Patrick Lemire has earned a place among coastal angling royalty
Watching a stop sign quivering in tropical storm winds gave Patrick Lemire an idea for a new fishing lure.
From a thin piece of plastic, he fashioned a small cup on the line above a hook with dead bait. During a trial run, the tip of the fishing rod vibrated all the way up from the bait. Fish felt the motion in the water and went to investigate. Soon, they were on the hook.
The inventive 77-year-old Texas City resident, who was born in Galveston, also is known as “The Innovator.”
After four years in the U.S. Navy as an aviation machinist mate, Lemire worked at Todd Shipyard in Galveston and as a maintenance supervisor at what was then the Amoco refinery in Texas City. After he and his wife, Patricia, retired in 1998, Lemire turned to his avocation of fishing full-time.
Lemire, immersed in all things fishing, earned five world and seven state records, including one for catching the smallest fish. He has written 236 articles on fishing, won awards for magazine illustrations and presented many seminars at the Houston Fishing Show.
On a recent 36-hour offshore trip aboard the Captain John out of Galveston’s Pier 19, Lemire tried free-line fishing off the stern, while others fished the bottom. Lemire has been trying new approaches since he began fishing with his uncle 70 years ago in the Galveston channels.
He has crafted many new lures. He produces out of his pocket what he calls his “computer,” a small, inch-thick notebook with pages of neatly penned ideas. They include a spin-rod harness bracket, camouflaged line of blue and green and a diamond treble jig. People often ask him whether he’s an engineer.
Chris Gonzales, owner of Serious Tackle in La Marque, calls Lemire “The Duke.”
“He’s No. 1 when it comes to knowledge of offshore fishing, species and tackle rigging,” Gonzales said. “For 30 years, I’ve learned from him — still do to this day.”
In the Lemires’ den are results of his expertise, including a mounted rainbow runner, a mess of beautiful fish and record certificates. Fishing shows play on a large-screen TV.
Yet, these trophies and trappings of excellence aren’t the real reason Lemire goes offshore fishing. He collects friendships — and there’s no limit.
On the Captain John, anglers are assigned to numbers listed around the rail. In the stern corner, a simple plaque reads “Patrick Lemire.” With more than 70 years of fish stories, Lemire has earned his place.