Friends in the wonderful outdoors

By Corbet Deary
This article was published May 11, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

I recently hooked up to Kenny Talbert's boat and headed to a recreation area on the south side of Lake Ouachita. Sure, he could have pulled it, but why not save my friend a trip, as he had his camper in tow and would be spending the next several days on the banks of the reservoir.

This would actually work out perfectly. Of course, the first objective was to set up camp. But we would also have ample daylight to do a little fishing before I had to head back home.

Although the wind was relentless, Kenny and I managed to boat several keepers. Again, everything was working out as hoped for. Kenny and his wife, Rebecca, would spend the next four nights in their camper.

I planned to return to the recreation area and fish with Kenny for the next three days. My wife, Sandy, had managed to schedule a day off, near the week's end. That in mind, we too would camp at the recreation area on the final night of Kenny and Rebecca's excursion.

A few other friends were planning to join in on the festivities on the final day and evening as well. Plans were to boat enough bass to feed all of us and our families on the final night.

We had little concern prior to the excursion. This was usually the time of the year when fishing was easy. Judging from previous years, the water temperature has reached the mid-60s by mid-April. But this wasn't turning out to be a normal year. We were still experiencing cold snaps and a succession of cloudy days was dampening the sun's warming qualities. In turn, the bite was lagging a week or so behind.

The unseasonably cool temperatures resulted in a different approach than what we had intended. In lieu of floating worms in the shallows, we resorted to securing soft plastics onto leadheads and fishing along steep and rocky banks.

Cooler than normal water temperatures were not the only obstacle we faced. In fact, that was the least of our worries. The winds had proven relentless during the initial day of fishing. And the forecast suggested that they would do nothing but intensify as the week progressed.

Fishing from my boat on the following morning, we quickly came to grips with the fact that this was one time when the weatherman hit the forecast on the head. The wind was already stiff at the break of day. And she continued to intensify as the morning progressed. We remained steadfast, though. To say we were slammed by the waves would prove an understatement. But we eventually managed to boat a mess of fish.

We came armed for bears the next day. Todd Frazior would fish with Kenny and Blaine Hoar would spend the day fishing with me. Well, it didn't take long to figure out that the wind would prove even more fierce than it had during the first two days.

The waves rolling across the bay were horrible. There were no doubts. It was essential to find pockets that were protected from the wind. It was our only hope for success.

Well, we managed to find a few spots throughout the day that were protected from the wind. But just because we found calm waters was no indication we would find fish. But persistence once again paid off, and we managed to boat ample bass to provide our friends and loved ones with an opportunity to gather and enjoy deep-fried fish.

After partaking in a meal unsurpassed, we tuned our guitars, gathered around and enjoyed a session of picking and grinning. It was an impromptu event. We had no song list to follow and sang everything from Merle Haggard standards to "I'll Fly Away."

As the evening progressed, our friends eventually disassembled and headed home. Casing my guitar, I still had a mental list of songs a mile long. But they could wait till another day. As I had certainly enjoyed the fellowship and was already anticipating our next opportunity to gather with good friends in the midst of the wonderful outdoors.

Sports on 05/11/2018
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