June 2018 Fishing Trip on the Angelina River – A Short Story

The day started a little earlier than others when the alarm went off at 5:00 am. As soon as the alarm went off a war of attrition began in my head. One voice was talking about how comfortable the bed was and to forget about the fishing trip. The other voice was telling me to get up and go because in a few weeks the full brunt of the Texas heat will be here.

Realizing in another three or four weeks the July heat wave will be upon us, I decided to crawl (though reluctantly) out of bed and head to the shower. There is something refreshing about getting a morning shower.

Attire for the day was Levis jeans, green Carhart shirt, and Justin leather work boots. Typically, I wear shorts and sneakers on fishing trips, but this trip was different. Part of this trip was for pictures and videos. Rather than walking through a swampy area with sneakers, to decided to wear boots.

All of the gear had been loaded in either the Toyota T100 truck, or in the Weldbilt aluminum boat the night before. All that needed to be done was take a shower, get dressed, grab my everyday carry gear, and head out the door. I had wanted to leave the house around 5:30, but was able to leave around 5:20 or so.

Driving to the Angelina River

On the way to Bevil Port boat launch I stopped at the Exxon station at the intersection of Hwy 190 and Hwy 96 in Jasper, Texas. The boat fuel tank was topped with with two gallons. 5 1/2 ounces of Evinrude 2 stroke oil was added to the fuel.

Next stop was the donut shop on Hwy 190. There are two donut shops in Jasper. One is on Hwy 96 across from McDonalds, and the other is next to Burger King on Hwy 190.

Breakfast was a sausage, egg and cheese croissant, and a chocolate glazed donut. Everything was washed down with a blue Monster energy drink. From the donut shop I made my way west on Hwy 190, then west on Hwy 63. Exit 2799 to the left and you will eventually arrive at Bevil Port.

South on the Angelina River

The boat was launched with no issues, and the 30 horsepower Evinrude outboard motor cranked right up. In just a matter of minutes the boat and I were headed south on the Angelina river.

Click one of the images to start the slideshow.

The sun had not yet broke the tree line, and water was a smooth as glass. It was a picture perfect start to the day.

There were some people camping at Angelina 1 and Angelina 2, which are probably the best camping sites in the Angelina River.  In the river around the camping sites were maybe a dozen foam noodles.

As the boat and I passed Angelina 1 and 2, I waved and the campers waved back.

Around 1/2 mile south of Angelina 1 and 2 is the entrance to Bee Tree Slough.

Bee Tree Slough

Going into Bee Tree Slough is like going back in time 10,000 years.  Except for the occasional piece of trash there are no signs of modern civilization.  During the summer it is not uncommon to see gators, garfish, bass, perch, crappie, bowfin and a wide range of birds.

My destination was an area deep inside the slough, which is typically overgrown with lily pads.  The harsh 2017 – 2018 winter must have killed off a bunch of the lily pads, because the route was clear.

Let’s see if I can describe the path.  It starts off with a small cut off the main path through Bee Tree Slough.  The smaller slough meanders through public hunting lands, loops around, and finally connects back with the main route.  However, the part where the two connect is usually overgrown with lily pads.

Some parts of the slough are maybe 30 feet wide, with others may be 20 feet wide.  This is where a flat bottom aluminum river shines.  There are numerous submerged logs and stumps just under the waters edge.  Using a trolling motor the obstructions pose no real danger to an aluminum. The same can not be said for a fiberglass boat.  A flat bottom boat allows access to places which would difficult, if not impossible, for a traditional fiberglass bass boat to go.

Just as luck would have it, the path was overgrown with lily pads.  This means I will have to try it again during the winter of 2018 – 2019, or in the early spring of 2019.

The boat was turned around, and I headed back to the main slough.  For some reason the fishing was not as good as it was a couple of weeks ago.  On a previous fishing trip my son and I were catching large mouth bass, perch and crappie.  However, on this trip I was only catching a few small perch.

The Way Home

Eventually I decided it was time to go home.  The weather was getting hot and the fish were not biting.

As I was using the trolling motor to leave the slough I spotted an alligator.  The boat and I rounded a corner, I looked over to my left, and no more than 15 feet from the edge of the boat was a gator.  We made eye contact, and before I could grab the camera it went underwater.

Figuring the gator would not surface for at least 10 – 15 minutes I continued down the slough.  Just to make sure I looked over my left shoulder and the gator was on top of the water.  The camera came up and several pictures were taken.

It was a wonderful opportunity to see such a magnificent creature.  I grew up along the marshes of Southeast Texas.  Seeing a gator in Cow Bayou in Bridge City was not uncommon.  It is something special to see a gator so far away from civilization and in its natural habitat.

Overall I had a wonderful time.  Even though the fish were not biting, and the highlight if the day was seeing a gator, it is nice to get out of the house and enjoy nature.