Sports

Wed
29
Apr

Crappie catching with the Garmin Pan-Optix

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Fishing and Hunting Southeast Texas By Capt. Bill Watkins

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It was a half hour past dawn and already the northwest wind was beginning to rise. The weather gurus had predicted northwest at five to ten mph for the day. but after all, weather predictions are notoriously inaccurate. Not to mention the fact that land wind predictions are never going to be the same as out on a big open body of water such as Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

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Wed
22
Apr

Spring sports fall victim to COVID-19 restrictions

Spring sports fall victim to COVID-19 restrictions

File photos Baseball and softball are just two of the spring sports that fell victim to the Covid-19 virus restrictions. Both seasons had barely started when other sports had almost finished while still more never got underway due to social distancing.

For many 2020 seniors, memories of their senior year may not be composed of things that happened, but of things that didn’t. Senior Prom of course, but many extracurricular activities and competitions from band and choir to yearbook and journalism were affected to name just a few. One of the most noticed losses was for spring sports with some seasons just short of finishing and others just starting or preparing to begin when in-person contact was prohibited for schools in Texas.

Those who had hoped to salvage their sports season had their hopes dashed with the UIL’s announcement Friday that everything was cancelled.

“It was very tough not getting to see our athletes compete their senior year,” said Vidor ISD Athletic Director Jeff Mathews. “It is really hard to imagine not having the memories that I have of my senior year,” he added.

Wed
15
Apr

The crappie trip that turned into a bass trip

The crappie trip that turned into a bass trip

The crappie fishing just wasn’t working out. We were catching them but most of them were just under the ten-inch limit. My wife Shirley was the only one that had caught keepers. My Grandson Levi was getting bored catching small fish and to tell the truth I was getting bored as well. We were strolling with crappie jigs along the deeper edges of hydrilla in the mouth of a short drain off of a spawning flat in the main lake area of Sam Rayburn. The hydrilla was growing out to ten feet but at that depth it was sparse and not very high off the bottom. All morning long I had been looking at the flat nearby and wondering if there were some late spawning bass hanging out in the shallower water. A bass angler is always thinking about what the bass are doing no matter what other species they might be fishing for. It is just in our genes. The plan had been to fish the hydrilla edges early and then move out to the deeper brush piles and try for crappie there.

Wed
08
Apr

Catfishing with swim noodles

Catfishing with swim noodles
Catfishing with swim noodles

It was a cold, gray, and windy day on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. We didn’t realize until we were two miles from our camp that a cold front had just blown through and we definitely were underdressed.

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Wed
08
Apr

Texas Outdoor Family Program hosts virtual ranger programs throughout April leading up to a family camp-in on May 2

AUSTIN— The Texas Outdoor Family (TOF) program is leading the #TexasOutdoorFamilyCampIn, a month long online initiative encouraging families to learn outdoor skills together. This series, taking place through April, will culminate in a backyard or indoor camp-in throughout the state on Saturday, May 2. This online series consists of more than 30 pro

 

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Wed
01
Apr

Irish priest pulls off two great escapes

Irish priest pulls off two great escapes

A weary diplomat boarded the Independence at New Orleans on Apr. 7, 1837 for the last leg of the long trip back to Texas. Pressing business in the United States caused William H. Wharton to miss the Battle of San Jacinto, but he would at least be home in time to celebrate the first anniversary of Lone Star independence.

Stephen F. Austin, Branch T. Archer and Wharton passed through the Crescent City in January 1836 on their way to Washington, D.C. to solicit support for the revolution. Although his companions returned to Texas soon after the rebels’ victory, Wharton stayed behind to lobby for a speedy annexation.

Procrastination by the Potomac politicians forced the frustrated envoy to lower his expectations and to wait for the foreign government simply to acknowledge the presence of the new nation. When Andrew Jackson, in the last act of his presidency, signed the paper recognizing the Republic of Texas, Wharton was the happiest man east of the Sabine.

 

Wed
01
Apr

Going nowhere fast with Murphy’s Law

Going nowhere fast with Murphy’s Law
Going nowhere fast with Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law states, “Whatever can go wrong will”. I am not sure but I guess that the guy that came up with that law was named Murphy or perhaps he was the unlucky sucker that proved it correct. All I can say is that it happens to me on a regular basis and in my case, it happens at the worst possible time. Take for instance last Thursday. My last guide trip was Monday a week ago. I decided to cancel the rest of my trips until the Corona virus pandemic was over. After staying close to home for three more days I got bored and decided that I would drive up to Sam Rayburn and do a little one on one with some of the bass that live there. After all, bass fishing is my first love in fishing and I don’t get much time for it. I arrived at the Twin Dykes Public launching ramp just a little after dawn and was surprised to find at least fifty trucks and boat trailers in the parking lot and a line of seven or eight trucks waiting to launch. It was almost like a tournament Saturday morning.

Wed
25
Mar

Calling All Jakes: Texas Turkey Hunters Should See More Young Toms This Spring

AUSTIN – A great 2019 nesting season for wild turkeys means more young toms (or jakes) will be seen by hunters this spring. Jakes are typically more forgiving than older toms and create a prime opportunity for new turkey hunters to bag their first bird.

The spring season for Rio Grande turkey season got under way March 14-15 with a youth-only weekend in the South Zone, followed by a general season that runs March 21-May 3 and then culminates with a youthonly weekend May 9-10. In the North Zone, the youth-only weekend seasons are March 28-29 and May 23-24. The North Zone general season opens April 4 and runs through May 17. A special one-gobbler limit season runs April 1-30 in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Milam, and Wharton counties.

Wed
25
Mar

Crabbing time in Southeast Texas

Crabbing time in Southeast Texas

Fishing and Hunting Southeast Texas By Capt. Bill Watkins

Crabbing time in Southeast Texas

My grandson, Levi, slowly worked the string through his fingers almost as if he were knitting. He could only see about two feet into the dark tannic stained water of the bayou but he kept his eyes on the white string. There was a heavy feeling wiggling creature on the other end of the string and he knew that if he made eye contact with the big blue crab hanging on to the piece of chicken on the other end of the string that the game would be over. While I waited down current with the net Levi eased the string toward the surface, smoothly, cautiously until we could make out the rascal holding on to his prize. The trick is to stop pulling the string while the crab is visible but still deep enough in the water to feel safe. Blue crabs are greedy and once they grab onto a piece of fat chicken, they usually will hold on to it with a grim determination. However, they are not so dumb that they can’t recognize that there is danger associated with back at them from close range.

Wed
18
Mar

Burning gas and catching bass

Burning gas and catching bass
Burning gas and catching bass

It was a chilly morning on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. There was no wind and the cloudless sky told the story of high barometric pressure. We had expected the fishing to be a little tough right after the passage of a cold front and it was. My son William had invited me on a one-day trip in his boat and with a break in my guiding schedule I had happily accepted but by 8:30 am we were struggling and had only put one good sized bass in the boat. William had chosen to fish near the flooded portion of Highway 96 near McKim Creek. That area has many acres of flooded brush and is a good area for spawning bass but with all of that cover it can get complicated trying to figure out which brush is holding bass. We tried point brush, willow trees, small isolated cypress trees, and trees and brush along the actual creek channel. The only bass we had caught was right on the edge of the creek channel in a dead willow.

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