Back from a family vacation in Colorado and after pouring through hundreds of emails I had received (I don’t check emails on vacation), I discovered that the outdoors page two weeks ago of my top 10 fishing songs struck a chord with some readers (pun intended).
A few people emailed with me with songs that I had missed. Larry N. Boyington, aka Larry Neal, former curator of the Wax Museum on the big 1520 KOMA, came up with this list:
1. The Fish–Bobby Rydell–1961 (it was a dance)
2. The Fish Ain’t Bitin’–Lamont Dozier–1974
3. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh–Thom Bell–1979
4. The Fish Walk–Johnny Carlo–1960 (it was a dance)
5. Fishin’ On The Mississippi–Bob Morris–1967
6. Three Little Fishes–Buzz Clifford–1961
7. Houdini–Walter Brennan–1962( a song about a catfish named Houdini that everyone was trying to catch)
“I don’t know how old you are Mr. Godfrey, but I think I am safe in saying that you have never heard of any of these,” Boyington wrote in the email.
You are correct, Mr. Boyington. I have never heard of any of them. But the Fish That Saved Pittsburgh sounds familiar.
Chuck Edwards, the radio voice of the past 31 years for Weatherford High School football and baseball and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, nominated an old song called “Catfish Bates.”
“Somewhere in my vast collection of 45 records, I have an old country fishing song called ‘Catfish Bates,”’Edwards wrote. “Don’t remember who recorded it and I have my records organized by author rather than title so can’t relate any of the lyrics to you, but I remember it being a good fishing song.”
Shane from Cushing suggested that Jimmy Houston’s theme song (“Just a chuckin and a windin, hoping I’m a findin’ an old Big mouth, waitin by a hollow log..”) should be at the top of my list.
A reader from Norman mentioned a song from the ’40s called “The Fishing Song” by The Five Scamps.
“Starts out Momma won’t let me go fishing with my boyfriend,” emailed M. Maddux of Norman. ” I remember this was a little risque for the disk jockeys in the ’40′s, as the end was daddy saying ‘momma and papa went fishing on Rio Grande , didn’t catch any fish but here I am.’”
And a colleague of mine at The Oklahoman, staff writer Robert Medley, emailed me a You Tube video of a song called “Catfish Boogie” performed by The Collins Kids of Oklahoma. It’s an old Tennessee Ernie Ford song.
“I think you missed one,” Robert said.
After watching the video and hearing the song for the first time, I think Robert is right. I would put this song at No. 10.
Check out the song and video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nmrX17TxnLI
Reading the obituaries Sunday, I learned of the death of Dr. Loren Hill, retired professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma.
I never met Dr. Hill, but I have met his son, Kenyon, a pro bass angler on the Elite Series tour. Kenyon is one of the nicest people I have met since taking over the outdoors beat for The Oklahoman six years ago and I’m sure much of the credit for that belongs to his father.
Kenyon won the Pride of Georgia Elite Series bass tournament earlier this year and dedicated to his father.
In case you are not familiar with Dr. Hill, the following is a portion from his obituary.
“Both the sport fishing industry and the scientific community lost an innovative thinker Thursday, July 17, 2008 when Dr. Loren Hill of Norman passed away following a long illness. Dr. Hill retired as professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma following 33 years in the classroom and 30 years as director of the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on Lake Texoma. He also served as chairman of the Zoology Department at OU. .
”He authored or coauthored more than 50 scientific papers and articles. Hill was a passionate sport fisherman whose research is credited with bridging the gap between academic science and the sport fishing industry. In many ways he pioneered the union of science and sport fishing through his research on sight and olfactory abilities among various fish species. His work led to the development of several lures and fishing aids like acidity monitors, scents and color selectors for several major sport fishing manufacturers. Dr. Hill was a gifted track athlete, avid quail hunter, classic country music aficionado and expert taxidermist specializing in birds.”
Earlier this year I fished with a native Pennsylvanian who moved to Oklahoma and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma just so he could could study under Dr. Hill.
I’m sorry I never got the chance to meet him.
Burnis Campbell of Choctaw passed along this photo of his grandson, Hayden Jennings, and a note about their trip in June to Broken Bow Lake.
“If it gets better than this I would love to be there,” Campbell said. ”The beauty of this lake along with time spent with Hayden made for a rewarding event. Hayden prefers bass fishing with lures but the bass was not to be found so we did well with minnows in the upper arm of Otter Creek.
“During the lulls, we just sat in the boat and enjoyed the view as we saw deer and turkeys on the shore. God put together a piece of beauty here that is beyond words.”
Anglers have a few more days to let state wildlife officials know where they would like to see fish attractors placed in your local lake.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is conducting an online survey on its Web site, www.wildlifedepartment.com, asking anglers questions such as where fish attractors should be, are they working now, do anglers know where they are, etc.
Fish attractors are structures such as tire reefs, brush piles, cedar trees, spider blocks (pictured above are state wildlife officials preparing to place spider blocks in Lake Konawa) that state wildlife officials place in lakes. Fish want to hang around stuff like this and such places are sometimes marked with a bouy.
State wildlife officials say they will use the survey results to decide where to place these structures in the future. So far, 1,400 anglers have participated in the survey.
The survey will end after July 31, so speak now or forever hold your peace.
The Hefner Dam Road is now back open to fishermen. The dam is a popular spot for anglers to catch crappie, walleye, sand bass and channel catfish.
The road had been closed for six months while Oklahoma City crews added more rip-rap along the banks to prevent erosion and repaved the road. A new 42-inch guard rail also was added.
Hefner is an underrated fishing lake and in the summer, some nice hybrids are caught there, evident by this 12-pounder that Quint McBride caught last month.
Hybrids are not stocked in Hefner, but they come down the North Canadian River with water releases from Canton Lake.
Norman Jarrett of Perry, a striper guide on the Lower Illinois River, passed along a photo of this 30-pound striper that he caught recently on Deep Branch Creek.
The big striper was caught on a 6-inch shad. Jarrett said the fish tapped the line a few times and then the line went slack. Thinking he must have a fish on with the striper swimming toward, he reeled up the line fast and hooked the fish.
The big striper came under the boat and Jarrett said his rod was completely bent over in the water.
“I had a terrible time,” he said.
But he still managed to land the fish. As fishing slows elsewhere in the summer heat, the action can heat up on the Lower Illinois River as the cool water of the Lower Illinois trout stream attract stripers from the Arkansas River.
To reach Jarrett, call (580) 336-7140 for information on trips or check out his Web site at www.striperpatrol.com.
I wouldn’t be planning a trip to Lake Fork if I knew where this farm pond was located.
Richard Minyard, secretary of the North OKC Bassmasters club, sent along this photo of the 12 pound, 15-ounce largemouth bass that he caught out of a Shawnee area farm pond on July 4.
I know better than to ask where.
I covered the county and federal courthouses for more than 10 years, writing about dozens of murder trials and other grisly crimes. The only time anyone ever threatened to whip my butt was when I took over the outdoors beat and was doing a story about fishing below the Lake Eufaula dam.
One of the locals didn’t like the fact that I was sharing information about his favorite fishing hole. Never knew that being an outdoor writer could be such a dangerous job?
An additional 3,270 acres in the Ouachita Mountains in LeFlore County near the Arkansas border will be open for public hunting and fishing in the near future.
At its monthly meeting Monday, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission approved an agreement with the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service which will allow public hunting and fishing on the Cucumber Creek Nature Preserve.
The area will be walk-in only but open in all statewide hunting seasons. The date the new area officially will open for fishing and hunting has not been set.
According to the Nature Conservancy’s Web site, the Cucumber Creek Nature Preserve was created in 1989 to benefit neotropical migrant birds.
The birds nest in the summer in large blocks of continuous forest in North America and migrate long distances to Central and South America to spend the winter. Thirty-three species of birds, more than half of them neotropical migrants, nest on the preserve.
Though birds are the focus of the preserve, other animal species found there include black bears, zebra swallowtails, white-tailed deer, timber rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths.
Cucumber Creek is a clear, high-gradient stream flanked to the north by Kiamichi Mountain and to the south by Blue Bouncer Mountain. Lynn Mountain divides Cucumber Creek from the Beech Creek National Scenic Recreation Area, part of the Ouachita National Forest.
The creek is named for the Cucumber magnolia, a small tree native to Eastern forests whose range barely extends into Oklahoma in the Ouachitas.
State wildlife officials want to know if you are catching fish around the fish attractors they put in lakes.
The state Wildlife Department is asking anglers to participate in an online survey on its Web site, www.wildlifedepartment.com.
State wildlife officials want to know if the man-made structures they have put in most Oklahoma lakes – brush piles, spider blocks, tire reefs, etc. – are working.
“We want to get information on who uses them, how often they are used, do they work or do anglers even know they are there,” said Gene Gilliland, fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We want to see if we are doing what we need to be doing.”
Want to catch a bass worth $100,000?
The largest amateur bass tournament in the country is less three weeks away and somebody is going to walk away from it with $100,000.
The tournament is close to home. The Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza, held on the Arkansas River in the state of Arkansas from Fort Smith to Dumas, is June 27-29.
The angler catching the biggest bass in the tourney will win $100,000.
The tournament attracts several Oklahoma fisherman each year among a field of around 3,000 anglers. Entry fee is $80 per day to fish in the tournament but that goes up to $90 per day after Thursday.
Anglers can choose to fish one, two or all three days of the tournament. The river is divided into five fishing pools with each pool having an official weigh-in site. Cash prizes are awarded each hour for the biggest fish from each pool.
To learn more or enter the tournament, go to www.arkansasbigbassbonanza.com.