Honey Bun bass, a tackle box of his own and a big old one-eyed lunker

Stan Wright casually tossed a few pieces of his unfinished Honey Bun into the still waters off the Hwy. 1215 boat lane on Toledo Bend. We were tied up to a big old stump fishing for big old bluegills. Let me be perfectly clear. I would never have thrown away part of a good Honey Bun (especially if I had any Dr. Pepper left).

Neither of us expected what happened next around my old 15-foot green Hustler fiberglass bass boat.

The little pieces of Honey Bun got the attention of a big old school of shad; in turn, grabbing the attention of a big old bunch of schooling bass. The bass took over, eating shad and Honey Bun.

And who would have guessed that, driven mad by sugary sweet roll nibbles, that largemouth bass would also bite crickets.

That’s all we had to fish with at the time, so we pitched them into the frothing water. We actually caught bass on cane poles and crickets. But they did and I couldn’t tell anybody or they would have kicked me out of the bass club. The action slowed, and albeit a tough choice, another Honey Bun was crumbled and thrown into the lake. Then came more schooling bass. And more bass. I tried baiting my hook with honey bun, but it fell off.

Imagine if we would have had some Twinkies!

I can never forget

It’s been five years since my old fishing buddy passed on, but I will never forget our outdoor adventures. Even though we lived too far apart to see each other often later in life, we stayed in regular contact. The last time was when he called to harass me on my “Social Security” Birthday, knowing full well a payback call would be coming. I never got to make the call. He died suddenly.

Stan was tight. He could squeeze six cents out of a nickel. He worked hard, spoke his peace and owned no political correctness. These days would be hard on him. He had a lot of interesting jobs in his day, including a short stint with the FBI in New Orleans. I don’t remember much about that, except the time some shady character with nothing to lose pulled a gun on him in a locked office. Stan was all for justice, but decided there must be a job somewhere more in line with catching bass with Honey Buns and crickets.

Stan wasn’t one to fool around. I was. My actions and words were often met with patented, chin back and lowered, scowling ‘Urrrrrgghhhhs.’

Our days go back to our childhood. One of those days in the backyard, Stan was a pro pitcher and I was a pro catcher, like 12 year olds often are. He was supposed to throw a fast ball, but let loose a big lefty curve ball. I missed. It caught me, right in the shin. My only shin guard was skin. To this day, there is still a slight twinge there.

He was the first guy I ever knew that had a tackle box of his own just for bass baits. He had six plastic worms pre-rigged with hooks and spinners, two frog colored Hellbenders, a couple of black back, silver belly Cordell Hot Spots and two or three white H&H spinners. He even had an extra spool of line for his green Johnson Century reel.

I share this story to remind everyone of one important thing: Fishing and hunting aren’t about filling the freezer. They are about spending time with friends, having fun, making memories and doing it now, when we can.

There is one story I am glad my wife witnessed, because nobody ever be-lieved Stan or me. At the end of his long pier, there was a big bream bed. We frequented it often to catch supper, even though by now, I was a staunch bass fisherman with my very own tackle box just for bass.

Lurking lunker

I spotted a huge bass swimming just under the surface right alongside the pier. I hurried back to my Ranger Bass Boat, which was tied to the pier and grabbed the dip net.The big bass continued to swim down beside the pier toward me at a leisurely pace. I think he had been to the bream bed, too. I scooped up the bass with the net. It went crazy, thrashing and splashing. I died laughing. Stan gave a big “Urrrrrgghhhh.” I know. It is illegal to use a net to catch a bass. But I’m hoping the statute of limitations has run out. If it hasn’t, no judge will believe it and my wife does not have to testify.

After closer examination, we saw why the whopper wasn’t scared of the finality of the approaching dip net. The bass was blind in its right eye, the one on the side by the pier. The bass never saw me coming.

Stan was a stickler for details. He took the fish to Lantana Bay Grocery to be weighed on certified scales. It was way too big to have been caught on a cane pole and cricket. Officially, it weighed seven pounds, four ounces. I’m sticking with eight, though. It just sounds better. After a brief discussion of whether something was wrong with the bass or not, we concurred he was okay, cleaned him and ate him for supper.

That same yearning for exactness led Stan to have a big talking clock in his guest bedroom on the lake. It wasn’t just any clock, it was a Coordinated Universal Time clock. It announced the time every single minute, 24/7. You could turn it down. But you could not turn it off. I can still hear the clock in the middle of the night, “Ping. Ping. It is now 2:31 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time…Ping. Ping. It is now 2:32 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time. Ping Ping….”. CTU is the primary time standard by which the world regulates time around the world, a detail that would escape most folks. Not Stan.

In our high school days, Stan’s family had moved, but he would often come back up to Bastrop and spend a few days fishing. One day we were clear on the backside of Bussey Brake Reservoir when our 14-foot aluminum boat hit a stump and sheared the pin on our Evinrude Lightwin 3-horse. We couldn’t find a spare in the tackle box. Stan mumbled up on the bank, walked a mile and a half down the levee and got one from Bardin’s Boat Dock. About the time I saw him walking back down the levee a couple hundred yards away, I remembered we had put an extra shear pin on the back of the motor cowling under a piece of black electric tape. Yep, there it was.

Stan never found out about that.  I would surely have ended up hearing a long “Urrrrgghhhh,” prefaced with several other short, more emphatic words. I might even have had to swim part of the way back home.

But now, I guess it doesn’t matter. Urrrrgghhhh.

About Kinny Haddox 592 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.