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“Bearhead Creek”


In 1962 I moved to Starks, Louisiana a small one- street town in Calcasieu Parish composed of two grocery stores, a post office, a school, and two churches. I was the new Pastor of the First Baptist Church and was asked on my first day to visit Ernest Bachelor, a retired business man. My visit with him revealed that he knew the history of the Starks as no one else and along with a wealth of other information, he told me about Bearhead  Creek. “Folks around here fish mainly around Big Island and the Sabine River sloughs” he said.   “But Bearhead Creek is where the fish are”.

Early one morning I grabbed my spinning rig with several spinner baits and drove to the Creek Bridge. Sliding down the slick banks, I reeled in a bass on my first cast and within moments had strung up six “keepers”. Crawling under a nearby fence, I fought through the thick underbrush to one hole after another and caught fish in them all. But I found more than fish that day.    Water moccasins were suddenly everywhere…on logs… swimming in the water… and dropping from overhanging bushes. I stepped on one coiled up in the trail. I staked my fish out  on tree branches as I fished down the creek and when I picked them up on the way back many had been eaten by the snakes abd turtles.

So I returned home with a stringer of fish and some mixed emotions.  I knew I’d have to be better prepared on my next trip.  From that day on, I always took my.22 Colt revolver and a can of “Off” mosquito dope with me.  And in time, shooting snakes became almost as much fun as catching fish.

Several school teachers were curious about my fishing place and I finally told teachers Charles Simmons and Paul Gageneaux and they promised to keep it a secret.   The following Saturday morning they drove to the creek, fished all day, and returned home with one goggle-eyed perch. To this day they think I led them on a wild goose chase.  I eventually told my brother Joe who promised he’d never tell. But several weeks later, I met him with two of his DuPont co-workers leaving the creek with a considerable string of fish.

I also told my friend Phil Williams about the creek.  When I later moved to pastor a church in Amarillo,   he called:  “Doug, my cousin Billy Bob wants to know if you’d let me take him fishing on Bearhead.”  “Phil”, I laughed.  “I don’t own that creek any more than you do”. “I know”, he replied. “But I promised you I’d never tell”. He called me after their trip and said that when Billy Bob saw a moccasin slide into the water, they left and never wet a hook.

 I grew up fishing on beautiful Mill Creek near my hometown of Center, Texas… and hardly ever saw a snake.  But if I got hungry and needed something to eat, I wouldn’t go to Mill Creek.  I’d grab my fishing rig,  jump in my truck …..

…and wouldn’t stop till I got to Bearhead.


Doug’s email: finchersphoto@sbcglobal.net

936 275 9042

East Texas Press

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Lindale, TX 75771
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