Long Roads and Wild Rivers
The building where the tackle shop is located has been in Starbuck since about 1900, says Verna, when the railroad came through. Over the years it has been everything from a butcher’s shop to a post office to a residence.
“We stock a lot of items that are designed and made just for these local rivers,” says Linklater. “We know the rivers and the fish in them. I’ve guided friends to fish around here and helped them find good places, and I know how to work the fish in these rivers. And Verna has a very wide knowledge of the local fish and their habits and characteristics.”
Linklater has designed and manufactured equipment especially for the powerful currents of the local rivers and the swirling waters near the dams. “I’d take lures and sinkers with me in the truck while I was developing them, tinkering with them, changing them and trying them out when I was overnighting and had some water to fish. I was working with special shapes, weight and colors that these rivers demand. There’s a bait-holding spinner I built into a lure, it’s mainly for steelhead or salmon. I kept testing it and developing it.”
Timing also helped a third time, says Linklater, when he signed on with Marten.
“Marten has been super to me. I looked at a lot of companies, and they were the ones that had what I needed and what I wanted. I’ve got the best dispatcher a driver could ever have – Joanne. She’s as honest as the day is long, and I tell her that if she ever retires I’ll have to think about it, too. I’m really happy with Marten.”
Linklater has driven Verna to “all but about three” of the lower 48 states. “Fish counting was only seven months of the year, so I’d ride with him the rest of the time,” Verna says. “But now with the tackle shop open six days a week, I can’t go with him much any more.”
Linklater has a backup plan to keep Verna riding with him every now and then. “We have two wonderful local ladies who help out as sort of standby, part-time helpers,” he says. “One of them, Diane Lusk, is the mayor of Starbuck.”
For more information about Darver Tackle, call (509) 399 2015 or go to www.darvertackle.com.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
At Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas, you can see and touch millions-of-years old evidence of the dinosaurs that once roamed our land. The park features some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world, and it’s not too far off today’s beaten path, just 65 miles south of Fort Worth.
The tracks of three dinosaur species are preserved in the hard sedimentary rock of a riverbed, including footprints of the 30-foot long Saurapod and the 12-foot long Theropod, a meat eater. There are also two life-size fiberglass models of the 70-foot long Apatosaurus and the scary 45-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Dinosaurs might be the highlight of the 1,525-acre park, but you can also see migratory and resident birds – including wild turkeys – and armadillos, fox squirrels, coyotes, bobcats and even a herd of Texas longhorn cattle. You can also fish the Paluxy River for catfish, bass and perch (try the river’s renowned Blue Hole).
It costs $5 for an adult to enter the park. Your tractor won’t be a problem, say park officials, and “there’s lots of parking.” Tractors can also hook up overnight to one of the 47 camping sites for an extra $23. But, as always, we suggest calling ahead (especially if you want to overnight) to (254) 897 4588, or log on to www.tpwd.state.tx. us/park/dinosaur/.
To get there: From Interstate
35 south of Forth Worth, take U.S. Highway 67 toward Glen Rose, then FM 205 for four miles to Park Road 59, then go one mile to the park headquarters. The park is four miles west of Glen Rose.
Owner-operator Troy Jodoin holds up his trophy pronghorn antelope.
Rods & Barrels
Troy Jodoin, 42, is an owner-operator from Alberton, Mont., who went deep into Eastern Montana for this pronghorn antelope. Jodoin is leased to Davis Transport, of Missoula, Mont., (that company must know hunters; this is their second driver we’ve featured here). “It took us a day to drive in, and we set up camp late and planned our hunt. We were looking for a way to use the weather and terrain to help a hunter on foot. But next morning, on our way to our chosen location, we came over a ridge and there was a single pronghorn grazing at the bottom of a draw. We stopped, and the buck bolted. I was nearest so I had a chance to draw a bead on a moving target more than 200 yards away. Now my buddies will tell you I’m not the best shot in the group, but I hit him and he dropped like a rock. It was a clean kill. I never let on how surprised I was. Effectively my three-day hunt was over an hour after it started.”