The 50,000 watt, blow-torch radio station WBAP (820 on the AM dial) originates out of Ft. Worth, and has the familiar format of news, talk, weather, and sports. Every Saturday afternoon, they devote an hour to the “fin and feather” aficionados appropriately called “Outdoor Trails”, a no-nonsense information and call-in show, anchored by Barry Stokes, a renowned fishing and hunting expert in Texas (and surrounding states). Even though I never had the persona of an “Outdoorsman” who fervently subscribed to “Field & Stream”, I inexplicably became a devotee of the show, a dilettante of fishing reports. I found it quite informative and entertaining…a slice of Americana as apple pie.
However, there is a lighter side to the WBAP broadcasts, a few moments of levity incomparable in the annals of air waves. This brief interlude is known as the Friday Morning Weekend Fishing Report by none other than Willie Landem, “Fisherman’s Guide to the Stars”. Naturally, his wife’s name is Canshe. The gist of his repertoire is obviously an outlandish parody on Mr. Stokes’ hour of the serious-minded. I’ve always wondered what Barry’s reactions were to Willie’s irreverent references as to how and where to throw a line. Can you see the connection now? Without listening to one, I couldn’t appreciate the other. And, I might add, this is not just a vicarious indulgence, since I have lake-fished on several occasions, thanks to my good friend, Jim Noack.
I’m going to introduce you to Mr. Landem with his signature: “If you can’t catch ’em on Lake Texoma, pack up your boat and take it on homa.” A little bit of angling humor. Hal Jay is the MC for the program, and plays the straight man for Willie’s antics. For example, he suggests, “Let’s go fishing on Lake Sam Rayburn.” Willie says, “Let me check my files here real quick (ruffle of pages in the background), oh, here it is under “Crooked”. He continues, “Lake guides report that fishing has slowed down a bit since one local fisherman landed a 55 gallon drum marked ‘Nuclear Waste’. He took it on a 20 lb. splottney line using a six-inch short-treuse and pink chum-and-rodney in about 13 feet of water. But fishing should be picking up this weekend, and if you’re fishing for bass, try using a double-spinnin’ critter-getter with a macaroni trailer near partially submerged momma-got-poppa trees Well, that’s all I got for today. Until next time, good luck, and keep a tight line.” That’s just a sample.
Fly-fishing on the Brazos takes on a whole new dimension according to Mr. Landem. Here’s an excerpt from his report: …”a true sportsman choice. Let me look in my files here, oh yes, here it is, under ‘Zipper’. One thing you have to remember, you must use tiny hooks, because flies have very small mouths… little bit of angling humor there. One note of interest, fly rods are longer than any other fishing rods, and the most popular choice is the 37 foot Methuselah Whippin’ Stick. One of the most successful flies is the Uncle Poochy’s teeny-weenie flickerin’ snickle bug in a black and purple 12 treble hook model. For the more experienced angler, you might want to try the Silverado of hand-tied flies, the purple-tipped trout grabber with a nine inch short-treuse, skip and journey trailer. Great advice, huh? I wonder if Mr. Stokes is listening.
Tips on vacation time at the lake is another part of Willie’s repertoire. Here’s how that goes: “When you go to the lake, make sure you’re in full vacation mode. Relieve yourself of any stress, and if anybody tries to mess with your mind while you’re on vacation, calmly reach out and tie their crouch to your trailer hitch, then gently back your boat into the water. This will not only make for some early morning entertainment, but also teach the jerk-bait not to mess with anyone on vacation. Another thing to keep in mind, most fishermen don’t pop that top on that first beer until 7 or 7:30 in the morning. But if you’re on vacation, it is considered a serious breach of etiquette if that first brewskie isn’t guzzled as you back out of your driveway. Some of the favorite summertime lures are the Mr. Quiggley’s smilin’ wiggly worm in short-treuse or ruby-red, and Uncle Ernie’s hump and gloop peeler with a 1/2 ounce wheedle snapper”. Now if you can’t catch anything from this report, you might as well take it on homa.
As a brief intermission, here’s an advertisement for Willie’s Official Guide boat: “An 8 foot short-treuse and black alum-a-glass Bulgecraft XT6TM 2-OUl-2 Model with a 237 HP Johnny Rood motor and a tri-hull dual console, trans-mounted back-lash diesel-groper steering mechanism with skim and dog electronics, and a one pound thrust ten skooner trolling motor”. Well, does that beat a Boston Whaler, or not? Ask Jim Noack. Hey, it’s all in fun, hon.