Bait From Heaven

I was just about to the point of hair-pulling, frantically searching for a missing case of digital camera memory flash cards, when my phone rang. It was angler Robert Goode of Alvin, and he told me that upon moving into his room at Laguna Reef Motel and Condominiums … the same room I had occupied the previous day during the final portion of the Rockport-Fulton Spring Fling media event … he found my card case sequestered out of sight beneath the fringe of the bed.
 Goode checked with Laguna Reef general manager Penny Neff, who put him in touch with me and then graciously forwarded the case and flash cards to my home address.Robert Goode and Amy Griggs Trout
 The cards could inexpensively enough be replaced. Digital cards of that sort, after all, have come way down in price in the past few years. But Goode told me the same thing I was thinking.
 “It’s like the MasterCard commercial,” he said. “Flash Card Case: $20.00. Flash Cards: $100.00. Several hundred photos taken after getting up in the wee hours of the morning to fish the bay during an incredibly trying period of howling and incessant wind: Priceless.”
 I thanked Goode, and asked him to touch base after his trip so I could find out how he fared on the fishing front.
He did indeed call, and the story he related is one for the books.
 Goode and his girlfriend, Amy Griggs, were working as exhibitors via their booth at a nautical flea market being held on the waterfront at the Rockport Yacht Club when the story began to unfold.
 “We were sitting there, visiting, when I looked down and saw a fresh brown shrimp lying on the ground and snapping its tail just a few feet away from our booth,” Goode recalls. “The only plausible explanation I could think of was a seagull. There were a bunch of them flying around the area, and I can only guess that one of the birds dropped the shrimp.”
 Usually, when a seagull drops a “present” from the skies it is not a hard-kicking, ready-to-go natural bait, but instead a trip to the car wash or laundromat waiting to happen.
 Not this time. Until this episode, I had never heard of live bait procured via an Act of God. Call it an unusual and highly improbable case of “falling bait prices,” but just when you think you have heard it all …
 Goode literally seized upon the opportunity. He picked up the shrimp and threaded the amber-brown crustacean onto the hook of a jighead already rigged on a fishing rig situated in his booth. He then casually informed his fellow exhibitors that he was about to catch a fish, and made a cast from the shore.
Goode expected his exhibitor neighbors to laugh at him, and his expectations were thoroughly met. The ribbing was pretty intense.
“There were even several fishing guides working the nearby waters,” Goode recalls. “But fishing had been slow all morning long, and it had been pretty quiet.
“The shrimp had barely met the bottom,” he continues, “when the line tightened up with a solid strike. I set the hook, and a minute later pulled a 23-inch speckled trout up onto the bank.”
Lest photographic proof-positive be necessary, he sent me a photo of the Bait from Heaven Rockport Yacht Club Speckled Trout to post here on
We’ve all stood in frustration at one time or another in our angling careers, at least in our minds shaking our fists at uncooperative skies that have spelled the demise of a fishing trip or two. And we have all, in some context, heard reference to “Pennies from Heaven.”
That might apply in this case. However, last time I checked, even a single live shrimp cost more than a couple of pennies.
This particular shrimp, any way you value it, was as close to truly “priceless,” as any I know of. The same goes for the story. A tip of the fishing cap to Mr. Goode for sharing it with us.
Heaven knows, we hear our share of bad news these days.
Be it a seagull-dropped live shrimp or the handsome trout it produced, I’ll gladly accept, and sincerely appreciate, this particular bit of stranger-than-fiction fishing news and the gentleman who chose to share it with us.
I hope it brightened your day as much as it did mine.


(Note: I always like to read your fish stories, and as in this case, share them with others. If you have an interesting fish tale, and perhaps a JPEG photo as well, please send it via email to I look forward to hearing from you.)

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