No such thing as 'bad fishing day'
Robert M. Gilmore says there's no such thing as a bad fishing trip.
You don't know Robert M. Gilmore? Try thinking of him as Doc Gilmore, then.
Dr. Robert Gilmore, known to generations as "Doc," retired as a physician in April of this year, but he'd be recognized in Port Aransas not as a physician, but as an angler, even though he reckons he's delivered "more than 4,000 babies" in a medical career that spanned a half-century.
He's one of this year's inductees into the Port Aransas Boatmen Inc. Hall of Fame. And for reason.
Gilmore started leaving his medical practice behind in Portland, where he lived at the time, and coming to Port Aransas on weekends to fish back in the 1970s. In 1985 he and wife Sharon built a home here, and they moved here permanently in 1995.
The journey to the coast was a circuitous one for Doc and Sharon. He grew up in Michigan and joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He got his bachelor's degree from Baylor University in Waco and then attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where he received his MD.
And that's when the affair began with the rod and reel.
"Fishing was a logical thing to do when we moved to the coast," Doc said.
He credits Noe Garza, the first Latino federal judge in Texas, with introducing him to saltwater fishing in Galveston. Since then, he's been a coastal fishing advocate.
Doc came to this area when he did his internship at the old Memorial Medical Center in Corpus Christi. He opened a practice in Portland in 1957, and the rest is history.
Like many expert anglers, Doc is picky. He's a speckled sea trout (more familiarly known as "speck") specialist.
"Trout is awfully hard to beat," he said.
Furthermore, not just any trout meets Gilmore's specifications. He fishes only in the surf or off the jetties, and only with artificial lures such as plastic worms.
Does that work?
"I've had so many good experiences catching trout … I think of so many of them," he said, when asked about his best fishing trip ever.
One trip does stand out in his mind, however: He finally caught his first billfish, a sail, in the 1970s. And he took second place in the Deep Sea Roundup with the sail.
And the best fish he ever caught? That's easy. "It was a 52-pound, 52-inch redfish I caught off the jetty," Gilmore recalled. That was before the Gilmores moved to Port Aransas, but "everybody was there when I caught it," he said, "Bill Horn and everybody."
About those bad fishing trips … "There are some you have problems with, but that's because of boat problems or your companions," Gilmore claimed.
Sharon recalled one offshore trip where engine problems left them adrift and it took six hours to get back to shore.
"She talked to me for six hours," Doc said, nodding toward his wife. "What's bad about that?"