Category Archives: Fishing Humor

Yellowjackets and Fishing

I should have killed the yellow jackets in the nest at my dock faster. A few days ago when I went to the farm and when I got near the dock I would see the yellow jackets flying around their hole. I really didn’t think it was a problem and went out on the dock to fish.

I guess my dog Rip was attracted to the noise, or he just stepped in the wrong place. I heard him “yip” and when I looked at him his black coat was half yellow. He was furiously pawing at his face and scratching. When I yelled at him he finally came to me on the dock. Unfortunately, he brought the yellow jackets with him.

I grabbed Rip and threw him in the water, which helped him but left many of the swarm of mad yellow jackets with me. They started stinging me and I took my cell phone and wallet out of my pocket and got ready to jump in the pond myself.

I guess I knocked enough of them off me and killed them that they stopped. I noticed the bream were having a feast on the bugs in the water when I realized Rip had gone back to the bank, right at the nest, and was covered with them again.

Rip hates swimming and often will not come near me on the dock. I think he remembers past trips when I helped him into the water to cool off. Anyway, this time he came running to me, like he realize getting in the water helped. I threw him in again and, again got some stings before I could kill the ones around me.

When I looked for Rip he had swam to the bank and was sitting in the water up to his neck. He knew staying in the water protected him this time.

When I got him and eased around the nest I noticed something had been digging at it. The next day I went back with a drink of gasoline for the striped stingers but they were gone. There was a much bigger hole and parts of the nest were on the dock where something had dug it up and ate the larvae. The rest of the bugs went away.

Raccoons and skunks will dig up nest like that. I guess the meal is worth the pain, or their furry coats protect them. I wonder if armadillos will dig them up, too. The armor plating on a possum on the half shell should protect them from the stings.

No matter what dug them up, I am glad they are gone!

Losing Rods and Sunglasses

I caught this bass at Lake Seminole  on one of my St.. Croix rods

I caught this bass at Lake Seminole on one of my St.. Croix rods

My luck with one pair of sunglasses is really good or really bad. The Monday after the snowstorm I was sitting on my dock fishing. When I caught a small bluegill it fell off and landed on the dock and I reached down to pick it up. My sunglasses fell off my face, hit the dock and bounced into the water. This was the same pair of prescription bifocal sunglasses I lost a few weeks ago and found in the edge of the pond.

The water was cold and about six feet deep so I didn’t try to get them back. On Tuesday I started a siphon to pull the water down. I use a four inch pipe and it drops the water about an inch an hour at first, dropping faster as the size of the pond decreases.

By Friday morning the water had dropped about seven feet and I could see the ears of the glasses sticking straight up. When I picked them up there was about an inch of mud on the lens but there was no damage. I washed them off and they are fine.

The pond will take several weeks to fill back up since the stream coming in is much smaller than the amount of water the four inch pipe could pull out. I don’t think it will bother the fish since the water is still cool and can hold more oxygen.

I wonder what will happen next with those sunglasses!

I learned another expensive lesson after the Bartlett’s Ferry tournament three weeks ago. In that tournament I hung my bait on a shallow brush pile and while trying to get it loose I reeled down and pulled – and pulled the tip off the rod. No problem, Berry’s will replace rod tips.

I decided I wanted to keep using that reel and the line on it so I took it off, slipped the tipless rod under the strap that holds them down and put the reel on another rod. I caught several bass on that outfit.

When I got home that afternoon I went to the boat to get the rod so I could take it to town the next day. It was gone. I guess it worked out from under the strap since there was no reel to hold it down and then blew out of the boat on the way home.

It was one of my favorite rods, a St. Croix that lists for $170. That is an expensive lesson to learn. Make sure your rods are secure before transporting them!

Have You Ever Lost Anything Outdoors?

I am wearing the sunglasses I lost!

I am wearing the sunglasses I lost!

Have you ever lost anything outdoors? It happens to all of us and I seem to lose a lot of things from glasses to rods and reels. Fortunately, I have never gotten myself very lost and have always been able to find my way back home, but sometimes I make it back without everything I had when I left.

A few weeks ago I decided to pull the two black plastic pipes I use for siphons from my upper pond to the lower pond. Once I got the 75 foot pipes moving it wasn’t too bad, but a limb brushed my head and knocked off my cap and prescription sun glasses. I picked them up and put them in my shirt pocket.

A little later I tripped and they fell out. I picked them up again, got the pipes to the lower pond and got one working. I had to put a concrete block in the edge of the water and run the pipe through it to fill it with water. The purpose of all this exercise was to drop the water level a little to try to find the holes the otters are living in. From the scat piles it looks like an otter has eaten every bass in that pond, but that is a different story.

A few days later I could not find my sunglasses and figured I dropped them in the woods. I walked back over the path I drug the pipes but found nothing. I even moved the concrete block in the edge of the pond since I had bent over it a good bit but still nothing.

Two days later it was bright and sunny and I looked again, thinking the glasses might shine in the sun. I walked over the trail but nothing. When I got to the block in the water I looked and saw a little glint of light. Sure enough, the glasses were there, buried in the muck in about a foot of water. I was real lucky to get them.

Another experience with sunglasses did not turn out as good. I was fishing by myself at Lake Martin and stopped to fish a spot up the river in about 15 feet of water. I bent down and picked up a rod and reel and when I did the handle of another rod caught on the line and flipped out of the boat. I grabbed for it and was suddenly under the water.

The first thing I did when I came up was look around and see if anyone was laughing at me. Then I started hoping they were, I could not get back in the boat and needed help. I got a little scared but finally got to the motor and used it to climb back in the boat. Lying on the back deck, panting and recovering, I realized if I had just thrown out a marker I could have snagged my rod.

About the same time I remembered the prescription bifocal sunglasses I had been wearing. Had being the operative word. So that day I left a $300 pair of sunglasses and a $200 rod and reel on the bottom of the lake and I guess they are still there.

I used to keep my cell phone on a clip on my belt but now keep it in a pocket. A couple of years ago I was using my backhoe to fill in some rough patches on the road going down to my pond. After moving several scoops of dirt I parked the tractor then realized I did not have my phone. A search of the truck did not turn it up.

I got a phone from the barn and called the number, hoping to hear it ring. I walked over the area where I had been working but found and heard nothing. At that point I got a hoe and started scratching dirt. After about five pulls of the hoe I turned it up. It still worked so I guess I did not run over it, but as long as I had it there was a slash on the cover where I hit it with the hoe.

Another time a tractor almost cost me my sunglasses. I was cutting grass beside the pond and a bug flew in my face. When I hit at it I knocked off my sunglasses. I stopped the tractor immediately and searched all over and under it without finding anything. I knew they had to be there but could not find them. I decided to move the tractor back so I could look better. As soon as I moved it I found them – they had been under the left rear tire. Amazingly, they were not broken.

I guess things are not really lost until you don’t find them. Be more careful than I am so you won’t have those kinds of problems!

Have You Ever Got A Hook Stuck In You While Fishing?

Fact of life – if you fish much you will get hooks stuck in you. From little pin-pricks on fingertips to hooks buried in ears, arms and even bellies, hooks end up in all the wrong places. It will happen.

One experience was funny, to everyone except my Uncle Mayhue. Three of us were fishing from a 12 foot jon boat at Usury’s Pond in McDuffie County. That is a prescription for disaster, especially if one of the fishermen is only eight years old. Uncle Adron was in the middle of the boat and I was in the back. Uncle Mayhue was in the front sculling the boat along while all three of us cast plastic worms with three hooks in them.

I have no doubt both uncles were watching me and trying to make sure I didn’t do anything to cause a problem, but Uncle Adron should have been looking forward more. On one cast he somehow hooked Uncle Mayhue in the ear with his plastic worm – with all three hooks.

I tried not to laugh but it was funny. The red Crème worm outlined the ear while a few drops of blood trickled out. Not one to let such a small thing stop him from fishing, Uncle Mayhue just kept on casting, saying he would get it out later. Uncle Adron had to cut his line and rig up another bait.

When I was about 15 years old I was fishing at Clark’s Hill by myself in our big ski boat. It was a hot day and I had my shirt off. I cast a Little Cleo spoon toward the bank and got hung in a bush. When I snatched it to pull it out of the bush my plan worked too well. I suddenly felt a sting on my stomach, looked down and saw one of the hooks on the treble was out of sight with the other two pressed tight against my stomach.

I did not have a protective coating over my stomach back then like I do now, and I knew from my little memory of biology that there were some pretty important things not too far under the skin in that area. I cut the line off and drove the boat back to the dock.

My mom was fishing under the dock and when I tied the boat up and pointed to the spoon I almost passed out. It did not hit me till then. She took me to the emergency room and they cut the hook out and it took only two stitches to close the cut up. The doctor told me I was not really in any danger, the layer of muscle – back then, anyway – was much thicker than the hook was long.

That and other experiences taught me to get the hooks out of myself. One beautiful fall day while fishing at Lake Martin I was casting a big DBIII crankbait to shallow cover. When the lure bumped a log I thought I got a strike and set the hook. The plug came flying through the air and ended up hanging from my upper arm, just below my shirt sleeve.

It didn’t really hurt, just felt like someone had punched me in the arm. I told my partner to grab the visible hooks with a pair of pliers and jerk the hook out. I warned him to do it fast, to please not pull slowly because that hurt a lot more.

He took the pliers, looked at the plug and all the color drained from his face. He couldn’t do it. So I did. I took the pliers, jerked the lure loose and went back to casting it. It never bled or hurt. I have found that often works best. Just jerk the hook out quickly and get back to fishing.

If you are fishing saltwater on the Gulf of Mexico you had better be careful of any injury like that, though. Especially this time of year there is a bacterium that lives in the water that can be deadly. It is more common late in the summer and will enter your body through any hole like those made by hooks, fish fins and knife cuts. It can even get in through a scrape.

A few years ago a friend of mine, Kevin Dallmier, who was a fisheries biologist from north Georgia, got one of these infections. The bacterium, Vibrio vulnificus, can lead to amputations and even death. Kevin was in the hospital for several weeks recovering from his infection.

You are more likely to get an infection if your immune system is weak. But be careful anyway. There are about 40 confirmed cases each year on the US Gulf Coast, not many unless you happen to be one of them. A high percentage of confirmed cases, 35, require hospitalization and almost one third, or 12 per year, result in death.

Be careful when fishing. And if you get an injury from a hook or anything else, get medical attention if you start running a fever. Don’t wait to hope it will go away.

What Can I Do If I Get A Spider In My Ear While Fishing?

Catching bullheads and cats at night can be dangerous!

Catching bullheads and cats at night can be dangerous!

Watching a hospital show on TV last week brought back bad memories for me. On this show a guy came into the emergency room complaining about something in his ear. When the nurse looked into his ear with a flashlight he was horrified. One of his nightmares, a spider, was in the guy’s ear.

When running bank hooks at night at Clark’s Hill we usually checked them a couple of times after dark. Willow trees overhanging the water were good places to tie hooks but presented some problems. Lots of critters liked to hang out in those trees.

One night Linda was holding the flashlight while I baited a hook. When I stood up my head brushed one of the higher branches and I felt something on my ear. I brushed at it and told Linda to shine the light to see what was there.

Big mistake. It was a spider. Spiders don’t like light, so it went into the nearest dark hole it could find – my ear! I could feel it scrabbling around down in there on my eardrum, as far in as it would go.

Somehow I managed to get back to the trailer at the boat club and went inside. Mom and dad and Linda all tried to help, shining a light in my ear to see if they could do something but that just made the spider try to get away from the light, going deeper into my ear. I was about to go crazy feeling that thing moving around in there.

Finally mom poured some baby oil into my ear and the spider, not wanting to drown, popped out. It fell on the table and I hit it so hard with my fist the table jumped and made everything on it turn over. But that spider didn’t get back into my ear!

Another night I had just checked a hook and baited it up. When I stood up I grabbed a limb to steady myself and caught a glimpse of something that made my heart stop. There was a huge wasp nest about two inches from my hand and a foot from my face.

Luckily, wasps don’t fly at night and none came off the nest. But it was one of the worst scares I had running hooks.

Once while frog gigging with two friends I had a close encounter of the snakey kind. Bobby was in the back of the boat paddling, I was in the middle with the spotlight and Harold was in the front with the gig. We spotted a big frog under a willow tree and eased in toward it. I stood up so I could get a good angle with the light while Harold lay in the front of the boat with the gig.

As the front of the boat eased under the tree I grabbed a limb to steady myself and something made me shine my light on the limb. A few inches from my hand a water snake was lying on the limb, probably asleep. I didn’t scream or anything, I just told Bobby to back us out – in a very squeaky voice.

Harold figured out what was going on and later said he was afraid to move, he was expecting something to fall on his back any second. We all had a good laugh about it but went to the truck, got a .410 and sent that snake to reptile heaven.

If you fish at night you will have some exciting memories – if you survive them!

A Fishing and Hunting Trip with President Obama

At a recent political action committee meeting at the White House, gun control was discussed. It seems President Obama decided that, for some reason, sportsmen did not trust him and did not believe his gun control agenda was common sense as he called it. So he decided to do something to show sportsmen he was really one of them.

Since the picture of him skeet shooting didn’t go over too well, he wanted to go with someone that knew at least something about hunting and fishing, so he came to Georgia for a combination bass fishing and turkey hunting expedition. For some strange reason I was chosen to take him on these trips.

We decided to go fishing first. The president arrived with his Secret Service armed guards and followed me to Jackson Lake, where a PT boat was waiting to guard the president while we fished. The two of us got into my bass boat, along with five armed guards and two photographers, after I convinced him we could not fish from the PT boat.

When I handed him one of my St. Croix rods and Ambassadeur reels he asked “Which end of this do I put the bullets in?” I finally convinced him we were fishing, not hunting, and didn’t need bullets.

We started fishing a point. The president handed the rod and reel to a Secret Service agent to cast for him since he had never gone fishing before. When a fish was hooked the agent handed the rod to him so the press boat following us could get pictures of him catching a fish.

After landing the 10 inch largemouth bass the president said he wanted to have his trophy mounted. I told him it was a small bass, not big enough to keep legally, but he said he was the president and state laws did not apply to him.

That was enough fishing since he had his pictures so we left to go turkey hunting. I said it was too late in the day but he said it didn’t matter, things had been set up and he had a very busy schedule. So we went to my farm to “hunt.”

When I started to get my shotgun, five Glock pistols were pointed at me. I never touched the gun after being told no one was allowed to have a gun around the president. He opened the back hatch of one of the big black Suburbans – there were 15 of them with us, all full of armed Secret Service guards, following his limo, and pulled out a bolt action 7mm rifle. I tried to explain turkey hunting was done with a shotgun, usually a pump, but he said that would look bad since they looked too much like an assault weapon.

Although I knew we would not see any turkey this time of day, we went to a blind anyway. I had to keep pushing the barrel of the gun he carried away because it kept pointing at me or one of the ten agents with us. I tried to explain a gun should never be pointed at anyone but he said it was no problem since the gun was loaded with blanks. I tried to explain all guns should always be treated as loaded guns but he said he knew better.

As soon as I started calling for turkey the president stood up and shouted “pull.” A Secret Service agent threw a big white domestic turkey into the air and the president blasted away. It was a good thing the rifle really was loaded with blanks or he would have hit the agent.

The agent pulled out his 40 caliber semiautomatic Glock, with a 17 round clip, and shot the poor confused turkey. I told the president the kinds of guns and clips his guards carried were the kinds of things he wanted to ban, but he said those laws were just for common people like me, not for powerful people like him and their guards.

As the president posed for pictures, I again tried to tell him sportsmen would know it was not a wild turkey. He said it didn’t matter, no one would really know the difference, and they would photoshop it anyway.

As we headed back to town all of a sudden the convoy stopped. A young hen turkey was feeding in the edge of a field right by the road. Secret Service agents jumped out of his vehicle and shot it with their Glocks. I tried to stop them, pointing out it was illegal to shoot from a public road and the turkey was a hen, but was again told the president and his guards didn’t have to obey any laws.

The two turkeys were placed in the back of one of the big gas guzzling SUVs and the president said he was taking them back with him for his chef to clean and cook. I said they were pretty shot up, but was told the chef was paid well over $100,000 a year with a staff of dozens each paid almost as much, and they had better be able to make it taste good.

As Air Force One took off, leaving a trail of exhaust fumes, I could not help thinking this trip would not really work out as the president planned!

What Are Some Dumb Things Fishermen Do?

Niles Murray and Flint River Shoal Bass

Niles Murray and Flint River Shoal Bass

At the Spalding County Sportsman Club meeting last Tuesday everyone got a good laugh at a story told on one of our members. The local realtor, who’s name will be withheld to protect the guilty, was fishing with another member practicing for a tournament. He had a brain freeze that all fishermen have at times.

It seems Niles was quickly tying on a hook to match what Raymond had caught a fish on. He put the hook in his mouth and tied his line, then somehow forgot the hook in his mouth when he got ready to fish, and hooked himself!

No permanent damage was done, it was more embarrassing than anything else. But we all do things like that. I have certainly done my share. Most caused no damage but I will try to not do some things again.

Spinnerbaits cost several dollars each and sink in the water. One day I was in a hurry to tie one on and cut off the plug I had been using. I grabbed a spinner bait, took the end of the line and tied it on and dropped it over the side just as I realized I had picked up the end of a piece of loose line that was not attached to anything. The spinner bait sank carrying the three foot piece of line with it.

Another time I was tying on a Carolina rig. With those rigs you slip a heavy sinker on your main line, put on a bead or two, then tie on a swivel. You tie a leader to the swivel and tie your hook to the end of it.

I slid the sinker and beads on and started to tie on the swivel. The end of the line slipped from my hand and the main line swung the sinker and beads over the side of the boat. The sinker headed to the bottom. I thought the beads floated but they joined the sinker on the bottom. So I started over.

It is not unusual to hook something you don’t want on your line and often that something is in the boat with you. I have had more than one partner yell at me as I started my cast and my lure or hook went too far toward them. More than once it got real close, sticking in them.

The bad thing, for me, doing that is when you follow through with your cast, not realizing your hook is in your partner, it makes you get a bad backlash!

Losing a sinker or spinner bait is bad enough, but a rod and reel is another worse story. I like to change rods as I fish and usually lay the one I was using across the deck of the boat with the lure dangling over the water, planning on picking it up again after a few casts with the different outfit. That is ok when the lure dangles over the water.

But with a Carolina rig the lead is over the water and the worm is in the water. One day while fishing a tournament at West Point I left a Carolina rig over the side of the boat. I heard a splash and looked down to seem my rod and reel headed toward the bottom in 30 feet of water.

My partner said he saw a small spotted bass come up right beside the boat, grab the worm and take off, pulling my rod and reel in. We tried to drag the outfit up for about an hour with no luck. And that was my favorite Carolina rig rod and reel.!

Another morning at West Point it was very foggy. I was fishing a rocky point and heard a splash right beside the boat. I thought fish were schooling and kept fishing.

A little later I wanted to throw a buzz bait and looked for that outfit. It was gone. I guess I bumped it with my foot and kicked it overboard. Just shows I should not have so many outfits on the deck of my boat while fishing.

The worst scare I got was at Lake Martin. I was by myself practicing and had run up the river. When I stopped in 15 feet of water off the bank I put the trolling motor down and picked up a rod. The line on the rod I picked up hooked the handle of another outfit and flipped it over the side.

I tried to grab it before it sank and fell out of the boat. Luckily I was wearing jeans, tennis shoes and a light shirt. When I came up I looked around to see if anyone was laughing at me. Then I looked around hoping someone was laughing so they could come help me. I could not get back in the boat.

After struggling for several minutes I managed to get to the back of the boat and use the motor to climb back in the boat. As I lay on the deck panting I remembered the prescription bifocal sunglass I had been wearing. Had is the operative word. So I lost a $200 rod and reel outfit and a $300 pair of sunglasses.

If I had just thought before grabbing for the rod I could have thrown out a marker and tied on a Little George and drug up the rod. But by the time my swim was over the boat had drifted and I never was able to get it back.

When fishing, expect to do some dumb things but try to think and not make them even worse!