The Ranchers versus Godzilla

Dean French and the largest Godzilla

Dean French and the largest Godzilla

Day two's catch: Brad Killingsworth, Dean French and Scott Baker

Day two’s catch: Brad Killingsworth, Dean French and Scott Baker

Scott Baker

The South Texas coast doesn’t actually have a rough winter. Temperatures are usually between 60s during the day and 40s at night. The Texas coast between Rockport and Port Aransas is where the birds all migrate during the winter months because the fish in these waters are so plentiful. This area is like a big bird resort. The RR Fishing Club took a trip to these same waters where the whooping cranes, eagles, ospreys and birds of North America congregate to winter. The first fishing day started somewhat cloudy with the temperature in the mid 40s when the Ranchers left the dock for the bays surrounding Goose Island. What we did not realize was the “Godzillas” were awaiting us. 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 fish must be a minimum of 20 inches long and no longer than 28 inches for reds and 30 inches for blacks. You can keep one each of Red and Black longer than the maximum length, but it is specially tagged. The drum feeds off the oyster beds in the bays along the coast. When the water is cold they prefer to lie in the mud in the shallow water because this is the first thing to warm up when the sun comes out.

As we motored out along the many bays along the coast very close to the inter-coastal waterway, the depth of the water was never deeper than three feet. At one time we were no closer to land than seven miles in any direction and only in 18 inches of water. 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 tire him out and just hang on. The trick here is to pace yourself and keep the line tight so he 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 fish in.

Dean French caught the biggest Godzilla at 44 inches and the weight was 48 lbs. We all caught several Godzillas, and by then we were all tuckered out. Our fishing fun is just plain tired so we motored off to find fish to fill our ice chests to bring home. Each one of the fish keepers makes a fillet about 15 inches long, five inches wide, and one inch thick, which are really excellent eating. The magic of fishing always puts a smile on our face as we reap the rewards from the Gulf of Mexico.