I’ve seen some strange things in my five decades in this world, and politics aside, some of the most interesting have happened while I had a fishing pole in my hands.
When my daughter was born 16 years ago, things were a little bumpy. She was born 5 weeks prematurely, and when she arrived, she had some breathing issues that landed her in the neo-natal ICU for a day and a half.
A lot of people bristle when they hear the word “regulation”, but just like the slot limit regulation on Lake Waco’s blue catfish creating more big blues and improving the population structure overall, the federal regulations imposed on red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico have also paid off big, with reports that in just 10 years, the 20 year projections have been exceeded.
Imagine being in the water with an 8 foot, 300 pound fish having a torpedo shaped, armor-plated body and the head of an alligator – complete with the teeth. If you’ve ever been swimming in Central Texas lakes or rivers, you’ve lived that scenario.
The big tropical system that was supposed to come ashore from the Gulf and soak Central Texas this week seems to be fizzling, which is disappointing in terms of drought relief (we’ve only gotten 8 of the 16 inches of rainfall that typically falls through the first half of the year) and for those looking for a break in the unseasonably hot temperatures our area has faced through the first half of June. Meteorologists are scaling back their forecasts of heavy and replenishing rains, but we’ll see.
Standing on the beach looking out to sea will put some things into perspective. You’re at the land’s end with hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles between you and the person on the shoreline who’s looking out from the other side. The sea’s size and strength are immense, and we have a better picture of the surface of Mars than we do of our own planet’s ocean floor.
Back in 1998, the National Wild Turkey Federation kicked off Women in the Outdoors, a program designed to meet the growing demand for outdoor skills training and activities for women and girls.
The most successful anglers I’ve ever known are the ones who aren’t afraid to enact Plan B.
Nature is normally pretty predictable. If you want to catch a shark, your best bet is to head to the coast. If you want to see the Aurora Borealis, your chances improve the further north you travel.
Back in college, I lived on a thoroughbred ranch owned by my Uncle Sonny — rent free in exchange for looking after his and my Aunt Lynn’s racehorses. Down the road a half mile or so was our nearest neighbor, Sam Rice. Sam was in his 70s, and his family had lived in that same house since before the Battle of the Alamo.
Last week’s rainy weather served up just what area lakes and streams needed — a timely and significant infusion of water to bring levels up closer to normal. Lake Waco’s pool level rose more than a foot over the past few days and isn’t too far from where it should be.
There are a lot of old sayings that guide outdoorsmen – things like, “When the wind blows from the East, the fish bite least” and other rules of thumb.
Saturday morning’s brutal winds caused a lot of outdoorsmen to alter their weekend fishing plans, especially those who had an eye on getting their boats out an area lakes.
If you can’t be on the water fishing, one of the next best things is to watch somebody else catching fish, which is what I got to do Friday afternoon as area angler Keith Rodriguez broadcast a live fishing trip on social media The video featured Rodriguez and a fishing buddy hauling in a boatload of white bass and hybrids from Lake Waco using bait they had netted back at the dock.
When outdoor legend Earl Golding was writing this column, he’d occasionally file one that was titled, “Long Shots and Short Casts” or “Short Shots and Long Casts” – I can’t remember which.
Matt Rambo is accustomed to being in big schools. As a Waco ISD teacher and administrator, he has worked in some of the biggest schools around, so it’s no surprise that he handled last weekend’s encounters with huge schools of white bass like it was just another day at the office.
The old saying about Texas weather came true last Sunday morning while I was on an early-morning fishing trip to Lake Waco. My daughter Haley and friend Mark Terry had taken an evening drive around the lake, and decided to stop at a boat ramp to toss the cast net for some bait.
How long has it been since you’ve heard the distinct whistling call of a bobwhite quail? For me, that time is measured in years, and for a lot of Central Texans, I’d bet it has been decades if ever.
The focus of last week’s Tribune-Herald outdoor column was on the negative impacts that the months-long Central Texas drought was having on area lakes and streams, and the shaky chances of a strong white bass spawning run if we didn’t get some significant rainfall soon.
It doesn’t have to be searing hot for a drought to set in, and after a fall and winter with insignificant rains, area lakes and streams are showing the effects. One ranch I visited recently had more bank than tank, and the rancher said he might have to start pumping in water if we don’t get some significant relief soon.
Central Texans are fortunate to live in a place where, with the exception of a handful of severe weather days each year, we can enjoy our outdoor pursuits – whether fishing, hunting, golfing, hiking or biking, camping, or just cooking out on the patio.
Kids today have it a lot easier than we did back in the 70’s. Not only did we have to be near a wall when we talked on the phone, but if we were gonna catch rainbow trout, we had to talk our parents into driving us at least as far north as New Mexico.
When I was a kid back in the 70s, there were two things society taught us to be wary of — Russians and killer bees.
When I was young, I once ate a burrito that was about as big as my head.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed near Uvalde on Christmas Day, but it wasn’t at the hands of marauding miscreants — his death, along with those of two others, resulted from a wild hog crossing the highway late at night.
It’s going to be a cold start to the new year, but if you’ve resolved to exercise and spend more time outdoors, Mother Neff State Park has that combination of things all packaged up and waiting for you.
Deer hunting has transformed over the generations from being a way of simply putting meat on the table into a multi-billion dollar industry, with today’s game ranches using selective breeding and feeding regimens to produce a reliable supply of trophy bucks that would seem like science-fiction to our great grandparents.
Communication technology has made doing this job a lot easier than when I started writing the Tribune-Herald outdoor column 16 years ago.
Outdoorsmen have always tried to gain an advantage over their prey, and whether through lure color selector gadgets, electronic fish finders, game cameras, night vision equipment, or other technology, we have been on the cutting edge of technological advances.
I have to admit — I made a pig of myself this Thanksgiving.
The other day, I saw a video clip of Elmer Fudd watching Bugs and Daffy debate whether it was duck season or wabbit season, and as I pondered the question, I realized that right now is darn near EVERYTHING season.
The Texas coast took a battering this summer, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, but the folks who live along our state’s shoreline are tougher than a storm, and recovery, reconstruction, and resilience have gotten the place back to what most of us would recognize.
I expect that a lot of businesses and schools in Central Texas will see a spike in absenteeism later on this week, as hunters head for the stands and blinds in preparation for opening day of gun season for white-tailed deer on Saturday.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my friend Terry lately.
The word “rut” has different meanings. A lot of sports fans are hoping their football team gets out of its rut this weekend, but a lot of deer hunters are eagerly awaiting the whitetail deer rut, or mating season.
There’s not much better eating than cooking up freshly-caught fish over a riverbank campfire or smashing down backstrap prepared by a camp cook, and people whose palates are accustomed to fast food and processed grocery store meats have my sympathy
There might not be any records set on the football fields this year in Waco or College Station, but somewhere along the Brazos River between Bear Country and Aggieland, a recently-set fishing record has people both amazed and shuddering.
The first FishOn! Bank fishing tournament was such a success, organizer Andre Bravo is going back for seconds.
If your football team disappointed you last week as much as mine did me, you might decide that Saturdays this fall could be better spent being a participant rather than a spectator.
September is a month of hope. Football teams, good and bad, are all in contention for a championship season, students are all on track for honor roll, the first true cold fronts are on the way to snap the heat of summer and dove hunters are hoping to bag a limit of birds without blowing through three boxes of shells.
I have said, “I’ve never seen anything like that” a whole lot lately, and here comes another. The first annual Fish On! Lake Waco Catfish Tournament is set for Saturday, and it’s a lot different tourney than you’ve probably ever fished in your life.
The cards are still out on whether my football teams will have a good season or not, but the ingredients are all in place for Texas hunters to have an exceptionally good dove season beginning Sept. 1.
Football is the dominant sport in Texas, and with practices underway at the high school, college and pro levels, that’s where a lot of folks are focusing their attention.
Sitting outside at daybreak yesterday brought back a rush of memories of football two-a-days and morning dove hunts. The air temperature, dragonflies darting through the air, and the occasional flyover of mourning and white-wing doves got my fall itch going.
The sounds of fall are ringing through the blast-furnace air of summer. Football teams are opening camps and popping shoulder pads, and I’ve heard the occasional dove hunter shooting off shells in preparation for the opening of hunting season on Sept. 1.
School supply shelves filling up signals the end of summer, but a lot of Central Texans are resisting the inevitable and packing out to the mountains and beaches before the bells start ringing again.
Temperatures are bumping up against the 100-degree mark nearly every day here in the Heart of Texas, but that doesn’t mean you have to shelve your outdoor plans.
Lake Brazos is being lowered by a foot to allow heavy equipment and a barge to remove a buildup of both surface-level and submerged timber and other debris from the Lake Brazos Dam.
Some people seem to have a knack for catching more fish than others, and while there are those who attribute fishing success to good luck, most anglers who win tournaments or consistently fill live wells are relying on a lot more than just good fortune.
How is it possible that creatures with brains the size of a peanut have such dominance over us?
There are a lot of adages out there, and these old sayings stick around because they’re based on overall truths.