A stroll---Part 4

A stroll---Part 4

Andy Dear | Sunday, 14 June 2020

During the summer of 1989, the master negotiator of all things hunting and fishing, Wilton L. Dear Jr. came through again with another exceptional fishing hole...make that TWO fishing holes. As the crow flies, these two were just a few miles north of Boots Stuarts' lake that we visited the week before last. And like Boots' lake, both of Freddie's played a monumental role in my development as an angler.

  My first recollection of visiting these lakes was actually on a Dove hunt in September of 1989. The owner, Freddie had been a friend and coworker of my dad's at the local utility provider and had offered to let my dad and I use the property to hunt and fish on. The primary (front) lake had been there for many years, and the word from Freddy himself was that it was loaded with Largemouth Bass. A second lake about a half a mile below the first was under construction and was the location of the aforementioned Dove hunt on our first visit. Freddie's place, like Boots' was a hunting and fishing paradise. It sat right in line with a highly populated flyway that was regularly traveled by both Doves and Ducks, and once the second lake was completed, Freddie's place became one of our "go-to" fishing spots throughout the 1990s.

  I have a ton of great experiences documented in my mental angling diary at Freddie's lakes, but a few stand out more than others. Easter Sunday of 1993 was a particularly stellar day, as my stepbrothers Sean and Jeff Derby and I hooked and landed 5 Bass in less than two hours that averaged four pounds each out of the back lake. Sean and Jeff and I fished those lakes a lot throughout the '90s together and it wasn't unusual for us to hop back and forth between the two throughout the day. At one point, Sean and Jeff acquired a used paddle boat of the type that are used at amusement parks. For those that have never seen one, its a plastic boat powered by a couple of pairs of foot pedals that turn a paddle wheel.  That boat made a ridicoulous amount of noise as we paddled across the lake using the foot pedals, and we must have looked like a group of circus clowns piled into this thing. The fish however didn't seem to care as we still caught our share, and I can't help but think that Sean and Jeff both have fond memories of Freddie's lakes like I do.

  On at least one occasion, I've mentioned my old runnin' buddy Jesse Alonzo. Jesse and I worked together at a local Bank while we were completing our college education, and became quick friends due to our shared love of hunting and fishing. As I referenced in a previous Front Page titled "The Map Room" Jesse was the only one crazy enough to follow me down the Alligator infested Mission River system in a leaky old Jon boat where we came closer than I care to admit, to getting stranded, miles from nowhere because we incorrectly judged our batteries charge level...good times. Jesse and I spent a lot of time together on Freddie's lakes chasing Largemouths, and like most of us, he is forever addicted to an explosive topwater bite. That back lake at sunrise was the platform on which I witnessed Jesse absolutely HAMMER those Bass on many occasions with an Arbogast Jitterbug in a frog pattern. The photo of Jesse above was taken in 1996 with one of the victims of the Arbogact Jitterbug.

  I hadn't fished Freddie's lakes since 2008.  Once I sold my angling related company I took an extended hiatus from angling to pursue other interests...that is until my son expressed a desire to learn to fish a few years back. On New Years' day of 2016, Jackson and I launched my dad's 12 foot Jon boat into Freddie's front lake to probe the depths over 30 years since we were first extended the privilege of fishing it. The fish were still there and were still as hungry as ever. And, as Jackson likes to remind me quite often, he beat me four fish to one on his first time Bass fishing...and unfortunately for me, that trend has not changed since he caught his first fish on Freddie's lakes.

Hope you all have a great week,