As much as it pains me to do so, I am not above giving credit where credit is due. I didn’t say I was going to like it.
The three of us moved out to a small apartment, still in Pearland. Our move took place over Thanksgiving if I remember correctly. The main thing I remember about the uprooting was my boyfriend at the time. Go figure.
We moved out when my dad was out of town working. He came home to an empty house. We did leave Max. He was a poodle mix and would be my dad’s closest companion for years to come. Max was a good friend.
We were limited on cash but we had enough. We didn’t need much.
During the summer that followed we needed to find some sort of entertainment. The apartments we lived in didn’t provide much excitement.
There was a couple that lived underneath us who were very nice, I can’t remember their names for the life of me. We did make friends with a girl around the corner from us. One that would be a constant in my life until I moved out. One that provided much comic relief for the three of us.
There was a pool, but not like the one we were accustomed to. The one at Independence Park, walking distance from the house we would now refer to as my dads’. Many a day summer day was spent at that pool with neighborhood friends.
There was no Devil’s Dip, no creek, no field full of buddies just waiting to play football. Of course, I was getting older and these forms of entertainment would have began slowly fading away one at a time but at least they were an option. At the apartment, they were not.
At some point we started going crabbing in Bolivar. Crabbing is only legal in months that don’t have an “r.” So our weekends during May through August were set.
An old Igloo full of chicken necks, heavy twine, wooden stakes and whatever we could scrounge up to eat, accompanied by a net, mosquito spray and a few lawn chairs and we were ready to roll.
Crab feed like crazy when there is a full moon. You guessed it, when there was a full moon we would leave Pearland around 9:00 p.m. and head to the Bolivar Ferry about 45 minutes down the highway. I have since learned that there is another way to get to Bolivar but the ferry ride was always fun.
Without the light of the full moon, this spot would have been a no go for sure. The moon lit up our saltwater sanctuary as if it were one gigantic stadium light turned on just for us.
Chicken necks and a rock for a weight tied to one end of the heavy twine and a small wooden stake tied to the other. We would put out lines up and down the shore. Then, we would wait.
Net in hand, we would gently grab the string and hold tension to see if we could feel any blue claws on the other end, nibbling away at the deliciousness that we had provided. Then the creeping began. We walked super slow, allowing the crabs on the other end to hold the tension as our hands ran down the string until we could lift it enough to see our fare.
Netting was tricky. We had to go in behind the crabs and scoop fast. I can’t tell you how many of those little suckers managed to get away until I honed my netting skills.
We also crabbed early in the morning when the full moon was absent. The same routine, just a different time of the day.
At some point she decided that we would try something new. She bought some rods and a bait bucket, steel leaders, weights and hooks and our new adventure was set to commence.
We didn’t have to cross the ferry for this excursion. Straight to the 61 street exit, all the way down until the seawall was visible. Then we would decide which rock groin would be ours for the day. There was no method to our madness, we just picked one. We then drug our stuff to the end and started fishing. Very seldom did we come back empty handed. We caught a ton of croaker and whiting. Even some flounder and trout at times.
We truly had no idea what the whiting were when we first started keeping them. On the way home, April from the apartments, our comic relief, ended the mystery once and for all. We stopped at a bait house on 61st on the way home. She hoisted the entire stringer of unknown saltwater swimmers out of the cooler and away we went, to see if someone could shed light on the mystery.
I had no idea that she was going to ask the guy in the bait shop using an Australian accent with a hint of British in there, but she did. I guess appearing as if we were tourists was better than a clueless gulf coast gals scenario. Her accent or level of oblivion was convincing. We were informed that they were whiting, legal to keep and yummy to fry. The legal to keep was good to know, seeing as we had been keeping them for a while at this point.
Those late night trips to Bolivar and early morning trips to the rock groins is where it all started for me. She is to credited with the genesis of my love affair with salt water fishing. There are a lot of reasons that I resent her but for this I am thankful and will forever be grateful.
My love affair with fishing now spills over into freshwater, kind of the nature of the beast due to convenience. There is no place I’d rather be than on the water, salt or fresh.
As much as it pains me to do so, I am not above giving credit where credit is due. I didn’t say I was going to like it, just give it. Thank you, momma.