Rough day on the water yields surprise trophy

PapasanCombine an August full moon, a howling south wind, a Hurricane-induced low tide and what do you get?

A day most anglers would stay home.

But that wasn’t an option for myself, brother in law Andrew Phillips and father in law Andy Phillips yesterday as we made our way to the dock near Port Aransas at 5:30 a.m. Friday to meet Capt. Dan Kelly.

We’d come to fish, and fish we would do – even when Dan warned us not to expect much.

Our original plan had been to chase trout in Nueces Bay, but that plan was scrapped when we awoke to a stiffening south breeze that would make the bay very rough and muddy the water.

So we decided to stay closer to Aransas Pass and fish the Estes Flats in hopes of getting lucky and catching a few redfish. It wasn’t the type of fishing any of us really enjoyed; rigging four rods with live finger mullet and cut perch, but we didn’t have many options.

Just after sunrise, the rod in the bow bent and Andy hauled in a monster, 28-inch trout. The big trout had been caught cruising the pot holes looking for an easy meal, and all of a sudden the day was looking up. It was Andy’s biggest trout to date and a great surprise this morning.

But reality and conditions caught up with us from there and it was tough sledding the remainder of the morning.

Several hardheads, an accidental flounder and two baby redfish were all we could muster. The fish fry we had planned for the evening meal would have to be supplemented by a trip to the fish market.

There are worse things in life than a bad day of fishing, and we still had a great time, even if the fish didn’t cooperate.

And along with the trout, the fish fry went great with a nice slab of wahoo and a mahi mahi fillet and plenty of cold beer to wash it down. Plan B isn’t always a horrible thing.