Happy Fathers Day, “Pa POW!!!!!!”
My dad, also known as “The Judge” gave us boys one hell of an upbringing. It was 1965 and our station wagon was a flat lime green with some sort of “wood paneling esk” down the sides of the car. We would load that sucker up and head to the “Rivah” for the weekends and stay on our 23 foot Owens named the “Cee B”. The weekends were jam packed with croaker fishing in the York River, catching crabs on dock pilings, and char broiling steaks on the wooden docks. When we weren’t picking fresh beer steamed crabs, we were off finding new adventures in our leaky ten foot aluminum boat powered by a 9.9hp mercury. Yes, the weekends on the Rivah is what shaped my childhood and gave me a lot to look forward to as an adult.
Fishing was always a family priority and we did not always wait until the weekends to get our thrill of the hook and line. The Judge had a buddy that owned a nearby farm and that farm had some woods. In those woods was an old dirt road that led to a small pond that rarely was ever fished. The fact is that pond was loaded to the gills with bass and brim. The Judge would haul us boys in the old wagon pick up some blood worms and bobbers and head to the pond. On arrival we quickly readied ourselves for the onslaught of brim that we were about to catch.
“Jimmy… yall get outta the car grab your cane poles and head over to the backside of the pond. I’am gonna fish right here by the weeds. Yall holler when you’re hooked up!”
So, my brother and I gathered our things and began to walk around the pond. I looked back at my dad as he prepared himself for fishing.
First thing the Judge does is strap his sidearm to his side, it was a big holster with a big pistol that was strapped around his waist by a thick brown leather belt. Next, he grabs his cane pole in his right hand, and a beer in his left hand. There goes dad, walking down the bank with his shirt off wearing shorts, a fishing rod, sidearm, and a can of beer. He looked very happy.
I walk around the pond and found a great little spot to float my blood worms. This was a great little fishing hole and was quite a ways away from the Judge and far enough away to where I could not see him, but I could hear him.
Next thing I knew the brim where going after my bloodworms like white on rice. I just knew that the Judge would be so proud of me for the stringer that I was going to end up with. After about five fish I hear this loud crack in the air as two shots ring out…
Then the Judge yells out, “Goteem!!”
My bobber quickly disappears underwater and I am hooked up again. Brim after brim after brim, then finally a large mouth bass swims right up to my blood worm and I am hooked up! My stringer is now half full! Then another crack in the air…
The Judge yells, “Got um again”.
By now I had about filled up my stringer and my brother had been catching his fair share as well. I began to put away my cane pole and…
This time there was silence after the gunfire. My brother and I walked over to where the Judge was fishing and dad was so happy, he had finally caught the elusive “Big Sam”. Big Sam was about a five pound largemouth bass that dad had been trying to catch for years. He showed us the fish, then released it back to the pond. At that time, it was the largest fish I had ever seen.
I remember looking at the gun securely strapped in the Judges holster and I ask my father,
“How many did you kill dad?” The Judge replied,
“Two for Four”.
This meant two dead water moccasins, four shots. The Judge was quite a marksman just like his father, my grandfather who was also, Judge Baugh. Grandpa use to go Dove hunting and be 12 for 12. Twelve shots, twelve birds.
Jim Baugh Outdoors TV
Author of “HOOKED”