Turkey Hunting, April 28

Getting back from my senior softball tournament in Baytown, Texas and getting organized around here, Monday afternoon, I decided to try my luck on a Turkey.

Setting up the decoy in a plowed, but not yet planted food plot and waiting for 15 minutes for things to settle down, I began clucking, with no results. An hours worth of calling, produced no big birds, only a couple of surprises.

In early March, I had set up a Deer/Turkey feeder near where I was hunting and had loaded the feeder with a combination of corn and milo. Birds love milo! Soon a lone Dove flew in and lit on a tall branch of a dead mesquite and I snapped this picture. My new camera shipped last Friday and soon, there will be much better detail in the pictures.


Then the Doves started piling in. These were all nesting pairs and the “feed” was on. They swarmed the feeder and, at one time, 16 were on the ground. Just think, if each pair had 9 chicks, that would make 88 Doves come September 1. This spring I have seen several hundred Doves feeding in the cut and plowed, sudan field, behind my house. If we don’t have a bad hail storm, we should have an excellent season opener.

Walking back to my Jeep and looking right into the setting sun, there stood a doe, in the trail, 30 feet in front of me. Fumbling up my camera, while holding my shotgun under my arm, I valiantly tried to take a picture. She looked at me and decided that this big man, with a gun, moving around real funny, may be a threat and trotted of into the thick stuff.

The picture didn’t turn out, too much light, but I can hardly wait for my new one. Maybe tomorrow?

An Update On Brad, April 28, 2008

Two weeks ago, after cutting and splitting almost a cord of firewood, Brad and I went turkey hunting and I posted the story and this picture of him on my blog. At that time, I knew he was “doing” quite well!

This was confirmed to us on April 22, when we visited his radiologist and oncologist. Both were upbeat, much more than usual, his weight was up to 179 and he was feeling fine!

His last chemo treatment was the end of February and he had spent March having some specialized radiation treatments and his oncologist will begin a new series of relatively new treatments consisting of a low dose of a chemo drug, plus an antibody, Toxil. The antibody directly attacks the tumor cells.

Brad still has lung cancer, but his faith is extremely strong and he still expects a miracle!

Thank you for your prayers and keep praying!

San Saba River

On this past Monday, one of my friends, Ted Red, left, invited me to go fishing with him. He lives along the San Saba River, 18 miles south of my ranch. I readily accepted and was treated to a real surprise.

The San Saba River originates west of Menard, Texas and flows east, through some rugged western and west central Texas landscape, to where it meets the Colorado River.

It flows through the town of San Saba and is fueled by the mighty spring in that town. Since its discovery in the early 1700’s, this spring pours out 6 to 8,000,000 gallons of water daily! We fished just below where it enters the river, just upstream from the small rapids and the setting is almost tropical, except for the Rattlers!


The river has been deeply involved in Texas history, exploration and Indian fighting. During the Spanish period, 1650-1800, there was a big Indian raid, killing all the inhabitants of an early Spanish mission and my 3G Uncle, Buck Barry, even had a good “scrape” along it during the 1860’s. History aside, it also offers excellent fishing!

Ted and I didn’t score on any of the big Catfish that the river is locally famous for, but we enjoyed several hours of steady action on the bream, small channel cats, and one, keeper size gaspergou, or freshwater drum.



The “gou” that I caught wasn’t huge, this past weekend in Lake Austin, that flows through our capital, a fisherman caught a 22.5 pound monster, but mine was keeper size and was thrown back to grow into a monster!

The next time we fish the river, we’re going to take along a heavy rod, keep the little bream, use them for live catfish bait and catch us some of the big “cats” the river is famous for!

Young Lady, Just Who Are those Men

Part 2 of the story tells of our successful fishing trip that had a very unusual ending.
My Daughter, suzanne, the heroine of this story, hold up a very, small catfish. This little fish holds second place in our family’s “Smallest Fish Contest”. Our Uncle Gus hold down first.

Young Lady, Just Who Are those Men

Because of the late hour, we launched at the Galveston Yacht Basin, rather than making the ten mile trip from Bayou vista, by water. In and out launching was $3.00 and gasoline was still less than $1.00 per gallon.

The weather still looked a little “iffy” so we decided to buy some shrimp and fish around the Pelican Island Flats, near the old, sunken concrete ship, a good spot for spring time Specs. We drifted for about forty-five minutes catching a few small Specs and the tide started out, and of all things, the wind laid. I told my crew, “Get your lines in, we’re going to the Gulf side of the South Jetty.”

Seven-miles out, there’s no wind blowing as we rounded the end of the jetty and headed for my favorite spot, and since the tide was going out, the water on the Gulf side was moving toward the beach. As we anchored I noticed small fish hanging close to the rocks. A real good sign!
Changing from “regulation” popping corks used when we were drifting, to a split shot ten inches above a small hook, we baited up and cast toward the rocks. Dick got hung on a rock and had to break off and while he was re-rigging Mike had a big strike and was fast into a nice Red Fish. Catch the conditions right at this spot and it always paid off.

We had been fishing for about an hour and had five nice Red Fish and two Trout, when I heard a “Hmmpf” from Suzanne and saw her rod nearly bend double. A big Red and he is moving down the rocks to our right, out to sea, as Suz holds her rod up high and hangs on. Soon we boat a very nice twenty-eight inch, Red, that she fought perfectly.

For a day that started as a washout, we now had nice mess of fish, Spanish Mackerel, Red Fish, Trout and a couple of big Sheepshead. Our big cooler was close to one half full of fish, so as the tide changed, we headed back to the Yacht Basin. We were four grubby, stinky, fisher persons with a box of fish to clean!

This particular day, we were the only boat that had gone out, so as we loaded the boat on to the trailer, we drew a nice crowd of onlookers who, when we got the cooler down and opened it, appropriately “oohed and aaahd” over our catch.

Mike, Dick and I were kidding around, chewing tobacco and spitting, and cleaning the fish when a well to do appearing lady came up to Suz and asked her, “Did you catch some of these fish?” and Suz replied, “Yes Mam, I caught the big Red.” The lady replied “Good for you!”

We finished cleaning the fish and iced them down. Then, as Dick and I were lifting the big cooler up to Mike, he leaned over to grab it and, by accident, belched. We paid no attention and just kept loading the heavy cooler.

The well to do lady turned to Suz and asked her, “Young lady, just who are those men?” Suzanne replied, “The big guy over there with gray hair is my Dad and the big guy in the boat is my brother in law and the other big guy is Dick, a friend.” “Hmmpf, they’re gross!” the well to do lady said, as she turned and scurried off.

Suzanne has been fishing with me since she was eleven years old. She can bait her own hook, cast the bait out, land the fish with a net and take the hook out, all of this even though she is a graduate of Texas A & M University.

A Big, Scary Storm

Having lived on the Texas coast for many years, I have enjoyed my share of storms, tornadoes, waterspouts and hurricanes. This 2 part, story, “A Big, Scary Storm” and “Young Lady, Just Who Are Those Men”, tells the story about an exciting night and the next day’s successful fishing trip.

A Big, Scary Storm

April had been unseasonably warm and the Gulf currents had come in early and raised the water temperatures to over seventy-two degrees, and with the warm water came the pelagic species of fish Kings, Spanish Mackerel and Cobia (Ling).

I had promised Suzanne, my daughter, and Mike, my son in law, an offshore trip since the past season. The timing was good for all of us and we picked a Friday in late April to try and get out and catch some big Kingfish. The big ones come in first and spawn in the shallow water just out from the beachfront and they were our targets.

We had planned to spend the night at my beach house in Bayou Vista and get an early start. Mike and Dick Riley, a fine young man and one of Mike’s lifelong friends, showed up first, followed shortly by Suzanne and we all stayed up to catch the TV news and weather.
The TV weather announced strong line of thunderstorms would move into the Houston area and pass through before sunrise. We then listened to the NOAA weather report on my boat’s radio and there was no mention made of the storms. We were fifty miles southeast of Houston, so we figured, that if the storms hit us it would be about the same time. We were right.
A loud crash of thunder jolted me awake and I sat straight up in bed. Lightning flashed and another loud crash! Lightning ripping the sky, another crash! Here’s the storm I thought while looking at my watch and seeing it is 5:30 AM. I jumped out of bed and slipped on my Wranglers and boat shoes and headed into the main room and found Mike, Dick and Suzanne all dressed and watching the storm.

The rain was pounding the house, the wind was howling at fifty or sixty miles per hour, lightning was constantly flashing and thunder roaring. Our electricity had been knocked out and we were in the dark. At 6:00 AM we heard the Bayou Vista VFD’s alarm sound and wondered why. The alarm sounded again and I said, “We better get to the fire station, they may be trying to signal a tornado.”

Out into the storm we rushed and as we walked down the outside stairs the wind and rain, hit us with terrific force. We can’t be heard over the racket so we plowed on to the Suburban and got in, four wet folks. The wind rocked the truck as we drove the one-mile to the fire station no one there, but we see a crowd gathering at the convenience store on the corner. We drove up, parked and sat with everyone else. This was not a smart thing to do because if a tornado caught us out in the open like this, it would be curtains.

Back at the beach house, around 7:00 AM the storm let up and the skies started to clear. The wind was blowing lightly, maybe a sign it would lay and things would smooth out. We listened to NOAA weather and got a good report, so we decided to go fishing.

Baptist Men’s Fellowship

Baptist Men’s Fellowship may seem to be a funny name for a fishing story, but, yesterday afternoon, Warren Blesh, owner of RRR Ranch, and a past contributor to this blog, hosted a fishing outing at his ranch for Goldthwaite’s First Baptist Church’s, men’s fellowship. He said, “My little lake needs some thinning out. There’s too many Bass in it!” Fifteen fishermen showed up and fished for 3-1/2 hours and “thinned” 60 pounds of Bass out of the little lake!

My first cast, with my trusty Piggy Boat, netted a hard strike and thrown hook. But cast number 3 resulted in this fat 1-1/2 pounder. The Piggy Boat is still in the Bass’ mouth!


Warren weighs in our catch. Sixty Pounds!


Warren and one of the fishermen, tie into a wonderful supper of bar-b-qued chicken, Elgin, Texas sausage, beans, potato salad, trimmings, roasted jalapenos and sweet tea. A note here, sausage from Elgin are the very best our State offers!


Relaxing on the porch, the last eager eater is finishing up, while the tall tales are just beginning.

We had a wonderful day for our fellowship, sunny with a light wind, good fishing and great food prepared by Chef Warren!

Praise the Lord!

Blown Away

This past Wednesday afternoon, with the wind howling from the south at 25 MPH, gusting to 35, at the invitation of a friend of mine, Brad and I attempted to go Turkey hunting.

Brad donned his gillie coat and I snapped this picture of him before we trekked to our hunting spot.

We chose to hunt next to a cultivated field, along a creek bottom, thinking that the birds would mosey along the creek on their way to their roost. Brad was using his (personal) M-4, .223, shortened version of the military’s M-16, shown in the picture, and I was toting my 12 gauge autoloader.

Setting the decoy out along the edge of the cultivated field, I turned and walked back to our hide and before I could sit down, the wind blew down the decoy. Steadying it with a good sized rock was no problem and I began a long series of calling, with no results. Brad was about 10 yards away from me and told me as we walked back to my Jeep, “Dad, with this wind howling, I could barely hear your clucks.” So much for that days hunt!

Last night we got hammered by a line of severs thunderstorms, 50-60 MPH winds, 2 inches of rain, hail and a copious amount of lightning. North of us, along I-20 from Eastland to Ft. Worth, they had a tornado and baseball sized hail. Around here, we have long learned that when the wind howls from the south, just hold on, it will come back from the northwest with a vengeance!

The Texans Win Again

This past weekend, Stumpy’s team, “The Texans”, won the 70+, age division championship, in a senior softball tournament held in Mustang, Oklahoma. The tournament was supposed to have started this past Thursday morning, but great storms and three and one-half inches of rain postponed the start until Friday afternoon.

A soggy field, with temperatures in the 40’s, along with a 40 MPH wind greeted the players. Stumpy, who hit .667 for this one, said, “I have been playing ball all of my life and this was the wettest, coldest, windiest tournament that I have ever played in!” And he added, “We were so bundled up I believe it affected our play.”

Stumpy didn’t let “being bundled up” affect his hitting as he drives a high pitch for a base hit.

Bad conditions aside, “The Texans” won their third straight tournament running their record to 15 wins and 5 losses. Next up is Baytown, Texas on April 25.