Our plans were set. Three days in Galveston with the Five Fins: Yours truly, the FinWife, FinJR, my daughter (newly liberated from Kansas), and Wahoo--my dear grandson. Does Galveston have the prettiest beaches on the planet? Oh, Heavens no. In fact, the air is a strange mix of seaweed and decay, like a dumpster behind a sushi bar. But if you love the sea, and you spent enough of your formative years in a landlocked state, it might as well be Tahiti. It is to me, at least.
Our plans were set. Two months ago I booked three spots off the stern on a 12-hour boat. FinJR has probably made this trip eight times or so, the piece of iron; my daughter, on the other hand, has never gone with us. She has battled motion sickness for most of her life, and I have been afraid to drag her 80 miles offshore. But we decided to try it. Mid July is a great time to go! Great weather and lots of fish! Except in 2013, apparently. Rain and high seas. Trip cancelled. Stern spots gone. Super.
So now what? Well, all you can do in a case like that is plan around the weather as best you can. We rescheduled our trip from Tuesday to Thursday and were moved from the stern (awesome) to the bow (much LESS awesome). But at least we still had a chance. We spent the next two days ducking the rain drops and playing at the beach. This is where I hope you begin to feel sorry for us. It was so awful.
We set up camp next door to Murdoch's souvenir shop. It's a great place. Two full sized piers full of beachy stuff joined together by a covered patio parallel to the sea. When the rain returned, we went back inside until it blew over. I swear, I could sit in those rocking chairs just staring at the sea all day long. Something cold to drink. Sea breeze blowing straight in. Oh, yeah. Cue the Bob Marley.
Wednesday morning was really nasty. While the family slept in, I grabbed my rain gear and jumped onto a four-hour boat. I had one goal in mind: Catch some sand seatrout for a future attempt at that gumbo recipe Mac6uffin has shared with us. We'll see where that leads sometime later.
After another afternoon at the beach, we were all set for Thursday's twelve-hour trip. BIG props to FinWife: She watched Wahoo for upwards of 14 hours while the rest of us headed out into the Gulf. They had a wonderful day of their own, I'm told. But the star of this day was clearly my daughter. What a trooper.
We haven't set her up with a doctor in Texas yet, and I would not wish my old-man doctor on her for any reason. In other words, we couldn't quite swing a seasickness patch for this trip. We tried juggling Dramamine beginning two days out. It was not enough. Our Tuesday trip was cancelled due to 4-6 foot seas, but conditions were still at 3-5 on Thursday. Most uncomfortable. Two hours offshore, we knew she was in for a very long day. The boat reached the fishing grounds around noon, and then came the vomiting. In great, unrelenting waves. I felt so bad for her. There was nothing FinJr and I could do to comfort her any further. Reluctantly, we decided to keep fishing; she would've wanted it that way.
After a couple more hours, she wobbled out to the rail. Through sheer force of will, she picked up her deepsea rig, a handful of cut squid, and proceeded to slay vermilion snapper in bold defiance of her shattered equilibrium. It was amazing to watch. FinJR and I were killing it too! By the end of the trip, we had 22 beeliners on ice--in only three hours of interrupted fishing. Truly excellent! But the woman had one more victory left to claim on this day.
Just before the fishing ended, I was called over to observe her rod. It was bent all the way over the bow and nearly underneath the boat. Vermilion snappers don't do this. Ever. After twenty minutes of ridiculously spirited fighting, my daughter had landed this beautiful amberjack. They don't call them the reef donkey without good reason.
We didn't get to keep it, sadly. AJs aren't in season until August 1st. But what a beaut! THAT is a serious fish by any standard. Even after all the puking and the eight rough, boring hours of riding, she said she'd do it again just as soon as we can.
"I'm not going to miss out on fishing just because it makes me throw up. That's just stupid."
We're a crazy bunch of old salts, we Fins.
Last night I smoked a couple of the beeliners. Never smoked any meat at all before. They were glorious. When I lifted the tail, the entire fish skeleton and head lifted out in one piece, like in a Sylvester & Tweety cartoon (if you're too young for that reference, I pity you). Sorry you weren't here to taste it for yourselves. Well, not really. Then I would've had to share.
And with that, the Fin Family Fishing Season draws to a close for 2013. Sigh. Now begins the long period of darkness when saltwater fishing is again out of reach. This must be how Trrp feels when the final out of the MU diamond season is recorded on the scorecard. But hey. By the time you read this, I will be back to work, and I am sure I am having even more fun. Who needs the serenity of the sea you can crunch testing data! And when the snapper in the freezer runs out, there's always Burger King. I hear the Chicken Parmesan is coming back soon. #Awesome