Legendary Texas Fisherman Dies After Oyster Cut Leads to Flesh-eating Bacteria Infection

by Matthew Memrick

A legendary Texas fisherman died after an oyster cut led to a flesh-eating bacteria infection and death in late July.

Friends and family told the Houston Chronicle that South Padre Island fishing boat guide Raymond “Skipper” H. Mock died on July 30. He died in Brownsville at age 61.

The Port Isabel South Padre website said Victoria Mock, Skipper’s daughter, said her father was in good spirits when he went to the hospital on July 23. He told his son, Corey, that he would be fine and to continue with his day. Later, surgeons amputated his leg, but the Vibrio had spread, and he succumbed to it.

Mock developed sepsis and then organ failure after an oyster cut led to the Vibrio infection. Though rare, the flesh-eating bacteria condition affects 20,000 a year. The bacteria eats at an open wound and goes after soft tissue. Doctors say the situation, if not treated quickly, can lead to death.

Immediate symptoms include fever, nausea, diarrhea, and chills. Sepsis and organ failure can occur within hours. People with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe cases.

Legendary Texas Fisherman Who Died Started Guide Service in 1982

At a young age, he learned his fishing skills from a grandfather. After high school in 1982, Mock started Catch the Fish Charter Service and taught his two children, Victoria and Corey. Corey stuck with fishing and became a full-time captain. 

Many remembered Mock’s legacy as he helped establish Cameron County as a top fishing destination, according to Channel 5 News.

The Port Isabel South Padre website said the hometown hero swam with sharks in Hawaii. Notably, he rode a jet ski alongside his partner, Karen Watt, for 1,800 miles from South Padre Island to the Florida Keys on one occasion.

Mock’s legend grew after he won fishing tournament after fishing tournament. He even took then-Texas Governor Ann Richards out fishing for redfish. 

Visitation and a life celebration will be from 3 to 6 p.m. on August 8 at the Parrot Eyes Restaurant and Bar in South Padre Island. 

He is survived by his kids and his partner of 16 years, Karen Watt.

Family ‘Heartbroken’ about Legendary Fisherman’s Death

Mock’s sister, Rhodie Rawls, wrote on Facebook that the family is “heartbroken” to lose him.

“Thank you all for the prayers and encouragement the past few days. Sepsis and organ failure had taken over his body after contracting the flesh-eating bacteria last week, and he was not able to fight it off.”

Mock’s friend, John Dargan, shared photos of the fisherman, writing: “Captain Skipper Mock, my very special friend, and brother for over thirty years. Fondly considered a special member of my family. A man of steel with a heart of gold. The best of the best sea captains you could ever hope to fish with. Rest In Peace, Skipper. We will remember and think of you each and every day.”

Victoria Mock told the Port Isabel South Padre website a local fundraiser netted $17,000 in days for Mock’s medical bills and estate organization. Fishing’s Future Founder and CEO Shane Wilson organized the fundraiser.

Also, this year’s Texas International Fishing Tournament (TIFT) paid a special tribute to the late fisherman. They awarded a posthumous award, the Good Sportsman Trophy, to Mock.