Roughing It

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 ThumbButte 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 “fish” 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!


For Jack and I it was early to bed, with visions of fat Bass in our heads.

We’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 day’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, “Fry them up real crisp and eat bones and all!”

After a couple of quick sandwiches, Jack and I, and our kids, hit the water and his original Skeeter, flat bottomed, Bass boat with a 55hp Johnson, does yeoman service as a “ski boat”. We ski for several hours and the kids want to continue their exploring so off they go with a mandatory “Be careful!”, from us.

We had caught so many fish that morning, Jack and I decided to only fish the last 30 minutes before dark and repeating the process, cast on to the rocks and let the Piggy Boat flutter down and wait for a strike. We added another mess of Bass and Blue Gills to our Igloo cooler and “had” to hurry back and get the grease hot and start frying up some fresh caught fish.

This roughing it is tough!