Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm thankful for much this holiday season. Good friends. A wonderful family. Great times together. A good job with great co-workers and boss and a good place to live with mostly decent folks and fairly low crime, being as I originally hail from Houston and grew up with crime. Crime, they say, is my business.

So it's nice to escape crime, in the enclave of your own home and family. Of course, we went to the folks house for Christmas, and although I've never had a bad Christmas, this one was so relaxing that it stands out.

A firefighter friend of mine, still dealing with the remains of the huge fire that terrorized and pretty much destroyed a quarter of our community this year, can't seem to relax, and I've been there. He was commenting that just sitting around was eating him up, about he was ready for the holidays to be over NOW.

I can't agree. We're having a great holiday, particularly this week, and I wish it would last a couple of more weeks up until MLK day.

I'm thankful for visitors like Helene and Zach who actually read my blather and comment. Helene probably doesn't live too far away and apparently engages in many of the same activities I do, like a little hog hunting. She posted recently that her granddaughter supplied their Thanksgiving and Christmas ham, and let me tell you, if you get the right size (smaller) hog, it is tastier than any ham or bacon you've ever had.

Hunting for food is a way of life for folks I know. We may not do it out of necessity and as regularly as my grandparents did in East Texas, but it's a good skill to have and frankly, I think it's embedded in our DNA. For me, same with fishing also, and I mean all kinds of fishing: rod and reel sport fishing, cane pole fishing, seining, trot line fishing, jug fishing and so on. I've never done any "hand grabbing" of catfish or any of that nonsense.

One resolution I have is to do more fishing camps this year. I have several friends with nice places on the Colorado, one of the few rivers (other than the Brazos) in Texas that have much water in them. I like getting some friends together, taking a few campers and some cooking gear and setting up a fishing camp for an extended weekend. Usually there's at least a jonboat along for the trotlining. Once the grills start grilling and the food starts cooking, it's a several day feast. This year, my friend Neal suggested we go hog hunting the weekend before the fishing camp and get a couple of hogs. The idea is to have one processed for grilling and then to have the other one frozen for later use in a Hawaiian Luau style cooking pit, just for the helluva it.

As Helene notes in her comment on the previous thread, it is being predicted by some pretty knowledgeable folks, particularly at Texas A&M, that our drought will likely continue despite our current rainy conditions and could continue not only for months but for as long as ten years. That's very scary to us in  Texas. Some smaller communities are still on the brink of running out of water, and many have not recovered and are teetering on the brink of outage as I write this. Where I live is in good shape water wise but not to fer west of us they've still got water shortage issues.

Our current rain is not enough to recharge aquifers, lakes, streams and such. We basically need it to rain for the next year or so on a daily basis.

We're infested with hogs in Texas. There are many different species I refer to here collectively as hogs, but in the Central Texas/Hill Country areas where I live and roam, I know more than one landowner who has sustained major financial loss to crops and livestock from marauding hordes of wild hogs.

Coyotes are also quite a problem as well, and are much harder to eradicate. Several of my friends who raise goats or sheep or cattle have invested in night vision scopes, expensive ones, because that's about the only way you can get a coyote.

But as always, I digress. There's a lot to be thankful for in my world, and I thank you for reading my musings.


  1. Happy New Year, El Fisho!

    There is hope... when it comes to long term predictions about weather, the experts are usually wrong... we can hope so anyway.

    Best wishes!

  2. Happy New Year's back at you!
    Blackeyed peas are burbling in the crockpot with a chunk of smoky lean hog-ham.

    Reading your post about fishing camp made me miss the fishing I did as a kid. Are there any good spots around Bryan or the Waco area for just a day trip? Accessibility is a bit of a problem for me, but I'm daring on crutches. No boat, and we don't have friends with water frontage. What can you catch in the Brazos? I'll bet I could convince my hubby to go fishing.

    When we lived in Houston we used to go crabbing. That was lots of fun going on 12 years ago. Wonder if the crabs are safe to eat anymore? Did you ever try it?

    I enjoy your blog: keep writing in the new year!


  4. James, I'm convinced you're a wise man, and I'll take your opinion to heart. Happy New Year, dude!

    Helene, I'll do a post about some places and more importantly, ideas on finding good accessible fishing places. Right now, I'd suggest going to the Texas Parks and Wildlife page and finding the list of trout stocking locations. Many of these locales are in community fishing ponds or State Parks. There should be some info as to accessibility and I know some of these places have piers or gently sloping banks in places that allow access.

    Then be sure to call the hatchery and see where they have stocked and where they will be stocking. Because of the drought, I'm sure some of the places can't be stocked, and it would save you some time.

    I'll do some thinkin' and looking around and see what kind of suggestions. One idea that comes to mind that's a little bit north of Waco is Lake Whitney. There are tons of cabins for rent in that area and waterfront locales where a dandy fishing camp can be set up.

    Also, Chain of Lakes, if they are still around, over near Cleveland (not too fer from College Station) has all kinds of cabins over the water where you can fish from a modern log cabin balcony in, well, a chain of lakes. It's a family favorite of ours, and some of the cabins have really good fishing off of the balcony itself. Boats can be rented for a nominal amount and you can traverse the chain of lakes. Good fishing there.

    I'm not so sure about Brazos River access unless you know someone with a place fronting it. I tend to avoid highway underpass access areas on rivers. Partiers, outlaws, transients, scalawags, carpetbaggers and theives often frequent these areas.

    There are HUGE catfish in the Brazos. My cousin over in College Station caught a 40+ pounder recently, using chicken livers and Saltwater tackle. I'll find out where he was fishing at (probably behind that preposition).

    There are also gars and plentiful gators in the Brazos, even up around Waco. We do have gators here in Central Texas. There are too many gar in the Brazos, and the further north you go from the coast the more bass and perch you encounter.

    The Brazos is in interesting, and indeed, mighty river. One need only see it in person to realize the forces and power that lurk beneath it's surface. Those big old catfish that live long in it's waters are strong and powerful beasts, and I've been known to let more than one big old timer Cat go out of respect that he's lived as long as he has in that River.