Wanted to make one more coastal trip before the end of the year so on Thursday, my bro and I loaded up the gear to try catching something big from the shipping channel between Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. Long story short, we didn't catch anything big, but did get some big blue crabs for a New Year's seafood gumbo!
The trip started off with a chilly 60 degrees and windy (don't make jokes, it's y'all's fault some of you live in the land of snow), I was hoping for it to boost my mileage on the way down but I think it ended up being more of troublesome cross wind. The final stretch leg from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas was definitely unfortunate because I couldn't break 60 mph without running in 4th gear and even then, I could almost watch the fuel gauge go down. Luckily we rolled into Aransas Pass just after the fuel light came on.
After a quick stop at the Whataburger for the only warm meal of the trip, we started hopping the islands looking for a good camp site. For reference, here's a map. There are many names for these little islands separated by 1-5 ft deep water but the one we spent the most time on I'll call Lighthouse Park Island (LPI) for the sake of simplicity because the park is easy to google, the proper name, not so much. Lighthouse park is a paddling trail and LPI serves as the parking/trail head.
Initially, I was wanting to fish in the Aransas Channel, but the wind was blowing from that direction so hard we could barely cast into it, so we settled on the SE side of the island that has a little channel used by bay and duck boats.
One of my gifts this Christmas was a 50 ft string of work lights with 100 watt equivalent LED lights. They worked well, too bad I didn't more of my galvanized poles.
During the night we caught some of the largest hardhead catfish I've ever seen, a small sting ray about the size of a dinner plate, and an undersized trout. The bite came to a complete halt around 8 so we rolled everything up about an hour later and called it a night.
The next morning it was still on the mid 50's and windy but we took down camp and tried a few other places like the Aransas pass ship channel. The Mustang Island surf was a no-go due to the wind and waves and the Aransas ship channel didn't even have bait stealing crabs.
-NE side of LPI.
I definitely got to test out the new BFG KO2s in some of the mud flats and sand that had recently drained during low tide. When the previous tires would have been spinning and slipping, these just kept pulling. The old tires would let the jeep slide sideways into every low spot, that is not the case anymore. I had been afraid of these tires throwing a bunch of mud on the trailer, but since they bit instead of slipped, they never turned fast enough to sling mud.
After getting skunked at every place we tried, we went back to the camp site of the previous night.
For a while, we were fighting with crabs who kept stealing bait. By 10 PM it didn't look like we'd be catching any fish that day so I changed tactics, and fired up the the little cook pot with some crab boil seasoning. In Texas, blue crabs have to be 5 inches wide on the carapace (outer, top shell) to keep but since that doesn't fit in my little cook pot, I just pulled off one claw from each crab we were able to coax into the net. I was still able to eat my fill of crab claws without having a single one come back for round two.
Here's a big one that was thrown back fully intact due to infection.
It got down into the 40's and rain that night and made taking down camp the following morning miserable. I tried one more time for some fish but only caught one crab before it was time to head out. Unfortunately for this one, he got placed in a ziplock bag and packed in ice. The half a quart of live bait shrimp that had survived some hard time in the bait bucket didn't even have a chance to hop off the hook to freedom, they also found their way into the ice in a ziplock submarine.
By the time I got home, I was tired and cheated with some Zatarans gumbo with rice.