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In Search Of Shad # 1366 January 15, 2015

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Cooper Lake finally came up some and I was able to launch my boat one day last week. Junior Larkin and I fished out from the dam in thirty feet of water and caught about eighty pounds of blue catfish in four hours. Bait used was small drum, or gaspergou, and shad. We prefer to use shad but they are very hard to find. Sometimes they can be caught in White Rock Creek near Flag Pole Hill in Dallas but the last few trips have been nonproductive. Billy McCarter and O.L. Steger parked at the bird watching platform parking lot the same day and caught 170 pounds of blue cats with the largest at fourteen pounds. Billy and I talked on the phone and he asked me to come to the bank and get his fish so they wouldn’t have to drag them all the way back to his pickup.

Saturday, son in law Jason Barnett and I started to Hugo Lake spillway to try to catch shad with a cast net. While in Paris I called the Hugo game warden to see if he knew of other places in case we found none at Hugo Lake. It is a good thing I called him because he told us it was illegal to carry any shad away from the spillway or lake. You only can use them for bait on the lake or at the spillway. This is to keep a certain kind of invasive carp from spreading further. Since the Hugo option was out, we decided to drive all the way to the Wright Patman spillway south of Texarkana. The recent rains must have been heavier than we thought as we were surprised to find the spillway almost wide open and water twenty seven feet deep in the chute. Sure did make me want to launch my boat. I could have been at the mouth of Sulphur in no time. No one, including us, had any luck catching shad there so we headed home. Another surprise came when we crossed Sulphur River on Highway 67. It was overflowing and water was all out in the timber on both sides of the road. Some places must have got a lot more rain than we did.

When I was a catfishing guide on Cooper Lake years ago sometimes I would make a special trip to Maud and buy a big box of worms for fifty dollars at a bait shop. When we went through Maud Saturday we stopped at the bait shop and they did have some frozen shad from four to eight inches long. If you fish with shad you know how they get soft and rotten if you don’t ice them down immediately after you catch them. These appeared to be firm and properly frozen. Frozen shad are not cheap, especially now since they are so hard to find but it may be better to pay a little more than to be driving to Texarkana and Dallas. Sunday as I write this the rain is pouring so maybe we will continue to be able to get out on Cooper Lake. Before driving to Maud you may want to check with Bud Skinner at the Tin Top Bait Shop to see if he has some shad.
More Madstone Madness from Sharptown’s Rip Templeton. Rip sent me a clipping from the January 2015 Texas Co-op Power Magazine. In the letters to the editor section Mark Randall from McKinney writes that he has a madstone his part Cherokee father gave him. According to Mark, “My daddy said madstones were only found in the stomachs of albino deer, thus they would be quite rare. Mine is about the size of a peach pit, lightweight and porous.”

Marsha Greer of Tyler also replied in the letter to the editor section. “I enjoyed the article about madstones. I have a madstone that was passed to me by my mother. A friend gave it to her in 1963. He told her the treasured madstone had been in his family since the mid 1800’s. It is shaped like an egg, has a tan background color with small round black spots all over it. On one side it appears someone scraped off part of the outside layer to reveal a porous part of the stone. It is about two inches long and one and a fourth inches wide.”

Rip also agreed with me that many people who thought they were exposed to rabies may not have been infected at all and would have survived even with no treatment. He compares it to a cold. You can take medicine for it and get well in fourteen days. You don’t take anything for it and are well in two weeks. If you want to have some fun, maybe on a Sunday afternoon drive, go to McKinney or Tyler and find one of these madstone owners. Tell them you were bitten by a mad dog and want to apply their madstone to the bite. Well, after the joke, you would at least maybe get to see one.

Maybe you watched the Ohio State/Oregon football game and were puzzled about the Ohio State mascot. Ohio State apparently had no mascot until 1965 when Sally Huber started a movement to solve the problem. Many schools had animals for their mascot so a buck deer was suggested for OSU. The deer was rejected due to obvious safety reasons. Since the buckeye tree is the state tree of Ohio, the buckeye was selected. Brutus Buckeye is a student dressed in OSU colors and wearing a head piece resembling the nut of a buckeye tree. Now you know all about that funny looking mascot.

To stay out of trouble I am gonna let you fill in the following blanks with your favorite university or whatever. What do a smart ______ and a UFO have in common? You may hear about them but don’t ever see one. Why do ______smile during thunderstorms? They think somebody is taking pictures. What did the ______ say when he/she saw the YMCA sign? Oh look, they misspelled Macy’s. How do you make a ______laugh on Saturday? Tell them a joke on Tuesday.
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