Archive for Around the Campfire

Jun
02

Ask Randy

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Send your questions to Randy Rowley, FCS president, at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.  Questions are in red/bold font.  Responses are in black font.  Some categories have multiple questions.  Please see if a question has already been asked before contacting Randy.

3D Archery Shoots Costs
Ammo
ARs
Bank Fishing Holes
Bass Fishing
Bay Fishing Rigs
Clothing
Concealed Handguns in Church
Crossbows
Deer Hunting
Duck Hunting
Duck Stamp Not Received
European Mounts
Feeders
Fish Finders
Fishing Holes and Bait
Fishing Line for Baitcasters
Fishing Rods
Fly Fishing
Game Cameras
Gun Appraisals
Gun Bluing
Gun Gifting
Gun Sales
Gunsmiths
Hog Hunting
Hunting Camp Tents
Hunting, Hunting Camp, Gun Range, and Sighting In Rules
Lake Conroe Duck Hunting and Fishing
Lever-action Rifle Recommendations
Loctite for fiberoptic Shotgun Sights
Popup Blinds
Recipes
Rifle Caliber for Kids
Rods & Reels
Silencers
Shotgun Gauges
Shotgun Recommendations
Shot Size and Calls for Turkeys
Taxidermist
Texas Outdoor Annual Disclaimer
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May
15

Quicksand by James Matysek

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Isaiah 38:16-17

New International Version

16 Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too.  You restored me to health and let me live.

17 Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.  In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

It’s tough to write about such things but I know I’m surrounded by people who are also wild at heart looking for their something to make sense of it all.

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Feb
21

02/21/24 Officers Report

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On the third Thursday afternoon in January, six FCS members arrived at Port O’Connor (POC) for our annual self-guided/chartered blast and cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip).  As Thursday looked like it would be the best day for fishing, we decided to try that instead of hunting, as we often did in the afternoons.  It was too windy to head to the jetties, so we decided to head to the back bays. Read More→

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Jan
25

1/1/24 State of the Club Report

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Saturday afternoon started slowly at the FCS fall self-chartered bay fishing trip to Port O’Connor.  After an obligatory nap, three friends and I headed in my bay boat to the outer jetties.  We fished the rock pile at the start of the south jetty, but all we succeeded in hooking there were rocks.  After around 30 minutes, we decided to try the south jetty rock wall.

We went to a spot that we dubbed ‘yellow rope’ as it had a yellow rope lodged in the rocks near the water’s edge.  We proceeded to throw live shrimp, spoons, and Vudu shrimp to no avail.

After around 10 minutes, we decided to troll down to the yellow platform/tower, as it often has fish in the vicinity.  We threw lures as we went.  I sat in my boat’s bow (front) fishing chair, simultaneously throwing a gold spoon, and keeping my trolling motor running parallel with the jetty rock wall. Read More→

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It was still dark when three friends and I arrived at Lake Decker, east of Austin.  We launched my bay boat quickly and soon were heading down the primary lake arm towards the lily pads by the power plant’s discharge.  We arrived and quickly discovered a problem – the lily pads were gone!  Most had receded out of sight of the water’s surface, as they typically did in the fall – but this was late August! (The current heat wave probably made them recede early.)

Still, it was as good a place as any to start, as there was a lot of surface scum and grass that bass could hide under to ambush breakfast.  We started throwing topwater lures – mainly frogs. Read More→

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For years I’d heard about a white bass guide on Lake Belton.  Although he had a great reputation, I never investigated him as he practiced catch-and-release, and FCS fishermen told me repeatedly that they wanted to keep their legal catch.  But after years of inconsistent hybrid/striped/white bass fishing trips on Lake Buchanan, where we averaged three hybrid/striper keepers per trip, I decided that catching 20+ white bass with the Lake Belton guide was appealing, even if I couldn’t keep them.

I found the guide (Bob Maindelle) via Google and researched him.  All 25 reviews were 5-star.  Many reviews praised his knowledge, experience, professionalism, disposition, and top-of-the-line equipment, which I greatly value.  He also had an incredibly detailed website, which I also greatly value.  I soon contacted him about a trip and emailed FCS a poll.  Three guys wanted to go with me, so I scheduled a trip for early June. Read More→

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On a cold Saturday in mid-December, the morning broke late due to a heavy overcast.  It was dark when I went to my pop-up blind so I didn’t notice the cloud cover.  But now that it was getting light, the gray skies and the dampness made me wish I’d stayed in bed.

To add to the dreary day, the birds and animals at the little ranchette near Round Rock seemed to share my depressed mood.  Nothing was moving – no deer, birds, or even squirrels.

The property is thick with squirrels and normally they begin scampering up and down the trees and chasing each other at first light.  But not this morning.

I scanned with my eyes right to left and back dozens of times.  I focused along the full creek, a favorite haunt of the local deer herd.  I had just made another sweep to the left and was returning to the right when, as if in the blink of an eye, there stood a young buck.  As I glassed him, I thought, “Where did you come from?  You weren’t there a couple of seconds ago!” Read More→

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On a cold late afternoon on the last day of deer season, I sat in a ground box blind near a creek on a lease near Blanco that I shared with three friends.

To say that it had been a disappointing season was an understatement.  During the summer, the landowner had a barbed wire cross fence built that ran the length of the property.  We didn’t think his fence building would disrupt deer season, but the deer thought otherwise. I’d only seen two deer during my previous hunts there. Read More→

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As anyone who’s duck hunted with me knows, I have a hodgepodge of decoys.  I bought most of them on clearance at Academy during several of their after-Christmas/30% off sales.  I’d buy a half dozen or dozen of their Game Winner brand decoys, usually, redheads or pintails, each year to either add to my collection or replace casualties from the ongoing season that were too damaged to repair, usually from people stepping on decoys while they were moving around in my boat. Read More→

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In mid-December, my wife, Chris, and I went on a deer and hog hunt and bass fishing trip on the CZC Ranch near Mercury with my son, Ryan, and his girlfriend at the time, Beth.

On Saturday morning, Ryan killed his first three deer.  On Saturday afternoon, Chris and I hunted from an elevated stand.  Around 30 minutes before sunset, about 15 hogs ran to the feeder.  I wanted to shoot one of the big hogs, but they constantly moved and were blocked by smaller ones.  Believing I wouldn’t get a shot at a big hog, I chose a medium-sized boar at the front of the herd.  I was given a broadside presentation and squeezed the trigger of my Remington Model 700 in .25-06.  He fell without taking a step, as did a smaller boar behind him that we hadn’t seen.

On Sunday morning, I caught 14 bass, and Beth caught four (her first fish). Read More→

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Mar
08

Classified Ads

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This web page is solely a service provided by the Fellowship of Christian Sportsmen (FCS).  This service does not constitute or imply FCS’ association, endorsement, or recommendation of any of the following listings. Read More→

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Jan
01

1/1/23 State of the Club Report

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Categories : Columns
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Jan
01

Free Solo OG Camper

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Posted 8/29/23

Clark Flynn has decided to upgrade to a bigger camper, so he is selling his 2021 teardrop camper. Read More→

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Jul
29

Rodeo at the Jetty by Randy Rowley 8/10/22 ©

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On a Thursday morning in late July, six friends, my wife, Chris, and I headed to Port O’Connor (POC) for an FCS bay fishing trip.

On Thursday afternoon, Chris and I fished with live shrimp at the south jetty from our bay boat.  We caught a few undersized redfish and trout, and non-game fish.  I also put a medium-sized crab on a 13/0 hook out in the channel, away from the rocks.

After 1 ½ hours, we decided to try another spot.  After reeling in my shrimp and securing the hook and rod & reel combo, I turned around to reel in my crab.  But something didn’t look right, and I quickly discovered the problem – most of the 120 yards of line on my baitcasting reel had been spooled, and all that remained was the initial loop knot holding the line onto the reel!  Fortunately, the line went at a 45-degree angle away from the jetties. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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On a warm morning the day after Independence Day, my wife, Chris Rowley, and I headed to Lake Austin for an FCS bass fishing trip the day after Independence Day.  We launched at Mary Quinlan Park and headed north towards Mansfield Dam.

It was very foggy, so we had to go slowly.  We stopped at one of my favorite spots by Harrison Hollow, in front of a huge house on a tall hill, about 2 ½ miles from the park – the water level drops from around 7’ to around 4’ there. Read More→

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Jul
16

Guns and Accessories for Sale

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Jul
01

New Yeti Cooler for Sale

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Tim Price has a new 30-inch-long (approximately 45 quart) tan Yeti cooler for sale.  He’s asking $275.  Contact Tim at 512-970-9862. Read More→

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Jul
01

RV Moving and Storage Needed

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Posted 2/22/24.

Tim Price has a 1988 30′ Gulfstream RV that he needs help moving to your place.  It has 68,000 miles, a 454 engine, four new tires, a new battery, working A/Cs, working generator, working TV, microwave, awning, and barbecue grill on the rear bumper.  It needs two cabin batteries and to be moved off a property in Georgetown.  The sticker says 2016 but they were driving it with an out-of-date sticker for quite awhile.  Payment for moving and storing it is you get to keep it.  Contact Tim at 512-970-9862.

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Categories : Classified Ads
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In early January, seven friends and I arrived at Port O’Connor for a weekend FCS coastal self-guided/chartered blast and cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip).

On Friday afternoon, Binh Chu, Burl Fulenwider, Daryl Shipper, and I hunted at the back of a small cove.  Although no ducks wanted to come into our decoy spread, we managed to kill four ducks via pass shooting (shooting them as they flew by).  I killed a pintail drake and a redhead drake, Burl and I teamed up to kill a redhead hen, and Binh and Daryl teamed up to kill a redhead drake.

When my group returned to the POC Fishing Center, it was pitch black.  Daryl tied his boat up to a pier post and stayed in his boat.  As the rest of us exited Daryl’s boat onto the wooden dock, I warned, “Everyone be careful – only two men have ever walked on water, and none of you are them.”  Binh left to get Daryl’s truck and trailer.

When I saw Binh driving towards the ramp, I walked over to Daryl’s boat to untie it from the pier post and took a step where I thought there was a deck – but it was nothing but air (instead of being squared the end of the deck was at a 45-degree angle).  I quickly discovered I couldn’t walk on water and was completely submerged. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Jan
23

1/23/22 State of the Club Report

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Categories : Columns
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I recommend a floating camo blind bag.  They’re not waterproof, but if your bag gets knocked off your boat it won’t sink, unless you have a lot of weight in it. Read More→

Categories : Articles
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Feb
22

2/22/21 State of the Club Report

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Categories : Columns
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I have been having problems with two of my game cameras not taking pictures.  At first, I thought that it was the SD cards so I bought two new ones and the cameras still were not working.  I replaced the batteries and still didn’t have results for one of the cameras, so I figured that it was toast (it’s about four years old).  So, I bought another one. Read More→

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Sep
10

Choosing a Deer and Hog Rifle Scope by Randy Rowley

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When I first started to hunt deer (back in 1976), hunters considered rifle scopes as optional equipment.  There was even a segment of hunting society that considered scopes as unsporting, unmanly, and/or cheating.  Since that time, scopes have become prominent, and hunters now regard them as standard hunting equipment.

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Categories : Columns
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Jan
25

1/25/20 State of the Club Report

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Categories : Columns
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I recommend the following minimum gear for deer/hog hunting backpacks (in order of importance): Read More→

Categories : Articles
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On a cool and overcast Saturday morning in mid-January, three friends and I headed to the marsh between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas for a weekend duck hunt.  We miscalculated when we needed to depart and didn’t make it to Wilson’s Cut (from San Antonio) until a little after sunrise.  The blasts of several shotguns going off in the distance greeted us as we unloaded the kayaks (aka yaks) from Greg Souther’s trailer.

Mark Dillow brought his two yaks, loaning one to Kevin Wall, Greg brought his yak, and I used a yak Mark rented at a Corpus Christi yak shop. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Jul
04

Snarled by Randy Rowley 7/4/19 ©

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On a hot and muggy morning in late June, Ryan, my son, and I launched at the Marker 37 Marina in Corpus Christi and headed to the Packery Channel’s south jetty.  We found a spot devoid of jetty fishermen, activated my Minn Kota Terrova Riptide’s anchor lock, and started to offer live shrimp, cut bait, and artificial lures.

We caught a few croakers and perch but no game fish.  After about 30 minutes, we grew tired of losing our shrimp for no tasty rewards and headed to the large hole just west of the 361 bridge, where the water drops around 27 feet.  I positioned my boat equally between the shore fishermen, activated my Riptide’s anchor lock, and we resumed fishing. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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On a Saturday in mid-September, my SUV croaked about 100 feet from a clinic in East Austin.  Fortunately, I was able to push it into the parking lot.  The next afternoon as I waited on a wrecker to pick up my SUV, I listened to shotguns blasting in the distance.  After the wrecker left, I went hunting for the source of the shotgun blasts and found it – it was at least 20 hunters in a field off of Exchange Blvd. in Austin, shooting at dove. Read More→

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On a warm weekend in late March, four friends and I headed to the Hill Country Hog Ranch near Sabinal for a weekend FCS hog hunt.  Guns were prohibited, so we brought strings and sticks (bows and arrows).

It was a 3,300-acre ranch, but we were interested in its 35-acre rectangular-shaped hog pen – the owner kept around 100 hogs in it.  Each side had a couple of gates hogs could push open with their snouts, but they would spring shut after hogs entered the pen.  Therefore, they could get in but couldn’t get out. Read More→

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May
29

Found by Randy Rowley 5/29/19 ©

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On a Friday afternoon in mid-April, seven friends and I met Justin Cooper, the owner of Laguna Adventures, at the Marker 37 Marina in Corpus Christi for an FCS self-chartered bay fishing trip.  Justin owns the floating Laguna Madre cabin #2 that we had booked.  After settling up with him and getting the cabin’s GPS coordinates, we headed to our home away from home.

After we arrived, we stowed our non-fishing gear.  We then headed towards The Boat Hole.  We mostly fished with live shrimp but tried artificial lures as well.  Daryl Shipper anchored with his Minn Kota iPilot around 200 yards from shore.  I decided to try to get as close to a short rock wall as possible.  This proved easier said than done, as we kept running aground. Read More→

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May
17

Blinded by Randy Rowley 5/17/19 ©

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On an overcast and drizzly day on the second Saturday in September, three friends and I headed to Joel Kirby’s A-OK Ranch near Lometa for a blast and cast (dove hunt and bass fishing trip).

The dove were sporadic, as they often are in that area.  Kevin Wall led the way bagging nine, I bagged seven, Mark Dillow bagged two, and Ken Miller bagged one. Read More→

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On the third Saturday in November, Ron Denison picked me up for his first deer hunt on a ranch near Hamilton Pool.  By 5:45 AM, we settled into a stand made for two.

Around four minutes before legal shooting time, a deer suddenly snorted at us to our left.  That was surprising because there was no wind, we weren’t making any noise, and we were wearing full camo, including mesh facemasks.  We found two does in our binoculars, one significantly bigger than the other.  One or both continued to snort at us intermittently, around 25 yards away in a thick grove of oaks.  I had a clear shot at the bigger doe at legal shooting time.

But I had a dilemma.  She was on my side of the stand, but our primary mission was to get Ron a deer.  For Ron to shoot, he would have to lean over me, probably making a lot of noise.  As I mulled over the best solution, the does walked away.

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Dec
31

1/1/19 State of the Club Report

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On the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, I put my safety harness, light jacket, and backpack on, grabbed my Winchester Super X4 (SX4) 12 gauge shotgun, and walked towards the west side ladder stand on a small property near Round Rock.  I was hunting with a shotgun as the property was too small to hunt with a rifle safely.  As I neared the creek, a doe ran out, followed shortly by an eight-point buck.

He was in range, but I had two problems.  For starters, my binoculars were in my backpack.  I couldn’t tell with my naked eye if he was a legal buck for Williamson County, which requires bucks with branched antlers to have a 13-inch minimum inside spread.  Secondly, my shotgun wasn’t loaded yet, as I would soon have to climb the stand’s ladder. Read More→

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Oct
09

Groaning by Randy Rowley 10/09/18 ©

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During my many years of hunting, I’ve heard many sounds – barely audible, loud, frightening, crashes, growls, howls, shrieks, screams, and cries of agony.  But on a hot Saturday afternoon deer hunt in early October, I heard a sound I’d never heard before.

I was driving towards the parking area on a property I was hunting outside of Round Rock when suddenly, I was greeted by a doe running in front of my truck and then towards the creek, with a young 8-point buck following her in hot pursuit. Read More→

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On a Friday in late March, David Chalmers, Warren Hoke, and I headed to the El Portillo Ranch near Charlotte (about 45 miles south of San Antonio) for an FCS semi-guided hog hunt.  David Smith, the owner of Texas Wild, met us when we arrived.  After settling up, he showed us the ranch.

Later that afternoon, I took David and Warren to their chosen stands.  I then headed towards mine.  As I was driving down the dirt road, I noticed a stick standing straight up about 50 yards ahead.  I was a little perplexed, as I didn’t remember it being there earlier. Read More→

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On a warm Saturday in early June, my son, Ryan, his future wife, Claire, and I arrived at Lake Decker, east of Austin, for a bass fishing trip.

After launching my boat in the darkness, we headed over to the hot water discharge.  After going halfway up the discharge, I shut off my main motor and turned on my trolling motor.  After my boat’s wake had dissipated, we saw several tiny splashes on the water’s surface.  It looked like rain, but we knew it wasn’t raining as we weren’t getting wet – the little splashes were caused by small minnows hitting bugs.
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Categories : Devotionals
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My second motorboat, a 1989 18’ 4” Champion 184 fiberglass bass boat (old-style fish and ski) with a 150 HP Mercury motor named Champ, proved to be a good bass boat.  He could cruise at 50 MPH with two guys in the boat and 48 MPH with three.

But Champ had a big limitation – he was just a transport vessel when I took people duck hunting due to his mostly white hull.  As he wasn’t camo, I couldn’t duck hunt out of him as I could from Bob – my previous camo aluminum V Hull boat.  With Champ, we’d go to where we were going to hunt, unload our gear, move him at least 75 yards away, and cover him with a camo tarp. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Aug
01

Thwarted! by Randy Rowley 8/1/18 ©

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With considerable anticipation, my brother-in-law, Roy Brigman, and I boarded Captain Dannie Golden’s boat on Lake Ray Roberts on a Saturday in mid-August for a morning of bass fishing.  Dannie is the Get Bit Guide Service owner and has a great reputation.

We were booked to fish with him in early March but postponed our trip because a high chance of thunderstorms was forecast.  Two days before our scheduled March trip, one of Dannie’s clients caught a 15.18 lb. bass, setting a new lake record.  As the spawn was long past, Roy and I knew we probably wouldn’t catch bass anywhere near that large, but we hoped to catch some keepers and a decent-sized one or two. Read More→

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On a chilly Saturday morning in April, Roland Olivarez and I headed to Lake Pflugerville for an FCS self-chartered bass fishing trip.  When we arrived, we found we had the lake to ourselves.  But it wasn’t the cold that kept other fishermen, who are usually kayakers, away – it was undoubtedly the projected 15 – 25 MPH winds with gusts up to 30 MPH.

Motorboats are allowed on the lake, but they cannot use their gas motors.  But I couldn’t have broken that rule if I’d wanted to, as I’d sold my gas motor for parts shortly before this trip after a piston went bad.  That left my Minn Kota 74 lb. thrust trolling motor and two paddles for propulsion.

Two months before this trip, the trolling motor and paddles weren’t up to the task on a windy day on Lake Decker.  Shortly before this trip, I bought a new 12-volt deep cycle battery to power the trolling motor, along with my existing one-year-old 12-volt deep cycle battery.  I felt confident my trolling motor was now up to the task of handling the projected winds. Read More→

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On a hot Monday in June, two friends, my wife, Chris, brother-in-law, Roy Brigman, and I hopped in Captain Jay Garrett’s boat on Lake Belton for an afternoon FCS guided hybrid bass catching trip.  After several years of these annual trips, I started calling them ‘catching trips’ instead of ‘fishing trips,’ as we usually engaged in the former.

We ran across to the dam side of the lake and slipped into a cove.  We knew Jay had found the right spot, as we soon spotted a large school of shad right by the bank – they were probably pushed there by hybrid bass.

Jay anchored his boat near the shad, baited a hook with a live shad he’d caught earlier, and handed me the rod.  I set it per his instructions – press the spool release button and pull the line from the reel to the rod’s first guide six times.  I cranked the reel 1/4 turn and set the rod in the bow (front) port (left) rod holder.

As I went to get another rod from Jay, I heard an unmistakable sound – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!  A fish had hit the first shad!  Chris promptly grabbed the rod and started fighting the fish. Read More→

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On an overcast but mild Monday in February, two friends and I arrived at Lake Decker, just east of Austin, for a morning of bass fishing from my boat.

The weather forecast called for 10 – 20 MPH south winds, but it was calm when we got there, so after launching, I went along the northwest bank using my Minn Kota 74 lb. thrust foot-controlled trolling motor.  A piston in the gasoline motor on my boat had stopped working the previous July, and I sold it for parts rather than rebuild a 21-year-old engine, leaving my trolling motor and two paddles as our means of propulsion.

Two hours later, after throwing every type of lure we could think of without success, we decided to head back the way we’d come.  The south wind had picked up, and we had to run straight into it.  So I turned my trolling motor up to half power.  As we progressed, the wind strengthened, causing me to continue increasing power. Read More→

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Jan
30

Patched by Randy Rowley 1/30/18 ©

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As five friends, my son, Ryan, and I were preparing to leave my house for an early January FCS coastal blast and cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip) to Port O’Connor, Daryl Shipper asked to borrow my spare neoprene waders.  Daryl had brought vinal waders, but he knew the water would probably be cold due to recent cold fronts.  I said, “Sure,” and threw them in my truck.  I wasn’t concerned about them because they hadn’t leaked the last time I used them about a year before this trip. Read More→

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Dec
31

1/1/18 State of the Club Report

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As every experienced sportsman knows, hunting, fishing, and sports shooting can be hazardous to your health.  Almost all of us have experienced scratches, cuts, scrapes, punctures, bruises, and burns while engaging in our favorite pastimes.  Fortunately, fewer of us have broken bones or experienced other injuries requiring ER visits while doing what we love.  And even fewer of us have almost met God or met God while pursuing our passions.

Perhaps it’s because I hunt, fish, and shoot more often than most sportsmen, or maybe it’s my friendship with Mr. Murphy, but I’ve experienced what could have resulted in severe injuries or death on at least five occasions. Read More→

Categories : Devotionals
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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

Bible Verse of the Day

A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous.