Our 7th installment into The American Worker Project found me shooting in a very cool place named “Uncertain” Texas. The subject of this particular shoot was a man named Billy Carter. Billy is a backwoods bayou fishing guide and owner of Johnson’s Ranch Marina on Caddo Lake in Uncertain TX.
Billy was really great to work with and totally into the project from the moment I called him. We met at Johnson’s Ranch Marina predawn one chilly morning in early February and loaded our gear into Billy’s Go Devil fishing guide boat and set out deep into the bayou to catch the sunrise and shoot out and around beautiful Caddo Lake.
Billy has lived on Caddo Lake his entire life and has been a fishing guide for at least 35 of those years. As Billy will tell you, we don’t go fishing, we go out “catching”. He certainly seems to know his stuff. He knows where all the good fishing holes are and has the knowledge on how to catch them once you are there. This is a totally different kind of fishing than I am used to being a Yankee fisherman myself used to clear water. In the murky bayou waters you have much better luck running your bait on the bottom.
Riding around with Billy was awesome as he recounted all his knowledge of an area steeped in history. Caddo Lake was originally created when an earthquake opened up a hole in the earth. It caused a wave that rose upstream causing the Mississippi River to run backwards for a couple days. The lake was actually the first natural lake in Texas prior to the days of dam created lakes and as such quickly became a sportsman’s paradise.
Billy told countless more tales about the lake’s history…Back in the 1800’s large steamboats used to ply the tannic waters of Caddo Lake taking travelers to the then bustling town of Jefferson and return with loads of cotton. Oil was discovered under the lake bottom and was the first over water or offshore drilling operation in history. There are still hints of the old rigs found on parts of the lake today. For more info on the history or Billy and his guide services click here.