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#11712807 - 07/08/16 07:00 PM Port Aransas trip, pier fishing
snagola Offline

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 446
I took my son to Port Aransas for two days at the end of June. My goal was to have fun, catch some fish, but more importantly have some father - son talks about 1) drugs and 2) girls. He is 11 years old.

I searched around on this forum for some help. The help was okay, but for someone who hasn't fished saltwater much, it was lacking. I went a few years back and posted some questions but I didn't get many helpful answers. I know fishermen don't like sharing information smile

Our plan was to fish the big pier (keepers?) Thursday night, hit the north jetty Friday morning, and fish the next smaller paper on the channel (behind the restaurants) Friday night.

We went at the end of the main street to get some bait. I had an orange bucket and a yellow/black floating bait bucket. The bait guy, dude, not very good at customer service.
me: hi, what is biting, any ideas on where I should fish?
him: that is hard to say
me: what are the biting on?
him: bits come and go
me: I am thinking of keepers pier with my son tonight, how about some live shrimp and live mullet?
him: ok
me: can you put them both in same yellow/black bucket? I will put them over the pier in the water.
him: you shouldn't mix them
me: why is that?
him: do what you want
me: thanks, later

We fished the pier. It was very windy and the wave crests looked to be every 10 feet wide. We were 3/4 of the way out on the pier. Note to self, when they say fish by the lights, this doesn't mean overhead lights, but lights under the pier.

I put on a chartreuse rubber lure and a spec of shrimp. BAM. My son caught a 3 foot hammerhead shark. He was excited. Everyone in the pier came around. Some person asked me if they could take a picture with my fish. That made me stare a bit, then they left. Then we caught a galf top. Several people were catching small trout, I think. They were silver / tank looking, shiny too. Sea trout? They were using a bottom weight, with two hooks above the weight, hanging straight down into the water. We were casting the traditional giant slip barrel weight as far as we could. I didn't snag, but our vision of reds, red fish and trout were only hallucinations.

We fished from 4 to 11pm. My son was happy. We grabbed a smoothie at some place in town, and got to sleep at 1 am in the morning, after clowning around. We did have the talk on drugs, smoking, dopers, and a waste of life they cause. He had many questions.

The next morning I woke up at 6am, saw my son in the same position as when he fell asleep, so I decided to skip the early morning Jetty. We later walked the beach, found some shells and dead starfish. We brought them home and the start fish rotted and stunk. I thought I could soak them in bleach and they would be ornamental. We saw some people fishing the south jetty, but nobody caught anything while we were there.

That night at 4pm we went to the next pier. It is T shaped and to the right looks down the pass to the Jetty. I don't know the name. We bought some live shrimp, and also had iced dead shrimp and mullet.

We had three poles: a heave freshwater with braid, a medium surf rod, and a big honking deep sea pole I got when I fished party boats in boca raton.

We had the same barrel weight and 2 foot wire leader on the medium rod. I used a similar rig with a 4 oz weight on the big road. I hooked up a variety of live shrimp, dead shrimp, and dead mullet. I think we had some small bites as the bait was chewed. The tide was a minor high tide heading out, but the water wasn't really moving yet. My son had the small pole, free spooling a dead mullet. SLAM. He caught a red snapper, about 14 inches long. I think the limit is 15 or 16 inches. It was cool. My iphone camera decided not to work, so I had to reboot the phone. We threw the fish back. That was a cool fish. We caught a few catfish. Again, others were catching these small trout looking things. Some caught a small whiting. When I say small, I am thinking 7 inches. Then we caught what was either a 4 inch croaker or pin fish, not sure. I remember someone saying they were good for bait. They are feisty fish. I hooked the fish on my deep sea pole and heaved it off the end. About 15 minutes later my son said the big pole had a fish. I could see the wave motion on the end of the rod and I was explaining it to him when : WHizzzz the pole bent in half and the line starting flying. We had a lunker. It went back and forth with very strong and constant pulls. I was shocked. I had my son take the pole and start pulling up and reeling down. He couldn't make any progress. I took over and after 5 minutes, SNAP. My bad. It was only until the next night that a friend told me to play large saltwater fish, and not bully them in like a largemouth. Everyone in the pier left their station to watch. It was fun.

Plan B started - catch those little fish. We got another, put it on the deep sea pole again, and chunked it out there. I pulled it in twice and recast due to the people around not not minding their lines. WHizzzzz. Fish on a 2nd time. This was different. It was a very deep steady pull. Then it stopped. I thought I was snagged, spooled out some line, and a big pull again. That happened several times. After another 5 minutes, SNAP again. Gads. I realized I am so out of practice, that I can't even recall what type of line I had on, what test it was, and when I installed it. Gads. A guy next to me, flapped his arms, indicating that he thought it was a giant stingray.

So we caught two more of those fish, put them on the medium and large poles. After 15 minutes, can you believe it, the large pole bent in half again and we had a fish on. This time I told me son wait, let me do this slower. I let him take some line when he needed and let him start to tire. I would say for 7 minutes or so. I was making some headway. Then two things happened. First, none of other fishermen reeled in their lines and my fish was crossing them down to the right. Second, WHizzz, we had a second fish on the medium pole. My deep sea pole had a large penn bait cast reel. The medium pole had a penn spinning reel. I gave the medium pole to my son to reel in. He was screaming with excitement 'We got giants daddy' I of course didn't want him to drop my rig with an actual perfect shape made in the USA penn spinning reel about 20 years old. Double trouble. Of course, my son is used to a fresh water bait casting reel, so when he picked up the spinning rig, he held the reel upwards and after several cranks said 'Daddy! the handle came off' HA HA, gads. I grabbed that reel, kept my reel, and put his handle back on. It was fun and chaotic. He started reeling, then I noticed out lines were crossed several times. It was dark by now and I could not see how to unwind them. He lost his fish. I kept playing my fish, his line was crossed right near the ends of our rods. My fish started pulling his rod too. The fish was maybe 50 feet from the pier. It was near the top of the water. I thought it was a largemouth coming up! Nobody moved their lines. 10 minutes - SNAP. WOW.

It was super exciting, but we had to give up as we ran out of metal leaders and heavy gear. The tide was moving and I only had 2 oz weights. Did I saw WOW. This is the most fun I have had not landing a fish. BTW, nobody else had any big hits.
We left again about 11pm, tired, but not giving up.

I asked him the next day, what in the world we thought the fish were. He said 'We will know when we get to heaven.' What a kid. I said that is something I am not sure will happen (the knowing the fish part).

And on the girl thing, I was given wise council and told to start by asking him what he knows about girls. I did that and he said 'what do you mean?' I said do you every look at girls. He said no way daddy, yuck. So this meant, we have to plan another fishing trip in a few weeks to continue the discussion.

It was great. I learned about getting a pier net, stocking some heavy gear, etc.

All good.

p.s. a friend of mine and his wife were fishing roll over pass, and caught 17 fish, reds, sheepshead and flounder. I need to check out his details.

#11712810 - 07/08/16 07:02 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
snagola Offline

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 446

#11712891 - 07/08/16 08:03 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
PiePuncher Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 3098
Loc: Fort Worth
Port A is a fun place to be. Sounds like a good trip
The fish you thought was a red snapper was more than likely a large mangrove snapper.
It's very unlikely you would catch a 14 inch red snapper that close.
Also, was the shark you caught a bonnet head or hammer head?

Edited by PiePuncher (07/08/16 08:04 PM)
OK Prowler
OK Drifter
Perception Pescador

#11713166 - 07/08/16 10:27 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
snagola Offline

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 446
Yes, I thought mangrove too. But it was white and the bright pink/red. Old guy next to me said red snapper. I thought mangroves were a bit darker. Also, I think it was hammerhead. Definitely not bonnethead. There were about 6 caught on that big pier.

#11714575 - 07/09/16 11:46 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
snagola Offline

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 446
my son corrected me, it was a bonnethead.

#11715097 - 07/10/16 12:14 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
lconn4 Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 12/02/12
Posts: 5788
Loc: Cherokee County
That was an exciting read snagola! Reminded me of my first pier fishing days in south Florida... lots of misidentified fish, fights with unknown monsters, and broken lines. I can imagine your son had an experience he will never forget. cheers

A good rule of angling philosphy is not to interfere with another fisherman's ways of being happy, unless you want to be hated.

Zane Grey, Tales of Fishes, 1919

#11715264 - 07/10/16 02:12 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
eyeball Offline

Registered: 04/24/12
Posts: 69
Sorry no one specifically gave the info you needed. Usually just reading up on TFF can adequately inform one on good tips.

I have to wonder, are you familiar with setting a drag or is your drag working?

#11715268 - 07/10/16 02:13 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
eyeball Offline

Registered: 04/24/12
Posts: 69
I do wish you had reported the name of the bait house so others can avoid it.

#11728716 - 07/18/16 11:31 AM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
Po Boy Offline

Registered: 02/25/14
Posts: 253
Loc: McKinney Texas
Just a little advise. Get to know the rude guy at the bait shop, strike a friendly conversation, don't expect a lot of useful info on fishing, if he tells you anything, it will probably be what you already know. Remember Port A is now a tourist destination and this guy gets a thousand questions every day that he considers dumb questions. He is just a island bum manning the bait tanks. So talk about something else. If you catch some nice Redfish, trout, or flounder, go by the bait shop on your way in and offer him two or three fish. The next morning when you go for bait, that pint of shrimp you buy will become a quart and he may have some useful info for you. I lived there for a few years and and did this, those rude guys become pretty friendly an get to know you a lot quicker if you practice this.

#11729139 - 07/18/16 04:02 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
Lindsey Offline

Registered: 01/29/10
Posts: 335
Loc: Bedford, TX
That's some great advice PoBoy. People would be wise to use it. Tight lines!
I'm not a chick.

#11729786 - 07/18/16 10:48 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
Thunk Offline

Registered: 11/12/14
Posts: 165
Loc: Granbury, Tx.
I'm with PoBoy... there are people willing to help because they love the sport. Then there are those that are thrown into the arena with no or little interest. Go somewhere where people are helpful. On any forum it is probably better to find people in the the area you are intending to go to and ask them to Private Message you. Some may not feel comfortable giving out ALL their information on an open discussion, after all they have worked/spent many hours out on the water to find this info. out.
It's not that they don't want to give it out it's just that they are careful who they give it to. If I believe through conversation with someone that they aren't a good steward of the resources of fishing for example I will not give them information on hot spots and I will speak in generalities of where fish are. A lot of people don't mind sharing but its like I found out growing up and fishing. I had to make the investment in fishing and relationships before I found out the real secrets to catching fish consistently.
So happy to read about memories made with your son. I have three sons myself and wouldn't trade for any of the times on the coast and other vacations!

I know relationship sounds silly but Isn't that what PoBoy is talking about? People on this forum have been very helpful to me and as you can see I don't post a lot. I do recommend the Private Message option as it allows people to 'open up' about where and when. If I told people in an open forum my 'secret places' to catch crappie. Well... I would likely find 4-5 boats on it within a weekend. What would that do to my 'secret spot' that took me two years to find if just one of them was not an 'ethical angler'? I'm always thankful for the 'general' pointers I get and am 'Extremely' thankful for the direct advice I get.

#11729796 - 07/18/16 10:57 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
Ledeez Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/01/15
Posts: 768
Loc: Lake lavon
I tell you this give a good $$ tip to the the guy filling your bucket w/ live shrimp you will have plenty of bait to make memories! The old guy at port a outfitters was pretty much hush hush until that tip.. Went to them everyday and everyday I had to much bait

#11742188 - 07/25/16 09:36 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
snagola Offline

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 446
Thanks for the advice. I will use it.

#11742225 - 07/25/16 09:56 PM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: snagola]
buton Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/28/10
Posts: 1388
Loc: Cypress,Tx
Great advice... down in mexico you invite some beers to the panga boat captains, your bring cloths for their children and sometimes a good steak.. then you will have some good people that will advise you and tell you were they are biting...

#11753095 - 08/01/16 11:54 AM Re: Port Aransas trip, pier fishing [Re: buton]
BruceV9er Offline

Registered: 04/15/13
Posts: 57
Loc: North Fort Worth/Keller, TX
I enjoyed your adventure story....someday, I cheers 'll have to do the same thing too with a son or daughter. Fish on!!!
Bruce V....Seriously, The real Bruce Lee;-)

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