When was the last time that you unexpectedly suffered a flat tire on your boat trailer and just happened to be in front a tire dealership? In my case Friday afternoon it was pouring down raining and I had three hours to clean the boat for the next day’s trip, take a bath and drive to Lumberton for a football game!

As inconvenient as that was it was still far better than those countless flats that occurred on pre-dawn trips to Toledo Bend back when Hwy. 87 wasn’t as driver-friendly.The side of the road meant parking on grass and mud and hoping that the jack wouldn’t sink out of sight. Fortunately, not unlike most of today’s boat owners, I pull a tandem wheel trailer which enabled me to limp home and take care of the chore on the driveway.

While I would have preferred that it not rain the entire time, the job still went without a hitch and I made it to the game on time.I no longer change a flat that I don’t silently thank Capt. Johnny Cormier for having long ago recommended that I periodically back the lugs off every bolt on all four wheels and apply a little anti-seize lubricant.

It only takes one lug nut that won’t budge and you are in a heap of trouble.I now routinely check the lug nuts on all four wheels and the props on both the troll motor and big engine for fishing line wrapped around the shaft every oil change.It doesn’t take long and it can save you not only unwanted misery, but money as well!

I am very much into the benefits of introducing youngsters to fishing and getting them to the water with reasonable expectations of catching a fish.That initial experience may or may not take, but they will know in the first few minutes and for those that are instantly hooked the new found passion will last a lifetime.

Some of the very best bass fishermen in this area today got their start in a high school bass club under Tommy Humphrey’s watchful eye years ago. Humphrey, an art teacher and accomplished artist at WOS that could bass fish as well as he painted, devoted much of his spare time to sharing his passion with his students.

He held monthly meetings, welcomed speakers and conducted monthly tournaments on the river. I spoke at a few of their meetings and I well remember Tommy saying more than once, “These kids do one thing better than ninety percent of the men fishing the clubs in this area.Most of them are sharing small boats with small engines so they spend more time figuring out the fish than racing around the lake.”

Because their tournaments took place right here on the river, finding a ride was not that difficult for any youngster that really wanted to fish. If not mistaken, I think they ended each year with one tournament on Rayburn or Toledo Bend which was equivalent to the Bassmaster Classic for them.

The bottom line is that a bass is a bass and the opportunity to hone their skills was in no way limited by the size of the venue or the size of the fish.It is a little ironic that the best bass fishermen in the world will return in March to fish this same body of water for the second time in the last three years!

And, while on the subject of taking the kids fishing, no group in this area does a better job of that than the family oriented S.A.L.T. Club. Well known for their annual Memorial Day tournament, the club hosts not only family oriented tournaments each month, but at least one a year just for kids.

Their next “Kids only” event is scheduled for October 11 with the weigh-in time set for 11 o’clock at their clubhouse on Pleasure Island and this is one that you don’t want to miss.No entry form or fee is required and fishing time will start at safe light that morning.

The youngsters will compete in three different divisions depending on their age. Youngsters in the 3 to 7 year old division can weigh in crabs, croakers and piggy perch. Kids in the 8 to 12 year old division can weigh in crabs, black drum and red fish and the youngsters in the 13 to 16 year old division can weigh in reds, specks and flounder.

The top three finishers in each division will earn a trophy and cash to boot. Every youngster that weighs in will receive a ticket for a drawing at the end of the event and the prize is one they will never forget. The folks at Honeywell have really stepped up and will generously present the winning youngster a lifetime fishing license valued at $1000!

Ancelet’s will also be on hand once again to provide hot dogs for the youngsters and the SALT Club will provide cold drinks. For more information you can contact Steve Simmons at 409-201-7418.