Texan 70’s Rolling

On March 28 and 29, Stumpy’s team the Texan 70’s won their second consecutive qualifier tournament, “The Texas Legends Memorial” in Irving, Texas. Friday’s weather was cold temp of 50, drizzle and 25 MPH wind and Saturday improved with no wind or drizzle, but cloudy with a temp of 62.

They lost their first game 19-17 to the Oklahoma Blast, but swept the next 5. Their run to the tournament championship featured 4 “run rule” games where they out scored their opponents 88-9 and they evened things up with the Blast giving them a 15-0 shellacking!

One of the highlights for the Texans was an oddity not seen often in 70+, softball. In the 4th inning of the last game: Keith Mixon led off with a home run, followed by Eldon Brast duplicating the feat, Charley Gamble hit the third and after 2 hard hit outs, Dick Bullock hit the inning’s 4th homer! Howard Hill and Jack Romero also homered in the game.

The “happy homer hitters” are pictured above. Back row is Charley Gamble from Houston, left, Eldon Brast from Dallas and Howard Hill from Houston. Front row is Keith Mixon from Pasadena, left, Jack Romero from Arlington and Dick Bullock from Rockwall.

Stumpy, pictured, contributed with a triple off the wall and hit .625 for the event. He was quoted as saying, “I was awful in this one!” Their next tournament is April 12 and 13 in Mustang, Oklahoma.

The Texan 70’s record after 3 tournaments now stands at 12 wins and 3 losses!


Season Opener, One Day Late

Committing to play in a Senior Softball tournament on March 29 was a great mistake for me, because on that same day, the sovereign state of Texas opened its spring turkey season. Of course, I missed opening day, but I didn’t worry because my Son, Brad said he would come over to my ranch and fill in for me. He didn’t. He went to visit his in- laws in Kentucky, so our birds didn’t get “rousted”.

Layla and I got in late last night from the tournament, went to Church and Bible study this morning, ate lunch at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant and came home. I had to sight in a rifle and after that, since I didn’t have Church Sunday night, why not go Turkey hunting and get the season opened right?

Our ranch lies in the hill country of our great state and abounds in Turkeys, so I decided to hunt in a specific place where I had scouted earlier and heard a lot of them. Choosing a spot in a creek bottom, in the shade, and putting out one hen decoy, I let the area settle down for about 15 minutes and then clucked three times. No results, so I waited a few minutes and clucked, clucked, clucked.


Next thing, up walks 2 hens and I got a good picture of one feeding along. You can see the “real” bird right behind the decoy.


Out walked a young tom with 2 other hens and I was “covered” up with big birds, 4 of them! Not hesitating, bam, the magnum 5’s at 40 yards knocked the bird down an my late season opener was a good one, after all!


This picture is interesting. The viewer can see the decoy, the dead turkey behind it and, on the right, a hen walking away. This particular hen stayed around for over 5 minutes and I finally snapped this


Not having anyone around to take a “trophy” picture, I unceremoniously took this one of the Turkey, down for keeps!

I am really blessed to have such a wonderful hunting opportunity right at my back door.

I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good

An opening day turkey!

Deciding to retire in 2005, to my ranch in Goldthwaite, Texas, had not been the difficult decision that I had expected. The year before my retirement I had planted some peach trees and had just put in this year’s garden, one of my “gifts” being a very green thumb! Spring Turkey season opened on April 2, and not having had the time in the past to indulge in this spring sport and since I was retired, and especially, since my ranch lies in the middle of some fine Turkey country, I decided that I would try my luck.

Scouting For Turkeys

The sovereign State of Texas, for some reason, broke years of tradition, and is opening spring Turkey season on March 29! I had really fouled myself up by, not carefully reading my 2007/08 State, hunting and fishing regs, and committing to play in a Senior Softball tournament in Irving on March 28 and 29. I just “knew” the season would start April 5. I have missed out, but Brad is coming over to pick up the slack!
Last Saturday morning I spent several hours in “The Scaffold Blind.

I was watching and listening for some Turkey movement in that area. I heard several but didn’t see one. They came off of the roost, probably 600 yards east of my blind, but moved south, away from me.


Monday morning found me in a hide about 200 yards north of a spring fed creek on the east side of my ranch. I was hoping the Turkeys were roosting along it.

Obviously, the Turkeys had not roosted along this creek, because I didn’t see or hear one.

My Truck was “kinda” hidden and as I walked up to it, I glanced up in some old oak trees along my spring fed creek and came to a sudden stop, Turkeys in the trees?


Closer inspection revealed they were, what we call down here, Turkey Buzzards. Sitting in trees like that could be dangerous this time of year! I took a picture of them anyway.

Still having Wednesday and Thursday mornings, before my tournament starts on Friday morning, to scout, I’m confident I’ll find the big birds!

Under The Lights

Continuing my initiation into the world of Speckled Trout fishing, on a cool March night, my Dad and I met Dub Middleton at a non descript, bait camp, near Matagorda, Texas, near where the Colorado River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. We were going to fish for Specks at night under some bright, flood lights. The principle was that the reflection of the lights on the water drew small fish and shrimp in to feed on the minute sea life and the abundance of small bait drew the larger predators, the Specks. The action can be fast and furious, and it was!

Starting about 8:30 PM, the three of us beat the water to a froth and to show for the effort, had caught and released 4 small ones. Dub and I choose to take a nap on the couches inside the bait camp and two hours later, my Dad woke both of us exclaiming, “Get up quick and come see all the fish!”

“All the fish” was right. The tide was coming in and with it, bringing in stained, almost sandy, water, and in the reflection of the large lights, the water was dimpled by hundreds of Specks slashing through the thousands of bait fish that had been carried in with the tide!

Savoring the spectacle for maybe 5 seconds, our primal urges kicked in, and we began casting into the melee. Using a Tony Acetta #5, silver spoon, with a yellow buck tail attached, every one of my casts resulted in a hard hit and a spirited fight and resulted in a 1 to 2 pound Trout flopping on the dock.


Above is my old Tony Acetta, #5, silver spoon, with the original, yellow, buck tail. This spoon is lighter than a Dixie Jet, and has a better flash. It was a perfect imitation of the bail fish the Specks were feeding on. Over the years, the hook has been replaced several times. This spoon is over 50 years old and has been used countless times, just be sure and wash them thoroughly, and they will last a long time.

This action continued for nearly 30 minutes. Then, the tide changed heading back out to the Gulf and with the change of the water movement, the bait and predator fish followed. As hot as the action was, it was all over now. Nothing remained except for us to ice down the fish, collect our tackle, bid adieu to the camp operator and start our two hour drive back to West University.

At the time, my family didn’t have a freezer, so all of our friends and relatives enjoyed the fish we happily gave to them.

Before The Time

“Dave, I’m hung up” I exclaimed. Dave Miller stopped the slow troll to try and recover the new white Bomber, deep running, bass plug, that had cost $1.29, from the bottom of Lake Houston. My Dad said, “Damn boy, are you fouled up already!”

We, my Dad, Dave Miller, a close friend and one of our neighbors in West University, had just begun trolling for some of the “big” bass in the three year old Lake Houston. This was before the time of electric trolling motors! Then, mid March of 1953, the lake was over twenty miles northeast of Houston. This was before the time the city surrounded it, years later, by annexing Kingwood on the north and Atascocita on the south.

As the boat coasted to a stop, something strange happened, the log that I had hooked up with sped to the surface and cleared the water, revealing a beautiful, large bass. Being seventeen at the time, I began to receive serious coaching from Dave and my Dad, each offering suggestions as to the best way to get the “monster” in the boat.
After several more jumps we netted the fish. It was also before the time of grabbing the bass’s lip. Fumbling in his tackle box, my Dad found a hand held scale, one of the new Zebco models. Hooking it into the bass’s lip, we found that the fish weighed four pounds and twelve ounces.

My first big bass!

Wow! Into the metal ice chest it went. This was also before the time of fiberglass coolers. We continued fishing for another hour, catching several small, keepers and into the metal chest they went too.

Leaving Lake Houston, it was over an hour’s drive to our southwest Houston home. Arriving, neighbors and friends were called and invited over to see “the catch”, a new record for me. This was well before the time of cell phones.

My emotions ran high! I was pleased, excited and, to say the least, hooked on fishing for life. Pictures were taken, before the time of digital cameras too, congratulations given and accepted and the fish was then scaled, gutted and cut up for dinner the next night.

Just remember, all of this took place before the time we lipped a bass; before the time we released any bass caught, before the time I had learned to fillet a fish, before the time of freeways in Houston, before the time of cell phones and before the time of fiberglass coolers.. So many changes, to numerous to mention, but the thrill of catching “the big bass” was huge at the time and still remains!

Thank Goodness It’s Spring

Praise the Lord, spring starts today!
Heavy rains on Tuesday put a big crimp in my planning for this coming summer. For my garden, it was a black eye pea and spinach, planting day, and got washed out with over an inch of rain. Next “best” planting days are April 4 and 5. Tilling the garden and plowing and fertilizing my spring food plots are out for several more days.

Next project in line is to start cutting and splitting wood for next winter and I’ve got plenty of mesquite and shin oak. Oak burns longer, but I like mesquite best, since it burns hot and clean with very little ash (and I’ve got acres of it). Mesquite is also easier to cut and split.
Other projects awaiting me are to complete the 300 hour scheduled maintenance on my tractor; change the oil and grease my Jeep; perform the spring maintenance check up on my John Deere, lawn mower; service my 2 four-wheelers; sight in the new scope on my .270; practice for my May pigeon shoot; spray along the fence lines, and finish our combat pistol range.

The ranch equipment is lined up awaiting its spring service!

Somehow I have to patch these “must dos” into nurturing my garden and fruit trees; working them into my monthly Senior Softball tournaments and practice schedule along with both salt and fresh water fishing trips, and of course, my blogging.

Thank goodness I don’t have a real job, and thank goodness it’s spring!

A Perfect Start

Stumpy’s team, “The Texans”, opened their season on March 13 and 14 in a tournament in Georgetown, Texas, with a 6 and 0 record and a championship! In the 6 games, we scored over 20 runs 4 times and our closest game was 16 to 7!

In this picture, everything, the ball, “Smiley” the opposing catcher, Juan, the first base coach and the umpire’s back came out fine. But, poor Stumpy was blocked out as he drove a sharp single into right field, plating 2 runs! In Senior Softball, the umps are supposed to stand behind the catcher!

Our team was very good in Georgetown! Last year we were “so-so”, but this year, after picking up some new men and filling some key spots we are excited and the Georgetown tournament supports our excitement.

All up and down the order we pounded the ball, and in all but one game, held our errors to less than 3. With so much “hitting” in slow pitch softball, fielders get a lot of hard chances and to play almost error free ball is exceptional!

The next stop is Irving the last of this month and we expect another championship!

Prepare for Inspection

In the spring of 1958 I was a newly commissioned 2nd Lt. in the U.S Army and spent the next 6 months at basic officers training at Ft. Lee, Virginia. By the time I left, I had found several nice fishing places there, including the Ft. Lee Officers Club Lake.

Atten-hut! Lt. Bryan, pen and paper in hand, enters squad tent to inspect the troops.

Spartan quarters, but weren’t the short sleeves cute?

One unique trip, several of my friends, that were “good ‘ole Texas boys”, and I went Shad fishing in the Appomattox River, in downtown Petersburg. The locals used light/medium tackle with a weight and several treble hooks attached above the weight and cast this across the river and jerked it back. We followed suit and soon had a “mess” of good size, Shad!. There were so many, we laughed saying they were shoulder to shoulder, that each cast brought in one or two.

Keeping a few we tried baking them and they proved awful, tasting too fishy, being full of bones and smelling up the kitchen. We later found out that Shad should be smoked or dried. One Shad trip was enough for us!

The Officers Club Lake provided fair fishing for Bass and Bream, keeping us in fresh fish. It was nice because I could call ahead, reserve a boat and motor and be fishing 15 minutes from my house. As they say, “RHIP”, rank has its privilege, even though I was a 2nd. Lt.

Stuck in my memory was a quick, evening trip to a small public lake. It was just before a March cold front blew in. A friend of mine in Texas had told me about jigging, using a Hawaiian Wiggler, an early, in line, weed less, spinner bait with a hair skirt covering the hook – a good bait for thick cover.

Early Spring Bass

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!