Like Mother, Like Son

Before I started this blog in 2007 and long before anyone really ever heard of the Bayou Woman, I spent a lot of time out on the water exploring, sight seeing, photographing, and fishing.  My youngest son, appropriately nicknamed Termite the Tenacious, often kept me company; sometimes willingly, but most times he had no choice. He became my fishing buddy, and more often than not, he could out-fish me, as long as we were catching and the activity kept his attention.  

I posted very frequently about those trips in the early years of this blog.  It’s funny to look back now and see just one or two comments on a fishing post; like this one–my first fishing post ever!  He was 11 years old in these photos.  Or maybe you’ve been following this blog for a while and might remember the Mother’s Day fishing trip to the marsh that he gifted me in 2009?  

Fast forward to this morning.  Now a U.S. Coast Guard Tankerman on a big tugboat, he works 14 days on the boat and 7 days home.  This morning, as I headed down the steps to the screen room to have my coffee, someone yelled in his best southern accent, “Hey, bud!”  Well, lo and behold, it was Termite!  He had come home during the night.  We sat and talked while drinking our coffee, and then he said the magic words, “Let’s go marsh fishing, Mom!”  

My first reaction was, “It’s too hot”, but he persisted, just like a termite, and I conceded. We loaded the ice chest with bottled water, launched the mudboat, stopped at the marina and got a couple sammiches, some fuel, ice, and some spinner baits. Ten minutes later we motored slowly from the man-made canal into the quiet of the Mother Earth Marsh and cut the engine. The pock pock pock of a pileated woodpecker accompanied the soft swishing of the tall reeds along the shore. A big bull gator growled off in the distance to no one in particular. 

The rising tide pushed us into the southwest wind, intrinsically holding us in place. Picking up our rods in unison, we cast our bright Seth with a Bassyellow spinner baits along the edges of the (invasive) water hyacinth and (native) water lilies.  Before long, Termite hooked up with his first bass of the morning–not a huge lunker, but definitely big enough to eat.  

“How about we fry fish for supper tonight?  With white beans and rice?”  I asked him as he tossed the first green trout into the box.

“Yeah, now you’re talking!” he replied enthusiastically.

We all know that one bass won’t feed the family, but with only four of us here right now, we only have to catch at least one fish per mouth in order to have enough for supper. Not long after that was determined, he hooked another nice bass, and another, and another, and another.

What the heck was Bayou Woman doing?  

Let’s see, her line got tangled.  Her lure got hung on a big log on the bottom.  Her lure got caught on (invasive) hydrilla, over and over.  She got hung up on hyacinth leaves. Her line tangled again.

“What the heck?” I asked no one in particular.

“Oh, Mom, don’t let that bait sink to the bottom!”  

“No, duh, son.  Do you think I’m trying to do that?” 

“Mom, you have that bait tied on wrong!”  

“Not me.  I’m the Bayou Woman!”

He was right.  I was wrong.  Retying the lure correctly certainly took care of the tangled line problem but still didn’t do anything about all the grass I continued to catch.  Dang!  I was fishing like a rookie, into the wind, but after we rounded a curve, putting the wind at our backs, my casting distance improved.  Once Termite stopped paddling, the balmy southwest wind pushed us along the deep, narrow trainasses where the fish lay in wait.

In the hot summer months, the fish prefer the deep holes, where the cooler water spells them from the bath-like temps of Seth with red drumthe surface water.  Even though my casting improved with the wind behind us, Termite caught yet another fish–this time a dark orange-colored red drum.  

No reds caught anywhere else have this deep coloring. The reds hang out in this marsh, where the bottom is black, and their scales adapt and darken, giving them camouflage. Some fishers might debate me on this, but reds caught in other waters just don’t have this dark, dark coloring.  

Measuring in at 18 inches, the red promptly joined the green trout already in the box.  With five fish in the ice chest, it’s looking more and more likely that we will have that fish fry tonight.  My thoughts focused on the menu while I cast right down the middle of the trainasse, flipping the bail promptly to keep the lure off the grassy bottom.  I continued to think about cooking supper, when a feisty fish gulped my spinner bait and peeled off line as it swam away from the boat.  Man, what a fight! Nothing fights like a redfish, not even a bass.  When it headed under the boat, I thought I’d lost it, but I woman-handled it out from under there and slung it into the boat straight away.Bayou Woman with red drum

It was another gorgeous inland marsh red drum with the same coloring as the one Termite caught. This, I do believe, proves my theory of the dark coloration of red drum in a brackish marsh.  

And has it hit you yet?  We’re fishing in a secluded marsh.  We’re covering water area by paddling.  We’re both using a yellow spinner bait, and we’re not using any other kind of bait or lures.  Anything wrong with this picture?

We’re catching largemouth bass and red drum, BOTH, in the SAME water using the SAME bait.  What’s the big deal? you might ask.

Well, largemouth bass are a freshwater species, and red drum are a saltwater species.The marshes near Bayou Dularge are situated right in the middle of the Terrebonne side of the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary System.  Our estuary is where the freshwater of bayous meets up with the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico.  The mix is a unique eco-system, and it just so happens that this morning, we were fishing in the brackish zone, where freshwater and saltwater species often bite on the same bait in the same waters. 

Informational sidebar over.

After about two hours of fishing, the sun was scorching hot and the humidity almost unbearable, so we decided we had enough fish for supper.  We returned to Camp Dularge, where Termite cleaned the fish while I unloaded the fishing gear.  

Now, there’s nothing left to do but cook up a delectable bayou supper of fried fish, white beans, and rice.   

Just 8 years ago, I had to insist that Termite go fishing with me, especially when he didn’t want to go. Today, he insisted that I go fishing with him, even when I didn’t feel like going.  My, how the tables have turned; but truth be known, we’ve formed some tight bonds while fishing, and those bonds, obviously, hold fast for a lifetime.  

When he was a kid, I taught him all I could about fishing.  Today, he returned the favor!

Like I said–like mother, like son, and nothing could please me more.

BW

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Comments

Like Mother, Like Son — 30 Comments

    • It’s kind of like that but in reverse!!! Thought you’d enjoy a fishing post. Blu was always calling for more of these.

  1. Nice story. I still today laugh about you and the duck hunting in the early morning and the new duck decoys……

    Great story, you didn’t add the link for your white beans & rice with fried fish. Seems I remember it as a birthday meal for the Capt.

    Seems I remember you saying he had recieved his tnkerman certificate, if so, tell him congrats.

    • Glad you like the story. And I did link to the white beans post! He went to work on tugboats as a deckhand last August and worked his way up. He’s now officially a tankerman and is being cut loose next hitch, along with the pay increase! he’s super excited!

  2. White beans? Oh that sounds good! I cooked butter beans yesterday for hours and they never did get tender. I tossed them out last night. The BBQ’d ribs were good though. I looked at a box of catfish fillets today at the grocers and wished I could get all the family together for a fish fry. But, our schedules are so complex right now.
    So glad you and Termite got to enjoy that morning trip. Hope the fish fry went well.

    • Wonder what was up with those beans? Did you try adding some baking soda to soften them up? Sometimes that works with dried beans. It’s tough to get them all together isn’t it? Supper was great! Nothing like out of the water and into the grease in the same day.

      • sometimes if they are old the only thing they’re good for is planting, and then it’s iffy they will germinate.

    • What a sweet thing to say! His girlfriend has a whole lot to do with him turning his life around, and we’re very thankful for her!!! She had to work yesterday and was upset with us that we went without her. She’s becoming a bayou girl through and through!

  3. Great story as always, I would really love some fresh fish. And our shrimp supply is almost gone. Are not memories wonderful. Bill

    • Thanks, Bill. Sorry you don’t have any fresh fish. Ours was delicious. Shrimp season opens again on Aug. 13th, I think.

  4. I am a new follower but enjoy your posts. They reflect a great picture of your part of Louisiana and your life in that setting. This post has left me smiling with the memory of my youngest son being beside me during the years he was too young to hunt or fish alone. His older brother would be paired with his dad while the youngest was paired with me on the occasions. They both live in other states but frequently come back home to fish with their sons.
    Good reading!

    • Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Bonita. And thanks for coming back to visit! Yep, we have those memories, don’t we? I cherish them all. Termite is the youngest of 4 sons, and I have many memories with the older ones, hunting and fishing, but that all happened before I started the blog, so since 2007, Termite’s life has pretty much been documented here. Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. I smiled as I read this post. I’m happy to hear that you got to spend some quality time with Termite. The story told is a good one.

    • Thank you, Kim. You’ve know him since he was 7 and basically watched him grow up, his triumphs and his struggles, so you truly know how special it is that he wants to spend time with me. I’m blessed.

  6. I am so happy you have a really great time with your”Termite”. They just have to find their way. MOTHER ALWAYS SAID, “YOU ARE CLASSED WITH THE ONES YOU RUN WITH”, and I have found that in most cases to be true. I know you,like me. have spent a lot of times praying. I wondered if they would survive.

    • Thanks, Louise, we did have a nice time, in spite of the heat and my fishing challenges!! We do the best we can and then we have to turn loose!

  7. We salute Termite for working hard and achieving his Tankerman’s ticket – and more especially, for remembering who raised him to be such a fine lad that he could accomplish that and more!
    Ye know we have the greatest respect for ye – while it’s “what a Mother does for her Family”, not all Mothers are as capable or succeed quite so well…and continue to do so; come Helen Highwater or whomever!

    • I’ll share your words with him since ye’ve known him in person for quite a few years! Other than that, your comment leaves me sort of speechless — a rarity, for sure!

  8. So glad to hear news on Termite! He looks great, and you look like one happy mama! Where did our little boys go?❤️

  9. Those reds are a beautiful color! Congrats to Tankerman Termite. Impromptu times together are some of the best, aren’t they? I remember times you got up in nasty weather for ducks you didn’t want. And trips at dawn when he wanted to sleep. Times well spent, I’d say.

    • You have a grand memory, Cuz! Evidently, he remembers, too! It’s good when we bless them and they bless us back later in life!

  10. Enjoyed reading your story, although much of what you write makes me so hungry. That fig pic at the top is killing me! We had a fig tree when we lived in Port Aransas that attracted beautiful wild parrots. I love fresh figs. Love you too. Your boy is very handsome.

    • How do you pack so much in four little sentences? Okay, I’ve never seen a wild parrot, so I’m green with envy!!! I love figs, too, and I didn’t get any this year from my tree. Very sad about that. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thank you. I think he’s pretty handsome, too! He’s becoming a fine young man! We went out again this morning, with his girlfriend too, and caught 8 more bass and 1 red fish.

  11. There’s nothing like your mother-son stories to make me smile, and this is a good one. First, we run from home, and then we turn around and run back. 🙂

    I laughed at your sidebar about catching bass and reds in the same place. After the tremendous rains of May, and the serious flooding that went on, the freshwater flow was so strong that many fish got pushed all the way to the jetties. Imagine catching catfish and bass at the jetties! It happened, for just a little while. Now that the flow’s decreased and the salinity’s on the rise, the freshwater fish are heading for home.

    I remember that white bean recipe. I just re-read it, and now it’s sounding pretty good. It’s time for my annual BLT binge, so maybe I’ll save some of that bacon grease for the beans.

    • Ain’t it the truth, Linda? About coming back home? He’s grown so much in the past year, and all for the positive. It’s hard to imagine catching those catfish and bass at the jetties! This morning we caught 8 bass and one red; yet again, it was that beautiful dark color. Bacon grease goes great in white beans. I recently replace my BLT with BAT, and I might never have the L again!!!!! (A is for avocado!)

  12. Your “home grown” stories are always a favorite of mine. the only time I met Termite, it was in the middle of Lake DeCade. He was more than ready to go home. The growing boy was starving to death. I gave him Slim Jims and something else (probably cheese crackers or Vienna sausage)to hold him.
    Of course my favorite Termite story is “The Infamous Duck Hunt”. I’m grinning just thinking about it.
    Tankerman Termite has a nice ring to it. Does he have hopes in turning that into Captain Termite one day?

    • Was that the day we gave you a net of trout? How’d you know he was hungry? I feel terrible that I don’t even remember your giving him snacks! Well, thanks again for that. If he was having an off day, he would just lie down until I was finished fishing. Might have been one of those days. And the infamous duck hunt is the one where he practiced his duck calling all day, every day for two weeks before duck season, and then at the youth hunt, he forgot his duck calls at home. Is THAT the one?

      • Yep, you gave us some specks, that is the duck hunt I referred to ( I’m grinning again) and what growing boy of that age isn’t hungry? Lol

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