There always going to be times that makes the world stop spinning. Everything stops except for what is happening right then and there. My most recent event was our trip Crappie fishing on Lake Somerville. I am pretty sure my heart stopped for at least 30 seconds. Maybe I'm exaggerating on that part but time did stand still during the trip.
Let's back up. We planned a family trip for Friday night to hit the lake after multiple reports of the Crappie biting and a treasure awaiting. Mother nature has been a bit cranky everywhere but here in Texas has brought thunderstorms, confirmed hail, small tornado's (any tornado freaks me out!), wind and abnormal high & low temps. We debated leaving out and decided against it. It was a good call as a strong front moved through with wind, rain and chaos and didn't stay on the predicted track.
The weekend progressed and we left out mid day to get there and make an evening run. This was an adventure in itself. Hubby, who was fighting a nasty flu like cold, my father in law is dealing with arthritic knees, two young kids (3 & 6) and me all on a pontoon boat looking for action and no one really feeling their best. We launched at Lake Somerville Marina and headed for Snake Island. I landed a small bass, whoo hoo. Then I killed it. When I went to release him I pulled the trigger on the lipper a bit to early and he was taken by a wave under the belly of the boat. I almost dove in after him and it upset me. My husband tried to console me and told me he would be fine after a bit but I just know I messed up. It happens I know but dang it - the first catch.
From there we raced across the lake to the 'hot spot' Big Creek Marina. It has been years since I've been to the marina and let me tell you it was a sight to see or better to say not see. Somerville was an area that was hit in 2015 & 2016 with flooding worse then they had seen in over 20 years. Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin have all experienced significant flooding in the last 2 years. I was unable to get home for right at 36 hours last May. The 2016 flood levels passed 2015 leaving areas that had barely recovered dealing with another devastating event. Check out this video of an air boat touring the flooded lake that shows just how bad it really was. The first part of it show the areas we were in.
Back to Big Creek. This being a popular spot we arrived to find lots of boats tied up to the poles that use to be part of the marina. The sun was setting giving the abandoned shell of building a mystical yet eerie look. It was a stunning sun set. After fussing and fighting children resulting in yelling parents, I came to figure out that we had drifted into 'stuff' in the water and were temporarily stuck. Not a good feeling when you realize that your clogged up ears are going to be a problem for a touchy situation. When you have no clue what to do but try to avoid a panic attack and help, it was a bit rough. After some tense moments on board we were able to get free with only a few scratches to the pontoons and tie off in a more appropriate less underwater danger location. By this time I had caved and gave up my phone to the princess and the tablet to T just to get a moment of peace. As the sun set I realized my jacket and the kids sleeping bags were tucked securely and safety in the truck... the one across the lake. A small failure in preparation. Happens to the best of us. We concluded the night with a few nice Crappie in the boat.
I'm going to give the marina the benefit of still working out the kinks but it was a struggle to get the boat loaded in the dark with the lack of lighting at the ramp. Of course the little had to pee as we sat backed into the lake waiting to get the boat loaded with no bathroom in sight. She's learning how to squat and not pee on her pants. It is an important skill for a future Outdoors Woman (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). At last the boat was loaded, the loose items secured and off we went to spend the night in the hotel.
Sunday morning bright and early (I don't do mornings unless it involves water with any level of enthusiasm) we headed down for a bite then back to the lake. We launched at Welsh Park this time being they have a ramp closer to the target location. Breezy and cool we headed across to return to the target location. I can with confidence say that this in NOT a secret location. It is popular and busy. We tied up in a good spot and lowered the chilled minnow into the water.
I had the opportunity to use my new linecutterz ring a few times - read that as got stuck on objects that kept my hook- and gained confidence in rigging myself up without having to bug my husband to do it. It was slow but the company was good. Lots of friendly banter among fishing buddies, carefully worded trash talk due to small ears and me. The ones in ear shot loosened up when the kids took a nap and they realized I have a potty mouth with an attitude and a come back that was willingly on the boat and not a tag along. The sun creeped up and knocked down the chill. S caught a fish all by herself. T wasn't much for fishing this trip. Hubby and Father in law brought a good number of crappie in the boat. I caught a few, an adorable small mud catfish (yes it was cute with a potbelly and smiley face) and almost landed a massive catfish. He straighten my hook right before we got him in the boat. The fight was fun and at least i got to see him surface!
At this point the winds had picked up and the waves were steady. I was seated in my chair at the front of the boat. The kids were sitting in the opening swinging their feet in the water enjoying the morning and each others company. Then It happened. Time stood still. T hollered
'Mommy sissy....' and I head the splash. My thoughts raced as I tried to recall if she had her puddle jumper on or not. I'm surprised I didn't throw my pole in the water as I lunged forward. She was literally just popping back up to the surface as I grabbed her and pulled her back in. She went completely under water. After I checked her for any bumps and found her unharmed I realized Scott was standing beside me and the noise of the world started again. She was scared and cried some. We pulled her out of the wet clothes, wrapped her in a towel and she sat with daddy for a minute before she sat by herself on the seat. I think i was actually shaking before I settled down.
Dramatic much - So the reality - I was sitting within 2 feet of both kids, she had her life jacket on, the water was chilly but it was not awful and we were tied up to posts and the boat was not moving! It was a good lesson for both of them. We tell them constantly - you have to keep your life jacket on when we are moving, stay away from the front of the boat because you can fall off the boat, listen to us to stay safe. Now we are just not making empty threats or telling stories. It can happen. Shortly after this the bites slowed and the water continued to be choppy. We reeled in and pushed off to wrap up our adventure.
Fishing and boating with little's is always an adventure. If you're new to it just prepared for anything. I'm sure this will be a faded memory by the time summer gets here! It was a decent haul on Crappie and hope to go back out soon!
Texas has a statewide minimum length limit of 10 inches and daily bag limit of 25 crappie. We were definitely under our limit but it was a trip to remember. We caught a mix of black and white crappie this time. One was interesting with his striped markings. For more information on crappie visit here
Predominant Fish Species