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  • “No Names Needed”

    My long time friend Bill Vanderford (designer of the ever popular Swirleybird lures) sent me this photo that he took many years ago! Heck, this picture could have taken from my boat Miss Judy!

    “No Names Needed”

    Way back many years ago I use to take my father’s fishing doctor friend’s son on my boat. This was an annual event, which had many twists and turns in the entertainment department. Firstly, we always went to the Texas tower, where we would anchor up, sometimes fish, sometimes swim or dive, and always drank!

    It always was a very memorable day for one reason or the other! The son of my father’s drinking friend was very good looking, had lots of clout in the medical world, which in turn gave him much opportunity in the “getting attention mode!” Although he might have been married men at this time, I don’t think he ever stopped practicing the art of dating. At least this is just my opinion and as you all know sometimes opinions have absolutely no truth to them.

    I remember this one time while anchor at the Texas tower. There were 5 nurses and one doctor all in the water hanging on my stern rope. Back in the good old days it seems we only thought about sharks when we actually saw them. Now this to me is so funny. If you think about it sharks were during this time were definitely more plentiful and certainly a lot larger! There was this one time in particular where a big shark definitely made a showing.

    Apparently, the sharks picked up on some sort of scent. Heck, as far as I knew it could have been someone’s perfume. I remember lots of those different smells once everyone boarded the boat. I was sitting in my helm trying not to look at the happenings taking place in the water. Heck, it’s hard to do this when there is laughter, screaming, and splashing going on at the stern of your boat. Out the corner of my eye I saw something large and dark under the water making way in our direction.

    Where we were anchored….

    The Texas tower looked liked like an offshore oilrig. It was located at the end of the shipping channel and this was where the ships leaving the port would either make their way north or south. This marked the beginning of the shipping channel entrance. Boats of all sizes always had this spot “tunnel visioned” into their fishing day. This basically meant, “There isn’t fish anywhere else, but at the tower,” which certainly wasn’t true especially during this time. However, during the weekends there were plenty of boats circling, anchored, and tied to the tower. Heck, fishermen left their boats, climbed on the tower and exactly fish directly from the attached walkways. Also remember loran had not been invented or at least fishermen did not have it on our boats. LORAN was aberration for Long Range Navigation. And another thing this was before there was any such thing as offshore artificial reefs! I know you most likely get that this was a very long time ago!

    Lloyd Bridges “Sea Hunt”

    I remember this one-day right before I took my father’s fishing doctor friend’s son out. Daddy had taken some divers out to the Texas tower to do a little diving and fish spearing. Back in the old days Daddy took a lot of sports divers out to this area. There were a few instances that I remember just like it was yesterday. The first is the fact that all skin diving suits were totally back and the regulators were the “old timey ones.” Here’s my rendition of what I remember them looking like. Do you remember the show “Sea Hunt?” (TV series 1858-1961 staring Llody Bridges) I remember those large black hoses coming out of each side not a single one like the high tech ones of today do.

    I remember the divers talking about this “big Jew fish” that lived down under around the tower’s legs. According to them it was a big as a “Volkswagen.” Now there is a reason that I am telling you all on this, believe it or not, but it will eventually tie into the story. A few days prior, Daddy had about 6 divers down all moving about the tower legs and shooting their fish of choice. As they shot their fish, they remove them off the spear and put them into the fish bag. The fish bag was attached to the diver’s belt, which had a 6-foot leader line. This kept the bag with the dying, bleeding, and created dead fish smells at least 6 feet from the diver. At the time it sounded like a well thought out plan. However, later on you will find out it wasn’t such a good idea after all. A large shark grabbed the bag and started to swim off with it. And you already know what happened the diver was pulled behind the shark. The diver should have used his knife to cut the bag’s leader, but it was dropped. It was a big shark! According to the very disturbed and shaken diver he had felted the tail bush him a few times. It happened so very fast! The diver was trolled for several hundred feet from the tower. The good news is that the leader line did break freeing the diver from the shark.

    This is not the shark that tried to attack the doctor and nurses back in the mid sixties, but it was every bit as big. Heck, from eye level it would have even look bigger!

    Now back to the story at hand where Doctor and Nurses were in the water behind my boat. The dark shadow down under turned out to be a large shark that surfaced right behind the boat. Of course, it looked like a great white, but it turned out to be an impressive size tiger shark. This boiled down to big shark with lots of white teeth, everyone screaming while trying to get out of the water at the same time! As of this moment, even after liquor, beer, or wine had been sucked down I no longer had any trouble from my father’s fishing friend’s son in regards to getting out of the boat into the water!