Back Then

“Dub, I’m hung up” I exclaimed, as Dub Middleton cut back the throttle on the 40 HP motor, no trolling motors back then, as Dub put the big motor into reverse.  Backing up, we stopped the slow troll, but before we could free up my brand new, white Bomber, a deep running, bass plug that had cost me a whopping (at the time) $1.49, the plug and a big looking bass rolled on the surface.

We, my dad, Dub Middleton, a close friend and one of our neighbors in West University, and I had just begun trolling for some of the big bass in the 3 year old Lake Houston. At the time, in the early spring of 1953, the lake was over twenty miles northeast of Houston. Now it’s in the city limits surrounded by the subdivisions of Kingwood on the north and Atascocita on the south.

As the boat coasted to a stop, the big bass cleared the water for the first time, revealing a truly, excellent fish.  Being 17 at the time, I began to receive serious coaching from Dave and Dad, each offering suggestions as to the best way to get the big ‘un into the boat.

After several more jumps and a couple of 10 yard runs, we netted the bass, grabbing the bass’s lip was unheard of back then. Fumbling in his tackle box, my dad found a hand held scale, one of the new Zebco models that he hooked on to the bass’s lip, a 4 pound 12 ounce beauty!   Wow! Into the metal ice chest it went, this was several years before Igloo coolers were developed. We continued fishing, for another hour catching several small, keepers and into the metal cooler they went too.

We loaded up the boat, left Lake Houston for the back then over an hour’s drive to southwest Houston and our homes in West University. Arriving home neighbors and friends were called and invited over to see the catch, a new record fish for me. I was pleased, excited and, to say the least, hooked on fishing for life. Pictures were taken, congratulations given and accepted and then all the fish were then scaled, gutted and cut up for dinner the next night, this was way before I learned to filet fish.

Remember, all of this was before the time we lipped the bass to bring him in the boat. Before the time we released any bass caught; before the time of Florida strain bass in Texas; before the time we had learned to fillet a fish, before the time of digital cameras to record the catch, before the time of freeways in Houston, before the time of cell phones to alert everyone of the return of the fishermen. So many changes, to numerous to mention, but the thrill of catching a big bass still remains!

However, even with all the freeways, Lake Houston to West University is still over an hours drive.