J.B. Webb — Getting taken to school on the water

Herald Democrat

There is a new sport in schools all over the USA, not just in Texas. Seems like a lot of the them now have fishing teams. They also have fishing teams in college. This is a serious sport.

The students do the fishing while an adult runs the boat. The top prize in each event is a hefty college scholarship grant. Now if this had been around when I was in school, I would probably keep being held back just so I could fish.

If I had made it out of school, I’d have gone to a college that has a fishing team and I would have learned all there was to know about fishing and baits. I would have stayed in college until I got my Master’s degree in the subject.

You know I write about the Fish Market out here where I fish for crappie. Last Sunday The Fish Market owner’s son, Ethan Powell, a student at Whitewright and on their fishing team, had been wanting to go fishing with me to learn some of what I know was supposed to know about fishing. This made me feel pretty good.

We started fishing in our cove. I started with my never-fail Booyah Spinnerbait, Ethan started with one also. He caught a fish; he had another good fish miss his bait. That was it, we fished the cove out.

I moved us to another one of my hot spots, the fish didn’t want to play there either. Making my third stop, I noticed Ethan had given up on the Spinnerbait. He had picked up his rod with a fluke on it. That’s when the spanking started, he can fish a soft jerk bait very well.

He wanted to go into some coves and look for bedding fish. Young people got better vision than us old mules. He began pointing out fish on the beds. Now I saw a lot of Buffalo fish, how he could tell the Buffs from bass so easy left me behind. He said he learned from his and other students and captains.

He found a fish I could barely see up under a buck brush and began flipping a fluke at the fish. I just held the boat there while he kept teasing the fish now and then. After I could see the fish, I would see the bass guarding the nest follow his lure or push it away. Now I was ready to move on but he just kept pitching.

After about 20 minutes the fish finally took his lure. It was a nice spotted bass which he released. I finally got a bass to take my Booyah Spinnerbait. I don’t know how much he learned from me but I learned some things from him Sunday. Depending on what it is and who is giving it, this old mule will take advice now and then.

We called it a day after six hours, he had me down nine bass to one. Ethan could stay in one spot for an hour tossing to a fish to get it to finally bite. Me? Nope. We had vastly different ways of fishing and I hoped he learned from me as much as I learned from him, but I’m not going to set in one place for 20 or more minutes for one fish. I’ve already challenged him to a rematch.

Wednesday saw me get the riding mower out. The grass in the yard was so high we lost Ginger. Susan wanted to mow before the next rain got here. We weren’t the only ones mowing because you could hear them everywhere. I assured her our mower was ready. I should have looked better — not long after she started mowing, she came up to the saloon where I was having a cold one, and said it quit.

I went out and looked it over and the gas tank was empty. I filled it up, I thought, but before the acre was mowed it quit once again. It was not out of gas but it was so low going up a hill the gas run to the back leaving the gas line empty. Once I got it on level ground by pushing, it started and I drove it to the gas can. This time I filled it to the top.

This weekend is going to bring out boats by the dozens. If you plan on coming to the lake, make sure your fire extinguisher is on the green. You must have good life jackets for those aboard and no, one size doesn’t fit everyone. Don’t put more people in the boat than it’s rated for. Have a throwable cushion you can easily get to.

All of the things I mention here can get you a ticket if you are stopped and they are missing or outdated. While having a great time this holiday, pause and remember who this holiday is for. It’s to honor all our service members who gave their lives so you and I could live in a free country.