Sometimes, it’s not until later in life that we realize how much we owe to the family, friends, coaches, and teachers who put up with all our nonsense when we were young.

Chances are great that most of the people reading this can’t name their county commissioner or more than a person or two on the city council. But ask a person to name some of his or her teachers, and you’ll likely hear a list that’s longer than a politician’s campaign promises.

Stilwell Retirement Residence, a retirement center for teachers, is home to some of America’s truest heroes, and Saturday, June 10 from 8-10:30 a.m., is a day when you can show your appreciation for those who shaped our minds, bodies, and spirits when we were growing up.

Stilwell is located at 5400 Laurel Lake Drive, which is the street running behind the Target store on Bosque Boulevard and Wooded Acres.

In its 30th year, the Stilwell Pancake Breakfast offers guests a down-home pancake and sausage breakfast with coffee, milk and juice, dished out by celebrity servers from entertainment, radio/television/print media and political fields.

My daughter Haley and I have been part of the fundraiser since she was able to toddle around putting out place settings, and every year we look forward to seeing all the familiar and new faces, listening to memorable stories told by residents and guests, and helping to keep Stilwell effectively serving those who have dedicated their lives to serving others.

The event not only features a delicious breakfast, but also a silent auction with items donated by area businesses, artists, organizations and individuals, and you can always find valuable outdoor-related services and merchandise to bid on – including guided fishing trips from some of the area’s top guides.

Breakfast is $6 per plate, and golf cart shuttles will provide rides to the front door for those in need. If you’re interested in donating a tax-deductible item to the auction, or for any other information, call 772-4644.

Big schools of stripers and sand bass are crashing the banks attacking the shad

There’s an old saying that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but lately, Clay Yadon (Reel Deal Striper Guide Service on Facebook) has been pounding that saying into the ground.

“I can’t believe how good the fishing is,” Yadon said. “All my customers are leaving with full ice chests and smiles on their faces.”

Not only is the striped bass topwater bite going strong early and late in the day on chugs, poppers and spooks fished along wind-blown shorelines and points where shad are spawning. “Big schools of stripers and sand bass are crashing the banks attacking the shad,” he said.

Between the morning and evening topwater bursts, he’s finding good action fishing live shad in 30 feet of water on submerged humps and along channel edges, with the biggest fish of the week topping out in the upper teens.

Once the striper limits have been reached, Yadon is turning his attention to catching sand bass. “Sometimes, we limit out within an hour of starting the trip, and if my customers want to keep fishing, we’ll drop one-ounce chartreuse jigging spoons off the bottom and catch as many sandies as they care to catch,” he said.

June 3 is Free Fishing Day

Fishing can be an expensive pastime, habit, obsession, compulsion, etc. and the further you get along the spectrum, the more expensive it becomes.

But if expense is your excuse to not go fishing, then put that argument aside, because there’s plenty of fee-free fishing in Texas. June 3 is Free Fishing Day in the Lone Star State to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, meaning no fishing license will be required to take part in one of America’s oldest sports.

But Texas isn’t so stingy that we only put one freebie out there per year. In fact, license-free fishing is available in state park waters on a year-round basis.

Check out the Texas Parks and Wildlife website to find a park near you – and there are plenty within an hour’s drive of Waco.

No more excuses. Go fish.

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