Back in the seventies, nineteen seventy-eight to be exact, when we first started fishing together, there weren’t any really shallow running boats available, but, that’s where the big fish were feeding. The fast flowing currents of the Lower Laguna Madre swept small bait over the grass covered flats straight into the sights of the predators that stalked the pot holes and drop-offs, and laid in ambush around the corners of spoil banks.
Most fishermen at the time were working the Intracoastal waterway with shrimp on popping corks or free shrimping along the channel edge or in the nearby deep pot holes. Freddy, however, had been a commercial fisherman before we met and, all those guys who set trot lines, knew that the big ones were in the shallows. In fact, the best places to drift fish were covered with the lines that, at the time, were strung above the surface, making it difficult to navigate safely, if you didn’t know what you were doing.
In those days, we couldn’t even buy an artificial lure in this area, except for the plastic I. T. Nubie worm, made by a character who lived in a trailer in the parking lot at Jim’s Pier. We were able, though, to order molds for plastic bass worms and jig-heads from Betty’s tackle shop in San Benito, in order to pour our own tackle; well, Freddy did all the pouring! By nineteen eighty, we had worked our way up to Cordell Redfin broken back topwaters and Johnson Sprite spoons that Freddy would take the treble hook off of and put on a single hook with a nubie worm; he was never satisfied with anything straight out of the package. The next big move was to switch to a plastic fish-like worm that he made called a Freddy’s Miracle Lure that was on the market for a few years, which led to the change to Mansfield Maulers with a Miracle Lure. He even made his own corks out of balsa wood for a time; then, our next move was to the Cajun Thunder sliding corks. There was a time, when the brown tide was so bad in the bay, that for a season, we actually had to adapt to not having any clear water to fish in and used live shrimp, which led to the biggest jump in our tackle history to date; Berkley Gulp lures.
Long before the brown tide era, a new shallow running boat came out around nineteen eighty-four that changed everything and made the flats accessible to all anglers, and we had to learn to share. That boat, of course, was the eighteen foot Shallow Sport! This new age led to many improvements in salt water fishing tackle, and allowed guides to multiply in the South Padre, Port Isabel area.
Today, we still use the Gulp shrimp, but now it’s hopping and dropping under Freddy’s latest innovation, the FP3, or Fred Petty’s Power Popper! With the ever increasing boat traffic and a loss of habitat caused by the fresh water flooding of 2010, and muddy conditions from open bay dredge disposal, we have had to deal with much more competition for redfish especially, than ever before. The pressure on the flats, has made it harder and harder to get close enough to cast to fish from a drifting boat. The solution, is to call the fish to the boat with an FP3!
Fred Petty’s Power Popper
We are making FP3 available to everyone!
Please call me to get yours at 956 943-2747
or visit one of the tackle stores that sell FP3.