Midwest City’s Jim Simmons caught the fish of his life on Wednesday.
While on the Lower Illinois River, Simmons landed a 45-pound striper that is just 2 1/2-pounds shy of the state record, which also came from the same eastern Oklahoma stream 14 years ago.
“I was fishing on the Lower Illinois River with my brother-in-law, Paul Hale, and with Pete Doonkeen,” Simmons said in an e-mail. “We fished all day (using live shad as bait) without a bite until 8 p.m.
“That’s when I got the hit of my life. As Pete worked against the current, I reeled for about 10 minutes with the fish frequently stripping off line. He stayed deep. We didn’t get to see him until he was at the boat.
“Eventually, I could tell he was wearing out. However, about that time, he went under a sunken log. Pete moved the boat to the log.
“Paul was able to find the line on the other side of the log while I kept the tension on the fish. As Paul brought the fish to the surface, I dropped my rod and slipped the net under the fish.
“It was obviously too big to go into the net. As I lifted, Paul said that the line just broke. In a heartbeat, Pete wrapped one arm around the fish and stuck his free hand in the fish’s mouth and together we rolled him into the boat. Amazing!
“Pete has been fishing the Illinois for about 20 years and says this is the biggest fish that has ever been in his boat. The fish was weighed on three different scales and came in at 45 pounds.”
Simmons went on to say that as a general rule, the striper fishing on the Lower Illinois has been slow this year.
“We think the BP spill in the gulf has affected the number of fish coming up the Mississippi to the Arkansas to the Illinois,” Simmons said.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Oklahoma City is holding a free, one-day boat safety course on Saturday designed for anglers, hunters, paddle boaters and personal watercraft users.
The course will cover topics including current boating laws and the environment, safety equipment, how to safely handle a boat on water, aids to navigation and correct navigation rules, common boating problems that may arise and the proper way of trailering, storing and protecting boats.
The course gives safety guidelines for hunting, fishing, water skiing and river boating.
The training program will be from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the New Hope Christian Church, 12323, South Pennsylvania Ave., in Oklahoma City.
To register for the class, call Flotilla Commander Linda Sadler at (405) 286-9167 or email email@example.com.
The National Wild Turkey Federation is sponsoring a “ladies only” fund raising night Saturday (July 10) at Riverwind Casino in Norman.
Called “Camo and Pearls,” the night features a fashion show by SHE Outdoor Apparel plus games and auctions.
Women will have a chance to win numerous outdoor items such as guns, knifes and hunts, but other prizes include jewelry, handbags, spa packages, car packages, art and restaurant gift certificates.
Men are allowed to attend but only women can play the games and bid on items.
Tickets are $50 per person or $70 per couple. Reservations are required.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, call Becky Evans at (580) 513-3000 or Tiffany English at (405) 919-7660.
Discount rooms are available through Riverwind Hotel for the event.
A “Women in the Outdoors ” workshop is scheduled July 17 in Choctaw at the Choctaw Creek Park.
For $45, women get to attend four classes that day, receive a one-year membership to the National Wild Turkey Federation (sponsors of the event), lunch and a year’s subscription to Turkey Country Magazine.
Among the classes being offered are archery, trailer backing, fishing, hand gun safety and self defense, self defense awareness and tactics, basic camping, Dutch oven cooking, kayaking, clothing for the outdoors woman, flint knapping and bow making, antler jewelry, basket weaving and Native American clothing.
For more information, contact Judith Newman at (731) 420-0650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration also can be downloaded at www.womenintheoutdoors.org.
If you own a boat and can spare a day, consider helping out Camp Cavett.
The week-long camp on Lake Texoma is for kids from the Children’s Hospital at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center who have terminal or life changing illnesses.
Danny Cavett is the chaplain at the hospital. Camp Cavett has been in existence since 2003.
A volunteer nursing staff helps the kids with their medical needs while attending the camp.
Each year, the kids are treated to two fishing trips. On Thursday morning (July 8), the kids are going striper fishing on Lake Texoma.
On July 10, a kids’ fishing derby for all species is scheduled and prizes will be awarded. After a morning of fishing, everyone is invited to a hot dog and hamburger cookout for lunch.
But the camp is short on boats this year. If you own a boat and can volunteer either day to escort children and camp counselors for a half-day of fishing, visit www.cavettkidsfoundation.org or call Gene Gilliland at 317-9488.