip to the pond before opener as the temperatures are scheduled to be in the 50's this week which causes the ice to expand and heave.  It's been a good season and maybe I'll try one last attempt to fish crappies on Pelican. 

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