Picture this--Brock Tx----6' of whompin stompin kikn como se llamas boy- about 14-15 years old ---all 150 pounds "maybe" of pure muscle--- runnin the woods with a runt terrier and a brindle colored collie dog.
Halls Lake was about 4-5 miles from my Grandparents house-- -thru the woods---and off limits to those who didn't have permission. Yeah Rite---those that didn't have the intestinal fortitude to face the consequences of the Hall's. The Hall's were on of the upper crust of Weatherford society----ever hear of Weatherford Oil and Tool ---well John Hall was the founder of that company---the head knocker and an old oil field hand that did good. My Grandma---Mama Fronie was a cuzzin of Rhoda Hall, John's wife and it would have been simple to call Rhoda and ask but bein' the outlaw that I was and well (see description above).
Hall's held all kinds of fish---crappie, bass, catfish, perch--- could just about guarantee some kinda of sucess when I sneaked over there. As I said it was a good peice over to the lake and in between there were 2 tanks and a creek. Rod and reel, a few hooks, weights all in my trusty tackle box--"pocket" and off I'd go.
Had me some willow poles that I cut from around the banks of the stock tanks- 5-6' long--sharpened the big end and trimmed em up tied some line on and got em ready with hooks, corks---oh yeah--the corks were hand made---soft wood that I poked out the center with a hard stick so the line could go thru and another stick thru to hold the hook at the depth I wanted to fish. Kept em stored in an old hollow tree so I wouldn't have to carry em home with me. I would grab my willow poles, head for the first tank---catch me some baby frogs
---grass hoppers, hook em up and stick the poles in the mud along the bank. Never had to worry about bait as there was always plenty of frogs and grass hoppers. Same at the next tank----never knew what I mite have on the way back from my actual destination. Next to the creek---I think I might have left some willow poles there at the creek, can't remember actually -----I don't---but I know I set some there before headin for Hall's.
There was actually 2 lakes, one with off colored water and the other pretty clear---the one with the off colored water was closer to the barn and corrals--where you might be seen by hands workin' so opted for the clear one---never fished the muddy one. With one ear listenin' for vehicles, I would get to fishin'---had a few spots that I liked to hit with my live frogs and cork. Some trees in the water at a deep bank--I could always catch a bass or 2 there. One time I hooked up with one that straightened out my hook--it was a biggun' got to see it before the hook straightend----fished that spot many times after and no hook ups. I did catch some decent bass there and kept me comin back in hopes that the biggun mite bite agin. I did have a few lures---all fisherman probably used the old "Shyster" at one time or another in his or her life and the old "H&H spinner bait"--- both spinner baits.
Didn't use the lures a lot as the were expensive----probably about .50 cents a peice--- and easy to lose in the brush and junk under the water. The bass and perch loved em tho and in open water I caught a bunch on each. My go to bait was the baby frog---hook em thru the mouth--- chunk em out underneath a cork and the bass n perch could not resist the kikin frog.
The reel I had was a Shakespear direct drive ---still got it somewhere, stored in my junk.
Pic is of one that kinda looks like it. Used the old braided line, no tellin' what #test it was, the hooks and weights were tied directly to this line. It was some tough stuff---and back lashes were common----today I call em "professional miscalculations". The pole was fiberglass ---I think a Wright McGill if I remember correctly----I DON'T. It was a tough rig---caught many a fish. I carried a "clip stringer",
kinda like a large safety pin tied to a chain stuck in my back pocket. My trusty knife was used to cut the "stickers" off the catfish so I could carry them on my stringer and they wouldn't stick me. Made it harder to clean 'em cause the stickers help you hold em while skinnin'. Solved that, nailed em to a board and skinned em.
Didn't take any water, could find some springs in the creek that held cold clear water----never thought about the fact that a cow or some other animal could've done there business up stream---still a kik'n. No food either, would catch up on whatever Mama Fronie had cooked, always delicious.
On the way back---creek poles would have a bass, catfish or a danged ole stinkin' turtle. Usually just cut there heads off n drop the remains in the water to feed the other turtles and fish. Lots of turtles in all the lakes n tanks I fished in. On to the next tank---missin' a pole---could see the cork floatin' out in the middle---thats where my Shyster came in handy---a good cast and I'd hook the line---sometimes another cat or bass---and others another turtle. Decided to fish one of the tanks one day---set my rod on a forked stick and was pursuing another one of my cravins---arrowheads---I found a few in that area and was always lookin' for more----checked the rod and it was bent toward the water---grabbed it and the fight was on. Tank was about 70 yards long and a bout 25 or so across--- that whatever it was led me up and down that bank---around the tank for what seemed like an eternity---finally broke off or straightend my hook, can't remember----I DON'T. It was heck of a fight and my imagination was runnin' wild. So wild I took some line off my reel---made me some throw lines and tied them to the willow trees that were close to the bank----never did catch that "whatever" it was. When I told my Grandad about it he said it might have been one of those old Logger Head turtles---snappin turtles, or a big catfish as the tank had been there a long time.
All this time and my constant companions Penny and Lassie were off chasin' "I don't know whut all". I'd hear em barkin' and know they were on to something---squirrel, rabbit, armadillo. Think they knew not to tangle with a skunk. Both would follow me to hell n back I'm sure----they'd lay in the water n cool down n take off again---comin back to check on me from time to time. Penny hated snakes and I watched him many a time nosin' around the grass n weeds growin' around the tank---divin' in and grabin' a snake---he'd shake that thing like a rag doll and do so til it was dead n go look for another one. Lassie was not so brave but would bark encouragement when the fight was on. He was a tough lil booger----bitten by copperheads, rattlesnakes, n maybe a cotton mouth----just lay around a few days kinda sick n be ready to go agin---had an immunity built up from bein' bitten so many times---I reckon.
Well the day is coming to a close and gettin' back to my hollow tree where I stored my poles---my stomach thinks my throats been cut-- and I'm thinkin of Mama Fronie's cold sweet ice tea and whatever she had to eat.
Never forget Hall's Lake---the tanks and creek and all the land I walked over gettin there and back. Been a long time since I put those poles in that hollow tree for the last time---probably still there---always said I'd like to go back and see---.
The good ol' days.