Friday, June 22, 2007

Wapiti Texas Style

My knee is a little bit better and I am able to walk now, at least without the instability. My trip to Dallas Wed. left me with the sudden reality that I wasn't bitching as much about it, so I suppose I am getting better. I noticed this when stepping in to a hole while carrying a cooler at 2:00 AM in the morning. No, not out on a stupor. Instead of a boring dinner at a local restaurant, our hosts, Summa Group, in Dallas responded to the needs of the Wapiti, and offered up a Stiped Bass fishing excursion, at Lake Texoma, north of Dallas right on the Texas and Oklahoma line.

So here is how it played out. We grind all afternoon on business and eventually arrive at Mike's property just up the lake from the "put in". It was a two hour drive from Dallas, but there was much to talk about and it went by quite fast. When we hit the driveway to his lake house, a tornado (what seemed like one anyway) comes through and wipes out the rest of the daylight. Since the fishing was to be had between the hours of 10:00 PM and 1:00 AM in the morning, we had time to burn some meat, play some cards and resume the rest of our negotiations, the way Texans, do it I reckon: Malt Beverages and games of Texas Hold um.

I lost ten bucks on several "all ins" as usual, getting bored with it all. I was thinking that it was getting late and looked at my watch. The rain had stopped and it was nearing 1:30 AM. Time to put the boat in and get some fish. The next hour was spent navigating a 30 foot pontoon boat into the lake, in the dark, in the rain, which hadn't truly lifted for more than an hour. And did I mention, we had to hunt our own bait. Yes, casting nets for shad, to use as bait for the Striped Bass. This is big ass bass country, say the experts. You can't buy bait in the rain at 2:00 AM in the morning. And I am not sure about the legality of netting shad, but I caught some and it was quite the thing. You shine the light in to the water, wait for the school of shad to appear, then flail a net like one of those third world fishermen down off the coast of Guam. What comes back is nothing, for thirty of forty throws, then bingo, enough shad to drop the poles in and get some stripers to bitin.

Never happened. Another tornado happened (what seemed like it) and it was nearing 3:00 AM. We were soaked and our hosts needed to think about their meetings the next day, their travel, there lives, outside of the entertainment of the Wapiti masters. We had worn them down, figured out a way to get out on the water, into the outdoors, baited them with letting them win at Texas hold um, to get a taste of their outdoors, borrowing there land, their territory, their Wapiti.

I love being out on the water like that, smelling the fish, baiting the hook, rain or not. Who cares if the big bass didn't come. We "got" Wapiti in Texas. I will write a song.

Spupid funny. On the plane on the way home I sat right next to one of our Wapiti clients, the Human Resource Director for Sara Lee Corporation. What a coincidence. It was like fight club, he was one of us. We are everywhere, shrouded by our day to day work method, our regimen, the day to day grind. So I ask the guy, when he woke up (he had no idea I who I was). I asked him if he had been fishing lately, he said no. I asked him if he was sure and looked deeply into his eyes. He lightly nodded, smiled and looked to his left and right, checking to see if the coast was clear. Off we went into a conversation about bass fishing at Taneycomo, from a Missouri Wapiti, a few weeks ago.

1 comment:

Boz said...

Jeez, Ralph! That's a big 'ol fish. Perhaps we need a team fishing event??? Boz