Southeast Texas alligator
Fishing and Boating

June 2018 Fishing Trip on the Angelina River – A Short Story

The day started a little earlier than others when the alarm went off at 5:00 am. As soon as the alarm went off a war of attrition began in my head. One voice was talking about how comfortable the bed was and to forget about the fishing trip. The other voice was telling me to get up and go because in a few weeks the full brunt of the Texas heat will be here.

Realizing in another three or four weeks the July heat wave will be upon us, I decided to crawl (though reluctantly) out of bed and head to the shower. There is something refreshing about getting a morning shower.

Attire for the day was Levis jeans, green Carhart shirt, and Justin leather work boots. Typically, I wear shorts and sneakers on fishing trips, but this trip was different. Part of this trip was for pictures and videos. Rather than walking through a swampy area with sneakers, to decided to wear boots.

All of the gear had been loaded in either the Toyota T100 truck, or in the Weldbilt aluminum boat the night before. All that needed to be done was take a shower, get dressed, grab my everyday carry gear, and head out the door. I had wanted to leave the house around 5:30, but was able to leave around 5:20 or so.

Driving to the Angelina River

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Boating on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas
Fishing and Boating

Been Working on the Boat for Summer Fishing

Something I dearly love about spring, but was skipped this year, and that is going out on the boat. In March and April we had something like six weeks straight where it rained every weekend. It seemed like as soon as the rain stopped, the heat started.

Here it is mid-May, and it seems summer has arrived with a vengeance. Here we are in mid-May and daytime temps are in the low 90s. Where did spring go? I thought we were suppose to ease into the summer heat. It seems like only a few days ago daytime temps were in the 70s. Then again, this is Texas.

For one reason or another I have been putting off working on the boat. Last time it was in the water was two years ago, which is a shame. In all honesty, I love being out on the water. It seems like in only 20 – 30 minutes someone can go back 10,000 years in time.

I usually put the boat in at the Bevil Port boat launch of hwy 63 just north of Jasper, Texas. Once the boat is in the water, I head south on the Angelina River to Bee Tree Slough. Bee Tree Slough seems like time rolls back to the stone age.

Summer Fishing

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Tree Hugger
Random Ramblings

Planting Loblolly and Longleaf seeds

When settlers moved into the southern portion of the United States they were greeted by vast forest of Longleaf and Loblolly pine trees. These were majestic trees reaching heights of over 100 feet tall.

Human greed knows no ends. Vast tracts of virgin timber were cut down with no regard to conservation or the effects upon wildlife. By the time the 1930s arrived the Southeast Texas wild Turkey and Whitetail Deer were pretty much extinct. Because their populations had been decimated, turkey and deer had to be reintroduced to regions of Southeast Texas.

The Red-cockaded woodpecker which nest exclusively in Longleaf pine trees was almost made extinct by deforestation. The woodpecker covers less than 1% of its original territory.

What lessons did we learn from deforestation and habitat destruction? Not much. Timber companies still cut down old growth oak trees to make way for pine plantations. Thousands of acres are clear cut and replanted in fast growing hybrid pine trees. Old growth forest are gone forever, or are they?

One of my projects here on the farm is to restore a few acres for old growth oak and pine trees. […]

Bee Tree Slough Jasper Texas
Fishing and Boating

Disrespect For Nature

Friday April 25, 2014 my daughter and I went fishing on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas. We left the house around 7:30am, went to the Exxon gas station at the intersection of HWY 96 and HWY 190 for a bag of ice, went to the donut shop on HWY 190 then headed to Bevil Port.

For breakfast my daughter got a large kolache while I got a ham, egg and cheese croissant. While at the donut shop I asked my daughter if she wanted a chocolate milk to drink. She promptly replied she was not three years old anymore. I smiled, gave her a hug, and told her something like “nope, you are not three years old anymore.” Kids grow up so fast it seems time flies by.

The launch at Bevil Port was typical. Pull the boat around, unstrap, make sure the plug is in, load tackle box, life jackets, 5 gallon bucket of noodles, then pull around and back the boat down. The starter switch on the motor is going out, so I had to use the pull rope to crank the motor.

After a couple of pulls that Evinrude 30 fired up and off we went.

Trash on the river

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No Picture
Random Ramblings

Turning Points in My Life

As I was reading through an article on Toms Hardware about the greatest video cards of all time, I caught myself looking at the dates on the video cards, and then comparing those dates to things that were happening in my life.

Between 1996 – late 1999 were a great time in my life. My third son had been born in 1994, my daughter had been born in 1996, I had a steady job with good benefits, a little overtime here and there.

Then there were the video games such as Diablo, Quake, Red Alert, and the camping trips into Orangefield Texas in the mid 1990s.

The early Quakecons were a blast. Driving to Dallas, staying with my buddy “Acid Breath” and his wife for the weekend, those were good times.

Around August 1999 all of that fell apart when I was laid off from Allied Fabrication in Rose City. The company had recently lost a lot of money, I had missed time due to my drinking. When it came time to reduce cost, I and a couple of other people were let go.

In all honesty, I loved working at Allied Fabrication. They were a great group of people that I really liked working for.

Regardless of how much I liked the job, all good things must come to an end. […]

Remote camping site on the Angelina River
Fishing and Boating

Drawback to Remote Primitive Camping Sites

One of the major drawbacks to remote primitive camping sites, you never know what idiot you are going to end up next to.

November 24, 2012 a buddy of mine and I headed out to the Angelina river close to Jasper Texas to do some camping. These are primitive camping sites that are only available by boat.

We arrived at the camping site, set the tents up, then headed out to the river to do some fishing. Just before the juglines were set out, I got a call on my phone saying my son-in-law and his hunting buddies caught a hog in the river bottom. The dogs had chased the hog a long way from the boat, and they needed some help. But that is another story.

After helping my son-in-law and his hunting party pack the hog back to the boat, my buddy and I headed back to our camping site.

By the time we got back to the camping site we only had about one hour of light left. We broke out the camp stoves, cooked a quick meal of Mountain House freeze dried foods, then started the camp fire.

Shooting Into The Night

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Disaster Preparedness

River trip part 4

This update was supposed to be in 2 parts. The first part was supposed to be doing some maintenance to the boat, such as fixing some broken rivets. The second part was supposed to be taking the boat out on the river to make sure is running ok, and to to use a GPS to see how fast the boat can travel down the river.

Well, the boat never made it to the river.

Broken boat rivetThe front of the boat has a deck that is held in place with rivets. Over the years of walking on the deck the rivets have slowly pulled lose or broken.

Replacing the rivets

Use a drill bit the size of the rivet, drill through the middle of the rivet, the head should come loose.

Use a punch or drift pen to drive out the middle of the rivet.

If the rivet does not want to drive out, use the drill to drill it out.

Insert new rivet into the hole.

Use a rivet gun to secure the rivet. […]

No Picture
Disaster Preparedness

River trip part 3

Evinrude 30 Horsepower Angelina River TexasWhen planning a trip like a 100+ mile river / camping trip, its important to test your gear. Part of the testing phase is making sure your boat is in good running order. The purpose of todays trip was to test the boat to make sure it was in good running order.

A few weeks ago I put the boat in for repairs. During a recent camping trip a bolt fell out of the gear shifting lever, the water pump impeller has never been changed, and the spark plugs were looking a little old, the oil in the lower unit had never been changed and there was a short in the starter button.

Trip to the shop

I brought the boat to a local boat repair place. the service guy was told what I wanted, I even had him go out to the boat and take a look at something I wanted fixed. […]

Maxpedition Noatak
Hiking and Camping

Field Trip with a Nature Class

Contrary to popular belief, nature classes do not take their clothes off and run around naked in the woods. In fact its just the opposite. We keep our clothes on and drive to where we want to go.

Saturday morning the nature class that I am a member of did a field trip. The purpose of the field trip was to see some of the native and rare plants, and to see some of the unique geological formations around the Jasper Texas area.

At 8:00am we met in the parking lot of the Stump restaurant on hwy 255, which is just north of Jasper Texas. The places where we were going to go were old logging roads. The people that drove cars parked their vehicles at a nearby hotel, then we carpooled in the 4 wheel drive trucks and SUVs.

The first place we stopped at was on top of a pipeline. We parked our trucks on top of the hill, then walked around the rim of the hill top looking at different types of trees and plants.

After we got finished looking at the plants, we went back to the trucks, over the hill and down to a creek bottom. The cool thing about the creek bottom, it was filled with petrified wood. There were small pieces, large pieces and medium sized pieces. One of the men in the group was an amateur geologist. He talked to the class about the different types of trees that grew in southeast Texas during the last ice age – white oak, pine (conifer trees) and palm trees. […]

Jugline fishing
Fishing and Boating

A Weekend Of Fishing On The Angelina River

This past weekend was one of those weekends that seems like a blur. I spent 3 days out on the Angelina River running trotlines, juglines and fishing.

Long story short – Friday afternoon, get the trotlines and juglines ready; Friday evening go put the juglines and trotlines out, check everything Saturday morning, go back Saturday evening, check and rebait the trotline, put the juglines out, Sunday go check everything again, pick the trotline up, pick up the juglines, go fishing, get home Sunday around noon.

Now for the rest of the story.

Over the past week I had been making up some trotlines in the backyard. The local china-mart sells spools of trotline string with a 330 pound tinsel strength, this is what makes up the main beam of the trotline.

So I started off by measuring out 2 double arm lengths of string, which equals out to about 8 feet, tie a loop knot about 3 – 4 inches long, measure off about 8 feet, tie another loop knot, measure off about another 8 feet, another loop knot,,, repeat until I had about 120 of line. […]

No Picture
Disaster Preparedness

Wildfire in Jasper Texas

On Saturday June 18, 2011 the residents of Jasper Texas got the dreaded news, a wildfire has broken out in the Northern part of the county. Over the past couple of months Jasper county has been under a burn ban. But for some reason, people still continue to burn outdoors.

A few weeks ago a fire broke out close to Sand creek park on the south side of Dam B. After a couple of days the fire was contained. But this new fire was different, it was in a part of the county that was difficult to access.

jasper texas wildfire

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Southeast Texas Alligator
Fishing and Boating

Fishing in Sloughs and Gators

Short version: This morning my daughter and I went to a local park to go fishing. After a few minutes a 6 foot gator showed up to see what was going on.

Over the course of about 15 – 20 minutes, the gator slowly worked its way to within about 8 – 10 feet of the bank. the day was getting hot, and the gator was getting a little too close, so my daughter and I decided to pack up and go home.

Long Version: The day started off around 10:30am when my daughter decided it was time to drag herself out of bed so we could finally go fishing. I had already been up for a couple of hours, had gotten my shower, brushed my teeth, and even made a trip to the store to pick up a couple of low carb blue rock star energy drinks.

While I was waiting for my daughter to get ready, I went through my tackle box, sorted through some of my fishing gear, rounded up the fishing poles, loaded a small ice chest with drinking water into my truck,,,,, finally we were ready to go. […]

Weldbilt boat on the Angelina River
Fishing and Boating

Going Out on the Angelina River

Last Saturday my wife and I went out on the Angelina River south of Lake Sam Rayburn for a day of fishing and relaxation. Long story short, it was hot, my wife got sunburned, and she caught the only fish of the day.

I don’t know what it is, but the fish just were not biting. The fish were not biting pumpkin seed worms in a Texas rig, nor were they biting a beetle spin. The only thing we even got a nibble on was a worm on a perch hook.

The boating trip really started on Friday. The boat was uncovered, the battery charged, rods pulled out of the closet, and some drop lines were made up. One thing that I wanted to try Saturday was some drop lines.

So I went to wal-mart, bought a couple of noodles that most people keep in their swimming pools. The noodle measured something like 56 inches long. In the end, I had 8 noodles measuring 7 inches long. […]

camping angelina river jasper texas
Hiking and Camping

3 Day Camping Trip On The Angelina River

It all started several months ago when I was telling my buddy about the undeveloped / primitive camping spots on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas. Years ago we used to go camping along the bayous and marshes around Bridge City and Orangefield, Texas. But we have not done that in several years. So after talking for a little bit, we decided to take a camping trip on the Angelina River.

Back in early November, a date of November 29 – December 1 was picked. The permit was submitted and the site was reserved.

November 26, 2010

My daughter and I took the boat out to make sure that it would run ok for the camping trip, and to check on the site my buddy and I were going to be using. The site we had reserved was occupied on November 26th so my daughter and I could not stop and take a look at it. We just turned around, and headed back home. The boat ran fine, so there were no worries there.

November 28, 2010

My wife and I drop my kids off at my moms house where my ex-wife will pick them up. From there, my wife and I head over to my buddies house, visit for a little while, then he rides back to my house with my wife and I. Instead of him making the drive to my house Monday, we just picked him up on the way back home.
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No Picture
Hiking and Camping

Giving back to the community

angelina river jasper texasHow often do you give something back to your community? The other day I was watching one of those Law and Order shows on TV. Someone on the show made and interesting statement, it went something like this – “the same people that dodge military service, usually dodge jury duty.” I don’t know if that statement is true and correct, but it does bring out a sub-culture of American citizens that do not serve their nation in any shape, form, or fashion.

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No Picture
Random Ramblings

Where You’re at Right Now

Why are you where your at right now? What are you doing there? What course of events drove you to be at your present location?

As I get older, I think about my life, and the course it has taken. There is some regret, there is some happiness and some sadness.

A couple of weekends ago my family and I were up at the camp having a relaxing weekend. One of the people there was a long time friend of mine – we have been knowing each other since around 1977 or 1978,,, somewhere in there. At the day turned to night, we built a camp fire, grabbed the lawn chairs and talked about past times. […]

Angelina River Fishing
Fishing and Boating

Another Trip To The Angelina River

It was one of those trips that I have been wanting to make for a long time. The day before (July 9, 2010) I took the time to get everything ready – the gas cans were fueled up, the poles and tackle boxes were set next to the front door, the day packs were filled with fresh water, first aid kit, an Eversafe Meal, ice chest put in the boat… and a few more things were made ready.

The alarm clock went off around 5:45am – but I stayed in bed for a little bit. Got up, got my shower, brushed teeth, deodorant (you do not want body order while fishing), then I went into my sons room to wake him up.

While my son was getting his shower, and taking care of his business, I loaded the tackle boxes, poles and day packs in the boat.

We launched the boat at a place called “BevilPort” – which is off Farm to Market Road 2799, just Northwest of Jasper, Texas. As we were leaving the boat launch and heading south on the Angelina River, the sun started to break though the tree line.

It was a beautiful and memorial morning. […]

No Picture
Fishing and Boating

July 25 Trip to the Angelina River

The day started off kinda early (for a Saturday anyway). The plans were for my son and I to get up around the crack of dawn, get a shower, get something to eat and head out. But things did not work out that way. Instead of getting on the river around 6am, it was more like 8:30. But even if we got a late start, it was still a beautiful day, the gators were out and the fish were biting.

We launched the boat at Bevilport, which is a public boat launch off Highway 63. Coming from Jasper, Texas, you turn left at the VFW sign, then drive for about 4 – 5 miles. On the way your going to pass some nice looking fields with traces of old pecan tree plantations. There is one rather large field where the cows share the shade provided by a few oak and pine trees. […]

Southeast Texas alligator
Hiking and Camping

Alligators in the Angelina River

Anyone boating southeast Texas during the summer months stands a good chance of seeing an alligator.

On July 9 – 10, 2010, my son, my son-in-law, a friend of the family and I went camping at Bluff 1 – which is a primitive camping spot on the Angelina River. We got up that morning, and headed down stream to another camping spot that has nice rope swing. While we were going down the river, we saw a gator eating on something. At the time we did not pay any real attention to it and kept driving the boat to the place we wanted to go swimming.

Well, on the way back we saw the gator again – and it saw us. As soon as we came into view, the gator broke of its attack on the dead turtle, and headed into a slew. We were not trying to harass the gator, in fact we kept our distance to about 100 feet, or more.

The gator was swimming at a pretty good rate and instead of following it, we turned around to look at what the gator was eating on. At first we thought it was a hog – because the corpse had a dark spot. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a large fresh water turtle that had been dead for some time. […]