I've come very close to moving to the coast several times over the last three decades. The first time was back in the mid/late 90s when upon graduation from college, I was ready to forsake my recently acquired education and become a fishing guide. Through a series of somewhat happy accidents, Flip Pallot talked me out of it. Although I didn't like his advice, it did set me on a different path in angling, which has probably ended up being much more fruitful than had I spent my twenties and thirties on the pole. As much as I think I could have been a fantastic guide, I do not regret the decision to walk a different path...not one bit.
The second time was in 2008 when after I sold my first rod-building business, I once again had delusions of grandeur of being a saltwater fly fishing guide. I have very vivid memories of Emily and I taking a day trip to Port O Connor to look at real estate and evaluate the possibility of moving coastward full time once again. Just a few months before that, however, we had just had our first and only child....and I just didn't think it fair to be so focused on myself, with a newborn son having just entered the world. When I look back on the last 15 years of Jackson's life, and see what a fine young man he's become...and a helluva an angler to beet, there is NO DOUBT that was the right decision...again, no regrets whatsoever!
With Jackson only a couple of years of moving into his college career, and me now being in my early fifties, I once again feel the pull of the Texas Gulf Coast. Not so much anymore to try and rekindle my desire to be a guide; as a matter of fact, I have come to accept that spending my days on the pole pushing someone else around is probably not in my future life plans. No, these days my reasons for wanting to live closer to the fishing that I love have as much...or perhaps, even more, to do with knowing that the older I get, the only place that feels like home is approximately 157 miles to the southeast of where I currently I sit and write this.
7 out of the last 9 weekends I have been shuttling between Port Lavaca on the north end, and Corpus Christi on the south end. And, the irony of it all is that only a few of those trips have involved fishing of any type. Half of those were just getaway trips to escape the chaos of life....to sit on the back porch of the Indianola Marina and smell the salt air, and watch a young child catch his or her first Redfish or Speckled Trout.
Very often, I sit and watch the tide move in and out through the channel, I wonder what my life would have been like had I ignored Flip's advice, and moved down here back in '97. I've known many folks who loved to fish, moved to the coast, and burned out after a few years, only to move back further inland. What I do know is that the older I get, the stronger the pull becomes. With every trip, it gets harder and harder to come back to the Hill Country. I suppose when there is nothing else to bind me to the central part of the state, I will have to make a judgment call. But, with every passing year, it becomes clearer and clearer that the place I want to live out the rest of my days is on the pole, chasing that beautiful redhead with the black spot on her tail with the long rod in hand, with absolutely no regrets....
Hope you all are having a great week,