Category Archives: Fishing

Wildlife Justice Has Been Served

I believe that everything happens for a reason. Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING. I don’t think that you’re entire life is already planned out or anything, but I believe that there is such thing as Karma and Fate. And I can prove it to you.

We had an interesting weekend. First of all, Hubby and I spent Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market in Sugar Land and it was a great day! The weather was perfect and people were there to spend money! I made some really good sales, and hopefully made some good contacts for future orders for photography. REMEMBER FOLKS, CHRISTMAS IS COMING, AND PHOTOS MAKE GREAT GIFTS! Ok, plug is over…

Anyway, Dad-In-Law came by the market and asked us to go see a movie with him. We had planned on going to the gym and then going to Brazos Bend State Park to do a little birding and photographing, but he REALLY wanted to go to the movie. So we figured we would just do the other things we had planned on Sunday. No big deal, right?

Then we spoke with some friends, Joey and Rachel, who said that they wanted to go with us to Brazos Bend. Rachel loves birds and wants to learn more about them, so we loaded up and headed to the park on Sunday afternoon. We went to the first lake in the park, closest to the park entrance. I don’t typically go to this lake for that exact reason. It seems that the people who care more about actually being in nature go deeper into the park, and the people who don’t really want to be there stop at the first lake, walk around real quick, and then leave. And are annoying the whole time they are there.

Rachel's first siting, a bullfrog!
Rachel’s first sighting, a bullfrog!

For example, as soon as we got to the lake we were trying to watch the birds and the bullfrogs when a family walked by. They had a Spanish radio station playing a soccer game. Loudly. If the game was so important to them that they had to listen to it, why on Earth were they walking in the park?? But I digress…

We continued to walk and saw a man attempting to fish in the pond.

While the man was fishing, the alligator ducked down and tried to grab his line.
While the man was fishing, the alligator ducked down and tried to grab his line.

It seemed like a terrible idea because there were three alligators nearby, and they were very interested in the movement of his bobber as he reeled it in and cast it out. (Not exactly sure what he was planning on doing if he actually caught a fish, because it was probably going to end up being an alligator’s meal instead of his). As we were taking photos of the alligators we saw 4 girls, young high schoolers probably, that had a bring green string with bacon tied to the end, and they were tossing it over and over into the water. At first we overheard them say that they were crab fishing. Our thoughts were, “good luck, girls. First, this is fresh water….Second, if there were any crabs they would probably be getting eaten by the alligators…” While we were taking pictures, one of the girls asked if we mind if they throw the string, since we were taking photos of the alligators. I said no. Then she said, “If it makes you feel any better, it’s biodegradable string.” All I said in response was, “as long as it doesn’t stay in the water, I don’t care.” It was a strange interaction, but I wrote it off as just that.

You can see the green line at the bottom of the picture, that the girls were throwing into the water, baiting the alligators in.
You can see the green line at the bottom of the picture that the girls were throwing into the water, baiting the alligators in.
One of the alligators that the girls were baiting.
One of the alligators that the girls were baiting.

We didn’t think much more of them and continued to take photos of the alligators, and moved further on down the trail around the lake.  Then Rachel saw him.  A small alligator, only about 2.5 feet long, sitting at the surface of the water. We would have walked right past him if Rachel hadn’t seen him, but then she saw something else. The alligator looked to be tangled in the same green string that the girls had been using.  At first I was angry and disappointed. But then we saw the truth. See, the green string was camouflaged with the green vegetation, which is why we didn’t see it at first. Once we had our search image set for the string, we could see that the little alligator had swallowed their bait and had the string in his mouth. When the girls realized that they had in fact CAUGHT A FREAKING ALLIGATOR they tied off the end of the string to some vegetation, preventing the alligator from getting away.

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Poor guy was doing all he could to get away, but he was stuck.
Poor guy was doing all he could to get away, but he was stuck.
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You can see the green string tangled in the vegetation.
The string was tied to some vegetation to prevent the alligator from getting away.
The string was tied to some vegetation to prevent the alligator from getting away.

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You can clearly see the string in the alligator's mouth
Even though it’s not the sharpest picture, you can clearly see the string in the alligator’s mouth. I was trying to get pictures of him while he was thrashing in the water, so my camera had trouble focusing on him.

By this point I was livid. Hubby was livid. Even little Rachel and Joey were livid. WHO DOES THAT?! Who just baits in an alligator and then ties it off so it can’t go anywhere? They poor guy was trying so hard to get away. He was pulling with all his strength but it just wasn’t enough. I called the BBSP phone number and reported it to the park police. As we waited for the police to show up the girls walked by, as if nothing happened.

So we had a little chat.

Hubby: “Did y’all catch an alligator?”

Girls: “No.”

Hubby: “Really? Because it looks like you did.”

Girls: “No, we didn’t catch him. We lured him in.”

Me: “So, you did catch him…”

Girls: “No, we lured him in. We didn’t bring him in.”

Me: “You still caught an alligator.”

At this point they continued to walk away, so I yelled, “You know it’s illegal to hunt alligators in the state park, right?!”

Girls: “We don’t kill things.”

Me: “You could have killed him! You don’t know!”

Wow….we don’t kill things. I was so angry I was literally shaking. As we waited for the park police to show up a volunteer came by on her bicycle. We told her what happened and pointed at the girls who were still in view further down the trail. She said she was going to have a “chat” with them. Then park police showed up a few minutes later. We told him the same story and he assured us that the Nature Center people would take care of the alligator and he was going to try to find the girls.

We felt a lot better then. It was in the hands of the police. We did our good deed. We continued to walk and take pictures of the beautiful swamp.

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Clouds and sunset reflection on the water.
Clouds and sunset reflection on the water.

Hubby though, was not yet satisfied. He went on ahead, concerned that the girls weren’t going to get caught by the officer. Hubby knew that if we didn’t know how it was going to end, we were going to be thinking about it for a long time. He got to the truck and didn’t see them in the parking lot. “Damn,” he thought. They had gotten away.

We were disappointed when we got to the truck, but the sun was going down so we headed out of the park to go home. And then we saw it. Glorious day! The officer had found the girls and was busy writing them tickets! We pulled over into the parking area and waited. I snuck a picture of “the leader” standing next to the officer’s truck. She was embarrassed and angry, and when she saw me she shot daggers at me. Man, if looks could kill…

The Leader of the Group.
The Leader of the Group.

We waited there until the car load of miscreants left, and then we go out of our truck and thanked the officer over and over again for his good work. He told us that they have a date with the judge, and Hubby gave him his business card in case they needed our account of what happened. I have never wanted to get subpoenaed more in my life. I would gladly tell a judge what these terrible people were doing. The officer then assured us that he was going to take care of the alligator now, but he wanted to make sure the catch them first.

A giant weight was lifted off of our shoulders when we saw the officer’s flashing blue lights, with the girl standing next to his truck. Although we will never understand what could have possibly been going through their heads when they decided to do this, I can (almost) assure you that they will never do it again.

We were meant to go to the park on Sunday. And we were meant to go to that lake instead of one deeper into the park. We were meant to help that little alligator. Everything happens for a reason.

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Happy Earth Day!

Hello Fellow Travelers!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do anything specifically “earth friendly” yesterday because I was traveling all day long to Oklahoma instead of being at home (which is also why I didn’t have time to write this until Earth Day was over). But to make up for it, I planted some new plants in the front yard to beautify the front of the house over the weekend.

However, I would love to hear what YOU have planned for Earth Day? Have you gone hiking? Did you walk to work? Donated your time and/or money to a conservation organization?

One great thing that you could do is sign a petition to help shark conservation, or teach a child how to start a compost bin.

Really, there are so many ways you can help the earth, and although we should treat every day like Earth Day, one day at a time is a good way to get people, who might not otherwise participate, to take a step towards conservation, recycling, or sustainable energy use.

So, what did you do for Mother Earth today?

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Bucket List

Not too long ago, a couple girls at my office, Zombie and Poltergeist Prevention, Inc. asked me what I was going to do for my birthday. Jokingly, girl #1 said “what are you doing for your birthday? Climbing Mount Kilamanjaro?” And girl #2 agreed with her that we are always adventuring, so there is no telling what our weekends have in store. And again today, I ran into an old friend from high school, and in casual conversation with her boss, whom I had just met, my friend explained to him that we are adventurous people. This is probably one of the nicest things someone has said about me. So it made me think about creating a bucket list.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order other than this is the order I thought of them, my bucket list:

1. Go to South Africa and Kenya for my 30th birthday

2. Climb Mt. Kilamanjaro for my 40th birthday (the girls at work had a good idea!)

3. Dive the Great Barrier Reef

4. Meet Jane Goodall

5. Swim with polar bears!

6. Swim with great whites! (Ok, ok. In a cage).

7. Visit all 50 states of the US

8. Visit every continent (I got this idea from my dad, the Intrepid Traveler, who has almost done this!)

9. Run a marathon

10. Hike the Pacific Crest trail

11. Dive every sea

12. See an octopus in the wild

13. See the aurora borealis

14. See the aurora australis

Now, by no means is this a finite list. I will continue to add to it, and I have already scratched something’s off my list, before I ever really wrote it down.

Like I have hiked the tallest peak in Texas. Twice.

I have been to Alaska and Hawaii, the two hardest states to hit when attempting to hit all 50.

I have been parasailing in the Florida Keys.

I can’t wait to start crossing a few things off my list, so I have room to add more to my list!

What are some things on your bucket list?

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Crab Wars

To take advantage of the wonderful weather we have been having lately, Hubby, me, Bro-In-Law, and Friend Annie went down tot he beach for some fun in the sun.  The beach, however, had different plans.  A few weeks ago the Brazos River over-ran its banks from flooding up-river.  Now, all the junk that was in that river has made it to ocean, and now is washed up on the beach.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it. It looked like an entire forest was washed up on the beach. There was so much wood, children’s toys, and other debris on the beach, we really couldn’t get to the water. And on top of that, there were storms out in the Gulf so the water was really choppy. Surf-worthy almost. So instead, we found a quiet little inlet to fish.

Nice, calm water

There were soft-shell crabs all over the beach where we were, and they kept stealing our bait off our hooks, but they were entertaining to watch.  Especially, when in my head, their voices all sounded like this guy:

"Your mother is a fraggin aardvark!"

It was difficult to stand in the water though, because every time you stopped moving, they would pinch your feet!

We started catching young Red Drum like crazy, but of course we had to throw them back because they were about 1/4 of the legal size.

First catch of the day!

I was getting a little bored, and was going to reel in my line for the last time and then go walk on the beach, when a crab chased me out of the water. Seriously.  Claws ready to go, running after me like I stole something.  There may or may not have been shrieking involved. When I was finally done running away in fear  acting manly and tossing the crab back into the water with my bare hands, I turned back to my line to reel it in. And it was gone. My line had been cut. By a friggin’ crab. 

Little dude was ready to fight

This means war. 

Anyone have a good recipe for soft-shell? Cuz I’m gunna need one.

My Futile Attempt at Fishing

I was invited to go Red Fish fishing (red fishing?) with a few friends of mine last weekend, and I have to admit, it was less than impressive. Not blaming them, mind you. It turns out that I’m cursed. It seems that every time I try to go onto the water, the weather is less than pleasant.

This time, we were to kayak out to their favorite secret fishing spot and take advantage of the “Big Drum Run” that we were told had just started. I was pretty pumped – I have never caught a salt water fish before. Notice that’s in the present tense. Because it is still an accurate statement.

So this is how it happened:

It was really windy when we got out of the truck, but we expected it to warm up, so we weren’t too concerned about it.  As we were unloading the kayaks, I saw this little guy on the boat ramp!

The Texas State Shell, with a Lightning Whelk inside!

This is a Lightning Whelk, a marine gastropod (snail) similar to a conch.  But, you can tell the difference between a Lightning Whelk and other shells because these open to the left! (There’s your fun fact for the day).  So not only was it cool for me to find one of these after I learned what they were, but I have NEVER seen one with a snail still inside before! They have always been taken over by hermit crabs by the time I see them!

So I put the little guy right back where I found him (and then realized maybe I should have moved him somewhere else, because not only was he on a boat ramp, but there were also seagulls everywhere, so he might have become someone’s lunch. Oops. Oh well, he put himself there, not me.)

Ready to Go! Little did I know that I wouldn't want to keep the sun off my face with that hat - I would want to absorb the sun like a freakin' lizard.

I may have mentioned before that wind is awful. It is frustrating, it is unending, and the only thing you can successfully do in the wind is fly a kite.  It was windy last weekend. So windy, we had to plan ahead for the wind, and paddle way out to the east of the island so that the wind would basically push us onshore when we got there. Of course, since I had never been there before, I was merely following behind the group. I thought we were going to get off the kayaks about where we got close to the island, but instead had to paddle around the corner. Into the wind. I paddled as hard as I could, and still didn’t move! I don’t know how I got past that corner. However, when we finally landed and pulled our kayaks on shore, we got ready to catch some fish.

While we were pulling the kayaks up on shore, I saw another Lightning Whelk shell (this one was empty) and a different species of snail-shell, right next to each other. The teacher in me was so excited, and I ran to one of my friends to show them the difference. She was not as impressed as I was hoping for. No one ever is. 

Does anyone know what this is called? I always call it an Angel-wing clam, but I'm not sure if I made that up, or if it's the real name.

I ran up and down the beach collecting shells, because this is an island that no one ever goes to, so there we great shells (in-tact) for the taking! I also got a ton of bird pictures because the pelicans were fishing right near us. And you know what else was fishing near us, freakin’ dolphins! But I wasn’t able to get a picture of them 😦 Bwoop.  

My friends, ready to catch their dinner.

I told them they had a lot to teach me about salt water fishing, and they said, “all you’re going to be doing in catching!”

After a while, my friend’s dad got a fish on his line, and we all got really excited because he said that it’s like a light switch – once one bites, they all start biting. Well, after a while of fighting with this fish, he thought maybe the fish got off the line, and it was just hung up on the underwater ledge, because he didn’t feel any movement for a while.  Then suddenly, he felt the fish move again, but he was sure it had jammed itself up under the ledge.  His solution was to run back down the beach and get his kayak, and paddle out with his pole so the fish couldn’t pull against the ledge anymore. He gave the pole to my friend’s husband and ran down the beach.  As soon as he arrived at his kayak, the husband felt the fish release, and he reeled it in like it was nothing!  

After he reeled in the Black drum!

You can even see her dad in the far left of the picture, pulling his kayak on shore when is fish has already been reeled in. Oops!

He’s next words: “You still can’t claim this one as your fish.” I love it.

And he was the ONLY ONE WHO CAUGHT ANYTHING.  Ok, well that’s not true. My friend caught this:

It came from the deep...

It was a dead eel – not sure which species of eel, because when I tried to GTS, nothing really looked like this guy. He looks pretty vicious, though!

Throughout the morning, the wind got worse and worse, and I swear the temperature dropped. My friend’s dad turned into McGyver and propped my kayak up on its side to make a wind break.

All we needed was a fire, and we would have been set.

 After that was created, I didn’t want to get out into the wind again! I tried, but couldn’t hack it. My friend’s dad kept catching things, but he threw them back because they were small, or they were sting rays *love*

I want one!

He showed me how to restrain them so you don’t worry about getting barbed or hurting them, and how to get the hook out of their mouth. Then he let me pet it! The first one he caught was a male, and the second was a female, and it was so neat to be able to see the differences! (I’m not going to explain the differences to you – that’s what Moms are for). I swear one day, when I’m rich and famous, I will have an aquarium in the floor of my house full of sting rays.  This will happen.

Standing proud, but freezing!

After a little more fishing, we were finally all ready to head home, with one fish and the knowledge that there is a working heater in the truck. Because I understand that nothing outdoors is going to go perfectly well, and I understand that I am, in fact, cursed on the water, I look at it this way: next time I go, (unless there is a freak hurricane) the fishing WILL BE BETTER, NO MATTER WHAT! So I’m looking forward to the next trip!