Sunday, November 29, 2009


In addition to watching several James Bond Marathons on several different cable channels this weekend with El Fisho Jr and Mrs. El Fisho, and helping Jr get his list for Santa finalized, I did read some interesting articles and posts I'd like to point you towards.

First, my good friend and Houston criminal defense attorney Pat McCann wrote a nice op-ed piece for the Chonicle today. I don't agree with some of Pat's opinions on some legal matters, but he is a very honest fellow and a really, really nice guy. A helluva defense attorney as well. He served our country, as did his wife, in the armed forces reserves during the last decade, and is an American hero if there ever was one.

I have handled one complex matter with Pat in the past, and although it was a serious crime with a highly dangerous and mentally ill defendant, we got some justice done and we got along very well in the process. I came to respect and like Pat very much, and although I may not professionally agree with him always, he's one of the most reasonable and talented defense attorneys I've ever worked with, and I've handled cases against many famous attorneys, some of whom are very talented.

So check out Pat's op-ed piece here

There was a story in the Statesman today about a new prosecutor blog, and of course that caught my eye. It's author is a Travis County ADA with whom I am not acquainted. The article is here
and the blog is here

The author, Mr. Mark Pryor, thought up a great name for his blog. It's one I had been considering since I visit LA often and over the years have seen articles out west entitled or subtitled the same thing, a twist on the popular L.A. Confidential news columns and blogs that have appeared since the days before talkies. In any event, he beat me to it, and good luck to him in all of his endeavors.

Apparently, Mr. Mark Pryor has been at this a while, being 42 years old. That's good. We need someone out there blogging about the good that prosecutors do. I'm holding back my judgement though, as the Statesman article says he is partially using his blog to develop an audience for his novel "The Bookseller". Nothing wrong with cross-promotion, but give me six months and I'll report back on how I think he is serving the occupation.

I'm glad the Travis County D.A., Rosemary Lehmberg, gave him her cautious blessing to blog. I understand from my Travis County friends that things have gotten much more open since she took over from longtime DA Earle. I understand she has a real open door policy, which is essential for a good DA's office. Good for her. And good luck to Mr. Pryor.

My old blog standbys for now remain the same: Texas Ghostrider , Liberally Lean From The Land Of Dairy Queen and Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center . These are blogs I read whenever there is a new post, and you can find them handily located to the right of this blog. Texas Ghostrider often has very humorous necktie rating posts, and the comments are often hilarious. I keep offering to send he and his partner, Detective Ninja, a box full of old neckties my friends and co-workers and collegues are well tired of seeing, but he hasn't taken me up on that.

But tonight, there is no frivolity as Texas Ghostrider comments on the tragic deaths of four officers killed this weekend in cold blood in Washington State. He says it much better than I. Four Officers Murdered If you want to show your gratitude to an officer, the next time you see a police officer and have the opportunity to talk to them, simply approach them, ask them to shake your hand, and tell them how much you appreciate their service keeping us safe. Include police officers in your prayers at night. They keep us safe, and now more than ever, they are the thin blue line between good and evil that keeps those of us citizens and our families safe.

One final word. Several of my favorite bloggers went out of business this year, more or less. Both were prosecutors, and both were hilarious. I really miss SO-AND-SO, and need to email her and see how she is doing. She was such a funny writer. Same with ole' R.J. I haven't read much from him from awhile. For awhile, I wondered how he was such a prolific and well-written blogger, but I decided he's just smarter than the average bear. He didn't write about DA work, just about stuff in general.

I miss them both.

The White House visit by the Sahali family: The bigger picture

This blogger, who I am not familiar with, has some very cogent thoughts on the Sahali incident this past week at the White House:

It's not a good sign. I can't imagine, or at least prior to this event, couldn't imagine anyone getting past the Secret Service. Having done dignitary protection assignments briefly in my career many years ago, this incident comprises just about every no-no in the book.

My experience with government law enforcement tells me people will be fired or will resign, but it won't necessarily be the folks (i.e. policymakers in the Secret Service or whoever runs that show now that Homeland Security runs them) who need to go.

Just my 2 cents.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I have not yet wished the few readers and the many random visitors to this site a happy Thanksgiving! Many of the readers and visitors are from other countries, who I assume do not celebrate this American Holiday. Correct me if I'm wrong.

My wife and I have friends from many countries around the world, most of whom reside there and mostly in Western Europe but other far flung locales as well. Some of those, particularly those who reside in Norway, I believe are ready to celebrate nearly ANY HOLIDAY at any time. Just an excuse for a party and a get-together.

SO I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and got to see all of those who are near and dear to you.


As I've noted in previous posts the past week or so, Texas Rainbow Trout stocking is imminently upon us. Beginning on December 2nd (Tom Bass Park in South Harris County slightly northwest of Pearland), it appears that the cold front that I read is coming in tomorrow and that will be lasting until Thursday or so will be right on time.

As I've noted many times, in my 35+ years of Texas stocked Rainbow Trout fishing every winter and early spring, I have absolutely found the colder the better as far as hungry and frisky Rainbows. So next week should be prime.

Billy Ray and I have a slight window Thursday and Friday of this week, and if I can talk Mrs. El Fisho into letting me take a day off from work to hit one of several locales that Billy Ray and I have picked out in Central Texas, I'll get some of that action.

This will largely depend on the temperatures, not only of Mrs. El Fisho but of the weather. If it gets too hot, I'll just wait on another cold front when the fish are likelier to be more active.

Also, the sad news that Rollover Pass will soon be closing should motivate all those Texas fisherman who have either fished there before or who have never fished there to scoot on down there el pronto and do some fishing.

I talked to Billy Ray about it today, and he of course was as crestfallen as I. He grew up on the East Side of Harris County, near East Galveston Bay. We didn't discuss whether he had fished there as a youth but I suspect he did at one time or another. He does know of it's importance to the East Bay ecosystem, and it's been on our short list for several years as a place we need to go fishing when there is one of the many "runs" that often occur, of fish like grouper, flounder and so many more species.

In any event, as Marvin Zindler used to say, "do whatever makes you happy." For me, that often involves fishing, and I've got cabin fever after this summer's drought like nobody's bidness. I've done a little fishing lately, but not enough.

How much fishing is too much?


I'm know I'm random in my subject matter and postings on my site. Fishing. Handguns. Tube amplifiers. Geetars. Basses. Texas History. Houston History. Some of my favorite place in Texas. Music. Drumming. The occasional pro-police or law enforcement or district attorney post, along with the occasional political post.

I've had several people tell me that although I'm nice, I'm random at times. Mrs. El Fisho would certainly agree at times. I just have varied interests.

So if you don't see a topic you're interested in today, check back tomorrow, I could be talking about something different.

I don't talk much about work, which is, as Inspector Clouseau often called it, "The Lew". I live that. I work that. I do all I can not to bring it home with me. That's why I love writing about things that have nothing to do with "The Lew".

As the great fictional investigator Inspector Jacques Clouseau once said: Anonymity is a virtue. Every fool knows that. Anonymity's next to cleanliness and I don't have to tell you what that's next to.


As I posted here RIP ROLLOVER PASS ON BOLIVER ISLAND, the GLO is determined, with the assistance or approval of the Corps of Engineers, to fill in Rollover pass in the near future. As I have made clear, this is one of my favorite fishing spots and I'm strongly opposed to the closure of Rollover. It's not just a case of nostalgia for the fun times I've had there fishing and camping, it's a case of nature and erosion/accretion that occurs naturally along the lifetime of a beach and how man can never be master of nature.

And apparently, a bunch of beaurocrats think they can control beach erosion.

So here's the website for the Gilchrist Community Association, pegged at the link for Rollover news.

Other than being a dandy place to live and to visit, as far as a tourist attraction, Rollover is about all Gilchrist has as an attraction, and although the GLO has promised to build a new pier, that's not going to replace the ecology that the pass created in East Galveston Bay some 54 years ago.

A new pier, even if it went out very far, is not going to replace the migrations of fish that occurred through Rollover.

The new pier is not going to replace the great surge of saline ocean water and the species from plankton to shark and all in between that use Rollover Pass as a toll road from bay to ocean.

Rollover was one government alteration of nature that actually worked. Yes, it deposits silt and sand into the intercoastal, but this is going to be true of any pass or land cut from gulf to bay near the Intercoastal.

The thing we always like about Rollover was the fact you could pull your vehicle up to the concrete retaining wall and have a "tailgate" fishing camp set up right at the water's edge where you were fishing. Having a few trucks and perhaps a tent or pop-up trailer gave us a place to sleep and ready access to cooking and other supplies. We didn't have to haul a bunch of gear down a jetty or pier, which in itself limits what you can take with you.

We'd have a BBQ going and grilling all sorts of food during the day, from sausages to fresh caught fish. We usually had a pot of coffee on the grill as well. The smells of the cooking food plus the smells of the ocean breeze and the bay all mixed together in a jambalaya that I can literally smell and feel as I sit here writing this.

Here's the post from the Handbook of Texas about Rollover, with the link to the page following the post:

"ROLLOVER PASS. Rollover Pass, also known as Rollover Fish Pass, is a strait 200 feet wide, five feet deep, and more than 1,600 feet long across Bolivar Peninsula; it links Rollover Bay and East Bay with the Gulf of Mexico in extreme southeastern Galveston County (at 29°00' N, 94°30' W). The pass was opened in 1955 by the Texas Game and Fish Commission to perpetuate state fish and wildlife resources and improve local fishing conditions; it introduces sufficient quantities of seawater into East Bay to increase bay water salinity, promote growth of submerged vegetation, and help marine fish to and from spawning and feeding areas in the bay. The pass is named for the practice of ship captains from the days of Spanish rule through prohibition, who, to avoid the Galveston customs station, rolled barrels of import or export merchandise over that part of the peninsula."

Of course, we know the Karankawa tribe ranged this area and their first known contact with Spaniards in the early 1500's was the beginning of the end. 300 years later, they would be exterminated, and although we know a little bit about them and their culture and lifestyle, there is much we don't know.

During this time, certain pirates and freebooters and smugglers worked that part of the Texas coast with certain impunity. Much treasure is rumored to be hidden up and down the coast of Texas, from pirates and from shipwrecked ships bearing valuable cargo.

So the Gilchrist area not only shares in this rich history but in the vibes of the past that inhabit the area as much if not more than the physical structures around them. The history and the influence of the indian culture on Boliver is strong, in history if not in spirit.

Although I know a little about Texas History, I don't know when the various tribes that combined to form the Karankawa tribe initially came to what is now know as the Texas Upper Coast. I'd be interested if anyone out there does know.

But what I do know is that I'm gonna write some letters to my representatives in an attempt to do something about the closure of Rollover. It may well indeed be too late, but nothing ventured is nothing gained.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Although I have no interest in carrying double snubnose revolvers, you get the idea of how the holster idea works from this picture.

This is the K.L. Null Holster Model SKR City Slicker. Instead of leather, the holster is constructed of form fitting dense but very thin polymer material. As said on Null's website, "Total weight of the Holster, Tri-Span Harness and loaded Airweight J-Frame revolver: 19 oz.!"

image courtesy of DL Sports, Inc. Check out their website!

The iconic Steve McQueen in his Bullit role emulating San Francisco Detective Dave Toshi and his Colt carried in an upside down holster. Many TV shows in the 60's and 70's featured police characters using this type of holster. Kojak was one. Oddly enough, I can't remember any of the bad guys ever using this holster.

A lot of folks don't like the upside down snubnose shoulder holster rig but I do. Under a jacket or coat, it's very concealable. I own one each of the Bianchi and Safariland models from back in the day. I plan to buy an SKR soon and am going to do some searching on who makes leather versions of his holster nowadays, since Bianchi and Safariland discontinued this design some time ago.
I'll report back on what I find. The prices for these holsters on ebay are insane. Last year they were going for like $50 and now it's over double that in many cases.


Gilchrist showing Rollover Pass
after Hurricane Ike in 2008
(Note that the lone house standing as shown in the picture above is the Yellow House referred to in the blog post below. It is not shown in the second picture but would be located to the right halfway between the Gulf beach and the highway)

Gilchrist showing Rollover Pass before Hurricane Ike

The Houston Chronicle had an article today that caught my eye and immediately caused me to feel sad for the loss of another great fishing locale on the Texas Gulf Coast. Rollover Pass is going to be filled in by the Texas General Land Office (GLO) because the GLO has "determined" that this pass, which was built in 1955, is greatly aiding erosion on Boliver and Galveston Isles.

You can read (read it and weep) the Chron article here

Whatever. As always the comments are often times better than the articles.

I've fished Rollover numerous times. At one point in my life, between the ages of 18 and 22, I fished it quite regularly, camping nearby with friends on several day long fishing camp adventures. We always caught lots of fish. Redfish, specks, sandtrout, croakers and the occasional small shark. We crabbed during slow times and often caught flounder during the evening hours.

I like Rollover a thousand times more than San Luis Pass or the Galveston Jetties. It's just a unique fishing locale and one with a lot of places to set up camps nearby

Fish in Texas saltwater love moving between the bay and the ocean during certain times of year. We will be altering what has been the eco-system now into the whole of East Galveston Bay and the many connected water and marsh and bay systems up that part of the coast. I wonder if anyone has done a study to see if there are any endangered wildlife species that closing the pass would affect? I wish the Gilchrist Association had the bucks to file a lawsuit claiming a lack of environmental studies have been conducted to fully assess the impact of closing the pass.

I know everyone remembers the iconic photo from Gilchrist, which is where Rollover Pass is (was) located, showing the lone yellow house standing after Hurricane Ike hit. That's right near Rollover. Mr. Warren Adams, the owner of said yellow house, had a builder build a house that was as close to hurricane proof as a house could be. I read that in the papers last year after Ike hit and destroyed every structure around the yellow house. You can easily find many more pictures of it online. Just google "yellow house Gilchrist Ike" and look at the images and read some of the articles. Here's one

Here's an excerpt from the Chron article at the link above:

Before the channel was dug, Rollover Pass was a natural washover that was occasionally breached by storms. There are reports of small boats being able to cross the peninsula at Rollover Pass during high tide. The Handbook of Texas says the pass got its name from smugglers rolling barrels of contraband across the narrowest part of the peninsula.

I'll be doing some web searching tonight to read some other perspectives on this latest action by the GLO. Maybe the GCCA (Gulf Coast Conservation Association) or some other entity has an opinion on this.

Right now, at first blush, I'm calling it a mistake and a boondoggle. Those who say the fishing is not worth keeping it open need to read the entire article. If the Corps of Enginners is having to spend $1mil a year to dredge because of the sand, how much will they have to spend when washover occurs?

There are so many different opinions on Texas beach erosion that I'm skeptical at once when beach erosion is mentioned as a reason for doing anything. I've read some historic works on the subject as well as more modern studies, and despite what men and women who brainstorm projects like this think, Mother Nature has other ideas. You don't get to tell Mother Nature what to do. She has been shaping and forming and altering the islands and bays and coastlines and beaches of Texas for a mighty long time.

Native Americans were here hundreds if not thousands of years before the invasion, er, settlement of Texas by Europeans and Americans. They knew that forces of nature couldn't be controlled, and they didn't try. They accepted that it was foolish to build houses for long term occupation on or "with a view" of the beach. Not a good idea. Storms come. No one knows when. They devastate and destroy.

Despite that, I'd love to have a small weekend home in a place like Gilchrist. Hell, as long as I had someplace to go on the mainland when a storm was coming (and to keep all the stuff I don't want destroyed), I'd love to live there. But Rollover Pass would be one big reason to have a small home there.

Back in the day, when I was a kid, people didn't build swankienda beach houses. Oh, some were nice and fancy but none like the mainland style McMansions these folks build just feet from the crashing waves on West Beach.

Back in the day, folks had sort of ramshackle but sturdy cabins built on poles, elevated for when the flooding occurs. Nice, sturdy but built for rugged salt water winds and water. People knew that storms were gonna come and that their beach weekends were going to bring sand into the home, no matter how careful they were or how much they cleaned. Sea breezes were gonna bring sand and salt corrosion inside every home. Everything, and literally I mean everything from pipes to wood to metal to air conditioners and nails and siding and roofs suffer and deteriorate much faster than they do in milder climes. Inside and out, beach weather is hard on houses.

Which is why not too many old timers in places like Galveston or Gilchrist lived feet from the water. They were nearby, by virtue of their locale, but they were built to last and with some common sense. Because one day, they knew that house was gonna have water in it.

I say all of this about back in the day to say that I think you takes your chances when you build a home at the beach.

The people who have fished Rollover Pass the past 54 years have contributed millions of dollars to the state in terms of fishing licenses. Add the amounts spent in their local communities to gear up and what they spend in Gilchrist and you're talking some serious money generation in lots of ways.

So clearly I'm opposed to this, and I'm gonna contact Mr. Adams as a starting point and I'll report back on that later.

So I support the Gilchrist Association and urge you to do the same. Even if you don't live near Houston or Texas or even the good ole' USA. It's a small town that has been enriched greatly from the building of this pass, and this decision should be by the voters not some administrative agency or the legislature.

I'm gonna write more about Rollover Pass and the fact I obviously have to go there soon. Real soon. Like in a few weeks soon. I WILL fish the Pass before it is destroyed. I already know Billy Ray is going to be very unhappy about this. I know he and be delaying going rainbow trout fishing for a week or so because I'll say with all due certainty that we'll be at Rollover at some time in the next three weeks, possibly week after next.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I consider the Colt Cobra to be one of the ultimate snubnose revolvers available. It weighs 15 oz, just a tad more than the S&W airweights, but holds one more round. I've always liked the trigger of Colts better than that of the S&W.
This fine handgun hasn't been made since the early 1980's. When I was a young officer, it was the first off-duty carry weapon I purchased. Several years later, I had the chance to trade a 13 shot .380 Beretta model 84 for another fine specimen exactly like the first one I bought new. I think I'm covered for the remainder of my days as far as Cobras go.
This pistol is an exact duplicate of the heavier Detective Special, another Colt mainstay that hasn't been made for years. Excellent used examples of both the Cobra and the Detective Special can be had used from about $500 to $700, so they are a bargain as far as used Colt revolvers are concerned. Pythons and Diamondbacks are selling for above $1200 used, and often more.
The Cobra gets a five star recommendation from El Fisho.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One great trout fishing place to be in Texas in February

One place I won't get to be this trout stocking season is in the town of Utopia at the Utopia Park Lake. They'll be stocking late in the season, on February 16. 2010. It's a nice little lake.

Utopia is just east of Garner State Park, north of Uvalde, west of Bandera and northwest of San Antonio. Smack dab in the middle of some very nice rivers like the Sabinal, the Nueces and the Frio. I've never caught many fish on the Frio, but the Nueces has always had good fishing.

It's a beautiful area, there are tons of memorable drives and rides in the area. I once very nearly almost had Mrs. Fishing Musician convinced to allow us to purchase a picturesque cabin on a high cliff located above what is known as the Dry Fork of the Frio River, which is any thing but dry. It is often a strong running creek that would be a challenge to swim across, although there are eddys and slow spots along it's route.
You can read about my failure to get my bride excited about this little slice of heaven I had found. REAGAN WELLS

You can read about Utopia here at,_Texas

There is lodging available in the area. Motels, hotels, cabins and campgrounds abound within a 25 mile area of the Lake. Billy Ray and I are older now. We appreciate a nice hot shower on a cold blustery day,

It would be a nice place for a mid-week trip to catch the stocking occur.

Monday, November 23, 2009


The first Texas trout stockings begin occurring in December, 2009.

Again, here's the website and it's searchable by city, county and stocking location.

Here's a brief list of dates and places for those who are willing to travel for some rainbow fishing:

December 2 - Waco, Austin, College Station, Ft. Worth, Hurst, Duncanville, Houston (closer to Katy), Mesquite, San Angelo,
December 6 - Bandera
December 9 - Blue Hole Park Lake, Georgetown; Hubbard
December 11 - Blanco State Park and lots of other places (see website)

And of course, frequently in December (4-Dec-09, 11-Dec-09, 18-Dec-09, 31-Dec-09) at the Canyon Tailrace in New Braunsfels.

I've often fished Blanco State Park, for nearly 20 years now. It's almost always a good spot.

Likewise, in another life, it was a Saturday ritual for the wee Fishing Musician Jr. and I to go to the Mary Jo Peckham Park and fish from about December to May, when it started getting hot. It had gentle sloping banks and waters, so if El Fisho Jr. were to stumble into the water, he'd be easily rescued. It's a great place to take wee little kids, say 3 years old or so. There's also a putt-putt golf course there and a playground.

We'd take a wagon in the back of the SUV and I could load it up with our gear and an umbrella and some chairs and an ice chest and we were set for a morning of fun. I wasn't the only dad around there with his small kiddos either. It was a good way to introduce El Fisho Jr. to fishing and the outdoors in a safe manner that wouldn't make his mother have fits. Moms need some alone time too, particularly in those early years of intensive mommy time, and our weekly fishing ritual was and is still big fun.

We go other places now. We like going fishing with "Uncle Billy Ray" and he's always great with Andy. As his Godfather, he better be. We like fishing all kinds of places around the state for rainbows. Rivers, lakes, community ponds and State Park lakes. They all have their unique attraction.

I personally have seen trout stocked, and it's a pretty cool thing to see. It's always been early in the morning when I've seen it, and when I first saw trout actually being stocked from the stocking truck was at Meridian State Park in 1985. A cold and blustery day, the Park Ranger told me early that morning as we shared coffee that the trout bite better in the cold. As I've written before, I've found this to be true, even more so in a light cold rain. It just seems to bring the trout alive.

I arrived in Meridian early that morning, and when I arrived at the Pavilion near the lake, the Ranger was there awaiting the fishery truck. Several thousand trout came pouring out of that truck, and I found that many were hungry upon hitting the water. Many say the fish need 24 hours to adjust after stocking but I have not found that to the the case. It was sight to see.

So I'll be somewhere December 2nd, fishing for some freshly stocked rainbows. And if I can get there early enough, me and El Fisho Jr. might see the stocking truck come. It'll be a weekday, but we may have to have a dad and son day out.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The search for a great IWB holster: an ode to the Bianchi Model 6

The venerable Bianchi Model 6 waistband holster.

For years as either law enforcement or a license holder I have carried a firearm. Sometimes for sporting reasons, perhaps on fishing trips in snakey areas, and often for safety reasons. When working plainclothes or undercover and when off-duty, I often carried a Smith and Wesson Model 38 or a Colt Cobra. That was back in the day when revolvers were still somewhat revered in law enforcement, although there was there fair share of 1911 variants, HK's, Hi-Powers and S&W autos.
But many of my collegues opted for revolvers. My duty weapon was a 4" Colt Python, too large for any type of concealed carry except in a Jackass Leather shoulder holster under a properly fitted suit coat or winter jacket.
One of the first holsters I bought for off-wear was the above holster, the Bianchi Model 6. I bought a few more off of ebay a few years ago, but still use that original holster I bought back in the early 80's. All of mine have the shiny chrome metal clip, but they're basically identical to the one shown above.
It's handy for a variety of reasons. It's nice to be able to carry your pistol in a briefcase or backpack if the situation doesn't require having a weapon directly on your person. Under such circumstances, having your pistol in a holster like the Model 6 means that you can be wearing it in just a few seconds.
I only wish they made one in some sort of forward FBI cant, as that is my favorite angle for carry of almost all type.
I tried many other and more substantial IWB holsters with very little success. Bulk is a problem with almost all of them except for suede ones like the El Paso Saddlery Summer Special and it's ilk made of thinner leather.
For what it's worth, I still use my original Model 6 nearly 30 years after it's purchase. It's in excellent shape, and it fits the pistol it's been carrying all that time like a glove.
True concealed carry of a firearm is an art and a science. While many custom holster makers have great holsters for concealment, I think I've come full circle with the Model 6. Although I've tried and bought fancier and much more expensive holsters since my original Model 6, the past few months I've been using them more frequently.
Good Job, Bianchi. Now bring back the B-LITE with some sort of cool LED lights and get back in the police flashlight business.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Of course, the grand locale of Texas Trout Stocking has always been the Guadalupe. I began fishing for trout on that river in the early 1970's on family vacations to Canyon Lake. Both Brown and Rainbows survive year round in the frigid output of Canyon Lake that becomes the lower Guadalupe.

And I've caught or seen trout caught year round in the Guadalupe River below Canyon Dam. They also stock more trout there every year. It's a grand fishing river, and you can get to the best spots with a canoe and then do some wading.

In the 1970's, we used to stay at this lodge on the Upper Guadalupe and fish for stocked rainbows in the headwaters of the Guadalupe and downstream from there. There was a damned up lake at the lodge on the river and you could drive upstream a short bit and access the mostly shallow and wadeable portions of the river from low water crossings.

All I had then were uninsulated waders, but by wearing scuba booties and several long johns and some jeans under the waders, I was pretty warm. It was there I first practiced fly fishing for trout, and it was always exciting to catch a trout "on the fly".

Somewhere in the past few months I read a blurb about some private stocking on several Hill Country rivers. The Perdenales, Cypress Creek near Wimberly and if I recall correctly, that part of the Blanco River far downriver from the State Park in Blanco where stocking takes place but before San Marcos. Seemed like it was talking about an area on the Perdenales and another area around Wimberly.

I tried to find the article online and couldn't, so I must have read it in the area updates or something in the tons of Texas Outdoor and other Texas sporting magazines that my friend Big David gives me every six months or so. The gist of it was that lucky anglers that pass through those areas where private stocking has taken place can try their luck at some rainbows on a float trip, or perhaps a short distance up or down stream if any public access exists. And that often those rainbows migrate to other parts of the creek or river.

I could see that on certain spring fed creeks and rivers, which they mostly all are in that area, temperatures near some of the springs might remain cold enough for rainbow to survive year round, perhaps in some adaptation.

In any event, I plan to get some salmon eggs and perhaps visit an Orvis store and get some new flies. I've got a decent selection, and could really use a sinking line also for when the trout are deep on warmer days.

I'm anxious to fish the 3 wt. Orvis bargain rod I got last year. I've fished it a few times and it's a great river trout rod that really lets the fish put up a fight. It casts like a dream, of course, because it is an Orvis rod. Just marvelous for dry fly fishing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I get as giddy as a diehard deer hunter when Texas Trout stocking time is here. Preparations are beginning to be made. As I noted yesterday 2009-2010 Texas Trout Stocking Schedule released, the TPWD has released "the list" of where fish are scheduled to be stocked.

It's always a relaxing activity to sit with Billy Ray or IM or on the cell phone as we both peruse the list, looking at our schedules and the dates of stockings and the locales. We debate the likely weather, area restaurants and friends who might want to join us as we have friends all over Texas. Dangerous Dan is the only one who has come with us in the recent past, making a cold trip to the Blanco several winters ago.

Out trip got cut short because El Fisho Jr. fell into the freezing river. Being a good dad, and a former boy scout, I was prepared with clean dry clothing, towels, etc. Likewise I had been prepared when I insisted, as I always do, that he wear a life vest while fishing. I wore one too, as I often do when wade fishing, even though we were fishing from the bank.

Of course, you know how the dialog went:

"Don't stand so close to that edge. It's slippery. You're gonna fall in the river"
"No, I'm not."
"Just move back a little bit. You're too close."
"No I'm not."

Luckily, I had a kayak rescue rope (i.e. leash) attached to his ski vest (they have a special attachment for this) and I was able to jump in myself (up to my thighs) and rope him back. The current was strong as it had recently rained, and the banks were slippery. He was quickly headed for the main river current out of the eddy we were in, but my preparedness had saved the day.

It's always fun to look at the stocking locations and the dates and try to see how I can wrangle a trip with Billy Ray or the family. As I've mentioned before, I've found the rainbows much more active and hungry when the temperatures are low, and a little rain makes the fishing all the better. So the family is not often willing to go on a foul weather fishing expedition. But Billy Ray is.

I remember in those olden times, the pre-internet days, when the trout stocking list was obtained by mail from Austin or in copied sheets available at fishing stores or where licenses were sold. I remember marveling the first time they were available on line, with links no less to directions to some of the spots.

So it's kinda like looking at the Sears catalog was as a child, dreaming about cool stuff in there you'd like to have. Thinking about trips I've taken to great places like Meridian State Park and Blanco State Park and various other spots where trout have been stocked. I did a bunch of great trout fishing at the American Legion pond in Missouri City back in the 80's, and it was common for me to hit that pond early and late whenever I had the chance.

I've got a spot in mind that will be stocking soon, one of my favorites. I'll keep it a secret, because a fisherman has to have some secret holes, but it's a place I've been several times but never when stocked with trout. I'm thinking it could be pretty cool, what with all the rain we've had and all.

I'll hit some other places too, closer to home, as the stocking begins. But I'm revved up for a Billy Ray and El Fisho Jr. fishing trip to the secret spot.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


As I discussed in my last post THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF BILLY RAY AND DANGEROUS DAN... , they took off Friday night for Matagorda Island and some surf fishing and beach camping.

Obviously, they didn't follow the sage advice that I've never followed as I discussed here in the The Kings of the Gulf of Mexico and the I pic, no fish posts about my friends who were just using regular old fishing tackle, not surf tackle, fishing with cut mullet and landed a huge King, amongst other fish.

I say obviously because they didn't catch any fish. I am now convinced that mullet is the "go to" bait for live or cut bait fishing in the gulf. For decades I suffered in ignorance, considering myself "above" the use of cut mullet for bait. But recently, I've seen some astonishing catches made with cut mullet, including the mighty Kingfish I wrote about months ago.

Billy Ray stopped by this evening on his way home from his adventure and regaled me with a few points of interest from their trip.

When Billy Ray called last Friday to invite me at the 13th hour (Hey, we'll be leaving for Matagorda from Brenham tonight. Will the wife let you go?) I had to opt out. I had plans both yesterday and today that had been set in stone long ago.

But other than not catching any fish, they had a good time. Except Billy Ray is not much of a beach sleeper. I'm guessing they slept in Dan's 4wd SUV that they took. Billy said he got a couple of hours sleep and that Dan said he had never slept better.

Billy Ray marveled at the hard core surf fisherman of Matagorda, who bring kayaks with them to paddle their baits out beyond the last sandbar. He was surprised that they were running six big rods at a time. I don't know why that surprised Billy Ray that much, except he doesn't do much surf fishing, because that's what Texas surf fisherman have been doing for a long time now. Some I know have used jet skis to get their baits out into deeper water for larger fish.

Billy Ray remarked that the topography of Matagorda Island, or at least the part he was on, had drastically changed since the Hurricane last year. The dunes were pushed way back, and he said it wasn't as much as a challange driving wise to get as far as they went this year with the 4wd. In the past, Billy said, they couldn't get as far down the beach as they did this time before hitting somewhat shakey driving conditions.

But when Billy Ray called on Friday to invite me I gave him other tips. For instance, this time they took a shovel. A shovel, of course, is especially useful in beach driving because one can get stuck in beach driving, and digging one's self with a nice full size heavy duty shovel is always a nice option. As are boards, to put in holes to drive out of.

And a tow strap, in case you get so stuck that you have to get someone to pull you out. Through years of 4wd ownership, I have found it to be true that having 4wd just means you can get stuck in more remote and hard to rescue places than a 2wd truck or suv.

Having done much beach camping in my time, I have to say that Matagorda is one of my favorite places to set up a fishing camp. The sand there is not as fine as it is on other Texas beaches to the north and south. It seems more coarse, and it seems much easier to get off of you than the sand in other places.

You really need a big surf fishing rod to hit the deep water at Matagorda. Many of the rods I've seen down there are in the 11' to 15' variety. And some guys with custom casting rigs are throwing baits and lures several hundred hards. New, a nice Daiwa 3 or 4 piece surf rod along with a large spinning reel might set you back a hundred or so, but on ebay you can get some bargains. Try to look for lined guides and a brand name, but as I talked about in this post,Cheap Saltwater Fishing Rigs so You can GO FISHING... , if nothing else, spend $40 bucks at Academy or Walmart on a spinning combo that is sort of medium heavy duty and get the longest rod you can and you can do pier, jetty and surf fishing.

Although I always like to throw out a long rod or two when surf fishing pretty much anywhere, I usually do most of my catching fishing from shore with conventional saltwater medium to light duty fishing gear, running anywhere from 8 lb to 30 lb test, with 20 lb test being the most common.

Billy Ray and Dangerous Dan also did some wade fishing at one of the land cuts, although I don't know which one. Once again, he doesn't listen to me. He knows when I wade fish (which is very rare these days, particularly in an ocean/bay pass-through), I wear some sort of serious life vest and usually drag a good sized boogie board with me.

I take the boogie board because it's good insurance. I've had several friends receive debilitating stings from various sorts of bottom dwelling rays in the Gulf of Mexico, some to the point of barely being able to walk.

Add to the possibility of an injury the effect of the ever-present treacherous Texas Gulf Coast undertow. Unless you've been ocean swimming, surfing, or knocked down while wade fishing or surf fishing and had a Texas undertow pull you under and spit you WAY OUT AWAY (if you're lucky) from your original location, you have no idea of the powerful force of nature that is an undertow. People drown all the time getting caught in undertows.

So having some sort of flotation, even to the extent of an SOSpender inflatable rig, makes all the sense in the world. I find that the Sterns fishing life vest with pockets is handy and safe, and if you're wading along and hit a deep spot or a sink hole, you're not going under.

The other concern about wade fishing is your stringer full of the fish you have caught and the bait that represents to certain predatory fish and sharks. I was twenty feet away from a fellow named Tom in 1979 when what he described as frickin' big shark BIT OFF his stringer and took his catch. Fortunately, we were using long 20' stringers just in case something like that would happen. His stringer was bit clean through.

That was in San Luis Pass, and Tom and I did the rest of our fishing that day from the beach and the shore. We had no interest in getting back in the water.

I've never had my stringer mauled by a shark but once in Rockport, whilst wading and fly fishing in a shallow corner of a remote bay, I had my stringer of redfish attacked by a very large hardhead catfish. I had to whack him with my rod to get him to leave.

So once again, Dangerous Dan and Billy Ray score zero against the fish. I've really got to start going with them. I think I could improve their chances exponentially.

First, I'd be doing some jetty fishing at Matagorda. Secondly, I would have fishing with some cut mullet. I also told Billy Ray to buy some of the soft plastic scented baits out there, like Powerbait and GULP!, in the shape of shrimp in natural and new penny colors, as I've been hearing good things about those baits.

Third, they didn't do any night fishing, which confounds the heck out of me. Billy Ray said they had a foot and a half deep fire pit they dug, and there was no shortage of burn size driftwood just everywhere. He said they had a raging fire both nights they were there. So I fail to understand how they could not break themselves away from their beer drinking (I'll make an "rush to judgement" assumption and assume that more than one ice chest was filled with beer and alcoholic beverages, perhaps a whiskey or a vodka or a tequila of a particularly expensive nature) and pontificating long enough to cast SOMETHING in the water from sunset to sunup, particularly if you're up all night enjoying the beach and the waves.

In any event, they didn't drown while wade fishing, and if you knew Billy Ray and Dangerous Dan like I do, you'd think that was a major accomplishment like I do.

Them boys. I'm gonna have to have a talkwith them one of these days.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


This weekend finds Billy Ray headed to Matagorda Island for some fishing with another of our longtime friends, Dangerous Dan. Dan is a psychologist and thus, by nature, about half crazy himself from listening to crazy people for thirty years. Ok, I jest about the crazy part, he's really laid back and surprisingly not crazy, despite his profession. He's a fricken' hoot to listen to and has some great stories.

Dan and Billy take somewhat regular saltwater fishing trips to various locales. Despite the best plans of mice and men, the times when they have gone have always been times when it was absolutely impossible for me to go, usuallly due to an important children's function.

This time, I had an inescapable commitment this morning that rendered it impossible, once again for me to go.

I know what they're doing right now. They're drinking Shiners, of course, and they've got a campfire going on the beach as far as they could drive in Dangerous Dan's truck. They've got some sort of tents set up along with a tarp and a barbque pit and oven. Coffee is also going probably because there's a bit of a chill in the air.

They've got folding chairs set up under the tarp, and probably have a few rods in the water with either cut mullet or shrimp of some variety. I haven't checked the tides, but regardless of the tides, some of my best fishing in Matagorda has been the two hours before and the two hours after sunrise. Billy Ray knows this well, and he and Dangerous Dan will probably nap for a few hours before rising to fish about 4 or 5 a.m. in that beautiful pre-morning light that fills the sky.

Billy Ray didn't get to stop by this time to bolster his tackle regimen, but lately he's gotten some of his own beach/pier/jetty fishing rigs and isn't so dependent on mine.

Of course, they could have also opted for a motel room or cabin. I've told him about the good fishing on the Mighty Colorado, right where it hits the gulf in Matagorda, and there's some good fishing to be had there. I have two friends who are brothers who own a family cabin, if you will, along the Colorado near the gulf and have had just amazing fishing experiences just fishing off their back pier.

I'll find out about the story of the Dangerous Dan Matagorda trip. I'm sitting here wishing I had taken off a few hours ago to try to hook up with them, but tomorrow also has longstanding family plans so it just isn't gonna happen. Again.

It's not like I'm deprived. I just got back from a relaxing jaunt this past week whilst the sweet wife stayed and handled the kids and stuff.

But part of me is smelling that salt air, feeling that coarst Matagorda sand in my flip flops and feeling that feeling that I get when I'm down that way, thinking about the history of the indians who long inhabited that land and how they lived there.

They stopped in one of the meat markets or small stores in one of the towns on the way from where Dangerous Dan lives and Matagorda. They bought sausages for sure, and probably some other kinds of meat to cook. They filled up the truck with wood, probably at Dan's house, so they'd have plenty of fodder for a beach fire. Although I've often found tons of driftwood ready for burning on my Matagorda expeditions.


I can't seem to shrink the picture down enough but it comes from this thread here You have to go to the link to see the full picture of the flashlight. There's also another collectors police flashlight set which has another light like this as well as similar ones.
There are also pictures of maglites in that link but the first picture is a Kel-Lite 7 c- cell flashlight with judo head attachment. Later in the thread, there's a picture of a group of lights, some of which are

There is a brief history of the Kel-Lite flashlight here

I still have mine from my police days (with a judo head end attachment as shown above), a 7 c cell model which was used in lieu of a baton in most circumstances. Our academy instructor had been particularly enamored with them. Another Kel-lite I had, a six c cell version, was stolen along with a new Silverado truck I had in the mid-eighties from a parking lot.

I had been using a lite called a "B-Lite" made by Bianchi, the holster maker, since high school. They sold them in high end photography shops in Houston, and they were heavy duty, shock proof and water resistant. They were the perfect boating and fishing light at the time, like the Kel-Lite, and could be carried with a simple belt loop with a metal ring.

Streamlight became the light of choice in law enforcement in the early 80's, and many departments went to the 24 inch baton at that time. But Streamlights were thicker and shorter than the Kel-Lite, and although the streamlight was many times brighter than the Kel-lite, if used as a non-deadly force weapon the early Streamlights expensive bulb assembly was prone to breakage if used as a baton.

Which could be often in the early 1980's. During suspect contacts, even in the daytime, you could have your Streamlight or Kel-light underneath your non-shooting arm, in case an interviewee decided to pull a gun or knife you could quickly bat it away with your flashlight, thus saving you the trouble of having to shoot someone to survive.

Back then, street officers didn't often have Tasers, in their first generation. Supervisors and mental health type units had them, but they were not often handy in a sudden situation. So officers often used Kel-Lites instead of batons in those days.

Over the years, policies about non-lethal force change, and eventually Kel-Lites fell out of favor. Agencies adopted collapsible batons like the ASP, and other sorts of baton type weapons.

I like Kel-lites. I'd like to have a couple of more. I can never seem to find them on ebay. I have a maglight in my car, so in case it ever gets stolen, I haven't lost my last Kel-Lite. I use my light for emergency home lighting conditions and prowler checking. The maglight is a D cell light, and I prefer the thinner feel of a C cell flashlight.

One remnant I have from policing days is a minty mint 24 inch Bianchi aluminum police baton with rubberized grip. It's really cool and I have no use for it at all. I wish I could find a nice couple of Kel-Lites to trade for that baby. I've thought about putting it on ebay, if they would even sell a weapon like that, or some other site like gun broker or the like.

Any ideas what an early 1980's Bianchi Aluminum Police Baton would be worth? Is there a reputable police gear museum collection I could donate it do? It's certainly museum quality, having been bought for me as a gift by a friend back in my policing days. I couldn't use it because we had department approved batons and regulations that, although they allowed personally owned Kel-Lites, did not allow for substitution of the approved baton.

So the Bianchi baton has been a conversation piece and an interesting piece of memorabilia but the wife is not as "into" my collecting as I am. It's not so much collecting as it is retaining, in often excellent condition, certain items of significance from your past.


The Statesman had a great article on a reunion of Aquarena Springs employees. It's a great read if you ever visited there as a child like I did.

Here's some pictures from the Statesman site:

We took several mini-family vacations there in my childhood. We'd stay at the hotel there on-site and do the park for a day then head on to some other nearby attraction. If course, I was already an budding fisherman by at least 7 years old, and was a serious fisherman by the time I was 9. You couldn't fish at the springs, and there were HUGE fish of all types that swam around the deep pools in the amusement park area that could readily be seen. Possibly some world record fish in there.
We'd always go fishing further down the river, and I must admit I had some good times catching lots of bass and catfish on the San Marcos River during my teens and twenties. It's one of my favorite rivers to fish, and to float.
But mainly, many years after I first laid eyes on the headwaters of the San Marcos River at Aquarena Springs and the huge population of fish that lived in that area, I still would love to fish that spring. If I were a millionaire, I'd certainly offer a healthy donation to Texas State University (who now owns Aquarena Springs) for a few chances to have an all weekend long private fishing camp for some of my closest friends.
Many of my fisherman friends in the range of my age to ten years older and younger visited the fish filled Aquarena Springs in their youth, marveling at the huge bass and catfish and the plentiful amounts of both, along with a myriad of other river fish. We'd have a time, a good time.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Visiting East Texas twice for extended periods in the past two months has had me all charged up about East Texas again. So many of my friends have moved there in recent years, and interestingly, many of the friends who permanantly relocated there had no prior ties to the area, or marginal ones at best.

Most of these friends are settling in the Tyler and Longview, Palestine and even Upshur areas. Those with kids tend to be toward Tyler and Longview, although one couple has landed in Upshur after a long stint in Longview. The economy is doing well for their professions for the most part. Most of my Palestine friends are retired or semi-retired, finally moving to the "place" (as in "home place" or country place or farm or ranch).

I've spent much time in East Texas over my past near half century on earth. So many relatives of mine lived and still live in those areas, as well as other areas of the state as far as Uvalde and other Central, Hill Country and West Texas locales. We're spread all over. But the big concentration of both of my parent's families is all from around 100 miles of Tyler.

My folks left Tyler upon graduating high school and marrying, my father enlisting for a stint in the Air Force. After that, they moved to Houston, still then a reasonably sized city full of hard working people and lots of opportunity. And my parents found opportunity and fell in love with Houston.

So for all of my childhood, there were frequent trips to the Tyler area. Time spent in the Tyler area.

As I grew older, I spent weeks and sometimes months at a time at Billy Ray's Grandfather's farm in Panola County, sort of in between Henderson and Carthage. I had accumulated a large amount of comp time in about 1983, and was forced by my employer to use it, and took about a month and a half off to hang out at Billy Ray's Ggrandfather's most excellent farm. Comprised of over a thousand acres, it had been farmed and ranched and was then mostly leased for cattle to neighboring farmers and ranchers.

It had three ponds on it, but only one that were was worth fishing out of. There were plenty of hollows and gullys to shoot into and it was really quite a spread. It had a nice brick house with a large wraparound porch that had a commanding view not only of their family lands but of the terrain and forests and trees for miles away.

Billy Ray's Grandfather had just entered into a resthome and the house needed some straightening up and the barns and warehouse and smokehouse all needed some cleaning and rearranging. We spent quite a bit of time over the course of several years and several summers working on that place, and doing a lot of fishing and East Texas exploring and some music making.

Likewise, Billy Ray and I have friends who live on a nice ranch at Lake Fork. On Lake Fork. The owners are actually old Dallas friends of Ricky Ray, a close friend and bandmate of me and Billy Ray. In the early part of this decade, on about a half dozen occasions, we would gather at the Lake Fork locale for something we called "ForkFest".

We had a great extra house and warehouse on the property to set up on, and it was miles from anyone. There was a deluxe apartment built into the warehouse, which was large yet musically conducive to good musical acoustics due to a large amount of wood being stored inside the metal building, which absorbed just the perfect amount of sound to make it sound great.

The three of us, Billy Ray, Ricky Ray and I have a musical outfit we've been playing with now for over twenty years. Until Ricky Ray moved out of state a couple of years ago for a lucrative college professorship on the East Coast, we met several times a year in various East and Central Texas locales for recording sessions and fishing expeditions.

Billy and I have been carrying on in Ricky Ray's absence, and we've had a variety of players sit in with us both with and without Ricky Ray. I'll write more about this longtime group of friends of mine with whom I write and perform original songs and we also play cover tunes we like.

But many of our gatherings have been in East Texas locales since the 1990's. For a long while, we would gather at Billy Ray's place just outside of Carthage. Then Ricky Ray moved from Dallas to Houston and then to his longtime family farm near Lane, Texas, up towards Greenville way. For the mid to latter part of the nineties, we often held jams at Ricky Ray's place in the country. Ricky Ray had about 500 acres, a nice spread, and built himself a modern house after living in the old family place for a few years.

The real attraction to the Lane Farms jam locale was the lake there. It was full of two and three pound largemouth bass that were HONGRY. They were HONGRY all the time. The fishing there was just fabulous.

So I've spent a lot of time in East Texas in my life, and lately with so many friends moving there I'm spending a lot more time there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I want a Corvette. Not a new one mind you, but I've got several friends who have scored some immaculate and low milage Vettes recently that have me, once again, hankering for a Vette.

I've owned several great cars in my time. The 70 Mustang Mach One with 351 Cleveland. The 1978 Z-28. The 1983 Toyota Supra. And many other fine cars and trucks and suv's.

But with raising a family came safe cars and suv's and dogs and family vacations and all of those other things I love about my life. But with some room now for an extra vehicle, I have to admit I've been pining to get some kind of a sports car. A used one, mind you, reasonably priced and in good condition. Several of my friends have recently bought Vettes of late 90's vintage with low miles and in just pristine condition for very reasonable amounts of money.

Some type of sports car is in my future. I'm a grandpa driver for the most part, as the wife says, but I do enjoy the feel and fun of driving a nice handling car. I really would like to get a Corvette. It's my equivolent of a middle-aged Harley thing.

More to come on this later...


I've spent my life passing through Palestine, on the way to see relatives and good friends who lived in various locales like Tyler, Athens, Longview, Henderson, Tenaha, Carthage and lots of other places thereabouts. I've always thought the part on 79 from Buffalo to Palestine was such beautiful, hilly and pastoral country. Large ranches and farms fill the area. Of course, being the Fishing Musician that I am, I'd look at the idyllic private lakes and creeks that fill the landscape on that stretch of highway and wonder what kind of great farm pond/lake/tank fishing might lie in store for someone lucky enough to do some fishing in them. Some are quite large, and are literally like an attention magnet for people like me.

My good friend El Bar has moved up to a nice place in East Texas, and so I'll be visiting there lots from now on. There's a bunch of great smaller country roads up that way, full of large, old growth trees that overhang and form a canopy over the roadways. El Bar is a motorcyclist, and among his collection of fine rides is a simply awesome on/off road bike made by Aprilla. It's a huge 450, supercharged and kickass in every way. It's lightweight as hell and hauls ass and handles like a dream. Big money, as you might imagine, is what you'd pay for an Italian bike like this.

One of El Bar's favorite places to go riding in the winter is on various hilly and windy county roads that line the area around Palestine. He's been a rambling man on that Aprilla lately, putting several thousand miles on it in short order. Although he's got a high end Harley in his garage as well, he loves the Aprilla for it's ride over the often bumpy terrain of county roads.

He's got a secret motorcycle riding place, one I'd be whipped severely for if I gave away. Suffice it to say that it is within the Tyler-Longview-Palestine metroplex. It's a one way road that goes through hilly and winding territory in an isolated area with hardly anyone around, especially in fall and winter. Miles and miles of paved beauty, nearly every inch of sky blocked out by tall trees that canopy the road.

I didn't do any motorcycle riding this trip. I suppose I should get me a cycle license since he has those bikes and others in his collection and I really do want to give that Aprilla a spin, even though it makes me feel like a 12 year old on a too big Honda CR250 Elsinore. Once that electric start rips that engine to life, all sense goes out the window and there is an extreme desire to do some riding on that motorcycle.

I've owned several motorcycles in my lifetime, beginning at age 11 and continuing into young adulthood. I basically decided that street riding in Houston was way too dangerous after numerous friends died or were badly injured in wrecks that were mostly not their fault.

I started with an overpowered Indian 100 Enduro bike in 1971. That led to a less-powerful Honda XR-75, which was just an excellent motorcycle for a kid to have. Later in teen life, fishing adventures led my to buy a Honda Trail 70, a great bike with collapsable handlebars and an automatic transmission. It was the ultimate backwoods fishing machine for forays into our family East Texas place, with big wide tires adept at fording creeks and climbing weird terrain, it was sort of a forerunner to the modern ATV's.

Along the way, there was a used CR125 Elsinore that I lucked into and it was a great off road bike. It was a screamer and was a blast to ride.

SO if I get another bike, it'll be something I can trailer or just leave up at my friends place for riding with him. It'll be some sort of enduro bike, street legal with headlight and such but capable of some off roading. There's a lot of different bikes out there, and I'm slowly learning about them and look to test some out sometime soon. I don't really think I can afford an Aprilla, but I have no doubt there are some 125's and 250's that I can afford that I'd enjoy riding.

Any suggestions? It's been over 30 years since I looked at buying a cycle.

Mrs. Fishing Musician is not going to be entralled with this newly rekindled interest in motorcycles, as she has not been overly enamored with my thoughts about just how much our family needs a low milage late 90's Vette convertible to add to our fleet.


Located, appropriately enough, in Bradford, Texas. Just about 18 miles north of Palestine in Anderson County, heading north along State Highway 19 towards Athens, you pass through the small community of Bradford. Located there, in what appears to be a converted and extended gas station, is a delightful cafe.

I ate there the other day when I was passing through with a friend who lives in that general area. Not only do they make FINE old fashioned hamburgers, the breakfast is the shizz-zazz too. Daily specials as well, it was ribs, mashed potatos (which were fine, by the way, creamy and light), black eyed peas and squash.

My friend says the chicken fried steak rocks.

Our waitress was quite nice and I could see another lady cooking back in the kitchen. They're doing it right out there in Bradford, so if you're ever passing by this area, take a stop by the Bradford Cafe.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I think some law just got passed where in the near future bloggers are going to have to disclose financial or other types of relationships with products they endorse or recommend. There's nothing wrong with accepting products from folks that have made the product or so forth, just disclose it. Some magazines that test various products have been accepting "gifts" from the companies whose products they review for decades. Not always, but sometimes.

In any event, no one thinks enough of what I have to say about their products to offer me money, free stuff or even a night on the town. Nary a beer has been offered to me by anyone or any company who product I have ranted or raved about on this site.

Orvis was nice enough to thank me for my post about their fine fishing rods, as was the writer and a reader of a book about Pier Fishing in California. Both of those comments were really a treat.

But as much as I'd jump for joy and write a million more good things about Orvis, I'm not spending my time waiting on the express delivery man with my "token of appreciation from Orvis) custom 2 weight bamboo rod in a 5 or 6 foot length. I'm sure that if they could, Orvis would give me a nice fishing rod just because I wrote sometime nice about their rods, reels and other products and how well they have served me.

But I know that Orvis some problems this year, and as I recall laid off a person or two. My family, like many others, has had economic losses this year. Many folks I know say business is down in their area, unless they work for the government.

So I think I'll buy another rod from Orvis this year for my birthday. It's coming up soon. I probably won't buy the ultra-nice bamboo rod, but one of their other rods in a 2 will do nicely. I need a short length rod for fishing the often brushy shorelines of small creeks and rivers.

Orvis is still doing ok as a company, from the articles I read. But I think I need to do a little more for this company I've enjoyed so much.

Sunday, November 8, 2009




Maybe there is not a market for revamped classic guns that captured thousands of loyal users worldwide. But I think there is. With the great advances in polymer technology for gun frames in the past 20 plus years, I'd like to see a couple of cool guns reintroduced in a version 2.0. Lighter, jacked up with advances that have occurred in handgun ergonomics . You know, just like the revamped movies being redone 20 to 40 years after the first version.
THE COP .357 4 SHOT DERRINGER (First From Top)
This weapon was manufactured by the now defunct COP, Inc out of California. A substantially heavy pistol that packed 4 .357 rounds (or .38 Special with or without the +P or +P+ designation), it weighted in a 28 oz. Monica Belluci's character in the second Matrix shot a henchmen in the head with this pistol pulled from her purse.
It was, however, roughly the size of the venerably ineffective .25 Auto of days of yore (although I have seen a few fatalities professionally from .25 autos, I'm also familiar with more cases where the attacker was not immediately incapacitated and either assaulted or killed the .25 auto shooter before said attacker got incapacitated).
My school of thought about self defense weapons and police weapons is MASS +
LOWER BULLET SPEED = knockdown power.
A friend of mine had one of these in the 1990's and I carried it for a few months. It was a handy pistol to slip in the back pocket for trips to the store and the like. It did sag a little big due to the high weight but hey, it's a heavy gun.
Suggestions for a version 2.0 of this cool gun would be a greatly improved trigger pull (it is DAO) and adding some polymer or lighter weight metal to the frame to lower the weight. Make it a +P .38 Special instead of a .357 because of the lighter weight materials.
THE SEMMERLING .45 (Second from top)
About the time Detonics, the Star PD and all but a few custom shop chopped Commanders and 1911's in .45 Auto caliber hit the market, law enforcement folks like me yearned for a highly concealable .45 caliber pistol. I could've afforded the Semmerling "back in the day", but like many assault rifle and handgun purchases I coulda/shoulda/woulda made back the say, the diversity of my sporting and musical interests took care of other fungible income.
The Semmerling LM-4 was a five shot MANUALLY REPEATING double action pistol. It is currently, I believe, being manufactured as a reissue in limited quantities here at As their site says, the LM4 weighs in at just 24 oz., and is only 5.2 x 3.7 inches in size with a thickness of 1 inch.
Now, that's considerably smaller than my Glock 36, which holds 6+1 rounds, but 4 oz heavier. The Glock 36 is thicker than the Semmerling as well.
Again, surely there could be a way to design perhaps a titanium or scandium or composite frame that might get that weight down to about 15 oz. You could also replace the front of the stationary part of the slide with a lightweight metal as well.
I got to shoot one in the early 80's. It had substantial recoil, but I'd like to shoot it with some of the Federal Premium Low Recoil ammo I've been shooting lately in .45 auto and .38 special. I have found this ammo to be highly accurate at 5 to 25 yards and just a joy to shoot.
The LM4 also suffered from a heavy double action trigger pull. With the great advances that have been made since it's introduction, I've love to believe that a better trigger mechanism could be designed as well
The Semmerlin is unique because it is not a traditional semi-auto, rather, the shooter must manually cycle the back half of the slide to eject and load the next round. It's sounds cumberson, but it is really quite intuitive with practice. At the demo I saw, the instructor showed how easy it was to use the outside seam in your blue jeans to catch the rear sight and cycle it one handed, although two handed was much more effective.
The demo I saw had the shooter getting rounds off at one per second.
I would think that a high-tech ammo like the Federal Premium Low Recoil would be just the ticket for the Semmerling. There was also some sort ability to skeletonize the gun where the grips could be removed and rounds counted throught the mag holes now visible sans grips. I do seem to recall some sort of belt clip device holster that was more of a belt mounted clip than a holster that the gun clipped to, rather than was holstered into.
UC Narcs I knew in the 1980's often carried non-cop looking guns like the HKp7 or the Hi-Power or other guns not normally issued or carried by cops. But at least one narc I knew had one of these in a custom made in a homemade belly band rig made from an old rib support belt from having broken ribs.
EDIT: As I was thinking about this post today, it reminded me of the heavy trigger pull double action only HK VP70 pistol. The one I shot was a semi-auto version of the machine pistol, as this gun was meant to be. The heavy trigger pull of the machine pistol version of the VP70 was designed to prevent accidental bursts. FWIW.