Fly Fishing Euell Gibbons Style

| June 7, 2010 | 1 Comment


Texas wild blackberries on the vine.

Euell Gibbons was this “far out” character who could find something to eat anywhere in the wilderness. He hit his prime in the 1970’s when he was the spokesman for Post Grape Nuts. There are more than a few fly fishing guides that incorporate a little bit of Euell for their client’s entertainment.For more on Euell Gibbons – The Father of Modern Wild Foods.

No one would mistake North Texas for the land of milk and honey, but it is the prime of the blackberry and wild plum season in the wilds around many North Texas lakes.


Tiny Texas wild plums.

If you are one to harvest the free bounty offered up, you’ll want to wear long sleeves, gloves and long thick pants to have a shot at not getting stuck by the branches that hold blackberries. Your reward, are these little black jewels that taste great right off the vine. The thing is, berries attract rodents, and rodents attract rats and mice, and in the grand chain of things mice attract snakes. I have even heard that hogs eat snakes! You get the picture. Keep your eyes open at all times and watch every step. There are plenty of other things that can get you in trouble, but with a little observation and caution, you could walk away with a few quarts of blackberries in a few hours on a good day.


Thorny patch of wild Texas blackberries.

The thing about berries is they are a one at a time picking proposition, whereas picking mustang grapes down south is a quick bucket filler as huge fists full of green tarts. It takes an even keener eye to get the right plums in your basket – they should just fall off in your hand, and that takes a bit of finesse and patience. The reward of a ripe wild plum is … small. They have a proportionally large seed, and it is still easy to mistake an almost ripe one for one that is ready. There’s a thin line between sweet and tart – you’ll know it when you taste it.

Enjoy the free bounty of North Texas wilds, wear sun protection and drink lots of water as we suffer through an early season heat wave of, dare I say, epic proportions. It was hot enough yesterday that it cut my harvest short. After only about a quart of berries, I had downed a quart of water – not a good balance.

Early mornings still offer the best time to harvest, and try to find locations that have a breeze going for them. One very easy access point is off FM 455 at the Culp Branch Park. You will have to walk deeper and deeper into the grasslands as people have already taken the “easy pickings”.

Perhaps someone with more culinary skills could chip in some recipes or other ideas for the fruitful bounty?

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Eating and Drinking, Life Observed, Science and Environmental

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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  1. Joel says:

    TRUE! I’ve seen more than one copperhead (and a few bull snakes) hiding under blackberry thickets . . . watch your feet!

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