Surf and Turf

| April 07, 2005

“I have been out in conditions too severe for me and my boat. I don’t intentionally go out into that kind of sea or weather, but they can surprise you. I remember coming back in once in the 27-footer with so much wind and sea I couldn’t use the sails. I had my little outboard pushing us home, and we tossed and pitched so much the propellers kept coming right out of the water and whizzing away wildly.”

Ruch has a sailing dream. One day he plans to sail out of Puget Sound and down into the South Seas.

“Now that would be a ride.”

Judy Royal, of Noble, La., caught this gaspergoo but quickly decided it was way too ugly to consider for dinner.

Rods & Barrels
‘It’s a Goo!’

When Rayford Royal III comes off the road, he relaxes out on Toledo Bend, the massive (185,000 acres) man-made lake on the Louisiana/Texas border. And when he does, his wife Judy usually goes with him, just as she usually rides with the Hornady Truck Line flatbed trucker as he drives across America. This time Rayford had his camera in the boat with him.

“I caught it,” says Judy, “but I didn’t know what it was. It was so ugly, with a big hump, it looked prehistoric. Rayford thought it might be a white bass, but it was way too ugly. We finally figured it was a goo, a gaspergoo, and around here you aren’t country if you don’t eat goo. But I couldn’t even begin to clean it, so I let it go.”

Gaspergoos are actually a freshwater drum with a tasty reputation for sweet white flesh, but Rayford and Judy, of Noble, La., are pretty new at fishing.

“He’s only been doing it about two years,” says Judy, “and he really loves it. When he comes off the road, it relaxes him. He fishes out behind our lake home, and when he comes back in he’s got a lot better attitude. He gets out there and listens to the peace and quiet. And he doesn’t mind if he doesn’t catch anything. We can always go down to the store and buy some.”

The Royals have a deal. The one who catches the most fish on a day’s outing doesn’t have to do the cleaning. Judy admits Rayford has a slight edge when it comes to totals. Mostly they fish for lake fish (largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, striped bass, white bass, bluegill
and redear sunfish) with bait, but casting a lure is rapidly becoming their favorite sport.

“We ran out of bait one day and Rayford said, ‘Let’s try this bass fishing with a lure.’ We mostly caught catfish to start with, but we’re getting better.”

Rayford Royal III was a trucker for 10 years before leaving the road for life in the oil business, but he’s been back hauling OTR for a year now, and, says Judy, he fishes whenever he’s home. “And he’s usually home on time because we live in a part of the country that’s got a great location; he can always get a load back to this part of America.”

Off-Duty Destinations
The Florida Keys

The cold is coming back, so maybe it’s time to think about how you might cheat winter. Getting a load to Florida sounds good. And if you can get there, consider a bobtail trip to one of the great winter playgrounds for outdoors sports fans in America, the 120-mile-long chain of islands south of Miami.

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