Travis Hadlik, David Falconer, David Dell and Michael Vansant
It was the third day of our south Texas adventure – the first two days being a very successful night vision wild hog hunt in Goliad, Texas with Chris Lucci on the Wild River Ranch (www.wildriverranchtexas.com
). The Wildhoghunters.com team had taken 4 hogs. I was traveling with Michael Vansant and David Dell, the owners of wildhoghunters.com and two personal friends of mine. They had asked me to serve as their writer and videographer and I was quite proud to be a part of their team.
We were meeting Captain Brett Phillips (www.rockporttroutfishing.com
) for a day of fishing for Redfish out of Rockport Texas as well as the possibility of catching a few trout. We met our friend Travis Hadlik in Corpus, offloading our guns and video gear in his motel room until we got back.
We were 10 minutes late getting to the launch point and Brett good-naturedly teased us for being late. We had gotten up that morning at 5 AM, packed our gear and drove from Goliad to Corpus and we had not gone to bed until 3 AM. At 2:00 AM David and I had still been cleaning hogs! (Holding the flashlight does count as helping clean hogs, I swear!)
Brett is a medium height muscular man, tanned dark from the sun. He told us that if you ever met a fishing guide that wasn’t tan, he would suggest finding another boat because something was wrong. He moved easily as the boat gently rocked with the rolling waves of the bay and anyone could see he was at home on the deck of a boat.
Ice chests loaded in Brett’s 24 foot boat, we all found places to sit and he idled out of the no wake zone and then hammered it, the boat planing out as he put us through the marker course denoting the deeper channel. We passed cranes in ankle deep water just on the other side of the flags and the grass was visible along the edge of the channel. Brett said in some places outside the markers was just a few inches deep.
Brett was explaining to us that we would not be able to go out to the oil derricks today because the seas were too high and that he was going to do his best to put us in some good reds. We weaved in and out of the grass covered islands, the bay dotted with permanent duck blinds (Brett guides duck hunts on the bay as well and encourages anyone interested in a bay duck hunt in season or even a Cast and Blast Day to contact him at his website and mention this article.)
Stopping the boat, Brett pointed out that the bay was murky and muddy and it was impossible to see the potholes and channel edges needed to find the reds. He cast around for a while and decided we would go try a place near the grassy islands. We took off and in about 15 minutes we were sitting at a new place down from another boat. We tried several lines, but nothing seemed to be working.
On the phone constantly, Brett was in contact with the other guides he was friends with trying to locate the fish. We sit patiently. All four of us are sportsmen and we know that no one can guarantee the fish will bite or the doves will fly or the deer will come by your stand. What we expected was Brett to work to get us in a place to catch some reds and no one could ask for any better than what he was doing.
We moved back out into the bay and the murky water was clearing some as the tide ran out. Brett cast a piggie out and handed it to me and the rod immediately started going down. Following the technique he showed us I fought in the 19 1/2 inch trout. Brett said that was not what we were looking for and the trout weren’t biting like they had three weeks in the past so don’t expect to catch many.
He baited my hook and tossed it back out and as he turned to get another one, I hung another trout, working it in along the boat. This one was 15 1/4 inches, just a 1/4 inch past the limit, but a keeper still!!
We fished there for a while, but no one else caught a fish and we moved. I was at the front of the boat and Brett cast out to the edge of a pothole and as he handed me my rod another trout took it. I fought in the 16 inch trout and the guys were starting to tease me about having to share my trout with them!
It was around 11 AM and the water had started clearing up. We saw a boat captained by a friend of Brett’s and he said they had just caught a Red. Brett pulled up close and we watched them. Two of the four anglers on the other boat had fish and Brett asked the other captain if he could anchor in front of his bow and the other captain told him sure. Brett anchored us and cast out 3 rods. I felt the tip of mine go down and I caught a big 27 inch Redfish.
It was the only fish we caught as we watched the other boat have a flurry of action that slowed down after landing a few more fish. Brett called out to the other captain to start leap-frogging each other. Pulling our boat back, Brett circled around the other boat and anchored behind it. He grinned at me and said, "Man, you’re catching all the fish. Let me cast these guys out first."
How can you argue with that?
He cast out the lines of the other guys and I was about to ask him to cast me into this pointed little pothole when he must have been reading my mind because it fell right where I was going to ask him to cast. There was already a fish on Travis and David’s line. I took the rod and it immediately started down and I set the hook and started reeling! Brett cast the other line in the same area and all hell broke loose! For fifteen minutes it was a mad scramble of fish coming in, Brett rebaiting hooks as we took turns netting each other’s fish. We lost some, but not many as we fought and worked the fish in close.
It was fast and furious and fish flopped all over the bottom of the boat as Brett unhooked one only to have to grab another and do the same thing. Several times we had four fish on the lines.
Stopping us as Travis and I brought in the last two fish, we counted our fish and we had 14 on board. The limit was 12 for our crew and Brett released two of the fish caught toward the end, ensuring they both swam away on their own.
Turning to us, he said, "What the hell ya think of that?!"
We told him that was what we came here to do!
Our fishing was done by noon and Brett took us back to the dock, cleaning and packaging our fish there for us as we talked about fishing and duck hunting. We told him about the awesome hog hunting trip we had just finished and this capped off a great three days in south Texas. A cooler full of pork and fish! What a trip!
If you want a fishing guide that will work hard for you Brett Phillips fills the bill. He also guides duck and goose hunting trips in season and can be reached on his website at: www.rockporttroutfishing.com
~~~ By David L Falconer