Fishing Yesterday's Gulf Coast
Natural History - Environmental History
6 x 9, 168 pp.
45 b&w photos., 29 line art.
Pub Date: 06/27/2008
Gulf Coast Books, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Price:        $15.95

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Fishing Yesterday's Gulf Coast

By Barney Farley
Foreword by George S. Hawn

Renowned fishing guide Barney Farley worked the Texas coastal waters out of Port Aransas for more than half a century. In these stories and reflections, Farley imparts a lifetime of knowledge about fish_silver trout, sand trout, speckled trout, redfish, ling, catfish, jack, kingfish, you name it_and gives advice about how to fish, where to fish, and when to fish.

Perhaps no one could chronicle the changes in sport and commercial fishing along the Central Texas Coast more ably and more passionately than Farley. When he came to Texas in 1910, he reported that he could get in a rowboat and using only a push pole, make his way "to the fishing grounds and catch a hundred pounds or more of trout and redfish" in a few hours. A couple of years later, the shrimp trawlers arrived. As they plied the Gulf in increasing numbers, they depleted the shrimp populations in the bays, and Farley watched the fish move farther and farther offshore, following their ever more elusive food source.

From his perspective in the mid1960s, Farley was not satisfied simply to lament the disappearance of onceabundant species. He also strongly voiced his views on the need for conservation. Many of the problems he identified are still with us, and some of the solutions he prescribed have since been adopted.

This book is both an appealing reminiscence and a cautionary tale. Anyone who cares about fishing and the health of the Gulf's waters will find an authoritative and completely engaging voice in Barney Farley.

BARNEY FARLEY was a Port Aransas fishing guide whose memories and stories about fishing the Texas coast were originally written in the 1960s for his family and friends. Their posthumous publication is supported by the Harvey Weil Sportsman Conservationist Award Trust of Corpus Christi.

What Readers Are Saying:

“We need more books like Farley’s Fishing Yesterday’s Gulf Coast, a true waterman’s book about a life on the water. A lively account of the quirky pleasures of fishing the Gulf in its heyday. One of the virtues of this wonderful book is his let’s-figure-out-how-to-do-it attitude toward the age-old questions of how and where to fish. Like all good saltwater fisherman, Farley was a master at improvising terminal tackle as well as at reading tides, weather and useful tips from telltale birdlife. If you need a wizened uncle, full to the eyebrows with unique saltwater fishing lore, Farley is your man, and his book is a great read.” --Gray’s Sporting Journal

“His observations of fish and wildlife habitat are careful, and his knowledge of the life cycle of various species of Gulf Coast fish is enormous. . . . Farley’s love of coastal sport fishing is revealed in all these essays.” --Review of Texas Books

“...provides amusing stories and worthy advice, a work successful in its readable and entertaining intention.” --Gulf Coast Historical Reivew

“. . . it was easy reading and entertaining. Marine anglers would welcome this book as it portrays a time when fishing was simpler and, evidently, when there were more fish available in the immediate area of Port Aransas. The tarpon and shark sections are especially enlightening considering both these species today are not as common as they used to be. . . . To go out and catch a tarpon today is a major effort in time and expertise. However, Barney talks about catching them easily and in high numbers. His observations concerning Jewfish and grouper are very important. Evidently, they were fairly common in the nearshore jetty area. Like sharks and tarpon, both these fishes are not very common off Texas in the shallow gulf. In fact, Jewish are seriously being considered to be added to the endangered species listing. Barney’s tale of fishing with President Roosevelt is important both from a historic perspective as well as being entertaining. . . . It brings out the human side of the Presidency in a very readable format. Barney presents many insights as to how to catch fish and information required to catch fish consistently. These insights are as important today as they were in Barney’s day. . . . Again, the readable and entertaining style is conducive for anyone wanting to read about fishing.” --late Larry McEachron, Science Director, Coastal Fisheries Division

“Barney’s instructions and tips on how to consistently catch fish are as appropriate today as when Barney was a guide. This information, shared in a readable and entertaining style, will still prepare the novice for a successful fishing trip, and even expert anglers will enjoy his insights.” --from the Introduction by Larry McEachron

“The importance of Barney Farley’s book to conservation and sport fishing, as well as to the economic well-being of our Texas an Gulf Coast, cannot be over emphasized.” --Dick Conolly, Corpus Christi

“Barney Farley is truly a legendary sport fisherman of our Gulf coast. His views on conservation of marine resources back 60 years are remarkably accurate today.” --Richard King

“Early fishing days with Barney Farley taught me much about the love of the sport and the thrill of the catch. Appreciation of the Gulf and the early days in Port Aransas are in my heart deeply.” --Mary Lewis Kleberg

“What a fine collection of stories written by a master fisherman!” --George S. Hawn, Corpus Christi

“One day, wading the flats at Port Aransas, I met Barney Farley and asked him, What is the best time of day to fish the flats for redfish? He replied simply, Any time there is a brisk tide, going in or out.” --Bill Negley, San Antonio


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