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HOME RANGE: Notes on Literature, Nature, Working Dogs, History, Martial Arts, Other Obsessions and Sundry Annoyances by Henry Chappell

Lean Pickings



Cade and I fished one of our favorite ponds from late afternoon until dark. Caught lots of little farts. This rascal ate my #4 deer hair bug just before sunset. Not a hog, but I was sure glad to see him.
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Cade and the Cottonmouth

Fish often in the South and you'll meet one of these. Despite their abundance and reputation for aggressiveness, water moccasins rarely bite humans.

My grandson Cade, who's staying with J. and me this summer, surfs in water frequented by great white sharks, but the first time we fished a small North Texas lake, he worried about cottonmouth water moccasins. Of course he forgot about snakes as soon as he started catching fish. Before long, he was finning his float tube into the snakiest looking backwater he could find, working his fly over lily pads and around brush and stumps.

I told him that when he meets a cottonmouth, he should just back up while keeping an eye on it. Likely, it will hold its ground or try to chase him out of the area. Don't be stupid. It doesn't want to bite you; it wants you to leave.

Sure enough, just before sundown last night we were fishing the upper end of a small lake, when Cade said, "Grandpap, there's a cottonmouth." A nice, big one actually, about thirty feet away, but swimming toward him. I suspect the splat of the popping bug brought the snake out to investigate. I told Cade to back up. He did. The snake stopped. Cade kept backing up.

Thus ended the lesson. Nobody hurt. We fished until dark. The snake encounter didn't even come up on the drive home. Another southern fly fisherman has learned to take cottonmouth water moccasins in stride.
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Budding Bass Bum

Hog Hunter


My grandson Cade and I fished a pretty little pond in Wise County a few days back. He has become quite the fly fisherman. We caught lots of small bass and some huge bluegills.






These kids today. Cade plays and lands the fish while recording and narrating the action with his iPhone. If the event doesn't appear on social media it didn't happen, no matter how many first-hand witnesses.

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What could be better ...

Cade (right) and Cate, after a nice bit of work by dog and hunter. Obviously I need to think a little harder about dog names.



... than a grandson, squirrel dog, and New Years Day in the woods of northeast Texas?

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The Old Man and the Boy Young Man


His voice is as deep as mine, but he's still a member of the selfie generation. Here, he caught The Old Man, his grandpap, unaware.
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