Red cap, signed by O'Neill WilliamsDo you have a favorite fishing hat? In my days, I’ve worn all sorts of fishing hats. I’ll bet you have too.

Around here I wear a fishing hat with various names on the front. Usually it’s an O’Neill Outside logo. After all is said, advertising is everything. I buy them in bulk, so they don’t cost much. I tell people that want one signed that it is worth about $6 before I sign it, and $3 afterward. They accept it anyway. The hats are thin and comfortable. However, my ears get sunburned and stay crusty all year long. I don’t think that’s good. Does that happen to you?

I like hats though. When you have follicle challenges like I do, you tend to gravitate to hats. This challenge means I’m bald headed and have been since about the age of 23. Gail and I got married after I finished at Emory at age 21 and have been married over 53 years now. When she’s not around, I blame it on her.

One of my grandfathers wore a straw hat when we were fishing in the small ponds around Loganville, Ga. 63 years ago. I was 11; he was about 65. He was a primitive Baptist preacher and wore a starched white shirt and tie, black wingtip dress shoes, a vested black pinstriped suit and white gloves with the fingers cut out when we went to the local catfish ponds to catch a few. You’d think I’d have been embarrassed about that. I wasn’t. I was just proud that he thought enough of me to take me fishing. My mother’s father wore a fedora like Indiana Jones. When we walked to the river along the railroad tracks headed to the swift waters of the Tallulah River, we’d stop and drink the cold, clear spring water flowing from the rocks. We’d tip the sweet drops from the brim of that old hat. Sure wish I had it now. I’d wear it.

We used cane poles with black nylon line and red wigglers dug up from around the barn.

This was supposed to be a column about deer and deer hunting, so let’s get to it and make it simple. I’m about to run out of room, so I’ll be brief.

Whitetail deer are lazy critters that don’t do much except, eat, sleep, look nervous, stay alive and are active only during the rut. That staying alive thing is a big deal, and they’re good at it. Did I say sleep? It’s not my kind of sleep, no sir. Thirty minutes at a time max, usually only five or 10, and sometimes with their eyes open. Ears are always alert and hyper wary. Can you sneak up on one while he’s asleep? No, you can’t. You think you can, but you can’t. If he doesn’t move and you think you’re being extra sneaky, it’s because he thinks he’s hidden and you’ll pass by.

He knows you’re there. Fishing hat or not.

Photo: provided by O’Neill Williams