What do you see out of your window today?


Jack and I drove down the night before deep into East Texas to the cabin. We woke to a misty morning in late April filled with anticipation and a mysterious fog hanging between tall pines and old oaks. Let me introduce myself and my comrade; I, the renowned Sharky Moreno (world class fanatic Angler; I eat, sleep, dream fishing), and my ever ready partner Dock Jumper Jack, a man known for his uncanny ability to find fish and his misunderstood rite of passage jumping off boat docks to tune his senses, stride forward toward the water down to the boat. Both of us reminding the other of the year’s previous trip and the large catfish in these dark waters. After checking the bait I start the boat motor and back out of the boathouse. I turned the boat into the thick bank of fog thinking to myself. 
"The old duck blind is right about there so I'll hold the boat in this direction. 
Behind us the boathouse slowly faded into the fog. The bass boat felt small as it was enveloped in the fog. Jack with a stern look on his face looked forward into the mist. The fog looked dense and white as milk; once inside the fog bank an eerie feeling came over us. I could imagine scenes of Kirk Douglas in "The Vikings" being lost in a sea of fog with only a crude compass to find the way; I hoped we would make it with only my memory to guide us. Soon we hit the shoreline and could see the vague outline of trees and the old duckblind materialized out of the heavy mists. Making a port side turn we followed our route of the previous night. 
"After that ride I'm glad to be where I can see something, hell anything! 
"I know what you mean Jack. 
I slid the bass boat alongside a jug line that was a little way off. Jack reached out with the net and pulled the jug line to the boat. 
"Well no luck on this line but look at the bait! 
I looked at the bait! It looked like it had been scared to death in some paranoid nightmare. Jack unhooked the shad with its eyes bugged out and a dead scream on its watery lips. This poor little shad looked like it had been bleached, the scales around its head were white. Jack flipped the fish over his shoulder and put a fresh bait on the hook. We moved down the bank through lily pads to the next jug line and it began to bounce and plow through the water. 
"Jack we got something on this one ! 
"Yea bring me a little closer in. 
Jack went for the jug and it bounced away out of reach. I punched the motor and shot the boat ahead. Jack reached out got a good hold and brought up the line feeling the pull of a fish. 
"Hey looky at this little fish. 
Jack in short time landed a nice five or six lb. catfish. Jack removed the hook and the fish flopped like it was on an electrified hot plate but soon settled down to croaking and gulping air. We turned our attention back to running the lines, baiting the hooks and feeling confident that there was some activity last night. 
"Hold 'em high and put 'em in the bag. One down and more to go! 
"You got that right Jack! 
I noticed how dark the water was, you couldn't see past the surface. When we landed the next couple of fish I put off the look of the strange water to the effect of the fog shrouded air that swirled around the boat cutting off the light. The water looked like liquid ebony in the early light. I admired the beauty of this lake clothed in mist as we worked down the bank. I guess that in the back of my mind I knew that this water concealed a wide range of fish and reptiles but for now I was just enjoying running the lines. We had collected about seven good fish that anyone would be proud to bring in and Jack said, "Good run this morning Sharky you were right about one thing fishing is still great down here and being let loose to catch all the fish we can for the "Big Fish Fry" is like being a kid cut loose in a candy store. 
"Hey we got any bait left? Jack, I see a couple of jugs off that line of grass and reeds. 
"We got a few in the bucket. 
The boat glided across the water to the next jug line and I felt anticipation rise up. I watched the jug for any movement. It sat in the water like it was asleep. The boat came along side of the line and Jack leaned over the side of the boat and grabbed it. 
"It's hung up on the lily pads 
"It's twisted around ‘em" 
"Hey I think there's something on here. YES there is something on here!! 
I saw Jack's arms jerking with the pulling on the line. 
I could see a fin coming out of the water. 
"Get the net Jack! 
Jack dipped into the water with the net and came up empty each time he made a pass through the lily pads and water. It was there…. I saw it myself in the water a huge shape then I realized that Jack had a hold of a very large and suddenly awakened behemoth of these waters, the legendary Appaloosa Catfish. The fin I saw was a dorsal fin not a tail fin as I had first thought. Jack came to the startling conclusion that this fish was not going into the net. When it was obvious, he realized that we didn't have a gaff or a net large enough to land this fish. I could see Jack was down to desperate measures, before I could tell him to check the hook he did it. Jack heaved up on the line and we both got an eye full! The head came up jaws open with lips decorated with old lines and hooks; looking into its craw I was seeing the maw that brought back memories of the perch we had seen earlier; no wonder it looked like it had been scared to death. It had! Now the fish (Jack later nick-named "Shamu") was thrashing the water to a froth. Jack (in his mental state of mind that was needless to say a mixture of excitement, urgency and a primordial fear a lot like having a large dose of buck fever) start lifting Shamu into his lap; it was a hideous thought hugging that slime covered head and bringing it so close to his face, nearing those large and very sharp poisoned barbed fins. Shamu resisting all of the way was now half out of the water. This fish was also down to desperate means to escape. 
I yelled "Don't try to….." But it was too late Shamu raised its body out of the water, tail curling up into the air slammed down on the side of the boat. Jack clutching at Shamu couldn't seem to find a hold. Loudly croaking and flopping about it came free of the hook and Jack's grip and slid back into the depth from which it came with a violent thrashing splash. 
It all happened so quickly. Jack stood with a look on his face I'd seen before and I could see the same thought run through his mind I'd entertained on many occasions. Jack watched the lilies move about as the fish tried to get going. 
To my astonishment Jack dove in head first into the water. Jack had gone into the water after that huge beast. He felt around for a moment in the heavy vegetation after being dunked in the water this early in the season the chill brought Jack back to his senses; sputtering he bobbed up out of the water with a lily pad draped over his head and held onto the side of the boat. 
I said, "Well damn Jack what the hell do you think you're doing! 
I hauled Jack back into the boat and he sat down shivering, muttering under his breath still a little dazed and confused. I asked what was he thinking when he jumped out of the boat. 
Well, I knew I could get him! He was right there beside the boat! I had to! I couldn't let that fish get away! 
Peering down into the water feeling defeat he sat dripping in his seat. As he recounted the last few moments he cussed like a sailor for the next thirty minutes. No one will ever believe me on this "Big One that got away" story. Now I've seen a few big cats in my time . The one we saw that morning had to weigh at least 85 to 100 lb. a big cat by any body's yard stick. 
This sense of loss stayed with Jack the rest of the trip. We were very successful in gathering enough fish for the fish fry. Still Jack could not let go of his actions. During the day's bass fishing; he seemed to lose his confidence. Bad casts and ill luck which all fishermen from have time to time seemed to plague him. Jack still blamed himself for letting the big one get away. Making matters worse was my uncanny luck of catching a lot of nice bass while my counterpart wallowed in self effacing " Should ofs" and "could ofs" of that mornings mishap. 
That night’s of running the jug lines with the aid of a spotlight was to Jack very uneventful. We caught plenty of fish but nothing close to the caliber of the Big Cat. Jack seemed to be disappointed each time we checked the jugs one by one. We picked up plenty of keeper fish with the spot light swinging through the bug infested air to reveal each jug marked with reflective tape bouncing and bobbing with a fish on the line. Each time we ran down another jug Jack kept saying, Shamu's on this line I just know it!" Unfortunately the big fish did not materialize. Seeing my friend falling into this funk I decided to do something about it. 
Over breakfast I made a proposal to my cohort. 
"Jack, I have a feeling this morning we're going to do some good down on the lower lake. There are some holes down there I know that you have never fished. So buck up Man! Let’s go catch some fish. 
Fishing in the stained waters of deep East Texas is certainly a bass fisherman's dream especially on these lakes. The banks are just clogged with stands of reeds with bush and trees fallen into the lake. The locals boast that there isn't a spot on the bank that you can step out of the boat onto the shore and put your foot on bare ground. We're talking intense cover here. Jack and I worked down the bank fishing with all the tricks and methods available to us. Still no fish. 
"Man, I must be snake bit!. I couldn't catch a fish if my life depended on it! 
"Jack you got to realize that some days it's hard for anyone to catch a fish. 
Well, that's why they call it "fishing" not catching. 
"Look you're too hard on yourself. It's going to be dark in a couple of hours so let’s pull up our lines and go to the dam and try fishing "The Poachers Hole!" 
The Poachers Hole is a secret place to fish few people know about and to some it's a well kept secret. It was created by the dump well in the lower lake. The water rushing through the discharge pipe washed out a large area below the dam making a circular pond. The water from "The Poachers Hole" flows out a narrow channel into a boggy swamp which is hard to navigate unless in a very small boat. I remember hearing disturbances out in the endless runs of reeds and swampy undergrowth that sounded like hogs playing tag in the dark on many evenings. Many trophy black bass have been taken from "The Hole". It's strange how the fish move in and out ; you never know when you're going to hit some hot fishing. We both had this in mind. 
While I was busy with running the boat Jack hurriedly rigged up his rod with a new offering. We hit the shore and Jack jumped out and pulled the boat up onto the bank. I stayed behind to rig up my rod while Jack went on ahead to the water. I started to make my way up the side of the dam when I heard a commotion like an invading war party of "Cado Indians." "Wahoo!!" I cleared the top of the dam and saw Jack doing battle with a large member of the bass family. Jack had a fight on his hands in the tight area in which he was standing. Jack looked like a drunken sailor swaying with the rod trying to keep the fish out of the moss and saw grass. He managed to turn the bass and it tail-walked out to the center of the current racing out of the discharge pipe. Jack brought the fish into an eddy beside the inlet and made his first attempt to land the bass. The bass spooked and dove into the fast water again peeling line off his reel at an alarming rate. Once in the current the wise old bass went deep into the brush at the bottom. Just for a moment Jack thought he had hung up and lost the fish; but the heavy test line held as it swam free of the snag. By now both man and beast were wearing down and Jack got the upper-hand. He led the fish up into the eddy once more and drug it into shallow water. Raising the rod with his left and reaching down with his right he lipped the bass and lifted it up in triumphant display. 
"Way to go Jack!" "Beautiful Fish!" Jack held up a bass that could easily weigh in at ten pounds. "I'm ready to go home now! 
We made our way back to the boathouse on the lower lake to take a roll or two of film. We both posed with the fish, of course, a true fisherman wouldn't let a perfectly good photo opportunity go by. Jack knelt down on the walkway and let the large sow bass get a little water through her gills then released her back into the lake eventually to spawn more "East Texas green trout. 
The sun was going down in a kaleidoscope of colors over the tall dark pines that ringed the lake. The sounds of the night filled the air as we turned away from the lake alive with a profusion of activity. The water of the lake was beautiful as small rings from feeding fish reflected the sunset down into the shadow of the pines. The clouds looked like the flames in the fire place that we were sitting around in the cabin just a few minutes later. 
"Hell of a day Jack! That big bass that you caught was a sight to behold. 
"Yea that was a nice one all right. 
There came a knock on the cabin door. I went to the door and opened it and there stood another kindred spirit. 
"Well, come on in Bill! 
Bill Brown, a fisherman of the first order. Bill is better known as "Alaska Bill, a name that describes his tall tales; Alaska is bigger than Texas which should tell you something. 
"Heard you guys caught some good fish today. 
Jack cleared his throat and spent a few minutes to recount the events that led to the battle of the day. Bill sat patiently and listened to Jack's tale nodding as he digested the story bit by bit. I could see that this was the perfect setting for a true matching of wits and urban legend. 
"I had a similar experience but why open old wounds? 
Bill stepped to the bar and poured himself a large whisky. 
"But let me tell you Jack it was truly a vision being in the bush of Alaska. Snow capped mountains, pines, fast running rivers so full of fish the water churned with fun, sport and amusement. 
I glanced at Jack and we both knew we were in for a session of a bigger, better than you ever saw. We settled in for the duration of the blizzard of talk. 
"That was the trip that I was dropped off by helicopter (bush pilot friend owed me one) into some prime salmon fishing. I, of course, had no idea what I was in for. I was equipped with salmon flies and my trusty fly rod. Thinking that I would be able to catch some fair fish since they were supposed to be at the height of the run. I walked down the bank of the river and found a good place to stand and cast to an eddy behind a boulder. I rigged my line with a hand tied favorite red and white streamer. My first cast was a disaster on the back cast; it got caught in a tree that was right behind me! It was high enough that I could not reach it. My tower cast carried the fly high in the tree. I ended up having to yank it out of the tree. When it came loose it flew out over the water and to my luck it lay out on the water and landed on the upper side of the eddy that I was attempting to fish. The line drifted ‘round the eddy and I mended the line and the fly stayed in the pocket with hardly no drag at all. I felt a hit on the fly and something carried my line out of the eddy into the faster water. Playing the fish, to my surprise I landed a decent rainbow trout. Believe it or not the next two casts brought the same result. Well, I thought to myself this wasn’t what I had in mind but it 's not a bad way to spend the afternoon. I moved down the river a little way finding a new spot to try. I cast out the same as before and was hit by a savage strike. I found the line running away down stream at a terrific pace. Whatever it was it was certainly taking me for a ride. I let the line run free as the fish made its run and I was running down the bank jumping over rocks and hurtling brush trying to keep up. Battling a giant fish of some sort I wasn't sure what I had yet. I thought it unusual that it didn't break water but rolled just below the surface; the fish seemed content to pull like a mule going up a ladder. Soon the fight was leaving the fish and I started to make headway on bringing it to the bank. I saw a shape that seemed familiar to me and soon I got a good look at it and it was a King Salmon, a large one. The King was shaking his head and wiggling trying to be rid of this nuisance. This fish didn't want me to step on my new wade shoes. Exhausted the King lay at my feet and I lifted it up and it had to weigh at least 70 lbs. or more. I could not believe my eyes; by some fluke of nature this fish had strange marks on each side of its head at the gills. Dark blotches that looked like large side-burns. I swear. Amazed I thought to myself I got to "Return to Sender" and released it back into the stream. I can stand here today and say with complete confidence that " The King Lives!! 
We had a good laugh over that one. I put another log on the fire and went to the kitchen bringing out some refreshments. I felt that we needed to refresh after that lame ordeal. I offered the bait. 
"Bill have you ever heard of a topper ? 
"No I can't say as I have. Is it a new lure or something ? 
I told him, No, this is a topper. 
Years ago my father and I went fishing on Possum Kingdom Lake. We had prepared to fish for a large catfish that some scuba divers said they saw down near the dam of the lake in about sixty-five feet of water. We baited up a very large treble hook with a half of a road-kill raccoon we found on the highway. Using a surf rod we let the bait down to the bottom to rest and sat back in the boat as night fell over the lake. The moon was out and there was plenty of light to see by as we sat in the boat. The moon was so bright that we played cards to pass the time.‘Long about 10:30 pm something started to play with the line that had the road-kill bait on it. The rod was hit with such force that the boat nearly capsized under the pull of the line. We had hung a big fish. We pulled up our anchor and took turns fighting the fish as it towed the bass boat around till the sun was peaking over the rim of the earth at dawn. Finally we landed a monster catfish. I boated it by sticking my hand into its massive gills and to our amazement there was a lit Coleman lantern in the fish’s mouth!! 
"Now that’s going a bit too far!!" Bill bellowed. 
"OK, I said, if you take twenty pounds off that last fish I'll blow out the light on that lantern!!" That's a topper. Little did we know that these few days of country fishing away from Dallas would end all too soon. Life in the city rolls on in its own rut and those days and nights in deep east Texas now seem far away. The day to day grind of existence resumed. The morning paper and back to work on the next story and so time unravels for intrepid anglers. I walked to the window and gazed out at the beautiful sunrise and scratched portions of my anatomy, contemplating breakfast and wondering what was on the menu. I started to cut an orange into wedges and the phone rang. 
"Hello… oh howdy Jack what's up? 
"I thought you might want to go to the hockey game. 
"Man that sounds great you got some tickets? " I said. 
"No I just called to see how you would react! Yeah man, I got some good seats. 
"It sounds like a plan to me. 
"Okay I'll be by to pick you up tonight about six o’clock." 
"Yeah, see you then. 
The sun fell from the sky in its own time and I for one could not wait for a new experience. I had seen hockey on TV but never live and in person. Popping cans of cola and leaping into traffic on the hi-way that could be described as the Lemming migration of The Inter-urban Tundra; our adventure began. 
The trip into the city had all the ear marks of a typical salmon run. Leaping, thrashing, flying through narrow corridors, cars all around us showing a wide variety of colors ready to complete the journey and lay in the parking lot dead to the world until it's time to venture back. 
"Damn why couldn't you find a parking place on this side of the state! 
"Hey lay off this lot is cheaper! I saved enough to buy a beer at the game! 
"Hey let me see one of those tickets! 
All right 
"I've heard of these guys the famous Chicago Blackhawks! This should be a clash of the titans. 
The people that were in line seemed the usual sort found at sporting events.The crowd was congealing in the passage that led to the entrance. The murmuring of the crowd grew intense as we drew nearer to the arena. We milled around inside and found the right aisle to our seats and immediately got in line to buy refreshments. Arms loaded to capacity I made my way to seat 32 row K and sat packed in the small seats. We had to take turns holding drinks to free enough hands to eat. Once our meal was accomplished Jack and I settled in for a good game. The teams were on the ice circling and firing pucks at the goalie warming up. Every so often a puck would fly up into the crowd over the glass and this had a tendency to keep your attention, the old self-preservation instinct kicking in. 
Soon the first period was under way in a furious fracas of flying sticks and players throwing elbows into each others faces. I was amazed at the speed of the game as these berserkers sped up and back on the ice chasing the little piece of rubber. I sat there watching the game and my mind kept hinting at something and soon it came to me that what I was witnessing was the answer to a hidden question. I had the answer and what was nagging at me was the question. The players flew at each other slamming and battling for the puck; flicking the puck back and forth between players skating at high speed. Crashing into the defenders the Stars slammed a slap shot into the net. Players were falling and flopping around sliding on the ice. It came to me. What I was seeing was perfect and logical. Hockey is an evolution of primeval fisherman taking out their deeply seated frustration when the lake froze over and fishing came to a halt. I mean I've seen grown men go crazy and I mean bad craziness just being unable to get on the lake for a few days because the wind made it impossible to launch their boat. Could you imagine the fever pitch of a couple of dozen fishermen kept from fishing all winter? We, as the true anglers, overcame this by inventing ice fishing. This hockey thing must have been a holdover from this long gone age and following the Darwin equation mutating into the modern game of today. 
It was truly enlightening to have experienced a glimpse into the dark of the past, seeing the dark shadows of our ancestors. This set me thinking about old ways of fishing that are rare these days and techniques that are lost or nearly forgotten. That is what sent Jack and I on one of the most unusual fishing trips we had ever encountered. 
Be sure to join Jack and Sharky when they take a trip back in time with an ancient mariner of an age gone by. " Are you sure that we can get into this place this early in the morning? 
"Jack what you don't realize is that in the old days people got out of bed early. You know, to make the most of the daylight. 
My truck pulled up to the entrance of the "Tree Lodge Home for the Aged" and we soon parked and met with a man that still held knowledge of fishcraft that came from a time gone by. After the normal routine of getting directions and finally tracking down the long halls passing room after room, we found him, Hester Johns. This man had been fishing for almost 78 years since he got a late start at the age of two. 
"Mr. Johns are you ready to go fishing . 
"Yes boy! You don't have to scream in my ear! 
"Sorry Mr. Johns 
"Don't call me that, my name is Hester!" 
Hester was still a very mobile man. Jack and I had a hard time just keeping up with him as we made our way out of the home. Soon we had hit the road and the conversation turned to what we were searching. 
"You fellas ever fished for Red Ears before? 
Jack answered "No I haven't fished for them but I have caught a few fishing for crappie and bream. 
"Red ears are not a fish that I have targeted either." I said. 
"Well I'm gonna show you boys some tricks to catch some fish. 
Mr. Johns went on to tell us a lot about himself and his life, mainly stories about when he was a boy fishing on creeks and ponds. He told of some of his experiences in WWII aboard a ship in the navy and the sights around the world he saw touring the pacific. Stories of tuna and sharks caught from the ship at different ports of call. The subject always turned back to memories of his Father taking him out on the lake and fishing for the curious "red ears" that he loved to catch. 
"I can see them just like it was yesterday, Daddy and his buddy Joe sitting in their wooden boat casting out with the drag lines with me in the middle. Pulling the line in and casting it back out and pulling it back in again. Sitting and waiting patiently while the water settled and for the fish to come. 
We pulled into Jack's house and backed into the driveway. Jack flagged me back as I pulled under the hitch on his boat trailer. Check the lights. Load the gear (more rods and reels than we'd ever need) in the boat and at last we're off! 
Chewing the fat and we were all getting worked up about fishing; driving down the road paying just enough attention to the road to keep us on track toward our destination when suddenly a concrete truck decided to give me a wake up call. Swerving out of harms way the pick-up made it clear but Jack's bass boat blindly plowed into the concrete truck having never encountering anything it hadn't skimmed over with ease. Not this time. After we all got our legs to stand firmly under us we looked at the carnage. The first thing that struck me was that there really wasn't much left of the boat and it looked kind of small down in the bottom of the ditch at the side of the road. I looked over at Jack and he was in a state of shock. His mouth hung open and his lip was filling with gravel as he stepped forward to get a better look. 
"I…I..I'm so sorry Jack. I didn't see that truck coming, I swear!! 
Jack's head was nodding kind of jerky like and his arms were swinging back and forth kind of jerky like too. He was moving like he was half locked up, eyes bugging out and stammering. 
Well, like my old Daddy use to say, "it's spread out like a watermelon on the fourth of July." "Don't worry about it I got a boat we can use." Hester said, walking off leaving us both staring at the boat. Well, after hashing out the details with the truck driver and several calls on my mobile phone to every insurance agent that had anything to do with the situation and a few extra for good measure, I returned to check on Jack and try to mend his condition. 
Mr. Johns didn't seem to care that what lay in the bottom of the ditch in about a million pieces was a state of the art fishing machine in ruins. Jack was speechless and almost catatonic, I helped him back to the truck. I ran quickly back and picked up as much of the tackle and anything I could find that was worth saving (thank goodness that the rod box survived intact ). After several trips I had loaded into the back of the truck what was obviously still usable. 
Hester showed the way to his son-in-law's house where he had stored his old boat. Did I say old boat? No, Mr. Johns's boat was ancient. His boat and trailer looked like a green banana on a coat hanger with buttons for wheels. It had to be at least 40 or 50 years old if it was a day. The boat was so old and worn that it looked like Noah hand carved every board in the boat. It had a square stern and a pointed bow similar to a slice of pie and it was totally wood not a metal part on it. Besides the small motor another foreign element was the oarlocks. Oars? I could see that this was going to be a real trip back in time. 
"I'll go get our gear." I said. 
Jack was still mumbling to himself and trying to figure out what he had just seen was the destruction of his boat. 
"No. I got everything that we need to catch some fish. We don't need all that stuff that you two carry around. 
Hester turned and opened a storage locker and pulled out small a tackle box and then found some cane poles from a rack over his head. Once they were loaded into the boat he turned and proclaimed, "We're ready to get going ."
 Hester and I pushed his boat out into the sunlight and hooked it on to my truck hitch. We checked the lights and they were working just fine so off we went! 
We traveled down the road a good ways and I pulled off the road for a pit stop. I walked back and checked out the boat while Jack and Hester went into the store for some drinks. I felt the wheels and they were cool and everything was tight on the trailer. It wasn't very long and we were finally at the lake. Today's fishing was on Cedar Creek Lake. We launched the boat without a hitch and soon made our way down the lake. Hester piloted the boat into small bay and put down anchors fore and aft. The small cove that he had pulled into was in the shade and had brush along the banks. Hester had positioned us right on what looked like a creek bed in about eight feet of water. Jack and I sat and watched as he began unrolling a long cotton line with a three or four ounce weight tied on the end. Hester started throwing the line out into the water about fifteen feet out and very slowly pulling it back to the boat. He repeated this until he had thrown the line all the way around the boat and had dragged the weight over the bottom all around us. We scratched our heads as we watched him and didn't understand why he disturbed the water we came to fish. 
"Eh Hester why did you stir up the water? Didn't you just scare off any fish that were in the area? 
Hester sat back and popped opened a coke can and replied "Yes and No. 
"Boys let me explain what we're doing here. Ya see, by casting the line out and dragging the bottom it uncovers the blood worms in the silt and that is what will bring the red ears in here. 
Jack and I looked at each other shrugged and started to pass out the cane poles. We began to rig up the poles. 
"You boys are a little ahead of yourselves. We need to wait awhile before we start fishing, give the fish a chance to find the worms and start feeding." Hester told us. 
So we sat there and ate sandwiches and had a soda. After about a half hour Hester reached under his seat in the boat and pulled up a box full of crickets. 
"Let's try 'em now." Hester announced. 
We all rigged up our poles and baited our hooks with crickets and let the lines into the water. We fished with no result for some time. Our antique bobbers floated on the water and the sun shone through the trees and it was beautiful weather for soaking a hook. The large cottonwoods that stood by the bank towering over our heads were living testimony to the times I was imagining. Drifting off in thought I was awakened by Jack alerting me that my bobber was no longer in sight! I set the hook on a fish and pulled it from the water. 
"That is what we are after gentlemen. 
Hester quipped as he held up the cricket box to me. I took a good look at our prey; basically a green fish (with a little yellow in the scales) at about a half pound in weight and dark crimson crescents around the pupil of the eye and a bright red spot coming off the gill plate similar to a Blue Gill but red. These Red Ears had a hunger that was insatiable. Soon we all were boating fish. The fish seemed to be teeming in the water around the boat. No sooner than the bait would reach the proper depth that a fish would be on the hook. Hester instructed us not to keep any fish that we could reach around. If you could curl your fingers over his back with your thumb on his belly it’s too small. Even using this primitive gauge our stringers were filling up fast. Fishing and talking Hester revealed an old world to us and we were transported back to an age when men lead a simpler life in a slower pace. Hester told us stories and we soon found out that there was more time back then for the pleasures good company on a fishing trip can bring and I found myself growing fond of fishing this way without all of the sophisticated equipment that we carried and were so dependent upon in our everyday routine. No sonar or navigating equipment, thermometers, high speed outboard motors. No laser guided trolling motors or space age materials in our boat hulls and rods and reels; just simple poles made of bamboo, a line and a hook. Wooden boats and a 10 horse Evinrude motor and oars! 
We made our way back to the boat ramp and Jack and I found ourselves in our own time once more. The vision of the past and our experience this afternoon would be held in my memories as an idyllic encounter with a past that I can only dream of. Those were truly golden days for fishermen.

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 behemoth,Blue Gill,catfish,fishing,Hockey,ice fishing,lake,Red Ears,story-telling
  East Texas
Jun 18 2024


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