We continue fishing what seems an endless supply of buoys, slowly moving farther into deeper water. In the distance, several shrimp boats appear to be tied together and at anchor. As we get close, we see the water behind them churning as jack crevalle, bonito and sharks feast under the trawls. Bobby fights several large sharks and bonito on his "shrimp-boat special," a large MirrOlure She Dog sans hooks. "Makes for a quick release," he quips. We each take turns landing jacks, sharks and bonito while our trout and redfish tackle perform admirably. It is time to move on.
Our third structure is an old oil platform turned artificial reef. We switch our bait to live mullet and chum with our remaining live shrimp. We Carolina-rig our mullet on fluorocarbon leaders double-Uni-knotted to 30-pound PowerPro. Each and every drop, we watch beautiful 4-pound seatrout come up in the emerald water. Just as we begin to ice a few for dinner, a cobia appears alongside. Guy quickly tosses a 4-inch MirrOlure MirrOdine in front of the fish - a solid 40-pounder - and settles in for the fight, while Bobby is in the middle of his own tug of war with a bull red of some 20 pounds. As if the melee weren't enough, a king mackerel grabs my seatrout lunch and peels off 60 feet of line. Chaos. The good kind. After a few high-fives and laughs, we head in for lunch.
As we begin our short run to the pass, I recount the day's light-tackle adventure. Looking back, it was like a nearshore smorgasbord - a big fish buffet of different species. Lunch. Buffet. Smorgasbord. It doesn't take long for my mind to wander again.
Rods: 7-foot conventional rods, medium-heavy with light tips.
Reels: Conventional bait-casting reels.
Lines: 30-pound braid.
Leader: 9 feet of 20- to 25-pound-test fluorocarbon joined to main line with a double Uni-knot.
Lures/Terminal Gear: Suspending or slow-sinking plugs such as MirrOlure She Dogs and Rapala Clackin' Minnows, as well as shrimp imitations such as Berkley Gulp! Shrimp and D.O.A. Shrimp.
Baits: Live finger mullet and live shrimp.
What: Cobia, king mackerel, bonito, seatrout, red drum, shark, jack crevalle and mahimahi.
When: Late summer through fall.
Where: Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.
Who: Capt. Guy Stansel and Capt. Bobby Stansel
Hackberry Rod & Gun