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Monday, May 7. 2012
In May of 1955 I had agreed to play semi pro baseball with a local team and our first game was on a Saturday. Lining a sharp single to right field, I was feeling good about my new team and the prospects for the new season. By the bottom of the fourth we were up 5-2 and their first batter lined a shot towards our shortstop. Knocking it down, he pounced on it and cut loose his throw. Playing first base, my normal positions were either left or center field, at the last moment, the throw had a tail on it and it rose above my outstretched glove and nicked the end of the middle finger on my right hand, splitting it and knocking the nail off. Ouch!
This put me on the DL for 2 weeks, but the afternoon of the injury, with a finger stall on my injured digit, I talked my dad into taking me fishing to the gravel pits outside of Romayer, Texas. Weâ€™d been there the weekend before and caught 10 nice white perch and he was a pushover whenever anyone said, â€œFishing!â€ Showing him that I could cast and reel OK with my middle finger sticking out we loaded up for the one-hour, no air conditioner drive.
Grabbing my rod, reel and fishing hat, not your normal fishing hat, I was ready to go. A fishing buddy and I had sewn snaps onto our straw hats and then clipped on our favorite plugs, Piggy Boat spinners, Lucky 13â€™s and Pico Perches. We believed they were the â€œcoolestâ€ fishing hats in the world.
The gravel pits were spread out over a wide area and my dad and I walked to the back of them, almost a mile, and began casting. Dad had caught 2 keepers and I hadnâ€™t even scratched. All of a sudden, my cast was greeted with a solid strike, the bass, a nice one, over 3 pounds, ran a short distance and jumped, and jumped, and jumped, successfully throwing the spinner bait.
Back then I was kindaâ€™ tempery and I grabbed my special fishing hat with the plugs attached and threw it to the ground muttering a few choice expletives. Then I made a foolish mistake and kicked my hat toward the water, but the hat didnâ€™t sail out into the water because one of the hooks had caught in my Chuck Taylor, tennis shoe lace.
Laughing, my dad let me stew over my predicament, but 10 minutes later, having had to cut up my Chuck Taylor tennis shoe, lace, I was back fishing. We caught several more bass and even with my injury, and the hat-kicking incident, enjoyed our outing.
Driving home it crossed my mind that maybe this wasnâ€™t â€œmy dayâ€.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, March 14. 2008
Our part of the sovereign state of Texas has enjoyed several days of beautiful weather, and on March 11, it got the best of my Grandson, Colton Mitchell and myself. Colton finished lifting weights around 5:30 PM and after picking him up we headed out to a large, stock tank near Goldthwaite in quest of a few hungry Bass!
Continue reading "Early Spring Bass"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, August 6. 2007
The 12 pound Largemouth Bass I caught in 1979, displayed on the wall of my ranch house.
My old neighborhood friend Bill Priddy had worked for me in 1970 in Houston, and we still both worked for the same computer company and recently he had been promoted to a to a marketing job in Atlanta. Bill and I had kept in touch over the years and I was very glad to see him since now I had a bass fishing partner again.
We decided to go after a really big Bass and had settled on a â€œpay to fishâ€ lake, Horseshoe Lake, just outside of Tifton, Georgia, only miles away from where, years earlier, the world record, twenty-two pound Largemouth Bass had been caught.
Winter still had its grips on Atlanta, but the Dogwoods were starting to bloom. What a sight, white blooms covering the hills and hollows, the first sign that spring was near. As we drove south toward Tifton, which is within five miles of the Florida line, we met spring just past Columbus and everything turned green.
We left for Tifton on Friday afternoon, March 8, spent the night in my camper and planned to fish all day Saturday. We were up early, ate a quick breakfast and launched the boat in the first of three lakes where we would fish. This place had ten lakes, all stocked with Florida strain, Largemouth Bass.
We hadnâ€™t been fishing ten minutes when, â€œWhamoâ€, Bill has a tremendous strike on a yellow, Piggy Boat. The fish took line, shaking its head like a Redfish and we canâ€™t figure what he has tied into. A roll by the boat tells us, the high fin giving it away, a channel catfish of at least ten pounds. Not the wall hanger, ten-pound bass we were looking for, but it will look real good in the skillet!
We fish the first lake hard with spinners, worms and rat-l-traps, but only have the catfish to show for it, so far, not worth $5.00. We move on to the second lake, by unceremoniously carrying my twelve foot, Sears, aluminum boat and trolling motor over the levee. A feature I had added to the aluminum boat was three coats of rubberized paint applied to the insides, a liner that I painted on. For an aluminum boat it was nearly soundproof.
The second lake, almost fifty acres, was much like a rice field reservoir along the Texas coast. A deep channel cut all around a square impoundment with about ten feet of shallow water along the sides before the channel dropped off into about six feet of water. The channel, the only structure in the lake, was approximately thirty feet wide, sloping up to a large, shallow flat, that covered the center of the lake.
We choose to cast, me a six inch, motor oil colored, worm, rigged Texas style, and Bill, back to his trusty yellow, Piggy Boat, toward the center of the lake and drag our baits over the shallow water and across, or down, in my case, the drop-off. We had not seen any Bass on their spawning beds, but if not today, they should start within the week.
We finally caught two, three pound, Bass, and quickly put both back into the water to grow up. Well, we thought out loud, we may be onto something, casting toward the middle and working the baits back over the drop-off.
About five minutes after putting the last Bass back, I had a jarring strike on my worm. The fish didnâ€™t gently tap-tap-tap, the worm, but picked it up and â€œheaded southâ€ at full speed. I was using a Mitchell 300, Spinning Reel with ten-pound line and a fairly stiff, six and one half foot spinning rod. I exclaimed to Bill, â€œI got a big hit, Bill, I guess this is another cat.â€ I have fished for and hooked a big, Blue Marlin of five or six hundred pounds, caught a one hundred and twenty pound Pacific Sailfish, a sixty pound Amberjack and a sixty plus pound, Kingfish, all on light tackle, and in comparison, this fish jolted me as hard as any of the big ones!
The fish took line and then came to the top and wallowed up, almost into the air and we saw the big mouth. Good heavens, a big, big Bass, and all I can do is hang on and hope the hook is set securely in its jaw. Another wallow/jump, the fish is too big to get out of the water all the way, but we can see it more clearly, and it is a whopper! Another short run and my line seems to be hung up. I guess the Bass has wrapped me around a log or something.
We turn on the electric motor and inch toward the point where my line enters into the water, and Bill sees motion, a swirl and the Bass has wrapped the line around a snag of some kind. All in one motion, I cut off the motor, tell Bill to stick a paddle into the bottom to hold the boat, and flop into the two and one half foot, cold, water, rod held high and run my hand down the line until I feel the snag. I inch my hand around until I feel the Bass, and hoping that I donâ€™t hook myself, try to grab the fish. No luck. I get a good hold of the snag and pull it to the surface and Bill nets the Bass.
Back into the boat, we donâ€™t have a scale, but we estimate the Bass weighs over ten pounds. I tell Bill, â€œI felt like I was harvesting rice, reaching down and bringing up the snag, moss and Bass, all in one handful. This one is going on the wall.â€ This was years before â€œShare the Lunkerâ€, or, you could get a plastic replica of your fish, so we put her on a stringer and kept fishing. We caught some more Bass, but none even close to the big one, so we decide to find a scale and weigh the fish and head back to Atlanta.
The owner of the lakes was as proud as if he had caught the fish himself and his certified scale showed twelve pounds! I canâ€™t imagine catching a twelve-pound bass. Pictures are taken, congratulations are accepted, the fish was packed in ice and we loaded the boat on top of the camper and headed back to Atlanta.
Back in Atlanta, it seemed like the whole neighborhood came over and the viewing turned into a party. Keeping the fish on ice, on Monday, I took it to the best taxidermist in the Atlanta area. He was in Duluth, Georgia and within a month, my fish was ready. And today, it has a place of honor in the hall of my ranch house, next to a picture box display of my Dadâ€™s old fishing plugs and a replica mount of a nine pound, Speckled Trout. But thatâ€™s another story.
The Sears, twelve-foot aluminum boat is still providing yoeman service with my son, Randy. He uses it to take his kids Bass fishing.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, June 8. 2007
During the summer of 1973, Jack Schlindler and I, and our families, were invited to spend a weekend at a 100 acre private lake in Central Arizona, just below Thumb Butte. We hitched his original Skeeter Bass Boat with a 55 HP motor, our tackle and our water skis, yes water skis, on to my 1973 Dodge Power Wagon and eagerly accepted the invitation.
North on Interstate 17, left at Bumble Bee, on through Prescott, until just below Thumb Butte and, as it was getting dark, we arrived at our destination, a beautiful man made lake with sumptuous accommodations. Putting the boat into the water, we had just enough time for a quick â€œfishâ€ in the lake. Several casts later, each of us had a nice Bass up to the boat, each fish falling for a yellow Piggy Boat. I had brought an ample supply of them from Texas.
Our accommodations were wonderful, but the hit of the evening were the rib eye steaks cooked outside over mesquite coals, potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals and fresh, home grown tomatoes, yummm!
Weâ€™re up early and on the water before the sun came up. We head across the lake to a vertical cliff that formed the south side of the lake and pull up within casting distance and let fly with two yellow, Piggy Boats, smack, into the rocks. Both baits flutter down the steep sides and both of us are rewarded with solid strikes and our dayâ€™s aerial circus begins.
Mixed in with our catch that morning were some nice sized Blue Gills. I think they are as good to eat as White Perch. When I eat Blue Gills I always think of my Uncle, A.J. Peters, smiling, while he was eating one and saying, â€œFry them up real crisp and eat bones and all!â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:10 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, May 11. 2007
My Dad and I pictured in 1962 with a stringer of Bass and Bream we caught out of an old caliche rock quarry in Falls County, Texas.Â The water was gin clear and never exceeded 3 ft. in depth.Â The Bass were stunted and their mouths were much larger than a normal Largemouth.Â We used "Piggy Boats", H&H Spinners, with a green bucktail and could have caught over a hundred, BUT, we finally got "chicken" and left.
A friend of my Uncle Shelly Gafford's had given us instructions, relayed through UncleÂ Shelly, about how to get toÂ his large stock tank.Â We thought we followed them to the letter but never found the tank, only the quarry.Â No fences around it so we began fishing and catching fish, but our conscience's got the best of us and weÂ left.
It turned out that the directions were given from Kosse, east of Marlin on Hwy. 7, not from Marlin, Texas.Â So our left turn on to the place was really a right turn.Â
Alls well that ends well!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:10 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, March 17. 2007
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