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Grandfather's ode to family fishing

Demaris Darnell on a trip with her grandfather holds up a bass for his inspection, appreciation.
Photo by Jimmy Darnell

Grandfather's ode to family fishing

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Four years ago my youngest grandchild, Demaris Darnell, moved to Florida to attend the University of West Florida in Pensacola. It was a sad day for me.

Of all my grandchildren, Demaris is my primary hunting and fishing partner.

I tried to get her to study at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. I have a fishing camp at Aransas Pass so we could have done lots of fishing together.

So the last four years have been very minimal for our outdoor adventures together.

But in May, she graduated summa cum lauda with a sports management degree.

Now she is back in Texas and will start Aug. 1 at Texas A&M at College Station as a graduate student while working on a master’s degree.

And Texas A&M is not a great distance from San Marcos. At least not as distant as Florida.

Demaris loves to fish on my duck hunting lake near Seguin. It is full of bass.

So we took kayaks last week and launched them at first light.

I knew fishing was going to be good because Tom Ray and I had fished a few days previous and caught 56 bass by 10 a.m.

“The bass are much larger now than last time you fished this lake, Demaris,” I said. “The water level is low and the larger bass are eating the little ones.”

Also, Demaris and I took over 30 bass out of the lake a couple of years ago to make room for the fish to get larger.

We started slow. The flyrod with a popper is usually deadly on that lake. And Demaris loves to fish the flyrod. But no hits. But our flyrods were not the only weapons in the arsenal. I had her rigged out with her flyrod, a spinning rod with a big blade spinner and another rod with a plastic worm.

When fishing the flyrod, spinning rods were standing up in the rod holders.

I began to cast my spinner and the bass liked it. “Switch to the spinner, Demaris,” I shouted. “It’s hot.”

She caught two nice bass quickly on the spinner, but then things went dead for her. I soon had over 10 bass but she was stuck on two. But she didn’t quit.

An hour later, things began to change for her. One big bass after another ate her spinner. She was happy.

“You need to marry a fisherman, girl,” I said.

“Maybe, I’ll find him at Texas A&M,” she replied.

By 10:30 a.m. we had caught and released 38 bass. I had 23 and Demaris caught 15.

One of her last fish was caught on the plastic worm. It was near 5 pounds.

“Hold that fish and I’ll take your picture,” I shouted.

As I paddled toward her, she held the fish in the water. Just as I pulled out my phone, the fish jerked out of her hand. No pic.

A few days later we were driving through the dark to Lake Bastrop. Bass had been schooling on shad in the hot water so I thought our chances of catching some were pretty good.

“You know we are fishing today o a public lake that gets lots of fishing pressure. It won’t be as good as our trip last week,” I said.

“That’s okay,” she said. We tried the hot water but the bass were gone.

Then we fished the full length of the dam. Demaris fished the flyrod the whole distance and caught only one fish.

She is so good with the flyrod. I watched her put that bug right against the rocks time after time.

I think she is better than me.

Later she picked up her worm rod and caught a nice 3-pound bass out of some reeds. Picture fish.

By 11 a.m., I had no fish.

I lost three right at the boat on the flyrod but didn’t get them in.

We came home about noon.

Demaris had three bass. I had zero.

We filleted two fish when we got to Martindale and added a couple from the freezer for a good fish fry.

I’m so glad to have my fishin’ girl back home.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666