LUCKY, AGAIN

An­thony Mi­hal­ski’s fish­ing hole at Port Mans­field has made him lots of money on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

Some­body once said it’s bet­ter to be lucky than good. I al­ways thought that would have been some­body who wasn’t very good. Now I’m not so sure. An­thony Mi­hal­ski is my test case.

Mi­hal­ski is a cat­tle auc­tion­eer by trade, a fish­er­man by choice. He loves it.

And he loves one spot at Port Mans­field, a lot. It’s made him lots of money, and the only way to ex­plain it would be luck.

“I’m one of the luck­i­est guys …” Mi­hal­ski says. “I once won $35,000 on a $16 bet in Las Ve­gas with a royal flush.”

What’s that go to do with fish­ing? I’ll tell you. Mi­hal­ski, who lives in San An­to­nio, prob­a­bly had bet­ter odds of draw­ing that royal flush than he did of catch­ing a tagged red­fish that won him a new truck, boat, mo­tor and trailer in the Coastal Con­ser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual sum­mer fish­ing tour­na­ment.

The Hous­ton-based group tags red­fish and re­leases them up and down the coast. The first five tags that are turned in win the grand prize truck-trailer-boat-en­gine. Mi­hal­ski did just that, catch­ing one of the tagged fish from among mil­lions of red­fish and trout swim­ming in Texas coastal wa­ters.

But there’s more to the story.

This isn’t the first time he’s won a prize in the con- test. In that fish­ing hole. And the tagged fish that won him the big prize this year, wasn’t even the first tagged fish that he and his wife Harriet caught that day. Did we men­tion all those fish came from the same fish­ing hole?

“Back in 2006, I caught the largest trout weighed in for the Lower Coast,” Mi­hal­ski says.

“It was 30.5 inches long and weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces.” That was good for a boat and mo­tor from CCA. Ac­cord­ing to the rules, Mi­hal­ski was in­el­i­gi­ble to win any prize again un­til this year.

With re­newed el­i­gi­bil­ity, he’s been fish­ing his fa­vorite hole reg­u­larly.

“I took my daugh­ter out that morn­ing, and we caught fish,” Mi­hal­ski re­called. On the way back in, Mi­hal­ski says he saw that the wind and weather had got­ten ex­actly right. “I told my wife we’d go for an hour and catch a win­ning fish.”

When the cou­ple got set up on Mi­hal­ski’s magic hole, Harriet cast first. She caught a tagged red­fish. “Her fish had a CCA tag but the tag was bro­ken off,” he says. “We couldn’t read it.” They re­leased the fish but it wasn’t do­ing well and de­cided to keep it for din­ner that night. That red­fish went into the ice chest.

“Then I made a cast, and we could see the tag on that fish,” Mi­hal­ski says. “It got real ex­cit­ing. Those were the only two fish we caught.” With the red­fish in the boat, the Mi­hal­skis rubbed off the al­gae that had grown on the tag, saw that it was a 2010 fish and im­me­di­ately pulled an­chor and headed for home with their fish worth a cool $70,000.

Mi­hal­ski had to travel to Hous­ton to take a CCA-re­quired poly­graph test. He passed. Of course, he passed. Who could make this stuff up?

An­thony Mi­hal­ski and his wife Harriet show off the tagged red­fish An­thony caught re­cently near Port Mans­field. It was worth a truck, boat, mo­tor and trailer.

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