Get jonbryan.com via email!
Show tagged entries
Monday, July 30. 2007
My first trip to go Speckled Trout fishing out of Suwannee, Florida, provided me with a most unusual sight! At the time, mid 1970â€™s, Suwannee and the one bait camp and motel reminded me of Port Oâ€™Conner, Texas in the 1950â€™s when I went there several times with my Dad. Not many creature comforts, but marvelous Trout fishing. Suwannee had one up on Port Oâ€™Conner, the Suwannee bait camp has a pet Bass! Yes, Bass will live and do well in salt/fresh, brackish water.
On my first trip to Suwannee, walking out of the bait camp along a rickety pier to the guideâ€™s boat, the proprietor said, â€œSir, watch this and look down into the water right below us.â€ He picked up an old oar that was leaning against the side of the building and banged it three times on to the pier. Looking down I saw a big fish come floating to the surface, a huge Bass.
The proprietor then took a coffee can of dead shrimp and fish cleanings and dropped them beside the Bass, who promptly inhaled them. The Bass continued swimming around and he continued, saying, â€œWe scooped her up in a long handled net this past spring and she weighed a little over 14 pounds. Ha, Ha, I think weâ€™ll just grow us a new record here.â€
I had kept my boat down there for the fall and winter fishing and in early March of 1979, prior to my move back to Texas, came down to Suwannee for one last fishing trip and to take my boat back to Atlanta. Walking in to the bait camp I exclaimed, â€œHowâ€™s everybody?â€ The proprietor smiled and said, â€œWeâ€™re all fine, but I got some bad news.â€
Thoughts of a fish kill or a fishing ban flashed through my brain as he continued, â€œSome bastard snuck up the canal here Monday night two weeks ago and caught our Bass. I hope he chokes on the bones!â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, July 28. 2007
About three weeks after my first trip to Suwannee, Florida, I get a call on Thursday night from the guide letting me know that the weather forecast is excellent for the coming weekend and, if I could, I should bring my boat down Saturday and plan on fishing in the afternoon since the tide was coming in then. Having nothing planned but â€œhoney dosâ€, I told him that I would see him then.
Both kids, Randy, 12, and Suzanne, 8, loved to fish and my ex wife informed me she was going too, so a trip was on and we arrived in Suwannee at the only bait camp, showed the kids the â€œpetâ€ Bass, bought some shrimp and checked with the proprietor about the status of the Manatees. No Manatees, so off we speed down the Suwannee River into the Gulf of Mexico.
We started fishing in 6 feet of beautiful, clear, green water and for the first 20 minutes didnâ€™t have a hit, so I moved into 4 foot of water, but with much more grass on the bottom and, bingo, our first casts produced 2 nice Specks!
Kids are fun to fish with, wanting to closely check out each fish, touching the one or two big teeth in the Troutâ€™s upper lip, and of course getting their fingers caught in the fishâ€™s mouth, jerking back and finding the fishâ€™s teeth firmly hold their fingers. Randy could bait up, cast and net fish. Suzanne was learning and now almost 30 years later both are accomplished â€œfisherpersonsâ€.
Everyone caught fish and soon we had 30 nice Specks in the cooler. Since we were going to eat at the only restaurant in town, fresh caught Speckled Trout tonight on their menu, we headed in, cleaned and iced the fish down, cleaned the boat and made arrangements to store it in the very secure boat storage facility.
After cleaning up in our room in the only motel in town, we headed for the restaurant, which was extremely crowded. A 5 minute wait and in we go to be seated, and I see someone stand up, waving in our direction, the only fishing guide in town.
He is eating fish with his clients of the day and introduces me, as â€This is the Texas guy I was telling you all about.â€ Continuing, â€œHow did you do this afternoon?â€ And I replied, â€œWe caught about 30 in 2 hours.â€ â€œSee,â€ the Guide looks at his clients, â€œHe ought to be guiding down here too! This fellaâ€™ can catch Specs!â€
Sometimes a good day job can really interfere with your avocation
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, July 26. 2007
Last night I posted my 4 reasons for joining the Outdoor Bloggers Summit and you can read them by clicking on the link.Â It will be neat for me to once again be part of a â€œstart upâ€ organization and to have the opportunity to make a difference. I love our Country!Â Isn't it a great place!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 08:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
While in Atlanta, the Florida coast beckoned to me and after several good â€œKingfishingâ€ trips to Destin, my Barber directed me to a spot, the Suwannee River, where I could fish for Speckled Trout, my first fishing love. Suwannee, Florida was a five hour plus, trip from Atlanta, considering our Governmentâ€™s stupid, 55 MPH, speed limit on I-85.
Having grown up on the Texas Gulf Coast, the Suwannee was much like our bay fishing, except this was fishing directly in the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom dropped off at a leisurely pace of about a foot per mile, there was abundant grass, just like our miles of grass flats in the bays and all of the trips I made there, I never had a trip â€œblownâ€ by high winds.
The first time out, leaving my boat in Atlanta, we, my ex wife and I, hired the only fishing guide, recommended highly by my Barber, and met him at the only bait camp, where he had his boat, a 24 foot, semi vee bottom, Pro Line with a 150 HP, Evinrude, gassed, loaded, the bait shrimp in his live well and ready to go. I had discussed our trip with him and had decided to furnish my own tackle.
A highlight of the bait camp was the 14-pound Bass, that was their â€œpetâ€. But that is another story.
We wound our way down the Suwannee River and once we entered the Gulf, made a hard right up the coast. We made good time down the river because our guide said at this time of the year, early fall, the Manatee, Sea Cows, werenâ€™t an obstacle.
Reaching the desired spot, the guide cut the engines, baited our lines and said â€œCast out behind the boat and weâ€™ll trail our baits, drifting along with the wind and current. It wonâ€™t be necessary to reel them in until a fish hits, and most times, they hook themselves.â€
We, and the guide, looped short casts against the wind, sat back in his lawn chairs and waited, and waited, and waited and nothing happened. He remarked, â€œThe bite wonâ€™t start for a while, so weâ€™ll just wait for it.â€
Patience is not one of my strengths, so I told the guide, â€œIâ€™m going to try it like we do on the Texas coast,â€ and moving to the bow, looped a long cast, with the wind, in front of the boat, started working my popping cork back towards the boat, never letting my line go slack; reel, reel, gently pop the cork; reel, reel, gently pop the cork and Whamo!
The cork goes under, setting the hook, the rod bows, the fish strips line off of the Black, Ambassadeur, 5500C, reel and takes off for Cuba! Soon, the guide nets a very nice, 3 pound Spec, re baits my hook (for the last time) and out flies another cast. Reel, reel, gently pop the cork and Whamo, another solid hit! My ex moves to my side of the boat and repeats my reel, reel and gently pop the cork and proceeds to tie into a nice Speck.
The guide sits back in his lawn chair and says, â€œI want to watch this performance.â€ A performance it was! Within one hour the two of us had boated 45 nice Specs and then told the guide we had enough fish to feed the neighborhood, so we head back to the bait camp where the guide begins his bragging about how the Texas people, we were no longer a well to do couple from north Atlanta, had shown him a thing or two about catching Specs. He and I filleted the Specs in no time and iced the fillets down.
As we were leaving the guide told me, â€œI will call you when the conditions are right. Bring your boat down and leave it here, you donâ€™t need me to show you how to catch fish!â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, July 24. 2007
At the opening of Deer hunting season each year, the Georgia Game and Fish Department hosts a special Deer hunt for twelve to fourteen year olds on Sappelo Island which lies several miles off of the Georgia coast, between Savannah and the Florida state line. The state supplies the food and the deer, which have over run this small island. Drawings are held in August and the winners get to participate in a two day hunt in early November. Randy, my youngest son, and I had applied in August 1977, but werenâ€™t drawn.
Randy, age 12, and his Sappelo Island Deer.
Applying in August, 1978, we were notified that we had been drawn and for us to report to the Game and Fish Department, Sappelo Island Ferry by 12:00 PM, on Friday, November 11, to be ferried to the island. We were told to bring our sleeping gear, tents were OK and for Randy to be ready to hunt by 2:30 PM, of that day.
Excitement reined in our house the weeks before the hunt. Randy didnâ€™t have a rifle so we went to Oshmanâ€™s and bought him a Remington 660 bolt action, carbine, in .243 caliber. This wouldnâ€™t â€œkickâ€ him too much and with a Weaver 3X9 scope he would be able to score a hit at over two hundred yards. We added two boxes of Remington, 100 grain, .243 bullets and the entire bill came to less than $250. We sighted it in at the River Bend Gun Club and the rifle and scope shot right on the â€œmoneyâ€. At that time this little rifle was Remingtonâ€™s â€œloss leaderâ€ and today, 30 years later it is a much sought after item by collectors.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, July 22. 2007
Quail season in Georgia opened the Saturday before the opening of Deer season and James Walton, a hunting buddy, Mitch Greenberg, a church friend and also a hunting buddy, and I had arranged a Quail hunt south of Jonesboro.Â Supposedly this was a good place.
We arrived at the hunting area and unloaded the dogs, Rooster, my Brittany Spaniel, andÂ Â Crystal, Jamesâ€™ German Shorthair and began hunting around the edge of a large, cut, soy bean field.Â Not a hundred yards into our hunt Crystal freezes and Rooster â€œbacksâ€ her point.Â Â We spread out and walk in on the points and â€œwhirrrrâ€, a big covey of twelve or fifteen birds comes rocketing out ofÂ the brush along the edge of the field.Â Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, we unload on the birds and several fall.Â Both dogs begin to â€œhunt deadâ€ and we collect four fat quail.Â Looks like this will be a good day.
We continue around the field and within three hundred yards, both dogs come down on point and we collect two more quail.Â Definitely looking good as we cut through some woods and brush on our way to another bean field and see Rooster on point ahead in some honeysuckle.
â€œPoint up here,â€ I shout, as James comes up on my right and Mitch on my left.Â Crystal, seeing Roosterâ€™s point, freezes next to Jamesâ€™ right leg.Â I am right behind Rooster, step past him into the honeysuckle awaiting the customary â€œwhirrrrâ€, and, of all things, up jumps a buck Deer!
All at once, literally all â€œhellâ€ breaks loose.Â Crystal rushes between James and the Deer; the Deer lunges at me and I unload three, number eight, shots at three feet distance, straight at the Deerâ€™s head, obviously missing; Rooster charges the Deer; the Deer hooks Crystal and throws her to the side; James yells â€œCrystal,â€ and as he moves to his right to reach for dog, the Deer hooks James and rips his left pants leg with his horns; turns toward Mitch and tries to hook him; Iâ€™ve found the two double ought bucks I always carry and finally fumble them into my twenty gauge pump as the Deer lunges at Mitch, and Mitch, all five foot seven inches, calmly â€œhigh portsâ€ his Browning Superposed, right into the Deerâ€™s horns; the Deer shakes Mitch like a rag doll; James drags Crystal away; I notice Rooster is now posted strategically behind me as I finally get my shotgun loaded and up; the Deer continues shaking Mitch; and Bam, Bam, I put two double oughts into the Deerâ€™s head and he drops in his tracks.
Whew!Â This battle lasted for not quite thirty seconds.Â The longest thirty seconds imaginable.Â As we load up Crystal and hurry to the nearest Vetâ€™s office, we take stock of our situation, no hunters hurt, one dog down and seriously injured, Mitch â€œall shook upâ€, one dead Deer, and Deer season is one week off.Â In fifteen minutes we pull up to a Vetâ€™s office in Jonesboro and ten minutes later we find out Crystal is dead.Â James is crushed!
Returning to the scene of the battle and looking closely at the Deer, we see it is a nice, seven point buck, probably a fifteen inch inside spread, that had been shot in the left hindquarter, at least three days before.Â The wound was festering and gangrene, or the Deer equivalent, had set in and the Deer must have been in great pain.Â Checking out the area, we find a large quantity of corn spread around the honeysuckle patch.Â At least two game laws had been broken.Â Shooting Deer in Georgia over bait was illegal and the Deer had been shot at least ten days before Deer season opened.
We told the local Game Warden but donâ€™t know if any action was taken or if the perpetrator was apprehended.Â Three weeks later we returned for another hunt at this spot and discovered that someone had come in and cut the Deerâ€™s horns off.
Some may not know what â€œhigh Portingâ€ is.Â It is a term applied to hand to hand combat training with a rifle, expensive shotgun in this case, where the weapons weight is evenly balanced in both hands at shoulder height and using it to block and parry opponents thrusts with a bayonet or butt stock.Â Mitch, a Viet Nam veteran, former Air Force Officer and Navigator in a B-52, had used the technique perfectly!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, July 20. 2007
In late 1974 I received a nice promotion to Atlanta, Georgia, moved from The Valley Of The Sun, and my friends said that I left claw marks on the floor of my office as they drug me out.Â The first year in Atlanta was spent getting acclimated to a new job, new friends, new hunting and fishing opportunities and new schools for the kids.Â By the fall of 1976, I had met and hunted with several Quail hunters in Atlanta, but had hit it off especially well with one, James Walton.Â James was a neighbor and not in the computer business, but Vice-President of an old, established construction company. Â
James had two German Shorthair Pointers, the older, Crystal, the mother of his younger dog was an excellent hunter.Â The younger, like all young dogs was wild and rambunctious, but our dogs had helped to cement our friendship.Â Crystal hunted in close and Rooster, my Brittany Spaniel, would range out one hundred yards or more.Â Both honored the otherâ€™s points, hunted â€œdeadâ€ until the bird was found or the â€œlook-forâ€ called off and were inexhaustible.
James and I had joined a hunting club, that had leased many acres of supposedly good Quail hunting land.Â Our results were only fair, however, we did get to see a lot of the state.Â This particular hunt, we had reserved for Friday and Saturday, a several hundred acre track of harvested soy bean fields with some nice wooded cover.Â Brad was a sophomore in high school and his JV football season had ended, so I got him out of school on this particular Friday and we headed to South Georgia for some quailing.
We arrived near Thomasville around noon, found our hunting area and made camp. We were staying â€œoutâ€ Friday night, which should be fun since the weather featured warm days and cool nights.Â We didnâ€™t even think about the warm afternoons bringing out the Rattle Snakes.
Rooster, Brad and I took off to one side of the large bean field and James and Crystal went the other way.Â Shortly I hear, Pop, Pop, James finds a small covey and it looks like heâ€™s got one down.Â Brad and I proceed along the edge of the field not finding any birds.Â We get to the corner of the field and Rooster locks down hard on a point.Â Quickly approaching, whirrrrr,Â the covey breaks wild before we can get a shot.Â We mark the spot where the covey flew into the woods and all three of us, Rooster, Brad and I, hurry after the birds.Â We pass through where the covey was flushed and, whirr, a late riser, Bam, and he falls to my twenty gauge, pump shotgun. Â
As Rooster and Brad continue chasing the covey, I see my bird on the ground and run over to pick him up. Retrieving the bird, I head back toward Brad, who is in the thick brush and not seeing him, I head in his general direction.
â€œBark, growl, growl, bark,â€ from Rooster.Â â€œDad, Dad, up here quick,â€ from Brad!Â Running to the sound of his voice and coming out of the woods, I see Brad a-straddle of a barbwire fence.Â â€œBark, bark,â€ from Rooster and he add a serious snarl, jumping around a fence post next to where Brad is hanging onto the fence and looking down under himÂ â€œDad, thereâ€™s a big Rattler right under me,â€ Brad shouts!Â I hurry faster and see he had laid his gun down on the ground prior to climbing the fence and the Rattlers â€œtreedâ€ him.Â Heâ€™s right, itâ€™s a big one, coiled and rattling, and at that moment, more interested in the dog.Â Rooster knows about snakes having hunted with me for three years in Arizona. Bam, one shot and the snakes done for.
Rooster is still barking and Brad is getting down from the fence.Â We stretch the Snake out and he is a good five feet long and bigger around than my forearm.Â My aim was true and the shot shredded the snakes head, leaving the skin undamaged.Â Brad says, â€œThat snake couldâ€™ve bit me or Rooster.Â Letâ€™s eat him Dad.â€Â We both thought of an old Indian saying, â€œEat your enemies and gain some strength from them.â€Â Why not?
We cut off the rattles and saved them, whew, it smells like uria, and the fertilizer plants in Pasadena, Texas.Â We skin him and roll up the skin for now and it really stinks! We gut him and except for the smell we have a hunk of pretty, white meat.Â I take a canteen and wash off the snakeâ€™s body, eliminating some of the smell.Â I later learned that snakes donâ€™t have kidneys and liquid waste is secreted out of their body through the skin. Â
Most times when hunters have a close encounter with a serious predator or big Rattle Snake, the hunt is over for the day, as was our case, however, we went back to camp and set to preparing our supper, fried Rattle Snake.Â Small problem, no corn meal, but we had flour in our camper, which should work just fine as long as long as the grease doesnâ€™t get too hot.Â We cut up the snake into one and one-half inch pieces and rolled it into the flour and wrapped the five plus pounds of meat up in foil and popped it into the cooler and waited for Walton to get back.Â We saved the quail for back home, feeling confident we would get some more the next day.
We had heard James shoot several times and he and Crystal returned with three quail.Â He said, â€œYou all came in early.Â Whatâ€™s up?â€Â We told him our exciting story and told him we were having Rattle Snake for supper.Â He blanched!Â Not hesitating, we showed him the large quantity of white meat and began to fry the Snake and fries.
After supper, James said, â€œThat Rattle Snake wasnâ€™t bad.â€Â He was right.Â All white meat, sweet and tender, not bad at all.
We not only ate the snake, but the rattles now grace a special display in my great room, and, we made one hat band and one belt from the skin.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, July 18. 2007
The summer of 1973 was hot and dry in Phoenix, nothing unusual, Al Gore hadnâ€™t invented global warming and a group of fellows (all later to become corporate executives) were celebrating the end of another workday at a local watering hole on Camelback and 24th Street.
One of the group brought up the subject of water skiing, a favorite local pastime in the Salt River lake system northeast of town and Lake Pleasant, a short drive north, off of
I-17. Water in the lakes is cool, most summer days arenâ€™t too windy and, if they arenâ€™t too crowded, the water skiing is enjoyable.
One of the bright guys said, â€œWhy do we have to make such a long drive to water ski?â€ The group answered, â€œBecause, stupid, thatâ€™s where the water is.â€ He replied, â€œWhen Iâ€™m out making sales calls, I bet, I cross these irrigation canals 10 or 15 times a day and they are almost always full.â€ A chorus said, â€œYouâ€™re not talking about water skiing in an irrigation canal? You canâ€™t launch a boat in one! How are you going to pull the skier?â€
Much thought and planning ensued and it was decided that one of the groupâ€™s, small, 4 wheel drive truck could pull up the berm of a canal, and the one that crossed between Indian School and Camelback, on 40th street was chosen. It was also decided who would ski first and that the owner of the truck would â€œpullâ€ the skier. Then someone said, â€œIâ€™m sure it is against the law!â€ Followed by another chorus, â€œNo problem if we arenâ€™t caught and weâ€™ll ski at night!â€ Then, all involved, swore a blood oath of secrecy.
A Tuesday night, 10:00 PM, was chosen. Wives were told of a late sales meeting/planning session and their spouses wouldnâ€™t make it home until near midnight. It was still burning hot, and the traffic on 40th Street was light, as the small, 4 wheel drive truck, lights off, crept up the berm of the canal and moved 75 yards in a southeast direction, off of the street. The skier, with his life jacket on, slid down into the water, the rope was paid out, up goes his thumb, the driver turns the lights on low and pulls away and up pops the skier! A new sport was born!
The skiers werenâ€™t caught, it didnâ€™t make the 10:00 PM news and no one ever broke the blood oath of secrecy!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Sports at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
(Page 1 of 3, totaling 23 entries) » next page
Original content in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
SEO and Website Development by tekRESCUE