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My wife, Marsha

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character 10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:10-

Phil Lilley

Phil Lilley

 

Kids, family and fishing

Did you take your kids fishing this year?  My kids are all grown up with kids of their own now.  And I think grandkids are the most fun because of course I can spoil them and send them back home.  Really though, I absolutely love my kids and my grandkids, so much so that I take them fishing about as often as I can.  This all started back when I was a kid and like many of you we went fishing with one or both of our parents or maybe a grandparent or other family member or even a friend.  It doesn’t matter who we went with it just matters that we got to go fishing. I can still remember what I believe was my first fishing experience.  It was at a little body of water in Oklahoma called Hula Lake.  My mom and dad took us kids to the lake and while I don’t remember my brothers being there with me I do know they were there, and since they were older they were probably off fishing on their own.  Anyway I was seated on the concrete dam dropping a worm and cork in the corner of two concrete walls.  I pulled up fish after fish and I remember laughing out loud each time and the fact that I couldn’t wait to get my rig back in the water.  There was a man there who, as my dad explained was going to set a trot line that day and he wanted all the perch I could catch for him.  I was more than happy to oblige him, of course and never even gave a thought to his taking my fish.  I remember knowing what a trot line was or at least knowing he was going to catch big fish with my little fish. I guess one of the advantages of growing up in a family of hunters and fishermen is that one receives an education in such things without knowing it.  I suppose I learned most of the basics about life just listening to my folks talk with other people about what was going on in their lives.  My dad owned a second hand furniture store in Bartlesville, Oklahoma called the Idle Article.  I used to spend days there before I was old enough to go to school and during summer break when I was older.  I always tried out the bicycles as soon as they hit the store and he took me with him sometimes to pick up a load of furniture he had bought. I don’t know how long he owned it but I do remember when a new street project was planned he sold out and went into business with his brother making horse trailers in Dewey, Oklahoma.  Now that shop was a dangerous place for a little kid, what with all the cutting, grinding and moving machinery.  I did get to go with him sometimes but it was usually on Saturday when only a few people were there. I remember my mom driving me by the old store on the new street, which was actually a much wider by-pass sort of thing and seeing the outside of the building and a concrete retaining wall just six or so feet from the front wall of the building.  The parking lot in front was gone and without having it explained to me I knew just why dad didn’t have a business there anymore. That’s progress though and I’m sure it created more opportunities than it erased.  That word progress is sure used a lot.  We use it to describe the good things that go on and we use to define the failures of government also.  Personally I like to use the word “progress” to describe my fishing prowess. I started out fishing by myself in a pond behind our house with my best friend Tony Parker.  Please understand the words “by myself” mean without my dad or mom or brothers you know, the people who told us we couldn’t jump in the pond or off the back of the dam into the creek.  This little pond was a perfect spot for a couple of kids to explore.  We sought out bullfrogs and bass along with all the trotline bait we could catch although, we never baited a trotline.  I also saw the absolute biggest snapping turtle I had ever seen.  Thinking back now it was probably only sixteen or so inches across but that was one third of my height back then. When we got a little older, like maybe ten we began fishing the creek that ran by the park a little farther from the house.  I later learned that creek was the Caney River or maybe the Little Caney.  I still don’t know which but I’ll bet I could look it up on Google Maps real quick and find out… now that’s progress. My folks took us fishing in a number of places.  I remember we camped for a week or so at Beaver Lake in Arkansas the year it opened for fishing.  We were there with my Uncle Donnie and Aunt Joyce and my Grandpa “Pappy” and Grandma “Pansy”.  This is the only memory I have of grandma Pansy as, sadly she died later that year.  I believe we caught all the Sand bass out of Beaver lake year that trip and I’m sure my mom got tired of cold hot dogs in her sleeping bag but she didn’t complain.  That was the year my dad tried to explain to me what blacktop was.  Let’s see now, was it the whole road or just the black stripes we actually drove on that made up the blacktop.  One can probably figure out the questions I had and the exasperation my dad must have felt as he patiently told me again what it was.  I’m all grown up now with kids of my own and grandkids too, as I mentioned earlier and I can hear myself in the questions that all of them have asked over the past thirty years.  Why is Deer poop so small when a Deer is so big?  Why do Coyotes howl at night?  Do Channel cats really talk to you when you unhook them?  Will you take me fishing? Parents probably have no idea how many questions they answer over the lifetime of raising kids but it has to be in the bazillions.  I seriously doubt if all those questions were ever answered but I didn’t mind, I just asked again. When kids ask you to take them fishing and you are tempted to put them off with being too tired or it’s too windy or cold or you’re too busy please remember that one day our kids will have memories randomly pop into their heads about their parents and what we did with them when we were little.  I just hope my kids remember me taking them and not putting them off. 

kelly

kelly

 

Taneycomo Report, October 9

While fall colors are emerging on the Taneycomo lakefront, the generation pattern  has stayed the same.  The only variance has been how much water has been kicked on about 3 p.m. every day.  That amount is somewhere between 65 and 150 megawatts or  from just over one unit up to three full units.  Then the water has been back off by dark or 7 p.m. That afternoon boost of water has really messed up fishing.  The current breaks loose gobs of pondweed growing along the banks and sends it down lake.  It also picks up the algae off the bottom of the lake and clouds the water, catching on just about anything you drop in the water that's attached to a line, like a hook or lure. If you know it's coming, you can boat down lake and get ahead of it for a while.  Our guides will run down to the Branson Landing area and fish for an hour or two, then boat back up to either Fall Creek or the dam and fish.  By this time, most of the junk has washed down out of those areas and it's safe to fish. Big fish are starting to show up on Facebook and Instagram -- both rainbows and browns.  Yes there are a good number of brown trout in the first mile of the lake below the dam, but rainbows are also starting to color up for their winter spawning run. Chuck Gries, owner and operator of Angler's Outfitters, has been guiding fly fishers below the dam for many years.  He takes people out in his boat as well as wading in below the dam.  So far his clients have landed a couple of big browns.  He said the hot fly is his light brown chammy worm. Another nice brown caught by a client of Chuck Gries. Bill Beck was guiding a man from Springfield, Missouri, yesterday out of his boat, and he caught this very nice rainbow.  All big trout are released by our fishing guides. David Doty has been fly fishing at night for trout below the dam, wading in off the shore.  Here's a 25-inch brown he caught and released last night. Our water temperature has been hovering around 62 degrees now for over a month.  I am glad to see it not go on up into the mid to upper 60's as I thought it might.  The D.O. (dissolved oxygen) levels haven't been too bad.  Constant generation has helped that. I've been getting out and throwing a jig the last few days.  A couple of weeks ago, I found jig fishing slow, but I'm glad to report it has picked up.  Ginger seems to be the hot color, either throwing a straight ginger or another color mixed in (sculpin or brown).  I also did well throwing white, as did other anglers this past week.  I've been throwing a 3/32nd-ounce jig with this light generation flow, two-pound Vanish line which seems to be the best weight.  I can get the jig to the bottom pretty well and work it slowly -- that's what the trout have seemed to like. Our trout are still taking scuds and midges, too.  Early morning and late evening is best for midge hatches and fishing Zebra Midges under an indicator.  But with the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers running more water in the evenings, it's best to fish early in the morning.  The inside bend below Fall Creek is a great place to start, dropping a #14 black, rusty or red Zebra under an indicator 18 to 24 inches.  Cast to surfacing fish or just make long drifts on that inside bank. From Lookout down, fish a scud/San Juan combination under an indicator six- to nine-feet deep, depending on where you're drifting.  In the channel, fish deeper and on the shallow flat, fish shallower.  Hot pink San Juan has been good and so has Chuck's tan shammy worm. Dry flies are still hot!  Took Marsha out the other evening and she did well, especially since she only fly fishes a couple times a year.  She needs to get out more! Stimulators and hoppers worked close to the banks (not on the banks) from the dam down to Fall Creek is the area -- middle of the day is best, but morning and evenings are also pretty good depending again on generation. Below Fall Creek, drifting using bait has been spotty, but what I'm hearing is that most people are catching trout well in the mornings but only fair in the afternoons.  Drifting with night crawlers is still best, but I think where most anglers make their mistake is with the amount of weight they're using. With the generation pattern we've seen now for a couple of months, even the smallest drift rig bell weight we sell, that weight is too heavy!  I've been showing people how to tie a simple loop knot in the place of that bell weight and pinching on a small split shot instead.  Slide the split to the knot--the knot will keep the shot from sliding all the way off the line.  And if you get it snagged on something, chances are it will pull off and save the rest of your rig.  Plus, the split shots are easy to switch out if the weight is too big or too small. You only want enough to get your bait to the bottom--that's all.  If it's catching every two feet, you're using too much weight. This will make your bait look more natural flowing with the current, plus you'll feel the bite so much better! Pink/white Gulp eggs are also hot colors.  Some of the guides are using our Trout Magnet jig heads and putting one Gulp Egg (sunrise color) on a hook and fishing it under an indicator five- to seven-feet deep from Cooper Creek down to the Landing.

Phil Lilley

Phil Lilley

 

August 31 Fishing Report

As Table Rock nears the magic lake level of 918 feet, we all wait with baited breath to see if the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers is going to change its generation patterns.  Will they start running less water?  Shutting it off at night?  We will see very soon. Generation has been constant with two units running in the mornings, increasing to three units mid-afternoon, then back down to two units after dark and through the night.  Today, it did slow down a bit with less than two units generating this morning. Remember, some of the gates at Powersite are down, so the Corps can't keep the water totally off during the dam until Empire repairs the gates.  Bull Shoals is down to 685.17 feet, just a little over five feet short of the mark where Powersite can be worked on.  It's taking about three days for Bull Shoals to drop a foot right now. Trout fishing this past weekend was pretty good for most.  Anglers fishing below Fall Creek did well drifting night crawlers on the bottom from the creek mouth down to Trout Hollow.  Phil Stone, fishing guide, said his clients did well from Cooper Creek down to Monkey Island on crawlers.  Everyone is still catching a few brown trout, but nothing longer than 20 inches was landed. Guide Tony Weldele's clients caught some nice rainbows and browns drifting from Fall Creek down to Short Creek using pink and red San Juan worms.  I've gotten out and drifted #14 gray scuds in the same stretch and caught trout, too. If you didn't see the story, Morgan Wyatt, a young woman who started working for us here at Lilleys' Landing in April, caught this 10.5 pound brown on a #14 gray scud drifting about 500 yards above our dock a week ago Sunday. It's amazing a fish as big as this would take a bug as small as a #14 scud, but it did. The trophy area is still producing good numbers of trout.  For fly fishing, present a dry fly along the banks, close to or under trees, and you might see some great top-water action.  Hoppers in various colors and sizes, beetles, ants, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis and a Sofa Pillow are good choices to throw.  Stripping a big streamer along the bluff banks above and below Fall Creek will create some attention, too.  You'll get a lot of chasers with a hookup occasionally. When the water is running about 50 megawatts or about 704-705 feet, fish a bigger beaded fly, like a beaded scud or a Miracle Fly (egg) or even a small jig under a float with a red Zebra Midge dropper, about 12 inches below the first fly.  Fish it from four- to seven-feet deep. We watched some guys fish this rig last week along the bluff across from the resort and they caught fish.  I think you can use it just about anywhere, but the water has to be running fairly slowly.  If the water is running more than two units, you could go further down lake, say, from well below Cooper down through the bridges. Throwing marabou jigs has been slow for me personally but I've seen and heard others doing well.  Travis Smith and friends fished last week and reported doing very well throwing white 1/8th ounce jigs from the cable below the dam down to Trophy Run when the water was running more than 3 units.  They used darker jigs if the water was running less than 3 units. Tom Burckhardt, St Charles, MO., caught this six-pound brown on an 1/8th ounce sculpin marabou jig down lake from the resort (secret location) last Saturday during the Guns & Hoses Trout Tournament.  He and his partner, Bill Freise, won the contest. The September forecast is looking good.  We've had some rains but nothing to affect the area lake levels, so we should see less and less generation through the fall months. As soon as Powersite Dam is fixed, we will start seeing mornings when the water is not running at all, may be a little water in the afternoon or evenings.  But keep in mind, Beaver Lake is still very high and the Corps will at some point start lowering Beaver into Table Rock Lake.  Of course, all that water has to flow through Taneycomo. I believe our dry fly bite will continue well into October, which is exciting to fly fishing enthusiasts.  We are already seeing some big brown staging in the Fall Creek area.  The average size of our browns have increased from last fall, so I think we'll see quite a few brown near or topping the 20-inch mark.  The fall brown spawning run should continue into November, peaking about the last week in October.

Phil Lilley

Phil Lilley

 

Starting the blog up again

To start, I deleted most of the blogs here back to 2007.  Most of these blogs were fishing reports--you can see them on the forum.  The ones I left are pretty cool, at least for me, reading about my thoughts and plans back 8+ years ago. I have a blog site http://phillilley.com where I've done a fair to poor job of keeping it current.  Some of it is redundant- the fishing reports and videos--but the devotion part is new and I've tried to add to it when I have time to sit and type what I'm studying.  I'm probably not going to post any original entries here... just not enough time to blog what I want.  This new forum format, blog section, is pretty cool.  It does lack the option to post html-base posts with images which is disappointing.  But we'll see how it goes.

Phil Lilley

Phil Lilley

 

Is fishing an addiction?

Royal people who prefer long drive in the water prefer also fishing. Fishing is like a sport for them and them enjoying each bit of it. Spending time in water with a healthy activity make it more entertained. Technology advancement make it adventures and easy for habitual people, For example, use of fish finding devices take advance fish finding approaches.

fishfinderexperts

fishfinderexperts

 

Fathers Day

Father’s Day came this year and as usual I missed my Father. He’s been gone for a few years now and something always happens on that day that makes me shed a tear remembering the times we had. And this year was no exception. I always remember hunting and fishing, of course but this year I thought of working on pole barns with him and pouring concrete. He introduced me to this neat little tool, when I was sixteen years old called the Jackhammer. My job was to break up and clean out the concrete that occupied the holes we were planning to reuse for poles in the construction of a pole barn at a golf course. I thought it was real cool until I tried to pull it out of the hole and hit the trigger. I think I can still feel my teeth clacking together to this day. This Father’s Day was a little different as I had the opportunity to take my son Jeff and two of his three boys fishing, all at the same time. Now the boys are two and four and as you might guess they both have a rather short attention span, but being boys they relish the idea of fishing because it involves water and the possibility of getting dirty. We packed up the gear and ventured to the creek with the boys dressed in shorts and flip flops. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why in the world would you take your grandkids fishing at the creek in such attire, what with bugs and ticks and all? Well, I forgot to mention the creek runs behind my friend Don’s house and he mows right up to the water line. Plus it is in town just two minutes from my house. This is one of those waterways that snakes through drainage ditches until it forms a pretty little pond in a better part of town complete with Geese and Goldfish. This creek has a seemingly unlimited supply of perch that just love little chunks of worm and are more than willing to thrill a couple of little boys out to slay them with Spiderman poles. We stayed about an hour, which I thought was very good for the age they were but they were really intent on catching fish. We returned our catch to the water each time and amassed a catch of about a zillion or so. We honestly lost count, which is odd for me since I am one of those crazy people who feels the need to count things, especially fish. I am keeping a journal or actually more of a logbook here lately to see just how many fish I can catch in a year. I wondered what the count was up to the other day so I added them all up and was somewhat impressed with the total, as you might be as well. Anyway, that’s enough of that. I sat and held Ivan, the youngest on my lap and taught him how to reel in his catch. He learned very quickly and soon he was able to work that reel like a pro and reel a fish right up to the tip of the rod. I guess we never see pro’s do that but anyway he thought that’s where they needed to end up. Each time I removed the barbless hook he would put his little hand under the fish in the palm of my hand and give him a flip back in to the water. And of course his big brother, who was fishing with his daddy a few feet away, had this fishing thing down as he had been fishing before. They both got poked a bit from the fish fins and, I think learned to respect the fish somewhat without being afraid to touch it. It was a fun time teaching kids to do something for the first time and watching them catch on and do it for themselves. I guess it just goes to show we can all learn from our dads, or granddads for that matter whether it’s how to hold a fish, run a jackhammer or finish concrete. I wished my dad could have been there to see his great grandsons catch fish for the first time. And then I realized he kind of was there in a sense as I showed my son what my Dad showed me and we passed it along to the little ones. So Father’s Day this year was a special one as I heard from all my boys and my “adopted” daughter, fished with kids and remembered my own Dad. I think I will try to have another one real soon.

kelly

kelly

 

Prerapala wiggle warts

I have about 20 prerapala wiggle warts in nice shape that I would sell by the piece or them all in one bunch. There are some mag warts and wee warts, and short warts in the pic's. Please contact me if interested. In NW Arkansas.

William00557

William00557

 

New Resort on the Little Red

***Now Open*** We are proud to announce the opening of Red River Adventures Trout Resort on the Little Red River in Heber Springs, Arkansas. We are located on Winkley Shoals at 100 Swinging Bridge Drive. It is only a five minute drive to beautiful Greers Ferry Lake. Enjoy watching the river roll by while sitting on the deck of one of our eleven new cabins. The cabins come fully furnished in a choice of one or two bedrooms. Red River Adventures offers cabin rentals, boat rentals, and a fishing dock. For more information, contact us at www.rratr.com or call 501-362-3327.

Drstufr

Drstufr

 

Little Cops and Robbers

We played cops and robbers the other day. My son set it up with his wife and included two of his three boys, ages four and two as the cops, (a two month old cop just wouldn’t work). The call came in about 1530 hours of an armed robbery of cookies at Sissy’s house. We arrived at the scene with the boys dressed in their kaki’s and polo’s sporting badges and notepads. The victim was interviewed and foam dart bullets were seized as evidence. A description of the perps was taken down and footprints were photographed. The victim managed to photograph the getaway car and license plate, which was a real bonus. After they processed and cleared the scene the boy cops were on the hunt strapped in their car seats in Grandmas van. Detective R.J. told us the victim said she heard the robbers say they were headed for a pink building in the woods so we looked around town for some place that fit the description. We settled on the Arboretum where we soon spotted the somewhat pink building. The detective boys asked a couple of girls playing Frisbee golf if they had seen any suspicious characters. They looked them up and down and smiled at their SWAT vests, helmets and toy guns and said “I think they went that way”. We located and approached the suspect vehicle and confirmed the tag with the notes Detective R.J had written in his notebook and then spotted the bad guys eating cookies in a shelter house surrounded by woods. The scene was surveyed and an approach plan was hatched. Detective Ivan and I quickly put a tree between us and the bandits and began our stalk while Detective R.J. and Grandma skirted around to the side. One of the bandits spotted us and shouted “It’s the Cops” and headed for the hills, right into the waiting arms of Detective R.J., who ordered him to his knees and slapped the plastic cuffs on him saying “You’re under arrest Daddy”. In the meantime Detective Ivan swooped in and secured the other bandit with “Stop right there Mommy”. The bandits were escorted to the patrol vehicle and transported to jail, Grandma’s spare bedroom closet, while the Detectives munched on evidence. The culprits were soon afforded bond and released from jail to the waiting arms of their little Detectives, who immediately wanted to do it all over again.

kelly

kelly

 

Fire In the Hole

Back about 1973 or so Kansas opened a season for snagging Paddlefish, or Spoonbill as we call them, on the Neosho River. My Dad and I enjoyed many an outing to Chetopa to snag below the dam beginning with the 1973 season and on until his death. I remember going with some friends who also got the snagging bug and they were all good times. I still go occasionally and have had the pleasure of sharing the seasons with my three sons. Sometime prior to that season Mom, Dad and I had taken a trip to the Ozarks and fished at Roaring River State Park for Rainbow trout. This is where I got the trout bug. I guess I just love that cold clear water. Well anyway, we also visited Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. This was a great place for a thirteen year old kid and my Dad loved it too. Mom wouldn’t ride the rides much but Dad and I rode the Fire in the hole roller coaster so many times I lost count. And that brings me to the rest of my story. During the following Spoonbill season my Dad still had that “Fire in the Hole” saying rattling around in his head and whenever a spoonbill was snagged and the battle had begun he would yell “Fire in the Hole” at the top of his lungs. Well it caught on real fast and before long it was the thing to say when a heavy surf rod bent double and the drag began to sing. Through the years we laughed when we heard it and talked about how it got started. And we sort of forgot about it. Mom and Dad are in heaven now and my kids all have kids and occasionally I still get the itch to file some treble hooks and make a load of sinkers and go snagging in the spring. This year was no exception. The water came up and the fish soon followed and I ventured south with my twenty-eight year old snagging rod in the back of the truck. I stood on the bank and surveyed the river remembering the holes and the best place to stand. I began that endless backhand cast followed by two or three quick yanks on the rod and repeat sequence and soon I hit one. My drag began to sing and I clamped down on it and began moving him toward the backwater where I would have the advantage. It was then that someone up on the bank saw me fighting a fish and yelled FIRE IN THE HOLE. I laughed out loud and said this one’s for you Dad. I caught several that day as did a number of other old river rats and I must have heard “FIRE IN THE HOLE” three dozen times. I even uttered it myself, of course. I chatted with an old timer from up north about “spoonbillin” and we talked about the times we had on the river and it was almost as if my Dad was there. I went a couple more times and caught some more ‘bills and each time I heard someone yell that saying I thought about what an indelible mark certain people leave on our lives from the closest family members to those we meet only once. I reminisced about the times my Dad and I fished that river and the times my boys fished it with us. I am grateful my Dad taught me to fish and even more so I am thrilled at hearing a simple saying like fire in the hole yelled by an excited fisherman and see the joy it brings to others as well as myself for a totally different reason.

kelly

kelly

 

I think I blew it

Once in a while a man does something that, at the time seems perfectly harmless. Then in retrospect he realizes the extent of the damage caused by that now not so innocent act. I have fished five times in the last two weeks and have only a Crappie and three Trout to show for it. I fear I committed a mortal sin when I...washed my fishing rag. Woe, woe, woe is me. This morning while again catching nada I looked down at the right time and saw the mother of all Kansas trout breach the surface not five scant yards in front of me in an attempt to ginsu a minnow. I swear it snarled at me. And my pistol was in my pocket. Please don't send cards or, especially, offer advice. I will prevail, I will, once again, eventually, render that fish rag a smelly stiffened barely recognizable square of red cloth that bruises my leg in the wind whilst I pilot a watercraft into the blue beyond. I will once again adorn the pages of facebookdom with self serving photographs of various Leviathan of the deep while laying claim to their defeat. Don't cry for me, don't cry for me.

kelly

kelly

 

I almost went Bull Riding once

Back in the day as a Sheriff's Department Detective one of my jobs was as a sniper. Now don't go getting excited, It never really amounted to much, thankfully. I spent a lot of time punching holes in paper and was called to a few situations which resulted in deployment and then peaceful surrender. The most noteworthy call came one hot summer day from the local stockyards. The owner called the Sheriff's office to ask for a sharp shooter to cull a Black Angus bull that had gotten loose and was causing considerable trouble. I happened to be close by and took the call. I soon found myself among some cowboys on horseback on the North edge of town. The story, as told to me went something like this. A very large and cantankerous Angus bull of about a thousand pounds had gotten loose from the stockyards and, after wooling a couple of cowboys and charging a horse or two had left the compound and headed southeast toward town. The last report had him wandering the brush in a creek bottom with some cowboys in pursuit. I enlisted the aid of a local PD officer whom I trusted and asked him to bring along his shotgun loaded with slugs as backup. I uncased my trusty Ruger M77.308 complete with a Leupold 4-12 x 50 Vari x 3 scope and recoil arrester. I loaded up five Winchester Silvertip 165 grain boat tail rounds in the magazine and closed the bolt. It was time to go hunting. We entered the brush, which was a forty or so acre creek bottom and very low flood plain area, undeveloped and unused. Visions of Capstick stalking African big game danced in my head as I moved forward at a slow pace, my trusty gun bearer trailing. Now having never hunted anything larger than a Whitetail Deer and certainly nothing intent on doing me great bodily harm I couldn't help but recall the tails of the aforementioned Peter Hathaway Capstick. Capstick was a professional hunter in Zimbabwe back in the sixties and always recounted his adventures with precise detail. Usually with much flare and humor. He also told of the damage an angry Bovine could inflict on the human form if he so desired. Now this was no Cape Buffalo we were hunting but I was not going to take any chances, I mean, after all how romantic would the story be of a cop being stomped by a cow up by Wal-Mart. Never the less I employed what stalking skills I had and finally located our quarry. He stood at the edge of the creek breathing hard with his butt to the high bank. There were three cowboys sitting atop their horses a considerable distance west while we stalked in from the north. I whispered to Jon that I could see him and pointed him out. The brush was quite thick and it did take a bit of looking to make him out, but once we saw the whole of him he couldn't be missed. The bull was standing his ground looking back and forth at us and the cowboys. I maneuvered to my left for a better shot and closed the distance to about thirty yards. This bull was actually pawing the ground and blowing snot with each breath. To say that he was somewhat perturbed would be an understatement. He continued watching us until we stopped, then one of the horses made that noise that horses make for which there is no real literary term, especially when it startles the bejeebers out of you. This was the break I was looking for. I took careful aim and settled the crosshairs on his massive neck, trying to calculate the distance between the bullet's path and the crosshairs in my scope so as not to muff it and BOOM. The rifle had no kick and I saw the animal drop like a bag of hammers. A cowboy whooped and shouted good shot, while another replied "Well it was only thirty yards". Reality bites, and at the right time too. We approached the bull while the cowboys stayed where they were. I should have wondered why they did this but... I poked the bull with my gun barrel and determined he was dead. I then pulled a rookie mistake and sat atop the behemoth with his left foreleg sticking out from between my knees, sticking straight out between my knees mind you. With my rifle, fortunately in my left hand I smiled at Jon who smiled back and to this day I wonder if he saw it coming. The old bull was hit through the neck and momentarily paralyzed. As I perched atop his mass of black hide and muscles he suddenly came to life and snorted a breath and kicked his two left legs, which if you will remember were sticking straight out and one of them between my knees. For a second I thought I was a goner but then my training kicked in and suddenly my .40 caliber Smith and Wesson was in my right hand and headed for the base of his brain. I don't know if it made contact before it went off or not but it did its job well and the beast went limp. Suddenly I realized I was about ten feet away and looking at the bull from a different angle than before. The owner, standing up the hill on the road shouted at us asking what was going on. In true Capstick fashion I replied, "just paying the insurance".

kelly

kelly

 

Spent the week at Branson and got some fishing in to boot.

I recently traveled to Branson with my wife and some others from our church. We attended a conference at the Hilton and stayed there for three nights. Wow, what a place. We had a large room overlooking the Landing, the scenic railway train and of course, the lake. I managed to sneak off and do some fishing during the times when the meetings did not include me. I only caught eighteen trout during the few times got out but as usual with me I had fun anyway. I ventured to the dam right as the water shut off. I tied on a silver Kastmaster and fished it right under the cable. Its funny how the lure can be in mid retrieve with the Sun shining bright and no fish biting and then a gust of wind suddenly puts a chop on the water and wham you get bit. This happened so often I sometimes found myself waiting for a windy chop to make my cast out past the shallows to the deeper water where I dreamed the bigger fish were lurking. The last time I did this I caught Crappie, perch and a Smallmouth bass, not so this trip. Every trout I caught was a "Hammer Handle" or "Silver Bullet" as Phil Lilley calls them. They were fun though. I moved to the MDC ramp downstream and the fun continued as I caught a few trout there while watching a man teach another how to fly fish. I almost cheered when he hooked into his first fish but I figured he might be like me and did not want to be recognized for finally doing something everyone else has probably done many times but instead wanted to jump up and down on the inside and take it in stride on the outside. You know, the manly way. I also fished off the dock at Lilleys Landing that week. I laughed as I fished with Duane and Paul. Mainly I laughed at the two of them giggling over the latest creation to come from Duane's fly tying vice. If they didn't catch something on a jig they would disappear into the shop and a few minutes later emerge with something of a different color or with eyes on it and off they'd go again. I love seeing grown ups have fun and the fact that they knew me and included me in their antics meant a great deal. I witnessed something I had never seen before that week. I suppose it has to happen to some extent each time the water is suddenly turned off at the dam but I watched the lake run backward. And it not only ran backward, it did so for about six hours. The only time I witnessed anything like this before was once last summer while fishing below the lookout I saw waves, about four feet high suddenly rear up and wash upstream for a distance of about forty or fifty yards. This went on for about fifteen seconds and was very violent. So much so that it made me glad we were against the bluff bank as I'm sure it would have swamped us. Well anyway, I caught fish in the cold and the semi-warm weather, stuck my rod in the water to melt the ice out of the eyes and, oh yes I was attempting to show a friend, whom had accompanied me that day how to catch a Sculpin behind Phil's dock with a small jig when a Brown Trout about eighteen inches long rocketed out from under the dock from about fifteen or twenty feet away and inhaled my jig. I had no idea a fish could see that far under water. So here I was trying to climb down from the walkway to the bank, which had snow on it without going swimming. I was giggling myself and groaning because it was a long way for a broken down old man to bend over on a steep bank. Anyway he broke me off when I got him out of the water and took my jig with him. Fortunately the jig was barbless so he shouldn't have much trouble throwing it. My week was great. I had a great time worshipping the Lord with friends and got to eat, shop, sight see and fish with my wife and friends, but boy was I ready to get home after four days of not sleeping in my own bed. When we opened the door to the house late Thursday we were met by a couple of grandsons, ages two and four. What an end to a nice vacation, leaving something you love to come back to something you love. To coin a phrase; It just doesn't get any better than this.

kelly

kelly

 

I Like To Think While I Fish

This evening I had the chance to head to the creek. It is spring, despite what the weather seems to say about it and that means White Bass. (Sand Bass for those with an accent). I arrived about two hours before dark thinking this water is too much like chocolate milk to catch fish, but fish have to eat so I stayed. I managed to catch about fifteen Whites before it got dark and, I had a good time doing it. The real fun was in my head of course, remembering the times I brought my dad there and all the fish we caught together. I also thought about the times mom fried fish and Morels for lunch or made her delicious catfish gumbo for supper. I heard a deer snort behind me. I knew what that was because my dad taught me to recognize the sound and imitate it myself. He could call crows with his voice, you know. A beaver slapped the water in front of me and I remembered the time late at night, us fishing the strip mine pits and I heard that noise for the first time and my dad had to show me what it was… and reassure me it wouldn’t get me. There were Ducks on the creek tonight and Geese honking around the bend. Then about dark the owls began their chorus of “Who cooks for youuuuu” and that evil laugh they make. My boys used to listen with young wide eyes to the owls when we entered the woods before daylight on a deer hunt. I guess it sounds like a Sasquatch when one is ten years old…or fifty-three. When I walked out of the woods tonight I thanked God for my family who taught me to pray, took me fishing and went fishing with me, taught me to survive in the woods, build a fire and eat something I found on the ground. You know… the important things in life.

kelly

kelly

 

A Family Deer Hunt

The phone call came just after dark one evening. The voice on the other end was a familiar one saying he had a little boy that wanted to tell me something. It was the special Kansas youth Deer season and I knew what was coming. A few seconds later I heard the excited voice of my seven year old great nephew, Gryffin telling me he had just taken his very first buck. He went on telling me how big he was, how far away he was, what gun he used and then dropped the bomb. “Uncle Kelly we can’t find it”. With that his dad picked up the phone and asked if I could come and help, I told him I would be right there. I turned to my wife, Linnet and told her I needed to go help Josh and Gryffin find a Deer. Like I needed to tell her anything, I was probably grinning and jumping around like a puppy while I pulled my boots on. They live only about seven miles from us so I made the trip in no time. Pulling up in the driveway I found a smiling kid standing next to his dad who was also grinning from ear to ear. After a quick story about where they were hunting, the shotgun slug and the miss on the first shot I found out the deer was in the weeds and boy howdy did he mean weeds. They had been hunting from an elevated stand less than a mile from home when the big eight pointer made his way into the clearing. Gryffin raised his weapon, a 20 gauge slug gun and fired. The gun bucked but the deer just looked around. He tried it again and down the buck went and…into the eight foot tall horseweeds, about twenty acres of them if my memory serves. So now here we were standing where the deer had stood trying to size up the task ahead of us. Did I mention it was pitch black now? Fortunately Gryffin’s dad, Josh is a real outdoorsman and he owns a dog, not just any dog mind you but the kind of dog a real outdoorsman should own. One that retrieves ducks finds downed quail, sleeps on the bed and oh yes, she is an accomplished deer retriever too, with a few deer already under her belt, so to speak. This story is one of triumph over adversity as Gryffin’s older brother had gone to be with Jesus about six months earlier at the tender age of eight. Very few can understand what this family has been through and are still feeling. This short respite called deer hunting was just one of the things they really needed, to laugh and smile and slap each other on the back and tell stories if just for a night in order to fill that vast emptiness inside. And we did just that. Ella, a Black Lab found the Deer in short order, in the creek and we began the task of hauling him up the creek bank and pushing over the impenetrable forest of horseweeds to walk on top of them while dragging a two-hundred plus pound eight point Whitetail Buck, what a beast. Did I mention it was still eighty-five degrees outside? We wrestled that bruiser over the weed field and into my new and as yet un-bloodied truck. Fortunately the tailgate sits as high as the top of the fence and we slid the bed mat over the barbed wire. We were sweating in tall horseweeds now. Taking that deer back to the house was one of my prouder moments in life. I counted myself lucky to have been called to come and help. Gryffin showed his deer to his mom and younger brother and sister and then Grandma and Grandpa showed up and it started all over again and he did not forget to tell them about the weeds and how hot it was and about standing in the middle of the creek in darkness because Uncle Kelly forgot to bring a flashlight. As any seasoned hunter knows there are duties to perform after the harvesting of a big game animal and this was no exception. I felt blessed to stand back and watch as a proud daddy showed his son the how to’s of field dressing and skinning, which he thought was gross. We wrestled the Buck to where we could weigh him and he pegged the scales at two-hundred pounds even. My lower back had picked that number hours earlier. There was much joy in my just watching these things progress as it reminded me of similar times had when I was a boy. My big brother Keith’s first deer and how we processed it in the back yard. My Grandpa “pappy” and his first and I believe only deer in the same backyard. I thought back to my first one and then the many times my dad took us out hunting, fishing and camping. The night we put a cold hot dog in Mom’s sleeping bag and how she screamed, even though she was on to us from the get go. That trip was the only time I can remember seeing my Grandma “Pansy” . There is a point in about every circumstance where one no longer feels needed or is unable to add to the festivities. That time came for me that night and I really did not mind it at all. I got to be part of a family deer hunt and recovery and the celebration that followed. I took photographs and hugged kids, petted dogs and shooed chickens. My experience was complete and I went home happy.

kelly

kelly

 

Of Duds And Deer

Another great day in the woods came to a close this evening. I went deer hunting... again, with my son Steve and a couple of friends. We started off in the middle of a mile section surrounded by cedar trees mostly. If you have ever hunted amongst the Cedars you'll know what I mean when I say it's the ultimate corn maze. Steve and I spotted some deer in a cut bean field so we glassed them a bit ...from a hilltop. As daylight overcame them they began to mosey to the Cedars, but we were already there, waiting. What grows wild, in the woods that would make a deer run in circles? Whatever it is she had a bunch of it. A single doe, obviously excited by the four smallish bucks nearby, ran in circles for about ten minutes in and out of the line of bucks. She jumped in the air and kicked to one side then the other. I'm guessing she had heard all the stories and wanted nothing to do with them, anyway the bucks seemed to shrug her off and continue their beeline to bedtime. Steve picked out a deer and settled in for a shot. I covered my ears and waited...nothing. The deer trotted some and I burped at him (yes a big 'ol Diet Coke burp) and he stopped, I waited and, again nothing. The deer decided he'd had enough and sprinted for cover. I looked at Steve and said nothing as he held up a rifle round with a nice big dent in the primer and the bullet still in the other end. He told me he pulled the trigger raised and lowered the bolt and and tried again but to no avail. He had to console me. I hate it when opportunity knocks for one of my kids then the door slams shut. Anyway we decided to skirt the hillside to see if we could cut him off and fifty yards later as we rounded a rockpile I heard Steve say "Dad" then his rifle boomed. Another forty yards and high fives and back slapping ensued. Steve had not hunted or taken a deer in years and he did not care if it wasn't the bull of the woods. It was like that first one all over again. We began the chore that always accompanies the taking of big game and after retrieving my deer hauler from the truck he rolled him off the hilltop and I followed, my camo coat suddenly seeming a size too small.

kelly

kelly

 

Cops On A Pig Hunt

Hey, do you want to go on a wild hog hunt in Texas no less? The call came in late November and as Bryan spoke with his Sergeant visions of wild hairy beasts with long tusks filled their heads. They agreed on inviting a few more of their fellow officers and soon the plan was in motion. The guys spent the month of December looking forward to and planning for their first pig hunt. Well, their first as a group anyway. Bryan had killed a pig just after high school graduation but that seemed like a lifetime ago. Now it was January ten years later and suddenly it was time to load the truck. The Suburban loaded real nice with the rear seat removed and hitched to it was a twelve foot trailer that carried a Polaris 4x4 and a deep freeze. Various boxes and bags of camouflage clothes, rifle cases stuffed with a favorite gun and whatever food would go with wild pork chops. They seemed to be prepared as well as they could envision, given they would be hunting in daylight and at night with spotlights and night vision, which is legal there... Bryan just wanted to get going and when the time came the four of them climbed aboard and departed. Four guys, all cops who worked the county in and around Dodge City, Kansas, they really needed this break. Bryan had chosen his trusty patrol rifle, a Ruger 556 in .223 and had fitted it with a Redfield red dot sight scavenged from his dad’s Redhawk .44 magnum revolver, which was on his hip. A little bit of custom fitting and he was shooting holes in holes at the range. The trip went quickly as they eagerly switched the chore of driving among themselves while the others undoubtedly slept since they were, after all the night shift and were used to sleeping the day away so to speak. The Deputies from Kansas had always worked hard running traffic, investigating accidents, gang crimes and drug deals and even tracking down a bank robber earlier that year. But this hunt was a chance to do something different, something exciting and memorable. Something they had never done before as a group. They arrived at the ranch and after stowing their gear they got right to it. Meeting with the land owner they agreed on a plan for the first afternoons hunt and set about finding their stands. Sitting in a ground blind under what would have been an elevated deer blind earlier in the year, one could hear pigs squealing off in the brush a hundred yards away. The feeder in front of the blind promised some action about dark, but when it went off the only thing to come running were Cardinals. They broke for supper and decided to return later that night. Things, as they sometimes do went awry from there on. Only one pig was taken that night but with it came a report of poachers. The land owner did not enlist the help of the party of hunting cops, he didn’t have to. They all immediately began doing what they do best, hunting man. Now, hunting man may seem a somewhat morbid term to use in a hunting story but the reality of it is that is what law enforcement is and has been since the first man was appointed by his peers to find the bad guy who had wronged someone else. Bryan had come from a long line of cops as his father was a Kansas Deputy, his Great Grandfather was the Pawhuska Oklahoma City Constable and another grandfather down the line was a Deputy U.S. Marshall. Truth be known the entire hunting party had it in their blood. So the boys in blue camo set about their task and over the next few days rounded up a total of fifteen poachers in numerous groups. Apparently the place was lousy with them. They killed no more pigs but they did succeed in making a lifelong friend of the landowner and impressed the local Game Warden to boot. It might seem a more fitting ending to this story to say the landowner refunded their money but after all they did hunt and take a pig under his guidance. But then one must consider the chosen profession of the hunters. As it turned out they paid a modest fee to travel to Texas and do what they do best, enforce the law. But this time they did it in the Texas landscape dodging the scrub brush and washes while riding in UTV’s and pickup trucks, communicating with cell phones and walkie talkies. Not quite like the Marshals and Rangers of yesteryear but doing the best they could with what they had. I’ll bet they had a blast.

kelly

kelly

 

I Went Fishing The Other Day

I went fishing the other day. I took Marlan and Gary with me as they are two very good fishing buddies, and it was the least I could do. We fished the trout pit south of McCune and had a blast. Now by blast I mean we caught fish, of course but more than that we connected again as friends. Now don’t go getting all girly and mushy on me, just hear me out. This work, work, work lifestyle we all lead can wear on a person from time to time and because of that once in a while we need some camaraderie and good old fashion fun to recharge our batteries. This was just such a trip. We hunted the Trout, literally. We stalked them and threw to them during their swirling surface dances with their fins out of the water while eating who knows what, these fish were far off shore, thirty to forty yards and it took a quarter ounce spoon to reach them but when we did they came a running, so to speak. Three grown men whooping and hollering like kids, laughing and telling stories, if you can imagine that and all the while the sun dipping low in the west. This meant our time together would soon come to an end but we ignored it and fished on. Off in the distance we could hear a deer snorting at whatever spooked it, and then a few turkeys gobbled. A few minutes later the owls began their chorus of spooky nighttime tunes followed by the coyotes howling to tell the world they were alive and well and on the prowl. And we continued to catch trout. I looked off to the west as the clouds cleared and witnessed a brilliant reddish orange orb sinking into the horizon and noticed it’s reflection off the water , still so bright it turned my friend Gary into a mere shadow just a few feet away. In thinking back on our trip we began by decided to just go fishing but I think down deep we all knew we were looking forward to a great time with friends, the kind of trip one tells their kids about. Well we had just such a trip and it came via something as simple as the opening of one’s eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of Gods nature, given to us to enjoy and relish and talk about. I thought about going back tonight but I really didn’t think I could improve on that memory so I just stayed home. Sometimes I wonder if stopping to smell the roses and relive the good times we’ve had with family and friends is enough and concluded it is…but not always since, of course we have to take those trips and make those memories first in order to relive them. I dearly love those times spent with friends and family where we agree this was the best trip ever. But I thank God for the ability to remember them years down the road and relive that smile on a long past father or mothers face or try to once again hear a child’s voice quiver with excitement at the marvel of doing something special for the first time. I hope I live a long while.

kelly

kelly

 

What I Learned From Losing My Hunting Vest

went to the Deer woods today. I didn’t buy my tags early enough to hunt the daylight hour but, being the early riser that I am I went none the less, after lunch. This was my first day out this year so naturally, no Deer. I mainly went to check out my ground blind, which in this case is a fancy term for a clump of trees in the middle of which, I stand and hunt. The trees were still in the same place as were the Deer, which was not that same place so I amused myself redefining my hunting territory by breaking off the odd limb I dreamed would get in the way of a spectacular shot. I also counted off the paces to the tall yellow grass, still twenty-five yards away just like years previous. It’s funny how trees will sprout limbs and saplings will grow six feet in a year but the tall yellow grass is set in its boundaries. People are like that. Some are adventurous and some like the recliner, but I digress. Last year, during Deer season I somehow misplaced a brand new insulated, reversible, camouflage hunting vest that I found on sale at the Sportsmen’s Mecca of the Ozarks. I hunted high and low, questioned my son extensively about his choice of equipment during gun season, sorry Jeff and finally gave it up as lost. I had asked God to help me find it numerous times as I searched in vain and behold today was the day. As I approached my tree clump my keen hunter’s eye spotted evidence of someone’s having used my stand without my knowledge as there on the ground laid some sort of camouflaged thing. Of course you have figured out by now it was my long lost vest left there while I pursued big game on foot last November, you know, the “rolled to my knees” story. As muddy, smelly and unrecognizable as it was with small sprouts actually growing from the fleece I shook it vigorously and hauled it home in the back of the truck. I will attest to the toughness of polyester in its ability to fend off the elements. A simple wash and dry and we are friends once again. I have friends that are like camouflage polyester. I don’t see them for a year and when we finally meet again it takes no time to catch up and suddenly it’s like we never parted. Here’s to them for, like a patient hunting vest they are indeed good friends.

kelly

kelly

 

A Trout Fishing Excursion

I went trout fishing the other day. Actually fourteen of us fished for four days on Lake Taneycomo near Branson, Missouri. This was our twenty-fifth year for this trip and the usual suspects showed up, kids, brothers and friends. We floated the lake in an array of boats catching trout, we polished some props in the gravel, we ran out of gas but surprisingly no one went in the water. One night we watched a Ferret cruise the dock looking for a meal and saw an Otter swimming the outside looking for the same thing. All while sitting in the back of someone’s boat under the dock catching trout in the dark. This is the time one really gets to know a friend, when there is nothing much to do but talk. It’s dark and cold, because the water’s only forty-six degrees, fish are busting the surface all around. Ahhh, if we’d only had a campfire… We saw sunny skies, rain, wind, a hundred other boats and three times that number of fishermen. We motored to the dam through a maze of currents and water only about a foot deep in places. Fly flingers, bottom draggers, finesse jiggers... we all caught trout. Did I mention it was all you can eat rib month at Rib Crib? That was a long noisy table what with all the laughing, talking and smacking. I lost count of the number of ribs I ate but I am sure I also lost the contest. We met a guy named Doug Gabriel there too. He was handing out passes to his show down on the strip. Nice fella with an equally impressive pair of boots on his feet. I’m sure his show was a good one but we were all so full of ribs and, well you know how sleepy one gets after tying on the feed bag following a hard day on the water. Sleeping that close to the water is just plain peaceful. Always cool and quiet with the birds gently waking you at five every morning. Oh well I had to go fishing anyway. If you haven’t figured it out yet this was a fishing trip. No shows or shopping. No night life other than the occasional ice cream cone after supper. In the twenty-five years of making this trip we have had about the same crowd with the same idea, fish till you drop then when you wake up do it again. We’ve always taken our own food, except for the ribs and always let the cook go for free, he’s done it fourteen years straight now. He even has two menus so we don’t have to eat the same thing every three-hundred-sixty-five days. We’ve witnessed Lilleys Landing Resort go through it’s growing pains to become a wonderful place to stay and we’ve watched Phil and Marsha’s kids get bigger each year until now they’re practically running the place. We missed Jerry Lilley this year. He’s with Jesus now as well as three or four of our original fishing crew and of course we told stories about them all over again this year. People just look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them my friend always Bob threw his fishing rod overboard when he’d had enough, every year. One year Gary caught it and gave it back to him. Bob took that one home that year. Bob embarked on his final life journey to meet the Lord that year after a long battle with cancer. He never made it back to the lake. I hope that someday the people I love will continue to do the things we do, like fish and hunt and take kids to the zoo and ride motorcycles. But I hope they will remember that we all made each other’s lives a little bit richer just by being together while doing something we loved. I hugged all my kids that weekend and that beats all the fish in the world.

kelly

kelly

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