Scouting For Doves

Since dove season opened up in two more Saturdays, Bill Priddy and I had gone up to our McCulloch County hunting lease to check out the prospects.  A lot of birds were flying around, prospects looked good and we even took along our fishing rods.  Our objectives this early morning were to see how many doves came into water in the big, two acre, stock tank along Highway 190 and to see if we could catch some bass out of the tank where we hadn’t fished before.

There was a heavy growth of mesquite trees around the perimeter of the stock tank meaning it was an old one, but neither we, nor the rancher, knew if it had ever been stocked before.  Bill’s first cast put all of this behind us he was using a silver Rebel, a small plug with a suggestive, wiggle that the fish hit almost as soon as it hit the water.  The question about stocking was answered!  After a spirited battle, Bill slid the almost three, pound, bass on to the sandy, bank.  Unhooking it, we admired his catch as he released it, sliding it back into the water.

In the next fifteen minutes, using my trusty Piggy Boat, pictured below, I hadn’t had a strike, while Bill had one more.  Knawing doubt crept into my mind, should I change to a Rebel?

At the same time, in my peripheral vision, I noticed movement to my left.  Turning toward the movement, along came this brightly colored snake, a big one, almost five foot long, dark, red bands, with black, yellow and black rings.  First thing that came to my mind was the old saying “Red and yellow kills a fellow. Red and black is safe for Jack.” Letting it slide on past, I thought it was some kind of a king snake, but later after consulting some “herp” books I determined it was a Mexican milk snake(Lampropeltis triangulum annulata). I dug this picture up from Wikipedia.

Piggy Boats, “safety pin” spinners, are great for stock tanks and small lakes, over the years I’ve had super luck using them, so, I thought, No changing for me.  More casts, no hits, as Bill plugged away, out scoring me with his Rebel.  Casting down, parallel to the bank, about two feet out from the shore, my Piggy Boat stopped.  These plugs, with the hooks installed properly, are virtually weedless and thinking I was fouled on some unseen, underwater obstruction, pulled on the object until the reel clicked as the drag paid out, but this wasn’t a “foul up”, it was a fish!

The fish headed away from the shore for deep water, taking line, more like a redfish, then it came to the surface clearing the water and I saw it was a big, big bass.  More runs, more jumps, the splashes attracting Bill as he walked over to me, but I was winning this “fight” and soon I slipped the big, bass up onto the bank.  Lipping it, unhooking the plug from the corner of its mouth, I held it up for us to admire.  He had a Deliar in his pocket and we weighed the bass, eight pounds, twelve ounces, not a twelve pounder, my personal best, Bill was with me when I caught that one too, see my August 6, 2007 post, [“A Really Big Bass”], but still, this one was a nice one too!

Keeping on fishing, we didn’t notice any doves coming into this tank and as the morning heated up, still no doves, the bass stopping too.  It turned out, the doves weren’t watering at this tank, but we found two more that afternoon that they were using and had wonderful shooting, two weeks later.

Continuing to fish in this tank and catching some nice ones, it appears that we answered the question though, that the tank had been stocked once before!