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#11917888 - 11/05/16 03:31 AM 1968
Lloyd5 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 557
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
1968 was one of my favorite years. I was 15, we lived way out in the sticks in Maryland, near the Charles River, within bicycle distance. I got a job at a marina, Captain Jim's Marina. Captain Jim was a retired Naval officer. He had been a POW in a Japanese internment camp for part of WWII. One of his arms was bent backwards at the elbow where they had broken it and not set it, he had a metal plate in his head from a blow from a rifle butt. He had been in the same outfit as JFK and had no kind words for the man. Captain Jim was what they call "Salty", he was a fantastic person once you got to know him, but getting to know him was like being tangled up in barbed wire. I was paid 50 cents an hour to do every kind of scut job there was at the marina, and there were plenty of scut jobs. But it was a glorious job because I was outside, working a lot with and on boats, and the fishing was fantastic, and I was 15, old enough to be going on extended camping trips alone, too young to be truly accountable to the world - a sweet spot if there ever was one.

Captain Jim was a strict and stern task master - I had to earn every one of those 50 cents every hour. But he was also a man that understood that there had to be fun in life, something he learned the very hard way. One of my jobs was to run the bait traps. We had minnow and eel traps all up and down the marsh and I would go empty and rebait them every morning and evening. I was given plenty of time for this and it was always my fun time. I learned my way around those marshes doing that, and those marshes were a maze of little channels surrounded by tall brush and reeds - real easy to get lost in there as there were no land marks to be seen.

When I wasn't working I could take one of the rental row boats for free and go fishing. I spent a lot of time going up and down the marsh lanes, finding fishing hot spots, watching the wild life. A couple of fly fishermen came to the marina one day and asked Captain Jim where to go fishing at. He looked around spotted me and whistled me over. He said "This young man knows more about the fishing in these marshes than anyone I know and he's pretty much caught up with his work today. Why don't you hire him as a guide? I think for twenty dollars he'll put you on more fish than you'll know what to do with."

Well I was just in shock. Twenty Dollars? That was a whole weeks pay! Those two men took that proposition up and I put them on more fish than they knew what to do with. I'd never seen fly fishing up close before and watching those two got me hooked but good. I took my twenty dollars, or part of it, and bought a fly fishing outfit and commenced to ruin the sport for anyone watching. Eventually I got to where I could sort of cast and caught more fish than I knew what to do with. Yellow perch and pickerel mostly. I did catch some large mouth bass and even pulled a six pounder out, which was a big bass for that area. But I could see that he was wormy and threw him back. Later I found out it might have been some kind of record.

There was one place I really loved. It was way back in the marshes and up into the shore area. There was this one narrow channel that led back up to a pretty large creek, and the creek was dammed in two places by beaver dams. To get to in there I had to go through a long stretch of channel that was so brushed over that I had to put everything in the bottom of the boat, lay down on my back, and using my hands grab low hanging branches and pull the boat forward for about a hundred yards. It was slow and very difficult, but it also meant no one else ever went in there, ever. Once in there I had to drag the boat up and over the two beaver dams. No small task with a heavy wooden row boat.

But man was it worth it. That second dam had created a small lake that was deep and full of fish. Fish that had never been fished for. This little lake was impossible to get to on foot from any direction because it was surrounded by acres and acres of briers, and was way off any path - and extremely difficult to find much less get to. But I was 15, I had youth's vigor on my side.

There were ducks and muskrats in there that had apparently never seen a human and didn't know to be afraid, they just looked at me and would move aside a little as I came by. The pickerel were large and eager to bite. Bass and bluegills were abundant and naive. I was 15, I had time to thoroughly enjoy it.

If I looked up long enough and often enough I would eventually spot a contrail, but other than that you'd think I was on an uninhabited planet, never heard a human sound in there that I didn't make. I loved that place, and because it was as hard as it was to get to I often camped in there for two or three nights. It was a garden of Eden. I only kept enough fish to eat at night, never harassed or bothered the wildlife, kept the place pristine clean, and if anyone ever did find that spot they would never have known I had been there. It was too perfect to disrespect in any way. But no one else ever found it that summer, and I bet for at least twenty years after that. I always thought I was probably the only human to have ever been in there.

I spent many a summer night in there looking up at the stars through those trees. Many a summer day in those marshes, paddling and poling and casting and catching. Captain Jim was an awesome mentor, taught me a lot about life and how hard it can be, and how good it can be. He was about 50 I'd guess and married to a real sweet and beautiful lady, and he and his wife had a daughter. She was just a baby then, and man did they dote on that baby girl.

Captain Jim had gone through hell, and ended up in paradise. Owning a marina in one of the most beautiful places in the world, being married to a beautiful and loving woman, and having a fresh new baby. He told me stories of that Japanese camp, and they were truly awful, real life horror stories, some of which I'll never forget - and I know he was keeping it light at that. From hell to heaven he said, from hell to heaven indeed.

I won life's lottery that summer of my 15th year - a boy's heaven. 1968. A place I go back to in my memory a lot - one beautiful summer in one beautiful place, with excellent people and plenty of alone time - and the was great.

Edited by Lloyd5 (11/05/16 03:37 AM)
Texas State Editor: FishExplorer

Warm Water Fly Fishing Nut

#11917931 - 11/05/16 06:28 AM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
Tbar Offline

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 282
Great story........Thanks for sharing!!!

#11917966 - 11/05/16 07:22 AM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
Cast Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 07/31/12
Posts: 8267
Loc: North Texas - God's Country
Awesome. Thanks.

#11918143 - 11/05/16 09:38 AM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
rrhyne56 Offline

Registered: 02/16/01
Posts: 13225
Loc: McKinney TX USA
Ah geez, thanks Lloyd. This sharing is a huge part of why I'm here.
"have fun with this stuff"
in memory of Big Dale
RRhyne56, Flyfishing warden

#11918222 - 11/05/16 10:41 AM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
Linecaster Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 1193
Loc: Richardson TX
Lloyd you have a way of putting me right in there with you, wonderful account of a year in your life. For most that year is a lifetime for others,very interesting, thank you.
In the beginning God created. Gen. 1:1
All things were made by him and without him was not anything made. John 1:3

#11918309 - 11/05/16 12:04 PM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
Lloyd5 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 557
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
Thanks ya'll. It was better than I knew at the time, even though I was having a blast, which is the way youth works I guess.
Texas State Editor: FishExplorer

Warm Water Fly Fishing Nut

#11918989 - 11/05/16 07:52 PM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
J-Moe Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 04/04/14
Posts: 3302
Loc: Brenham, TX
Great read thumb

#11920592 - 11/06/16 09:55 PM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
hook-line&sinker Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 9502
Loc: Bryan, Texas
You have about 7 years on me but I remember 68' for about the same Fishy reason. 8 years old and would just have caught the biggest northern pike ever from the Red Cedar river in Williamston Michigan
>)));> Wishin' I was Fishin' <;(((<

Check out FishTales @

Any good friend will bail you out of jail but your best friend will probably be in there with you! wink

#11920666 - 11/07/16 03:36 AM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
karstopo Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 519
Loc: Brazoria County
Really good read, thanks for sharing.

#11922321 - 11/07/16 08:11 PM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
j_hirn2 Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 176
Loc: Mansfield, TX
I was 14 in 1968 and lived in a small town in Oklahoma. Almost all of my fishing was on railroad right of way that ran along a pond (you could do that back then, would probably get arrested for trespassing now). Most catches were sunfish and bullheads. I once hooked into something really big, but I was a dumb kid and had no clue that monofilament got old or might be frayed and my line broke before I could get it in.

My dad was an avid hunter/fisherman and almost always took me with him, but he passed away in 1965 and after that most of my outdoor adventures were limited.

What I did have was Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, and on TV The American Sportsman. I read those articles and watched those programs and imagined myself pheasant hunting, fly fishing for artic char, and all sorts of adventures.

You sir were a very lucky kid, and now a lucky man to have such memories.

Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed the story.
The tug is the drug

#11922606 - 11/08/16 12:28 AM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
OliverBassin Offline

Registered: 10/18/16
Posts: 162
Felt like I was there. Your words put me in connection with those things. Great story

When you feel down, go out for fishing.
Why so complicated?

#11930695 - 11/12/16 05:34 PM Re: 1968 [Re: Lloyd5]
FWBanger Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 845
Great story! I didn't fish much as a kid so I'm trying to make up for it now. I did have some good hunting/fishing trips with buddies when I was 16/17. Good times. If I knew then what I know now I would have cherished that time a lot more.


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