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There are limits to fishing

Editorial by Bobby Tingle

 

BassChamps is in town this weekend. According to Ida Schossow, president of the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, limits have a role in setting the hook to get this tournament here.

I have always known that fishing has limits. My father was a fairly avid outdoorsman. He and I had a lot bonding time in the outdoors. At a very young age, I began following him around pine trees and hardwoods in rubber boots with enough clothing to produce sweat on a cool day. Usually, I was practically dipped in mosquito repellant. The rubber boots, I was told, prevented snakebites. There were water moccasins in those woods incapable of biting through rubber.

On a normal outing, I kept my eye on him as I navigated the brush and branches. He kept his ear trained on finding the barking dog. Missy, then Pepper, had been trained to run a squirrel up the trunk of a tree and then bark skyward until we arrived. It was our job to find the fur ball and knock it out of the tree with shotgun blast.

But ducks were our favorite prey. On one unsuccessful squirrel hunt, after shooting most of our ammunition, while walking back to the car, we heard the quack, quack, and quack of a flock of ducks in the area of a known pool of water.

I do believe my dad nearly hyperventilated.

We had three shotgun shells and one shotgun. He decided I would be the lucky one to exploit this obvious opportunity. He gave me instructions on what to do in order to put myself in the best position to harvest the most ducks from that pond.

I considered his instructions and asked, “Would you like to go instead?”

Never did he take an offer of mine so quickly.

Now my job was to hold Missy, to make sure she did not spoil the moment. I did so successfully. He disappeared into the forest. I heard boom, ducks quacking and wings flapping. Boom again and then again.

It lasted about a minute maybe.

When he returned he had three ducks. (I can’t give any more details than that. I just hope the statute of limitations has run its course on bag limits. Just in case a game warden reads this.)

We never went fishing or sat in a deer stand. I heard other outdoorsmen talk about those activities.

Then I went fishing. It didn’t take me long to see the limits of fishing. I could bait a hook and wet a hook. But I could not figure out how to pull something out of the water with a hook, attached to monofilament, spun from a reel attached to a pole. At least I never pulled any fish out. Pulling weeds from the bottom of lakes and rivers was my specialty.

The only thing a deer stand is good for is a good nap. Some stands are in trees several feet off the ground. Taking a nap in one of those is dangerous. Besides I do not like my feet to be higher than ground level.

But those weren’t the limits Schossow referred to.

Up until recently the state of Texas required anglers to release any bass caught that measured less than fourteen inches. But the state of Louisiana allowed anglers to keep bass caught measuring twelve inches or more. The difference put Orange at a disadvantage when seeking to attract fishing tournaments. So a local contingent sought to get a limit change in Texas and they did for this area where bass are not at the top of the food chain and therefore do not grow as large as in other areas.

I spoke to Chad Potts, president and founder of BassChamps, at the City of Orange boat launch Friday afternoon. He confirmed the limit change in the State of Texas. He applauded the efforts of the local community recruiting BassChamps. Those efforts played a huge role in bringing his tournament to Orange.

Two more tournaments are scheduled next year. One is coming in April and the other in June. According to Schossow, both should be big events.

When I asked Schossow what is attracting these tournaments to Orange she always talks about the limits. But I suspect she and a host of others in the community have just plain worked hard to recruit.

Nevertheless, fishing definitely has its limits. I will continue to limit my time fishing to zero.

I will take my naps on my couch. Somebody else can have the deer stand.

 

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. He can be reached at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com