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Rockport Beach, Texas

6/30/11

Where Is The Sky?

Adventure Location: Packery Channel, Texas

The morning did not dawn, it just kind of got lighter gray. It was definitely not a day for water adventures in a 9’-5” boat on the bay. When you have trouble telling the water from the sky, it is time to stay on firm ground.
The necessary trip to Corpus went well but unsuccessful as far as purchases goes. Therefore it was a cheap trip. Packery Channel seemed like a nice place to visit, so the Truck found its way on over to the parking lot. The shoreline modifications reported about a few weeks are moving along well. It appears that there will be paved lighted parking all along the channel when the construction is finished. That will be wonderful.

It is an excellent location for a good walk. From the current parking lot to the end of the jetty and back is a walk of almost exactly two miles round trip. It is also pleasant the whole way.

There was a white bird concentrating on the fishing so intently that my approach to about fifteen feet was not notice. The click of the camera did catch its attention and away it flew. That was neat.
On toward the jetty are some sand dunes with beautiful flowers on them. Here is one set of the flowers. That purple color is much to my liking.
The tropical disturbance going into Mexico is sending us some larger than normal waves and strong winds. That is making for some spectacular wave action along the lower coast. My walk did not quite make it to the end of the jetty. It seemed to exciting for me out there. The surfers were having a ball. They walk out to the end of the jetty and jump into the water to ride back in to the beach. Here is one of the waves announcing its arrival at the North Packery jetty.
The higher tan normal tides have moved the water line up the beach a foot or so of elevation. As flat as this area is that amounts to about two hundred feet of horizontal distance. Then the larger than normal waves are pushing surges across a hundred feet or more of the beach. In some locations the wave action leaves large pools of sea water. In other locations the wave action is getting all the way up to the dune line. This next picture is of some folks camping a little too close to the wave action and pooling for my preference.
My preference is to have a few hundred feet of dry sand around my vehicle.

On the way home, the Team took the ferry. We pulled up and were put in the lineup for a ferry. The ferry docked, unloaded and we sat there and sat there and sat there. What is going on? Finally the trouble showed up.
A vehicle had not been able to get started when it was time to leave the ferry. These little electric car pushers are cute and new to me. The one guy running the pusher just followed along to steer it. When the vehicle was out of the way, the pusher was driven back behind the fencing to be recharged and wait with the other two pushers for the next “rescue”. It is nice to know they are prepared for that type of incident.

Back home it was time to download the photos and start the sorting process. A little planning on how to dodge the weekend mobs starting tomorrow afternoon is in order. Two families have already arrived at the campground with kids to run amuck. Certainly the rest of this semi-tropical paradise will be crawling with tourists for the weekend. That is excellent; it brings in lots of money for the merchants.

As for me, kicking back and staying out of the crowds sounds like a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/29/11

Joint Demands

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Immediately that my brain was awake both the shoulder joints ganged up on me and said FORGET IT. You are not going back out doing ANYTHING vigorous today. Now sore muscles can be babied along but sore joints require rest. So rest is what they got and by evening the joints had quit complaining. Maybe wisdom has finally been hammered into my head. NAH not a chance.

By accident not through intention, the Team made it into Port Aransas right after lunch. The ferry was waiting on me and we went right on. Down at the jetty it was noticed that the surf was pushing water all the way to the dunes. This is not right so the Team left. The streets were full of folks. The town looked like a fire ant mound that had been kicked. So the Team went on back to the ferry. About a five minute wait was all that was needed to board the return ferry. WOW that was lucky.

The rest of the day was spent trying to outfit/arrange the Puddle Boat so that fishing can be tried the next time out. It was going to be tomorrow morning but instead a trip to Corpus is in store for the Team. Hopefully tomorrow the rigging of Puddle Boat will be finished. Then it will be time to do a lot of paddling.

Properly taking care of the shoulder joints was a good start to trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/28/11

Wiggle And Wobble

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Finally a frog croaked at the right time, the moon hit the right phase, and the weather was correct, so the Puddle Boat was taken out to play. The real goal was to get my sea legs back for more adventures on the water. Here is where the Team went out to play.

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=27.877777,-97.148623&spn=0.017298,0.028024&t=h&z=15

The launch was near the blue lake in the upper left which is actually the Aransas Pass Aquatic Center. The header picture is from the launch spot as we headed out for adventure.

The slough and part of this area has been in previous blog entries. We wound around and wiggled a bit until my balance got used to the boat again. Then the mouth of the slough was in sight.




Now it was time to perform or get wet. The OFM surprised himself and performed and only got splashed some but did stay upright for the whole two and a half hours. Mileage was about 3.6 miles which is about as far as a short boat like Puddle Boat has any business doing in one trip.

The water was pretty clear and the weather very nice. The bit of a breeze was very welcome in the warm sun. In this picture the water is about four feet over the top of the grasses.

We left the slough and turned right to pass between this first pair of islands. The first goal was to explore the waters all the way to the point showing in the far distance between the islands.
The water was rippled just enough to be nice. A careful eye was kept on lookout for any sign of good fish. To my disappointment there was not the smallest sign of reds or trout in this first section of the paddle.




After reaching the goal, it was time to turn back and return on the other side of the islands we had passed. This route put the Team between the oyster reefs along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and the islands. Along this route a piece of junk was spotted. Naturally it had to be examined.
Some one had left an old engine out here on an oyster reef years ago. Why this kind of junk gets left around is beyond me.

Since my body was feeling decent the decision was to cross the ICW and work our way around the far island where the fishing is know to be excellent. Now it is time for a lesson on navigating this marsh and reef area. In this next picture taken with a 3x telephoto is a marker for the edge of the ICW. Just a little down and left of the big marker sign is a piece of wood stuck in the reef next to the about fifteen foot wide opening in the reef. For this area, it is a major size channel marker.
These are the kinds of markers you have to be able to spot to safely navigate around this marsh area. In case you missed it here it is from about two feet away as the Team passed by it.
Once through this two foot deep channel you enter the side of the ICW. It has a nominal depth of twelve feet. This is the major super highway for all the barges and larger boats to run back and forth along the coast from Texas to Florida. A yak crossing this technically has the right of way but it is not recommended to argue with the bigger less maneuverable boats. We crossed as quickly as Puddle Boat could manage. The oyster reef greeted us soon and we ducked behind it before any power boats came along.

The paddling was a little more energetic over here since there was not much to hide behind from the breeze in this open water. The water was even clearer than over in the marsh. At one spot the double blade paddle went all the way under the water to touch bottom. My guess had been it was about four feet deep. Reality was closer to eight feet.

About now it was time for my ten course shrimp lunch.
At least that is what my stomach had to be convinced that it was.

My body was wearing out by now, so one picture back toward the island the Team had to go back around to cross the ICW was taken.
Then we set out for the Truck. One of the good things about this area is that you normally in the summer have to paddle into the wind leaving the launch. It certainly helps to be with the wind on the way back when you are tired.

Of course when the Team was back at the Castle, lunch had to be eaten before all the clean up was done. It takes about thirty minutes to wash down the Puddle Boat, PFD, paddle, anchor, flats boots and other items. Then they dry for an hour and are stored properly.

Tonight will be an ibuprofen night. It is worth it for a great day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/27/11

Near Death Experience

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

When the 6 volt batteries were put on the Castle on Valentines Day this year, the water level was checked. It was right on the money. About two months later it was checked and no water was needed to be added. Good was my thought. Not much water was used charging them.

They had not been checked again since late April. My solar controller was showing max charge voltage as 14.4 volts every day until a week ago. Then the charge was down to 13.8 every day. The system has temperature compensation on the charging circuit and that was my thought that the charging circuit was doing something because of the high temperatures outside. The batteries are mounted on the Castle’s tongue.

Well since it was too hot to do much outside, most of the day was spent goofing off in the A/C. As the sun neared setting the temperatures dropped from 91 to 85 and it was pleasant to sit outside. Suddenly it seemed right to check the battery water after three months. All six cells were nearing the top of the plates low. WOW the hot weather must have contributed to this evaporation rate! Any way it took nearly twenty four ounces of distilled water to top off the batteries!

The schedule will go back to once a month for the future until the batteries allow for a longer between check ups. Having HAPPPPPPPY BATTERIES is important for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/26/11

Shade Tree Craftsman

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

TheOFM can take longer to do less than anybody in the world, including Billy Bob. Right after lunch a twenty minute project was started and by hurrying a bunch it was finished right after four pm. Man I am good.

The vent hood in the Castle has a light to help you see what you are cooking. It is a nice thing to have. The plastic diffuser had gotten so yellow that it was thrown away some time in the last two years. Good riddance one less thing to clean.

About two weeks ago it was noticed that the vent hood exhaust fan that is seldom used would re-circulate a lot of air into the castle instead of exhausting it. That is not good. On researching the situation it became obvious that the diffuser had been an integral part of the air moving duct to get the air outside.

Ok just go get a bit of plastic, cut it to fit and install it. Job finished right? Nope as usual. The open stores here in Rockport did not carry any plastic sheet for me to cut to fit. So it was off to City of Aransas Pass and the Lowe’s there. The plastic cost about $2.25 is all. Back at the Castle the neighbors table was chosen as the fabrication shop. They will not know since they are way up near the Canadian border somewhere.
The shade tree makes this much better than the table by the Castle. The first cut was carefully made without breaking anything.
The second cut was slowly and caarefully made. The piece was fitted to the vent hood but needed some filing to fit well.
About an hour later the new piece fit in decently and only had one small crack to my amazement. It turns out that filing the plastic is a slow tedious process when done by hand. Back when there was a real shop in my life, a vertical belt sander would have made short work of the adjustments required. But by hand between your knees does not go that fast.

Here is a picture of the empty hole that needs filling.
This next picture is of the same hole but with the new piece in place.
Look carefully and you can see some reflections on the new plastic. That is clear enough that the light is hardly bothered at all. The outside flapper on the vent hood slams open now when the vent fan is actuated. The exhausting air is very noticeable across the stove top again.

Now what will be the thrill tonight to help in trying to have tooooo much fun? TheOFM.

6/25/11

Attack Repelled

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

TheOFM is back online (maybe). It has been a very disgusting day. The first idea something was wrong was a bunch of bogus emails to folks. Some one had hacked my email addresses. That is easy to fix by changing the password. The new password should stop that nonsense.

Since things were a mess, a full detailed scan of my computer was done. Four viruses were found. All four had entered by way of a popup add last Sunday. Four hours later the scan finished the fix on my drive. Then it asked to do a boot up scan. Of course it was allowed. Three and a half hours later it had found two more viruses to delete. They had come in during the week. WOW what a mess! Since then the computer has been put through the paces to check it out. It supposedly is sparking clean now.

A call was also placed to my special computer assistants. My son and DIL are both computer super nerds to the Nth degree and work in the fields of programming and IT. They pointed out a few changes that might be time to make and leave Explorer XP.

The suggestions will be researched to see which ones would be best for me. Then a call to the super nerds will be made before any major changes are made. Hopefully this has not caused any real harm to anyone’s machine. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. This kind of trouble does interfere with trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/24/11

Massive Influx

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Light rains hit again about noon until mid afternoon. Morning adventure was a grocery run to Wal-mart. It was a good thing the Team took the through the neighborhood back roads to get there. While gathering myself to go into the store, it was noticed the heavy traffic on Business 35 in front of Wal-Mart. It was either an RV of some type or a fancy expensive shallow water fishing boat for at least a half of the traffic.

On a normal day at that time of day you can see a couple of cars a minute or less in front of Wal-Mart. Today it was a solid line of traffic in both lanes coming into town. WOW. When the groceries and a new weedless gold fishing spoon were purchased, bagged and the Truck was ready to roll again, the traffic was worse.

After piddling around at the Castle for nearly an hour, it seemed like time for a Whataburger for lunch. On to Whataburger by the back roads the Team went. Bad choice, the parking lot at Whataburger was full. Ok forget that.

After lunch was purchased elsewhere, some fishing time was needed with the new spoon. Two locations a bit out of the way were tried with no success. By later this evening it seemed like Rockport had become a town of about a million folks. Everywhere was packed, so it was on to the Castle for the Team and hide out for the rest of the day. Being here in this cooler environment makes it easy to understand why most of San Antonio and Houston comes down here to try to have tooooo much fun in the summer. TheOFM.

6/23/11

An Intimate Discussion

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The ugly clouds kept on coming all day. Here for a bit then sunshine. Then about the time it looked safe to get out and do something, here was the ugly clouds again. Eventually my mind wandered off into LA-LA land and research on a kayak cart was done. A lot of research to be accurate. Finally a style was chosen and the Truck took me around town to see what was available locally. Thank goodness none were in the local stores.

Back at the Castle disappointed, a Billy Bob was done. A pot of good coffee was brewed and it was time to sit, sip and think about the next step. OK now how many launch sites are there in the area that might need the use of a kayak cart? In the three years plus that the Truck has been carrying around a yak full time all over the west, how many places would have been nice to have a cart? The answer to the second question is zero. Hmmmm Now what about the first question!

My trusty laminated charts were brought into the fray for facts. This is one of them.
Fool, make a list while you are doing this! OK a list was started. In a very few minutes there were over twenty very good spots or areas listed in the Corpus to Fulton/Lamar area. For those who might come down to this area with a yak here is my list. Those locations are shown on all the fishing maps of this area.
After careful thought it was obvious that none of the launch spots had any need for a kayak cart. In all of them but one, you could drive up as close to the water as you wanted to chance getting stuck. The one you could not drive up to the water required you to drag the yak on the grass about fifty feet. That is not a big deal at all.

So when the intimate discussion was finished, it was obvious that the Team had no use for a kayak cart at all. At least the squall clouds helped bring that thought to a good end. Good carts run nearly a hundred dollars and are another thing to tote around and take care of.

One cute picture came of the messing around today. As my approach to a launch point progressed to the water line, a sudden mass movement startled me. The first thought was rattlesnake. The marsh has plenty of rattlesnakes to keep you on your toes so that is always my first reaction. It turned out to be a huge herd of sand or fiddler crabs. There must have been nearly a hundred of them moving in unison. Once my heart calmed down it was a neat sight to see. This next picture only captured about one fourth of them when they paused.

Never before in my life around the coastal waters had this size herd crossed my path. When the tide comes in there will be some very happy redfish in this area.

Getting to see a new to me natural sight made this a great day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/22/11

Wading

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Oh Boy, its morning and the Puddle Boat will be plowing the waters soon. Breakfast was well along when the computer was turned on to check the blog for comments and email for worth while information. Next the weather radar was pulled up to make certain what supplies needed to be taken along.

WRONG AGAIN AS USUAL. Here is what the radar told me.
Rockport is at the red dot in that picture. No way will Puddle Boat be leaving the shore with that type of weather breathing on our stern. It seems that the rain we were to get was coming in as a storm of sorts. So the trip was put aside AGAIN. The rain and storm held off until about 10 am. At least we have gotten a good half inch of rain. No lightning has been seen either.

When the clearing in the afternoon between fronts happened, an episode of wade fishing was attempted. It did not go well. It was over thirty years ago the last time wade fishing was attempted. The small waves, the uneven bottom and my lack of balance combined to make it not fun. Topping it all off was my fear of stepping on a sting ray. You are supposed to shuffle your feet along the bottom to scare them off so you do not step on them. Well shuffling my feet ended up getting me tripped up on every little ripple in the bottom. It was also found out that shuffling your feet in the patches of sea grass is nearly impossible and remain upright. By now NOT taking the camera along was looking like a great decision.

My flats boots were on my feet so worrying about loosing a shoe in any mud was not a factor. By the time the water reached my mid thigh depth, the sting ray shuffle was really giving me fits. My thought as Do I really want to tangle with a large fish with a lure with sharp hooks dangling form its mouth full of needle teeth while wobbling around on one foot or the other? The answer came back as definitely not anymore.

So it was back to the Truck for me. The tailgate was a great place to take off my flats boots and empty the water out of them. No socks had been worn and a large red spot on each foot indicated that some thin plastic socks need to be added to the equipment. My pants legs were unzipped and put away. Then it was let my feet dangle for a few minutes to dry off before putting my normal shoes back on.
The waves were no more than a foot high but that was enough for me. It looks like a kayak will be used instead of wading. This is just one more compromise of getting old but not quitting. Change the how but do not quit.

The rain started up again in the late evening and is continuing to dribble once in a while. Circumstances might change the how but it cannot stop the trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/21/11

LHL

Adventure Location: Near Light House Lakes Trail Park, Texas

The plan was to do something else but another thing happened instead. On the way east on 361 toward Port Aransas a sudden urge hit me to check out an old road that goes to some industrial docks. It was a good fortune event.

The Light House Lakes Trail area is known in the kayaking world very well. The normal launch point has been shown in this blog several times, but it did not quite suit my desires. Today the exploration produced a new launch point a bit east of the normal park location and across the bridge and slough. As the Truck gently wandered down the potholed road, my eyes were scanning for a spot to launch across from a marsh drain on the other side of the shrimp boat channel going west to Conn Brown Harbor.

Suddenly it was there waiting for me to examine. The Truck had adequate room to pull off the road and park. My feet carried me all around this small launch spot that can also be used to fish the south side of the channel. The location is shown with this link.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=27.860629,-97.075555&spn=0.002163,0.003503&t=h&z=18

Depending on your computer you may have to zoom out a little. See the curve in the road turning down on your screen. Then down the road a very short ways is a white area through the shrubbery. Almost straight across the channel is the marsh drain of my interest.

As my examination of the area continued, a paddler came from the west on a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) and headed into the drain.
It is my hope to soon follow his wake with the Puddle Boat. My fishing rod magically appeared in my hands with an appropriate lure on the line. So the Team stood there fishing for about a half hour. It was near noon now and in spite of the brisk wind, it was HOT. My stomach started getting goofy feeling and my head was not feeling right, so the choice was made to quit and get back into the ac. It turned out to be a good choice.

Back at the Castle, the weather site told of 108 degree heat index down on the water. That is way too much for my head or body. Lunch and staying cool was the chore for the rest of the day. That new to me spot should be an excellent location for trying to have tooooo much fun soon. TheOFM.

6/20/11

Bird Tracks

Adventure Location: Port Aransas, Texas

First the webcam of the ferry landing was checked. Nearly no vehicles, that is good. The surf webcam was checked. Nearly flat surf, that is good. So the Jetty Fishing Team threw together the things needed and we headed out for Port Aransas and some serious jetty fishing.

The ferry landing was looking very odd as we approached it.
Finally it dawned on me that it was an oil exploration boat or rig of some type passing in the channel. The ferry took us aboard very quickly and the channel crossing was also quick. When we exited the ferry in Port Aransas there were no vehicles waiting to be lined up for boarding. That is great also.

When we got to the first stop light this was the sight crossing in front of us.
Finally it looks like the government bought the officers a boat that might do the job. Previously what they were held back with was a nice boat that could run only half the speed of the typical ordinary fishing boat nowadays. It was sad the officers were so badly supplied to do their duty. Now they at least have a chance.

We made it to the jetty just in time to see a wave crash across the jetty! When the window was rolled down the wind tried to blow out the opposite window of the Truck cab. Where is that light wind shown on the computer an hour ago? More waves crashed across the jetty and the Truck turned back inland. We made a quick stop to check out Charlie’s Pasture Park for fishing. The water was very sandy and opaque.

While walking the bulkhead some bird tracks were noted in the concrete. Apparently a bird left its foot prints in the concrete as the concrete was curing. Then it was back to the ferry landing to beat a strategic retreat.
Forty five minutes ago there was no waiting at the ferry landing. By now the line wound all over the place and we made it across the channel after and hour and forty minutes of being in line.

On the way home we stopped a couple of times to wet a line. That is all that happened is wetting a line. But it was still a nice time of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/19/11

Car???

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Twenty mile per hour wind is my upper limit for playing in the yak or riding a bicycle. Since the winds today were mid twenties gusting to mid thirties here in Rockport, neither activity was even attempted. Boredom forced me to burn some money in the form of diesel fuel just to get out and move around. Even the beaches were not as full as usual. The blowing sand was making it miserable for folks at the beach.

At the Rockport Harbor was this special vehicle. The rear is from a Fiat and the front is parts of motorcycles.
Late in the evening after seven pm it cooled down to 88 so my body forced me to go for a walk at the Memorial Park nearby. The walk was reasonable and pleasant but still a sweaty effort.

So tonight is just lay around in the cool A/C and goof off. How does that sound for a way of trying to have tooooo much fun? TheOFM

6/18/11

Unique Yaks

Adventure Location: Seadrift, Texas

A couple of pretty neat boats crossed my path today. The owner had brought them from Vicksburg, Mississippi for a kayak show and tell. My attendance was required to record any interesting boats that might show up. These two made my list to write about.

The first is an ultra light weight SINK (Sit IN Kayak). It was wonderful construction and kind of glowed in the sunlight. The pictures do not catch the glow from the sunlight anywhere close to reality.

This was the boat as stored on the trailer.
The Canon was put inside the cockpit and this next picture taken. It amazed me how little framing was required to make a strong yak.
On walking around the yak it was noticed that parts of the yak were sewn together. The resin apparently was put on after the sewing and it all looks very water proof now.
On the same trailer was this other beautiful kayak. The wood work was gorgeous. What makes this yak special is the “training wheels” incorporated into the fancy wood work.

Backing away got us a fairly good shot of the whole yak and the strip lay-up of the hull.

A very close up picture of the bow section was taken. That is some great inlay work. The finish coat on all the boats was unbelievably smooth and glossy.

There were many other boats there to ogle over. Every one of them was a work of art. It would be s shame to scratch them up on the rocks or beach or ramp but these folks actually use the boats.

Paddling boats this pretty could really enhance a day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/17/11

Hookers

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

There are a huge number of different styles of fishing hooks out there on the market. In response to an email question, here are my current choices of hooks.

The first one is a perch jerking hook.
A very small piece of bait is placed on the barbed tip of the hook. It is used mainly for catching small fish to use as bait. The fish may be retained live or killed to become cut bait. The choice depends on what seems to be the best guess at the time of the fishing.

This is typical of the jig head hooks used with plastic baits.

There are many different varieties of jig heads but they are all similar in style. The barb is mashed down to make unhooking the fish much easier. It fact if the fish is not going to be harvested, the first try is to give the fish some slack and let it shake loose if possible. Otherwise the fish is landed, when possible, without touching the fish and the jig removed with long nose pliers. Then the fish is put back into the water with boga style fish grippers. 99.99% of the fish swim happily away to hunt again.

The recommended hooks on the top water lures and spoons are these hooks.
It is a 1/0 or 2/0 live bait hook with the barbs mashed down. Since my personal experience with these is zero, reliance on others input is required for now. These replaced the treble hooks on the lures. My personal experience with treble hooks is they do a lot of unneeded damage to the fish. Unhooking a fish that has gotten hook deeper into the mouth or throat area is dangerous to the fish and the fisherperson. Personal experience guarantees that a flopping fish with a treble hook in it will have a great chance of driving the hook well into a portion of your body as you attempt the unhooking process. There are no treble hooks anywhere in the OFM’s arsenal anymore.

And last is the circle hooks used for natural baits and some artificial baits.

The barbs are mashed down for now. It is an experiment in progress. If the natural baits do not stay on the hook properly, barbed hooks will be the fall back hook. The artificial baits like GULP will also be used on these hooks. The special tip of the hook is bent inward. Supposedly this prevents deep hooking of the fish. All fish caught with these hooks by the OFM have had the hook in the corner of their mouth where it was very easy to remove without serious damage to either the fish or the catcher person.

That is my current line up of hooks. There is no trouble in my mind with harvesting the fish but a lot of trouble in my mind with wasting the resource by incorrect handling of the fish. When done correctly, fishing is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/16/11

Into The Garbage

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

It is important information to me, and maybe others, that dried human blood washes off a Super Spook Jr. fairly easily. Also important to know is that the new lure hooks are VERY SHARP. A red striped SSJr is not what is wanted in my tackle box.

The split ring pliers were worked over this morning. Then worked over some more. Then the internet was consulted and the pliers went into the garbage can. It seems that they were not intended for the heavy duty split rings required for saltwater fishing equipment.

With that in mind some serious time was used figuring out a solution to the problem of getting the rings onto the fishing lures and tackle. The solution finally came to me in the way of my small highly portable vise. It was clamped gently to the dining room table. Then the split ring is oriented to allow a free end to be outside the clamp.
Then my do all knife screw driver tip was inserted into the split ring causing the end to open up.
At this point it was easy to start an item onto the split ring or start an item on its trip to exit the split ring. Yep even the small diameter size three heavy duty split rings behaved well. The results are well balanced lures.
See the spot of blood in front of the front hook on the lower part of the lure. Maybe it will stay there to remind me to be extra careful in the future.

Testing this evening after supper showed a major improvement in the weed shedding ability of this style of hook set up. During the completion of eliminating treble hooks from the rest of the lures, a standard weight split ring was encountered. It was so light it was amazing that anyone thinks it could hold a keeping size saltwater fish. It was spread simply by inserting a finger nail into the ring and twisting. It came right off.

For research sake it was put on a barrel swivel and pulled on with a screw drive blade inserted through the split ring. My weak hands were able to cause failure well within my pulling ability. A heavy duty split ring was subjected to the same testing. It did not even flex enough for me to see it flex. This is proof enough that only the heavy duty split rings have a place in my fishing gear.

By the way washing my blood off the lure did not get in the way even a little bit in the excitement of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/15/11

Strike Three, You'r Out

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Three strikes and no balls and TheOFM has struck out on the jetty fishing. The line at the ferry was as long as the previous two days. Frustration was running high so the Team came back to the Castle to rejuvenate.

Several of the best saltwater fishing guides in the world are in this area. My old style of fishing of my past does not work worth a flip down here. The best one is a kayak fishing guide, Dean Thomas of Slowride Guide Service. He is a sponsor on Texas Kayak Fisherman forum. Often he dribbles pieces of fantastic information on the fish catching subject. One lately passed on to us worthless fishermen was about changing out your treble hooks for single hooks on your lures. That way the seaweed and sea grasses will cause much less trouble.

Since the day of fishing was a bust, it was time to try to change out some hooks. So the heavy duty split rings purchased earlier and the particular recommended hooks were gathered for action. Let me guarantee you the heavy duty split rings needed for salt water fish will not open up with a finger nail or three or four and can put a serious hole in a errant fingertip.

There has to be a better way was my thought. Internet research brought out a tool new to me called split ring pliers. So it was off to Tackle Town to get a set. The recommended pliers were purchased and the return home was exciting.
The excitement did not last long. The pliers would not hold the ring in place to insert the object you are placing on the ring. The pliers opened the ring somewhat but not really well. When looking at the pliers it was obvious that the splitter wedge hit the other lever before the ring was squeezed even lightly. Ok that can be changed tomorrow when the Dremel type tool can be used outside. One lure got two hooks installed with massive difficulty.

More research turned up a split ring pliers by Texas Tackle based in California that look like they will work properly. All hope is not gone yet.

The progress on the campground is going fast. It looks like most of the trees to be removed are now lying on the ground being cut into pieces small enough to fit into the dump truck for hauling away. Next should be the hauling in of massive amounts of sand to level the area.

After a nice supper at my favorite Texmex dive, it was thought that it would be nice to sit on the bench at the far end of the Rockport Beach and relax. WRONG AGAIN AS USUAL.
That bench would not be very good for relaxing this evening. Apparently this was a Thomas Edison day for me. Several things are now known to not work out just right. So, now, those problems are defined and cleared out of the way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/14/11

Foiled Again

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

At least the drought is keeping the mosquitoes at bay. It has been a couple of days since the last mosquito was after me at the campground. The Castle was in my rearview mirror an hour and a half earlier than yesterday. However the line for the ferry to get to the jetty in Port Aransas was even longer than yesterday. What a disappointment that was!

At least today the Team was prepared to so some bank/pier fishing this side of the ferry landing as available. The first location already had a crowd at it so onward we went. The second location had a crowd at it so onward we went. And On and On it was crowded everywhere. Finally facilities were getting to be required so a stop at Conn Brown Harbor was made. To my amazement neither location for bank fishing was occupied.

The shrimp boat in this picture is normally docked down at the Rockport Harbor, so it was a surprise to see it coming in to Conn Brown. Notice the bridge in the picture. That is one of the bridges going from City of Aransas Pass to Port Aransas.
A half hour at each location produced zero fish results, so the Team chose the A/C of the Castle as our next stop.

To my surprise when the Team returned to the Castle, progress on the campground expansion was in full swing. Trees were being taken down and all the debris hauled away. It is a shame that the live oak trees with so much twisted character cannot be transplanted. The success ratio of these old trees making it after transplanting is about 1%. They would make great fireplace wood except that it doesn’t get cold often enough to use much wood in a fireplace. A half cord of wood will mostly rot before it will get used up.
The owner is diligently working the campground expansion among the healthy trees. Most of the trees earmarked for removal have severe damage or sickness from natural events like this drought or hurricanes. Remember were only a mile from the bay waters. The next wind event here would likely have resulted in many of the trees being severely damaged anyway. So in many ways the tree removal will be good for the healthy trees’ future growth and well being.

Over by the owners home was a small cluster of very brilliant purple flowers. Over ten pictures of them were taken to catch the luminescence of the flower, but this was the best that my camera could do.

The water suspended in the air really makes taking sharp pictures difficult. The shrimp boat picture really shows the haze that hangs around all the time. Crisp pictures like in West Texas or New Mexico just are not going to happen. But that does not get in the way of me trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/13/11

Super Spook Junior

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

After getting a good dose of pump up reading the Jetty Fishing site this morning, it was time for the Jetty Fishing Team to go collect a massive pile of filets to go into the freezer. So the Truck and equipment was readied and away we went. LOOK OUT FISH HERE WE Come. What does that sign mean an hour wait on the ferry? The ferry camera was checked earlier and virtually no cars were in sight.

OK make them prove it. And so the Team did make them prove it. We turned around about a mile before the ferry landing loading area. Never mind the Jetty Fishing. WRONG AGAIN AS USUAL. Well we can always get a good noon meal at the Texmex place in City of Aransas Pass. WGAU. The lunch meal was marginal at best. Less than marginal three hours later.

But there was lemonade to be made out of this. A stop for who knows what at Wal-Mart led me to the clearance racks in the fishing area. There they were. 2 inch size popping corks like my mind wanted. Several larger corks had been cut up and molested heavily in my attempts to fabricate a popping cork this size. The normal seventy six cents price was reduced to fifteen cents! Five came home with me.
Back at the Castle the decision was made it was time to rework the three tackle boxes, not including the freshwater tackle box, and see about trimming down like a good RVer should. When it was all said and done, the little pocket carry tackle box and the larger traditional box survived the reorganization. My tackle junkie days need to come to an end. GEEESH!

Notice the light green lure at the top right. That is a Super Spook Jr. top water bait. Later when trying out some new concepts at the harbor, the SSJ was brought in and the wind swung it over and hit the back my left with hardly any noticeable force. An hour later an ugly bruise was noticed at that spot. The getting old is not for wimps. By the way the 2" cork works perfectly with the DOA shrimp or jig tails. This is exciting!

Back at the Castle the late afternoon was filled with excitement as the Watering Team watered the grass and trees near the Castle. Now my body is totally worn out from trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.