Speckled trout in dirty water

Speckled trout in dirty water

It happened many years ago. If I recall correctly it was June of 1974. That morning, I had been fishing the Galveston Pocket, just east of the Galveston North Jetty. I had live shrimp that morning and caught the high tide early bite on the beachfront by the old “whaleback” sunken ship. The solid two to five-pound speckled trout had been on a tear in the beautiful green water that morning and about twelve of them had sucked down my popping cork with authority. It was fast and furious for about forty-five minutes and then it was over.

By 9:00 am I had my boat back on the trailer and was on my way home. In those days there was a fish cleaning table on the western side of Roll Over Pass in the corner by the bridge and my intention was to stop off there and filet my trout so I wouldn’t have a mess to clean up at home. When I arrived at Rollover there was no one around. The morning high tide had already peaked there as well and the tide was flowing out. While preparing to clean my catch a pickup towing a large offshore boat pulled into the parking lot beside me and a fellow fisherman hopped out and asked me if I could identify a large fish, he had caught that morning. He hopped up in his boat and heaved a fish out of the ice chest and held it up for me to see. It was a triple tail and a big one; probably at least fifteen or so pounds. I told him what the fish was but he was unsure whether he would want to eat it. I explained that it was a delicacy but he wasn’t so sure he would like it. “You want it”, he said. “You bet”, I replied, trying to hide my excitement. Triple tail is one of the best eating fish we have offshore of our area and they are not always easy to find. I thanked the man and heaved the fat triple tail onto the filet table. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, right? That is when I saw it. As the triple tail hit the table, I saw a dark fish tail appear in the water ten feet out into the water of the fish pass. The tidal flow had created an eddy current in the corner of the piling wall and the water at that point was the color of coffee with cream. You couldn’t see three inches into that mess. In my mind the tail I saw looked just like a speckled trout tail. No, that couldn’t be, could it? So, I stopped what I was doing and stared down at the muddy water. For a minute or so nothing disturbed the water. Then, there was another dark tail. It just appeared for a second or two. Then another and just a few feet over a fifteen-inch trout boiled the top of the muddy water. That time I saw the whole fish. It had a very dark colored back and made quite a contrast against the coffee with cream water. The water in that corner was the dirtiest water in the fish pass that day. Why would they be in that mess? Because there was bait in their; trapped by the swirling eddy current.

 

 

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