By: Glynn Harris

            I’m a hunter and there is nothing that gets my juices flowing better than to be sitting in my deer stand waiting for a buck or taking a seat on a moss-covered log watching for squirrels.

            As much as I am gratified by these activities, I’m never really disappointed if no buck appears or if the squirrels decide to sleep in this morning. Along with packing my firearm when I’m hunting, hanging from a strap around my neck is my camera. I have spent valuable moments observing and photographing other stuff going on around me in the woods. I’ve watched and photographed birds I don’t see around my feeder. I’ve taken images of a spider spinning a web, a caterpillar inching its way along the log where I sit. I suppose you could call me a “wildlife watcher”.

            This is why I got really worked up when I heard about a new book just out on the market, one written by a friend and one that last week appeared in my mail box. The author is Rob Simbeck whose home is located in a wooded lot just outside Nashville, TN. While I think of myself as a “wildlife watcher”, Rob has taken it to the limit in his book, “The Southern Wildlife Watcher”.  He not only studies the minute details of the wildlife he observes, his reporting of what he sees and learns about critters from eagles to earthworms; from hummingbirds to house flies; from starfish to snakes, leaves nothing to the imagination. For someone to make an earthworm sound interesting, Simbeck sets himself apart from goobers like me who pictures earthworms only as skewered on a fish hook. And I have the audacity to call myself a “wildlife watcher.”

            If I should happen to see a beautiful monarch butterfly fluttering around our lantana blossoms, I might say something like, “gosh, what a pretty butterfly!” Simbeck, on the other hand, shares detailed and utterly fascinating information about these incredible creatures. Quoting in part from his book “Four inches from wing tip to wing tip, a monarch weighs half as much as a dollar bill and has a brain the size of a peppercorn. Yet every fall, millions of them, just a few weeks old, begin an epic migration. From Canada and much of the United States east of the Rockies they head south over terrain they have never seen, toward a dozen specks of forest in the mountains of southern Mexico.”

Entomologist Lincoln Brower known for his research and work toward protection of the monarch added, “I couldn’t believe the density and numbers….it was like walking into Chartres Cathedral and seeing light coming through stained-glass windows. This was the eighth wonder of the world.”

With a brilliant foreword provided by well known author and writer Jim Casada, several other notables have provided their endorsement of this fascinating book. Simbeck continues to be active in the country music industry, interviewing scores of folks who have made their mark on the country music scene. He was the former Nashville rep for Bob Kingsleys’s Top Forty Countdown. Some of the more well-known performers endorsing his book include the late Charlie Daniels and Kix Brooks who wrote “When I heard Rob was writing a book about ‘critters’ in the outdoors, I was really excited and I was not disappointed. What a fun read’.”

Author and long time outdoors writer Keith Sutton adds, “His creature biographies reveal fascinating facts about animals what will stir readers to leave their armchairs and go outdoors to observe firsthand the denizens of woods, fields, oceans and streams.”

Simbeck writes in the preface, “I hope to share within these pages the magic I feel when I encounter the natural world, for we are all part of a cosmic Ferris wheel, whirling around together on this pretty blue planet. May this book unite us in that appreciation, and may it connect us more fully to the creatures around us.”

To purchase a copy of The Southern Wildlife Watcher – $18.95 is a bargain for sure – visit your local book store and ask for it. If they don’t have it, they’ll order it for you. Want an inscribed copy? Go to his web site at robsimbeck.com, tell him what you want and he’ll fix you up. You have my guarantee you won’t be disappointed.


BUSSEY BRAKE – Bream have been fair on worms and crickets. No report on crappie or catfish. Bass are fair around the trees and pads on soft plastics and jigs.

BLACK BAYOU –  Bream are fair; others are slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.

OUACHITA RIVER – The river has current and fishing is fair. Crappie are fair around the tops in the river on shiners of jigs. Bass are fair fishing shad imitations at the mouth of the creeks and run-outs on soft plastics. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE D’ARBONNE – The lake is being lowered five feet with about a 4 inch drop each day. Look for crappie to be on the flats on shiners or jigs, both plastic and hair jigs. Bass are fair where there is current as the water is dropping with crank baits, spinners and Rogues picking up a few. Bream have slowed while catfishing is good on cold worms or night crawlers. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass fishing has been best fishing crank baits or plastic worms around submerged brush in 12-20 foot water. Stripers are schooling and hitting shad imitations, white bucktails or spoons at the mouth of Sandy creek and between Horse and Bear creeks. Crappie fishing is fair around the deeper tops on shiners or jigs. Bream are slow and no report this week on catfish. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.

CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best targeting breaking schools with Yellow Magic lures in the Japanese Shad or Smoke Shad colors. Some are also being caught deep on Shakey Tails, crank baits or big plastic worms. Crappie fishing has been fair on jigs and shiners fishing around deep brush. No report this week on bream or catfish. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE POVERTY POINT –Catfishing is fair for smaller sized fish. No report on bass, bream or crappie. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101.

LAKE ST. JOHN – Catfishing is fair while bass, bream and crappie are slow. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.

LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a slow fall with a slight rise expected next week. Bass fishing has been good while others are slow. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.

LAKE BRUIN – In a word, fishing overall is slow. For information, contact Carlos Gray at 318/766-0075.

Rob Simbeck’s new book, The Southern wildlife Watcher” covers fascinating information on
36 creatures making their homes in the southeast

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