Fish stories: Winning the work day at Lake Bridgeport

By David Talley | Published Saturday, June 4, 2017

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LAKE DAYS – David unsuccessfully fishes from the back of the dock. Messenger photo by Kristen Tribe

The old, oft-cited quote says, “a bad day fishing is still better than a good day in the office.”

Well, Thursday I had a little of both.

For our most recent joint column, Racey and I took a trip to the dock of Larry Talley, editor Kristen Tribe’s dad.

David shows off his catch before tossing it back in to be caught again. Messenger photo by Kristen Tribe

It’s summer, and we wanted to write about something seasonal. While there are plenty of political battles being waged and local issues to cover, we thought a more casual approach might lighten the mood for Wise County readers, while still showcasing a local outdoor activity.

As a side note, the 2017 Kid’s All American Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Decatur Rotary Club and U.S. Forest Service, is next Saturday at Black Creek Lake. It’s free and promises to be a great opportunity to get your kids outside this summer. See Wednesday’s paper for more information about the event.

While next Saturday promises to be sunny and beautiful, Thursday morning’s clouds threatened to end our fishing trip before it started. However, when Kristen asked me if I thought we should chance driving to the lake even though our trip might get rained out, I strongly advocated for taking a chance. I’d told everyone I’d be fishing for work Thursday, and I planned to live up to that, even if it meant fishing through a rainstorm. By the time we reached the lake, the sun was almost shining.

Now I’ve fished regularly, but recently it’s only been with a fly rod. That’s something pretty different than our plans Thursday, so Kristen’s dad, Larry, guided us through fishing off his dock. Perch, apparently, really like hanging out around the dock, so luring them up to bite our hooks was a pretty simple feat. Larry dropped a significant amount of bait in the water. We stuck a few pieces on our hooks, and they started biting pretty quickly.

Well, they started biting for Racey pretty quickly. I had tried a different type of bait to lure in a larger carp, which were rumored to live deep below the dock. They weren’t interested. The perch, though, were fine with swimming a little deeper to eat the food off my hook without consequence, and I reeled in empty lines at least 10 times before I gave up and switched to a smaller hook specialized for the fish that were biting.

I hooked them almost immediately and with such frequency that we were pretty sure we caught some of the same fish more than once.

This wore on me after a bit, and I tried my hand at annoying the large gar swimming between the shore and the dock. They weren’t interested either.

I didn’t enter the day planning to keep count, but everyone made sure to remind me Racey had caught 10 fish to my four. It’s cool; I’ll just go again.

That got me thinking about making my own fishing quote, because, even though I didn’t catch much, I had a good day fishing, and I actually really like my office.

I finally settled on, “it’s not how many fish you catch; it’s how many times you get to go fish.”

David Talley is a Messenger reporter.

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