Keep up with all things "Big Billy Kinder Outdoors"
As I sit here at my computer deep into January, my thoughts more and more every day are filled with budding trees, gobbling turkeys, flowery banks along the lake, 60 degree water and jigs! I guess it’s my favorite way to bass fish. Flipping a big ol’ football jig with a proven trailer into a likely spot that just might hold a photo op! My only double digit bass came on a big jig. The video loop in my mind is still vivid. Murky muddy April water less than a foot deep. I know of a place where the creek channel runs 6 to 8 feet deep with a brushy flat that runs about 15 or 20 feet wide from the edge of the creek to the shoreline. That flat is 2 feet deep or less. It was that flat that I was targeting with a ¾ ounce football jig, dark skirt and watermelon/red rage craw. The water was too stained to sight fish, or visibly locate bass on spawning beds, so I was flipping the big jig close to the bank and slowly hopping it, inches at a time toward the creek channel where I would let it tumble down.
Big females will visit the shallow spawning bed to lay eggs, then move out to the deeper channel nearby, and revisit the bed, or even another nearby bed to lay again. On one particular pitch I landed the jig within a couple of feet of the bank. Hopped it back slightly 2-3 times, and then it happened. The visual that all jig fishermen are familiar with. My line started swimming out towards me. A large percentage of the time the fish will swim with your jig towards deeper water. Along the way she is trying to crush the meal in her mouth while she goes. In other words, she’s likely gonna hold on to it for a bit. A fast reel is necessary. Many times you’ll need to “catch up” with her or reel up your slack line before setting the hook. When I did set the hook that day and the fight began, I quickly realized that this was a new experience for me. I had never felt that “setting the hook in a stump” feeling that I’d heard about with giant bass before, but this was it.
When I set the hook, she didn’t turn, but she did shift gears and pulled the nose of my boat lake-ward. I always use 55 lb braid so breaking off wasn’t likely. When she surfaced I looked into a mouth that was similar to the top of an oversized coffee can. The big 3 pound can. I was alone, so I did the netting myself, and the weighing (10.3), and the photography then released her to finish her springtime chore. Away swam the only 10 pounder that I’ve ever seen on the end of my line.
Since that day there has been one other that might have broken the magical mark, but I never got my hands on her. After a short fight, she came up, shook next to the boat and threw my jig. But I had seen a mouth like that before. She was quality. Sometimes, its swimming line, sometimes you can visibly watch the spring spawner pick up your bait, sometimes you flip that jig into a bush and the whole thing shakes or the grass in the lake moves, the water swirls from a mighty tail doing a 180 to pick up your jig! It’s an exciting way to bass fish. Jigs are certainly not a spring only option, they work well all year, but for me in the springtime the flipping stick is in my hands more than any other weapon. I can safely say that the biggest majority of my 5 to 8 pound largemouth have come on a jig.
Set up your plan now, in January and February. Look at lake maps for ideal spawning areas to target. Go get a heavy backbone 7 ½ foot flipping/pitching rod and a quality reel that a giant fish won’t strip the gears in. It is truly a shock when you feel the strength of a BIG bass. A fast reel is crucial, 7:3 minimum. Practice in the back yard and get good at hitting small targets 20-30 feet from you. The before mentioned coffee can is a perfect pitching target.
*Keep an eye on the water temp. 60 degree water is the number that I watch for. Bass will start thinking about moving shallow at 55 degrees, 65 degree water is game on!
*The bigger females will spawn first. I don’t know if it’s a pecking order or a metabolism thing or what…but they do.
*As mentioned before, the females won’t spend all of their time on the nest or bed. Try running a chatterbait in nearby deeper water as well. I like a chatterbait that mimics a sunfish. Sunfish are bass egg eaters, and bass will attack them in defense of the nesting area.
*Send me a picture! www.bbkoradio.com
January 22, 2020
Has common sense completely evaporated?
To assume that the more than 17 million conceal carry permit holders in the U.S. and the millions more gun owners that don’t have a permit are a threat to society and should be restricted in our freedom to come and go as we please is simply fuel for a bigger agenda. It’s an agenda that seeks great power. Power that those pushing gun confiscation know isn’t possible if solid citizens are armed. That is why we have a 2nd Amendment.
“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…”
~President George Washington to Congress in 1790
Common sense tells us, and President Washington knew, that it is the undisciplined criminal and not the gun owner that murders people.
“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
~Thomas Jefferson quoting criminologist Cesare Beccaria, Commonplace Book.
Walmart announced this week that they would prefer you be an unarmed person when you enter their stores. They didn’t make that decision for your safety in my opinion, but to appease anti-gun politicians and media. The official word from CEO Doug McMillon was “…we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where open carry is permitted-unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.” Walmart says that once the existing inventory of pistol and short barreled rifle ammo is sold, they will stock no more. Walmart has also decided that folks in Alaska don’t need a handgun. That’s the same decision they made for me at my local Wally World and the other 49 states back in the 90’s. I understand that Walmart leadership had to say something. I get it. Walmart has been in the news a lot lately because nut cases have chosen to murder there. But, these decisions were made based on image, not sound logic.
It would thrill me to hear a major CEO in our nation stand up on his/her hind legs and quote Jefferson or Washington or maybe Benjamin Franklin when he said, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.” (Historical Review of Pennsylvania 1759) How great would it be to hear a bigwig state that America is made up, for the most part, by hard-working, tax-paying citizens that are our greatest resource in economy, charity and safety. That the armed citizen is welcome here openly armed or concealed. To punish the millions of folks that do the right thing day after day because of the actions of a murderer is insane. If a big boss would encourage true freedom, he/she would have the safest shop in town.
Rattlesnakes hang out near deer feeders because they know the meek little mouse likes corn too and doesn’t carry a 44 mag. Is this a good game plan for such a strong, honest and armed nation? Leave the 44 behind, make it known through the media that XYZ company doesn’t allow personal protection, then show up at XYZ with your loved ones? Not according to smart guys like Franklin, Washington and Jefferson. Walmart’s decision this week wasn’t earth shattering. They didn’t say NO FIREARMS may be carried in our stores. But it was a sip of lukewarm coffee. No good. And it’s pushed me to rethink things a bit.
I plan to be a smarter shopper in the future. I will spend a little more time in this evil and dangerous world considering where I will spend my hard earned pay. Where I will spend time with my family and friends. I will worship, shop, work and play in areas where the world’s largest army, the armed U.S. Citizen is welcomed. I haven’t made this decision because of anger at folks like Dick’s Sporting Goods or AMC theatres or Chuck E Cheese or Jack in the Box. It’s America, and those folks can choose who to invite over, just as I can choose where to eat, watch a movie, or eat a meal. It’s just good common sense. Take your family to safe environments, and American citizens well-armed are safe. It’s so simple to web search retailer rules on personal protection.
Retailers with anti 2nd Amendment rules assume every day that the vast majority of us would never harm another. In assuming that we are all pretty safe folks, they, in wrong thinking, decide that only the rattlesnake poised by the deer feeder should be armed. Where is the common sense in that?
September 4, 2019
Often, I fish with a buddy as a co-angler. Trips in my boat are much easier, because loading my gear over to another guy’s vessel is much akin to inventory week at Bass Pro Shops. You at this very moment might just have a “yep, I know” look on your face. Sometimes we are fishing a tournament, and I want all of my “tools” at my disposal. Spinning gear, rods with various backbone and tip. Heavy flippin' stick, medium weight for throwing lighter weight baits and a truckload of medium heavy rods rigged with various ready to go baits; we are just getting started. My tackle bag weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty pounds. It’s like carrying a bale of alfalfa hay with you all day when your in another guys boat. He, rightfully so, is using all of the storage space because he never misses a sale at the local bait n tackle store either. So…there’s Bertha the bag. Smack in the middle of everything and surrounded by eight rigged rods ready to go.
Sometimes it’s a fun trip. Just fishin'! You meet your buddy on the dock as he motors in toward you, all the while explaining "how the large-mouth had been schooling for forty five straight minutes and would eat a lug nut if you threw it in their direction. Never seen anything like it…had to leave em to come get you.” Fun trips are easier. More like moving from a small apartment rather than a six bedroom three story. Here are a few common sense ideas for fishing from the back of the boat for fun and tournament fishing.
On a fun trip, think convenience-Convenience for yourself and your buddy. If everything you bring has three sets of treble hooks, the boat captain is gonna get sick of taking you to your hang-ups. Unless there has been an incredible crank bait bite or jerk baits are the only way to catch em right now, I lean towards single hook setups from the back of the boat. Your gonna hang up, it’s just a part of fishing. If you’re not fishing where the junk is, you’re more than likely not going to catch them. But, single hook setups cut the numbers waaaaay down. I think top, middle, bottom (water column) and bring one rod and reel for each depth. I take along a spinning rod with 10 or 12 pound fluorocarbon for drop shots and finesse stuff in case of a tough bite. I include a bait cast setup with 12-14 lb mono for search baits. Typically a spinner-bait or swim-bait. A second bait cast setup has heavier fluorocarbon, 14 lb for flipping creature baits into flooded timber, shoreline habitat boat docks/houses etc. With this mentality, I’ve now dropped from 6 or 8 rods to three. I’ve also left Bertha at home and now carry three bait boxes. A spinner-bait/chatterbait/swim-bait box, a finesse box with small terminal tackle and a worm box with bigger soft plastics, hooks, weights etc. Nothing you borrow will fit you better that your life vest. It’s the one you have confidence in and it’s important to bring it. Snacks, a couple of bottles of water…good to go.
Things change when you are fishing the back of the boat in a tournament situation. The thing that you need the most is the easiest and lightest thing to pack...knowledge. Homework is key. Previous tournament results, successful seasonal patterns, your boater's preferred techniques, the weather forecast and lake knowledge-all important pieces of a winning strategy. With that said, a lot of gear goes along with it. Baits that have had success on this body of water, the rigs that will fish them properly, rain gear, top middle bottom baits to match your boater's preferred areas (where the trolling motor goes, you go). Time and the thrifty management of it may be the difference in cashing a check and posing for pictures. Rods rigged and ready are big time savers. A half dozen on the deck. A pattern emerges during the day on a bait that you’d never have suspected…good thing you brought Bertha along…”cause I know I have a couple of those in here somewhere”. You’re gonna need your stuff. New backpack and specific to co-angler bags are on the market now that allow you to carry a ton of stuff (if not all of it), lunch and a few drinks in them. I use one of the new backpacks that allow me to stow my big bait boxes vertically rather than Bertha’s horizontal option, cutting storage space down to the floor between my seat and the front deck...perfect co-angler option. I can also lift and carry this backpack with one hand instead of needing both, meaning one trip from the parking area to the boat. One of the greatest discoveries that I’ve made is a lunch idea. Uncrustables! PB and J sammiches!!! Pre-made, individually wrapped, compact, crust trimmed away just like mama used to do it, time savers, sealed edges to prevent grape jelly on the carpet, delicious and perfect for boat or blind! And….they taste great.
Manners are another item that takes up no space but gets you invited back. Less is more, pack light. Pay for the gas, it's expensive to run all day or two. Bring the ice. Be handy with the net for your boater, back the trailer at launch and load. Offer up the Uncrustables...You're both gonna want several throughout the day. Share info without being a know it all. Pay attention to your boater. If he/she likes to talk…talk. If they don’t...shut the pie hole and fish. Cast to your water, it’s in the back like you, unless the boater invites you to forward cast. Don’t depend on the boater to supply your gear. Baits, culling clips, pliers, baits, rain gear, line, hooks, weights, towel, stuff...buy the big backpack!
June 28, 2019
Her name is spelled Xayden. It's pronounced Zayden. Don’t ask me. All I know is that she’s 3, adorable, a pain in the butt at times, more fun than a pickup bed full of monkeys, and she’s my granddaughter. We find very little common ground inside the house. I have no interest in those two pups she’s glued to on TV, and I hear that dreaded Mickey Mouse song in my head at night. Let me be clear, I do not give a solitary hoot where "Toodles" is. Yes, I play along with the stuffed animal parade, the endless desire for me to put down the latest copy of Bassmaster magazine and pick up a story book...again. I’m kinda shocked that by now we haven’t erased the words from the pages with our eyeballs simply by reading and re-reading. There is constantly a miniscule bug on the floor, under her chest of drawers, in total darkness where Pappaw has to lay face down on the floor with a flashlight to see. It is uncanny how she spots these things, but none get past her! Walking through the pasture with enough visual happening around us to overwhelm and amaze, she spots a dung beetle in a dark shady spot. God given gift of insecta-vision!
And THERE is my common ground with my Xady lady. We are hunters! It is outdoors where we enjoy our best playtime together! My heart grows younger out there, and she grows up faster. We meet in the middle with a butterfly net, a five gallon bucket and a feverish hunt for bugs to drop in the bucket. Mayflies were her quarry of choice earlier this spring, and she was very good at catching all of them that were at about 32 inches or lower. The natural course of things has moved us from mayfly season to her favorite...The roly poly. It's part of her big 5. I assure you that you’ve never seen a grown man grinning with an 8 pound bass in his hand any happier or more excited than Xady with a poly. When the weather warmed a bit more and the poly parade started in the cool mornings, she was ready. Yes, sadly some polys made the ultimate sacrifice during their time in poly compound. Over-handling, I believe the cause. Even tho death came calling for some of the weaker little insect versions of the armadillo, they still counted towards her tally. Near 20 on that particular safari. It was a tremendously successful outing.
Trips to the ranch are a big deal. She knows that the first stop for supplies is Buccee’s. Corn for the deer, hogs, birds, coons and coconut fudge for us. Once we pass through the ranch gate, it’s out of the car seat and riding shotgun with her head hanging out the window like a fella’s favorite hound. While I hoist the corn for distribution, she hunts. Everything is a wonder! Like the rock that she picked up and asked me about. I explained that it was actually a world record cow patty...true Boone and Crockett material... a dandy. “Don’t eat it.” I teach her these important things, and without her even trying or knowing, she reminds me that the blessing of time in the field, the boat, a conservation area, BLM, National Park or old deer feeder is very very special.
How callused and spoiled am I? Would I be happy for a couple of hours in the floor of the boat with a box of night crawlers? No, but to see her pure joy in that reminds and refreshes my roots with critters and the places they wander. Poly safari in the front yard, poop safari in the pasture…a precious little one’s squeal of pure joy as a night crawler slithers thru her fingers. Safari is a journey, an expedition, a mindset that anticipates with great eagerness what lies ahead. It’s the stop for fudge along the way, the ride through the pasture, the moment when the turtle first lumbers into sight. It’s sunrise in Cordoba when more doves than you ever imagined start lifting from the roost, or sunset on top of Going to the Sun Road.
Pre-dawn when it’s just light enough to see that yes, that’s the big boy I’ve hunted for three years. In a wink he’s gone, but safari still has had its full effect on your heart. Thank you Lord! There is a 3 year old inside of you. Turn her loose, send her on safari near and far. And if you net a poly that’s 3/8ths inches or more, call ol' Roy at Truelife Taxidermy.
May 24, 2019
Contact: Billy Kinder
Kinder Productions, Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 2019-DALLAS, TX—On Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 4pm (ET) a small family business made in America will see its ten years of sweat and tears prove graduated as its product, outdoor talk radio show Big Billy Kinder Outdoors, joins the satellite signal of SiriusXM. From humble beginnings on one radio station in Dallas/Fort Worth, BBKO Radio will become a part of the Salem family of programming on Family Talk SiriusXM 131. Dallas Safari Club (DSC), with a mission to educate youth and the general public about conservation in the outdoors comes on as the Title Sponsor. “We are thrilled to be a part of Big Billy Kinder Outdoors expanding to SiriusXM. Billy has been a strong and leading voice for the outdoors for a decade, and DSC is proud to see that expanding to inform and engage new audiences.” Corey Mason, Executive Director-DSC. After thirty years of being a voice on the airwaves in DFW, Billy will now share his on air talent along with his life-long passion and experience in the great outdoors hunting and fishing with an ever-growing audience. Big Billy Kinder Outdoors currently airs on WBAP-820AM (Flagship), 14 other North Texas radio stations and over 116 radio stations in 28 states distributed by the Salem Radio Network. Our show pros include outdoor icons such as Larry Weishuhn, Gary Klein, Tom Dokken, Kelly Jordan, Wally Marshall-“Mr. Crappie” & MORE. Celebrity guests such as T. Boone Pickens, General Chuck Yeager, Nolan Ryan, Jim Shockey, Jason Robertson, Jim Zumbo and others frequent the camp-house to discuss, not their business, but their PASSION…the great outdoors. Listeners can tune in to any of the local radio stations, SiriusXM-Channel 131 OR 24/7 to enjoy the podcasts. Podcasts can be enjoyed from iTunes, the bbkoradio.com website or other podcast providers. SiriusXM’s recent acquisition of Pandora, created the world’s largest audio entertainment company and the potential for even more growth is in the future. This new partnership between DSC and Big Billy Kinder Outdoors will ensure that the important message of conserving wildlife and wild places, protecting rights to hunt and fish and educating our next generations in our outdoor heritage will reach even more ears and hearts. BBKO Radio is a great way to enjoy a long day in the blind (with earphones of course) or a long day on the water. “When we’re not in the great outdoors, we’re thinkin’ about it.”
More information is available regarding the show online, www.BBKOradio.com
If you have questions, or to schedule an interview, call Billy Kinder (817) 360-8090
Summer is beginning to wind down but of course that takes a while here in Texas. We’ll more than likely be sweating still as we sit in the Friday night lights of October. It was only 104 yesterday and 103 the day before which felt “fallish” in the early mornings compared with last week. We saw 110 every day last week with 111, 112 and 113 thrown in the mix during a broiler of a week long stretch. Morning lows were 87-89 and humid. I did take advantage of those frigid early morning hours to visit the local fishing hole. Sand bass for ceviche were my target, but I can’t resist sitting over a deep July brush pile and snatching a few crappie for supper. That’s what I was doing on July 5th when visitors dropped by.
It was a local fire and rescue boat. They saw the BBKO Radio logo on the boat and paused long enough to say hello, and one fireman told me that he enjoyed the show each week. It was a short visit, but hit me like a truck when I casually asked if everyone had made it off the water safely the day before, July 4th. They solemnly replied “no, that’s why we’re here now”. The reality of what lied beneath me, somewhere in this popular ski/fish/water toy lake was heavy. They were searching with sonar for a 19 year old man that had been tossed from a sailboat on the evening of July 3rd. There were others on the boat that was blown over when a sudden and harsh storm kicked up that evening. The others, thankfully, made it back to the boat that night, but not this young man. What a tremendous loss. WHAT A TREMENDOUS LOSS!!!!
I just googled it a few minutes ago and found coast guard approved life jackets at Wal-Mart for four bucks. I also found one of the new lightweight inflatable, automatic vests for $35. A four dollar life jacket could have made this an unfortunate boating accident that all would have survived. I don’t know the details behind this tragedy, but I do know that rescuers reported the teenager was not wearing a vest. He became the fourth, FOURTH, person to drown on this lake between Mother's Day and the 4th of July. That’s four deaths in fifty one days, and that’s just on this one lake.
My mind was controlled that day by the situation. I had a tremendous urge to help in some way, but knew that keeping my distance from Fire and Rescue, and the numerous Game Warden boats that I was now noticing was all I could do. It was mid-afternoon when I noticed the Warden boats making a secure circle around the Fire and Rescue boat. A huge buoy marker had been dispatched to mark the exact spot of this terrible job that had to be done. I saw divers go overboard in the deep water, and I prayed. I prayed for the rescuers that provide an incredible heart felt service to all of us every day. I prayed for heart broken parents and possible siblings that had, I’m sure been holding to a sliver of hope that he might be alive. I noticed as rescuers worked, that a seemingly unaware number of skiers, boaters and fishermen zoomed towards their pleasure without understanding the gravity of the situation. Only a few were protected from the depths with a life jacket.
I’m not preaching but I had to share the experience. God made YOU. He made you unique. He made you for a purpose. That’s big stuff. $4.00 is not. Summer is beginning to wind down but there’s still plenty of fishing, boating, sailing and skiing time. I hope this young man’s story weigh’s on you when you launch.
July 27, 2018
Outdoorsmen and women are in a holding pattern right now. It’s mid-February and one of those "tweener" periods for much of the country. The cold fronts that rotate with the South winds make the fishing very unpredictable. The weather is still harsh in a lot of areas; in others, it’s just not comfortable enough to sit in the boat fighting the wind and catching little. It’s a great time of year to check your gear and set-ups for the approaching Spring. When the calendar starts to round the curve from winter to spring, it’ll all ramp back up...and quickly. When it does, I like to BE ready, not GET ready.
I spend a lot of garage time on the chilly windy days re-spooling reels for various applications: fluorocarbon for drop-shotting, clear water, deep cranking and other low line visibility needs, braid for the flippin and pitchin gear, and mono for most murky southern waters that I spend a great deal of time on. It's also time to check the tackle bags and reload terminal tackle needs: various hooks, sinkers, beads, rattles, bobber or weight stops, swivels and snaps, split rings, weights etc.
Finally, it’s time to reload on the baits that worked so well last year in those spots that you’ll visit again this year. I always make sure that I have a variety of soft plastics in watermelon with red flake for the closest (making it the most fished) bass lake to my home, June bug soft plastics for Florida waters, and small bait fish themed swim baits for my smallmouth trips up north, hard baits that were lost to deep water structure, overhead obstructions and shallow areas that I couldn’t reach with the boat. Hard baits with multiple treble hooks are predestined for loss. Snagged and stuck in an area that leads to broken line and with today's prices, broken hearts and wallets. What extremes would you go to to retrieve that $20 Whopper Plopper? For me, crank baits and golf balls are the same...I’ve never retired one from old age.
Top-water baits, hard swim baits, spinning and chatter baits...the list of off-season chores is truly endless but all part of the excitement. The first steps to landing that giant starts in the "tweener" time out in the garage. So, pour another hot cup of coffee, start undoing that big pile of treble hooked baits that have worked themselves into one big deadly ball and practice your pitching technique in tight quarters 'til it’s finally time to hook up to the boat. The Lord tells us to “Be anxious for nothing…” but it sure is tough just weeks before the shallow water spawn and gobbling long-beards!
February 17, 2018
It's not a place that I’d ever been, nor would even consider. Heck, this place would not interest or occupy my mind at all if it weren’t for a beautiful blonde headed grand girl. Ever heard of American Girl? It’s Barbie on mega growth hormone. Barbie had a doll house and a convertible; American Girl has it's own free standing two story building outside the Dallas Galleria filled with every race, lifestyle and interest doll that you can think up. There’s camping girl, astronaut girl, singer girl, skateboard girl, beach girl...hey, they even had a banjo pickin girl. It’s an amazing place. All of these before mentioned girls, have an endless line of accessories too. All very life-like, all greatly overpriced. It’s a place I can’t afford to go, but I do...I’ve got a beautiful blonde headed grand girl. I’m sure that somewhere in this doll house is a whole troop of vacuum girls that go around sucking up the money from glazed over grandpas like me. I was pleased though, when blondie chose camping gear for her American Girl.
When I stepped in the front door, my view was overwhelming. No, not wall to wall dolls, but the strongest voice in 2nd Amendment support on planet earth. Turns out that Wayne LaPierre has a granddaughter too. There was Wayne in his sweats and tenny shoes. A ball cap and wallet rounded out his attire. This is all that he and I would need on this day. Armed with credit cards and dressed in stuff that would allow us to keep up with the little darlings. Here we were, a guy that loves and understands that without Amendment 2, I would not have American Girl freedom. My trusted 270 would by now be an Obama plow share with Hillary riding guard to make sure I didn’t have any others laying around. And there’s the other guy, Executive VP of the NRA and my voice many times in cocktail conversations that I’m not invited to. We could have shared like-minded conversation that covered the hours of doll frenzy, but we had smaller fish to fry. Young’uns that need our nurturing and support now, so they’ll know how to do it later.
So, Wayne and I ooo’ed and awe’d and kept our eye rolling to a minimum. We watched joyfully as we overpaid for mini hairdos for the dolls which we had overpaid. Heck, if Wayne and I had hair enough to work with, we’d have had ours done too. There were overpriced tea parties with the dolls, constant trips from 1st floor to 2nd and then back down. There was laughter, and wide eyes. There were thank yous and hugs...there were happy little girls and grown men with names like papaw, gramps, big daddy and pops. There was, right before our eyes, every reason that our 2nd Amendment exists, and every reason it must stay iron clad strong! Neither Wayne nor I had to say it; we were both living it. Our girls were having a great time, and American Girl at that moment was one of the safest places on earth. Nice seein ya Wayne!
Are you a member of the NRA? If not...why not? Oh, I get it if you're scared of guns to the point that you think no one should possess them. I understand that. You’ve just never been around them. Know what? Chances are very high that if we went to the range together, you would not only change your opinion but have the time of your life. That’s a safe bet for me because I’ve seen it too many times already. As part of the Dallas Safari Club and Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation, I’ve had the great pleasure to assist at the annual S.A.F.E.T.Y event.
At these events, kids and one of their parents learn to shoot bow, pistol, shotgun, rifle and muzzle loader. I teach shotgun. At EVERY annual event, even though the shooting and teaching is intended for the kids, mom and dad get involved. They want to try it, and when they do...a new shooter is born. I’ve seen it first hand and heard the stories time and again. Folks that were scared of guns beforehand, purchasing them and kicking off a life-time of target shooting and or hunting afterwards. There are folks full of hatred on the far left that dream of a Stalin society or something that will never be good for the U.S. They know that we must be disarmed for their dreams to come true. There are folks to the right and folks in the middle. I’m convinced though that our founders were God-inspired in their formation of government and that grandpas that respect both God and government have and will continue to protect those precious young’uns with that 2nd Amendment right. They protect your foul mouth too lefty.
January 26, 2018
There’s something peaceful about a cold day at the lake. Alone on the boat with God. The quiet still of winter on a calm cloudy day. This is the same spot that frustrated me so much last summer with ski boats and jet skis buzzing within casting distance of me. I fought constantly to keep my boat from wake washing right on top of my hole. A good drop off that moves abruptly from 14 foot water to 21. This ridge holds bass and crappie year round, but in the hot summer time it’s a slam dunk! Position the boat back a bit from the drop. Throw a six inch watermelon and chartreuse Zoom worm or a Strike King Rage Craw in the same colors up in the fourteen foot water. Slowly work it to the edge, and pay attention while it drops. It might be a light tap or maybe your line just starts swimming off to the side. It might even just stop dropping before it should. This is where the old adage “setting the hook is free” comes in handy. When in doubt, set the hook! This is a proven hang out and travel area for bass positioning themselves to ambush shad. The massive balls of shad seem to be here year round as well. Colder weather usually means working the baits slower or even dead sticking, meaning no movement at all. Cast, sink sit. Colder water means slower moving fish. Give them time and be patient. Its easier to be patient now, all of the lake rocking summer activity has stopped for a few months, heck, most of the fishermen stop coming after the temps drop below 60 or so. There might be a sail boat or two slipping along and kayakers taking advantage of calmer water, but for the most part it’s just you and God’s watchful eye.
There goes my worm! The line is swimming sideways! After a hook set that Jimmy Houston would be proud of, I bring in a nice sized crappie. Crappie are insecure little buggers. They can’t stand alone time. Even when tending a spring time nest of eggs, there will more than likely be another nest close by. They enjoy each other’s company and are most times in large groups. Time to slip the bass rod back into the box and pull out the crappie pole! Easing up on the drop off I keep a close eye on my graph. I’m looking for the change in depth, and a stack of fish. Crappie will look like a Christmas tree on your graph, or maybe a tall stack, like a tree stump. Bass will be singular many times. Once I locate the school, I’ll toss a buoy out about 10 or 15 feet on the downwind side. I’ve marked my spot, noted the depth of the fish, and now I’ll just feed 'em crappie jigs until I can’t take it anymore.
If your water doesn’t freeze up in winter, it’s still a great time to get out on the lake. Take plenty of hot coffee or cocoa, dress right and by all means stay out of the water this time of year. Your catch survives better in the live well. The traffic is gone and there’s no one sitting on the special spot that multiple boats race to in the summer.
December 7, 2017
I would really love to know how many miles I’ve traveled, walking behind my bird dogs over the years. These days you can do that. Garmin, and other companies, have products that count your steps, heartbeats, blood pressure and probably even the hairs on your head. Back when I started, beeper collars were the latest and greatest technology. You would charge it up, or in most cases, install fresh batteries, strap it around your pointing dog’s neck along with his training collar and off they would go. A shrill beeping sound would echo thru the West Texas mesquite flats and Montana coulees, giving you an approximate location of your hunting dog. It was pretty neat tech really. It would beep maybe every five seconds or so while the dog was running, and every one second when the dog stopped to point or pass along the leftovers from last night’s dinner. Someone got real tricky and designed a collar that would beep while the dog was running, and screech like a hawk when the dog was pointing. Game birds don’t like to get airborne when a predator with sharp claws and eyes, and Air Force jet speed is nearby. So, the hawk screech was meant to fool the birds into holding tight on the ground until you could catch up with your pointing dog to make the flush.
The desire of a bird dog to hunt and point upland birds is so strong, that after a few short minutes of obtrusive noise, just inches behind their ears, they seemed to totally ignore it all together. After the first beeper collar hunt, it was always welcomed by the dogs. The collar was a sign to them that once they were fitted with their jewelry, it was time to hunt. My friend, Ted Gartner with the Garmin company is an avid bird dog man. He and a few techie types made the old beeper obsolete. Once on a hunt, Ted wondered around the camp-fire one night if he could duct take a GPS unit to one of his dog's training collars and take the first step towards a quiet dog locating collar. The Astro was born from that evening of pondering and red-necking around with GPS technology and duct tape. Astro, now several generations older, shows you where your dog is and what he is doing at all times.
Waaaay back...before the battery powered beeper collar was the simple little brass bell. Obviously making noise while the dog runs, and falling silent when the dog locates birds and points. Purely from nostalgia, I held on to that old bell method. Yes, I always had and primarily used the latest and greatest technology, but could easily step back in time by removing the tech collar and replacing it with a simple bell. I especially enjoyed this practice when hunting alone, working a smaller patch, and partnering with only one dog on the ground as opposed to two, three or even four. If I saw little Button, or ol’ Jill disappear into a plum thicket and the bell jingled no more, it brought an instant smile. Birds!
I still have those old bells that carried the jingle of fall, and the collars from many of my dogs. I can look at a particular collar and tell you about the dog that wore it. I can tell you in detail about how they liked to hunt, how hard they ran, how far or close they felt necessary to hold birds, and how I loved each one. When you step into the fields of fall, behind a well trained bird dog, it's magical. Matters not the technology or lack of. Enjoy your bird season and throw ol' Nose an extra treat tonight. They will give you every ounce of heart that they can muster tomorrow as they jingle off into the plum thicket.
October 12, 2017