July 4th, 2005

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

Taking it Easy
By Ellis P. Mendiola

The day finally came for our short vacation to Rockport, Texas, a fly fishing mecca on the lower Gulf Coast. My plan was to fish half a day with some friends from San Antonio and spend the rest of the time visiting the small art galaries in town and taking my wife shopping at several shell shops. My friends arrived the next morning and we took a short ferry ride to Port Aransas to fish the jetties. My friend Andy Dear told me there was a good chance that we could see some tarpon in the channel. Luck would have it, we didn't see any. If I had, I wouldn't have been able to jump one. I was fishing an 8 weight and using a shrimp pattern tied on a size 4 hook. We were really after sea trout. I did see several Ripley turtles which I had never seen before in the wild.

After an hour of tossing line we decided to try wade fishing the marshes. Andy spent the next half hour showing me all the good spots and we finally settled on one that looked fishy. Off in the distance we could see two wade fishermen. We parked the pickup near the bank, grabbed our gear and started wading. After a few yards in I started having trouble walking in the soft muck while Andy and his friend appeared to be walking on water. The years had taken their toll on this old body...I fell three times trying to keep up with my younger friends. I also forgot to put my cell phone in a plastic bag. That cell phone is now history.

After a while, Mike, Andy's friend, shouted, "trout coming towards you at 11 o'clock." I quickly turned to intercept the trout, fell over again, swallowed my pride and commenced to whip the water in the general direction of the trout. I continued to cast and cast and finally hooked something. Anybody know the record for blue crab on a fly? By that time it was really getting hot so we called it a day. No fish but a good time had amongst friends.

Once back at the hotel we picked up my wife and headed to a fine seafood restaurant. Over a cold brew and some shrimp po-boys, Andy apologized for not putting me on fish. I told him it was ok but next time to take me to a cove where I could at least fish standing up. We enjoyed our lunch and my friends departed for San Antonio.

The next couple of days I spent having some quality time with my wife. She got to do her shopping and I bought a couple of art pieces. The fellow that owns the art gallery happened to be a fly fisherman himself. He told me to come back in the fall and we could do some fishing together. He also diagramed a pattern that he likes to use for redfish on a scrap piece of paper. It turned out to be a Del Merkin's crab. When the shop owner thanked me for the purchase, a tall handsome fellow and equally beautiful wife came over and they introduced themselves. It happened to be Larry Bozka, a very well known outdoor writer and author in our part of the country. What a treat.

One of the highlights of our trip, besides being with friends and getting to meet Larry and his wife, was dining at one of those restaurants that serves food with sprigs of vegetation sticking out of your food. While driving down the main street I saw a restaurant by the name of Aransa Zu. Being of Basque decent, I interpreted the name to mean "a place of thorns." We had to stop and eat there. Well it turned out to be one of the best places that my wife and I have ever gone to. I asked for flounder which was not on the dinner menu and the chef cooked a pecan encrusted flounder with ancho mayo on one side and jalapeņo mango sauce on the other. Another treat.

I did get to flyfish from the hotel pier at night. Even caught a couple of trout which I quickly released or they came off of the hook by themselves. I didn't care...I was having too much fun taking it easy. ~ Cheers, Ellis

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