If you’re out on the lake fishing and notice that your boat is taking on water, it’s best to hightail it to shore and maybe call 911 along the way for good measure. But for milder angling annoyances, like running out of bait and finding no volunteers willing to drive back to town for replenishment, or if the handle falls off of your reel and into the water, you have options other than packing up and heading home.

Richard Parrett made a career out of serving others and solving problems, and after retiring from the Army, he decided to keep the tradition going by opening a mobile bait and tackle shop that he calls, “Brazos Pirate Bait & Tackle.”

Day or night, whether you find yourself in need of bait or some gear — or even if you want to get your catch certified as a lake record — Parrett is just a phone call away (254-709-8931).

He’ll show up armed with live and cut bait, tackle that includes hooks, swivels, weights, and more. He’s also equipped with a TPWD-certified scale, so your big fish’s weight and measurements can be official without having to transport it anywhere and risk the fish dying.

Parrett says he can meet up wherever you’re at — on the bank, at the dock, or on the water, and he can repair or replace any broken or damaged gear in need of attention. You can also find him at tournaments and special events, and if you’ve got a company outing that involves fishing, you can arrange for him to be there to provide support.

I’ve known Richard for more than a decade, and can attest that he’s smart, dependable, knowledgeable, and he’ll deliver what he promises. He’s a quality guy who does quality work, and you can meet him at Saturday’s Toys for Tots tournament at Lake Waco.

Fishing for toys

The 3rd Annual Toys for Tots Catfish Tournament is slated for Saturday at Lake Waco, with headquarters at Twin Bridges Park.

The divisions are boat ($80 entry per team), bank ($20 per team), and junior ($5 for anglers 16 and younger), and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in each. Other awards will go to big fish, skunk (no fish), big ugly (biggest carp, gar, or drum), and there’ll be plenty of raffle prizes going out to those lucky enough to have their numbers called.

Teams of two are allowed for bank fishing, and three-person teams can fish from boats. Registration/check-in is at 5 a.m., and fishing will run from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Competitors have to be in the weigh-in line by 3:30. There’s a four-pole limit per adult, and a two-pole limit for the junior division. The heaviest five-fish bag wins.

Each entry will also cover the cost of donating a new, unwrapped toy to a kid in need. Sponsorships are available, and donations are welcome.

Google “Fish On Texas!” for more information.

How to catch a cat

I talked to catfishing expert Danny King (dannykingsbait.com) last week, and although he can’t make it to Saturday’s Toys for Tots tourney, he offered some advice for folks looking to load their bags with big catfish.

“The water temperature dropping means big blues will bite the best,” King said. “I look for water turkeys roosting over water and pelicans gathering on the banks, and when you find that, and you smell that smell, you’ll know the big fish are there.”

He says that blues bunch up in colder waters, and they’ll follow big balls of shad around, and if you mark them on your graph moving from deeper to shallower water, fish under the school for good results.

He also says bank fishermen can have a lot of success this time of year. “I’m a shallow water person and love to bank fish in the winter,” said King. “The oxygen is better in 2 to 6 feet of water, and the big ones really move in there.”

King says he rigs by using a one- or two-ounce no-roll sinker that slips up and down the line. He puts the sinker on first through the center hole, slides it up 14-16 inches, then places a half inch cotton ball below the sinker as a stop. With the weight in place, he ties on a hook and baits up. Of course, he recommends one of the Danny King Punch Bait varieties.

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