This job is amazing. It takes me so many places I never thought I would go. When I first came to Oklahoma, I was excited to see the competitive livestock and be a part of the progressive agricultural industry. What I didn’t expect was to be engulfed in the Oklahoma lifestyle.
A few months ago, I met a young man who gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “grab life by the horns.” He has wrestled steers, fought men in cages and hunted and fished for every kind of animal known in Oklahoma. I knew if I wanted to experience a different side to Oklahoma I needed to hang out with Kaleb Summers. When he told me there was a way to fish with your hands and pull out huge catfish, there was no hesitation…I had to get in the water.
Like any fishing trip, things didn’t go exactly as planned and unfortunately for us, they seemed to take a turn for the worse. Not only were water levels low and drying out the holes, but the wind kept picking up and beating us against the rocks. When the wind got to the point of being dangerous (as if getting slammed into rocks wasn’t bad enough) we decided to leave and get the boat out of the water.
While en route back to the ramp we encountered huge swells of water coming over the sides of the boat. It was a very rough ride to say the least. All of a sudden we heard a loud pop and saw mud fill the water. Our motor sputtered, choked, and then died. At that point it was all hands on deck, or more like all hands in the water. With the boat in tow, I swam to shore with the guys pushing. After getting the vessel out of the water we realized we cracked the hydraulic cylinder and tore up the prop. Since it was the beginning of the weekend this meant we were on foot for the rest of the trip.
After we got our bearings and were back out on the water, Kaleb found out how I act under pressure when I am face to face with a lifelong fear – snakes. Kaleb found a water moccasin in a rock and told me to come look at it. I freaked out and jumped out of the water. That wasn’t good enough for Kaleb and he killed it…or so he thought. All of the sudden the snake shot out of the rock and made a bee-line for Kaleb. He jumped out of the way and the snake swam to shore.
I figured Kaleb’s life was spared so we would move on. Wrong again. Kaleb chased the snake down and killed it with a stick. He then tells me the snakes are starting to come out because it’s getting dark. Oh good, we have to cross a body of water to get back to the car. To avoid as much water as possible, Kaleb takes us through this grassy area above the bank. I soon realize we are trespassing through people’s back yards. I kick it in high gear as I envision people turning on their back porch with shotguns ready to shoot.
After all of this we finally made it back to the cabin and got some sleep. The next day was less eventful in terms of snakes and breaking boats, but proved entertaining in it’s own way. After fishing all day and not finding anything, we finally landed a flathead. We took our prize and went home. After experiencing what I did, most would never be caught dead noodling again. As for me, I can’t wait to get back out there and find my next under water giant.
In this week’s video blog, hear me squeal like a girl and see the reward for my patience.
~ Andy Barth