A Positive Change Way Overdue
Capt. Dickie Colburn
For The Record
At some point, virtually every day, I check out the water in the river and bayous at several locations around the area even when I have no intention of fishing.Water clarity, tide movement and the effect of a big wind from any direction all figure into planning my next fishing trip.
The most enjoyable part of that daily milk run, however, is visiting with the folks that frequent those same spots hoping to catch a few fish.There is nothing sophisticated about their approach and they are not species specific.There is no doubt that they have great patience and love to fish, but their ultimate objective is bringing something home to eat.They are not there to unwind or relax!
A plastic stringer may contain everything from small bream and croaker to a mudcat while a five gallon bucket could possibly hold a crab or two as well.Depending on the location, you will occasionally see a nice slot red, trout, flounder or bass as well, but those days are rare indeed.
My final stop is usually the Public ramp on Simmons Drive and last Wednesday was no exception.A dark cloud was approaching the river and it was just starting to rain when I parked the truck.The parking lot was empty as the smarter folks had already packed up and left.
A southeast wind stiffened, but the rain quickly passed and I was surprised to see two youngsters running back down to the bulkhead with a single rod and reel.The smaller of the two untied a stringer holding a couple of bass and several small bream while the other youngster cast parallel to the rock strewn shoreline.
Having used up their available stretch of cover, they cautiously walked back in my direction to start over again.Satisfied that I posed no threat, they questioned why I would stand in the rain and watch them fish. It was a legitimate question that failed to yield a satisfactory answer.
When the designated fishermen immediately caught another small bass, they both knelt down and measured it on a broken plastic measuring board.The bass made the minimum length and they excitedly added it to their meager bounty.
“Did you ever eat a bass?” asked the eldest of the two as he straightened the plastic worm on his hook.“One of those tournament fishermen that fish here every week gave us some of his used worms and this measuring board and said that we can keep these bass now.They taste as good as croaker and bream.”
“We never caught any we could keep before,” he added.“I am glad they changed the rules.”I was surprised that he could even cast using a bail type spinning reel attached to a casting rod with electrical tape, but the fact that they had caught those small bream on a six inch worm was even more perplexing.
“I caught those perch on a little tiny spinnerbait, but I hung it up and lost it,” he explained.“Everything would bite it, but we don’t have any money to buy baits and I don’t know where you would get one anyway.”
With less than an hour of daylight remaining and my garage not that far away, I asked how much longer they intended to fish.“We fish until dark if they bite, he replied.“We only live about a mile from here.”
Twenty minutes later, as promised, I returned and much to my surprise they were still walking the bulkhead.They were equally surprised that I returned and trotted over to meet me.
“Put this reel on your casting rod,” I advised upon stepping out of my truck, “and put your reel on this spinning rod.Now, both of you can fish.” The new rod and reel was appreciated, but it was a card full of white 1/8^th ounce beetle spins that really made their wait worthwhile. “That’s the magic bait,” they shouted.
A plastic coffee can full of Crème worms in several colors and more worm hooks and slip sinkers was only icing on the cake. After adding a bulk spool of 12 pound test mono to their arsenal, we talked a few minutes about fishing and life in general.
They refused my offer to throw their bike in the back of the truck and shorten the trip home, but not before assuring me that they would be back the next day if I would like to join them. I proudly accepted the invitation!