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!