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Keep up with all things "Big Billy Kinder Outdoors"


Now's the time for Bream!

We come here every spring, Robin, other family members, friends come and go throughout the 10 day stay. We drag boats, travel trailers, gear, dogs, stuff out the old wazoo. The 3 hour trek from Dallas/Fort Worth to Caddo Lake on the Texas-Louisiana border looks much like the opening to the Beverly Hillbilly’s. But it's worth it! The bream are bigger here on Caddo...Up to a pound and a half. Why get so excited about jerking a perch? Many reasons:

  • They are delicious…my very favorite freshwater fish for the table
  • They are plentiful…there's no catch limit
  • They are huge…you’ll catch eye popping bream on this lake, up to a pound and a half
  • They are on spawning beds right now…and there could be as many as four or five hundred in a single bedding area

A little gas for the boat, lightweight spinning gear and a box of worms is all you need for everyone from the kiddos to the pappaws to have a great time and contribute to the family food supply. If you come…The first couple of weeks in May have always been good for us as we try to time out the bream spawn on Caddo. Johnsons Ranch Marina-Uncertain, Texas is over one hundred years old. Not only a rustic old fish camp, but well stocked with snacks, fishing supplies, guide services, boat fuel, breakfast and lunch items, fish cleaning station, fish cleaners!!! AND...a boat ramp.

Fish the shallows deep in the cypress breaks or islands. 2 ft of water or less. Hunt n peck til you find a bed, then load the boat. Accommodations are clean and comfortable at beautiful Caddo Lake State Park, just 5 miles from Johnsons Ranch Marina. RV hookups, and fully furnished cabins are available to rent. Walmart is just 15 miles up the road in Marshall. Last but not least, call me when you are headed out!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

APRIL 21, 2017
(First Published May 2015)


I fried up some crappie a couple of nights ago along with fresh sliced tomatoes, some steamed squash and a few fried potatoes. That’s a meal that never diminishes in excellence. It is always better than I remember, and I remember that fried crappie is pretty dandy! Well, everything was wonderful except those dang tomatoes. The tomato industry should be ashamed of the product they lay out for us. It's kinda like modern day Nashville. They roll out a product that looks good, but is way short on the real reason you bought the product. Tomatoes are a whole nother story. Back to the crappie and how to land them in your grease.

Ahhhh, springtime! Spring is the absolute favorite time of year for most anglers. The various species move to the shallows to spawn and defend the nest against anything that comes within smacking range. You can load up a mess of keeper crappie this time of year, and they are accessible to anglers that don’t fish from a boat. I do fish from a boat, or at least use the vessel to get me in an area that I want to fish. The crappie will look for a hard surface for a spawning area. Hard clay or rocks maybe. The keys to look for are:

 

  • Shallow! I was catching them this week in 8 to 14 inches of water.
  • Cover! Crappie will not spawn out in an open area. They need protection from wind, waves and predators. Shallow brush, logs, rock piles, old tires, anything that’s not loose and floating.

 

I employ several tactics in the springtime. If the fish are spawning on the rocks along a dam or bridge, I will place a float, or bobber about 6-8 inches above my jig, and as I drift or very slowly troll along the rocky bank, I allow the bobber to do the same thing. Very effective method. Another great way to sack em up is to look for shallow flats that are occupied by lots of button willows, or cattails, or stumps. PARK THE BOAT. It's too shallow to get into these flats with most boats anyway. Tie it off so it won't blow away and slip into your waders! Slowly, without disturbing too much water as you go, move from brush to brush to logs to other cover. A 9 to 12 foot lightweight jigging rod is recommended. This will keep you far enough from the fish to not spook them. Only allow about 6-8 inches on line with jig attached to dangle past the tip of the rod. With your free hand, pull the line and jig up snug to the rod tip so that there’s no slack. Ease along, much like a feeding heron does, and slip the tip of your rod at water level, deep into the cover. NEVER turn loose of the line in your free hand. Ease the jig down into the water and wait for the thump. When you feel it, pull the line with your line hand to set the hook and pull the fish up to the rod tip. Back him out of there quickly. Without constant control and contact with your line hand, you will be miserable, losing fish and tangled in brush all day. Stay in control of the line at all times. AND, check the last 2-3 feet of your line regularly. Your fishing in abrasive stuff and line wear occurs often. Re-tie, don’t break off that nice one.

I often see bank fishermen set up in a spot and stay there all day, which can be very productive if the fish favor that spot and the weather hasn’t moved them around or out. But how much more productive could you be with an inexpensive set of waders that help you cover a lot more water. Slip em on, slip out into the water, and slip up on some cover, then slip em into the cornmeal and grease.

A few thoughts:
The majority of crappie that you catch on spawning beds are males. They build the nest, mate with incoming females, then stay and guard the fry against predators. The females will be at the nest only long enough to lay her eggs and move back out. If there are hardwoods or stumps or other cover in nearby deeper water, don’t forget to check them regularly as well. That’s where the big girls are hanging out while not visiting the beds. You’ll more than likely catch your bigger fish here.

When? 62 degree or warmer water seems to be a key factor for the crappie spawn. A string of 60 degree or warmer nights (air temp) are a big deal too. When you have a string of 60 degree nights and a full moon in the forecast, mend the hole in the waders and string up new line on the long pole! Good fishing to you! Send me a picture or two of your success for the BBKO Braggin Board... and a basket full of home grown, vine ripened tomatoes!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

MARCH 24, 2017


I'm back on open water now, and that’s comforting for a couple of reasons. Even though I was able to spend considerable time on ice for the first time in my life, I always had a nagging in the back of my mind with every step or scoot of the snowmobile that a sudden crack, pop and sink COULD happen. It didn’t. The ice was two feet thick and very safe. The second reason that I'm comfortable on the home lake is familiarity. Thousands of hours on these waters have me launching the boat without a specific game plan, nothing more than a targeted species in mind. I can launch, fire up the motor and head out without marking a boat ramp or even turning on the Garmin units until I'm near my starting point.

I do plan a return to the frozen country though. The people in Minnesota were so friendly, welcoming and enjoyable...the fishing was pretty darn good too. When drilling an eight inch hole to catch fish on a lake that's eighty miles long, you better know what's under there...could be a very long day of hit and miss without open water knowledge of what becomes rock hard ice late fall through winter. Woody Woods know where to set the auger to work. He’s been fishing Rainy Lake, Minnesota on the Canadian border for 45 years. He has fished so well that his peers put him in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. That’s a big part of why I chose Woody as a fishing partner on this trip. His knowledge along with his easy going personality made him a slam dunk decision for me. His business is titled “Woody’s Fairly Reliable Guide Service”; his motto, “90% of our customers come back alive”.

When the engines of the snowmobiles die down, 8-10 miles up a frozen lake in late February, the silence...REAL silence starts to creep into your ears. No planes, highways or boat motors. Just a light breeze through the pines, that stretch from the thousands of islands that dot Rainy. The latest snowfall buffers the sound and it’s the perfect soundtrack for the incredible beauty that surrounds you. The only disturbance was a bald eagle that landed on the ice about 100 yards away in hopes of stealing one of our fish. He did too! Swooping in so close behind me that the flapping of his massive wings raised my eyebrows and spun my head around.

I've fished all of my life, from the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf, to freshwater from Florida to the Rockies. This was a totally new and exciting experience. I've never been anyplace more beautiful. Put it on your bucket list, plan it and follow through. Here are a couple of tips...

Before you go...

  • Take good care of your feet. You need to keep them warm and dry. I wore waterproof Rockies with heavy insulation-1400 gram thinsulate, heavy! They were perfect.
  • Layers for your body. It can vary out there. 20 below with a wind chill of 50 below, 28 and sunny is possible too. When the sun pops out, you may just shed your gloves and head wear. Really! I layered up with a t-shirt, thin long sleeves on top of that, heavier sweatshirt on top of that, heavy waterproof Cabelas Guidewear jacket on top of that.
  • I wore shorts mainly for the pocket space, sweatpants over the shorts, uninsulated fishing bibs over the sweats. Perfect.
  • Summer or winter I always use a fishing scarf. The tubular neckerchiefs that slip down over your head to protect you from dangerous sun exposure also do a remarkable job at keeping you warm when you pull it up over the nose and ears. It worked very well on the ice.
  • Get licensed before you go. You can do it all online these days, and it saves an hour of fishing time when you’ve reached your destination and are chomping at the bit to get at it. Also, if you are fishing Rainy Lake, or any other international or border waters that require a Canadian license, the last thing you want to hear is “no” at the last minute. They can say that for any reason, or no reason. Plan ahead with the legal stuff.
  • Fish with someone that knows the lake well. Like I said, an eight inch hole in an eighty mile lake is a mighty small target. No trolling, no casting. Go with a proven pro that knows where to poke holes in the ice.
  • Be open-minded and enjoy it all. We jigged for crappie, set out "tip ups" for northerns and fished from a heated, well built fish house for walleye. All new and great experiences.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

MARCH 10, 2017


My childhood was so wonderful! I didn’t know it then, but I do now. I guess that happens to lots of folks after they melt a b’day cake with fifty plus candles. I grew up in a house that faced a pasture. That pasture was called “Jones” pasture. In that pasture was a pond. Yep, “Jones" pond. I can't tell you how many meetings I scheduled with childhood buddies at Jones pond.

It was full of bluegill and bass. If you caught a 2 pound bass, you were king of the pond. That pasture held deer and quail, and I had a single shot Stevens in 12 gauge. Quail were so plentiful in Jones pasture that at 10 years of age I could take that Stevens, walk up to whistling birds and kill a mess for the family without the luxury of a pointing dog. Most days I spent daylight to dark in Jones pasture, and most times alone. I couldn’t understand why other kids preferred the bowling alley, city swimming pool or whatever was showing at the Grand Theater.

There was always adventure in Jones pasture, and I wasn’t going to miss it. In my high school years I actually tried to mow a football field for the guys in the middle of it. The rock and cactus made it impossible, but a young man can dream. Dad wasn’t pleased with my decision to take his push mower out there and I don’t blame him. I forever changed that mower. Intense drama played out in Jones pasture. We were all about 7 or 8 when Joe Canterberry got too close to some kid casting a cane pole and took a hook clean thru the eyebrow…smooth thru from bottom to top…just below his flat top haircut…worm intact. He squalled like an alley cat. After we held him still for a few minutes so that we could all get a good look at that eyebrow, #2 eagle claw hook, red wiggler combo, Joe thought it was best to go see his momma. We agreed, but weren’t smart enough to clip the line to the hook, so some kid, cane pole in hand led Joe through Jones pasture like a dog on a leash, all the way home. That leaves an impression on a fella. It did me anyway.

Another time as I made my dash from the house to the magical pasture I stabbed myself. It was when I threw myself between the 2nd and 3rd wires on that old rusty barbed wire fence. I had run the knife thru my belt loop and when I lifted my leg to jump thru the fence, it entered my upper thigh in one spot and exited another. I just kept on going and know now that it was God that protected me from infection.

The worst episode is when I deceived my mom. It was pouring rain and I was told to stay in the house…but I couldn’t stand it. I was in Jones pasture when out of nowhere mom appeared, and she appeared mad. Stomping thru the mud, high heels in hand, blue dress soaked, and her hair that she made weekly appointments to keep perfectly puffed up was now hanging down like I’d never seen. I was scared, so scared that all I knew to do was run, she chased, she caught me…It was the only time that I ever ran from mom and I never lied to her again. I never met Mr. Jones, and I’m quite sure that he has passed now, but I’d like to run into him in Heaven and tell him thanks. His pasture, his pond, his willingness to allow an ol' Palo Pinto county kid to grow up within his cedar fence posts absolutely changed my life.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

FEBRUARY 3, 2017


I love to fish for bass! I love the puzzle. Sometimes, I put it together and find the right combination of depth, speed, color and size and I catch a lot. Other times, I spend all day trying to figure it out and only pick up a bite or two, but I love to bass fish, every minute of it. I had the wonderful fortune to fish a Wounded Warrior tournament some years back with Staff Sgt. Jay Fondren. Jay had lost both legs, most of one arm and most of the fingers on his remaining hand, but Jay loves to fish too...so there we were lifting and lowering his wheel chair into the boat. And fish he could! With the rod tucked under what remained of his left arm, and reeling with what remained of his right hand, Jay won the boat that day. He out fished/out caught both Gary and me. By the way, Gary has qualified for 30 Bassmaster Classics, the long running world championship and most coveted title for a bass angler. 30! Only Rick Clunn has qualified for more with 32. Gary fishes the Bassmaster Elite tour and is one of the very best bass fishermen that this world has ever seen. Gary Klein loves to fish too. It was a brutally hot day and what little bite there was to be had, was on a plastic worm. Sloooooooow fishing. But we all were content and focused, because all involved that day enjoy putting the puzzle together, or at least trying. Hot as it was, slow as it was, Gary didn’t fire the boat up to make the 3pm weigh in until 2:55. We fished, and we enjoyed it.

Some folks don’t like to fish, they like to catch. I fully understand that, I get it. Catchin is fun! I put it right up there with fishin. Gary Klein and I have since that day had many opportunities to spend time together. He goes about bass fishing the same way that Ben Carson went about brain surgery, or Michelangelo went about the chore of painting the ceiling at the Sistine Chapel. He analyzes, picks, positions and ponders every single cast, never losing focus. To Gary, fishing is what happens in your mind while on the boat. The tools in your hand and at the end of your line are just that...tools. It’s a cerebral activity.

That brings me to fishing with the preacher. Pastor Tom is a trusted friend, and Tom loves to bass fish. Tom and I were on the boat last week. It was slightly cooler than comfortable and the fish were not active. But fish we did, til there was just enough light left to safely load the boat and get it to the house. Pastor Tom twice on that day expressed how he was enjoying it, even though he hadn’t had so much as a sniff of a bite. He’d make cast after cast after cast, retying this bait and that bait with optimism that this next lure just might trigger the bass. Working on the puzzle, and he enjoyed it. I sat there on the boat thinking of how fishing somewhat mirrored Tom's life. As a fisher of men, he has made many casts, always with optimism that one might embrace the love and gift of God’s salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike the rod and reel in his hand, Tom can’t see the results many times as he fishes for men. He tells the Gospel truth, plants that seed, makes the cast. God tells us as believers to fish for men throughout the entire world, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14. Tom has fished for men in Russia, they even threw him in jail over there. Said he was fishing illegally. In truth, they just don’t want to be out fished. He’s fished in the Navajo Nation, and just about every place he’s set foot. Tom loves to fish.

I figured it was pretty safe fishin with the preacher, after all he’s a preacher. Not the kind your see on TV that wants your money in exchange for your own personal health and wealth. Those ol' boys, and in some cases gals, are lying to you. They’re fishin for something other than your eternity. Tom’s the kind of preacher that takes his Christian life seriously, and tries his best to live it Biblically. Tom's a man of God, I thought to myself, he hasn’t caught a single fish all day, and I’d only managed a 10 inch bass. He CAN'T lie about the results of this trip like some other fellas that I fish with do. Wrong! Before church last Sunday morning, Tom, me and some of the boys from church were visiting and Tom told a fish story. No, he didn’t “grow” any imaginary fish of his own, as he held his hands about 5 inches apart, but he shrunk mine! I’m gonna pray for you Tom.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

DECEMBER 8, 2016


Homes for Our TroopsI'm asked from time to time to speak to different groups. It's always humbling to be invited and to actually stand before these groups. Even though I've been in the radio business and spoken publicly for decades, it also scares the bejeebers out of me. I'm much more comfortable alone on the bow of the boat searching out slab crappie or big bass.

When I do stand before these groups, I can tell of the 8 ponder that I caught last week. Where I found her, what bait I was throwing, water temp, water color, weather conditions and other details that MIGHT help these folks out. I can tell them about the brushpile deep in a body of water that holds mega numbers of crappie this time of year and that MIGHT help them some. I can give some stats, numbers and accounts of how remaining in your stand on guard for big bucks has paid off many times at 1 in the afternoon rather than at daylight or dusk.

But...What I have to say, or anybody else for that matter, is only yesterday's news, or a guess about tomorrow...unless...we are speaking God’s word. THAT is my only confidence. That is the only pure truth, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I'm not a preacher, God didn’t call me to that. I am saved by His incredible grace, and I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love, and that I can speak of with an overwhelming confidence.

There's lots of public speakers out there right now that are talking about walls, gun control, international terrorism, our suffering economy, how the US can be great again and so on and so forth. Yesterday's news and tomorrow's speculation. There is but one way to make America great again. I sure hope you'll call the family in, click on the LINK and listen to "Who is God’s Candidate?" You can have confidence when you base your vote and your daily choices on what God has to say.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

JUNE 10, 2016


Florida Bass NSTRAThis is the time of year when even the most ardent land lovers glance at those shiney new boats and start daydreaming about big fish, evening cruises, and family time on the water. The water provides tremendous pleasure, even therapy. It’s a direct contrast to 5mph traffic, constant people contact and as my friend Will Primos put it “this cell phone, laptop, computer infested world”. Your decision to buy a boat or not is very personal and not one to be taken lightly.

Ask yourself this question and give a sincere answer. How often will you truly use a boat? There are 52 weekends in a year. How many of those will be consumed with work/family/duty commitments that keep you away from the water? Do you have 8-10 spare weekends in a year? 10-20? 20-30? If you have limited time but still want to hit the water, consider rentals. Someone else pays for the boat, storage, upkeep, insurance and licensing. You pay an exorbitant fee for a half or full day rental and refuel. But you pay as you go. One-n-done.

If you, like me, LOVE to fish, consider using various guide services. If you can't get to the water as much as you’d like but 1-10 times per year is an option, you don’t have the time to “figure out” the fish and their seasonal habits and travels. The guides do and the fee that you pay a guide is well worth the money for a much much higher catch percentage option.

If you’ve thought it over and decided that you and your family are indeed able to get to the lake more often than not, and you want to take the ownership step...good for you! Before you load a single fishing rod, wakeboard or water ski on that boat give some serious thought to safety. The law requires proper flotation for each passenger on your boat and a fire extinguisher, but...I like to take it a few steps beyond lawful requirements. Here's my short list:

~Weather radio...these are cheap and an absolute must! Buy one that allows you to switch it to alert only. Keep fresh batteries in it, and every time you head out onto the water-pretty day or not-turn it on. It can save your life, the lives of your family and friends, and your boat gear etc with early warning that lightening, big wind, foul weather is approaching.

~A VERY loud noisemaker. Some states actually require a whistle. I carry a whistle, and a compressed air horn. The air horn was designed to get a bear out of your face in the woods, but I promise you it will grab attention in distress from across the lake.

~GPS is waaaaaaay too common, inexpensive and user friendly these days not to have one with you. Mark your boat ramp before you take off on a new lake just in case you lose your bearings. Small handheld units are great, but I prefer to spend a few more bucks and install a unit that includes or can be loaded with lake maps, bottom contours for safe boat travel, local marina and emergency services information etc. I have two Garmin devices on my boat. One of them in red lettering has a man overboard button. If someone falls in, throw a float cushion and hit the red button. It will mark the exact location of the accident in the event that emergency personnel are required.

~Always...leave a plan with someone that will actually miss you if you don’t come back in time. That plan should include: 1) The water body that you will be boating 2) How many others will be in your boat, names, phone numbers 3) The boat ramp/parking area that you will access 4) A description of your vehicle and trailer, along with license plate #’s 5) A time to expect you back 6) A description of your vessel, and registration numbers from the exterior bow of your boat

Have a great summer and we’ll see ya on the water!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

JUNE 3, 2016


Tube Fishing Ray RobertsTake me to the woods without a trigger to pull, and I’m just fine, as long as someone else is in charge of the trigger. Same story with a fishing pole...Preferably that someone else is a youngster just beginning their outdoor journey, or maybe a fella that loved hunting and fishing as a kid but career and commitment kept him on concrete for several decades. I love the hunt. Doesn’t matter if I’m hunting deer, turkeys, quail, doves, walleye, smallies...you get the picture. It’s the chase, the hunt, the research, the piecing together of the puzzle, and the smiles and stories that come from fresh eyes and ears.

What a glorious time spring is! It's just February, but it's all about to unfold for antoher trip around the outdoors' calendar. I’ll be in Florida chasing big green bass in a couple of weeks, then on our fertile Texas crappie waters. Turkey hunting with the world in springtime bloom is near and dear to my heart and so is a cool spring night of predator calling. It’ll be time for a South Dakota walley trip before long and then a fall full of axis, elk and whitetails. It's all on the way, and I look forward to every experience, but the 2016 trip that I’m most excited about won't put me behind the gun or flipping a jig into heavy shallow spring cover.

You’ll hopefully hear the show in early April after I venture into the woods with my pastor, his dad and 3 little boys. We plan to shoot a couple of pigs, but we're hunting for something bigger. Real big smiles and lifelong memories for the young’uns is the goal of this hunt. Thanks to my friends, Keith and Barbara at Northern Sky Outfitters for making this trip a possibility complete with cabin, cooking and care while we're on their ranch. They can do this for you too, I recommend it! I’ll take the 22, and the boys can take turns tearing up a target or two, dad and grandpa will do the pig shooting with the boys as witnesses. If the stories start to stretch, maybe the shot gets longer or the pigs grow after death, the boys can straighten that right up.

This is a turn key, comfortable way to persue our now legendary wild pigs in Texas. If you’ve been thinking about it...book it. Spring is a perfect time weather wise to hunt 'em under the stars with hog lights, or spot and stalk em during the daylight...Or both. The ranch will hunt you both ways if you prefer. Take the kids, put the sausage in the freezer, make a lasting memory with a newbie, or maybe with a long time absentee from the hunting environment.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder

FEBRUARY 5, 2016


Norfork Fishing TripThe seasons can actually change before your eyes when it's fall on the White River. This spring fed trout haven flows through the incredibly beautiful hills and mountains of northern Arkansas. There are more trout than people here...my kind of place. Between 1.7 and 1.8 million hatchery trout are released every year in the stretches of the White and Norfork Rivers. From the Bull Shoals dam to the confluence of the 4 ½ mile Norfork river and well beyond, the federal fish folks make sure that this is one of, if not THE top U.S. destination for trout fishermen. My most recent trip to these waters was in mid September. You definitely needed a jacket to start the day. Temps in the forties and a 20 mph boat ride first thing in the morning combines to put the wind chill somewhere down around “Brrrrr Nellie!” The crystal-clear water is actually warmer this time of day and year than the air temp, causing a ribbon of fog along the top of the river. That makes a great photo op from high atop one of the mountains that line the stream. By 9am, you're shedding the jacket...shorts and t-shirts should be perfect thereafter because the seasons have changed on the river from late fall to summertime again, right before your eyes.

My favorite way to fish the White and Norfork Rivers are on foot with fly rod in hand. I like to walk the river low water and pick little spots apart. “Fishing to a fish”. This trip didn't allow that though. Because of spring flooding, the dams at both Bull Shoals Lake that feeds the White and Norfork Lake that obviously feeds the Norfork, have been releasing a lot of water all summer long-More than usual this year.That’s not a problem; you just fish em differently. In past years, I’ve done it on my own and had success catching fish...lots of fish. A boat rental comes in to play, my fly rod goes back in the tube and the spinning gear comes out. Your line to the side of the boat as you drift your bait towards waiting trout is the ticket. This time around I didn’t mess with a boat rental. I went with a couple of guys that fish this river nearly every day of their lives. Paul and Mike are pros, and I caught a LOT more fish than on my self guided floats. They handle the boat, you set the hook and grin. They make it a very easy day for the fisherman. Visit the guides and outfitters page here on the website for their contact info. By the way, it’s a few bucks more but worth every penny...don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy Paul and Mike’s shore lunch. Your morning catch, prepared on a gravel bank complete with salad, taters and dessert. Yes! There is no additional fee for the bald eagles soaring overhead keeping an eye on your lunch.

My friend Rick Pope, owner and founder of Temple Fork Outfitters not only produces some of the best fly rods on the planet but uses them as well...all over the world. He tells me that this river system is among the very best, if not alone at the top for North American fly waters. He should know. If you want to catch the next world record (that’s happened several times over the years in this neck of the woods) that fish will more than likely come from the Norfork. If you want to catch a load of eaters and still have the opportunity to catch big fish, it’s the White. To complete a White River slam, you must produce to hand a rainbow, brown, cutthroat and brook trout in a single day. I was 3 out of 4 on two days of my trip. All I was missing was the brookie. They are in there but are the toughest to put in the boat.Numbers are not as high as the other three species. The river is perfect for world class anglers, and first-time worm drowners. If you decide to go, be sure to leave an afternoon open to take the kids to the Federal Fish Hatchery at the base of the Norfork Dam. They’ll give you a tour...you will be amazed.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder

OCTOBER 13, 2015


KevinI told him to be careful in the old boat seat...”it’ll go over with you”...I said. I told him that many times, but he just had to set the hook like he was Jimmy Houston on TV...and over the side he went. I must admit that I was more than amused and it’s given me a great story to tell at hunting club meetings and field trials over the years. It was one of those cheap clamp on seats that swivel, but a first class addition to the leaky old 12 ft v-hull aluminum vessel that I was so proud to own. It had a 5 horse motor on the back that was dependable enough, would start on most occasions after a little priming, and much rope pulling.

My friend that enjoys a surprise dip in the midst of a fishing trip is Kevin. We have lots of stories to tell on each other and all of them are from hunting/fishing trips. We’ve watched each other’s kids grow up and have kids, we’ve buried the dead together, laughed, cried and love each other. He’s the guy that I could call at 2am if I needed to. I knew that even during that horrible period when we got mad and didn’t visit for a while...ALL his fault. Actually, I’m more to blame than anybody and I’ve asked God and Kev to forgive me. Well, I know I talked sincerely to God about it, pretty sure I mentioned it to Kevin.

When Kevin went into the lake...backwards...feet above head...fishing pole still firmly clenched in his right hand...I could see his eyes, under water. They were real big and sinking. I did what any hero would do in this crisis and swiftly took his fishing pole from him. As I sat admiring my new pole and thinking how it would be mine if he would only stay down there longer than his lungs would allow, he rudely and abruptly reemerged from the lake. It was a lot like the last scene in a horror movie when the gruesome killer that you thought was for sure a goner blasted through the surface of a serene and peaceful hillside water. He grabbed the little boat by the side and started to lift himself up to a drier climate. That’s when I swatted his hands with my, uh, his fishing pole...”climb in back by the motor or you’ll flip the boat over” I said...I’ve always had to do the thinking part in our relationship. Once he was seated again, socks drying out on top of the motor, I felt that it was time for me to give him some constructive chat...”first of all” I taught, “when your jig taps a log, don’t set the hook, you must learn the difference between a fish and a stationary object in the lake.” I’ve taught him a lot through the years and he has never, that I can remember, said thanks. There are Kevin-Billy stories from the trout streams, to the cold quail pastures of west Texas, bass and crappie holes everywhere, pickup cabs, countless cafes, Montana, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and obviously the bottom of Lewisville Lake. Treasured times and tales from decades of life on the water and behind bird dogs together. The bond of hunting and fishing together; It can overcome a hurtful argument that mars an otherwise blessed relationship.

Hunting and fishing are activities sometimes filled with long periods of time without action, but you press on with your son, daughter, spouse, pappaw or long time friend. There is no TV to flip on and dull both of your senses, no computer, no instant entertainment that says “I’m more important than your present company”. You depend on each other for conversation, entertainment, honesty, safety, chores and breakdowns. You build up a trust that you know is more solid than hapless ugly words. You build a security and comfort that no matter what happens in this life, you won’t have to go it alone.

Some folks can’t cut the mustard when it comes to these tougher to achieve, long lasting qualities, and they fall away after a while. Maybe they came along to see what you could do or provide for them, maybe they only want you to put them on fish or game in a spot where you’ve had success, maybe they want to take advantage of your ability to keep a clean camp or change a flat tire...or maybe they see a lasting, real and deep relationship that they want, and don’t have. The only way that you’ll find out is to spend some time with them in the field or on the water, through situations both easy and tough...time will tell the truth.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder

SEPTEMBER 23, 2015