Fishing in Nueces Bay
Historic Accounts of Life in South Texas
 
From "A Personal Narrative of Explorations and Incidents in Texas, New Mexico, California, Sonora and Chihuahua" by John Russell Bartlett Published in 1854

A violent norther arose during the night, and we had it piercing cold to-day. When in the house, we were seated by fires, and when outside the door, wrapped in our overcoats. Yet in spite of all our efforts, it seemed almost impossible to keep warm, so penetrating are these winds to systems which have become relaxed.

When these winds blow so violently, they drive the water from the shallow lagunas into the Gulf, and increase the difficulty of navigating them. Many of the bars are then nearly dry. There is one in particular, across the mouth of the Nueces Bay, which deserves to be noticed. When the tide comes into this bay, as well as in all others, it is resorted to by large numbers of fish from the Gulf, to feed. The water may then be from five to ten feet deep, and is of the same temperature as that of the Gulf. But after a norther has blown for twelve or twenty-four hours, its temperature is so much reduced, that the fish become chilled, and not having strength enough to make their way over the bar, now more shallow than ever, they often lie there in heaps.

At these times the people go to the bar with their wagons, and with a spear or fork pick up the finest fish, weighing from ten to a hundred pounds, and thus carry away loads. Many were brought in today, and they proved a great luxury to us.

 
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