"WILD HOGS AND BASS KEEP GRANDSONS & GRAMPS BUSY" Luke Clayton Groveton, TX- There is absolutely no better way to bond with a youngster than spending time together in the outdoors. I know, Ive raised two sons, and created life long memories with both as we tramped through fields in search of everything from whitetail deer to quail and fished for everything from yellow bass at Lake Caddo to red snapper on the Texas Gulf. Now, I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with grandsons-and, at present count, we have a total of FIVE that range in age from 4 years to 9. Two of the nine year olds are the twins, the sons of my older son, Matthew. Just this past week, Trevor and Tyler enjoyed a couple days in the outdoors with Gramps on my friend Mark Balettes Ranch near Groveton, Texas. Mark is a hunting outfitter down in east Texas and offers hunts for a wide variety of game, both native and exotic. His ranch is teeming with wild hogs and my grandsons had eagerly awaited a trip with Gramps during their Christmas Vacation. We had the run of the entire ranch to ourselves. We settled into the camp house upon arrival and I placed the frozen fajita meat from the tenderloin of a wild hog I had taken earlier this season in the sink to thaw. I learned a long time ago that its important to think ahead on hunting trips, especially when planning meals. Not doing so often results in dinners that consist of Spam or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The twins were anxious to get out and see the ranch and do a little bass fishing in one of the ponds on the place. But, first things first, I knew a little opening back in a yaupon thicket with a corn feeder and decided we needed to ease quietly into the brush, set up a ground blind, then bait the area with corn and some Lukes Pig Paste, which is a blend of sweet and sour smells that hogs simply cannot resist. In a matter of minutes, we had the blind nestled in a little opening in the brush and corn liberally scattered on the ground about 40 yards from our hiding spot. A tube of the pig paste applied to the bark of a nearby pine tree insured any passing hog would get a snoot full of the aromatic blend and come in ready to chow down! With the stage set for what I hoped would be an up close and personal encounter with some wild porkers later in the afternoon, we quietly left the area and I took the boys on a short safari. Marks ranch hosts a large number of exotic animals such as Axis, Sika and Fallow deer, black buck antelope, Red Stags and elk. As we drove quietly along a trail near the back of the ranch, I heard brush breaking and a couple of cow elk crossed the trail a few yards in front of us. The twins eyes were as big as teacups! We drove back to the pickup, loaded our bass tackle and headed to The Alligator Pond, where I thought the boys could catch bass, even on a cold winters day. I tied worm hooks, slip weights and plum plastic worms on their Zebco 33 spin cast rigs and instructed the boys to make long casts, allow the baits to hit bottom, then retrieve with a slow, steady crank of the reels handle. Setting the hook on a bass is a skill that has to be learned by practice but when using a very sharp hook and a steady retrieve, many bass will hook themselves. In a few minutes, both boys got the hang of worm fishing and were doing battle with chunky bass. I was getting flashbacks to more than 25 years ago when I was teaching their Dad to do exactly the same thing. Photo by Luke Clayton After catching several bass, I asked if the boys were ready to head back and change the fishing tackle for our hunting gear and make plans to head back to our hog hunting blind. Thirty minutes later, we were quietly walking down the trail through the yaupon thicket. Lets be very quiet, there might just be a wild hog eating the corn we left on the trial, I whispered when we were about to round the bend that lead to the blind. Sure enough, as we peeked through the brush toward the blind, we spotted a black boar eating corn. Through binoculars, we watched the big hog rooting and feeding. Our goal was to harvest a younger meat hog and as we moved closer to the blind, the boar made a beeline for the brush. I noted the Pig Paste attractant had been licked clean from the tree bark and freshened the spot with more of the paste; then we settled into the blind. A couple of nice Axis bucks came to the corn, then Trevor poked me in the side and said, Gramps, what is that sound? He motioned to the brush to the right of our blind. I listened intently and heard hogs squealing and fighting back in the brush. Get ready boys, those hogs smell the paste and should soon show themselves. With any luck, well be eating fresh pork chops tomorrow!" No sooner than the words left my mouth than a red/black spotted boar trotted by within 20 yards of our blind. Then, in the next thirty minutes, we watched four other hogs, all young boars, licking and chewing on the tree with the Pig Paste and eating the corn on the ground. We watched the hogs feeding and fighting for thirty minutes and I made the decision to harvest one of the smaller hogs while there was still light for field dressing and skinning back at camp. The boys watched the field dressing process with great interest and helped Gramps load the little boar on the back of the Polaris ATV. Photo by Luke Clayton Back at the camphouse, we dined on wild pork fajitas and enjoyed talking about our great day in the outdoors. The boys were sound asleep by 9 PM. and Gramps had a little time to reflect up on the day and the many such outings I had the honor of sharing with the boys dad several decades ago. With a full day left to fish and go on Safari, I hit the hay early myself. The next morning, the twins helped me turn the hog into pork and then we spend more time at the Alligator Pond and they caught more bass. Im enjoying being Gramps every bit as much as I did as Dad, maybe more! Be sure to catch Luke's weekly radio show at www.catfishradio.com. And check out the new Radio Station feature at www.catfish1.com: http://www.catfish1.com/forums/radiostations.php.