Thursday, May 10, 2012
3:30am. Out of bed. 4:00am. On the road. Out of South Padre, heading back to San Antonio to catch our late-morning flights. It's time to go home.
And so it ends, this redfish excursion, with a sleepy-eyed stumble to the truck, an uneventful early-morning drive through the south Texas flatlands, and a hasty goodbye to buenos amigos from the car rental courtesy bus.
Seems anti-climactic. How could it be otherwise?
To be perfectly honest, the fishing stunk. Five days waving a fly rod in Texas Gulf waters and I brought to hand just four. But it was the combination of tough conditions and my well-established piscatorial ineptitude that was to blame, not the place. The place is world class - on better days.
But if you choose to go only when you know - really know - that you’ll catch something, you’d never do it. If you measure the success of a trip by the number of fish caught, you’ve missed the point. I could go on, but won’t. You don’t need an old man blithering on about metaphysical intangibles in this age of rip-lipped video clips. I’ll simply say that I’d do it again, travel thousands of miles to these wonderful waters to catch little or nothing. With Chris and Todd, Brandon and Jen, Austin and Gavit, Thomas and Banning alongside, I’d gladly fish all day and take my skunking with a smile.
For despite the lack of results, I waded the incredible Laguna Madre salt flats, spotted and stalked tailing fish, paddled seaworthy craft, and watched the sun rise and set from the best vantage point imaginable. I sat on the front porch of an off-the-beaten-track salty cabin and laughed ‘till my sides hurt. I toasted good times with aluminum cans and glass goblets - with new friends and old. I cursed the wind and praised the beauty of it all.
In the end, I went to Texas to catch redfish and I did. Never mind that it was only one and accomplished through no skill of my own, but rather by the near statistical impossibility of my blind cast intersecting with his vector through the flats - the belligerent surf god's single concession of the week, perhaps. In the end, I did what I went to do.
But I did so much more. And I look forward to doing it again.