In the late 1800s the residents of Mustang Island had one industry, tarpon fishing. Local guides used locally make row boats to quietly row rich northern fishermen into huge, 100 yards wide and 400 long, schools of tarpon. They would hook one of these 5-6 foot, 60-70 pound fighters and the battle was on. The rods were made of a single piece of bamboo and the reel had no drag. The fisherman used his thumb to press a leather patch against the reel. The guide would position the row boat to act a drag.
Storms in the early 1900s wiped out the fishing feet, the local guides and fishermen were desperate for new boats. Enter Fred Farley, master craftsman. Fred and his son opened Farley and Son, Boat Builder in 1915. They build a two person boat designed specifically for Tarpon fishing. The business closed in 1975. Rick reopened Farley Boat Works in 2010 where he and a crew of volunteers teach wooden boat building classes.
Rick tells us about his reproduction of an original Farley boat
He did not buy his fishing attire at Cabelas.
An early Tarpon rod and reel
In the 1930s the second generation Farley boat with a wider, heaver transom were created to accommodate the weight of outboard motors
Rick explains the changes in the second generation Farley boat
A Farley boat is simple, easy to built. In a three day class each participant builds their own boat. It only takes three days because many of the pieces are pre-cut. The cost is $300.
Next week a class of 10 year olds will build their boats.
A prototype of the Farley boat the class builds.
This is a new one man design for fly fishermen. The fish hide in the shallow areas of the lagoon, called the flats. They are only 10 or 12 inches deep. This boat only draws 6 inches of water.
I had a very enjoyable stay at Malaquite Campground. I was lucky and scored a beach front spot at this non reservable campground. There is a dump and fresh water, all for $4 a day with my old foggy pass. Long beach walks, fishing and birding are the main activities. Oh yea, relaxing too. I did a lot of that.
Last month the newly renovated Witte open it's doors. The exhibits, depicting Texas from millions of years ago to the present, have terrific computer interfaces informing the public about the display.
Linda at the Witte
In the grand entry a huge Quetzalcoatlus northropi hangs above
as images of other Quetzalcoatlus soar across the screen above.
Bad ass aquatic dinosaur attacks an early fish.
Acrocanthosaures walked across the ancient shoreline here 110 million years ago
I liked that each biome was open, not behind glass, displaying the fauna and flora of that region.
Thornbush - Bob Cat, Quail
Pineywoods - Black Bear, Turkey, Possum, Timber Rattler
Gulf Coast - Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle,
Coyote, Black Tailed Jackrabbit, Royal Tern
Wonderful life-size dioramas
The paleo-people moved with the seasons to take advantage of the bountiful flora.
4,500 years ago the locals used rock shelters during cold or wet period or times of a social gathering.
Spanish the late arrivals
Tejano freighters formed a lifeline between San Antonio and the rest of Texas and Mexico. Freighters carried not only goods, but news from around the region where they traveled.
In the early years only cattle hides were sold. The meat was consumed locally. After the Civil War cattle drives began in earnest with rancher like Charles Goodnight blazing trails north to the Kansas railheads. Now serious money was made ranching.