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    For Big Brother (Beginning of the Big Fish)

    By walt | November 24, 2008

    Me and Rich
    Walt and Rich

    November 24, 2008, by Walt Stewart

    I hope you aren’t expecting to read something of the Government conspiracy nature from this particular post. Maybe some other time. no, this is more of a personal post.

    Once along time ago I went fishing with my two brothers at our favorite spot. Red Rock on the White Oak bayou at the (then) edge of Houston’s city limits. It was in July we wore our summer clothes, cut off blue jeans, no they weren’t designers unless you consider cockle burls stuck to the fabric and sand on the butts fashionable. No this was more the dress for the weather attire (we thought anyway). My older brother Richard was a true fisherman he had the patience and Stephen he too could sit still for times. Not me I was the hyper one way before hyper was cool and the fad of pharmaceutical companies. (Oh there I go into the conspiracy stuff, Stop it Walt!)  We got there early and caught the grasshoppers along the field trails, this time of year there where the big ones, the size of my palm, wings still wet from the dew made em a easy catch. Brown legs with yellow specks, green thorax and black prehistoric mandrels full of a dark Tabacco looking juice they would spit on ya sometimes. Richard chased one to me and I trapped it. He came over to my side and said “Ya put that one on your hook and ya might get a bass”. I took it as a promise and began to dream like the old man in the sea while we caught two more hoppers.

    Richard had taught me the hierarchy of a fish’s value. First there are minnows then tiny perch, pan size perch, large bluegill perch, then a catfish trumps a perch, well that is if its big enough to eat. Then there comes the bass and because of it’s fight-en power, it is a good catch at any size, then ya move onto the bony fish. There’s the carp and the gaspergoo then all the way up the list to the largest of the Red Rock pool, the infamous and elusive Alligator Gar that could get big as a young boy and scary as hell when your swimmin.

    We took the bait we’d caught down to the waters edge and walked across the ol’ wooden plank onto Red Rock. I dropped the tackle box and it made a loud rattling noise…..     “Schessh”….. Richard hissed “you’ll scare the fish”. He stood still and began reading the environment. I followed his eyes into the water which was clear to a point then went sandy then brown. A circle wave of water appeared along with a swirl in the middle of the bayou, “Look,” he whispered. “A fish”. Then his eyes  quickly moved to the bank and a water moccasin slithered out of the willows and plopped into the water, we looked at each other and both  made the facial cringe signaling fear. We looked back to watched the snake swim down stream away from us. Sighs of relief.

    Richard knew to get me fishing first, then Stephen, and finally he would rig his rod and reel Mom had ordered him for his birthday, only three books of S & H Green Stamps. He opened the blue rusty metal tackle box and took out a cork, BB weight and a small shiny brass hook. I didn’t own a pole so he reached for  his pocket knife inside  his cut-offs, went over to the willows and cut a five foot limb, began stripping the leaves off it. He took his pole and asked Steve to hold it while he pulled on the string. The reel began to clatter he  quickly flipped the free spin lever and it silently rolled out some black fishing line, he cut off about ten feet for my new fishing stick. Tying one end of the line to the tip of the willow stick and the other end he threaded through the round cork, slid it up about three feet and pinned it with  a orange wooden stopper. Then he  picked up the barbed hook and softly said to Steve and I “watch this”  we knew to watch cause he had taught us everything that Dad had taught him, he was allot like dad. He made a game out of everything so it was fun. “This is a fisherman’s knot” he continued,  he put the frayed end of string in his mouth slowly pulled it out through his wet lips and stabbed it into the hooks eyelet. Rich then twisted the hook and began to count the turns  softly…1..2…3…4…5…6… stopped and placed the wet end through the loop of string he created from the twisting motion, pulled the string taunt into a knot. He nodded in satisfaction  of not just doing it right but satisfied we had watched closely too. Then he took the lead BB weight and placed it six inches up the string from the hook put it to his mouth and used his teeth to squeeze it tight. He said  “Give me your Grasshopper Walt” . I slowly opened my hand and almost lost the hopper, he took it from me and hooked it right behind the head, then let the line dangel as he gave me the fishing-stick. “Fish off to that side so we won’t get tangled” , he mumbled,  and turned to   begin to make Stephen his fishing-stick. I noticed the grass hopper was still very active as I carefuly placed it  into the water. I no more sat down when the cork started to move, “Richard” I whispered,  he said “I see it, wait tell the cork goes all the way under Walt he’s just smelling the bait, wait Walt” he sensed my inpatients. Then a moment later, Sluooop the cork sounded, it disappeared under the water. “Now” Rich hollard. I jerked back hard on the fishing stick  and held on tight as the stick doubled over and began to vibrate and pull like a bull mastiff on a leash. 

    It is one thing to feed someone, yet more noble to teach ’em to fish, so that he can feed himself and his family !

    Happy Sixtyth birthday Richard 

    (to be continued)


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