On fall and winter nights through the better part of the twentieth century, Rudy Grigar would wade into Galveston Bay and listen to the roar of the redfish. Swimming in schools up to five hundred strong, they sounded to him like freight trains churning through the dark. “The closer they got,” he recalled in a 1997 memoir, “the louder the noise.”
Grigar, who owned a tackle shop in Houston, had been fishing the state’s shallow bays and estuaries since the Great Depression. In the early seventies, he was still landing countless bounties of redfish, also known as red drum, and up to a hundred speckled trout in a day. By the end of that decade, though, the glory days had come to an end. Trout were in steep decline, and more than half of the redfish had disappeared.
Grigar blamed one culprit: commercial fishermen wielding lethally effective nets.
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