Archive for Sunday, April 29, 2012

Longtime Lone Star anglers find peace in quiet

Queen Shorter, left, and her niece Linda Hunter, both of Lawrence, fish at Lone Star Lake Saturday, April 21, 2012. Joining the two in background is Caleb Shorter, Hunter's nephew, from Tulsa, OK.

Queen Shorter, left, and her niece Linda Hunter, both of Lawrence, fish at Lone Star Lake Saturday, April 21, 2012. Joining the two in background is Caleb Shorter, Hunter's nephew, from Tulsa, OK.

April 29, 2012


Queen Shorter and her family, Lawrence transplants from the Mississippi Delta, can be found several evenings a week — and often on the weekends — fishing at the star-shaped lake appropriately named Lone Star, in southwest Douglas County.

“We just like to fish,” Shorter says in a muted Southern drawl, loosely monitoring three fishing poles at the lake on a recent weekday afternoon. “It’s in our blood.”

There were about a dozen people fishing on Lone Star this particular day — as there are most warm days — but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s been doing it longer at Lone Star than Shorter and her niece, Linda Hunter, a pastor at Community Church of God in Lawrence.

“Pull it, pull it,” interrupts Hunter, as Shorter has a bite.

“I got it,” Shorter says.

The excitement quickly dies as Shorter pulls a puny looking crappie out of the calm lake waters. It’ll be going right back where it came from.

The duo have been fishing at Lone Star — created in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps — for nearly 50 years, they estimate, ever since they moved to the area in 1965.

Hunter and Shorter are not particular about what type of fish they reel in. At Lone Star they catch crappie, catfish and bass.

“Whatever’s biting,” Shorter says.

On this day, they’ve brought some relatives; cousins, husbands and grandchildren who circle about on another dock. Shorter and Hunter seem to be protective of their area, preferring that it just be the two of them on their dock.

“We got a crowd,” says Shorter, somewhat unenthusiastically.

Shorter guards a red cooler filled with the day’s bounty. They’ll fillet them tonight, or add to the freezer stash.

Hunter says there’s no better way of relaxing than shooting out a pole at Lone Star Lake.

And the cellphone, buzzing with parishioners or family members with the day’s troubles?

“I cut it off,” Hunter says. “This is my time.”

Hunter jokes that Shorter first got her hooked on fishing, as she’d tag along in the early years as a caddie of sorts.

“We went because we had to carry all her supplies,” Hunter says with a chuckle.

Conversation ebbs and flows between the two. In five decades of fishing together, talk is a relaxed back and forth, Shorter more reserved, Hunter more emphatic.

Why do they come out here? What is it about fishing they enjoy?

The two seem somewhat baffled by the questions from the reporter in a tie.

“It’s just therapeutic,” Shorter says. “You never get too busy to find time.”


blindrabbit 5 years, 11 months ago

That darn Lone Star Lake caused me to mess-up my first year a KU back in the early 60's. Too enjoyable to skip a class or two, who needed Western Civ. or Comp. & Lit. 1 anyway. Fishing from those South end docks with a six-pack of 3.2 and a church key (no pop tops then) and a Zebco combination or better yet a Popeil Pocket Fisherman could sure de-stress a young knucklehead. Further rejection from Mt. Oread resulted in Uncle Sam inticing a 4 year stint in the USN, a much bigger lake by the way. Returning to KU in 1967 after a great year in a place called VietNam, the lure of the dock at Lone Star was a distant memory, much to the benefit of my education. The recent story about Queen Shorter has rekindled my desire to return to the lake and it's therapeutic qualities.

irvan moore 5 years, 11 months ago

remember when stuart had the marina at lone star

time2kill 5 years, 11 months ago

Between "monitoring three fishing poles" and "guards a red cooler filled with the day's bounty" it does seem like this reporter is insinuating something...

blindrabbit 5 years, 11 months ago

Spent much time out there in the 50's trying to avoid Jim Messer on his lake patrols. Jim had served many years in law enforcement in and around Douglas County and when retirement arrived for him he was given the Lone Star assignment. Jim was a disciple of General George Patton, no pearl handled revolvers, but same spit and polish and a no-nonsense approach to anything related to having a good time! Driving like a "bat out of Haydes" in a small 3-point hydroplane powered by a 22 H.P. Mercury Hurricane (hi-performance, un-mufflered), weaving amoung the fishemen would get his attention.

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