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OUTDOORS: Gobbler or bobbler, either a great option

March 17, 2012

Wardlaw

The weather this weekend is just one of the many reasons I enjoy living in the South.

A cool, crisp morning in Mississippi is just hard to beat, particularly this time of year.

However, the weather presented a tremendous problem for my Saturday activities.  Actually, it was more of a challenging decision than it was a problem.

Do I chase gobblers? Or, do I grab a couple of bobbers and try to snag a crappie or two?
It is opening weekend of turkey season in Mississippi and I’ve had the itch to locate a gobbler I watched strut and cluck throughout deer season. He’s a good one. His beard doesn’t quite drag the ground, but it sure comes close.

He hangs out on a ridge of pines with oaks on both sides. There’s a creek at the foot of the ridge that leads to an open field. The boss bird likes to walk the creek bank and I’m pretty sure I could get set up to take him home.

If the decision were purely up to me and me alone…the gobbler wouldn’t stand a chance, but in the interest of full disclosure, I’m Mr. Mom this weekend (my wife is in Denver, Colo., love you), and teaching my daughter the finer points of crappie fishing just sounded like a great time in my book.

She’s 2-years-old and will never remember her first fishing trip, but since I grew up in the outdoors fishing with my father and grandfather, it just seems like I’d be cheating her if I didn’t get her started early.
I can vividly remember being too small to truly fish, but I sure could make a lot of noise in the boat, presenting a challenge for dad to get any fishing done.

As a youngster, nothing was more exciting than watching my dad or granddad haul in what I perceived to be monster fish. So, with my childhood in mind, off we went, minnows in a bucket, a juice box in the cooler, and a snoopy pole in hand.

I’d like to tell you we filled the cooler with crappie, but that would be a tall tale. However, what we lacked in fish we, or maybe just I, made up for with memories. Just seeing her excitement when she touched a sun perch made the day worthwhile. As it turns out, a fish flopping around is tremendously funny to a 2-year-old, and I must admit, the situation was equally amusing to this dad.

If I could offer you this one bit of advice on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon, get outdoors and spend a little time with those you care about. You don’t have to chase turkeys and you don’t have to catch fish, just get outside, you’ll be glad you did.

Michael Wardlaw is the Mississippi State beat writer and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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