San Jac players relax on day off by going fishing on Grand Mesa

It wasn’t the bass, catfish and other Southern fish species they were used to.

And on the Grand Mesa lake that some members of the San Jacinto College-North team from Houston, Texas, fished Tuesday afternoon, there was no jumping into the water.

“I’m used to getting out of the boat, jumping in the water and having a good time,” said Gators right fielder Justin Byrd. “Here, if you stick your hand in the water too long, you’ll get frostbite.”

On San Jac’s day off from the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, Byrd, along with third baseman Kirby Taylor, designated hitter Kyle Chaskin and a few family members, spent three hours fishing.

And one night after defeating Neosho County (Kan.) Community College 9-5 in front of 10,435 fans, the three Gators said they caught about eight rainbow trout up to 14 inches long before an audience of snow, mountains and gin-clear water.

Not a bad way for the Gators, 2-0 in the tournament, to prepare for their 7:30 p.m. matchup tonight against Gordon (Ga.) College.

“You could look straight down and see the bottom of the lake,” Byrd said. “You could see fish swimming around the boat. It was incredible. In Texas, the water’s pretty dirty and so hot.”

Byrd said each year San Jac makes it to the JUCO World Series, players head to a lodge owned by a team acquaintance.

On Tuesday, they fished mostly from a boat, using power bait, small treble hooks and four-pound test line.

Taylor used the day to forget about baseball, erase from his mind a pair of bunts he bobbled in the third inning against Neosho, even though, of course, his leadoff triple in the top of the eighth jolted Sac Jac to victory.

“As long as we win,” Taylor said. “Just win, baby — Vince Lombardi.”

Now the Neosho game is mostly forgotten, fishing once again having made men relaxed, renewed and ready for the next day.


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