Bad Fishing Days

Bad Fishing Days Sometimes we're so caught up in chasing bass we often use bad judgement and go fishing when we should have stayed home.



One day on Lake Belton, I certainly wouldn't have fished if Martha and I hadn't driven down the night before and rented a cabin at Frank's. But since we were there, we went fishing anyway. We nearly froze. Finally it got so bad we pulled up on the shoreline, gathered up some dead limbs, and built a warming fire.
   That was the day I pushed the boat into the water with the plug out. The boat had a back end full of water before I saw it. I had to wade out in near-freezing water and muscle the boat ashore. It was an experience which didn't do a great deal for my usual sweet disposition.
   We had two big bass on that day. The first one came in like a floating log, too cold to fight. When I hooked the second one, I was too cold to fight. The fish came out of the water and spit the lure back at me. By then my hands were so cold they were numb, but my mouth was still in good working order and I used some uncensored words on that fish.
   As is the case with all fishermen that have spent a lot of time chasing bass, I can remember many other occasions when I went fishing on days in which the elements were very challenging.
   The first time I fished with Sam Steussey I'll never forget. I'd stayed awake most of the night with a bad cold and sore throat. But Sam was the biggest name on the lake that winter and I didn't want to miss fishing with him. So I stuffed down some aspirin and managed to make the day while taking a lesson in Bushwhacker fishing from Sam.
   I didn't have any trouble sleeping that night and woke up the next morning to see the ground covered with snow and big flakes still falling. I felt a little bad asking Martha to feed the beagles, but I explained to her I had to take care of myself because of that cold. Besides, I wanted to call Ralph Nichols down at Alcoa and make sure the "white blanket" on the ground wouldn't postpone a trip we had planned. It probably should have, but it didn't.
   Bass fishermen are like this. We are so caught up in this thing of chasing bass we often use bad judgement and go fishing when we'd probably catch just as many fish if we stayed home.
   Looking back, I fished a bunch of cold, windy, nasty days with Louey Headrick in the other end of the boat. Louey loved fishing as much as anybody, and more than most. When he had a fishing trip planned, he was going regardless. If the temperature was 18 degrees and the wind was blowing 30, he was still going.
   He always had the same reason why we should go ahead with our plans. "You never can tell," he'd say, "this might be the day we catch that great big ol'bass."
   So we always went regardless. When Louey and Edna bought a place at Toledo Bend, Martha and I went down for a visit and some fishing one winter. Our timing wasn't good. It was near freezing when we got there and never did get above 30 degrees during our entire stay. But Louey and I fished every day, all day long hoping to catch one of those big ol' bass.
   We didn't catch a fish the first day. And that streak continued for the week. That was one of the coldest winters we'd had in years and during that time on the lake we didn't talk to a single fisherman who had caught a single bass. It was a winter to forget.
   I'll never forget a match between our Waco Bass Club and the Temple Bass Club. My cousin Billy Rucker belonged to the Temple club and he and I decided we'd have a team tournament the next weekend with both clubs represented by three teams.
   It was so cold the line would freeze on our reels. Temple won, and Louey and I saw the winning catch. One of the Temple teams were fishing from a houseboat. They were fishing the same brushy area we were fishing. They would make a few casts and run back into the houseboat to warm up.
   The winning catch came when one of them came out of the house, walked up to the stem made a cast, and landed a fish that went about five pounds.
   Just as unpleasantly memorable as cold and freezing days were the trips that were made when the wind was blowing like crazy. I'll never forget the trip Tommy George and I almost enjoyed at Lake Belton. That was before bass boats appeared on the scene. We were fishing in a flat-bottomed metal boat. The swells were so bad we actually dented the metal seats.
   Louey and I made a trip to Stillhouse that was probably the roughest I ever had. Waves would come over the bow and we had to pull the plug in between waves so the water would run out before the next wave. I was concerned that day. When we got back to shore, I told him I wanted to be the first one to get out.

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