Oso Pier Ennis Joslin @ Ocean DriveOSO PIER. At the corner of Ennis Joslin & Ocean Drive where Ocean Drive is "smooth road" unlike the nightmare northward on Ocean all the way to Emerald Beach Holiday Inn, there lies The Oso Pier. Legendary in its nature thru the decades, not sure when it was built & believe it was 1947 or 1948, but can tell you that a number of us as teens used to go fishing on it in 1970s. Cole Park Pier sadly has closed and is actually dangerous, the rebar has rotted inside the pilings. Not that there was any ever good fishing there, but it sure as hell was high on the FUN and SCENIC category watching the sun rise over bay with light reflecting on one of the most beautiful skylines in the United States. And then you catch a gafftop or hardhead and ruins damn mood! The Weathermen on the different channels, KZTV, KIII & KRIS used to give fishing reports from this place, and tell you 'what is biting' like drum, redfish, and so forth.
This is a song by Melissa Manchester called "Midnight Blue" and will tell you significance of it. Feel free to listen to it while reading along. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-7yzvezAMY
The Oso used to be really long, about as long as Cole Park Pier. Lights under walkway was brilliant idea as it attracted a whole slew of good fish like speckled trout, sand trout, redfish and flounder who like to stare at shiny things while laying flat on bottom. I used to do same thing, but it was called Geography class at W. B. Ray, just lay there, catatonic, eyes open but asleep after long night of work at Burger Chef on Weber & SPID in 1970s. Shiny things. And I drooled. So a recent trip to my hometown I discovered Oso Pier was reopen after long dormancy! Wow! I understand they have a concept that they will cook what you catch, this used to be done at Mai Tai on North Beach. More later. The Oso also rents fishing poles. Novel! There is small, insignificant fee to enter the pier, big deal, used to have fee for us in 1970s too. A look at Coastal Bend Attractions shows a nice array of food, beverages & fishing. https://www.coastalbendmenuguide.com/Oso-Grill-Pier-Corpus-Christi-Restaurants.php
But if Melissa Manchester has finished her crooning, soulful song, sort of what you see in vacation sites like Trivago, where the photos don't match the place when you get there, we were going to try this place out, but noticed no air condition, on a number of reviews online. A few negs on yelp also sort of made me apprehensive, but also realize a lot of stuff on Yelp! is rigged anyhows. Driving up to the place I simply turned around, didn't want to eat on 96 degree day with no AC, and place where they allow dogs. I love dogs and have 3 of them, but don't want to take them where I eat. Sort of Health Department issue. So we left. I took a few photos and the pier looks like it really got wiped out by Harvey like lots of things did, so only fraction of what it once was. We ended up going to eat at a place with air condition, not giving Oso Grille & Pier a chance. This time. Still listening to Melissa Manchester? When I was about 16 was fishing off Oso Pier one quiet morning about 4:00am with buddies, I had little AM radio with KEYS on and that song came on. As I looked out over water at ship building yards across bay that looked like alien world cities with some rigs being built, the mercury vapor lights glistening off the bay, the sound of lonely horn on a unseen buoy breaking the song, you realize just how precious life is and all things around you. For once in my turbulent life, was at peace with the world. Midnight Blue. My friends further down, the occasion splash of a lead weight hitting the glass like water. "Whatever it is we can keep till the morning, haven't we got better things to do?" sang Melissa. I looked down and there was 2-3 ribbon fish starting up at me, holding their pattern vertically, waiting for me to either drop another line, or catch something so they could hit it before reeled it in. So I quietly dropped a line with shrimp on it, we always used shrimp, dead, from Chapa's on the L-head. Can eat it too, cocktail or bait, yum. I caught the little 4 foot son of a bitch believe it or not, they not too smart like seagulls. Pulled him up, stepped on his head so he could not sink those barracuda like teeth into anything mine, removed hood, cut head off. I got my super sharp knife, it was so sharp (how sharp was it? chorus on pier says) but was so sharp you could cut yourself just looking at it. So while mister ribbonfish looked on, just his head, I used rest of his body for 'cut bait' ha ha. That'lll lurn yuh bro! His head watched me cast out another line with a small part of his flesh on hook, caught a trout, trouts LOVE shiny stuff like that. Flounders won't touch it on bottom though. Friends also came over & picked up slices of Mister Ribbonfish who head was now dead, and soul in hell where ribbonfish go. Gafftop too. And piggy perches! Anyways, neat memory of Melissa Manchester song on old radio fishing hours before sun rises brings back happy memory. Stupid Ribbonfish ruined damned memory though.
I hope the little Oso Grille & Pier does well & is a staple there for many years to come. Gone is the old ship Ahoy #2 building that was next door. If there is any advise I could offer Oso Grille & Pier (from my own 30+ years in bar & restaurant business in Corpus Christi & Houston). If you do not have AC, get it. Cold beer is not fun hot. And uncomfortable customers are unhappy customers. Love the outside deck, if you have the resources, make it bigger. Samewith pier as the pier I saw July 2018 small, can wade out further. And I know about Harvey. I get it, we STILL not fully recovered in Houston, so it takes time. But you have one of the best fishing holes in Corpus Christi there if longer pier, so maybe make it happen. And if you build it, they will come... you might want to lose the dogs allowed thing, big health risk and a violation too. If you read some reviews: "Sorry to say this, but it had an odor inside identical to a place with felines. Despite the bill being around $40, they still charged for water" & "It took over an hour and a half to get our meal. Plus I ordered a water and never even got a refill or asked the whole time we were there. the food was undercooked. Coleslaw was warmer than my entree." tell workers they there to work, not text friends. Emphasis on the food & service! "The food is nothing special. The venue is run down with no air conditioning, and it took a long time for a food to come out when there weren't very many people there." Yup, Chef Ramsay would be screaming obscenities by now. And Black Diamond, while 'no view' is not far away. Good luck to the Oso Grille & Pier, I think with a little tweaking (not twerking) they will be fine.
Photo #1 Look ma, no rails! And only 25 cents. This was well before rails added, probably one too many drunk fisherman fell in and Mister Ribbonfish with body still attached to head, had his way with him. (
Photo #2. Oso Grille & Pier as it appears July 2018. Looks like a neat little place, but with the possibility of no air condition on a almost 100 degree Corpus Christi day & no breeze, we simply went elsewhere.
Photo #3. Oso Grille & Pier front view. In fishin talk, we call the water in bay behind it 'like glass!' Man, you can feel anything hit your line, even a slow moving crab.
Photo #4. Not Oso Pier but Cole Park. Before it shut down. Oso's Pier in the 1970s blew away anything caught from Cole Park except...The unsurpassed view of Corpus Christi skyline. Hope Cole Park pier is rebuilt and hope City if can find in budget, build two more just to south of this pier, as the tourist dollars would be great!
Photo #5. Corpus Christi downtown skyline one of most beautiful in USA.
Photo #6. Not so beautiful is Mister Ribbonfish smiles for camera. I have a oven mitt on holding him. Not smartest thing to do, but wanted my 3 cent hook back. So pulled it out, and let him go. Mister Ribbonfish had to go to Mister Ribbonfish Dentist when I got thru with him though. I hate those things, just good for cut bait.