A stroll---Part 3

A stroll---Part 3

Andy Dear | Sunday, 7 June 2020

For most of the path that it cuts through the limestone cliffs of Bandera County, Red Bluff Creek is not all that impressive of a waterway. It's narrow, very shallow, almost, if not completely dry in many spots during certain seasons of the year, and overall, not someplace you would give a second thought as having the potential to be a quality fishery. There is however a dammed up stretch just south of the small town of Pipe Creek Tx. that had a monumental influence on the direction and trajectory of my life as a fisherman.

  Somewhere around 1984 my mom and stepfather procured the services of a local real estate agent based out of Pipe Creek named Bucky Densford. Yes...I know what you guys are thinking....first "Boots" now "Bucky". What can I say? We do like our backwoods nicknames down here in Texas. Much like Mr. Stuart, I have no idea how Mr. Densford acquired the name Bucky. What I do know is that "Bucky" happened to own a house that sat right next to the small dam that turned what would have been not much more than a seasonal puddle, into a crystal clear, mile-long hill country lake. The entire shoreline of this unnamed lake was surrounded by private property, so, unless you knew a landowner with a waterfront lot, access was extremely difficult, if not impossible to acquire. Somewhere during the process of selling my parents home, Bucky was generous enough to allow me access to fish his lake.

It was a fantastic place for a young angler to hone his skills. It was small enough that you could fish the entire lake in nothing more than a 14' Jon boat with an electric motor. And, because of its size didn't require a full day's commitment to have a productive trip. Additionally, it was LOADED with hungry, unpressured, very agressive Largemouth Bass, that did what fish were supposed to do...swim, eat and make baby fish.

  The beauty of Bucky's lake was that it was a mere 40-minute drive from my old residence in San Antonio. Because of it's proximity to my house, I spent literally HUNDREDS of days on that small lake, many of which were shared with various friends from my teenage years.In fact, when I turned 16 and was old enough to drive, this little lake became my primary destination. It was not unusual for these short trips, to begin around 1pm after our classes were over with. We'd spend the remainder of the day fishing, and end with a meal of Mexican fajita tacos, cooked over an open flame on some family owned property just a few miles down the road.  In hindsight I have to say, that was one helluva way for a young man to grow up. In fact, I could make a pretty damn good argument that these backwoods fishing holes like Boots' and Bucky's in some sense, saved my life. I watched many of the the folks in my peer group who never had the opportunity or access to partake in hunting and fishing, make some choices, that eventually turned them in to people that I didnt even recognize. Most of them moved out of my life pretty quickly for one reason or another, but those that remain share the same affection for this craft that I do. And fortunately, the obsession and passion for angling that this small stretch of the Red Bluff fostered in me has never left either.

  I have driven by that lake several times over the years, as it is only a short 30-minute trek from my current place of residence in the Hill Country. Not for any other reason than a curiosity to see how things have changed. The lake still looks very much like it did 35 years ago, with the exception of a few more houses built in the area. Also noticeably different is that some of the timber that stood proud over the the gin clear water is now gone. Probably a casualty of age, combined with one of the infamous "100-year floods" that happen like clockwork every 5 years down here.

  Not long ago I had the idea that perhaps I should stop by Bucky's residence on the shore of that lake, on the outside chance that he was still alive and still living there. I felt that it would be appropriate...if he even remembered me, that I should thank him for his generosity for allowing me carte blanch access to his private fishin' hole that resulted in a gratifying career doing the only thing that I am actually pretty good at. Unfortunately, the residence had recently been sold, and the house as I remembered it no longer existed. But, the memories are still there, as is the love for this great sport that was in large part built on that little lake so many years ago.

The photo above was taken in the summer of 1988

Hope you all have a great week,