Anniversaries, I’ve had a few. As of this past July 11, Kay and I have been married 38 years, On November 24, it will have been 55 years since the morning I downed my first buck.
This past April 13 marked the 30 th anniversary of my bagging my first wild turkey gobbler.
Anniversaries are sort of special.
Fifty years ago next month, a 35 year old fellow did something he had wanted to do for a long time but lacked both know-how and intestinal fortitude to see it happen. He picked up a copy of the Guardian Journal, Homer, LA’s weekly newspaper and nervously flipped over to find an article under the heading “Hunting and Fishing with Uncle Zeke from Beaver Creek”.
There was no name of the columnist and here’s the explanation of the mystery surrounding the writer. In case the column flopped, he didn’t want his name associated with it, so for several months, this phantom outdoor columnist hid behind the name of Uncle Zeke.
The mystery of the identity of Uncle Zeke continued on for several months until the identity of the writer became obvious. Homer is a relatively small community and the secret couldn’t remain hidden forever. How do I know so much about Uncle Zeke? That columnist was yours truly.
Fifty years have passed since that first column went to press and there have been very few weeks when I didn’t have a column somewhere in some weekly newspaper, and I owe it all to the folks at the Guardian Journal for giving a nervous “green as gourd guts” guy a chance. They were even willing to pay me for my articles; $2.50 a week plus a free paper.
Once I was given the go-ahead to write a weekly column for the Guardian Journal, I had to do it nights and weekends because I had a regular job. What was my system for writing a weekly column 50 years ago? A yellow tablet and a number two pencil got it started; I wrote the column long hand.
Next, I had to use my old manual typewriter to transfer what I had written on the tablet to typing paper. My main stand-by I couldn’t have gotten by without was a bottle of White Out and I probably used a gallon of it over the years to cover my miscues.
I had some readers of the Guardian Journal that took notice of my columns and they mentioned that the Shreveport Journal didn’t have an outdoor writer. I got up the courage to talk to editor Stan Tiner who agreed to let me write weekly columns for that big city publication, something I did for several years until the Journal folded.
In the meantime, another friend referred me to editor Tom Kelly at my home-town newspaper, the Ruston Daily Leader, and on March 1, 1974, Kelly hired me as outdoor columnist for the Leader.
Eventually I laid aside my yellow tablet and number two pencil and decided to write directly to the typewriter which was somewhat nerve wracking at first but I eventually became comfortable with it, although my bottle of White Out was right next to my key board. Then when the Internet came along, what a blessing it was because I could edit and delete without the need for White Out.
Today, I am blessed to still be able to write; I continue to write weekly columns for the Guardian Journal, the Ruston Daily Leader, Journal Services LLC and several other weekly publications. I eventually was able to place my articles in magazines and I still do some magazine writing today.
To sum it up, I am a blessed man. God has given me the ability to not only write but to absolutely love sharing my columns with my readers for these past 50 years. My prayer is that as long as these fingers work and my brain doesn’t quit on me, I’ll keep on doing it.
Thanks to all my readers for sticking with me over this half a century.
BLACK BAYOU – Bream and crappie had been biting but no report this week. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water is rising and with all the rain, no fishing reports. However, fishing for bass and crappie should improve in some of the river lakes that had been inaccessible before all the rains. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – A gate has been opened to relieve some of the pressure on water levels. Depending on if there is more heavy rain in the next few days once the rains move out, there can be some good fishing in newly flooded areas around the lake. Right now, it’s a waiting game to see just how high the water levels get until things stabilize. Next week’s report should tell the story. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – The lake is rising with run-off from the spillway expected to effect Lake D’Arbonne downstream. Once rains end and water levels become more stable, fishing should improve in newly flooded areas as well as the area below the spillway. Anglers are taking a wait and see stance until things settle down. Nothing to report on fishing this week.. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
CANEY LAKE – Water is rising with continued rains and there have been no fishing this week. Once things settle down weather-wise, fishing should be on the upswing for bass, crappie and bream. Nothing to report this week. Hopefully next week’s report will be more promising. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – The water is rising with a few catfish caught being reported. Nothing to report on bass, crappie or bream. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – Nobody is fishing this week because of rains and rising water levels. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water will be rising as run off from rivers north of here that empty into the Mississippi River will eventually effect Yucatan. No fishing report this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
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