Travel – What’s the Catch?

By Jeff Wilcox

Jeff Wilcox is an avid traveler, and someone that is continually seeking out the adventure that our great state has to offer. When he contacted us about an upcoming trip he had to the Texas Coast, we figured that it would be a great time to let him tell us about the experience. The temperatures are coming down, the fish are biting, and it is prime time for that coastal trip you’ve been putting off.

I love fishing the Texas Coast. I absolutely love waking up before dawn, smelling the sea air as we purr through the bays, and locking into some great redfish and trout. With this in mind, via word of mouth, I heard of an exclusive fishing camp and guide service based out of Rockport that was right up my alley.

With a couple of my favorite fishing buddies in tow, we made the three hour trip from the San Antonio area and pulled into Rockport just as the sun was beginning to settle over the serene bays. As we pulled up to the Back Lakes Lodge, we opened the door and were met by Luis. Luis explained to us that he was our chef for the weekend, and quickly asked, “Do you guys like ribeyes?” Without hesitation, we assured him that yes, we LOVE ribeyes, and so after showing us the fully stocked refridgerator and bar (both of which were included in cost), he ran to the store to fetch dinner.

As we all unwinded while watching the big screen TV and sitting in leather recliners, Luis busied himself over the BBQ pit, eventually whipping up some delicious steaks, potatoes, salads, and drinks. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, complete with wine, and retired to the game room to play some pool and low ante poker. Once Luis saw that we were subdued for the evening, he set a menu for breakfast and left us to ourselves the rest of the evening.

The lodging is fantastic. A spacious home, featuring 3 beds/3 baths, each of us had our own private quarters with a private bath. Once we had told enough fish stories for one night, it was nice to lay in your own room for a little light reading.

We were all awakened to the smell of bacon on the stove, and we emerged to find Luis whipping up a breakfast fit for a king. Bacon, eggs, waffles, orange juice, and hot coffee was laid out across the table, and we all devoured it knowing we were in for a long day.

As we emerged from the lodge to head for the boat, he handed each of us a pre-packed lunch he had made that morning. Nice touch!! He also packed our cooler for us with beers, soft drinks, waters, and loaded the cooler into the airboat for us.

That’s right, an airboat. Austin Nesloney, the guide for Back Lakes Lodge, specializes in shallow water fishing, and in order to get us into those untouched shallow waters, it takes unique transportation. If you’ve never enjoyed an airboat ride, I’d recommend. It’s an odd sensation as the boat doesn’t sit in the water, it sits atop the water. Zooming along at 45 miles per hour in water that is literally ankle deep is exhilarating.

Austin told us he had scouted out a few areas for us, and within a few minutes, we glided to a stop and Austin had all three of us holding rods ready to begin the fight. And the fight came quickly and didn’t stop for the rest of the day. Fish after fish we fought, from trout to redfish to black drum. With a full keeper box, Austin took us from location to location, all the while we’re enjoying the scenery and the beauty of the Gulf Coast.

Upon return, tired and smiling from ear to ear, Austin cleaned our fish while Luis poured us our favorite drinks. As we all enjoyed the air conditioning back in the lodge, Luis asked us how we would like our catch prepared for the evening. We enjoyed a wonderful freshly caught fish dinner under the lights in the backyard. Just three guys, laughing loudly, and feeling like kings for the weekend.

If you’re thinking of getting away this fall/winter, consider the Back Lakes Lodge. They also offer “cast/blast” packages that involve duck hunting in addition to the guided fishing.

But book early – the Lodge fills quickly.

What: Back Lakes Lodge, Rockport, Tx

Contact: Shane Reynolds at to set up your trip to Back Lakes Lodge.

Hits: The amenities and food are stellar. Comfortable beds and great TVs. Game room with pool tables.

Misses: When it’s hot, it’s HOT. Plan accordingly. The airboat is LOUD. Kids might not like the noise.

Jeff Wilcox is a native of Bulberde, TX and has written extensively for many travel magazines throughout the country.

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