We’re going to take a couple of weeks off from the keyboard and let it cool down, but we’ll leave you with this. It’s an important list. What are you thankful for? Here’s my list, with an emphasis on hunting, fishing, family and food, of course…
Black Grape Jelly Wagglers * A mom & dad who fished * Trolling motors (you ever paddle a boat very far?) * Aunt Lucy’s Pond (even the day cousin Paul cut the topwater plug out of my forehead with his dirty squirrel skinnin’ knife) * A family who appreciates the outdoors and its bounty * Fishing and hunting trips over the years * Never taking God given outdoor miracles for granted * Graphite fishing rods * Fishing the BASS Master Classic * Catching bream off the boat dock * Coleman stoves * Good fishing buddies * Good hunting buddies * Mickey Mouse and Cinderella fishing rods (yes, for the grandkids) * lakedarbonnelife.com * the pumps are on at Bussey (filling her up)!
The Ranger Model 155A (my first bass boat in 1974, purchased at Howard Griffin’s Marine) * Howard Griffin’s Marine (and Land O’ Toys, of course) * Big Man’s Thinsulate * At least 96 different colors of Rat-L-Traps * Bussey Brake – the old one and looking ahead, the “new” one coming * Fishing with Roland Martin * Bream colored Balsa B’s * Four-stroke outboards * Terry camping trailers * Camping trips with DiAnne, Adam & Julie * Terry bass boats * The Evinrude “Lightwin” (3-horse outboard) * The Union Parish Tourist Commission * Daily fishing lies on the Sumos e-mail chain (Sumos = big and tall old men who lie better than they fish) * Concrete boat ramps * D’Arbonne State Park * Channel markers on Lake D’Arbonne * K&M Coffee, Corks and Camo * The Ouachita River * Depth finders * Being rescued from Wham Brake after the boat broke loose under the duck blind and floated away… * Countless “victims” who have patiently waited for me to take pictures and ask questions to help bring you the outdoor news for a long, long time * the American Crappie Trail * Being inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame * SuperClean * Crappie fishing with Capps & Coleman & Kinny * Fishing empty water behind Rick Hill.
All the great guys and gals who I’ve been able to write about and share their expertise on the outdoors * The Visitor’s Center at Black Bayou Wildlife Refuge * George (friend, fishing foe, counselor) * Little George * Bowhunting (I’m thankful I never tried it) * Four-wheelers * Six wheelers * Three wheelers (before government decided they weren’t safe for us) * B’n’M crappie rods * The Second Amendment * Elected officials who protect the second amendment * Dad’s old WP Wonder (single barrel 20 gauge) * Uncle Bill’s squirrel dogs * the Hook, Line & Sinker truck * Uncle Virgil’s rod and reel (he won it in a bowling tournament; I caught my first bass on it) * Corney Creek * Crappie Masters * More B’n’M Poles * Calm days on the lake * Windy days in the duck blind * Nick Young Guide Service *Whole fried bream * Union Parish Tourist Commission * Catching a 15-pound brown trout on the White River * Hunting on the old family homeplace near Grayson * Sheriff Dusty Gates * The bucks of Union Parish * The Louisiana Sportsman * Struttin Buck Hunting Club * The 23rd Psalm – it mentions fields, still waters, a rod, a full table and dwelling in the House of the Lord forever!
Getting nothing but the truth about fishing from Glynn Harris and Bobby Phillips * Duck Dynasty * Fishing with John Godwin * My original hand-made original patent-pending Duck Commander (a personal gift from Phil Robertson himself 30+ years ago) * Swamp People * Alligator hunting on Black Bayou with Robert DeBlieux * 500 duck decoys, fried buffalo ribs and a real commode in the old Wham Brake duck blind (no kidding) * The old Y tree (you had to hunt Wham to know this one) * The Rivers’ Ford Bass Tournament * Fishing with Bill Dance * Watching Bill Dance on TV * The City of Farmerville * The wobblehead * Teal season * Box stands * Tiger Bend Outdoors * Padded boat seats * Padded boat seats IN box stands * Lake Fork * Just one more cast * “Dad, can we bream fish now?” (my son, in the midst of catching four pound bass schooling at Lake Fork) * Julie, who would drop her Barbie dolls and go fishing at the drop of a hat * trout fishing friends – bless their hearts.
White perch on the Yucatan * Mike Gammil jigs * Preaus Motor Company * Long weekend camping trip on an uncharted island in the Atchafalaya Basin * Surviving said trip * Living through camping trip on an island in the Atchafalaya basin * Spawning crappie * Spawning bass on Eagle Point * The big bream bed at Stan’s camp at Toledo Bend * Bank bassin with Gary Cooper (my friend, not the actor) * Fishing with Zametto hair jigs * The Ouachita River * The old floating dock at Jake’s * Black Grape Jelly Wagglers * Cheniere Lake * Crappie longer than the filet knife * Crappie.com * Crappie Masters * The new Garland/Roadrunner Slab Runner * Spring crappie in Jack’s cove on the Bend * surviving Atchafalaya Basin camp outs * Fishing pictures that come out in focus * my Mom keeping boxes of my old newspaper columns and magazine articles * The 2,000 capacity Ray Jones cricket box * Catching enough fish to feed the SUMOs (thank goodness for gar balls) * Stan Wright’s one-eyed bass * Marion State Bank * The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association and my fellow outdoor liars, I mean writers * The American Crappie Trail.
Bobby Garland & RoadRunner Crappie Baits * Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss ( you gotta watch that movie sometime) * Finch Lake * Sleeping in the back of the truck in the Caldwell Parish woods the night before squirrel season- note to B… * My childhood neighbor, Mr. Cornish (who always had time to take me fishing) * Mr. Baer and No-Show * Sunrise on Lake D’Arbonne * Ford Dealers For Bass tournament circuit * My fishing tournament patch collection * Deer hunting with Don * The Judge spinnerbait * Eagle Point Boat and RV Storage * FLW bass tournaments * Cruising the woods with Gary Farley * Hunting, fishing and lying with Byron Rogers * Creme and Fliptail plastic worms * Wobble-head lures * Grandpa’s tackle box (simply a metal Burley & Bright tobacco can) * Mister Twisters * Clear Blue Stren * Duck hunting the rice fields * Almost being able to shoot before Turner & Laird empty their shotguns (boom, boom, boom, boom… followed by “take ‘em”…) * Nick Young Guide Service.
Vienna sausages, saltines, hoop cheese and fresh summer tomato from the garden eaten on a hot aluminum boat seat * Big chinquapin bream * The Zebco 33 (and the 22 and 11) * Getting married on the opening day of duck season 41 years ago * The 50’s Diner (fried fish and sweet potato fries)* The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society * Cane poles * Fiberglas jig poles * Graphite jig poles!!! * Being able to leave the lake gracefully when behind in the fish catching count * Castor Creek * “Mr. Kinny…want to go fishing?” (greeting from the young man next door often found sitting in my boat when I got home from work) * He swapped fishing trips for mowing my yard. Lucky the frost got it.
Jack, who taught me how to catch speckled trout and redfish, fry a turkey, make a good gumbo and use an old discarded worm to catch a 12-pound bass off the bank * Boudin & Dr. Pepper breakfasts on Belle River * Dr. Pepper 10 * Finch Lake * Never shooting the Mojo Duck (at least not yet) * The Gator Hole * Not getting eaten in the Gator Hole * Simmons’ Sporting Goods * Claiborne State Park * JC Morgan letting me sit in the front of his boat * Duck hunting with Herbie * Surviving duck hunting with Herbie * Dog Trot and Cozy Point on Toledo Bend * Learning to flip jigs on Lake Bistineau with Larry Nixon * The blue-back shad color Little N * LBK’s * Wood Marine * The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Convention (where someone once accidentally told the truth) * Crappie Masters * Flying Jack’s Marine Carpentry * Ethel’s at Toledo Bend * Mister Twister * Wood Marine * Hollis’ Seafood buffet * Cliff Shelby’s fishing cartoons * Catching 50 to 100 pound carp with Paul Carter * Stowe Creek * The Mixing Hole * Fishing as a press angler in the BASS Classic 17 different years * Glen’s secret gray hair crappie jig (shhhhhh…) * The Aquarium * All the places I’ve lived — Columbia, Monroe, Bastrop, Memphis, Texarkana, Farmerville and West Monroe.
Five words that beat almost all others: “Poppa, can we go fishing?” * Evie catching crickets and throwing them in the lake (“catching bream”) * William getting out of bed and putting on a camo shirt to sleep in just at the mention of deer hunting * The big Black Bear right outside of the deer stand window * Stewart smiling at his big fresh-caught bream * What Emma and Jack will will be doing soon! (yes, those are the grands) * Julie baiting her own hook since I can remember * Lauren and Andy for joining family outdoor pursuits (no matter how crazy) * Adam and countless memories hunting and fishing * My wife, DiAnne, for putting up with all this for 41 years! * Igloo ice chests * The family camping week at Lake Claiborne * The Leatherman multi-tool * Ducks Unlimited * Countless duck hunting knowledge from Adam and Matthew * Adam, at age 7, cutting down on a deer at 20 steps with his toy machine gun * Mallard drakes * Mallard hens * Strange noises in the duck blind before daylight * Dan Preaus Shelter Insurance * Chemin-A-Haut State Park * Lew’s Speed Sticks with white handles * The original Lake D’Arbonne high school bass tournament * LBK’s fried pork chops, hot water cornbread & turnip greens * Never going ice fishing * Catching 50 pound flatheads on stump lines in Bussey with Catfish Jack Pruden * The Blakemore/Garland Slab Hunter * Actually catching a largemouth bass on the Ohio River within sight of downtown Cincinnati * Never going back to the Ohio River within sight of downtown Cincinnati * Corney Lake * Duck hunting flooded woods in the Overflow National Wildlife Refuge * Tone deaf ducks (easily identified by the way they lock up and come in when I’m calling) * Texas rigged plastic worms * Bayou D’Arbonne * The Bass Oreno .
My Mom and Grandma Romoline for teaching me to cook * My Dad for teaching me to fish, clean fish, and bury the heads in the flower bed * Almost beating Pam bream fishing one time * My 1965 Cabella’s catalog (The Garcia Ambassadeur 5000 reel was $16.69 + 45 cents for shipping and handling) * Summer vacations in cabins and trailers and tents on lakes around the south every year for 40 years with David & Beth * Catching so many big white perch with Dan that we literally sunk the boat * Campouts on Gassoway before Posted signs * Landing 8 nice bass on eight straight casts and my wife, looking up from reading her book in the back boat seat, asking “okay, isn’t that enough?” * Wood Marine * The Browning Model 11 * Simmon’s Sporting Goods * The WP Wonder shotgun my dad bought for $5 * My paper shotgun shell collection * Banded ducks * My agents h and TC * Lucky fried chicken breasts from the Sterlington Quick Stop * Bayou Bartholomew * Bayou De’Loutre * D’Arbonne Pointe * Dump Patrick and tomato gravy * The North Fork Lodge (wish it was still there) * Lake D’Arbonne in the middle of Farmerville, come on, don’t forget your rod and reel…
Old bass baits ( Zara Spooks, River Runts, Chuggers, Jitterbugs, and the Lucky 13, to name a few) * Slow days in the woods with Rocky * A vast library of outdoor books, which I will read some day (okay, probably not) * Never getting a ticket for catching over the limit (I know…ha ha, right) * The Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge * Fish Lake * Mosquito repellent * People who give me cleaned fish, plucked ducks and deer steaks (hint, hint, hint )* fresh quail from Bayou Bird Hunts * fried buffalo ribs * Ben Duty State Farm * Striper fishing on Texoma * Charged batteries * Living through coon hunts with Chris Jones * Chartreuse glitter Crappie Bites * Bobby Garland jig tails * Electric filet knives * Preaus Motors.
- A college education so I can understand the multitude of state and federal rules and regulations on hunting and fishing * Black Grape Jelly Wagglers (did I already mention that?) * Wood ducks * Bruiser Bob and Dr. Pomoxis, their antics and their fish fries * That Glen and JC don’t like little crappie * Getting my hands on the “How To Fish Good” book early in life * A dozen yo-yo’s on the boat dock in the spring * Anderson’s Bait Shop * Taterbugs * Witherington’s Amoco (where 100 crickets, a coke and three gallons of gas cost about a $1 when I was a teenager) * Box stands with windows and heaters * Experience Ruston * Dry duck blinds * Remembering to put the plug in the boat * Lively shiners * Quiet crickets * Crawdads in the spring (little ones for the fish; big ones for me) * Fishing with the Seekers of Men (give it a google) * A new life for Bussey Brake * And at least 40 fishing caps… and always looking for more … * Catching lobstah, eating lobstah in the Portland Bay * Living in a country where I get to do and write about stuff like this without getting Big Brother’s permission (even though he burdens me by making me buy an egregious number of licenses and stickers and follow a 100 page book of rules and regulations). On second thought, he is watching, but he still lets me go * All my friends and outdoor companions over the years .
- Fried turkeys and chicken and dressing * bacon wrapped jalapeno/cream cheese stuffed duck breasts * deviled eggs * shrimp and grits * fried buffalo ribs * ribeye steaks * boudin * pecan pie * pound cake * banana pudding * more banana pudding…Mom’s homemade rolls… OH MY GOODNESS...is it Thanksgiving yet?
“Ask God not to give you all things so you can enjoy life, but thank him for giving you life so you can enjoy all things.”