A shared passion for catfishing

Derek Logan told me his wife Rebecca liked to fish. Still, I wasn’t prepared for what I met.

I kind of expected, well, you know — a big, ol’ strong-limbed country girl.

Instead, I met a slender, dark-eyed, raven-haired beauty.

But she was far from being a sissy-girl.

Derek called her his “regular fishing partner.” Their first date was actually a fishing trip.

“I fished with Derek and a friend of his,” said Rebecca. “The friend put the plug in the live well instead of in the bilge. The boat ended up half full of water, and he (Derek) had to jump overboard.”

Derek moaned at the memory.

“That was only the second time we had met,” Derek said. “The first time was at night. When I saw her that day, I said, ‘Oh man, she’s even prettier than I remember.’

“I was nervous (on the fishing trip). I wanted everything to go right.”

As if reading his thoughts, she interjected, “It was the worst day ever to go fishing.”

Derek agreed.

“We didn’t catch a fish,” Derek admitted. “(The wind) was blowing 15 to 20 (mph) out of the east. I said, ‘I’ll never see her again.’”

Rebecca didn’t let that experience stop her, however.

“(W)e had a lot in common,” Rebecca explained. “One bad fishing trip didn’t mean a lot. We both love fishing, hunting and cooking.”

Derek came by his love of the outdoors the old-fashioned way: He grew up as a Cajun, living it.

A peek into his garage tells you a lot. It’s a sight: floor-to-ceiling shelves holding boots, ice chests, rods and reels, life jackets, duck and goose decoys, and every other piece of outdoor gear suitable for South Louisiana.

What isn’t filled with hunting and fishing stuff is cooking equipment: black iron and aluminum pots, a Cajun microwave, an outdoor fryer, a boiling rig and an ice machine.

He has parlayed his love of the outdoors into a career in wildlife law enforcement — another passion.

“Being a game warden is the best job in the world,” he said. “The only thing better would be being a millionaire so I could buy all the toys we use.

“I became a game warden because I like the people I deal with. Most of them are decent people who couldn’t resist temptation. Catching those guys who violate laws knowingly is a real challenge.”

Rebecca, currently an operations manager for the Internet marketing and advertising agency Firefly Digital, grew up in Lafayette.

But her upbringing was distinctly “un-Cajun.”

Her mom, Gloria Stanley, cooked every day for Rebecca and her three sisters. Her grandmother, Lorene Jeffery, cooked too.

But the cooking was “from up north” — meat, potatoes, dumplings and butter beans.

“We didn’t eat rice,” explained Rebecca. “I learned how to cook Cajun-style from Bonnie Thibodaux. I had to learn how to cook game, rice and gravy, mirlitons, gumbos and things like that.

“I always loved the outdoors and would adopt baby rabbits and birds, but my hunting and fishing started with my high-school boyfriend. I didn’t say, ‘Eeuw, blood.’ It was, ‘Show me how to clean it.’ I wanted to get the meat; then I wanted to dissect it. I wanted to crack the squirrel’s skull open and see the brain.”

Sure enough, later, while Derek was cleaning their catch, Rebecca cut and probed the stomach contents of every fish.

“She’s like a kid,” her husband chuckled. “All kids like to do that.”

One stomach examination yielded results that interested Derek, though: A big blue catfish had several partially digested hardhead catfish in its stomach.

“I love being a kid in the woods — all the animals,” Rebecca giggled. “And the excitement of actually killing them. And eating them.

“To have that in common with your husband — to share the same passions — is not very common.”

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.