Fishing in the Hill Country

The first time Bobby and I walked down to the creek he asked, “Are there any fish in here?” I replied, “Of course there are lots of fish in here, big ones.” I could tell by his facial expression that he did not believe me. The next time he came for a visit he brought his rod and reel and tackle box. I walked down to the creek with him and by the way he conducted himself I knew he was a serious fisherman. He caught a bass on his first cast, using an artificial lure. In the next 30 minutes he caught nearly a dozen nice bass. Not only were the bass hooked, Bobby was hooked too. A few days later we drove down to the creek. This time he brought three rods and reels, some worms, chairs, the minnow bucket and a cooler of beer. I brought my new rod and reel, the reel being the old fashioned one that requires thumb use. My daughter had taken mine when she moved and I had replaced it with one from Walmart. That was a mistake. Bobby painstakingly rigged my line with cork, weight and hook and even threaded a live worm on my hook. No one had ever done that for me and I allowed it, not an easy thing for someone who has been single for quite a while. I could not cast my line into the clear waters. The tension on the reel prevented an easy throw. After making a complete fool out of myself, he cast one of his rods and reels and handed it to me. I pulled in a big sun perch before he could put a lure on his rod and reel. He took the fish off the hook and put it in the minnow bucket and proceeded to show me how to cast it using the button. I cast into a tree several times. He lost patience. I don’t blame him. I felt like an idiot. The more aggravated he became, the more inept I was, flustered by his impatience. I told him to go ahead and fish and managed to throw the stupid thing a few times out of a hundred and caught a bucket of perch. He fished for the big ones and caught some more nice bass and missed a few big ones. I resolved to practice on dry land with one of his rods and reels but on the next trip to Kerrville, I’m going to Gibsons and buy the best open reel I can find. I don’t care what it costs. I do know how to fish, just not with a closed reel and with him standing there watching. When we left the creek, I remarked that we needed to bring the lopers and cut some limbs out of the path going down to the creek, he answered, “We don’t need lopers, you can trim the limbs with your rod and reel.” We laughed all the way back up the hill and Bobby grilled some fajitas. We left the fish in the creek for another day.