Enjoyable from time to time is the simple pastime of exchanging of early day Lake Conway stories.
Late comers to our neck of the woods may not appreciate the unique facility, the watery wonderland that was Lake Conway in the 1950s and 1960s. The fishing was often fantastic, and that is not an exaggeration – but note the word “often.” Not everyone caught a heavy string on every attempt.
We have told and commented on the Lake Conway Monster several times in this space, and the other night Maurice Moix of Conway passed along a recollection that we had not heard or perhaps had forgotten.
A Mayflower fellow had a trotline in place but was disgusted because somebody was running it for him. That is virtually a capital offense in some corners. You just don’t mess with another person’s trotline.
The Mayflower fellow killed a wolf. OK, call it coyote if you choose. Instead of burying the carcass, he took it to the lake and hooked it on one of the drops of the trotline.
Can’t you imagine the reaction of the thieving trotline runner when he felt a heavy weight, excitedly pulled up the line and had the dead wolf/coyote right there in his face?
A couple of other Mayflower residents, both deceased, were Virginia Dodson and Sonny York, the latter Mayflower’s marshal for many years. Both fished Lake Conway, Dodson usually for crappie and York usually working yo-yos for crappie or catfish.
York complained several times to Dodson about “somebody tripping all my yo-yos.” He mentioned various punishments he might inflict on the culprits if he caught them.
Tripping another person’s set yo-yos is another fishing transgression that you just do not do.
Dodson had a surprise for York. Next time he checked his yo-yos, he found one had been tripped but had a catch. He pulled up a pair of pink panties.
Word is that he had a grin on his face when he next complained about somebody messing with his yo-yos.
In those early lake days, several printers who worked at the Log Cabin Democrat and its companion Conway Printing Co., loved to fish. One afternoon after work, three of them went out in a 14-foot flatbottom. Yes, the boat was loaded and especially since one of the printers was, shall we say, heavy. This fellow probably pushed the 400-pound mark.
Something happened during the fishing, and the large man fell overboard.
It wasn’t a dire situation since the water at the spot was just five or so feet deep. But the other two fishermen could not get their wet companion back in the boat.
They tossed him a rope, tied it to the boat then motored slowly and carefully back to the dock.
No names mentioned on this one, either. A fellow met an attractive young lady in Little Rock and heard of her love for water skiing. He made a date. He offered to take her water skiing on Lake Conway. She eagerly accepted, saying something about she loved to ski at new places.
You have to understand that water skiing on Lake Conway in those days would be like playing hop-scotch in the middle of Interstate 40 at rush hour.
We suspect this was a one-date affair for the fellow and the Little Rock girl.