I woke up to 45 mph wind gust this morning in Dallas, so I guess I will be staying off the water. The weather has been very frustrating this year, but I don't think I will ever be as frustrated as Tom Blast. Check this out:
Fishing with Dynamite: Ron “Blast”
Fishing for black bass during July in Texas is for the most part a waste of time and a futile endeavor. The water becomes too warm with surface temperatures reaching ninety degrees at times, and the fish are generally solitude, deep, and sluggish. Unless one wants to fish at night, your chances are basically nil. But when Tom arrived for his yearly fishing sabbatical at DFW airport with his fishing gear, he had only one thought on his mind─ “Lunker bass at Lake Fork.” I tried to explain to him that we would be dealing with one hundred degree heat and comatose fish but he wouldn’t listen. “I’ll get us a guide and we’ll get us a “wall-hanger” for your game room,” he said. Unable to persuade him that we would be better off chasing the schooling stripers and sandies at Tawakoni and Ray Hubbard, I gave in. “I’ll give us two days,” I said. “If we don’t catch any, we’re doing it my way.”
When we arrived at my home in Rockwall, Tom unloaded his gear and immediately began working the Internet for a Lake Fork guide. “This guy here looks good,” he said, “he lives on the lake and fishes just about every day. He will know any patterns that are going on. Picking up the phone Tom dialed the number and after several rings a man answered, “Hello,” he said. “Is this Ron Blast?”
“I’m looking for a fishing guide for Lake Fork.”
“Well, you got the right guy.”
“How is the fishing going right now?”
“Pretty good; we caught ten yesterday and had a couple line snappers.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Absolutely not; the fish are down deep and need a little coaxing but I know where they are.”
“What do you have open for this week?”
“How about tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow is good.”
“ Meet me at the Lake Fork Marina at six in morning and we’ll go catch some lunker bass,” Ron said.
“See you then.”
Tom hung up the phone and looked at me, “We’re all set for tomorrow; this guy says he is catching a lot of fish and that he knows where they are.”
“What did you expect him to say, ‘that the fishing is dead and that he doesn’t have a clue where the fish are,’ ” I said.
“He sounded like he was being honest.”
“They all do ─ they’re making money doing this; but we’ll give it a shot. We’ll leave early tomorrow morning and then spend one night at the motel so that we can fish the next day without the guide. Let’s try and find out what he is doing.”
The next morning we got up early, had a quick breakfast, and headed towards the lake. The temperature was already in the low eighties and I could tell we were in for a real scorcher. Pulling into the Lake Fork Marina in Emory, we took our gear out of the truck and walked to the pier where we were greeted by a short man with a raggedy “Bass Pro Shop” cap on. “Are you Ron?” my brother asked.
“How ya doin’. This is my brother Gary and my name is Tom. ”
“Nice to meet you fellas. Are you ready to go?”
“Then pile in the boat and let’s roll,” Ron said.
We stepped down into the boat while Ron Blast unhitched the ropes that secured it. When he stepped down into the driver’s seat, his pant leg pulled up and I could see that he had a prosthetic right leg. Pretending I didn’t see it, I examined his boat. The fishing craft was a nice burgundy metal flake Ranger bass boat with a two hundred horse power Mercury engine. “Hold on to your hats,” Ron said as he backed out of the stall, “I’m going to gun this thing.”
The boat stood straight up as Ron pulled down on the throttle, throwing a fountain of water behind the boat before he trimmed the bow down. I estimated the boat had to be traveling in excess of sixty mph as we flew down a lane headed south. The rushing air plastered my sunglasses against my eye sockets while I tried to keep track of where the guide was headed to. Ron had obviously traveled the route many times, avoiding the thousands of underwater tree stumps that filled the lake, which if struck at high speed, would more than likely kill us. Slowing down, we pulled into a cove surrounded by cow pasture. “This is the place,” he said. “We got some good ones out of here yesterday. Stopping the boat he opened his tackle box and threw us a couple of pumpkinseed lizards. “Weedless hook those lizards, Texas-rig style and begin tossing at the base of the tree stumps,” he said, “a lot of times the bass will be sitting right at the bottom of the stump, so be ready when the bait hits bottom.” We worked the cove all morning without a single strike and the higher the sun got, the hotter it became. Ron checked his watch, “Fellas, it’s almost noon. What do you say we go have some lunch, take a rest, and then come back out.”
“Sounds good Ron,” I said.
The guide fired up the engine and quickly had us back to the marina. “The Lake Fork Lodge has a nice little restaurant where we can grab a burger and a couple of beers,” he said, “follow me.” Ron limped his way down the pier into the restaurant and we had a seat. “Bring us a pitcher of beer and some burgers Darlene,” he told the waitress.
“Sure thing Ron.”
The waitress quickly returned with the ice cold beer and poured us a round. Raising his glass he said, “A bad day fishin’ is still better than a good day at the office.” Agreeing with him, we quickly drained the pitcher and Ron ordered another. The liquor had gone straight to our heads, exacerbated by the searing heat, and we were now feeling no pain. “This is where I lost my leg,” Ron said. My brother and I looked at him in an uneasy astonishment. “My best friend and I were having beers watching Monday Night Football and it had begun to get late. He was pretty hammered, so I tried to take the keys away from him but he would have none of it. I told him to go home and he did; at least I thought he did. When I finished up my beer, I paid my bill and was walking across the street when a truck struck me. Next thing I know, I wake up in the hospital with my leg missing. Turns out my ‘son of bitch’ friend didn’t see me in the street and ran me over with his Land Rover.”
“You have got to be shittin’ me,” I said.
“Wish I was but it don’t matter none ─ I could still fish and play golf, and I have an unlimited supply of Vicodin.”
With that in mind, the burgers were consumed, we paid our bill, and headed back out. It was now two o’clock in the afternoon and the Texas sun felt like a blast furnace. “People think you can’t catch fish when it’s hot like this but there wrong,” Ron said optimistically. Following his lead, we picked up where we left off, fishing the stumps all afternoon without a single strike. “I guess we should call it fellas; they just ain’t bitin.’ I don’t know what happened ─ the only way we’re bringing up fish today is with dynamite.”
After Ron dropped us off and we paid him three hundred dollars, I addressed Tom. “That was a three hundred dollar scenic tour of Lake Fork’s stumps.”
“We had to try,” he said.
“The only way you’re getting fish out of that lake when it is this hot like this is with dynamite ─ didn’t you hear the guy. Let’s go shower, eat, and get some sleep at the motel.”
We settled into the room, watched some baseball and within minutes were sound asleep. The heat had knocked the tar out of both of us and we were both lying in a comatose state of mind when a huge explosion nearly knocked us out of our beds.
“What in the hell was that?” Tom asked.
“Probably thunder,” I said while peering out the window. I saw the stars shining brightly and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. “Go back to sleep.”
The next day we packed up, headed to Lake Tawakoni, and slew a potpourri of sandies, stripers, and hybrid bass. By the time we cleaned the fish, got home, and showered, the day was over and we slept soundly in a different frame of mind. When I got up the next morning, I took out the sport page and began to read the Thursday “Outdoors” section. The report read that TPW (Texas Parks & Wildlife) had an all points bulletin lookout for someone who got frustrated, took a stick of dynamite, and planted it in a Lake Fork cove in exactly the same area that we had fished. I thought back about what Ron had said and wondered if his last name (Blast) had any relevance.