Fishing the Power Plant Side of the Sooner Discharge


I got THE CALL from Hawker. An invitation to the "Discharge", the rich man's side, the land of fishermen's dreams. I can't recall his EXACT words, but I believe he said, "This is your lucky day!".

I quickly agreed.

The next morning, near the electric power plant and it's famous discharge, we picked up another guest, Vlaude, one of the most infamous members of the "Fishermen's Notebook Fishing Forum", an online website where I frequently shared fishing exploits with other fishermen .

It turns out that Vlaude is an extremely likeable young man. Seems we share a lot in common: a love of fishing, disgust with OU football and we're about the same age. Hawker was a different story. He was... well...he was the grizzled "Hawker".
At the entrance to the plant, the guard cautiously looked at Hawker's well-worn plant employee pass, warned him to watch his step this time, then allowed us access into the hallowed grounds surrounding the towering, smoke-billowing steel power plant which was lit up like a Christmas tree.

We drove RIGHT UP TO the mouth of the discharge where the hot water shot out of the power plant's large concrete pipes and pounded into the fabled fish-filled channel. The warm waters gushing into the lake created a fog on this frigid and windy morning that was eery, but spectacular.

"Brrr." It was freezing cold and the wind was picking up.

I looked across the channel and saw in the absolute dark a lone beam of light from the flashlight of a stumbling fisherman coming down the muddy mile and a half long foot-path to fish the poor man's side of the channel. No doubt he was loaded down with gear and wearing big, awkward rubber boots for standing on the muddy far banks from where he would attempt to make long, long casts towards the discharge - where we stood.

Poor guy.

Let's catch some fish, I hollered!


Vlaude and I helped old Hawker out of his truck and he started showing us the setup around the discharge: all very convenient, but all covered with ice at the time. It was tricky walking on the slick rocks and concrete and I was very much concerned for the old Hawker.

We moved to the water's edge and silently fell to fishing, each of us eager to outshine the other. Another fisherman joined us at the discharge and on his second cast fought a very nice hybrid to the bank where he quickly put it on a stringer.

This fishing was looking up!

A few casts later and Hawker tangled lines with the same "lucky" fisherman. I'm hoping it was an accident even though Hawker cut the tangle loose with his teeth and tossed the other fisherman's lure back in the water, where it quickly bobbed out of sight. Needless to say, there wasn't another fish caught until the "Hawker hung his own catch of the day". Hawker, hooting and hollaring, fought a nice fish through the rushing water to the bank where we gathered to snap some pictures for posting on the "Fishing Notebook". Then he quickly released the struggling striper.

"Wish it was you boys that had caught the fish! 20 pounder!" the Hawker exclaimed, toothily grinning just a little too much.

The "lucky fisherman" left.

It was to be a long time before another fish was caught. Vlaude feverishly threw everything he had at the lake, sparing nothing, realizing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was slipping away.

"Looks like I'll be restocking at Academy again!" Vlaude murmured to no one in particular as he broke off another twenty-dollar lure hung in the channel's rocky bottom. His quiet, crazed laugh bothered me just a little. But I fished on.

Vlaude eventually rambled off towards the razor-topped fence to talk to someone on the poor man's side, perhaps suspecting that the fishing was better over there. He eventually returned, rejuvenated, happily reporting that the fishermen were all suffering terribly on the poor man's side. Tough day! A pair of gulls flew up and down the bank, eyeballing and smirking at Vlaude and I, both of us casting furiously now. Hawker was now simply watching, saving his energy. Vlaude and I must have cast a thousand times, before finally, FINALLY - I hung a nice one, a huge one.

The fight was on, the powerful creature taking line, not realizing that he was at the end of a much experienced angler's rod and that his admirable fight was useless. At one point, the fish jumped clear of the lake's surface, arching skyward in a dazzling spray of water.

"I've got to get a picture of this!" shouted Hawker. He frantically jerked at the camera strapped around my neck and the fish escaped, just like that.

Oh well. Possibly another personal best fish lost. But I wasn't nearly as upset as Vlaude. Perhaps Hawker was right when he explained, "Dan. Vlaude wanted to fight that fish before you landed it".

I hate to think so. Vlaude has told some pretty good fish stories.

Dark arrived too quickly for Vlaude and I, but a worn-out Hawker said it was way past his bedtime. So we packed and loaded the exhausted Hawker back in his diesel truck to make our long trek home.

All in all, It was a very good experiece. I met some GREAT, adventurous guys (who hopefully can take my sorry humor), heard some TRULY TALL TALES and left knowing there was a good story to "tale" myself - and I'm sticking to it.


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