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Coastal Casts: Christmas tree huntin’

December 10, 2018 GMT

Howdy everyone! Shore Acres Park is in full swing here locally and if you haven’t had the chance to see the hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights that adorn the lush greenery and botanical gardens you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Grab the kids, your spouse, neighbors, strangers or whichever and head down. It’s only five bucks a carload, so you can cram the trunk full of people too.

On the fishing and crabbing front it’s all good, if and when the ocean will let us get out to play. Sport crabbing re-opened on Dec. 1. and by all reports it is good to very good out there in terms of quality and quantity. The closure I just mentioned is a regularly scheduled one that occurs yearly and has nothing to do with toxins, or anything else like that.

We’ve seen some nice lingcod from the high spots. The numbers and size should start to increase closer to shore as the pre-spawn season for these ocean monsters begins.

Inland the long awaited steelhead run is kicking off. I have spoken to several folks that have been catching them lately; this is just the start and there’s months worth of fishing to come.

Moving off topic a moment, did you notice we went from Halloween straight to Christmas season? Thanksgiving, which for the record is one of my two favorite holidays, barely gets an honorable mention anymore. The way I saw it, we went from ghosts and goblins to the most commercialized, hyper-marketed shopping season without so much as a breath. Don’t get me wrong — I love the Christmas season, just not the modern indulgence it’s become.

I decided to combat this a little bit this year, and instead of heading to a tree lot (which are pretty fun in their own right) we packed up the truck and headed to the wilderness with a $5 BLM tree killin’ permit in hand. With snacks, water and trusty Red Ryder BB guns, we hit the trail.

Before we got to the heavily-treed areas where our quarry lived we got the pickup stuck while turning around. We had to dig trenches and carry buckets and buckets of gravel to throw under our spinning tires to get out. Tabitha, my partner in crime and adventure, did awesome and did her fair share of digging as the little ones sat in the warmth and comfort of the back of the pickup. After about 30 to 40 minutes of sweat-inducing, back-breaking work, we were mobile again and only a little worse for wear.

It’s here I have to hang my head in shame and admit that I only have a two-wheel-drive truck. You see in Texas, a two-wheel drive will accomplish slightly over 99.99999999 percent of what you need done but I think it will soon be time for a newer vehicle, and I will definitely be getting a four-wheel drive. My owning a four-wheel drive doesn’t at all mean I won’t get stuck, it just means I will explore further out and get stuck in worse places. I’ve been down this road before.

Once we reached the trails end we threw open the truck doors and bailed out with snacks in hand, knowing we had our work cut out for us. Those of you that have Christmas tree hunted before are well aware that there is one acceptable tree for every ten thousand “Charlie Brown” trees, and you will never find one as good and full as a lot tree but we came close!

We had walked a mere fifty feet to the edge of the landing we were parked on and there it stood just below us, twelve feet tall, full branches, symmetry; this was going to be our tree. With chainsaw in hand, I scrambled down a small embankment through what I can only assume were all the known types of blackberries and other pointed and sharp plants.

Next to WD-40 and duct tape the chainsaw is one of mankind’s most important inventions and I used mine to violently slash a path to our tree. In short order it was cut, roughly trimmed, and pulled up the embankment.

We made a lil’ home movie of our adventure as a keepsake where the girls stalked and shot the tree instead of my cutting it down. Those of you that follow us on Facebook may have already seen it, it’s not my best work but we had a blast making it and nobody shot out an eye!

There’s still time to get out and cut your own tree and make memories before Christmas, I hope to see you out there!