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