A HAND ON YOUR SHOULDER by Eddie Douglas is a book with stories of hunting, fishing, dogs, and the pursuit of life’s dreams.
If you are a serious Texas bay fisherman or woman, you are probably striving constantly to learn more about bay fishing. This new book is loaded with helpful and entertaining information about fishing in East and West Matagorda Bays and much more.
Eddie was born in Palestine, Texas in 1933. He was an outdoor child with a never-ending curiosity about nature that quickly grew into a desire to learn about hunting and fishing.
His father and other family members put their “hands on his shoulder” and taught him how to safely handle guns, use a fishing pole, and train dogs. Eddie’s memoir takes us back to what it was like to hunt and fish in East Texas in the 1930s and 40s.
It includes stories about rounding up wild hogs, shooting bull frogs with a .22 from a boat at night, catching appaloosa catfish, going to high school in Palestine and college at Texas A&M and turning down a career with the Army as a shooting instructor, because he wanted to go quail hunting in Texas.
It’s about his career as a businessman who made time for hunting and fishing, his family, coming to Bay City after college and the Army to be the county extension agent, and transitioning from a freshwater fisherman to a saltwater fisherman.
Some of the chapter titles are: “Working Hogs in the Bottom with Tucker,” “Learning to Train Dogs,” “The ED Special,” “Flounder the Size of Halibut,” “Life Threatening Experiences,” and “Dogs from Heaven.”
Eddie has always approached everything with total concentration, enthusiasm, and effort. A passage from A Hand on Your Shoulder reads: “When I go fishing I anticipate catching fish, I don’t go to fail, I go to catch fish and part of that approach is keeping my lure in the water. If you drink, or smoke, or change lures, I’ll beat you every single day, because I’ll have my hook in the water while you are doing those things and that makes a difference.”
At age 85, Eddie is still considered one of the best fishermen on Matagorda’s bays. He uses only one lure to fish with, The E.D. Special, a lure that he researched and developed over five years. Eddie has been making and selling The E.D. Special for more than 20 years, and it is the favorite lure of many anglers from Texas to Florida.
He has won many tournaments including the Poco Bueno in Port O’Connor. Eddie Douglas is a highly respected elder statesman of fishing, hunting, dogs, and the philosophy of life in the Matagorda and Bay City area.
In the book’s introduction Eddie says: “This book is a chronological record of my life, the changes I have lived through, and the philosophy that has enabled me to say, at age 85, that I am happy with what I have done and who I am. I wouldn’t change a lot.
“My mother said, ‘I’ve never seen a kid like you, you live and breathe hunting and fishing.’ Everyone needs incentives to live life to the fullest, and my whole life was planned around the times that I could hunt and fish. Each decision that you make should make your life better, and by better, I mean you are able to pursue the aspects of life that you are most enthused about.
“I was born in 1933, and as an outdoorsman I feel very fortunate to have been born at a time when everything was wide open; a time when land owners didn’t mind if you hunted on their property, a time when there was an abundance of game and fish and almost no limits. I had freedom. Not only the freedom to hunt and fish, but the freedom not to have to go ask the boss for permission to hunt and fish, or do whatever.
“Early in my business career I learned that I had to work for myself, not so that I could make a lot of money, but so that I could hunt and fish when the birds were flying and the fish were biting. I know so many people that have worked hard all of their lives at a job that was just a job, thinking all that time, ‘As soon as I retire I’m going to have a ball.’ Then they retire and get some kind of illness, and they can’t do what they dreamed of doing, and they have a miserable end, saying all along, ‘I wish, I wish, I wish.’
“I made some bad decisions, but I made a lot of good ones too. And along the way people put their hands on my shoulder and helped me, and I did my best to help others as well.”
When you read Eddie’s book you will learn how to find fish and present a lure, by reading Eddie’s engrossing home-spun true tales. In addition to sharing his hunting, fishing, and dog stories, Eddie shares his close relationship with his son, Glenn, by telling about how he and Glenn hunted quail and deer in south Texas.
A few years before this book was written, Eddie lost both his wife, Margaret Ann and his son. Many people would have become despondent after losing two family members, but Eddie held his head up high and charged on, fishing and hunting as always. The book is dedicated to Glenn and Margaret Ann.
To get a copy of A Hand on Your Shoulder by Eddie Douglas, send him an email at [email protected].
Olivia Haterius Park: About fifteen minutes west of Palacios on Highway 35 turn left onto Highway 172 and follow it to Olivia Haterius Park. This park has a bulkhead to fish from, a place to launch boats and kayaks, and a children’s play area. It is a great place for family members who like to fish as well as those who like other outdoor activities. Buy your bait in Palacios (or use a cast net) because there are no bait shops in Olivia.
Email Mike Price at [email protected]