J.B. Webb — Old times are brought to mind
With this weather and the temperatures we are having now, our cove is icing over and I would rather face a firing squad than try to take a truck and bass boat down Night Hawk Hill. It’s steep, long and has a dropoff on either side — plus it dead ends to a T.
There is now a big stone mailbox on the right and a mess on the left. Neither side would do your truck or boat any good. Our ramp can be hard to get a boat up when the weather is nice, much less covered in ice and snow now.
Now back in the old days I hadn’t been a member of the Old Texoma Bass Club long when we had a January or February Bass Tournament. It was seven degrees and we went fishing anyway. That was back in the days you put on so many clothes you waddled instead of walked. I fished with Bass Club legend G.A. Miller.
He had the boat and his steering cables, as well as others, froze up after launching. While they stayed at Highport until they got theirs working, G.A. went fishing. After me pushing off, we took off with no steering. G.A. was pretty smart so he had me sit on the front and when he drifted in line with Soldier Creek across the lake and miles away, he would take off.
Then, when the torque turned the boat off course, I had to use the trolling motor to line us up and off we went again. I was a live hood ornament. The wind was out of the north and when we came out from the islands the waves were big. I was a newcomer and they looked big to me.
G.A. was going northwest and fast; I was hugging the trolling motor and getting wet. It was well known in the Club that he wasn’t really big on boat upkeep. About halfway there I heard something noisy in the back of the boat. G.A. stopped and one of his battery straps had broken; the battery was moving around like a bull in a china shop.
He decided it would be alright, so we took off again. It was colder than a well-diggers butt — an old country saying that uses another word for butt. After an exhausting trip for me, G.A. was in good shape as all he did was drive.
Making it to the back of a cove in Soldier, we started fishing. G.A. had a Bomber Fire Tiger Crankbait tied on. Now this was a trip when I was just getting into fishing and had a limited selection of lures. G.A. caught our limit in about an hour on that bait. I didn’t catch anything because I didn’t have one. They didn’t want what I had to throw.
At that time, I had two rods and reels. I was having icing problems casting and retrieving. We caught fish all day long but not as good as his Bomber. It was cold but warmed up. We stayed in Soldier all day. When we left to go back to Highport for the weigh-in, all at once the steering thawed out. I think we finished in the top five; might have even won it but I don’t remember. All I remember clearly is thinking I was going to die from being cold.
Now fast forward after I had been in the Club for a while and was a lot more knowledgeable about fishing. G.A. decided he was going to be a guide on Ray Roberts before they built it. Long before it had water, G.A. and I walked and drove around some of it and marked places that should hold fish after the lake was built. He had a ring binder and a compass and would take readings on buildings and farms and put it in the book.
At first you could only use boats and oars on Ray Roberts; you would think by now I’d be a little more careful about helping him. He took an old, almost scrapped little boat and put a 3/4-inch wood floor, two seats and a cooler in it. He drove down a road toward the lake that ended at a barbed wire fence.
We could see the water off in the pasture. After weaseling the boat and gear over the fence, we picked it up and started down the hill toward the water; now that boat wasn’t no feather. We went from carrying to sliding then picked it up again.
The water was further away than it looked. When we finally got there my arms were so stretched I could scratch my ankles without bending over. Then after we got it in the water, I had the honor of rowing while he fished.
I think it was a carryover from his days working in a bank that I got to do so much. Getting back up the hill is another story for another time.
My second adventure at Ray Roberts occurred after the lake was opened to all boats. His good friend Tim Bullard, who ran Bomber Baits in Gainesville, had someone important to him who wanted to go fishing. Well G.A. and I got called upon to go with them.
We were up in Indian Creek when it was still full of trees. As we were leaving his steering broke again. We only got out of that creek because he used trees for steering. He would hit one, then bounce off and hit another. Anyone seeing us would have thought we were in a pinball machine but he got us out to where we could get a pull.
The February Little Dixie Bass Club Tournament on Texoma had 17 boats and they caught 32 fish. Winning was the team of Mark Bisson and Michael Stout at 16.o8 pounds, Second was Jon Clouse and Ed Larkin with 15.24 pounds, Hayden Burkett and Tyler Stovel was third at 13.71 pounds, fourth was Joe and Alex Johnson with 13.48 pounds and big bass at 4.83 pounds and fifth was James Wallace with 7.80 pounds.