Fishing Nomads

In early August, our nephew Sid asked if he could come visit for a week before he had to return to school. My sister Juli called the night before to be sure of the meeting location on the north side of Wichita, Kansas – the halfway point for both our parties to meet.  Juli would be heading south from Nebraska and we would drive east and then north for about four hours. After settling on meeting up at a Cracker Barrel, Juli asked if it was alright for Sid to bring his own fishing gear. Immediately I was wondering where on earth I was going to take Sid fishing. I had not fished in years, and this time of year with the heat, fishing could be mighty slow.

So there would be plenty of room for everyone, plus bags and fishing gear, we decided to drive the old 1996 Ford Crew Cab pickup truck to Wichita to pick Sid up. Everything went well with the trip in “Big Green”, until our air conditioning went out on the way home. Even with the windows down, the 101 degree breeze did not do much to cool us off. And then, fifty miles from home, the battery warning light came on the dashboard. Fortunately, we made it home without any further complications.

Due to a deadline for a project at FD’s workplace, he could not take off work, and I was left entertaining Sid most of the week. And, with the truck having issues, it could no longer be our fishing vehicle. FD would be driving his two-seater car to work, leaving me the only other vehicle – our old 2001 Jaguar VDP. It runs like a top and is a comfortable ride, but I was worried Sid would be embarrassed – I mean, to begin with, who goes fishing with their auntie? And in a four-door Jaguar?

Sid had plenty of opportunities to help out with wildlife chores while he was here. Daisy showed up most every day with her buck. Sid helped feed and cut greens for Emma and Ronnie deer, and fed Buddy the squirrel pecans .
Sid had plenty of opportunities to help out with wildlife chores while he was here. Daisy showed up almost every day with her buck. Sid helped feed and cut greens for Emma and Ronnie deer, and fed Buddy the squirrel pecans . Plus he helped out with those two orphaned opossums we had for a day.

Being a dedicated fisherman, Sid could have cared less about the car. I got him a fishing license at Walmart the first day out, and by the second day fishing we had to stop at Walmart again so I could get a license. At first I had talked myself out of a license thinking I would only watch Sid fish while I read a book or took photographs. But after the first day, I had gotten fishing fever myself! No way was I letting Sid catch the big lunker without a challenge – the old competitiveness in me had returned!

Sid had plenty of unwanted attention while he fished the farm pond. Each evening they showed up to see what was going on... likely hoping for some feed!
Sid had plenty of unwanted attention while he fished the farm pond. Each evening, the cattle showed up to see what was going on… likely hoping for some feed!
FD took us fishing at a farmer friend's pond almost every evening. We did not keep any of the fish, but they sure were fun to catch and watching the evening sun set was magnificent!
FD took us fishing at a farmer friend’s pond almost every evening. We did not keep any of the fish, but they sure were fun to catch, and watching the evening sun set was magnificent!

Every single day, Sid and I fished. We packed up the old Jag and ventured off as soon as we had fed breakfast to Emma and Ronnie deer and did not return home until late afternoon. And as soon as FD got home from work at 4:30, we repacked and took off to fish some more. Most nights, we arrived back home after dark, ate a quick bite, and hit the hay. I was exhausted, but each morning I found myself excited about fishing again! One day, Sid and I ventured to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to fish some small lakes there. Not having done our homework of mapping out where the lakes actually were, we spent a lot of time meandering around for miles in the car, looking for a lake without a map or cell phone signal… but it was an adventure. We spent a lot of time hiking to lakes, only to find thick algae and moss along the banks. On one of our hikes to a lake, I discovered a boggy area where hundreds of Common Buckeye butterflies were congregated. Of course, I did not have the zoom lens with me at the time. And while driving, we happened upon a lot of wildlife in the refuge that one does not always see close to the road. One old buffalo in particular, walked alongside our car for quite a little distance. Thousands of gnats and flies swarmed him while he plodded on, but I found him absolutely magnificent! Down the road a little further, were more bison and, another mile down the road, a herd of longhorn cattle. And, as we were exiting the park, a flock of black vultures were standing along the roadside – it’s a rarity to see black vultures. Most of the time we see turkey vultures in our state. Our fishing luck was not the best that day, but I think Sid enjoyed himself. I know I did, and I surely had better luck with my camera than I did with my fishing pole.

This was the only image I got Sid to look my way. He was pretty serious about fishing the entire day we spent at the lakes of the Wichita Mountain's Wildlife Refuge.
This was the only image in which I got Sid to look my way. He was pretty serious about fishing the entire day we spent at the lakes of the Wichita Mountain’s Wildlife Refuge.

Sid Fishing_6916 Sid Fishing_6921

On the last day Sid spent with us, we ventured to Oklahoma City with one destination in mind – Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. I believe we spent nearly three hours there, and I am not sure what all Sid looked at, but I had an easy time finding him when I was done shopping. He was, of course, still in the fishing department where I had left him. After asking a pro about a bait casting reel and getting a demonstration of how to set all of the doo-dads (I can’t remember what all those thing-a-ma-jig knobs and dials are for!), and getting some tips about faux pas to avoid with bait casting reels, I had Sid choose the reel that he liked, and we found a nice rod to complete the rig. After that, we headed to his favorite Oklahoma City restaurant, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. With all the fishing trips we had taken, this would be the first real lunch we had eaten all week. All of our other lunches were sandwiches and water, iced down in a cooler. Thinking back, those sandwiches and the setting we ate them in, were better than any restaurant had to offer.

This water turtle came right up to us at our first fishing stop in the Wichita Mountains.
This water turtle came right up to us at our first fishing stop in the Wichita Mountains.
This blue heron was the only fishing competition we had at the last lake we fished at in the mountains.
A blue heron was the only fishing competition we had at the last lake we fished at in the mountains.
The landscape in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife refuge is spectacular any time of year.
The landscape in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife refuge is spectacular any time of year.
This magnificent bison crossed the road in front of us and proceeded a short distance from us towards a large herd of bison.
This magnificent bison crossed the road in front of us and walked along a short distance from us as he moved towards a large herd of bison.
We saw a large herd of longhorn cattle as we meandered our way home on the back roads of the refuge.
We also saw a large herd of longhorn cattle as we meandered our way home on the back roads of the refuge.

And so the next day, it was not an odd feeling at all to ride all the way to Wichita, Kansas in the old Jaguar with Sid’s two rods and reels resting in the backseat, the rod tips poking into the windshield at the front seat. Indeed, the fishing nomads were on the road again! And all the way to Wichita, there was plenty of talk about how, the next time Sid visited, we could head further south and maybe hire a guide to do some serious Striper Bass fishing down at Lake Texoma. Yep, I am pretty sure my new fishing partner plans to come back next year…

© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


19 thoughts on “Fishing Nomads

  1. All I can say is that Aunt Lori entertained her nephew Sid very well. I am sure he’ll remember those days for the rest of his life. The pics are great and Sid is a handsome young man.

    Don’t know how ya’ll made it home with no ac. It must have been miserable.

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    1. As soon as we rolled those windows down and the heat hit us, I remembered the days no one had AC in their cars! As a kid, I never thought a thing of it, but now that I’ve been spoiled most of my adult life, it’s a big adjustment not to have AC. Sid didn’t complain one bit. We also discovered on the way to Wichita that the fuel gauge on the rear tank of our truck (it’s a diesel) isn’t working correctly. The truck started running real rough, but the tank still said we had 1/4 of a tank. Not so!! It was empty!! So it goes with old vehicles – but the good thing is it’s paid for and insurance is cheap… and maintenance cost is nothing at all really. All of our vehicles are old.

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      1. Nothing wrong with an old vehicle. Mine are too. One is 1998 GMC 4×4 dual cab and the other is 2007 GMC single cab. They are both V-8 because that’s what my husband wanted and needed. Bit of gas guzzling but I drive those trucks carefully. 🙂

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  2. LOVE the pics!!! Sid had the BEST time while he was there, I have no doubt he’ll be back next year, probably with Emily by his side!! Thank you so much for all the adventures, AND for making the long trips to Wichita and back; it sure made our drive much easier!!

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    1. You are welcome. Both of those kids made memories for us this summer that will last a lifetime. Both Emily and Sid are good kids… I am so happy they wanted to visit. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Audrey! It’s really special to know kids who love nature. Kids that grow up with electronics or immersed in athletics miss out on a lot I think… but that’s just my opinion.

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    1. It has been a great summer – Sid’s sister Emily was here in May… then Emma and Ronnie arrived… Daisy and her little buck show up down below (often when I’m making wood piles in the woods), Buddy comes for pecans every day – it’s been a terrific summer for FD and me. And you’re right, Sid was cool with everything. 🙂

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  3. Hahah…you really made me laugh with your tale of fishing nomads! I think that’s the first time I’ve heard of anyone throwing their fishing gear in a Jag! My brother is an avid fisherman and as you say, they don’t really care what car they go in, they just want to fish! I love that your old competitive streak set in. It sounds like you didn’t disappoint Sid at all. You sound like a pretty cool aunty to me. That buffalo is pretty special too! 🙂

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    1. It was as if Sid and I both found pleasure in doing our own thing that week. I did enjoy the fishing, but I also managed to get camera time too. And that day in the mountains was exceptional where wildlife was concerned. We saw such varied life… it was a special day… a special week.

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