"BLOOPERS IN THE OUTDOORS" by Luke Clayton Luke Clayton After a quarter-century of gallivanting across the globe in search of material for my writing career and possibly to help stave a lifelong case of wanderlust for new places to hunt and fish, I have more than my share of bloopers that, if captured on film, would definitely qualify for prime time TV! Unlucky for me, or maybe its my good fortunate, there wasnt a camera rolling when these outlandish events occurred, at least most of the time! We all need a little humor from time to time and I thought recalling some of these bloopers and relating them to you would give us all a good laugh. My biggest challenge is to not break into uncontrollable laughter as I recall a few of these events, some of which were so bizarre that they could not have been premeditated, or even though of in my wildest dream! No hard core hunting and fishing this week. Its time to enjoy a good laugh- on me! WHILE IN JAPAN- Close to two decades ago, I was invited to travel to Japan as an outdoor journalists to record a fishing match between a local bass angler and the reigning Japanese pro, Saramachi. A lure company promoted the event in efforts to break into the then lucrative business of importing fishing tackle into Japan. I spent a full day fishing with a couple of Tokyo outdoors writers who spoke about as much English as I Japanese, nil! We did speak the universal language of fishing though, those little fellows were excellent fishermen and knew their waters well. About daylight the day of the match, the Texas pro, Rex, and I were driven to a fast food store in a little village about eight miles from Tokyo. We were running a bit late and rushed in to get a few snacks to tide us over until lunch. EVERYTHING looked foreign! There were no Twinkies, potato chips, Moon Pies or anything a couple southern boys would choose for snack food. I spotted some packages of rice cakes that looked like they might suffice for a quick breakfast on the water. We each bought three or four packages, expecting them to be flavorless (or so we hoped), and filling. Back in the car, Rex was the first to tear into his packaged rice cakes. What the !**! are these little dark spots in the cakes? he asked our interrupter as he tossed the cake out the window for the birds to eat. Dried Shrimp! was the reply. Im not talking about COOKED shrimp. The smell was exactly like that of a sun dried shad that had spend the day on a hot dock! These little crustaceans were sun dried. Rex won the fishing match with Saramachi, its been said its best to go fishing hungry rather than with a full stomach. We enjoyed an excellent Japanese lunch at a local restaurant and every time I see Rex, I ask him if hes had any rice cakes lately. I venture to guess he has not! STRONG DRINK IN THE HIGH COUNTRY- Harold Speed, is one of the best all-around outdoorsmen I know. Harold guided fishing trips on the Red River and Lake Texoma for many years, and duck hunts during the winter months. These days, managing his airboat company and competing at bowfishing tournaments keeps him pretty busy. Back in the mid nineties, he invited me to join him and a few family members for a mule deer hunt up in the Uncompadre National Forrest in the Colorado High Country. I followed Harolds directions exactly to his camp site and saw a nice buck hanging in the lower limbs of a big spruce tree. It was early October but there was already a chill in the night air. The guys had a nice campfire going and I parked the truck, said hello to everybody. It its a long drive to the Uncompadre from my home in Texas and I was tired and a bit sleepy. Harold gave me details of the better areas to hike to the next morning and I got busy getting my gear ready. Harold, got any water around, the Coke I drank just make me more thirsty.? Look behind the supply tent, its in the plastic 5 gallon container. I took a tin cup around behind the tent and, with a flashlight, found a 5 gallon container. The night was black and there was a stiff north breeze that made it feel colder than it really was, especially for a newcomer from Texas where the daytime high was in the mid eighties. I unscrewed the cap on the can, poured a tin cup of WATER and returned to my chair by the campfire. Harold was setting downwind of me. Luke, what in the world are you drinking, that stuff smells pretty strong to me. said Harold as he eased over to sniff my drink. Just some of your water that I got from the can. I replied. Water! That aint water, its gasoline! he said as he took a sniff. Seems Harold had brought several containers, some for gas, some for water, and placed them all behind the tent. With the strong wind blowing and the dark night, I had failed to read GAS written on the side of the can, the wind blew the smell of gas away when I unscrewed the top. This is one that I still havent lived down! When I was about ten, I often guided my uncle, also named Luke, on fly fishing trips around our home in northern Red River County. I knew every good fishing hole in our part of the county and my mother and dad had fishing rights to most of them. Late one evening, Uncle Luke drove us to a spot we nicknamed The Round Hole. It was chock full of bass and bream and my uncle was very good with his fly rod. In a matter of minutes, he had landed several hand size bream and a couple of nice bass, using a frog pattern popping bug. Then, just as it was getting too dark to fish, he make a long cast and double hauled his fly line. When the little popper reached the zenith of its flight toward the water, I saw my Uncles fly rod point toward the sky and the reel began to scream. What kind of fish do yall have down here in Texas, he inquired and the owl continued to strip his line. After a lengthy battle, Uncle Luke captured the big bird of prey and as country people did back around 1960, my dad used leather boot laces and tethered it to the lower limb of a pine tree near our house. The big bird would attempt to scalp us kids when we came anywhere near. After a few days of feeding the bird meat scraps, Dad cut the straps and let him go. My uncle never forgot the battle the flying fish gave him! Im sure if you have spent much time in the outdoors, you have your share of amusing and, sometime hilarious memories. Hopefully these gave you a chuckle. They happened just as I recounted them and whenever I need a good laugh, I pull them out of my memory banks! Listen to OUTDOORS WITH LUKE CLAYTON at www.catfishradio.com and check out the new videos under Lukes Hotspots.