I Fish You A Merry Christmas…

While clawing and gasping my way through the holiday hustle and bustle of the store the other day, I wasn't exactly feeling the holiday cheer, that is, until I saw someone wearing a t-shirt that rang clearer than the silver bells of Christmas. It read, "Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden." Maybe it's because I was at Target and I saw symbols of red bulls-eyes all around, but I was temporarily transported from my retail hell and actually took a moment for a little chuckle. And for just a moment, I almost forgot about the overplaying of "Deck the Halls" on the loudspeaker and about decking the people around me for that matter. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Grinch or Scrooge, but I can only take so much pushing and shoving and temper tantrums of spoiled children screaming all around. Nothing like a little bit of tinsel and limited supply of hot holiday toys to bring out the best in everyone. Instead of holiday cheer, it brings me holiday tears. But, I digress. Back to the shirt-- Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden. Now, I'm not here to dispute that fact--we all know its true--but it made me think about a related parallel. I realized that hunting (or fishing in this case) is really a lot like Christmas shopping (with or without the game warden). 1. WAITING: One way or another, fishing or shopping, you wait, and wait, and wait--whether waiting for the "big fish" to catch your fishing line, or waiting in a checkout line with a big wish list in hand. They both take patience, whether you are trying to find just the right fishing spot or just the right (and closest) parking spot. It also takes patience whether you're refraining from jerking the line too soon or lining out that jerk who cut you in line at the store. 2. TIMING: Both can, and often do take ALL DAY--whether you want it to or not (fishing--yes, please, but no to shopping all day--my feet just can't handle it). And even more, you may end up throwing it (fish or gifts) back (too small to eat) or returning it (also because it's too small--probably from all those second helpings of holiday food and Christmas cookies). 3. STUFF: Either way, you end up with lots of stuff, mostly that of which you (or others) don't really need. It's nice to have, but you can do without, or at least without a lot of it. Whether it's the 47 different spinner baits in your tackle box or the 47 different boxes under your tree, you end up with a lot of stuff. And it often all ends up sitting around, unopened or unused, forgotten, or re-gifted, whether it's in the tackle box or the gift box. 4. PLANNING: For both, battle tactics are required, as is a plan and armor, whether you're battling for bass or bargains. I'm talking selecting your baits to lure in big bass, mapping out your escape route from other shoppers that are being an a--(I'll let you fill in the blank), cutting coupons, bargaining with retailers, checking the Solunar Tables to the sales advertisements, you gotta know what you're looking for and plan accordingly. Bring your game face, your running shoes, waders--whatever it takes. Just be ready for action. Despite these metaphorical parallels, I'm more into "reel" life. I'll be glad when all the holiday hoopla is over with and I can get away from the stress of shopping malls and get back out on the lake and in the woods. And better yet, just save yourself some trouble--and money. Don't see red. See the beauty of the blue lake and skies instead. Maybe, instead of partaking in all of the commercialism of Christmas, give a gift that no nature or lake lover can turn down, or return for that matter--the one on everyone's wish list--fish. Forget the lines and get a life, or change one. Take someone fishing--a little adventure they won't forget, or heck, you could even give them a fish. Start a family Christmastime tradition on the lake. Gather your friends and family for a weekend at a lake house, take pictures water skiing with Santa hats on (not implausible with East Texas weather!), or go "Christmas light looking" or caroling at many of the lake area communities. Besides, that's what this day is all about--family, friends, traditions, memories, and of course, Jesus is the reason for the season. And it's always the season to celebrate that, whether it's Christmas or hunting season. Good luck out there--with whichever adventure you choose to take-on the water or on land. Merry "Fishmas!"

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Lake Sam Rayburn Weather Forecast



Hi: 49

Saturday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 30


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 57

Sunday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 37


Rain Showers Likely

Hi: 53

Monday Night

Rain Showers Likely

Lo: 42


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 56

Tuesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 33

Lake Sam Rayburn Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 1/22: 161.00 (-3.40)

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Jan. 19)

GOOD. Water stained; 55-58 degrees; 3.33 feet low. Fishing remains the same as we head into another cold front. Bass are good on Carolina rigs and crankbaits in the points, ditches and drains. Crappie are good on live minnows, then jigs after the live bite subsides. You will find them in creeks and river channels. Catfish are good in shallow to 15 feet of water, moving towards the creeks. Report by Lynn Atkinson, Reel Um N Guide Service.

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