Opening Cast

Tim HuffmanDad was a pyro.

He loved to spend several weeks each year mixing camping, crappie fishing and enjoying a fire. Fishing, camping and fires; one without the others wasn’t satisfying.

Dad could adapt to any situation. He was okay building in a small fancy campground pit but preferred a large, open, remote spot. His favorite pit was a large washtub with a hole cut in one end for a draft. The large tub would handle not only standard firewood but also large limbs, rootwads or any other burnables he was able to drag to the tub.

He did not worry about the intricacies in the craft of fire building. No stacked tee-pee arrangement or staggered stacking. No flint and striker stick. Wood was thrown in haphazardly. Kerosene, diesel, Coleman fuel and wadded-up newspaper were his approved starters, with at least three of the four in the mix.

The lighting ceremony was awesome although he never thought of it as a big deal. He stood a full arm’s-length from the fire, lit the match, tossed it toward the wood while lifting a forearm to protect hair and eyebrows. The ‘oooossh’ of the fire was music to his ears. Flames often shot up to heights of over 10 feet but lowered within minutes as the fuel finished burning. Starting at night was a change from total darkness to a several thousand lumens in a matter of a half-second. He made fires a fun part of a trip.

Most of us miss out on the overall experience because of the convenience of motels and the fast-paced world keeping us too busy. That’s too bad, because the sizzling, crackling and dancing flames are great medicine, an excuse to gather for conversation and is a part of the outdoor experience. Mixing them with a crappie fishing trip can be a fantastic experience.

I’m glad Dad was a pyro and crappie fisherman.


Good fishin’ and God Bless,

Tim Huffman, Editor/Sr. Writer