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 Post Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:42 pm 
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BRONZE
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:02 am
Posts: 134
Location: Longview, TX
Back in the early 1960's, we used to have weekend fishing trips. There were 4 of us. My Grandpa, who loved to hunt and fish, my Dad, my 'Uncle John' (by Grandpa's 2nd wife and a year younger than I), and me. Grandpa farmed and worked for the State measuring crops and seemed to know every farmer within a couple of counties which gave ua access to private lands and when to fish or hunt and where. We had some great hunting and fishing trips. One of my favorite sites was at the old Lock and Dam on the Trinity river just outside of Crockett, Tx. During the Spring, weather permitting, we went fishing there during the 3 runs that interested the adults. There was a White Bass run, a Crappie run and a Channel Catfish run that we would fish hard with great rewards. There was a farmer who had the land adjacent to the river at the Lock and Dam who charged a couple of dollars for a car to camp overnight. You had to bring your own food and water and gear as all he provided was a pasture and a couple of out houses.

The Trinity river had been navigable at one point in it's 'modern' history. Somewhere in the past, that was abandoned. What was left was a low water dam across the river that formed a 3 to 6 foot drop in the level of the river and slowed the passage of fish during normal to low water conditions. The locks were massive concrete rectangular blocks on either side of the river just below the dam. The were mounted via a channel in the side with metal pipes across the channel as a ladder. They seemed about 20 feet high, 25 to 30 feet wide and about 100 feet long which would accommodate several fishermen groups. The downstream end was 'interesting' in that large water snakes would show up there to rest when they were out feeding. (I don't know if they were water moccasins or water snakes or both.) When I say large, I'm talking 6 foot plus. Usually, one of the men there fishing would go get a .22 or 30-30 rifle and shoot the snakes on the surface from the top of the Lock.

In the slower waters below the Locks, there were clear areas where the men would swim out with seines and get minnows to fish with. If they got too close to the bank, they'd sometimes get freshwater shrimp in the seine. If you could swim good, you could take a 'river bath' when the fish runs slowed and work you way up the middle channel (6~12 ft deep) and let you legs down to feel for broken off fishing lines. A little diving and you'd get a syrup bucket of lead to supplement the lead you would lose when fishing. (The channel was floored with head sized rocks and up.)

Just further downstream, the river widened to a slow current and there were some nice alligator gar in that area. (This was the early '60s before the bowhunters and scuba divers started holding the gar hunts that reduced the population.) I know they were alligator gar as occasionally one would swim near the surface near the downstream area of the Locks. (And, yes, I found out that a 6 foot plus gar wouldn't bite a minnow... Not that 12 or 14 lb test line would have come close to stopping them on a Zebco 33. :) ) On one trip I recall 2 heavy set guys with a saltwater rod and reel plus fighting belt setting up on our side of the river in this area. One man swam the bait out just past midstream while the other waited on the bank holding the rig. Within a few hours there was a commotion and we turned to watch one of the guys run to the saltwater rod and fasten the fighting belt around him. When he set the hook, the gar stayed deep and started a powerful run. That gar was powerful enough to pull that hefty weight down the slope of the river bank to the sandy shore where the guy sat down with his feet out in front of him. As the gar continued to run, the guy started to move across the sand until his partner ran u behind him, sat down and grabbed the back of the fighting belt. As I recall, the fight lasted almost an hour before they got the gar to the shore and released it.

My fishing tackle had improved by this point in my life. I had moved from a single action Shakespeare single action 'thumb busting' reel up to the new Zebco 33 spincast reel. My rod had gone from a 4 foot metal 'bush rod' to a 2-piece 6 ft fiberglass rod. Lines had gone from the braided black nylon lines (or, the camo colored of the late 50's that I liked) into the new monofilament lines. (I usually fished the 12 lb test; but, probably respooled up to the 14 lb test for the trip.) The rigs we used for this spot had the weight on the end of the line and 2 drops starting about a foot up from the anchor. It wasn't unusual to catch 2 fish per cast when the runs were going. We'd fillet the fish in the evening on the river bank and iced the fillet in an ice chest. Grandpa had a few milk cows, so he would repack his fillets in tupperware containers. We lived in the "city" and got milk in 1/2 gallon container. We washed those out and saved them to pack the fillets in water and would freeze that to preserve them.

Camp food was always interesting and good. Lunch & snacks were usually crackers 'n cheese or butcher thick cut bologna sandwiches. Breakfast was thick cut bacon and eggs. Supper was steak provided by one of Grandpa's yearlings from the previous year and a can of beans. (My favorite food was 'crackers and cheese' we'd buy at one of the small grocery stores in the area. Saltine crackers were purchased in a single sleeve box and the cheese was cut from a large wheel of cheese, usually Sharp cheese.) Grandpa and my Dad both had 3 gallon water cans. Grandpa would fill his up with his well water while my Dad would buy some black ice and chip it up enough to fit into his water can. (Yes, we had crushed ice back then; but, poor insulation by today's standards. The larger pieces of ice would last longer than crushed ice.) We drank water and coffee. (Both had the alum 'tang' from the alum that was in the well water.) Grandpa would make the coffee in a syrup can. He filled it 3/4 of the way with water and boiled it. When it reached a boil, he took it off the fire and dropped in a cotton sock with coffee grounds inside of the toe. The longer you left it in the water, the stronger the coffee. Grandpa and Dad liked 'strong' coffee. As an example, one evening while eating supper, John and I were away from the fire area eating. There were some yellow ants coming out of several holes in the ground. The coffee had cooled to about 'room' temperature; but, was very strong. Testing it on the ants showed that they simply curled up and died if they got that coffee on them. A cup would wipe out an entire colony. I learned how to make coffee and started carrying sugar for John's and my coffee. It wasn't nearly as strong as Grandpa's coffee. :)

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Semper Fi,

Tom


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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:20 pm 
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DIAMOND+
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Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:00 am
Posts: 1064
Location: Santa Fe, TX
What wonderful memories of fishing trips. I have a friend who fishes those same runs over at the lock and dam still today. He's been trying to get me to go, but I haven't been able to just yet. He's a member here, ole Howie. He loves fishing and hunting. And, if you ever get the chance to go with him you'll have an adventure to remember.

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Marty

http://www.feederlights.com/
The BEST HOG HUNTING LIGHTS.
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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:03 am
Posts: 1
Those are precious fishing trip memories indeed. I remember going fishing with my grandpa occasionally. Sadly, none of my other family members were much into fishing beside him. And now myself of course. haha


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