Douglas Sellers Is Going Fishing! Pt 4

Douglas Sellers Is Going Fishing! Pt 4

It was still on the dark side of dawn as Bodie made his first cast toward an ancient duck blind up near the shore. He thumbed the spool gingerly, hoping to land the plug as softly as possible. Gathering his slack, he let the plug rest in its own ripples.

The surface explosion to his left, followed by Red's signature hook-set grunt and screeching drag, told Bodie his salty partner would be tied up for a while. "Better him than me" he thought to himself. "I'd rather stick a good trout any day!"

Bodie gathered a bit more line and twitched his rod sharply left, pausing another few seconds as the Super Spook Jr. stuttered briefly sideways–a technique he'd learned to entice shallow fish. Nothing.

Working it walk-the-dog, he quickly retrieved the final yards of line and cast to the other side of the old blind with barely enough time to lock his reel when the water exploded and his lure was blasted several feet in the air. Bodie let the lure sit again and then worked his rod furiously to impart the dying twitches of a finger mullet. No blow up this time. The hand-painted plug just seemed to vanish. He set the hook as soon as he felt the weight of the fish.

Red called to him in a low voice, "Bodie, do you think Doug might want some redfish fillets?"

"Go ahead and string him, Red," Bodie answered softly.

Suddenly the thought of Doug enjoying a slab of Red's red grilled over mesquite made him almost want to apologize for laughing when he hooked it.

The fish that Bodie was playing and believing to be another red was too soon in giving up, and turned out to be a fat 22-inch trout. He grabbed it quickly with his hand on the first pass and placed it on his stringer.

"That's one!" Bodie signaled silently to Red.

Doug was about 20-yards on Bodie's right when he heard the unmistakable surface smack of a solid trout. Light was coming quickly and he could see Doug's rod bent deeply with the line running sideways toward the shallow part of the reef. In a flash it peeled straight back toward him, Doug reeling frantically, and then out into deeper water.

Doug worked the fish close and in what he and Red would talk about later, he deftly snagged its lower jaw with the Boga Grip as neatly as they'd ever seen it done.

"Nice fish," Bodie and Red said in unison. Bodie watched from the corner of his eye as Doug tucked his rod under his arm like a pro, shook out his stringer, and strung the fish.

"What in the world could be keeping Tommy?" Bodie half-whispered to Red. "I hate that he's missing this."

"Maybe pirates got him," Red replied devilishly.

Bodie tried to force a frown but the look of hope on Red's face wouldn't allow it.

"I guess I better go find out what he's gotten himself into now," Red snarled.

Bodie made several more casts toward the duck blind with no takers, then waded behind Doug to where he could cast to the edge of a gut that ran parallel to the reef. As Bodie passed, Doug set the hook on another solid blow-up and turned to Bodie mouthing the words, "Thank You."

Continuing 30 yards or so, Bodie made a cast to the edge of the gut. It didn't make three feet before the water exploded and a heavy fish rose halfway out of the water, shaking its head. The big trout pulled drag easily and Bodie knew better than to horse it. Just keep steady pressure and let the reel do the work he thought to himself. Admiring the fish, he scooped her up with both hands for Doug to see.

"That is a beautiful trout!" Doug exclaimed.

Bodie held her alongside his rod as best he could and announced, "Right at 28!"

He carefully worked the trebles loose with his pliers and began swishing her forward and backward to move water through her gills.

"Wait, Bodie." Doug called to him excitedly. "I want a photo before you let her go."

Bodie adjusted his grip and posed for the camera. Doug made the shot and announced he could let her go as soon as he verified a good image on the digital screen.

"Let's just cruise this shoreline together," Doug suggested. "There seems to be some nice fish here."

The pair continued a slow wade with Doug bringing a nice 24-incher to hand. Bodie snapped a quick photo before Doug let her go. The strikes came steadily and nearly an hour passed as "fat keepers" were added to the stringers. Caught up in the catching, Bodie eventually realized that Red and Tommy still hadn't joined them.

"Now what do you suppose those two are up to?" he mused aloud.

"Well, if I had to say, without being sure, I would guess that Red is looking for a place to bury a body," Doug chuckled.

Bodie laughed at that and informed Doug that Red's bark was worse than his bite, although he had bitten some folks in the past and it wasn't pretty.

Doug laughed and suggested they should go find them. Bodie waved him off, saying, "Nah–Tommy probably saw some bait over on Cross Reef and Red's with him. We'll find them when we're done here."

The pair made it to the end of the reef where it met the island as Bodie announced a plan. "We're going to walk across and fish the deeper water on the other side."

"I can only keep one more trout," Doug informed him.

"Yeah, and I already have a limit but we can catch and release. Maybe we'll pick up some reds along the shell."

They waded out waist-deep and spread apart, Doug following Bodie's lead. Doug finished his 5 trout limit with a nice 18-incher and Bodie hooked and lost with what he described as a "bruiser" of a trout. The action slowed and Bodie suggested it was time for a break.

An old log on the bank made a comfortable seat as the pair chatted about fishing and life in general. Bodie learned that Doug had been in Europe only days earlier to attend a board meeting. He was the company's chairman.

"Bodie, have you ever been to Europe?"

"I've been to Mexico a few times but that's as far as I've traveled."

"If you could arrange some time off at the ranch, you should come with me the next time I go," Doug said. "There is a lot of history over there and so many things to see and do. So much older than our United States and so different from us."

"Sounds a little like Mexico."

Doug laughed and said he was serious–there would be plenty of room on his jet and he was sure Bodie would enjoy it. The sincerity in his eyes said more than his words.

"Well then, I guess I better go ahead and get that passport I've been putting off all these years."

Doug chuckled. "Indeed my friend you most certainly will need that unless you want to stay on the plane the entire time we are over there."

Doug told him about England and France, Greece and Germany. "I should think a real cowboy would be a big hit with the people over there."

"Well Doug, I don't know about all that, but being able to see all the sights and sample the food and drink sure fits me to a tee. Now, what say we head back to the boat and see what those other two yahoos caught this morning?"

Red and Tommy were nowhere in sight as they rounded the bend. Bodie thought they must be fishing around the point. Handing Doug his rod and stringer so he could wade faster, he headed the shortest route across water that would fill any ordinary man's waders. Doug headed for the boat.

Barely twenty yards, Bodie heard Doug clearing his throat rather loudly and turned to see him pointing.

Stretched out on the deck fast asleep lay Red and Tommy, an empty Popeyes bucket between them.

Summoning his meanest voice, Bodie yelled, "I sure hope you knuckleheads saved us some of that Popeyes chicken!"

Red jumped up and sheepishly took an ice chest seat–the way a scolded youngster would do. Tommy rolled over and squinted, said nothing, and pulled his wading jacket over his head.

"It's really not my fault," Red offered, meek as a mouse. "I came back and found Tommy drinking a Coke and eating fried chicken. He wouldn't get out so I climbed in to throw him out. I don't know exactly how it happened...Tommy was teasing me waving a drumstick under my nose–it smelled so good and"

"Dadgummit, Red, I would expect as much from Tommy," Bodie bellowed, biting his lip to avoid laughing.

Doug couldn't hold back, already in tears.

"Dang it, Bodie. I knew I should have scratched this trip and gone to Victoria with my wife," Red muttered embarrassedly.

Lying on his back, Tommy's stomach looked like it would bust. Bodie nudged him with the toe of his wading boot several times to no avail.

Doug spoke up. "Why don't we just let him sleep and make our way back to port? Breakfast at my place?"

Red said he liked the idea of letting Tommy sleep. "If he's sleeping he ain't talking, and if he ain't talking, I'm happy," he whispered.

Gear stowed, Bodie cranked the quiet four-stroke outboard and began a slower-than-normal ride across the bay.

Even the noise from the pulleys on Bodie's boat lift didn't wake Tommy. As quietly as they could, everybody helped clean fish, grabbed their stuff, and locked the boat stall as they left.

"If it's alright with you Doug, I'll come on out and have some coffee, but I'm not really very hungry," Red offered politely.

"Sure thing, Red," Doug answered. "We need you along to help celebrate a great fishing trip."

"What about Tommy?" Doug queried Bodie. "How will he get out of this boat stall if it's locked from the outside?"

"Well, Doug," Bodie answered, laughing. "The way I see it, soon as he sleeps off that fried-chicken hangover, I expect he'll call me on his cell phone to come get him out. And he'll try the next three days to convince me it was all Red's fault."

"This has been the best day I've had in years," Doug proclaimed. "Thank you for taking me and I do hope that we can do it again soon. Now let's head out to my place and rustle up some breakfast!"

Bodie had no more than climbed into the truck when his cell phone rang.

"Bodie, this is Tommy. I need help. Somehow I got locked inside your boat stall."

Bodie got out of the truck, and with the others watching, unlocked the door. Tommy stumbled out rubbing his eyes and yawning.

"Did I hear somebody mention breakfast?"