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Tuesday, July 30. 2013
The first â€œshotâ€ is of 5 doe and 2 fawns at the corner feeder. We have a lot of deer on the ranch, doe are sometimes a problem, but when the rut starts the bucks come in, literally from all over the county, and the fun begins! Weâ€™ll have to shoot several doe and 2 spikes to keep up this year, to keep the deer herd from overrunning the place.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, July 24. 2013
My summer job for Uncle Shelly was to drive across the Brazos River, just above the falls, over the barely flowing river, to his ranch along Perry Creek, that was across the river, but still in Falls County and, at least, there was a concreted, low water crossing for my daily trips. Falls County is one of the few counties in Texas that spans a major, river, obviously a carryover from the Texas colonization days with Mexico. The good part was that taking this route eliminated a 20, mile drive through Marlin to the Perry Creek Ranch.
The trips were for checking the several hundred cattle on the ranch for screwworms, a blight on the cattle industry, and certain death if the grown animals werenâ€™t treated within 5 to 7 days and a calf in 2 to 3! Screwworms were a terrible pestilence that hounded our Stateâ€™s cattle industry until a cure was found.
The cure, developed at Texas A&M during the 1960â€™s, was the releasing of millions of sterile, male, screwworm flies. This procedure saved our cattle industry and spawned the terrific deer herds that we now have across Texas! Treatment was begun in 1962 and by 1966 screwworms were eradicated. Texas hasnâ€™t had a recorded case of infestation since August 1, 1992.
Most days Iâ€™d pull a horse trailer and a saddled horse, spending my day in and out of the saddle, but behind the seat in the truck I always carried my fishing tackle because there were 2 stock tanks on the Perry Creek place that were full of bass. And even back then, Iâ€™d rather fish than eat! By late afternoon, after making my rounds and checking the cows for any evidence of screwworms, Iâ€™d stop by my favorite stock tank, get out my rod and reel, with my favorite plug, a Piggy Boat spinner bait, and make a few casts.
As the cows used the water up, it had been getting lower and lower, until most of the moss was gone and now I know that most of the oxygen was too! That particular day, my first cast was met with a solid strike and after a couple of jumps I reached down and slipped my fingers between the bassâ€™ jaws. However, something was wrong with the bass, it had lost most of its coloration, was a pasty, white color with very little green showing. Throwing that pound and a halfer back in the tank, I made another cast and my spinner bait was gobbled up just as the bait hit the water and this one, a nice 2 pound bass made several leaps before I lipped it and same results, a lack of colorization.
Pitching the bass back in, I thought Iâ€™d better let Uncle Shelly know that the bass werenâ€™t doing very well, but before I started the drive back it dawned on me to go check the other stock tank. Same results as the first, moss dying, water getting lower almost as I watched, greedy hungry bass with a lack of color and now I believe that the lack of oxygen and food caused this feeding trauma with the bass. Over supper we discussed the strange color of the bass, but couldnâ€™t come up with an answer or reason.
During the epic drought of the 50â€™s the stock tanks never went completely dry, but fishing in them never returned to the excellence of past years. By the time the drought had broken, I had gone into the Army and Uncle Shelly had sold the ranch across the river. At least for me no more hazardous river crossings, but Shelly did tell me of once that when the water was flowing over a foot over the concrete, he drove his pickup and horse trailer across, scaring him sufficiently, so he came back the long way through town.
Also, now I know that in 1845 or 46, to enlist as a Texas Ranger following a border incursion by the Mexicans into Texas, one of my relatives, a great uncle, Buck Barry, crossed the Brazos, at this same spot, over a hundred years before, on a trip from Sulphur Springs to the new capital of the State, Austin. Between the two towns, that were well over 100 miles apart, the one settler he had seen along the trace had located at the falls of the Brazos, the same spot where I was standing!
It turned out the settler was the only survivor after a Comanche Indian raid and when Buck arrived on the scene, just missing the Indians, the settler had lost everything, his slaves, cattle, horses and women. This was Buckâ€™s initiation to the Comancheâ€™s and by far, not his last one!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 16:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, July 18. 2013
At sunup, as we reached the end of the Galveston Jetties, we set our course to 150 on the compass. Earlier we had stopped by our friendly, ex German submarinerâ€™s, see my post "Invasion", to buy some cigar minnows and were told by him that the shrimp boats could be found about 20 miles out on a course of 150. The breeze created by Bob Baughâ€™s big, boat cruising along at 35, was refreshing to Brad and I and 18 miles out, sure enough, we sighted the first shrimp boat.
Pulling alongside of the shrimper, the mandatory swap beer for some chum, was made. Beer is the legal tender of choice out on the Gulf and can be a barter item for shrimp, chum and even ice. The trade made we baited up our medium weight rods, loaded with 20 pound line, a 3 foot, light wire leader and red reels, with cigar minnows purchased from our German friend, tossed out a couple of handfuls of chum, small fish culled from the boatâ€™s night of shrimping and awaited the inevitable strikes!
The strikes werenâ€™t long in coming. All 3 of us got almost simultaneous strikes, and the race was on, 3 kingfish, roaring away at full speed, the reels nearly smoking as the fish pulled out line. We gained a little line, then the kings took off again and two of the kings decided to battle it out on the top. Many splashes later we gaffed two, but kept one in the water because we only had 2 gaffs and gaffing the last one, we whacked all 3 with our â€œkingfish persuaderâ€, admired the 3, 20 pounders and into the cooler with them.
We repeated this scenario two more times, long runs, splashes on top and grudging fights alongside the boat and added two more kings, 20 pounders like the first 3, to our cooler, then Bob said that a person could eat just so much kingfish and we should leave these fish alone. Because, this past week, heâ€™d heard about a new rig, 50 miles out, in about 150 foot of water, that should have some amberjack around it.
Bob figured out our new course, this was using Loran way before GPS, and we headed out, the slick seas letting us make the 30, mile run in just under and hour. Soon we saw the rig on the horizon, Bobâ€™s calculations were right on, so we pulled up to it and trolled around it a couple of times with no luck. Next, we pulled up to the rig and tied on, then let our cigar minnows out to drift in the current, then, not 5 minutes later, I had a savage strike, the fish heading south, then jumping several times.
The fish, later identified as a 25 pound barracuda, put up a savage fight all the way to the boat and, trying not to hurt the fish too much, we slid the gaff into the point of its chin and hefted it aboard, a nice catch, but no eating for this one. Barracuda in southern climes, many times carry a disease, ciguatera, that they contract from other fish that eat the shellfish on tropical reefs, so weâ€™d take no chances with this one. No amberjack at this stop, so we caught several more toothy, barracudas, then with the seas still flat, we untied from the rig and headed back in.
As usual, not a mile from the end of the jetties, we picked up a race, with a sleek, 30 foot inboard with, obviously, 2 big diesel engines and built for speed. Full bore we were racing when we spied a crew boat heading our way.
Both little boats veered to the right, but both boats caught the edge of the crew boatâ€™s wake, a 4, foot wave and both, slammed into it. Itâ€™s a wonder both boats werenâ€™t destroyed, but Brad and I were tossed around the fishing area of Bobâ€™s boat and going down, my watch, a Rolex, hit a sharp object cutting my wrist and breaking the watch band. Rolex bands arenâ€™t cheap, even back then in the 80â€™s, and $200.00 later, with a new watch, band, I was ready for whatever the Gulf could bring my way, I thought.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, July 14. 2013
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, July 9. 2013
Having walked across the spillway, all the time worried that the big balloon that held the Texasâ€™ Colorado River in check would break I finally reached the other side. The big balloon was around 300, foot in length, 20 feet in diameter, touching it and running my hand along it, it looked like a dirigible from WW II and actually held the river back. It was stretched across the river and was anchored on both sides by giant concrete pilings. Tidal water, from the Gulf of Mexico, 15 miles south, was to my front and behind me, behind the huge barrier, was the fresh water from the river that was used for irrigation of the many rice fields in the area.
Tying on an artificial shrimp tail lure, casting it into the brackish water, on one of my first casts, surprise, it was picked up by a nice fish and after quite a fight, 5 minutes later I was stringing the 8, pound channel cat. Several casts later, my rod bowed as a big fish hit the lure and headed down river for the Gulf. This wasnâ€™t a cat and, because of the apparent head shaking, I identified it as a big red. My gear at the time, 6-1/2, foot fiberglass, popping rod, a big red reel loaded with 200 yards of 15 pound line, should be sufficient to stop this fellowâ€™s run.
Hopping down off of the spillway and running along the bank, I was able to gain some line and soon the fish slowed and made another shorter run, but something was out of whack, this fish was fighting deeper than a red. Maybe it had swallowed the lure? Gaining line and easing the fish up out of the depths, I had my first glimpse of a big striped bass, probably 36 inches long.
Having caught some in South Carolina, but never in Texas waters, I wanted this one for, at least, a picture and as I bent over to â€œlipâ€ the striper, all the while trying to keep my line tight, the single hook on the plug, pulled out. I could only watch, and I still have the mind picture, as this silver/greenish, striped beauty slowly finned down out of sight.
There is a small striped bass fishery in the Trinity River, below the Lake Livingston damn. Having fished Trinity Bay, around the mouth of the Trinity River, many times, I have caught reds and specs but never a striper, although Iâ€™ve heard tales of anglers regularly catching them. Iâ€™ve fished around the salt water, barrier on the San Bernard River and no stripers. I think thereâ€™s too much pollution around the Brazos/New River system for them and have never caught one around there.
All I can imagine is that this striped bass either came into the Colorado from the Gulf, or came down Trinity to Galveston Bay, then into the Gulf for, forty miles, then up the Colorado?
Whatever, it certainly did some traveling.
Wednesday, July 3. 2013
Something neat happened on June 12th, a pair of ring necked dove, along with a squirrel, showed up for a â€œshotâ€. This was neat because for the past 3 plus years and all the â€œshotsâ€ taken during this time I had never got one of a ring necked dove. Itâ€™s true that these dove will take over roosting places from both white wings and mourners, but they are wonderful table fare and on top of that, they are much bigger than white wings.
The buck in the background will be a nice one this season too, but he'll only have 6 points. I haven't guessed his age yet, but he's probably 3-1/2.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 11:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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