Scott Long has found something that far, far too many fishermen don’t seem to have. Peace. Quiet. Solitude. Fun. A slower pace. A sense of adventure. Actual enjoyment. A brush with the past. And, maybe most important of all, the proper way to fry and eat fish.
Actually, Scott never lost it.
Scott never forgot the basics of why he fishes or how to fish, a gift passed down to him from his dad. And he practices regularly to make sure he doesn’t lose his edge. He has fished all over the place, but he is most comfortable grabbing a rod and reel, packing his small fanny pack full of H&H spinners and a long stringer and heading down to a local creek near his old homeplace in the rolling red dirt country just north of Winnfield.
Scott enjoys fishing as it used to be. Fishing as it should be.
Before we go further, if you are a football fan, that name should sound familiar. Scott is the writer and publisher of http://www.dandydon.com, the state’s most popular LSU sports fan website. Scott’s dad Don Long was an avid LSU fan and in 1996, Scott presented his Dad with a website and basic computer as a birthday gift and the most popular LSU fan website in America, Dandydon.com, was born. When Don passed away in 2012, Scott never missed a beat and took over for his dad. He’s done a dandy job, too. Today about 25,000 folks hit the site daily, with anther 75,000 who read it a few times a week. Overall, Scott has about 180,000 unique visitors who read it over the course of a month. If you haven’t read it, check it out.
Now, back to fishing. Here is Scott’s story:
“From the time I was old enough to listen, my father told me stories of fishing a river that was very special to him, one whose name I won’t disclose. (A fisherman never gives up his secret spot, right?) Actually, if you’ve read the Thanksgiving stories published each year on DandyDon.com, you can probably figure it out,” Scott said. “The thing is, because of the rough terrain you have to navigate to fish it, not to mention all the logs, stumps and overhanging branches that make for difficult casting, I wasn’t old enough to accompany Dad to this special place until I was about 10 or 11 years old. My first trip out there was somewhat of a disappointment. When we finally made it down to the river, my dad just shook his head in disgust and told me we wouldn’t do any good. The river had a dark brown, nearly black, flat look about it, and Daddy knew right away what that meant. The ‘paper mill’ had been discharging waste into it again. All we caught that day was a garfish and a gaspergou. Of course, that was pretty exciting stuff for a 10 year old, but not nearly as exciting as the bass and ‘white perch’ I was dreaming of – the same bass and white perch that Daddy caught in abundance as a kid.”
It wasn’t until two or three years later, after the state had buckled down on plant emissions, that the river returned to its glory. By that time, Scott had plenty of practice in local ponds, and even a little in the Atchafalaya Basin and Henderson Swamp, thanks to the salesmen who called on his father, hoping to entice him into using their products in his store. Actually, the store wasn’t his, but as the head of the meat department he made his own purchasing decisions. That was good enough to get Don and Scott plenty of guided tours into the swamp.
“Nowadays, I don’t have the time to fish nearly as often as I’d like, so when I do I head out to that special river,” Scott says. “There are so many things I love about fishing it. There’s the nostalgia of fishing the same river the same way my father and his father did since around the turn of the century. (And I’m not talking about this century, you know.) I love the solitude it offers. When I’m out there, I know I’m not going to see another soul. The challenging nature of fishing that way – negotiating the steep, sandy banks with a watchful eye for snakes, wild hogs and other obstacles – also adds a certain mystique and level of satisfaction to it.
“And, of course, there’s nothing like casting your line out beside a fallen log, reeling it in slowly and feeling the thump of a Kentucky bass strike it with force. But really, I think my favorite thing is just “getting away” – away from the hustle and bustle of modern day life. When I’m out there, it’s like I’ve taken a step back in time, and the stresses of day-to-day life disappear.”
Next: Scott’s Creek fishing tips