” Some days you do better in the boat and some days better on the beach, ” the fisherman in coveralls tells us as he opens a cooler and shows us his Pompanos and Whiteys, game fish in this part of the Gulf of Mexico.
The bottom of his cooler has five or six small fish and a small plastic container filled with fresh cut shrimp that baits his hooks.
He and his wife have been here before sunset.
You cast your weighted and baited hooks out as far as you can, plant the handle of your pole into the sand and watch till its tip starts to bend like a scoliosis patient. When you see that peculiar bend, you reach for your pole, set your hook, and fight your catch out of the sea.
This fishing spot is towards the north end of South Padre, past tall condos and hotels. The angler’s big white pickup is pulled off the beach thoroughfare made by tire tracks. Its tailgate is down and a tackle box is close at hand.
” How much is a daily license? ”
” Fifteen bucks…. ”
” What’s the limit? ”
” No limit…. ”
We don’t have fishing poles but next time they will be stowed in RV cargo holds with golf clubs, lawn chairs, firewood, and tarps.
Next year, seeing how things are going, we will probably have to have a license to pick up shells. For cash strapped governments, every day is tax day.
We are, bottom line, squatters on this planet.
If we aren’t fishing, we are biting.