Angling is a sport that has a lot to do with knowing some of the basics and being lucky. Maybe at the right place at the right time has a lot of merit or maybe a combination of all three. Knowing basics, right place, right time, and one more doesn’t hurt, being my brother Rick.
In example, Rick has caught a lot of fish over the years. I remember when we were fishing with our Dad and Glen Keith on a day trip to Canyon Lake. Everyone called him Keith down at the Dad’s shop. He was his chief estimator for as long as I could remember. Nobody was catching anything but there were a few, occasional strikes or what appeared to be so. These bits of excitement would help bring everybody’s mind back from day dreaming or sharing stories to the sport of fishing. Rick and I would loose our concentration faster than the adults. We could not just sit there and watch our line for hours at a time, but had to be casting and retrieving our baits constantly.
Nobody was having much luck. We were using waterdogs, worms and artificials like waterdog bombers, broken minnows, rubber worms and anything else Dad and Keith had in their tackle box. Rick was using waterdogs exclusively. The problem he was having was that he was trying to throw them half way across the lake. I think at times they were going that far, but only because they came off of his hook and were free flying. Waterdogs were the most expensive of all the live baits we used. Minnows were next and worms were the cheapest. But Rick loved fishing with the waterdogs. After Rick was exclaiming how far he cast the last dog, Dad told him that that was all he could use as the supply was running low. He stuck his hand in the bait bucket and handed Rick a dead waterdog that had made several trips down to the bottom of the lake on Dad’s hook. It was not only dead, but it was beat up pretty good. As Rick was threading it on his hook, Dad told him that would be his last waterdog to use and not to cast it, but instead, drop it straight over the edge of the boat an leave it there until he told him to reel it in. Rick wasn’t happy about it, but did as he was instructed. Rick now was thoroughly bored with his bait straight down below the boat until his line zipped and his pole bent down to the water. Rick had a fish on. He took his time reeling it in as per Dads coaching and landed the biggest bass of the day. and as a matter of fact, the biggest bass Rick ever caught. Then everyone in the boat was putting on dead waterdogs and fishing straight down over the edge of the boat with some success, but nothing like Rick’s fish. It was a whopper!
On another trip, Rick discovered he had lost the nut that hold the handle on his Zebco Spinning Reel. So he had to be real careful to hold it in place when he was retrieving his line. When he was ready to cast his line out, he would take of his reel handle and lay in on one of the interior ribs of the boat for safe keeping. He then would rear back and let the bait fly. After it was settling to the bottom of the lake. he would slide down in the bottom of the boat and take a nap. He would have his pole handle pinned under the life preserver that he was using as a pillow. Rick got a strike and Dad, seeing it first, shouted at Rick ·wake up, you got one!” Rick would grab his line, set the hook and then find his handle and start cranking in the fish. It was a nice bass. After he landed it in the boat, he strung it up on his stringer, re-baited his hook and cast his line back out. He would go through the routine again of placing his handle back on the rib of the boat, placing the rod handle under the boat cushion and then nestled down for a nap. Just as he dozed off, Keith yelled out •Rick, I thing you got another one!” Sure enough, Rick picked up his rod, set the hook and grabbed his reel handle and cranked in the fish. This bass was a little smaller but was a keeper. Everyone else in the boat had been skunked to this point and were all considering taking off their reels handles and sleeping in the bottom of the boat.
One weekend we were to meet one of Dad’s sheet metal workers, Ray Edwards on Lake Mead. Ray was an old timer that wasn’t comfortable wearing his teeth but always wore striped bib overalls and matching railroad hat. He was an avid fisherman and to borrow one of his favorite saying we he was telling a story about someone •He was a good ol’ boy.” We found him launching his small, aluminum fishing boat with his daughter and two of her kids. They were all wearing bib overalls and matching railroad hats but they all had teeth. Ray was a great lover of coffee. As a matter of fact, he was the one the got me hooked on it and drinking black was the only way to have it. On this trip, he had his Coleman single burner stove in his boat, but forgot the coffee pot. He had to use the water dog bait bucket and to top it off he scooped up some lake water to make it. I didn’t accept any when he offered it to me.
Ray’s new boat, which he called his canoe, was a twenty two foot •Mark Twain” which was actually a full sized ski boated in an inboard/outboard motor, plush seats and a built in stove for his coffee. It was a nice boat to say the least.
On one trip that I did not go on, Dad, Ray and Rick went fishing at Pleasant Lake. My fishing pole went along for the ride. When Dad and Rick got home, they gave me some bad news. The story went like this.
They were all bait fishing and Rick was bored with the slow action. He was using my fishing pole and had the line down about thirty feet in clear water. The pole was propped up at about a forty five degree angle and lodged in between a tackle box and the bottom of the boat. He was fiddling around with some old lures when he glanced over the side of the boat and shouted •Hey, there is someone’s fishing pole! Let’s get it!!.” Ray looked over the side of the boat, and sure enough, there was a pole sinking down, very slowly, and turning end over end. Dad was the first to make the observation and said “Rick, that’s your pole!” Rick looked around the area he was sitting in and looked up at Dad and said “Nope, It’s not my pole. It’s Larry’s”. Well he was right. It was mine and I wasn’t too happy about it. This pole was a •hand me down” from Dad and it was the nicest one I ever had up to that time. Rick and I had moved up from Dad’s old steel rods to fiberglass poles. Christmas wasn’t for away and Dad had been getting fishing equipment as presents that last two years. Maybe he will get a new fishing pole and I could have another •hand me down”.