Along the Colorado River

My dad and oldest 2 sons fishing on the Colorado River.

My dad and oldest 2 sons fishing on the Colorado River.


I grew up on the Colorado River…also the Pecan Bayou. It was a long ways to either, but my daddy loved to fish. And he loved to run trot lines. So I was his Number 1 right hand man/kid to go with him.

I loved to go out with him at night best tho…that’s when he’d run the trot lines, usually along the Colorado. To think that I could be out at midnight in the a boat, pulling in fish or baiting lines was just too cool!! I felt like I was living on the edge…only I had no idea what living on the edge meant.

It was the sounds of the night that intrigued me the most…and sometimes scared the bejeepers out of me. The frogs hollering at the top of their lungs…something hitting the water from the banks and swimming off into the blackness…hearing the catfish hit the top of the water…or worse, a coyote…or something, howl and send shivers up my spine. But all the while, my dad was pleading with me to “Keep quiet!” Talking would scare the fish away and I did NOT want to be the responsible party for scaring fish.

The talking really wasn’t a problem. It was the part about not getting within an arm’s reach of my dad that I strived for. Which was a problem for him because it was pretty hard to pull in catfish with a kid up underneath his armpit. But I always felt sure that nothing or nobody could EVER hurt me as long as I was with my dad. At 6’6″ and 250 lbs., I felt completely safe. Even from bears.

We were still going down to the river when I was preggers with our first son. My uncle was with us. His job was biscuits. He was an expert biscuit baker/cook/guy. As long as I had known him, Uncle Dub could make biscuits that would make grown men cry and small children beg for more. And he made them in a cast iron Dutch oven that he buried under hot coals from our campfire. That year, we also had watermelon…which I discovered made me swell up like a toad. I thought Uncle Dub was going to have a heart attack when he saw me the next morning after our watermelon feast! Lesson learned more watermelon until #1 was delivered!!

The love of fishing and The River was quickly passed along to all three of our sons. They lived for the week they would get out of school and we’d pack up and head for Texas! Oh the plans they had because they knew Pawpaw would have a river trip in the making. There would be camping and fishing and swimming and weiner roasts and best of all…star gazing. We could track satellites as we were stretched out on our cots looking up the heavens.


Our youngest son trying his hand at fishing on the Colorado, 1984.

My mom and I went along until The Year of the Ticks. It had been a great trip. We had caught several good messes of catfish and swam until we were waterlogged and red as beets. One night, my mom kept itching…we were bedding down in the shack on cots and the guys were outside. I grabbed a flashlight and told her to let me see her back.

OH my gosh. There were kazillions of little, teensy seed ticks crawling all over her. I spent most of the night trying to pick them off…and scratching myself at the same time. We couldn’t get home fast enough the next morning, EARLY! Neither one of us had slept and we could hardly wait to get to a shower and some Avon Skin So Soft to help disinfect us from the ticks!!

And now…I’m itching! 😀

That was our last River Trip.  We decided our job was to stay at home and leave the guys to deal with the ticks.  I hate ticks.  Creeps me out just typing this.

I thought about all of river trips when a ChristyFest guest commented  at the Christy blog today. He mentioned how he always tried to  leave the outdoors uncluttered as he traipsed through the Great Outdoors. I told him Daddy used to tell the boys as we were preparing to leave, “Boys, don’t leave nothing but your footprints. Just footprints.”

And we didn’t. We took the memories with us and left the footprints!!

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12 Responses to Along the Colorado River

  1. Melinda Strickland says:

    Did you ever frog gig? Those are my most favorite memories of late nights with Dad–we even found the gigs (no long handles though) in Dad’s workshop when we moved the contents here. The best memory of going fishing with Dad was that he always managed to fall in! I think it was purposefully accidental to stay cool.
    You may have heard this last story because it happened soon after we married and we were all still living in the same little West Texas town. Husband and Dad were wearing tall waders in inner tube floaters fishing the Colorado River near Gorman Falls. Mom and I heard them hollering and walked down the river to find them. They had ventured into water that was too deep for them to touch bottom; their waders had filled with water, and the current was pulling them farther down river. I had to use a rod & reel to cast a weight (“No hook,” they kept hollering!) close enough for one of them to catch. I then had the honor of reeling in my biggest catch ever!
    Thanks for jump-starting the memories of such special times!


    • The Queen says:

      Frog gigging was one activity I opted out on, altho I don’t remember him going much…mainly reminiscing about going as a kid. Don’t think I had heard the wader story…will have to ask BB if he had!! Too funny!!


  2. Dianne says:

    I ran trot lines with my dad on Lake Leon before school. We’d get up in the dark and it would just be daylight when we got there. We baited with perch from a trap in a tank we’d pull in on the way. One morning we had a bull frog tadpole in the trap. I kept that tadpole until he grew legs.


    • The Queen says:

      The only time I remember going was at night. I must’ve not been a morning person then either!? Nancy and I used to catch tadpoles in the streets after huge rains and nursemaid them to the frog stage. Then they were icky. We were not dedicated tadpole moms.


  3. Suzann coffey says:

    That was a great story Debbie!! I didn’t know your Daddy was that big of a man! He was about Seth’s size now— Seth might have a few lbs. over him though! Lol Your youngest son looks just like you in that picture!! And all of your Grands look like you I think!


    • The Queen says:

      And BB’s dad was 6’5″…never have figured out what happened to us!? I’ll bet your mom and dad knew him. He was the manager of the meat market at M’System and could sharpen a knife that would shave the hair off his arm. Many people though he looked like me when he was little. 🙂


  4. Pete says:

    I have been there in spirit and reality. I passed my love of fishing, and yes sometimes catching, on to my two children. Then two summers ago my grand daughter came to Alaska for her first visit and my daughter took her for her first fishing at a nearby river. She was ‘hooked’! When we went up North to the Arctic circle she made me stop at almost ever river and stream. When you think about it, not a bad tradition to hand down through the ages.


    • The Queen says:

      Yep, it’s GREAT tradition actually! Stories go that my dad’s dad preferred occupation was fishing. But wow! Fishing in Alaska. One of these days, I’m going to Alaska!! Beautiful place!! Thanks for stopping by!


  5. James Waller-Davies says:

    I had similar experiences – but on the upper reaches of the River Cleddau in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. Boys and fishing. You just can’t keep boys (and Labradors) away from water. Almost 40 years later I still fish, but now with a fly rod on tiny trout streams in North Yorkshire.
    I like you attitude to the environment too – I’ve always felt that people who fish, hunt, etc, have a strong ecological affinity with nature.


  6. Fancy Nancy says:

    Just now reading this! Great memories of your sweet daddy, the gentle giant!


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