November is the Perfect Time to Say "Thanks"

November is the Perfect Time to Say

I am one of those guys who cherish the little things in life. The colors in an autumn sunset, the chill of a late-afternoon boat ride, the high-pitched sound of squawking sea gulls diving on shrimp, the serenity of a placid bay, the smell of a wet dog and the cacophonous clamor of a waterfowl roost.

That's probably why I love November so much.

November puts people in a different mood - a more loving, caring, thanking and concern for your fellow man mood. Obviously, Thanksgiving plays a role in the attitude of many. I wish I could put November in a bottle and pour a drop on someone when actions warrant it.

Since we will be sitting down at our tables this month, giving thanks to the Lord for family, deliverance from trials, forgiveness of sins and the many blessings heaped on us that we do not always deserve, I thought I would list a few things I thank God for this year and for a lifetime. These are only outdoor-related joys, in no particular order. If I listed everything, Everett would have to add a dozen or more pages to this issue.

I'll start with thanking America for allowing me to make my own choices without the thumb of a dictator pressing against my will. I thank the military for their service, respect, honor and bravery in defending our flag. I cannot begin to imagine what it feels like to be away from family in a faraway land full of sand. We often forget there are plenty of other men and women serving in other lands besides the Middle East. Again, I cannot begin to comprehend what you are going through, but I want to offer heart-felt "thanks" for doing it.

I am thankful for a loving wife and precious daughter who support the leader of their house with unconditional love. When I was younger, I was gone much more from the house on hunting and fishing trips. I still make those trips as part of my job, but it is much harder to leave the family now. I guess that comes with age. Being with my girls and meeting their needs is much more important to me than flying to Florida to catch a snook. What is even better is sharing a day on the water with them, or taking both of them on their first duck hunt back in September. I have said it before and I will say it again, I have never received any static from my wife for hunting and fishing; and, believe me, if you saw my log book containing how many days I spend in the field and on the water, you would consider her a saint. Thanks Shelly and Mal for loving Daddy.

I want to thank God for being a Texan. You never really know how good you have it until you spend time in other places. Sure, South Florida has bigger snook and speckled trout, but it "ain't" Texas. Louisiana has great duck hunting and wonderful fishing, but it ain't Texas. Minnesota has great goose hunting, but it ain't Texas. The Florida Keys is a great place to see a bunch of tarpon, and other things I particularly do not care for, and it sure ain't Texas. There are many good people in other places, but not near as many as in Texas. I spend several days a year outside of Texas, and always say the same thing when I get back, "man, I am glad I live in Texas."

I am thankful for sunrises and sunsets. They are beautiful on Matagorda Bay, especially in the fall. There is no place like late afternoon on a placid East Bay in November when there is just enough chill in the air to turn your ear lobes red. Ducks hastening to their marsh pond roost, gulls picking their last shrimp before nightfall and skies overflowing with brilliant reds, oranges and blues make even agnostics consider there might be a God.

I am thankful for my lifestyle and for my readers. I have a great job writing and photographing the outdoors. I thank all for the positive emails and even the critical ones. I read them all and try to respond to everyone. If you ever see me out and about in the outdoors, feel free to introduce yourself. I am the same ole' Bink Grimes I was before the books and magazine articles. God has blessed me immeasurably and I know where success breathes. One of my dad's favorite sayings about success is, "Son, when you think you are something, you are nothing." I take it to heart.

I am thankful to be able to enjoy November. Ducks, geese, trout and redfish -sometimes it is a tough decision. When the wind blows, I go hunting. When the wind calms, I go fishing. Normally, it is a win-win with either prospect. My dad and I usually hunt Thanksgiving morning, come home, eat lunch, and then fish East Matagorda that afternoon. I am thankful I live on the coast and am able to enjoy both hunting and fishing within close proximity of my home; and, am thankful my dad is still around to hunt and fish with me. I have a four-year streak of catching a limit of trout on Thanksgiving Day - I plan to make it five.

I am thankful for the ethics and conservation-minded editorial content in this magazine. It takes time, but Texans' mind-sets are changing from "kill everything you catch" to "harvest only what you intend to consume." I see it every time I run a charter. Ten years ago people were concerned with "limiting out." Now, I rarely hear it. Most of my clients are concerned with spending time with friends on the water, learning new tactics, enjoying being away from the office and catching fish if conditions warrant it. I can't tell you how many times I hear, "Man, this sure beats being at work," or "What a beautiful day!"

Attitudes are changing. They must, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife statistics, 2,000 new fishers are finding out how special the Texas coast is each month. If we want to enjoy the same pleasures of today, we must take measures to sustain our fishery for an ever-growing population. Anglers must leave their egos at the dock for the good of the fishery. Gone are the days of running a fillet knife through trophy trout. Gone are the days of 40-trout, over-the-shoulder "hero" shots. Gone are the days of keeping fish just so you could prove you caught a limit. This magazine has been a pro- active beacon in shaping new angler attitudes, while reshaping many "old salts."

Barbara Mandrell and George Jones sang, "I Was Country, When Country Wasn't Cool." With that said, Gulf Coast Connections was, "conservation, when conservation wasn't cool."

So I say, "Thanks" to the writers and editor of GCC for their love and compassion of our oceans and bay estuaries.

It is a pleasure to be a part of this publication.