Seven-year old Sarah was well into her third bottle of diet Dr. Pepper and ready to call it a day at 8:30 in the morning.  The second fishing trip of her life was not going well in spite of her Dad’s best efforts.

Mother Nature was doing her best to further impact Sarah’s obvious discomfort. It was hot and humid and there wasn’t a ripple on the muddy surface of Cow Bayou. We were catching small bass, bream and an occasional redfish often enough to interest any youngster with even a modest interest in fishing, but it was obvious that she was not one of those children.

“You are the one that said you would rather go with me than walk the Mall with your Mom,” pointed out her Dad as he, too, finished off one more coke.  “Tell you what…….the person that catches the next fish gets to choose where we will eat lunch!”

His offer fell a tad short of a Knute Rockne pep talk, but it was good enough to at least prompt her to cast a few more times.  On what I feel certain was nearing her last cast, her plastic Frog disappeared in an explosion that sent grass flying well above the surface.

I was tying on another lure at the time, so I saw only the aftermath of the violent strike.  “Oh, my God,” she squealed as the line steadily peeled off her reel. “An animal just ate my little bait!”

Kurt could not have been prouder as he coached his daughter from the back deck.  “You’ve got the biggest fish of your life. Just keep your tip up and keep reeling.”

I was leaning towards Sarah’s assessment as she cranked on the reel handle to no avail.  “Dad,” she chided with sweat pouring down her face, “This is an animal…not a fish.”

She stopped reeling only long enough to steal a few sips from her Dad’s coke and eventually retrieved enough line to gain control of the tug of war.  “What is that,” she screamed as the snout of a three-foot gator broke the surface.

“You did well,” I assured her as her Dad snapped pictures on the phone and I removed my Frog from the jaws of the exhausted reptile. “That was a heck of a fight.”

As soon as the text reached her Mom the phone rang.  “Your Mom wants to congratulate you,” said Kurt as he handed her the phone.

“Mr. Dickie let my crocodile go,” she told her Mother while looking me dead in the eye, “but I still won the contest.  We will meet you and Liz for lunch at Papadeaux’s!”

In spite of the steady downpour throughout the day, fourteen die hard teams still broke out the rain gear and fished the Sabine River Shootout last Tuesday afternoon.  As expected, the catching part was a challenge, but the top three teams all managed to post respectable weights.

Ten of the teams limited on bass up to four pounds. The team of Myron Waldrop and David Burman took top honors with an 8.16-pound stringer and cashed the big bass as well with a solid 4.35-pound bass.  Jonathan Simon and Terry Mullins finished right on their heels with a 7.24-pound bag. Cullen Simon continued to dominate the Kid’s Division with a 1.22-pound bass.

We were in Rambo’s Tackle last week hoping to find a color in the Usual Suspect that I no longer have and the volume of plastics hanging on their racks was over whelming.  Heaven forbid trying to decide on the right color or style if Corey or Mark aren’t on hand to help you out.

I was also surprised by the variety of Frogs from which to choose.  The Frog I use in both the marsh and on Toledo Bend is the Ribbit. I pretty much stick with watermelon on The Bend, but both white and chartreuse are great in the marsh.

The Ribbit is a soft plastic lure that I rig weedless on a 5/0 hook or thread on the business end of a buzz bait rather than the skirt.  Having said that, I watch way too much bass fishing on television and see them use seemingly every Frog but a Ribbit.

Those guys are making a living utilizing the most productive Frog available so I would go with their choice.  You better know the brand or hope that Corey or Mark is in the building if you decide to add a Frog to your arsenal!