Published on October 20, 2020

We were saltwater fishing ‘Jaws’ style

By Roy Edwards
The Bulletin

In Part 1, I introduced you to a couple I met at Christmas Bay who showed me a novel way to catch a lot of fish by drifting.

In this column, I’ll tell you about a father and son fishing trip to Christmas Bay that turned out to be almost like a “Jaws” experience.
My son, Robbie, and I had been fishing fresh water since he was about 4. He had turned 10 that week, and it was time to introduce him to saltwater fishing.

Friday morning, I loaded my 14-foot boat, set up my old Econoline van up for sleeping and rigged up four rods for bottom fishing. I used a modified fish finder rig. First, I put a quarter-ounce egg weight on the line, then a plastic bead to keep the weight from hitting the knot. Next, I tied on a small barrel swivel.

Then comes a 20-pound mono leader about 18 inches long and a number 1 long shank, light wire hook. We were going to be drifting over the oyster shell. The egg weight would slip over most shells, and the light wire hook would straighten out if it caught on anything, without breaking the line or the leader.

If the hook was bent out of shape, a pair of long nose pliers would be used to re-bend the light wire and reuse the hook as long as the point wasn’t damaged.

When Robbie got home from school, he changed clothes, and we were off for a weekend of fishing.

Christmas Bay is a small shallow bay (about 5 miles long by 2 miles wide) just west of San Luis Pass on the north side of Follet’s Island, accessible by C.R. 257 or the Blue Water Highway.

There is a Brazoria County public boat ramp and a bait camp at the end of C.R. 2575.

We arrived at the boat ramp about 5:30 p.m. after a 2 1/2-hour drive from Houston. We launched the boat, tied it up and went to Sy’s bait camp for hamburgers, soft drinks and “fresh dead” bait shrimp. We still had some daylight left, so we fired up the boat and headed toward Christmas Point, north/northeast into the wind.

Robbie caught some fish on the drift back toward the boat ramp in the first 20 minutes or so, then the MONSTER hit. I put Robbie on the front seat, set the drag on the reel, and we started back across the bay to the south/southwest, courtesy of the thing on the other end of the line.

It pulled us all the way across the bay to the south shore grass line about 2 miles away. Then, the monster went to the bottom and would not move. It had to be a huge stingray.

Robbie’s line went straight down, about 2 feet from the right side of the boat, so I took a paddle and started thumping the ray on the top of his head. Then we heard a noise or commotion – something was hitting the other side of my 60-inch-wide boat. We saw the tip of the ray’s tail coming out of the water and hitting the gunnel. That ray must have been over 6 foot from nose to tail.

“Dad”, Robbie exclaimed, “It’s getting dark. I’m hot and tired. I think you should just cut the line.”

I did. We slept in the van that night. What an introduction to saltwater fishing!

(Write Roy in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)