Hooked on Salmon
“So I just punched the throttle and slammed it hard down. It’s a two-stroke engine, and it has instantaneous power, so the boat jumped forward and crashed straight through the wave, and I came out the other side over 20 feet of nothingness. She shot out and then just fell.”
When Hobbs’ boat slammed back into the water, he was, amazingly, unharmed and afloat.
“The Coast Guard sits out there when there are people fishing because they know how quickly things can happen. And they came flying up to me in a Zodiac [inflatable boat], and they were shaking their heads, wondering how I managed to stay afloat.”
When Hobbs comes back from the Pacific on his last fishing day before he heads out on the road again and docks in the fresh water of the marina on the Columbia, he backs the boat down the ramp until the outboard is in the water and runs the motor until it is out of gas.
“That way I can store it clean and without any fuel in, and she’s ready to go when I get home.”
Bill Hobbs finds some time off from ‘honey-dos’ and fishing to get the Volvo cleaned-up for another run.
And, says Sherry, “he’ll also scrub and wax it until it looks new. It’s his pride and joy.” Sherry doesn’t share her husband’s passion for the Pacific. She got caught in rip tides growing up in Virginia Beach, Va., and doesn’t go out on the ocean anymore, but she’ll fish with Bill on lakes.
Hobbs will fish anywhere, she says. “It’s important to him, and when he comes off the road I think he just needs to do it. If he’s back two days, it’s a day for me and a day for fishing,” she says. “But after he’s been fishing I can see a change in him; he’s more relaxed, more mellow, and I think it does him the world of good to be out there.
“I drove with him for a year, and I know how much it takes out of a driver’s body and how mentally draining it is. It’s a hard life. Fishing is his relaxation; it’s the way he gets rid of everything that built up on the road trip. It’s healthy for him.
“I do get scared when he’s out there sometimes, though. I tell him to wear his life jacket, but I don’t think he does.”
This month when he goes fishing, Bill Hobbs is making it a company and family affair. He’s going fishing after the big salmon with another Sammons driver. They’re taking their wives, and they’ll enjoy all their mornings and evenings together. But during the day the truckers and just one trucker’s wife will head out into the Pacific.
“He’ll love every minute of his fishing, and I’ll go exploring,” Sherry says. “In the evening we’ll swap stories.”
Dallas-Area State Parks
So many of you are heading to the Great American Trucking Show later this month we figured there well might be one or two of you with nothing to do a day or so either side of the event. Why not go fishing, Texas style? Around Dallas (in places where overnighting is easier and cheaper than in Big D) are some state parks loaded with game fish and one attraction an angler shouldn’t miss, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
The TFFC is an innovative aquatic nature center and hatchery operated by the Texas Wildlife and Parks Department. The center calls itself “an outdoor classroom bursting with information on the diversity and beauty of the aquatic ecosystems” of Texas. There’s all kinds of fish, a dive show auditorium, more than 300,000 gallons of aquariums and a fishing museum. It also has a stocked pond where you can catch and release, and the center supplies rods, reels and bait for free. The center is on FM 2495, four miles east of Athens, southeast of Dallas, or call ahead at (903) 676-BASS.
There’s five miles of shoreline for bank fishing, especially for catfish and bass, at Lake Tawakoni State Park, 50 miles east of Dallas, which opened just last year. From I-20 take State Highway 47 north through Wills Point to FM 2475 and continue for about four miles. Or call (903) 560-7123.