The RR Fishing Club took a trip to the same waters where the whooping cranes, eagles, ospreys and birds of North America congregate to winter. The Texas coast between Rockport and Port Aransas is where birds from North America migrate during the winter months because the fish are so plentiful. This area is like a big bird resort. The South Texas coast temperatures are usually between 60s during the day and 40s at night, ideal for birds and fishermen alike.
When the Ranchers left the dock for the bays surrounding Goose Island, the first fishing day started somewhat cloudy with the temperature in the mid-50s. The RR Fishing Club left the dock intending to fish for redfish (or red drum) and black drum or anything else that wanted to take the tasty morsel on the end of our hooks.
Drum fishing has what is called slot fishing. The drum feeds off the oyster beds in the bays along the coast. When the water is cold they prefer to lei in the mud in the shallow water because this is the first thing to warm up when the sun comes out. To keep, red drum must be a minimum of 20 inches long and no longer than 28 inches; black is a minimum of 14 inches and no longer than 30 inches. You can keep one each of red and black longer than the maximum length, but it is specially tagged.
As we motored in the many bays along the coast very close to the inter-coastal waterway, the depth of the water was never deeper than three feet. Most of the fish caught during the trip were in waters no deeper than 18 inches. This is where we came upon the Godzillas. A Godzilla is a black drum longer than 36 inches. The moniker is appropriate because the fish is truly big and ugly. When you hook a Godzilla the technique is to just hang on and tire it out. The trick here is to pace yourself and keep the line tight so it can’t get a run against a slack line and snap it when it tightens up. Our arms felt like they were at our knees. Not much technique here; just set the hook then grind to keep the line tight and reel the giant in.
Dean Perkins caught the biggest Godzilla at 44 inches weighing 48 lbs. It took him over 30 minutes to land it. Dean, who has fished all his life, exclaimed, “This is my best fishing day ever!”
To make excellent eating, fish keepers are filleted about 15 inches long, five inches wide and one inch thick. The magic of fishing always puts a smile on our face as we reap the rewards from the Gulf of Mexico.