Homecoming — January 10, 2011

It was a homecoming of sorts. I’ve been laboring away on the frozen tundra of the Caprock working on the Ph.D, but the return to the warm brine of the Laguna Madre felt like a mother’s embrace. The homecoming was bittersweet though. In a sense, this homecoming also felt like a farewell to the lagoon that saved me and gave me direction. It’s not that she’s going anywhere; it’s not like I won’t come back and fish her—often. It’s the sense, now, I’m no longer on her everyday. I don’t know her moods, her whims, her flows anymore. Life, I guess, has beckoned me. Changed me. But I did do one thing with her I’m proud of. Something I was taught by both grandfathers and my dad. Leave her in better shape than I came to her. And, as the rest of the coast winds up to lower their limits, I hope the naysayers and detractors the first time around can understand what we we did with our trout limits were the right thing and will only share what we love with others who come later.

Dad, Mitch, and I fished the West Shoreline from the Motts north, only to find fish everywhere we stopped. I fished the entire day with my favorite red and white Spook junior, and Mitch used a trout pattern. Dad started with his Catch 2000, but quickly changed when he noticed the quick results Mitch and I were sharing. I’ve been away from the Port for five months now. The summer fishing was good, but it was just that—summer fishing. This was my first prime season trip back, and I was surprised. Last winter was excellent with some very fat fish. This trip though, just as Randy Blankinship promised, showed me the true ramifications of our lowered limits—bigger, quality fish. I caught sixteen fish, only one under eighteen inches. One twenty-incher edged four pounds—fat, happy, and breeding. Okay, maybe not breeding, but definitely battered, pan-seared, and eaten. But, if she’s there, just think of all the others.

The season is gearing up for some fat girls in the prime times of February and early-March. Dad’s pretty handily booked, and I hope I can make it back down spring break. But, Imogen, yes Ashley and I have another one on the way, is due March 8. Hopefully, just hopefully she-ll be a bit early, or really late and let me reap the rewards of responsible management.