We Still Have our Fish & our Friends!

Everett Johnson
I drove down to the west end of Galveston the other day to restock our retail locations that are back up and running.  I think by now everybody has had a chance to view stacks of photos on the internet.  Even though it’s been more than two months since Ike crashed ashore the devastation and debris is unbelievable and the folks who lost so much are still in my prayers.

Our fishing industry is in disarray.  Many coastal establishments and fishing related businesses remain closed since the storm and some may never make it back. Our major economic indicators are bobbing like yo-yos and it seems everybody needs a bailout or loan.  Selling advertising has not been fun.  Booking fishing trips is a couple times a month event at best.

But still it occurs that we are blessed.  Fishing is off the good end of the scale from Sabine to South Padre.  We still have so many great friends.

Just last week I was idling to the dock and met an old friend who was paddling.  After handshakes and hugs it seemed only yesterday we shared all those good times. We were cleaning fish together when the discussion of business and the economy came up.  My friend had an interesting view.

“We haven’t been fishing as much as we’d like…money’s tight right now and we have to watch our spending.  We split this trip three ways; motel, food and gas. We brought our kayaks rather than the big boat, we just couldn’t stay away with the fishing as good as it’s been.”  That’s when it occurred to me how good we still have it.

January marks the beginning of the boat and sport show season and according to the promoters and organizers all the shows will go on. Our friends in the boat and tackle trades are committed to making the shows exciting and fun and I’m sure good times will be had by those who attend.  We might carpool to get there and maybe pack a sandwich but the spirit of sportfishing and hanging in good company will remain.

I’ve given up worrying; Billy Sandifer told me I’d only get old before my time. Just yesterday I said, “To heck with everything, we’re going fishing.”  The time on the water was refreshing and relaxing, not to mention the speckled darlings of San Antonio Bay were found everywhere we stopped.  What more could you ask for?

So it’s time to be out with the old and in with the new…New Years 2009!  I have a new outlook and great hopes.  I cannot change the economy but I can still find ways to enjoy life, even on a trimmed budget. I’m dreaming of exceptional fishing and all the great friends who love to share time on the water.  I’m ready for the day when we can all look back and say it wasn’t so bad.

Whatever the New Year brings make sure you include time to get out and enjoy our wonderful coast.  Pack a picnic lunch and bring the kids.  Rather than taking off as often, make the trips you take count in as many ways as you can.  It’s darned good therapy, just like Billy said. After all, wasn’t it the love of fishing that brought us all together?