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Wednesday, April 16. 2014
This tale is about a fishing trip that got blown out! High winds prevented us from going out more that 2 miles.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 09:51 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, April 11. 2014
The period of my life from 1960 to 1964 was spent finishing up my Army Reserve duty, working three jobs and welcoming my first child, Brad. All of this left precious little time for any outdoor activities. However, several times during this period I did have the opportunity to spend a Saturday hunting or fishing in the Trinity River bottoms, between Dayton and Liberty, Texas.
We would enter “The Bottoms”, as we called it, at a remote place near Dayton, at the Kennefic Fire Tower then proceed down seven miles of probably the worst road in the United States. This road was always flooded, mud axel deep on a jeep, deceiving ruts that covered bogs and the home of the largest mosquitoes on the Gulf Coast.
In March of 1964, my dad and I, along with our redneck, friend from Philadelphia, Mississippi, John Henley, braved the bad road with John’s Jeep and hauled a twelve foot aluminum boat into the oxbow lake. Surprisingly, going into “The Bottoms” we only got stuck twice, no problem with a big winch and a lot of cable!
John took out for an afternoon of squirrel hunting, while my dad and I hefted the boat into the lake for a go at some bass. We would meet at twilight to head back to civilization. This oxbow lake was, in reality, an old river channel that always had water in it but the depth varied according to rain and subsequent flooding of the Trinity River. The river hadn’t flooded this year so the lake was down a little.
We both were “armed” with six foot, bait casting rods and red, casting reels loaded with fifteen, pound line. My bait of choice was a yellow, Piggy Boat spinner and my dad was using one of his favorites, a Pico Perch, a swimming bait with a tantalizing wiggling action. The action was hot and heavy and during our afternoons fishing, I don’t believe we changed our lures one time!
After we launched the boat, for silences sake before casting, we paddled up the lake for a hundred yards. My first cast was met with a solid strike and the fish, a two-pound, bass, took to the air, spending more time jumping than in the water. Dad’s second cast was a duplicate of mine, so within five minutes, we had already boated two bass! The bass kept hitting and within an hour we had a good mess for supper and started culling the fish, only keeping the good ones. Several times during the afternoon we heard John’s .22 crack, so we knew that he too was scoring on some squirrels.
Casting into a likely spot, just as the spinner hit the surface, I had a savage strike, but didn’t get the hooks set. My Dad sped up his retrieve so he could cast into the likely spot, but with the change of pace of his retrieve, he had a big strike too. Feeling the hooks, the fish, a three- foot, alligator gar, went airborne immediately! Several short runs and five or six jumps later the gar tired and as my Dad kept the pressure on, I was able to grab it behind the head. Long nose pliers made getting the Pico Perch out of the gars mouth easy, but looking at the teeth, I couldn’t do it fast enough!
As the afternoon wore down, we started rowing back to the Jeep, casting to fishey looking spots. Dad had a heavy strike and unlike the bass and gar, the fish didn’t take to the air. It made a long run down the middle of the channel, we both wondered, what kind of fish was this? My Dad said, “This ones fighting like a red or a big drum!” Another long run and a wallow at the boat only told us that it was a big fish. Neither one of us could identify it. As the fish tired, Daddy grabbed it by the lower jaw, or lip, and held on, we still couldn’t identify the fish, so we guessed a fresh water drum. The long noses pliers helped to retrieve his lure, we slipped a stringer through both lips and then tied it down.
Back at the Jeep, John correctly identified it as a buffalo, Ictiobus bubalus and said that they were quite bony, so we threw it back. (No, he didn’t know the scientific name.) Before we released the buffalo, we weighed it and it pulled the hand scales down to the max, twelve pounds. The fish must have weighed fifteen or better?
We had a good mess of bass, good memories of the gar and buffalo, and John had a bag full of “tree rats”, so this afternoon’s fishing/hunting trip could be called a success, however, the drive out still awaited us! It was “a piece of cake”, we only got stuck three times and winching out in the dark wasn’t so bad after all!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, April 5. 2014
On Tuesday of this week, I went turkey hunting, hopefully to see one of these gobblers and these "shots" were taken by the same game camera, but it"s astounding that the turkeys would only frequent only one feeder. I guess a black eyed, pea brain size only can handle one feeder, haha!
Hoping to see a big gobbler, I think there are 2 around here, I sat down in my hide and waited 10 minutes before I started making hen turkey sounds. Calling, I was immediately responded too, by clucks and puts, then a gobbler gobbled and I waited for one to come in.
As the wait got longer a single hen came into the feeder, then 2, then 3, another one came up, but didn't go into the feeder. All the while I waited for the gobbler to come up, no pictures because I was getting the shotgun into position, as the wait got longer I finally decided there would be no gobbler this hunt.
But, there would always be Thursday, I had a Docs appointment at Scott & White in Temple, but I should be back by 4:00 PM, plenty of time to go after the turkeys again. Lo, did I only know that following the appointment I would be grounded, not only grounded, but also strong warning from the Doc not to lift or strain anything, hoping the stitches wouldn't pull out!
The Doc cut out a cancerous melanoma from my left shoulder that required 18 or 19 stitches to close up. Softball will be out for 2, weeks, of course we had another tournament this weekend in San Antonio which I'll miss, so for 2 weeks I'll be on the DL, but he didn't say anything about turkey hunting!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, March 30. 2014
This is another tale from the Haney Ranch. Mike Mitchell and I went up to help Rick rework his cattle pens, and after a long day and evening finally ate and went to bed late. Later that night, I was awakened from a sound sleep, hearing the â€œthunk, thunkâ€ of something walking around the porch. The weather was warm as I knocked on the door and went into Rickâ€™s room.
The AC was running full blast and the lump under a pile of covers must have been Rick. â€œYou hear that sound, someone walking around your porch?â€ I almost whispered. He uncovered, I noticed a watch cap on his head, he rose up and replied, â€œWhat sound, animals, Iâ€™m sure.â€ Rick blamed animals again, this was the second time he had done that?
Thinking to myself, how could he hear anything covered up like he was, with the AC roaring and with the watch cap on his head. Later that morning we talked about the â€œthunkingâ€ I had heard and Rick said again, â€œItâ€™s just those â€˜Dillos rooting around.â€
The next day more work on the cattle pens, and after steaks, we talked for a while and turned in early and I finally found out why Rick had such strange sleeping habits. Tonight, just like last night was warm, and I wasnâ€™t even covering with a sheet, when I woke up with a start! Whatâ€™s going on here, I was freezing! Then I noticed the foot of the bed was leaning and I sensed that something/someone was setting on the end of the bed. Whatâ€™s going on I asked myself, could this be a ghost, no way, I donâ€™t even believe in â€˜em!
Still freezing I said to the â€œwhateverâ€, â€œIâ€™m not afraid of you. I am a Christian and you donâ€™t scare me!â€ Then something really strange happened, whatever it was on the end of the bed got up, I could feel the end of the bed rise as if a load was removed, the â€œwhateverâ€ moved away and the room returned to a normal temperature. Personally, â€œitâ€ never bothered me again.
The next morning, when Rick and I had a chance to talk alone, I told him about my encounter the past night. His reply was, â€œI donâ€™t want to hear it.â€ He was uncomfortable I could tell, but I went on with the entire story. He replied, â€œI have heard things go â€œbumpâ€ in the night before, but I have to sleep out here three or four nights a week. Why do you think I run the AC all year, even in freezing weather, wear a watch cap and cover up with all of those quilts? I really donâ€™t want to talk about it.â€
It sounded like Rick was afraid of the â€œwhateversâ€ out here. This was the end of the story until the next time I came up.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 14:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, March 24. 2014
Slowly tapping the sixteen foot, Calcutta, cane pole tip on the surface, the bait, two pork rinds, attached to two hooks, seemed to slide and jump, just under water, beside the dead tree. An explosion on the surface, bigger than a â€œblow upâ€, and the big strike bent the long pole over half way down into the water. The pole sizzled through the water as the fish ran in a wide circle around the aluminum skiff.
Unceremoniously, hand over hand, I brought the big, bass to the surface, jerked it into the skiff, smiled and held it up for Buck to see. He said, returning my smile, â€œBoy, you handled the jigger pole just right!â€ The bass was over six pounds and a personal best for my attempts at jigging.
An eight, pound, bass was the best that I ever witnessed him catching. Buck said that his most exciting jigging event was in South Carolina when he caught an alligator, and in his words, â€œI quickly let go of the pole and let the â€˜gator worry about it.â€
He had learned this unique, fishing technique, jigging, and the manufacture of the equipment from, of all things, an old Indian (native American type). This same old Indian made a poultice to cure Buckâ€™s numerous sore throats, Buck drank the potion and passed out from the taste and the â€œfireâ€ in the mix, but after he awoke, he never had a sore throat again. It probably just ate out his tonsils!
Before WW II, Buck, my former father-in-law, lived in South Carolina, across the Cooper River from Charleston. Buck was a wild thing then, a Klansman, a former professional boxer, a tailor and a hunting and fishing guide. He once guided Nash Buckingham, maybe the best bob white, quail shot ever, on a duck and goose hunt on Currituck Sound, in North Carolina.
Buck perfected his jigging techniques in the numerous ponds and irrigation ditches in the South Carolina lowlands. He was an expert with a cane pole, jigging for fish, primarily for bass, but anything in fresh water will hit a jigged lure, even alligators!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 09:54 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, March 16. 2014
The pics started off with a very strange one (all the pics were shot through my kitchen window)! A doe was walking across my field and a bobcat had just caught a big mouse, at the same instant, I saw the doe and grabbed my camera, I caught both, but the doe didnâ€™t pay any attention to the bob and the bobcat scampered off for better cover! Notice the rain gauge.
The next pics are from last week and both show 6 doe, but in the different parts of the field. The first is just behind the fence that runs along the back of the house. The second is in the far left corner of the field, for perspective the rain gauge is shown. These doe are almost down to the shooting range.
More on the rain gauge, it's been almost dry all year, thereâ€™s been only a smidgen of moisture this year! Yesterday we had a good chance of rain, but it just missed us. It popped up in Hamilton County, passed through Coryell County, then on through McClennan County (Waco), then points east. We need a lot of rain!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 12:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, March 12. 2014
My last trap shoot was in 1975, at the Moccasin Bend Trap Club, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we decided to make a family weekend out of it. The family piled into our camper (we didnâ€™t have a Suburban then) and we took the leisurely 2, hour drive from Sandy Springs, Georgia to Chattanooga and checked into the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a real neat hotel converted from an old bunch of sleeper cars, complete with a dining car. In 2014, the kids still talk about it!
We visited â€œSee Ruby Fallsâ€, we saw â€œRuby Fallsâ€ and when they turned the lights out, we were appropriately scared! Not only did we see the advertisements on the barns along the freeway, but also we saw the Incline Railway, Lookout Mountain battlefield and Chickamauga, the site of the largest battle fought in the western theatre during our Civil War.
Sunday morning found us on the way to the gun club and I was going to surprise the good â€˜ole boys in Tennessee. Being a real â€œhotâ€ shooter out west, but not known east of the Mississippi, I â€œboughtâ€ myself in the Calcutta for a whopping $3.00, the minimum amount. The handicap event began, and I was placed with the long yardage shooters and I was breaking clays automatically. Walking to the last station and leading the shoot, the thought of my potential winnings, over $1,000.00 flashed through my mind and was quickly pushed out and my concentration returned.
â€œPull,â€ I barked and the clay pigeon wobbled out of the trap machine, a hard right bird, which I led and pulled the trigger, no Bam, no ignition of the shell. The puller/ scorekeeper called out â€œlost birdâ€ with just me looking funny at my trusty Remington 870, Trap Model Shotgun.
The trigger mechanism had broken. I had five minutes to fix the trigger, or get another gun, otherwise I would be disqualified and my only option was to get my ex-wifeâ€™s Remington 1100 Automatic, with a shortened stock.
I missed three out of the last five clays and finished second, which paid $200.00, plus another $150.00 from the Calcutta (not bad for 1975). So much for a big â€œhitâ€ and after this shoot, I retired myself from competitive shooting. My kids were very active in sports and my day job required too much of my time.
I say again, â€œSometimes a good day job can really interfere with your avocation.â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:56 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, March 7. 2014
New Yearâ€™s resolutions are a necessary evil and I donâ€™t subscribe to them any one bit, but to think that I made a quasi-resolution that I would go on a 5 day, posting schedule, really burns me up! Having made the quasi-resolution I had no idea at all that I would encounter computer problems, I was trying to move all of my stuff to Laylaâ€™s PC, with Randyâ€™s help and as someone famous, Robert Burns to be specific, once said something in this regard, â€œThe best laid plans of men and mice sometimes falter and gang awryâ€
My plans certainly faltered and gang awry, so much for the 5 day posting schedule, but I hope to resume posting somewhat regularly. Maybe not 5 days exactly, but never again will I make a quasi- New Yearâ€™s resolution, you see what trouble this led too!
So Iâ€™m back on my old computer, just wishing that I had succeeded in switching out the PCâ€™s!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 16:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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