I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

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It’s been awhile.  Work stuff, unexpected knee surgery, a brief bout of vegetarianism–it all led to me taking a hiatus from most things I enjoy.  But last week we ventured behind the pine curtain to my family’s land in Northeast Texas, and now I’m officially rejuvenated heading into my favorite season of the year.

The first order of business was to put my boys onto some big catfish.  River Monsters and the A-Team have been the majority of my kids’ TV diet this summer, so an interesting fascination with catching freshwater fish and vigilante justice has consumed my oldest son.   Growing up fishing the salt water, fresh water holds the same allure as salt water once had on me as a child.

Armed with our medium sized surf set ups, Abu Garcia 5000’s on stiff 7 foot rods, I thought we might have been over-gunned for the catfish in this pond.  Thinking we’d be reeling in 2-3 pound fish, I was pleasantly surprised when screaming drag proved me wrong.   We caught the first two on a synthetic bait used to catch whiting, sheepshead and other salty fish on the coast: Shrimp Fishbites.  These baits, though pricey, taste good to fish and last more than one hook up.  Cut into smaller portions they’d be deadly on spawning bluegill as well.  My dad  also scored a bucket of the something nasty from the local bait shop that made my hands smell like dead minnows for about a week.

It’s really time for me to get a GoPro.  My iPhone video is weak but demonstrative:  

As you can tell, I had to quit filming at the moment of truth.  In the next video, you can see the thematic influence Mr. T has had on my boy after a summer of watching the A-Team on Netflix.

 

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Enough for a fish fry

 

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I haven’t filleted many 10+ pound catfish. This was more like a butcher job. I found on the others it was better to go ahead and gut them before filleting.
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Captain is 48 inches and ways 45 pounds. This channel cat is 24 inches and 9.5 pounds.

We also started getting ready for bow season and checking the game cams.   I shot my bow at fifty yards, and was happy with the accuracy.  Though, with my elk hunt falling through, I’m going to turn my focus to local game, shorter distances, and smaller targets.

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This guy has me excited.  If you look closely, it seems to have a pair of tines that swoop backwards.

We tried out the new stands placement, seems to meet the little tree elf’s approval.

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Another cool thing we discovered is that Oliver grew into his youth rifle.  I have been coaching him about the mechanics of shooting and emphasizing slowly pulling the trigger so that it would be a surprise when it fires.  He did such a good job, I thought it was accidental at first.  But the target showed he was nearly perfect on his first shot.  My goal for him was to be just on the paper.  So I did two quick shots first, to make sure it was reasonably on target.  Turns out, his shots were much better than mine.  One of my lifelong dreams and most anticipated moments is the day I get to watch my boys take their first big game animal.  Now we are a step closer.  

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My shots were the lower two on the target.

 

This fall is shaping up to be an exciting one.  We are returning to Wisconsin for fishing, hunting and general outdoor recreating as well as cruising back to North East Georgia for some mountain time.  Of course dove and squirrel season will need some attention.  Also,  I’m getting to duck hunt with none other than Hank Shaw, my favorite food writer and chef.  Incredibly, he is coming to my home town to hunt ducks and geese and I get to tag along.  Moreover, he’s going to be doing a cooking school, about which I’m pumped.

What cool events do you have planned this fall?

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10 comments

  1. Sounds like you’re getting the fall hunting bug too! I actually meant to email you as it looks like I’ll be down your way for a duck hunt in the middle of December. I’ve never been and I’m looking forward to a good time!

  2. Let us know when you’re in WI! Matt’s got his bear hunt coming up. Too cool about hunting with Hank. I met him last Fall at a Duck Duck Goose event here in Madison, and he’s just the nicest guy.

    • Definitely Amber. I’m starting my research into some areas to rabbit and squirrel hunt and might try and do some upland bird hunting as well. I want you to milk that bear hunt for as many posts as possible! I can’t wait to read about it.

      • I unfortunately can’t go. I need to work as much as I can before January, as I’m off to Germany this winter, plus I’ll be in class. Matt’s documenting all of it, hopefully in first person POV with our glasses camera. If you’re doing upland shooting, we don’t have many naturally-occurring pheasant and quail populations. Grouse opens in October, and I love grouse. It’s delicious. There are a bunch up by Matt’s grandad’s land.

  3. G’Day Andrew, What are some good hunting/bow-hunting magazines in your part of the world? Friends of mine have recently opened a bow-hunting safari here in Australia and I’d love the opportunity to promote it over there. Cheers, Mandy

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