Now and then, a writer feels compelled to write about someone that half of his readers do not know. So it is with me this sunny morning.

I just read of the passing of one of my life’s most respected outdoorsmen. Bob Bell was the editor of the Pennsylvania Game News when I sold my first article, and he had written letters to me in his later years of life. Our paths would cross many times, but three were major influences in my career. First, when he bought my first piece, second when I sat up with him in his home in Mechanicsburg talking guns and reloading, and lastly when he wrote me one of what is now his last letters. This letter was to tell me he hadn’t forgotten me.

The second one I mentioned was an evening and night at his home when we sat up until 2:30 a.m. eating ice cream and talking rifles. That night helped me to develop a high sense of confidence as he told me I knew firearms as well as anyone he knew in the writing field. I guess one could say I was mentored by Bob Bell. To be reminded of his work, check a Gun Digest and his articles on scopes. I will forever miss his guidance and friendship. Bob was a writer of national recognition and I am proud to have known him.

  • Is it just drivers in Pennsylvania who leave their garbage along the roadways? I drive Interstate 79 a good bit and I must say I am appalled by the mess along the road. The highway goes through a pretty part of Washington County and I was between the Washington and Marianna exits this week when I noticed it. It is becoming a garbage dump there. This is particularly true near the exits along the highway. One idea I thought might be to place garbage disposals along the highway every 50 miles or so. Maybe they could be manned at times to prevent people from abusing them disposing of their household garbage, couches and such. Compared to the cost of government waste, it can’t be that expensive.
  • At last, I saw a person hook and land a crappie from Cross Creek Lake this week. The weather hasn’t been cooperative but it seems to be on an upturn as I write this. Just maybe the temperature will rise, the crappie will move into shallower waters and the fishing will improve.

As any angler knows crappie are caught on minnows or lures that mimic a minnow. My favorites are jigs, but a new lure seems to be coming on strong and that one is called a trout magnet. The trout magnet is a form of jig with the simplest attractor I have ever seen. I fished a farm pond with a friend and he was using the first one I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe such a plain and simple lure would be any good. To my surprise, he caught four or five bluegill to every one I hooked. I still didn’t believe in the magnet, but after watching a fellow named Bob use one at Cross Creek I am going to have to give it a try.

  • The opening day of trout season is just around the corner, and if you aren’t ready you better get on the ball. This might be doing a little, like checking on your hooks and split shot. If you are like me, and like to use spinners or other artificials, make sure you have enough. Remember, if you are fishing where the trout are hiding, then you are going to leave a few lures on stumps or low-hanging tree limbs. I guess I shouldn’t feel as I do, but when I meet and angler who has but one of his favorite lures with him, I don’t think he is too bright. Yes, it does happen more than my readers would believe. The person is catching trout with his good lure only to snag a tree limb. That is why he is on an overhanging branch in front of you trying to retrieve his lost treasure.
  • I might be found using a spinner along a local stream but I would bet that most trout will be caught on the good old night crawler. A good way to find out what the fish are hitting on is to ask Joe Smith at his bait store. Joe knows what is going on in the fishing scene.

Don’t forget about the gun show at the Washington County Fairgrounds on April 13 and 14. Not only can one find a firearm there but also parts and gun-related items. This one is the big one.

George Block wires a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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