When I think back on places and people that occupy a special niche in my memory, one guy and the area he calls home pops up on my mental screen....southwest Louisiana and Sammie Faulk. I can close my eyes and see a gentle fellow, deeply tanned, thin wisps of gray hair, eyes that always seem to have a twinkle even when he's bone-tired. Most know him as Capt'n Sammie.
IMAGE – I was with the Capt'n one afternoon on a meandering bayou somewhere down there as I watched him skewer stinky, smelly beef melt onto a hook suspended a couple feet above the water. He had alligator tags and the next morning, I watched him put half a dozen gators in the boat. This was long before Swamp People television came along and for the life of me, I don't recall him having to struggle to get a gator alongside the boat and for sure, I never heard him tell me to "CHOOT 'EM!"
IMAGE – On another foray to Calcasieu Parish with the Capt'n, he and I shot ducks at daybreak and after swapping shotguns for fishing rods, he taught me the importance of watching the birds; they'll show you where the fish are, he said. We motored up to where hordes of gulls were diving and caught limits of speckled trout.
IMAGE – The late Bob Dennie and I joined Capt'n Sammie for a harrowing fishing trip on the lower end of Big Lake. The fish were cooperating nicely when I happened to look back in the direction of Hebert's Marina, our launch headquarters, and the sky was eggplant-purple.
The Capt'n noticed color draining from our faces and agreed that maybe we ought to head back to the marina, miles away across the open lake.
I've been in bad rainstorms before but nothing compared with what Mother Nature was about to send our way. The wind and rain hit as we were about halfway across the open lake; Bob and I, white-knuckling our seats, shot worried glances at each other. No worry for Capt'n Sammie; he'd been through worse storms than this.
Our only saving grace was rain gear we had stashed for the trip; I reached for my high-dollar name-brand suit while Bob pulled on his cheap outfit he'd picked up at a local discount store.
Thanks to the Capt'n's expertise in boatmanship, we made it back to the marina safely and when Bob removed his dime store suit, he was completely dry. My high-dollar outfit, though, leaked like cheese cloth and I was soaked. I dumped it in the nearest trash can.
IMAGE – A few months ago, writer friend John Flores and I teamed up with Capt'n Sammie for a fishing trip on Big Lake. There was no storm to dampen our trip this time but the fish didn't cooperate.
Our catch easily fit into a dip net and I still have a mental image of the Capt'n, bone tired after working all day to put us on fish, limping along with our catch to the cleaning shed. It was his job and he did it with class.
IMAGE – The writer's organization I belong to, the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA), holds annual conferences every fall somewhere in the southeast. Every year, the Capt'n is there with boudin and cracklings, representing an agency he serves as a consultant and often as its point man. The Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau keeps its finger on the pulse of our group, periodically placing bids to host upcoming annual conferences.
We've held our annual meetings in Lake Charles several times and even though this location is at the extreme southwest corner of the area covered by SEOPA, members from as far way as Virginia are eager to visit this unique part of the country for its hospitality, wonderful food and excellent fishing and hunting.
When SEOPA picks Lake Charles for its conference site, a nice bonus is getting to sample the boudin and hang out with Capt'n Sammie Faulk, the unofficial ambassador for everything good southwest Louisiana has to offer.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.