Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adios, Texas

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.

Adios, Texas.


CathyB said...

Nicely written, Mike.

I'd say you fisherfolk were nuts, but then I look at my gardening habits, and I realize that we are merely obsessed by different callings -- you, by waters full of wily fish; me, by the capricious, ever-changing green world.

Here's to beautiful obsessions. :)

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks Cathy. Beautiful obsessions, indeed. But, actually, we fisherfolk really are nuts.

e.m.b. said...

Good journey -- which are seldom what we picture when we're setting out. I've enjoyed being vicariously taken along.
And yeah, we're all nuts.

Anonymous said...

Crazy as it sounds, or just my years starting to show, the fish have become the bonus on a trip and not all about the reason.

Chris said...

Like I said, my friend... I'd fish with you anytime. It's not just about the fishing... it's the company we keep.

M.A. Hughes said...

Thanks for showing us you're nuts.

I've just returned from a few days of many casts, few fish, but the smile and peace never left me. I think I get it.

Mike Sepelak said...

So true, Erin. You never know how a trip will leave it's impression. Glad that you came long, even if only vicariously.

And I was in the best of company, Chris. The very best.

Yeah, I suspect that you get it RR. Many cast, few fish. Sounds real familiar.

Sanders said...

"You don’t need an old man blithering on about metaphysical intangibles in this age of rip-lipped video clips." :-)

...and, we're all world class on better days.

adios texas!

Mike Sepelak said...

It's my favorite line in the post, Sean. And we are indeed world class on our better days. Thanks for the reminder.