Fish­ing With Bubba

Escalon Times - - LIVING - DON MOYER

I got an email awhile back from a fel­low named Wil­liam Paris Ju­nior. For those of you not fa­mil­iar with his given name, Mr. Paris is bet­ter known as Bubba Paris who re­tired from NFL football af­ter a long ca­reer with the San Fran­cisco 49ers. To say Bubba Paris was a pretty good pro football player is a bit of an un­der­state­ment. He played un­der Coach Bill Walsh and with the likes of Joe Mon­tana and Jerry Rice. Bubba re­ceived three Su­per Bowl rings play­ing dur­ing the Nin­ers’ glory days.

What most folks don’t know is that Bubba Paris is also a heck of a bass an­gler. Never hav­ing met the gen­tle­man, I was sur­prised when his email showed up in my in box. Bubba of­fered to take me out in the Delta on his cus­tom bass boat and show me how bass fish­ing re­ally should be. Nat­u­rally I was de­lighted and quickly gave him a call. We had a de­light­ful con­ver­sa­tion and made a date to go fish­ing. I showed up at Bubba’s home in Moun­tain House at six o’clock in the morn­ing a few days later and off we went in search of Large­mouth Bass.

As a young­ster, I was raised us­ing a fly rod and cast­ing for trout in the wilder­ness streams of the Sierra Ne­vada. Although I own sev­eral spin­ning rods and oc­ca­sion­ally use them in the delta, for the most part I am still a fly­rod­der at heart. I fig­ured that a day on the delta with a ded­i­cated bass an­gler like Bubba Paris would be a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We drove about 10 min­utes from Bubba’s house and launched near Clifton Court Fore bay. Blast­ing across the wa­ter early in the morn­ing was def­i­nitely a “Hold onto your hat” propo­si­tion. Af­ter a few min­utes Bubba cut the big gas out­board and switched to a small elec­tric trolling mo­tor. We used both spin­ning and bait cast­ing rigs to toss soft plas­tic worms to the rip-rap banks.

This ex­pe­ri­ence was about as far re­moved from wad­ing a Sierra Ne­vada trout stream with a fly rod as I could have ever imag­ined. It took me quite a while to get the hang of cast­ing a spin­ning rod to bass and to rec­og­nize the feel of a bass slurp­ing in the plas­tic worm. Mean­while Bubba was hook­ing and re­leas­ing nice bass with amaz­ing reg­u­lar­ity. Fi­nally though, with some ex­cel­lent coach­ing by my bass men­tor, I was able to start hook­ing some nice bass. Bubba is as good at catch­ing bass as he was tack­ling op­po­nents on the grid­iron.

As we were hook­ing and re­leas­ing fish, we had a chance to talk and get to know each other. I found out that since re­tir­ing from the NFL, Bubba Paris has be­come a writer, min­is­ter, and mo­ti­va­tional speaker. His sched­ule is packed with speak­ing en­gage­ments all over the coun­try. In ad­di­tion, he still does some work with the 49ers or­ga­ni­za­tion men­tor­ing kids and help­ing give them the tools to suc­ceed in life. He at­tends church in Tracy and preaches one Sun­day a month. To re­pay his kind­ness to me I’ve of­fered to take Bubba to one of my fa­vorite fish­ing holes and teach him how to fly-fish. As soon as we can work it into our sched­ules, we’re go­ing to be back out in the wa­ter knee deep in fish and fish sto­ries. I’m bet­ting that Bubba will be a bet­ter stu­dent than I was.

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