For the outdoor person that enjoys “doing it all”, every season offers something special to look forward to. I have friends whose entire year and outdoor adventures hinge on one “season”. Some folks look forward to the opener of deer season but once that buck is on the meat pole, it’s done. Others hunt strictly for ducks. When duck season closes, they annually go through a period of low spirits because, after all, it’s a long time until next fall when the duck season opens again!
A few of my fishing buddies like catching crappie in the spring when they are shallow; others are trophy blue catfish chasers this time of year when the big ones bite the best. I think you get my drift. Why not enjoy the outdoors EVERY season of the year?
Now is a period when many outdoor types abandon the woods and water but the dead of winter is truly one of my favorite times to be outdoors. Just this past week, I joined David Hanson for some big blue catfish action at Tawakoni. During our trip, I acquired another new friend, Eric You. Eric and Hanson have been friends much of their life and it was fun listening to some of their stories from their youth as we slowly drifted big baits for big blue cats. As is usually the case when fishing with Hanson, we boated some jumbo size catfish that pushed 40 pounds as well as some that filled the bill as “eaters” for the skillet. It’s often been said that you can learn more about a person while spending a few hours with them in the outdoors than a month in the city with all the inherent distractions. I’ve found this to be true. The older I get the more I have come to understand that one just can’t have too many friends. Enough of this philosophical talk! Let me tell you about what I did with those “eater” blue catfish!
I absolutely love to cook fish on an open fire. It’s something I first experienced as a boy on those extended fishing trips in southeastern Oklahoma. A couple of years ago, I enjoyed daily fish fries over wood fires on remote islands up in northern Saskatchewan. Those Chippewa Indians could build a fire and have fish frying in record time! In front of my little cabin near my house, I have a fire pit and with all the oak trees on the place, an unending supply of firewood. Last summer I got my friend Billy White to weld a cooking grill that perfectly fits the pit. He also constructed a ring with legs to hold my plow disk wok which another friend, Mark Balette made for me well over 20 years ago. The wok holds and distributes heat well and I love to fry fish or make fajitas in it. One sunny but chilly day last week, I decided those fish fillets would never be any fresher. This was a spur of the moment cookout. I usually begin rounding up a crew of eaters well in advance but there was little planning for this event. Phil Zimmerman, with whom I’ve shared campfires from as far away as the Northwest Territories to here at home, was free that day and we made it happen! All that was required was some cooking oil, corn meal and flour for the batter, a can of baked beans, onions, potatoes, light bread and a cold beverage. What a meal! Don’t know how many of you enjoy cold fish the day after a fish fry but I’ll swear those snow white fillets were just as tasty the next day!
I bet many of you listen to my weekly radio shows. Another great friend, Larry Weishuhn helps me out each week with “Campfire Talk”. Larry is a noted hunter, writer, TV show host and also a degreed wildlife biologist from Texas A & M. Most of his fans know Larry as one of the most visible hunters on the planet but what they might now know is that he also loves to fish but with his busy schedule has few opportunities. Larry will be visiting with me next week and spending a day on the water with Hanson and I in quest of the biggest catfish of his career. I believe the term for our outing is a “bankers holiday”. We have no agenda (well, maybe one! I’ll be doing a couple of articles on our outing). Hanson has a big fish fry planned after our fishing trip and one of Larry’s good friends who happens to be the father of an award winning country artist will be with us and we might even be treated to a good country song or two after the fish fry! Details to follow in an upcoming column!
We are also planning a hog hunt with my friend Jeff Rice while Larry is up this way. Jeff owns Buck and Bass ranch near Lake Fork and says the hogs are waiting in line to come in to the feeders. Jeff is an avid bow hunter but has never used a big bore air rifle to harvest a porker. I have a Dragon Claw 50 caliber by Air Venturi big bore shooting tight groups with both bullets and… arrows. That’s right the rifle doubles as an “arrow rifle”. The Air Bolt by Air Venturi is 23 inches in length and designed to shoot from any 50 caliber air rifle that allows 1 inch of clearance from the end of barrel to the end of the bolt. Check the Air Bolts and air rifles of all types and calibers out at www.pyramydair.com.
Weishuhn will be toting his Ruger # 1 in .405 caliber which is the same caliber that Teddy Roosevelt made very popular on his African hunts. If all goes according to plan, we will harvest hogs with everything from a big bore air rifle, to an “arrow rifle” to a legendary center fire rifle. I plan to hunt with my 45 caliber big bore “Texan” by Airforce AIrguns. The power of this rifle is amazing and I’ve used it to cleanly harvest a number of good size wild hogs, aoudad and axis deer. I watched a buddy shoot an 850 pound Zebu bull with it. The bull had become aggressive on my buddy’s hunting ranch and our goal was to turn in into steaks! A well placed 350 grain bullet by Hunters Supply through the vitals put the bull down in a matter of a few yards. These big bore airguns are not toys and I am convinced they will cleanly harvest any big game animal in North America. More on our fishing/hunting trip in an upcoming column!
Luke’s book, “Kill to Grill, the Ultimate Guide to hunting and cooking wild hogs” is available through Amazon or at www.catfishradio.com.