For The Record

Capt. Dickie Colburn


In the pre-dawn darkness Saturday morning, Nellie Miller was racing around encouraging anyone launching their bass boat to sign up at the last minute and fish the LCM Project Graduation tournament. While the odds of adding any unsuspecting anglers to the field were not in her favor, she would, surprisingly enough, still be rewarded for her persistence!

With the tournament scheduled to kick off in the next few minutes, as far as Miller was concerned, you could launch late or not even fish at all as long as you paid the entry fee.“We were a little disappointed that we didn’t have as many teams as we had hoped for,” said Miller, but I don’t think I failed to ask a single fisherman that pulled into the Fin and Feather boat launch.”

“This tournament was more about raising money for Project Graduation at LCM than winning and we just needed fishermen with a boat and an entry fee!” She didn’t say how many last minute entries she succeeded in hustling up, but she did convince at least one team to sign up that she could never have anticipated recruiting.As a matter of fact, even after they won the tournament, she still didn’t know their names when I called her for the final results Monday night.

“When they said they were already fishing another tournament, I assured them that they could weigh in here early and still make the weigh-in for their other tournament”, said Miller.“One of the men said that he graduated from Little Cypress in ‘79 and if they weren’t back for the weigh-in just consider their entry fee to be a donation.

The reason she had no names for the two team members was that they hurriedly told her to just sign them up as Team Buc-ees and drove away. Yep…..that’s the same Buc-ees with all those gas pumps and squeaky clean bathrooms at 37 locations across the state!

The ’79 LCM graduate was Jim Franklin, originally from Orange and one of the owners of Flow-Zone,LLC and his partner was Beaver Aplin, a co-owner of all of those massive Buc-ee’s Convenience stores.They were into the second day of fishing the Haynesville Oilman’s event and had struggled a little on Friday. That, however, all changed on Saturday.

“Beaver caught us a 9.38- pound bass right off the bat,” said Franklin and we knew we were back in the hunt.We finished with a 24.33 pound sack that moved us all the way up to second place. The winners had a 10.4 pound bass and that one pound difference in the two big bass was just enough to beat us.”

Miller said that Aplin and Franklin did eventually drop in just long enough to weigh in for her tournament as well and not surprisingly, won both first place and the big bass pot. “They didn’t stay long,” she added, “but they sure helped make our day when they donated their winnings as well.

The wind has really been a problem the past few days for the folks trying to fish Sabine Lake.Two days of scattered showers haven’t helped either, but the water clarity has held up better than expected.

Even with all the wind, larger topwater lures like the Spook have duped as many trout as anything else for us.We are also still catching some nice trout on the Corky Fat Boy, but other folks must be catching fish on the new Assassin Salty Snack as well.I talked with Steve Simmons at the Sabine-Neches CCA banquet Thursday evening and he said they cannot get them in fast enough over at Outcast Tackle.

The Houston Fishing Show kicks off this week at the Brown Center.I enjoy it much more than the Boat Show and there is a lot of new tackle to check out this year.The show affords a great opportunity to talk with guides and tournament fishermen that are willing to share their experiences with a rod, reel or new lure before you spend your money!