In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sand Trout

I could see the jetties from the main platforms when I worked offshore. They were a dark line on the horizon. When the weather was rough, the waves would break on the jetties and send plumes of spray dozens of feet in the air.

In the Winter, stong southeast winds will cause extra high tides, which will allow conditions where the jetties are right under the surface. Inexperiened, or ignorant boat skippers will find they've made a terrible mistake when they run their boats on to the jetties. The relatively shallow water allows most of the boats to be visible for years if they come to rest on the outside of the jetties.

I was watching the jetties on a January afternoon. A front had passed a few days before and the sky was  a sheet of gray, which signaled an approaching weather system. The wind was dead calm, which made the Gulf almost completely flat. If it wasn't cold, someone could think it was summer, when the Gulf was usually calm.

I could see a small boat approaching. It had navigated through the small boat gap in the jetties and was heading towards the main platforms. As it approached, I realized how small it was. This was odd, since it was an unwritten rule that small boats didn't head into the Gulf during the winter. The rapid changes, and strong winds could stir up swells over 10 feet high or a chop that was over 5 feet. Even in the summer, the guidelines dictated not heading to the Gulf if the wind disturbed the leaves on a tree early in the morning.

After about three quarters of an hour, the lone boater pulled his small flat-bottomed boat to the living quarter platform, dropped anchor and proceeded to rig his fishing pole.  Within a minute, he baited his hook, dropped it in the water and winched it a few turns after it reached the bottom. He slowly raised and lowered the bait which caused an instant strike. Quickly, he reeled the large sand trout into the boat, re-baited his hook and repeated the process.

Over the next hour, the fisherman caught around 30 healthy sand trout. Satisfied with his catch, he pulled his anchor, fired up his motor and was gone. I watched as he headed straight back to the gap he had come through only two hours before. Within the hour, he had passed through the gap to the safety inside the jetties.

I never saw that happen again while I worked offshore. Not that it didn't. Unless someone was really paying attention, they'd miss the entire episode. I'm thinking the fisherman knew exactly when and where to go, which allowed him to fill his freezer with another year's catch of sand trout. Still, he took a risk. If his motor failed, and the weather changed, his final lonely hours would have been fighting to survive the wicked waves and cold.


  1. Sounds like a Cajun fisherman to me...

  2. I think so. He probably was carrying on with fishing techniques he's learned from his father.