By Lynn Frizzell, Special to the Star
About two hundred miles south of the Texas Mexico border at Matamoros there is the little village of Tepehuajes which is near the gulf coast.I think Tepejuajes is some kind of tree grown locally. There is a river and lagoon there and the mouth of the river is Barra de Ostiones. Today I could not locate the river or the bar on present day maps. A group of friends decided make a trip to see the place. We had heard of the fishing and oysters so we took some good fishing tackle.
The folks on the trip were Jeff and Karen Jones, Geoffrey and Connie Drake, Glen and Jenny Whitley, Kenneth and Janice Bobo, Don Scoggins, and me and my wife, Donna. We all agreed to meet at a certain hour at a pull off the highway just outside the city of Matamoros. I think all were gathered up and ready to travel within 30 minutes of the time agreed upon. We stopped in San Fernando and stocked up fresh vegetables. Ripe tomatoes were plentiful along with chile serranos, onions and a few other vegetables. We were ready to be on our way again. At Tejon, a small village at a fork in the road, we took the left fork and into the backwoods of northern Mexico. That highway was not as well maintained than the main highway going on to Ciudad Victoria, so it slowed us somewhat
After about an hour from the fork in the road, we came to a dirt road to Tepejaujes, down near the Gulf of Mexico. The dirt and oyster shell road was rough and slow going. When we arrived at Tepejuajes close to the beach, we turned south toward Barra de Ostiones on a rougher old road, and at that point it proved the point of only four-wheel drive vehicles should be along. One of the guys who had disregarded our requirement got stuck in the soft and very deep sand. There was no way for him to get out by themselves, so all had to stop and dig him out. I don’t remember how long it took, but maybe an hour and a half, let’s say.
We finally got settled at a big palapa on the beach near the surf. It was great, but then a guy came out and told us we had to get out and move across the dunes and in the softer sand and with terrible weeds. The guy told us the boss was coming later and wanted to use the palapa, but I think it was just an excuse to get rid of us because the boss never came as long as were there.
Now we were ready to play. We had stopped at the lagoon and bought 140 fresh oysters that we had asked for. When we went back to get them, we paid 1 cent apiece for them all and the $1.40 was the best deal made the whole trip. Anyhow, when we all got settled, and it might have been the next morning, we drove down to the lagoon- -it was a paradise!. The lagoon was clear water, there were tropical plants all around and plenty of space to park, except to that one fellow who got stuck again. The men got out their tackle and some of the women went over to the barra, a sand bar across the end of the lagoon.
Donna and Karen could have picked up a bushel of good sand dollars, allowing them to have a very good afternoon, and probably the highlight of their trip. Glen had brought a small rowing boat and had the best time out in the water. We started catching speckled trout as soon as we started, maybe even it might have been on the first cast. The water was clear and we could see the fish take our lures and the fight was on. It was an exciting after noon to say the least.
We went back to the campsite and fried fish and oysters, and with a salad prepared by some of the ladies, it could not have been better anywhere.
After some rest and funny conversation, the men went back to the lagoon. I had brought my flounder gig and a Coleman lantern, which had a handle with a shield to reflect the light toward the water. It was still about an hour until dark and a few more trout were caught. A local guy had been watching and finally came over to see what was going on. He was nice and a calm individual. When he saw me getting ready to get in the water, he asked about the gig. He couldn’t understand our sign language and I didn’t know the word for flounder. He was still curious, so I drew a rough image of a flounder in the sand and stuck the gig right behind the head and we thought the guy was going to have a fit with his laughter that he couldn’t control. There was very good laughter among us and when we gave the little man a cold Miller’s Light, he was beside himself. Encounters like this and make new friends, even for a short time, is like I have said, one of the many reasons I loved travelling in Mexico. In general, the Mexican people are genuine and humble and very generous with their time.
I entered the water and was amazed at the number of flounder. I could even see them swimming to hide on the bottom and wait for something to eat. I’ve never even heard of such an event. I don’t remember how many flounder I gigged but I gave a few to our scrawny little happy man and away he went. I have been on many a flounder gigging trip, and have gigged many more than this trip, but this was far more the best of all.
Since it was time to get back on the road on the return trip, I still had to deal with my carburetor problem. Glen made short work, taking some strong fishing line and tied the butterfly open and all was hunky dory!
I could go on and on, but space requires me to stop it for now. I have many other stories of my Mexico adventures and fishing in Mexico, so I will try to get back one day.
Lynn Frizzell, a Harlingen native, has spent a lifetime hunting and fishing, has traveled extensively throughout Mexico and continues to write about his many outdoor adventures.