By Larry Weishuhn
There is no question
I enjoy hunting above all other outdoor endeavors and pursuits. But, I admit to enjoying brief interludes of
fishing, particularly during the late spring and summer, once bear seasons are
completed and I am anticipating the beginning of the fall hunting seasons.
There was a time
when during our summertime when I yearly succumbed to the lure of and headed to
Africa. I dearly loved hunting greater
kudu, Cape buffalo and other dangerous game as well as the myriad of plains
game that exists across the broad ocean that separates North America from
Africa. But with years rapidly adding to
bones and muscles “stressed” during a youth that never took into consideration
I might attain my current age, those long plane rides are no longer fun, nor do
I consider them as necessary as I once did.
Fishing? As a mere tyke, still in short britches, the
highlight of most days was digging worms with my maternal granddad, “Fotta”
Aschenbeck, and then heading to Cummins creek to fish for “perch”. Those special days before being required to
go to school instilled a love of the outdoors to the point that when I was finally
forced to go to school I was convinced I had been sentenced to a living hell!
While I never lost
my love of fishing, in time hunting became more important to me, particularly
after my maternal granddad died when I was nine. By then, I could read about the adventures of
Jack O’Connor, Russell Annabel, Warren Page, Robert Ruark and other outdoor
heroes. They created in me a longing to
experience distant lands and unique animals they had pursued.
Now many years
later, having hunted big game on six continents and a few islands, I am content
and have no desire to step on the land that encompassing the South Pole to see
penguins. Thus, when now not hunting
primarily deer and a few other big game species found here in North America
there is time to spend my summers fishing.
Being someone who
likes eating fish, as does my wife and family, most of my summer fishing is for
those species that are caught and released in hot grease or butter in cast iron
frying pans, or grilled atop a fire of oak or mesquite. There is one exception, alligator gar to that
method of catch and “release”. And that
is where we will begin this epistle about summer-time fishing.
I love the
challenge of fishing for monstrous alligator gar, particularly with an ace
guide who has also become a friend, Chris Moody, www.garfishingaddictions.com .
Each summer I spend at least one if not two days fishing with him in
hopes of hooking and landing a gar exceeding 7-feet in length, knowing remnants
of the age of dinosaurs exist where we fish that exceed 8-feet in length and
exceed two-hundred pounds in weight. My
biggest thus far is a bit over 6-feet in length, although I had one hooked for
a while that approached eight feet in length.
She, all truly big alligator gars are females, like their kind tend to
do when hooked jumped totally out of the water.
When she did, it was as if she wanted to show me she was “throwing the
hook”. I hope there will be a rematch!
surprisingly are excellent table fare, but no way would I kill a truly big
alligator gar, one of the reasons I refuse to hunt them with bow and
arrow! As a youngster we occasionally
caught gars on trotlines. Using a
hatchet my granddad would cut the bony scutes along the gar’s topline, then
peel back its skin to reveal a long piece of boneless “meat”. Back then the standard way of preparing any
fish was to cut it into “chunks”, apply a coating of ground yellow corn meal
laced with salt and pepper, then fry it in a deep skillet filled with hot
lard. Even now writing about fish
prepared in such a manner it makes me salivate!
This summer we
will be filming my alligator gar fishing excursions for an episode of “The
Journey” a new digital television series I co-host with Brandon Houston. He along with DSC’s Corey Mason (www.biggame.org) will be joining me in hopes of catching
monstrous fish. “The Journey” mostly
hunting and conservation airs twice monthly on www.carbontv.com.
Summer truly is a
time to spend fishing with friends and family.
Over the past many years I have developed a dear friendship with fellow
outdoor writer Jim Zumbo, and outdoorsman Rick Lambert. The three of us are currently scheming a
fishing trip to Rick daughter Miranda’s former ranch in Oklahoma. There we will be joined by another fellow
writer, Jeff Johnson, to fish for bluegill, one of my favorite fish to catch
and eat. Same with Zumbo!
During my college
years, were it not for bluegills, my wife and I would have frequently gone
hungry once we exhausted our supply of whitetail venison. The upcoming trip
will be one of the highlights of the summer because I know the ranch’s ponds
are filled with hand-sized and bigger bluegills. Too, I know Zumbo loves not only to fish for
bluegill and eat them, he also wants to be the one who fillets all caught
because he fears a “smidgen” of fish might be left on the bones. Rick, Jeff and I will be happy to “let” Jim
clean any and all fish, and, we will do our best to keep him entertained with
regaled tales of hunts and adventures past, while he is doing so. I plan on filming that upcoming fishing trip
which will later be aired as an episode of “A Sportsman’s Life” on
CarbonTV.com, a show I co-host with Luke Clayton and Jeff Rice. I too will
record both an audio podcast and a video podcast episode of our “goings-on”. This for my weekly “DSC’s Campfires with Larry
Weishuhn” which can be listened to on waypointv.com, gen7outdoors.com, and
carbontv.com and many other platforms. The video version can be watched on my
YouTube channel “dsccampfireswithlarryweishuhn”.
In the past I have
enjoyed numerous fishing trips involving Jim and Rick both in fresh water and
salt water. In years past as guest of
Tom and Mike Snyder we have fished numerous times for particularly red snapper,
both in Texas and federal waters. Most
of the time we have fished with Captain Chad Kinney and his Bamm Bamm Charters
(www.bammbammfishing.com) based out of Port Mansfield on the lower Texas
coast. Limits of red snapper have
provided many fine meals for all those who fished. I will tell you one of Zumbo’s favorites is
red snapper “cheeks” and while I have eaten those delicious morsels he has prepared
for us; he has not been forth-giving of his recipe.
This summer I have
three wish list fishing trips I hope to do. Those include heading to Wyoming to
the Bighorn Mountains to fish once again for cigar-sized brook trout, something
I did a few years ago while my wife and I visited with the Zumbo’s. Not only were those little trout a blast to
catch on a fly rod and worms, they were unbelievably delicious! Zumbo taught me the importance of stalking
the edges of the serpentine, rather narrow and relatively shallow streams found
in the Bighorns. Talk about fun!
Later this summer,
about the time whitetail bucks’ antlers have nearly completed their annual
cycle I plan on spending a couple of days combining a deer scouting trip with
fishing on the Choctaw Hunting Lodge in southeastern Oklahoma (www.choctawhuntinglodge.com ). The spacious and truly gorgeous property owned by
the Choctaw Nation. It is home to both
fabulous hunting, specifically for whitetail deer, eastern wild turkeys, feral
hogs and occasionally buffalo and fishing.
With many fishing “holes” and several streams, the fishing there is
world class. I will head that way in late July or early August. A few years ago I fished the sizeable lake right
next to the lodge with Luke Clayton and Jeff Rice. We caught a really nice stringer of white
crappie. This time I hope to also spend
some time on one of the creeks simply to see what fish might be caught there.
But I’ll spend early mornings and late afternoon driving around with Dusty
Vickrey, the Choctaw Hunting Manager to see what this year’s crop of whitetail
antlers looks like. Choctaw offers both free range and estate whitetail
One other fishing
trip I have planned this summer is to return to Cummins Creek just north of the
Texas Gulf Coast Prairie, the creek I fished with my granddad when I was quite
young and where I started down my path in the outdoor world.
the living might be easy…but can also be quite exciting, even when sticking
relatively close to home…