Friday a week ago, I got off work at noon
a free man for the following nine days.
I was on vacation. I love the word. It's a
word that just sounds sorta divine, rather
ethereal. My cousin Jim would be arriving
Sunday from Ft. Worth, Texas, and by Monday
we would begin a week of nearly nonstop fishing.
I had a lot to do in the meantime: Cut grass,
tidy up, get groceries, tie a few Jitterbees
to round out my box, things like that. Sunday
morning, I was giving the boat and trailer a
good going over, and lubricating the trailer
wheel bearings, the engine steering and so forth.
I turned the steering all the way to the right
to lube the steering tubes, and it refused to
turn back. The cable had kinked or broken
somewhere inside its casing. I have a dual-cable
system on the boat, so was able to just remove
the bad one and go about my business while awaiting
a new one, but it wasn't the safest thing to do.
They put dual steering on big boats for a reason.
Still, Jim arrived Sunday afternoon with his mom
as a surprise visitor, too. That was perfect, for
our mothers were able to visit and keep each other
company the duration of the trip.
I also picked this week to stop smoking. I knew
that for the majority of the week I'd not be
around anyone that smoked. Armed with a pack
of nicotine lozenges, I smoked my last cigarette
Monday was our first trip of the week, out
to Lake Fausse Pointe. The fish were not
biting after a cold front came through
Saturday night. I was pretty gripey, too,
and the day was probably best considered
Tuesday we tried again, and this time
started picking up a few fish here and
there as the effects of the cold front
dissipated, and the gnawing of the
cigarette cravings got a little - I said,
a little - easier on me. We found a small
canal off an industrial waterway nearby
that held beautiful bluegill and a few
bass. It was also relatively isolated
from the strong winds that have plagued
Louisiana all spring.
We fished that canal all day. I cast a
black and red Jitterbee under an indicator.
The bluegill refused any other combinations,
and they preferred but were not adamant
about white legs rather than black on the
Jitterbees. An eight-and-a-half foot Rapidan
rod was probably overkill, but I was thankful
for it when the occasional largemouth took my
Jitterbee for a wild ride. I gave up fishing
anything under eight-foot or less than
five-weight around here. Too many large
critters lurk these waters, from bowfin
to giant catfish to lunker bass.
Near the end of the canal was a barely
submerged tree stump full of fish. We
pulled quite a few out. One particularly
vicious occupant of the stump took Jim's
indicator under, he set the hook on it,
and the fish took him for a wild, rod-bending
voyage under the boat, rushing from fore
to aft, plunging like a submarine, racing
off like a tarpon, and we were convinced
we had a beauty of a bass on the line, but
lo, we finally got it to hand and it was
the most beautiful goggle-eye (warmouth)
I have ever seen. It was dark as midnight
with beautiful blue highlights along its
fins and gills, truly a majestic creature.
The next day we made unsuccessful trips
into the basin which resulted in no bites,
so returned to the small canal, where we
spent the remainder of the day continuing
to get fish. Thursday we went back to the
lake, our native waters, and spent a
leisurely final day before Jim and his mom
left for home on Friday, drifting among the
cypress, picking up the medium-sized gills
and small bass before turning the bow toward
We ended the week with a good stash of fish
in the freezer, countless others released,
and a good spring vacation. Jim is several
years my senior and retired. We uncapped
two bottles of Abita beer every night, and
took our moms out for supper on Wednesday.
A planned fish-fry on Thursday fell through
for various reasons, and they left on Friday
morning for home. My steering cable was in,
so I installed it Friday and set about
relaxing for the rest of the weekend before
having to return to work. I've been needing
this vacation for a long, long time. It was
well-spent, with family and on good waters
with good fish.
Oh, and I still haven't smoked. I think I
got it licked at last. ~ Roger
It's out! And available now! You can be one of the
first to own a copy of Roger's book. Native Waters: A
Few Moments in a Small Wooden Boat
Order it now from
or Barnes & Noble.com.
Roger will also be giving away three autographed copies to
readers. Stay tuned, for an announcement on the Bulletin
Board on that soon.