Reader Report: First bull red

My girlfriend, Heather Ray of Winnfield, has been wanting me to take her saltwater fishing for a while now, as she has never been. Great, happy to bring her, because she is awesome to fish with.  She was also in need of a break from paramedic school and full-time work as an EMT, and of course, that beautiful little red-haired daughter of hers. So we made plans for the weekend and the trip was on. She was so excited. My main goal was to get her to hook a bull red.  With all the fighting and running they do, I knew it would challenge her 108-pound frame.

So, the odyssey began at 3 a.m. with a Winchester dispatch of two terrorist armadillos we surprised in my flower bed, one of which, of course, did a swan dive right into my pool. Ugh.   Slightly delayed from fishing that inconsiderate armadillo from the deep end, we were off to Hackberry, thinking everything should be fine now. Right?

Of course, 20 miles from our destination, Bang, pffsssfffsssflopflopflop — the dreaded sound of a trailer tire blowout. After a brief inspection, I continued on; Heather was so excited, I don’t want to disappoint her.  We miraculously made it on three tires, launched the boat and started idling towards the ship channel. Just as I thought the bad luck was behind us, vvvromp, the motor died. I started it again, vvvromp, it died again. Ugh, a bad suction line had the motor starving for fuel.

Richard Meaux, a local fisherman, and his beautiful wife, Susan, towed us back in, Richard suggesting I rig up a temporary tank. Ugh, not crazy about doing that, but one look at Heather’s disappointed face prompted me to do so.  I rushed to the nearest hardware store and they had everything I needed, including a trailer tire and mounting, too. Great, now back to the boat to rig up my temporary 6-gallon tank and then off to search for that big bull red at the Cameron Jetties. Two hours later, still no luck. Heather was still eager, and looking at me “that way” — if you know what I mean….

With limited fuel now, I realized we couldn’t make it back to Hackberry from Cameron. Thank God for shrimp boats and generous deck hands. With my temporary tank full again, I headed to Oyster Bayou for a much-needed siesta in calm waters. Heather continued to fish intensely while I dozed off on the front cushion of my 24-foot SeaPro, ahh, so peaceful, then, I was startled by the panicked sound of her voice. “It’s taking it. It’s taking it! I nearly cut a flip jumping up only to see a frantic and wide-eyed Heather about to be pulled over the side of the boat by what I immediately recognize as a big bull redfish!  Perfect, and the battle is on! LOL, what a sight, under the boat, behind the motor, then to the front of the boat and under the anchor rope, then back under the boat and to the side. That fish gave her everything he had — awesome! Twenty minutes later, victory! She landed the biggest fish she had ever seen and was so excited and proud. Wow.

After 100 fish pictures, what seemed like a gift from above appeared. An albino dolphin that hangs around in that area made a special appearance right next to our boat. Heather was in disbelief, utterly overwhelmed by this sight. ”A pink dolphin,” she squealed. “No way!” LOL. He graciously spent the next 20 minutes entertaining us.

It turned out, that fish was the only thing we caught that day, but wow, what luck and what a trip. I guess the moral of this story is, “Never say die,” and you will catch the big bull red in your life, too.

David Clause – Eunice, La.

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