October 23-25, 2009|
This campout was rather quickly planned and came together very well, through a grand group effort! We had more kayaks offered up by parents for the trip than we could transport to the coast. We would like to extend our thanks to all of those families that did so! And a special thanks to the Rankins and the Arnolds for loaning us their gear and kayaks as we know they all would have loved to be down there with us, and we missed them!
I left early Friday morning, with personal and troop gear as well as 3 kayaks and related gear, to procure our campsites and scope out our paddling and fishing options. The weather was absolutely perfect for all of our needs. I did enjoy a few hours of leisure paddling and fishing "for the boys sake"! The troop arrived around 10:30pm Friday evening full of enthusiasm! They were quick to set up camp and head down to the fishing pier to try their luck. Before long, many of us were hauling in the speckled trout from under the lights, none were legal keepers (15 inches), but fun to catch! Several of the boys and adults stayed up way too late throwing that elusive "one last cast".
Saturday morning brought a lot of options for our tired group. Most of the group (13) went out on the 10 kayaks we had, for a long adventure of fishing and touring in the bay. Mr. Campa caught the first (and only) keeper fish of the weekend, a 17" speckled trout, which he quickly put on ice in his kayak. I caught a 16" redfish, and had that happy fisher grin we all get when we land one! Crabbing and pier fishing was in order for those not kayaking, hosted by Mr. Hill. A wide variety of species were caught, from snagged oysters to speckled trout to a 'tarpocuda' (ladyfish we think), there were black drum, sand trout, croaker, sheepshead and pinfish. A casting net was being cast by many different hands at different times, hauling in another great variety of aquatic life: toad fish, mullet, shrimp, jellyfish, etc..
Lunch time brought us back together to share fishing and paddling stories over a good meal of mostly sandwiches, fruit and chips. Then it was time for some more of the same! Most were still too tired for more kayaking, so the pier and surrounding area was the nautical playground for the troop. Playing catch with the football from the shore to the water, exploring the oyster reef, more fishing, crabbing and cast netting. All this with the aforementioned results of a biologist's coastal bay aquatic life lecture collection. Crabs were the only thing the boys didn't catch, that they were targeting (no flounder either). Dr. Schmidt and Mr. Campa took an afternoon long haul across to the adjacent islands that are part of the Aransas Wildlife Preserve and caught a few fish, no keepers, not for lack of trying of course!
Dinner brought the adult camp Mr. Campa's wonderful jambalaya with the special addition of his speckled trout, with cornbread and salad. I sadly don't know what the rest of the boys had for their dinners. A campfire (yes! we were allowed to have an actual fire!) was held, the boys popped popcorn, ate marshmallows and told individual fish stories (fact or fiction-their choice). The fish scales were flying, so to speak. Many a good tale were told. We solemnly closed the campfire ceremonies. And then 2 cobblers were offered up to the boys for their desert. At this point the boys were actually too tired to go fishing before bed!!! They were all asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed!
Sunday morning Mr. Campa took Logan, Harper, Steven and Bailey out to the distant islands for more fishing with some success, catching specks and reds. Dr. Schmidt took Aidan, Alec and other boys who had a desire to learn about some fundamentals of catching fish in saltwater and guaranteed that he would see them catch fish that hour. He taught them, showed them diagrams, set them up and they caught fish! Alec caught his first fish ever, but didn't stop there! He proceeded to catch another 9 fish! The other boys all caught fish as well! From there, we packed up and headed back to Austin. We returned about 3:30 pm, unpacked the trailer, did circle up, reflected on the trip with the theme of the weekend "With what we take from this world, what or how do we give back?"
ASM Troop 410 *** 11/3/09 View pictures at the photo link - Neal***