Fishing Has Always Been Great

First, let me say that you that I turned 81 years old this past Christmas Day and there are a lot of things I may not remember. I was given a certificate as a charter member of BASS in 1968.Bass fishing was great back in that time. Bass fishing has always been great!I moved to Belton, Texas, in 1964, and I heard about the Temple Bass Club and I started right off finding out how to become a member. It is thought that the Temple Bass Club might have been the first bass club ever formed in the state of Texas — maybe nationwide.I remember one time when Dr. Jack Weinblatt, a member of our bass club, made a little talk at one of our meetings (complaining) about all this power everybody was putting on the backs of their boats. Some were using motors with as much as 50 horsepower! That was unheard of.

 We fished Belton Lake, which was about 6 or 7 years old. It was close and the fishing was great. The fishing is not as good now because of the fishing pressure. A lot more people are fishing nowadays, and the equipment is much better.

 As I recall, a representative from Bassmaster Magazine attended one of our club meetings and talked about the magazine that was coming out. I joined and have been a member ever since. I guess I'll just continue. It's a good magazine, and I look forward to it every month.To name just one or two highlights of my fishing career is a hard thing to do. I've had a lot of them.My Dad was an avid bass fisherman. When I was about 6 or 8 years old, I didn't have a rod and reel. I was fishing with my dad, and he gave me a long cane pole with a lure tied to it. I'd walk the bank of a stock tank and hold the pole as far out as I could, dragging the lure. One day I caught a 4- or 5-pound bass, and that ruined me right there. Another story came years later and I'll attach picture and story.Another highlight: My grandson, Ross Sarine, 6 years old, was fishing with me one day and caught a 4.75-pound smallmouth. It held the Belton Lake record for a short time. It's mounted and is in his home now.
 (Ray Hays, 81, has lived in Belton, Texas, for 44 years. He's retired from his job as a warehouse examiner for the U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture. He describes himself as a "lure accumulator," explaining, "A collector is someone who collects one thing and is an expert on that item, while an accumulator collects everything and is an expert at nothing.")