Reeling it In Pt. 2 – The Pier and The Fish

Local News

For the past few years, one man has been working to bring a pier into South Padre Island. The proposal is build a 1000 foot pier out into the Gulf of Mexico. In the past, many have tried but many have failed to maintain similar structures. Clayton Brashear has a permit to build his pier, but instead we him working on a walkway. Construction is set for 2017, why isn’t construction starting now?

Clayton Brashear, owner of Clayton’s Beach Bar, says, “Because of the hotel next door, we have to work in conjunction of this. This property is 60 feet wide, and it’s 1000 ft long. And the hotel will use part of it to build the hotel. We have to work around their schedule a little bit to get along with the logistic equipment to build it.”

This pier will perhaps used for special events such as weddings, draw out the surfing community, and of course, one of the largest and most popular industry recreational activities in this area, fishing.

Local Fisherman and President of Fishing’s Future, Shane Wilson states, “If you want to fish in the Gulf of Mexico, you can go to Corpus and fish their piers or you can go to the jetties. Jetties are a very dangerous place. When the waves are high, and they’re crashing, the mist goes over the rocks and makes the rocks slippery. It’s Dangerous.”

This proposed pier will be 1000 feet long. But why 1000? Previous piers on the island were much shorter. Kleinman’s back in the 60’s was at most 600 ft.

“The reason is to get in the deeper water. You want to get the pier as far in the deeper water as you can because there is bigger fish. The deeper the water the bigger the fish.  You will have the potential to catch an 8 foot shark off the end of this pier,” says Brashear.

“The beach takes you almost beyond the third sandbar. Which is 20-25-30  foot of water. That opens up to shark fishing… a lot of your blue water fish. You’re going to be catching … a lot of Spanish, good trout, good redfish, good black drum, good pompano, you’re going to be catching some fun fish,” states Wilson.

Either way, this proposed pier will not be the only pier in the area. There is still the one’s on Port Isabel. This includes Pirates’ Landings’ Pier. If you’ve ever been there, then you have a rough idea of what Clayton’s will be like. However will this be competition for this existing pier?

Wilson says, “That’s a bay fishing pier, and a different set of fish that you’re going to catch. But to have a pier go out into the Gulf of Mexico. From a fisherman’s perspective, it’s going to become a destination.”

While out with some of the local fishermen, opinions are for the most part positive. In fact some state they’re surprised there has not been more efforts to bring in various piers sooner. Others believe this is the type of attraction a community like south padre should offer. Whether privately or government owned. 

Steve Hathcock from the South Padre Island Historical foundation says, “You come to the island, you come for more than just laying in the sand.  You come and you fish. You watch the birds. You do a variety of things, you go boating.  And that is one of the things that goes naturally with a place like ours.”

“It will bring the fish, which is going to bring the fishermen, which is going to bring is going to bring in the dollars to the island, people will come here to fish all night. So that means they are going to have to get a place to stay, they’ve got to have some food to eat. And economically it’s good,” says Wilson.

Brownsville Historical Association’s Eugene Fernandez says, “Whether the county does it or a private interest is neither here nor there because a person is not going to stop at the beginning of the pier and say, ‘I’m not going to go on here if it’s a government owned enterprise.’ No, they’re going to go on it because it’s serving their interest. They want to come out here and fish. Fishing is wonderful in South Texas.”

Whether this will become a popular destination is yet to be determined. Fishermen will go wherever the fish go.

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