From the land of Ginseng, rolling hills, mountains and streams of clear water, came a man I met in Florida. Howard Robinson once told me that he came from the second largest state in the union, and so I pulled out an atlas and told him that West Virginia was not nearly so big as Texas. He said, "if you flattened it out, it would be bigger than Texas." He has always worked outside, and at 70 years, when most men are trying to find a place to stay warm, he is trying to plan a hunt for this fall. He always likes to tinker and has an eye for what something might be. The cane he has in the picture was a root he found in the ground while working. Howard doesn't need a cane, but he likes to make things from scratch. He brought the root home and told his wife, "look, a seahorse." She couldn't see it at first even though she is good artist in her own right. Howard took the root and helped the seahorse come out. It is his favorite cane, but he is an old horse trader at heart, so he won't put a price on it, but he'd know the right price if he heard it.
My wife asked Howard and Gerry if she could sell some of their art work on the site, and they consented, but my pictures did not turn out so good. My wife is threatening to fire me and hire a new photographer. I will have to find a better way to picture product.
Here are some pictures of pieces that combine Gerry's drawing and Howard's work with raw materials.
I hope you enjoyed a sample look at some mountain art; there will be more in the months following.
I listened, like you should when you're fishing new water, but I wasn't getting anything over three pounds. That isn't a terribly bad thing, and I enjoy it regardless but the white pearl, black and purple, and even my go to plum and green pumpkin, weren't producing the bigger fish. I kept going back in my mind to the color of the craw, and the shiners that Lily was catching. There was orange, some gold/green and a lot of surface action. So I broke down and checked out the fishing section at Walmart.
There was a square bill that I thought might work, but the weeds are ridiculous in here and I only had about 4 dollars to spend, so I opted for the Culprit Gumbo in a 7.5 inch worm. It played on a lot more orange than the crawdad and I was hoping for a reaction strike. There are also a lot of water snakes, sirens and fresh water eels in some of these Florida lakes. Culprit lures have a great action, and the only problem I have with them is that bass will often drop them rather quickly.
A big bass go to for me, especially around creek mouths and shallows, has always been soft plastics that imitate snake colors. Sometimes I will go bigger than the 10 inch worms. This time they had 7.5, but I had noticed some banded water snakes about this diameter, and there are other small water snakes down here that are probably a shallow water staple. Yes, the bass were in shallow water, in the heat of September, but there is a spring in this lake not far from where I caught them and it had been raining all afternoon. I caught five bass, in the rain, in the shallows, in less than 30 minutes. The first 2 strikes tonight I missed, and one of those strikes I knew came from a heifer. I cast to the opposite direction to give her a chance to reload, and then tried the same spot again. She took it hard this time and buried me in the weeds, but the hook was set deep and held. I worry some times because I am using 10 pound mono in here due to the clear water. Well where are my little hecklers now, I was 10 years old again and found myself running to the house and banging on the door for someone to bring me a camera. Finally, I got one of the big ones out of here, and I went back to my old school trouble shooting; it felt good. I know what you're thinking, it was irresponsible to take him to the house, but she was out of the water for a total of 3 minutes. We ran her back down to the lake and she was still kicking; she even drew blood from one of my thumbs. A beautiful bass, a beautiful rainy day, and thank God for such a great hobby.
I needed something to occupy my mind, so time for a little hook and line
A little time to myself, to unwind, just me and the fish that I find
But, "Mr., what are you doing", I hear coming up from behind
"I'm playing tennis," is what I reply, then send my lure out through the sky
"I think you're fishing," she tells me with conviction, and that my tennis is nothing but fiction
"You are correct, I'm trying to catch bass, but not getting a whole lot of love
Even though the bass that I'm watching, all seem fixed on things up above
So I'm working this little Assassin, I just keep casting and casting and casting"
"Well Mr.", she says, "I don't think you're leaving your bait out there long enough"
Her little sister agrees and nods her head at me, "have you ever caught a fish with that stuff?"
"Yes, it's a good lure and I'm trying to imitate injured prey, that's why I move it this way"
"Hmm," she replies, "have you ever caught a bass in this lake?"
"Yes, but unless I show you then you're going to think I'm fake."
Heckled by two little kindergartners, God I really do need a fish
Just one little fish, God please, just this one little wish
And to the sound of jeering girls, and laughing little banshees
I cast a toad, as far I can, across hydrilla weeds
Just like a seal on Shark Week he glides across the surface
Until Leviathan comes forth and crushes him with purpose
I fight the monster to the shore and glow as one redeemed
Then show it to my tormentors, who say, "what an ugly thing"
That's it, that's all you have to say, about this mighty bass
"Well it took you long enough,' she said, 'but probably cause you reel to fast"
Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke
I made some new friends at the lake the other day, while my girls were playing video games. They were cute and not the least bit shy when it came to critiquing my fishing style. I finally consented to teaching them how to cast a spinning reel, and we discussed what a bass was. Their confidence in me was not very high, since what I called fishing, they saw as skipping plastic. I tried several lures that day and finally ended with a dark Zoom toad, with blue flecks. There were bats diving close to the water, and I have no way of proving it, but the bass seemed very interested in them. Maybe the dark toad, falling on the water beneath them triggered the response. I don't know, but I try to use anything that nature makes available. Later my girls came out and did some fishing of their own. They were eager to share, and I listened as they taught the other two girls about fishing. This is a proud moment when you see your children are able to teach other children the art of angling. When you can teach some one, it means you are developing a deeper understanding of it yourself. It was fun to watch, and see my daughter express some of the same frustrations when they mishandled the gear. I guess its time to reach a little deeper into my arsenal and share a few more secrets. They can cast net, fish with lures some, and teach others to do the same. I am very happy with them, so I think we will keep them.
Stuff keeps showing up, and I'm glad, because I have had to put off doing much for Drew's birthday. It came right after the move and with the expenses of going back to school. But the real story is that Drew has been a champ in all this and today her aunt showed up with a candy cake. Thanks Lindsay. I am proud to see her handling dissapointment so well. We will do some things for her at the right time, and she has inspired me to give up one of my own bad habits. I smoke, and it is expensive in a lot of ways, so this is day number 1 and cold turkey, pray for me. Very proud of you Drew, I hope you will learn to do what's best always and see the benefit of living beyond and above your ego. Happy 10, and I hope to be around with you for many more, but according to aunt Lindsay, I'm going to get eaten by an alligator.
Sometimes the lakes down here are shallow for a good ways. You do have to be careful when it comes to alligators, but it's really hard to define that, since they can be so stealth and opportunistic. I would say stay out, or fish from a boat, but this is the way I grew up and its getting me past the weed line. I haven't seen a gator in here, but that doesn't mean there isn't one, and my wife is holding me to new discussions about this. Oh well, I suppose I can't argue that there isn't the possibility, but I still think a car accident is more likely, even in Florida.
Happy Birthday Drewmatik, there will be more to come.
I'm not a wall hanger, but I represent a good day
And when I get too smooth, its time to head back to the lake
I've seen great taxidermy but I'm the epidermis sort
The more torn up and disfigured, the better the report
You look at my red digit then comment with concern
You say, "your thumb is chaffed a bit, it looks like you've been burned"
But just the opposite is true, I did not get burned out there today
And if my thumb was smooth like yours, I would put that thing away
Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke
What do you think about a guy who Bass fishes with gloves on?
Scale Lily - "He won't get a trophy."
Drew Blue- "He's a wimp, but he won't chip a nail."
So, have some self respect and get out there and earn some raw meat.
This reminds me of Silly, and also reminds me of how great a mother my wife is. One of the guys at my work has decided to be the fill in mom for this baby squirrel. It was found on the ground, and he went to answer a call. My wife is quite jealous right now, but she wants him to have the experience. Life is precious, but it can also be an inconvenience. I remember my wife being up every two hours and setting an alarm to ensure this. She would feed him with a syringe, and she wanted to make sure Jamie knew that this had to be done slowly. Why? Because you don't want the milk to go up his nose. Apparently that can lead to pneumonia, "and he needs to keep him at temperatures towards the upper 90's." I remember she used one of the drawers of my gecko rack for this. I pinched his skin, and it showed signs of dehydration. Jamie will give him some Pedialyte when he gets home, and hopefully all will go well. It seems like a lot of work to me and I would have probably been more inclined to feed it to a reptile so it didn't go to waste. Don't get me wrong, I love animals and think squirrels are cute, but it takes a special kind of person to wake up every two hours. I have holes in the porch screen at the house from these guys and their ability to quickly chew through wires has caused me plenty of down time at work. Here he is though, a helpless little ball, and unable to care for himself. His eyes have not yet opened and he grabs at everything searching for a nipple. If you look too long you'll lose your heart. Life is precious.