"The fishing stops until I get a picture of THAT!"
Just as those words left my mouth, a pink bottle-nosed dolphin breached the tea-colored waters of Lake Calcasieu in Southwest Louisiana. Yes, it was pink, Pepto-Bismol pink in fact.
The school of redfish we were on seemed insignificant as an opportunity to photograph these ultra rare creature presented itself.
Dubbed "Pinky" by locals, it had been photographed by several Calcasieu fishing guides over a few year span and I could not have been more excited to get my chance.
The beautiful creature is the only known albino adult bottle-nosed dolphin on the planet and is a brilliant reminder that some of natures greatest mysteries inhabit our waterways.
"Pinky" is an albino bottle-nosed dolphin living in Lake Calcasieu, Louisiana. It is the only known one of its kind in the world. Photo: Chester Moore
When I was around five years old my father, Chester Moore, Sr., had his own mysterious aquatic encounter.
While fishing with a friend on Conway Bayou on the Louisiana side of the Sabine River, a gigantic grey-colored creature surfaced next to their aluminum boat and inspired them to head home.
He immediately called a local game warden and was shocked to find out a manatee had been seen in that very location a few days earlier. This was in the days before multiple television networks dedicated to animals and of course no Internet, so this sighting came as a shock to the system.
Recently a manatee was captured on video near Lake Calcasieu and in the last few years there have been sightings near Port Mansfield (where there are manatee warning signs in the harbor) and Corpus Christi.
According to the wildlife officials at Louisiana State University (LSU), manatees are a marine mammal of the order Sirenia, derived from the Latin word "siren" or "mermaid".
Many people believe that sailors mistook manatees for the mythological mermaid.
Manatees have a body form similar to a seal, but they are much larger, reaching 13 ft in length. Manatee can live to be 50 years old. The average manatee is 10 ft long and weighs roughly 1000 lbs. Females are usually larger than males.
According to LSU officials, manatees spend 6 to 8 hrs a day in shallow water grazing grass beds consuming roughly 100 lbs of food each day which equals 4 to 9 percent of body weight.
"They can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes and have been known to sprint for short distances at 15 mph. Manatees will communicate through sound, sight, taste, and touch. Manatees can hear very well even though they do not have external ear lobes."
My wife, Lisa, and I have snorkeled with manatees on two occasions in Floridas Crystal River and we were amazed at how friendly these giants can be. It was sad to see the prop scars lining their back but interesting to know Florida is the epicenter of the U.S. population and certain individuals travel up and down the Intracoastal Waterway and end up in Texas and Louisiana.
A few years back my friend Bill Killian and I were fishing at one of the nearshore gas platforms out of Sabine Pass on a super hot and perfectly calm day. High barometric pressure gave the fish a good case of lockjaw but things did not stay dull for long.
A huge head surfaced out past the rig. At first it looked like images of the Loch Ness Monster or some other sea serpent but then a distinctive tear drop-shaped body rose and revealed a leatherback sea turtle.
This was not just any leatherback but a huge specimen that was at least seven feet long, perhaps larger. These are not common sights on the Texas coast, particularly only three miles from shore. It swam around for a couple of minutes and then dove back under never to be seen again by us.
Turtles can live for incredibly long periods and I cannot help but wonder what that great creature had seen over the years. How many boat hulls had it swam under? How many brushes with tiger and bull sharks did it have through the years?
Fascinating, isnt it?
Texas is blessed with hundreds of miles of coastline and thousands of miles of rivers as well as hundreds of reservoirs. There are still mysteries to uncover below the surface.
If you have any unusual aquatic encounters or photos and videos you have captured, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will use them in a future story at fishgame.com that will celebrate the wonders of the underwater world.