We will start this story off for everyone in Gunter. This is for you new Gunterites and those of us who can remember those old days. I don’t know how long ago it started but on Saturday Gunter had drawings downtown, sometimes we would also have terrapin races. I even entered a turtle or two.
They were all painted with numbers; if I remember they were a big draw. The first turtle to get outside the big circle got a special gift from the owner. I had moved to Gunter in the first grade and always looked forward to going to downtown on a Saturday. I think I’m right on most of this. If I’m not right you can talk to me at the Gunter football games this year.
The reason this event was so popular was that the merchants would put out special items for that day to draw people in. They had a big rolling cage on the sidewalk. Now a question for any of you older Gunterites reading this: did the people put up money for the drawing or did the merchants?
When all the names were tossed in and it was time for the drawing some innocent kid, nine times out of ten it was a girl, was picked to draw one. They would reach in and pull one out. I don’t know what other towns did on Saturday but there was money that was given for the names on the papers.
Lots of things in all the stores were put out on the sidewalk, it was also a time when adult friends would gather to talk.
Not to be outdone, between Gunter and Van Alstyne there was a good size grocery store owned by Bill Barrett. It was in the middle of nowhere and its only competition was the Baptist Church down the road. My uncle Clifton was the Pastor and he often traded religion for food. He and his wife, my aunt Normalee, and my two or three cousins were generally invited to someone’s house for a fried chicken dinner on Sunday after church.
Sometime I’ll tell you about how to get the best of a preacher and me a spanking. Back to Bill Barrett’s store; it was the only one in Grayson County on 121 between Gunter and Van Alstyne. It was also close to Collin County and the people who lived south of Bill’s Store in Weston and surrounding areas near and far came to shop generally on a Saturday.
At one time there were two bridges over East Fork Creek that cut way down on traveling time to his store. Sadly, today all that’s left of Elmont is a few houses, a good Mexican restaurant close to where Barrett’s Grocery once was, and the church my uncle Clifton tried to drown me in — at least that’s what I thought.
I think he might have had far sight. He could likely see I would need a lot of help in the future and that’s why I got two dips in the big vat where everyone else seemed to get one. Now Mr. Barrett’s store also had on some Saturdays a gimmick to draw in even more people. These events were all different but my best memory of one was of when he was offering baskets of food to anyone who could catch a guinea hen.
When the time came a man walked out on top of the store with a cage full of them. I bragged about how many I could catch, my Grandpa and Grandmother Webb were grinning I’m sure. I was standing on the outskirts of the crowd ready to get me a bird.
I didn’t know they could fly better than they could run. Some of them were probably in Oklahoma before they landed. That’s the way it was growing up in the country. Today I’d go back and live those times again if I could.
Now for the fishing — talking to one of the guides, he said live bait was harder to get now than it had been. If you can find it and keep it alive you are going to catch stripers. Lure fishing is another way to fish. If you just ride around, you will likely find scattered schools of surfacing stripers and sandbass.
Big slabs and swim baits deep and big Heddon Spooks or Pin Poppers on top will get bit. Looking for Striper Top water Baits go to LureNet.com, then go to Creek Chub Baits to see all their lures. Trolling is another lazy way to catch stripers and sandbass.
If you are out early enough and down around the dam boat ramp there will be a lot of boats following the stripers down the Bluff towards Grandpappy. Ease in and join them — they won’t likely say anything; just don’t go busting in on them.
Now bass are a different story, they are a little harder to come by. I and some very good fishing friends are all having a hard time finding them. Tuesday, I went out and covered a lot of super good-looking bass water. I only caught three and missed 1 more. Two were solid threepound smallmouths.
I let the sun run me off the lake around 10 am Crappie are also slow. I can catch a few in the Fish Market but not like it should be. If fishing for them I’d look for deep water with brush. I’m using a 1/16 oz. Blakemore Road Runner with a Bobby Garland Plastic lure.
It has a super slow fall. If you don’t get a biter on the way down lift it gently off the bottom and swim it around; if no bite that way slowly crank it to the top. Also try changing bait colors.