Captain Dickie Colburn – For The Record

“This isn’t what I wanted to do,” snapped Wayne Hollier while glaring at me with an incredulous look on his face. At that moment he was huffing, puffing and struggling to get even one leg into the stocking waders. Having seen him only twice in the past thirty years, I had taken no chances and thrown a pair of large and x-large waders in the rod locker. It proved to be a good decision as even the largest pair provided a marginal fit at best.

While he is now, by his own admission, approximately twice as large as he was back when he was lighting up running backs, little else about him has changed to this day. If he likes you he will always like you and if he doesn’t there is nothing you can do to change his mind!

Even if you know him extremely well, you are still never quite sure of your status unless push comes to shove as there is nothing the man will not do for his friends. When he begrudgingly agreed to drive down with his wife, Dawn, to spend Christmas with her sister, he decided a day of fishing with an old friend may possibly salvage the week.

His last minute phone call surprised me and I was thankful that I did have an open day. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t the day he wanted, but any day would have been the wrong day. I should have taken a chance and let him pick a day before telling him what was open, but I thought that he may have possibly mellowed over the years.

“These aren’t real waders anyway,” he barked. “Waders have rubber boots on the bottom…….you can’t walk around in the mud and shell with nothing but these things on.”His nephew, Jason, and I did our best to humor him while helping him slip on a pair of wading boots over his stocking feet.

“Well that makes a little more sense, but we are doing more dressing than fishing,” he mumbled while attempting to stand up for the first time since climbing in the boat. After snapping a wading belt around his waist and draping the small tackle box over his shoulder he served up the inevitable question, “How do you pee with all of this gear on? I bet y’all don’t get in a big hurry to help me with that little problem!” It was the only time he laughed all morning.

“I fish with him all the time on Lake Fork,” said Jason as he and I exited the boat, “and it is the same thing all the time. We never have to worry about another fisherman getting close to us when we are sitting on a good spot. You should have been with us this morning when he opened the bag and found out the lady gave us kolaches instead of cinnamon twists……ho, ho, ho Merry Christmas!’

“We better catch a big trout after all of this,” he shouted while launching his lure well past mine. It was obvious that he has not only spent a lot of time eating, but fishing as well. “I hope this wading stuff never catches on up at the lake. They’d be walking all over our spawning fish.”

Mercifully, Jason quickly caught two slot reds and a pair of solid trout, which still did little to stem the incessant bitching. “I am not walking all the way over there to find out what he’s using,” announced Wayne. “Did you give him the only lure that will catch a fish?”

Lady luck was in my corner and only moments later a huge trout just crushed my congenial guest’s lure before going airborne. He was obviously pleased throughout the extended tug of war, but that did not preclude cursing the fish for running right at him at the last minute. The trout and the treble hooks narrowly missed his waders and I eventually lipped a beautiful seven pound fish for him with my Boga Grips.

Jason quickly snapped a few pictures with his phone and we released the trout to fight another day. “Well, what’s left,” boasted Wayne. “You and Jason ain’t never gonna catch a trout that big and these rubber pants are cutting off the feeling in my toes.” End of trip.

While finishing off the remaining stale kolaches and watching me half shell the redfish for Dawn, he announced for all to hear, “I am not paying you a guide fee for this….I am not even giving you any gas money. If you want to get even you have to drive up and fish with us.”

For Wayne that was his way of saying, “Thanks, Dickie………I had a great time and I hope that you will come up and let Dawn and I repay your hospitality.” For any of you that might consider me to be a tad naive for choosing to interpret his statement that way, consider what Jason privately passed along while they were packing up to leave.

“Don’t ever tell him that I told you this, but he and Aunt Dawn put me and my three sisters through college even when things were tight for them. He won’t even acknowledge it, but it changed our lives forever.”Now, why does that not surprise me in the least?

The SRA has trimmed back the discharge rate a little this week, but the high wind Sunday stacked a lot of water up in the marshes and the river.Thus far the muddier water and lower salinity level hasn’t scattered the trout too badly. We will know a lot more by the end of the week.