Summertime Fun on A Farm Pond!

The Fishing was good and the memories even better!

As my fingers work these computer keys tonight, with every tap of a letter I get a reminder of the fun I had last weekend!  Most don’t count cut fingers as a pleasant reminder, but every little cut, every little fin prick that is sore, but healing, reminds me of the grand time I had with my youngest Son, Walt, who is home from college for the summer (unless he finds a job out of town).

And my other fishing partner, My Grandaughter, Anna Faye, also provided me with a lot of joy and pride, as one might expect from a wonderful kid who loves the outdoors and is not “girly” at all when it comes to handling fish, crickets, frogs, lizards or most any other critter from our great outdoors. My wife, “DebDeb” and her Dad Tony rounded out the fishing party to South Tuscaloosa County where my relatives have some great ponds to fish on and we enjoyed them fully!

DebDeb and Tony did not fish however, as Tony said he “did it once in 1957 and did not care for it” He did enjoy watching Anna Faye and Walt pulling in the big ones. DebDeb was the “cricket wrangler” and she kept Anna Faye’s hook baited with crickets as soon as she unhooked a big bream and tossed it in the fish cooler. We caught over 60 big bream and many “toss-backs” as we enjoyed the late afternoon in the shade by a beautiful farm pond that is well stocked.

Early the next morning. Walt and I went to a different pond on their property with a good stock of bass and in the couple of hours we fished, we landed over 30 nice bass, lost several big ones, true to form it seems the biggest ones do get away sometimes. We kept a dozen fish that ranged from 2 to 5 lbs so we could have some good fillets to go along with the big catch of bream from the afternoon before.

That afternoon, they all deserted me when it came time to clean the fish and I worked for over an hour scaling and dressing the bream for frying whole and filleting the bass for some good boneless fish eating. Well, Peanut oil at the right temperature, plain yellow cornmeal seasoned with a generous dash of Chef Paul’s Seafood Magic mixed together in a good paper grocery sack (hard to find these days) to drop and shake the mustard marinaded fish pieces into will yield some great tasting southern fried fish! The standard “sides” of hushpuppies, french fries, Cole slaw and ice tea will make any of us ”Southern raised” folks smile!  I don’t know how I get in to long periods where I don’t fish and then when I go I am reminded of all the good times I am missing with no one to blame but myself!  Don’t do like me! Let the yard work go one weekend and go fishing soon! Take a kid, Take a friend, Take a neighbor and enjoy a day of fishing on a pond, lake, creek or river, just don’t let the summer pass you buy without taking some good fishing trips to remember it by! Take a camera and take some photos, they are great postcards from the best days of our lives!  Go out! Enjoy the outdoors!

Reminder, events in the area this coming weekend. Gun Show @ Garrett Colesium,

Coosa River Whitewater Festival

Until next week, thanks for reading!




Memorial Day Weekend Just Screams GET OUTDOORS!

WOW! The Garden State has lots of Blooms and Gobblers!

Yesterday, it was January, what happened? This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and is considered the “official” start of summer which is one of the very best seasons to enjoy the outdoors around Alabama! I get so busy hunting turkeys each spring that my “to do” list starts to resemble “Webster’s word book” and although I am still far from through with the list, I will step back from them this weekend to enjoy the holiday and take my granddaughter fishing!

Woo Hoo! I don’t know which one of us looks forward to our “way too few” fishing trips the most since we both get sort of “giggly” just talking about the trip. I am fortunate enough to have family land over in West Alabama where we fish on some great private lakes teeming with Tiger Bass and Coppernose Bream.

Our main focus will be on the big Coppernose bream that will greedily attack crickets floated down on a bobber line from a cane pole (my personal favorite) and blast small white and green beetle spins slowly retrieved to an ultra light fishing reel.  There is just something about bream fishing. The smell of the lake and it’s abundance of critters to enjoy watching as we fish. That very “earthy smell” of a bream bed and the fish we pull from it that have an almost fragrant “stink” to them as a result of their procreational pursuits this time of year.

A cooler filled with about 20 of the biggest bream we have culled from those pulled out of the lake means we are just a short time away from hot peanut oil and plain yellow cornmeal (after a mustard bath) to culminate in fresh fish feasting that is as good as any fresh or salt water fish on the table. I sometimes fillet the big bream for boneless dining but, most of the time I prefer to just scale them, decapitate and eviscerate, score the sides in two to three vertical slashes down to the back bone so that when the just fried fish is brought to the table, you can “pinch-n-peel” off rows of pearly white fish perfection that pops with a cornmeal crunch sure to bring a a smile to your face and send memories coursing through your head that bring you back to such feasts in your childhood !

I believe it releases more endorphins than… well… lets just say its good! The only thing missing is the homemade lemonade or my maternal grandmother’s favorite, Grape KOOL-AID! Man we thought there was nothing better than fried bream, hushpuppies, home-made fries and Grape kool aid. The grownups of course also enjoyed cole slaw and beans, along with sweet tea, but our stomachs were too small to waste on such items!  Fish, fries and Kool-Aid were simply too good to need anything more. Except maybe, some of Ma-maw Mae’s home-made blackberry cobbler.! Another summer time treat from our past that is just as good as ever!

Events coming up in the next few weeks around the River Region.

TheGun and Knife Show at the  Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery is June 2nd and 3rd. This is a great event to find a new gun, trade, sell, and just view some great guns, knives and outdoor memorabilia.

The Elmore County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold their annual JAKES DAY event on June the 9th at Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka. THIS IS A GREAT KIDS EVENTS AND HAS WON NATIONAL CHAMPIONS STATUS for the size and scope of venues for kids and parents to enjoy a great day in the OUTDOORS! To register just click on this link.

I have some new photos coming soon. Everything from a truck load of New Jersey Gobblers and a Kansas Trophy Tom  to a big Coosa River Catfish photo from Luke McCracken who, is a champion fisherman for sure!





Plenty To Do in the Outdoors, YOU Choose!

Turkey season’s end is the start of a short “off-season” of sorts for most of us hunters but, there is still plenty to do in the outdoors this time of year, even if you don’t like to fish. Many of you are looking for a new hunting club or hunting lease and NOW is the best time of year to find both. With the email,face book, bulletin board and other resources, there are tons of options for you to choose a new club to join, find a property to lease, or book that trip of a lifetime with an outfitter in another state or country.

The options are many and can make a big difference in how your next hunting season turns out. Through the years I have joined many hunting clubs and the experiences were all over the scale from real good to down-right terrible!  However, don’t expect this article to give you a method to always pick the best place for you since it seems, I have been “hit or miss”  in my past efforts.  What I will do is provide you with some links to places that have a lot of listings and you can choose what may be a good or bad selection.

One of the first places to look is the local Bulletin Board weekly print media that has a guns and hunting section. I have found several good clubs in past years so it is always a good place to look for hunting clubs adding members. is the web site, but get the book on Thursdays when they come out to find the latest info before the memberships are full.  Some other good sites to find leases or hunting clubs seeking members are; Alabama Forestry Owners Association,

Some Other sites to peruse that offer hunting leases is Plum Creek, Soterra LLC, Westervelt Corporation, and Resource Management Services. Their Links are listed;

Now if you have limits on your time but, want to experience the hunting, fishing, outdoor activity that is a “cut above”, then you may need some professional help. The organization that is dedicated to helping bring that great experience to you is Alabama Black Belt Adventures, located right here in Central Alabama! check them out at

What is a Jake? Other than a one year old gobbler, a Jake is what the NWTF calls the young members who are the hunters of tomorrow. The Elmore county Chapter of the NWTF will be holding our annual “Jakes Day” at Beautiful Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka on June the 9th, Check out the Elmore County NWTF’s website at;

At this event the kids can experience many oudoor exhibits, demonstrations and opportunities to learn about our great Central Alabama Outdoors!

More next week…








Spring Turkey Season Ended All Too Soon!

March 15th through April 30th has to be the fastest month and a half of the year and this year it literally flew past me like a covey of startled quail! That,  plus the fact that the turkeys started… and finished… way early in their normal breeding mode made this a less than memorable season for many of us. Still there were moments when the gobblers were acting like they should and the activity was good enough for me to forget the outside world for a few hours on several early spring mornings that I am not complaining as to the final outcome.

I took four gobblers, passed on several other gobblers, Took one that is a “top 3″ for me that had an inch and three quarter spur on one leg and a broken inch and one half spur on the other leg. He had a nice double beard and tipped the scales at a little more than 20 lbs. He had just whipped a couple of other gobblers when I slipped in close enough to “sweet talk” him right in to my lap at 15 steps! I took two very nice, sharp spurred three year old gobblers and started the season with a hard gobblin two year old who made me think he was perhaps a little bit better bird than he was when I did the ground check.

I ended the season with a hunt in central Kentucky with a good friend and had the opportunity to hunt a magnificent tract of land that he has access to and we enjoyed 3 days of hunting some big Kentucky gobblers. As he was showing me various parts of the property on Friday morning, we drove up on a old boss gobbler with about 15 hens in a small alfalfa patch and after a slow reverse ride back down the hill, we decided to make a stalk on the big tom. We worked our way around the bottom of the hill, keeping out of sight of the Tom and his lady friends and snuck up at the back corner of the patch. When I was almost in range to take him out and with him still strutting happily around the patch, a loud Puuuuttt!! was broadcast by a little hen standing over by herself and we were busted!

They all scattered, some flying, some running, and he took off down the other side of the hill with his head down. It was a case of maybe, maybe not.. and I opted to not try the long shot on such a big old trophy tom. After all, it was the first day of our trip. Well, I spent that afternoon and the next two mornings and afternoons hunting him hard and seeing him several times but, always at a distance and never back in that little alfalfa patch. Of well, Al has invited me to go back up there next spring and I will sure take him up on that hunt.

Kentucky was absolutely beautiful! Tall hills with granite boulders and huge hardwoods punctuated by lots of hay fields and freshly planted row crops. The only negative was that just like our turkeys, theirs were through with the breeding season as well. We talked to several resident farmers who said it was the earliest spring they could recall and that the woods looked like “June Woods” in terms of foliage development.

One farmer said he had already torn up several hen nests in his attempts to cut some of the early hay crop. Another said the gobblers stopped strutting on the second week in April and were now all back together in bachelor groups, just grazing the fields. Each day when we rode the small paved road into town to get lunch, we saw gobblers in different field and every last one of them was just feeding. No loners, no strutters on a hill top, which was another reason I chased that old Tom that was down by the Green River, at least he would strut and gobble after his kin had give it up!

AL did find one gobbler that he was able to put a great stalk on and get a shot on, a very nice two year bird that was close to 24 lbs and had a big thick 10 inch beard. AL used a small tree line and then literally belly crawled across 75 yards of open pasture to work himself into range on one of three gobblers in the field, feeding around near noon. AL just proved himself, once again to be one of the best woodsmen around! Check out the photo on this site of AL and the Kentucky Gobbler.

Until next week, hope you find a great time, OUTDOORS In Central Alabama.