Good morning, and welcome back to Ridin’ Out the Recession…in Miz Judi’s Kitchen! Thank you all for stopping back in and visiting with us once again
This morning I’m going to share a few more memories of my Granddaddy and me at “the camp.
The Camp Pt. 2:
One thing that sticks out vividly about the camp is night falling and going to bed. I started going down there with Granddaddy when I was around 3 years old, and by the time I was 5 or 6, I was down there every chance I got, until I started school.
Once we’d laid down at night, we’d talk. We talked about anything and everything, and to me, Granddaddy’s word was gospel. You wanted to tick me off royally, dispute me when what I was saying was what I’d heard from my Granddaddy. These were literally fighting words.
Quickly, from the camp maybe a couple hundred yards was Hwy. 441, and back then this was the major roadway, so trucks ran all night long. We’d lay there in bed, and listen to them coming up the highway, and he’d ask me, “Which way is that one coming from son?”
I’d guess, and honestly it was pretty hard to tell, because you were out in the middle of miles and miles of woods. I guess the truck’s racket echoing off those trees and swamp lined roads, is what made it hard to know for sure, but it was hard for me to tell.
But we lay there and talked and talked, and I’m here to tell you I was in “hog heaven!”
Many times I’d just about doze off and something would land on that tin roof, and I’d snap right awake and be asking, “Granddaddy, what was that?”
He’d roll over and say that’s probably a big ole coon, son.” Remember, the old camp was up underneath and old oak hammock, and them dern coons or squirrels, would be up in those trees feeding on them acorns, and making all kinds of racket!
You know as a child, when it got dark outside, things took on a whole new perspective, and an ole coon dropping out of those trees onto that tin roof, was quite startling…to me anyway! Granddaddy used to tell me, “Son, there ain’t nothing out there at night, that ain’t out there during the daytime.”
I thought on that a minute or two, and told Granddaddy, “That may be the case, but in the daytime, at least I can see em!” He thought that was funny…I wasn’t so sure!
Something else I remember about the camp pertains to sleeping. Here in Florida during the summer especially, you’re subject to have showers daily. Now most times these showers would be just exactly that, just 30-40 minute showers. But every so often, they’d set in and just rain all afternoon, up until evening.
Now when this happened, boy it was a real treat at the camp. We’d been out there working, and were hot, sweaty and dirty. We’d run get back up to camp, wash off, and go inside and watch and listen to it rain.
Boy, the temperature would fall twenty degrees or better, and there’d be a good cool breeze going, and before too long, I’d doze off. That rain beating on that tin roof, would sure put you to sleep, and the last thing I’d remember was Granddaddy fixing to fire off the Coleman stove to cook our supper.
Fishing at the Camp
Uncle Odell, I’d mentioned before, had several irrigation ditches cut to pump water to irrigate the groves. They really weren’t ditches, but really canals, and deep, they had to be.
Well, no exaggeration, but these things were absolutely loaded with largemouth bass, BIG largemouth bass! You could go to one of those canals and catch fish till you just didn’t want to catch fish anymore, I swear! Deb’s been down there a time or two, and caught her share too!
Sadly, Uncle Odell sold the place a few years back now, and I hated it, but they were getting up in age and couldn’t maintain it any longer. Their son Rick, my cousin, ran the place, and he literally ate, slept, and breathed that place! He absolutely LOVED it, and everything about it! But, in just a terrible, terrible, accident, he was involved in a car wreck and was killed.
What a tragedy, the man was a good, good man, and probably would have still been running the place to this day! I hate it every time I think about it.
Anyway, back to fishing at the camp.
Those fish loved a Rapala “floating minnow,” and you could chunk one of those dern things out, and when it hit the water, just let it sit, don’t move it. After 15 seconds or so, you could just bump it a time or two, then let it sit again. If they hadn’t already nailed it by now, just hang on, cause they was fixing to!
That ole thing would be twitching on top of the water just like an ole hurt minner(minnow in Yankee), and all of a sudden, WHAM! Those dern bass would literally just explode on that plug! I’ve worm fished, used lures that run under the water, but there’s nothing more exciting to me, than seeing a big ole bass just try to destroy a topwater plug. It’s literally an EXPLOSION when they hit it! Man, that’s fun! There ain’t nothing like it!
But the derndest thing I’ve ever seen was what Granddaddy showed me one afternoon, fishing at the camp.
If any of you fisherman remember this type of lure, please drop us a few lines in regards to using it. I’ve never seen it used, or even seen it period, unless with Granddaddy, but boy, it was deadly in his hands.
He called it a “dual-spinner.”
The first time I ever saw him use it was after one of our afternoon showers. I’d seen the dual spinner laying on a 2×6 nailed between the exposed studs and had asked him what it was. He told me you could put a piece of porkrind on one of the hooks, it had one large set of treble hooks, so it would trail the lure and it was a killer to big bass. He made it clear as well, it was for big bass.
It was kinda like a buzzbait, but was all on just one straight shaft, had a double-bladed spinner, the set of treble hooks, and feathers around them…that was it.
It was cloudy and late in the afternoon. I was probably 8 or 9, at the time. We went down to the canal closest to the camp, and put the little johnboat in. He’d cut the biggest, thickest piece of bamboo he could find, and tied about 3-4 foot piece of heavy line to it, and tied the dual spinner to the other end.
He told me to keep him off the bank 15-20 feet or so, and he stood up in the bow, faced the shoreline, and went to draggin’ that lure up and down, parallel to the shoreline, while I just barely kept him moving along with the paddle.
I literally got “a schooling,” that afternoon! That man had 8 or 10 fish in the boat in 20 minutes or so, not one under 6-1/2 pounds, it was absolutely amazing. Every fish that rolled it, was a big one!
I figured out in just a minute, why he’d cut such a long, stout pole, and used just a very short piece of heavy line. It was because as soon as they’d hit it, he’d just snatch em up outta’ the water, and put em right in the boat. Lift…in the boat, lift…in the boat, it was just that simple.
I had never seen anything like it before, or since…it was crazy how the fish, big fish, just couldn’t leave it alone, it really was. What I just described was the truth, and I’ve never seen a lure like it again. They tore the old camp down years ago, and I wonder if Rick ever found it, but don’t think he did. It was something else.
About 4-5 years ago, I had bought a fishing magazine and it had an article about this very same lure. I believe it was made in Tennessee, and they had a picture of the lure. I meant to keep that book, but somehow misplaced it, and it may even be laying around here somewhere today.
The article claimed though, that this lure had been banned in fishing tournaments, because it just caught too many fish. If any of you older fisherman remember this lure, please get in touch with us, I’d love to hear your stories of it.
I know the afternoon I saw it work, it was almost magical in the hands of my Granddaddy, standing there in the bow of that boat, draggin’ that lure back and forth, and the fish…they just couldn’t stand it!
Granddaddy and My First Turkey Hunt
My Granddaddy back then would rather shoot a big ole turkey than eat. He absolutely loved to kill a turkey! Deer he could care less about, said he’d killed a bucket load of em, but turkey, now that was a different matter.
We were at the camp one week, and he’d promised me we’d go turkey hunting before we left. Well, I’m sure I’d ‘bout drove him crazy all week, because that’s all I could think about.
The big morning finally arrived and he’d got me up WAY before daylight, and as a 6 year old, I was beginning to wonder if this turkey hunting was really what it was cut out to be. Shoot, them turkeys probably wasn’t up either!
But he got me up and moving, and told me to get my gun, and by then I was beginning to get excited again.
Mom and Dad had bought me an old single shot 410 shotgun, and I thought I was the cat’s meow, I was so proud of that gun.
Now Granddaddy had an old Winchester 12 guage pump, and that thing had a barrel that looked like it started off in Kenansville, and the front sight ended up in Yee Haw Junction! I believe at the time the Army probably had artillery pieces with shorter barrels than that dern thing had!
Walking to the blind, Granddaddy kept tellin’ me to watch him, and when he got ready to shoot, he’d say, 1…2…3…fire! Remember, 1…2…3…fire, you got it? I’d say YESSIR, I got it!
He told me turkeys are real skittish too, and once we got to the stand, I couldn’t talk, and couldn’t move, okay? YESSIR, I’d assure him.
We got to the stand, got settled in and it still wasn’t daylight. Them ole turkeys roost in a tree at night, and then fly down off the roost first thing the next morning, so he wanted us in the blind before them turkeys flew down off the roost, and we was.
It wasn’t too long after daylight, we spotted the first turkey or two. Then we noticed two, turned into six, and then twelve or better. They was still a little ways off, and Granddaddy whispered, “Remember, I’ll say 1…2…3… fire, don’t forget, when I say fire, you cut down on em, then I’ll shoot!”
Man, I was nodding my head, so excited I couldn’t hardly stand it! I was fixing to get my first turkey! It didn’t get any better than that. But still clearheaded enough to keep thinking, 1…2…3…fire, I was ready!
Well, them turkeys finally got close enough for us to shoot, and I saw Granddaddy put his gun to his shoulder, so I did the same, almost time now!
Granddaddy looked over at me, winked, and started counting, 1…2…BLAM, BLAM, BLAM was all I heard, and I saw turkeys on the ground, and the others taking off in flight! I ain’t even fired my gun! My Granddaddy had “fouled me, I couldn’t believe it!”
I looked over at him and he said, “Son, you didn’t shoot!” “Well heck,” I said, “You ain’t said three, yet!”
He told me, “Son, them turkeys is some wiley ole’ birds, didn’t you see their heads go to bobbing around? That means they had spotted us, and was fixing to fly! I thought you’d shoot once I started shooting! We had to shoot early, or we’d not got a one of em!”
Oh man, was I ever disappointed! All that, them heads was a bobbing, they were fixing to fly off, didn’t mean nothing at the time! I figured he could a yelled SHOOT, just as easy as he pulled that trigger the first time, and I told him so!
But, it didn’t take me too long to get over it, forty years or so, because I knew Granddaddy did love to shoot him a turkey!
One thing I did though, was to make a vow, right there on the spot. I vowed next time I was waiting for Granddaddy to say 1…2…3…Fire, just as soon as 1 come out of his mouth, I was gonna be shootin!
Thank you again for coming back to visit with us, we’re proud you did! Ya’ll take good care of yourselves, and we’ll see you next time!