If you knew him, you were entertained. If you loved him, you were blessed.
Zenus was known by many names, but I got to call him Uncle Zenus. He had the best homecoming to Heaven on December 1. And today, his family and friends are saying see you later to the Catfishing Preacher, Zip, Cuz, husband, dad, pawpaw and for us... Uncle Zenus. He will be missed but his tall tales will live on through all that knew him.
In the early days of the magazine, my dad and I had the pleasure of tagging along with Zenus on a catfish adventure. It was something I won’t ever forget and I thought it was appropriate to share it with you all today.
Hard work never hurt anybody, don’t let it hurt you.
She got all her looks from her daddy…Her mama still has hers.
Now, don’t be looking at the time because I am going to talk for a minute.
Zenus Windsor has been called a lot of things in his time: preacher, storyteller, salesman, and fisherman but the best way to describe him is personality because he is full of it.
He takes all things serious but loves to tell a good story (as long as its true) and has just as much passion for fishing. He doesn't bother with bass or crappie, his species of choice is the catfish. He hunts for the elusive beast all year and the time of year dictates how he goes about catching the big ones.
He fishes with boxes and baskets but for Lake Wedowee Life's journey with Catfishing Preacher he shared with us his own unique way of catching the big ones. When most people think of fishing, they believe they need a fancy rod and reel and special gadgets to make sure the job gets done.
"Fishing in the traditional sense can cost you a lot of money," Windsor said. "The way I fish I spend less than $5 on my gear."
Instead of a flashy rod, he uses a 10-foot piece of 1/2 inch PVC pipe with a cord thread through it and secured with a washer at the end. He doesn't need to use a reel (which will be explained a little later) and his hook is a #10 treble hook with the eye of the hook inside the pipe and the three barbs exposed.
"The first thing you need to know is that I don't fish with your typical bait and I catch huge fish," Windsor said. "The biggest fish I caught like this weighed about 50 pounds."
The bait of choice for Windsor and his buddies is a latex balloon preferably red or yellow in color. "It's dark down there and those fish see the balloons," he said. "We thread the balloon around the hook and the fish just go for it."
His method of catching the big ones could be compared to the extreme sport of hand fishing which is also known as noodling or grabbling in this part of the world, but he doesn't take near the risk those enthusiasts do. However, it does take patience and skill not to mention knowing what you are "feeling" for. When it comes to using this method, you have to have your wits about you and know the signs.
June and July are the best times to fish this way because the female catfish have laid their eggs and have left the male in charge of guarding the brood.
"It's kinda like having a pasture full of cows and only one bull," Windsor said. "We don't fish for the female cats because we want to preserve the species."
The fish typically lay eggs in holes under the water close to the shoreline typically around boat ramps, and Windsor wades through the water feeling around for those holes with his feet.
"I have fished all of these lakes but Lake Weiss is the best for me because it is shallow," he said. "And, it is an older lake that has more busted boat ramps."
Once he finds a hole he jabs the makeshift rod in the hole to see if anything is home. "If the cat is at home he will bite because he is protection the eggs," Windsor said. "He feels threatened so he will attack."
The trick is to hold the line tight until the fish exits the hole. Once that happens the fight is on. "Sometimes you have to force the cat out of the hole with your hand, and it might bite you but that's when its important to know what kind of catfish you got," Windsor said.
He usually catches Appaloosas also known as yellow cat or flathead, however he occasionally runs up on a blue cat. "Blue cats are a little meaner than yellow cats," Windsor said. "Flatheads will bite you and let go, but the blue cats will bite and try to drown you."
"A blue cat got me one time and it was like my finger was in a vise and he tried to take my arm off." After Windsor coaxes the catfish out of his home, he drops the cord and the washer creates a makeshift fishing pole. And, Windsor uses it to pull the fish up the boat ramp.
"You don't see a lot of people fishing this way because it is hard work," he said. "But when you hear people say they would go fishing if they knew the fish would bite, you know they haven't tried this because the fish bite every time."
As summer and lake seasons winds down for the year, it's our opportunity to see the lake in a different way. As you look across the lake, you start seeing more ducks swimming than boats and jet skis. Some ducks are year round residents, but are in quieter areas of the lake, such as up river and in small coves.
Ducks are some the most interesting birds I have written about. Ducks eat plants, insects, fish, seeds and crustaceans. They are known as waterfowl because they live near ponds, rivers, and lakes. Ducks live on every continent except Antarctica. They can be found in freshwater habitats and in saltwater. They have a lifespan of up to 10 years. According to A-Z-Animals.com ducks have some interesting facts. They all have waterproof feathers and a unique system of blood vessels to keep their feet warm in cold weather. Not all ducks quack and they can turn their heads backward to clean, or preen their feathers. Like most other birds, the males are more colorful than females.
There are diving ones and dabbling ones. Diving ducks feed by submerging their whole bodies underwater while those that dabble look likes bobbers. Diving ducks squeeze their feathers against their body, expelling the air trapped between which allows them to dive below the surface. Another interesting fact about diving ducks is their feet and legs are placed further back to help them swim and dive, and so they do not usually walk on land as dabbling ducks do. Dabbling ducks sit high on the water, feeding on vegetation and small invertebrates on or near the surface. From a distance, dabbling ducks can be easily spotted with their tails in the air and feet kicking around to keep them submerged. Again, they look like bobbers!
The most common dabbling ducks seen at the lake are Mallards, Wood Ducks, Green-winged Teals and Northern Pintails. The most common diving birds seen here are Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Redheads and Ruddy Ducks.
When to watch for dabbling ducks?
Not all birds swimming on the lake are ducks. There are other waterfowl such as coots, loons and grebes. Loons are water birds, only going ashore to mate and incubate eggs. Their legs are placed far back on their bodies, allowing efficient swimming but only awkward movement on land. Loons are agile swimmers but they move pretty fast in the air too. Migrating loons have been clocked flying at speeds more than 70 mph. These water birds can live up to 20 to 30 years and return to the same lake annually to breed. Coots are medium-sized water birds with small heads and scrawny legs. Coots have predominantly black plumage. They are usually easy to see, often swimming in open water. Coots are often see with ducks. A grebe is not a duck. Grebes have lobed toes, an adaptation they use to propel themselves underwater to get food, and a duck has webbed feet. Grebes have an ancient lineage to flamingos.
Watching the season fade from summer into beautiful fall foliage brings a calm and peacefulness to the lake. During this time, I often think of one my favorite movies “On Golden Pond” when Katheryn Hepburn is so excited to see the loons return to the lake. It is the perfect time of the year to grab a cup of coffee or hot cocoa and sit on the dock early in the morning as the fog rises up from the water and the stillness awakens into morning. With patience, you might be so lucky as to see some of our beautiful water foul bringing in the day!
#alabamaducks #alabamawildlife #lakewedowee #alabamalakelife
Randolph the art snake is now the most popular guy in the county! He has been growing this summer and thanks to some special people Randolph is at home at French Park located on Old Highway 431. He is at the first driveway entrance right at the beginning of the walking path! Special thanks to Renee Johnson for the initial post and naming Randolph, Lisa Mirabelli Keling for the sign, Jennifer Grantham for Randolph's head, and Sherri Mulder with Melissa Burns for organizing Operation Randolph. Also special thanks to mayor Tim for finding Randolph his forever home. Get y’alls rocks down there people!
#localart #randolphtherocksnack #lakewedowee #WEDOwedowee
The frogs are getting restless and have started hopping around again in Wedowee! And it’s up to you to find them!
Registration will begin after Labor Day weekend for our second Lake Wedowee Life Feelin’ Froggy Scavenger Hunt. The cost to register is $5 per person and the first 50 people to register will receive a swag bag from local businesses.
The frogs have gotten smarter this year and stayed cool on the creek during the dreadful heat of summer. But, by October 14, the frogs will definitely be ready to play!!!!!
Cooler weather is one factor, but the frogs also heard about Art and Crafts on the Median presented by East Alabama Art Society. They started doing flips at the possibility of seeing awesome arts and crafts in Wedowee.
Art and Crafts on the Median has been a must attend event in Wedowee for more than a decade. It started in 2008 as Art on the Median, the second Saturday in June. A few years later Crafts on the Median was added in October. In recent years, the event has embraced both Art and Crafts at both shows.
The organizers want this to be a fun family event, but because there could be driving involved, at least one team member must be 16 years of age or older.
The grand prize is to be determined based on sponsor participation. There will also be door prizes given at the end of the event. All other information will be provided to participants closer to the start date.
If you are interested in vendor space at Art and Crafts on the Median, contact Sylvia Grant at 256.357.4582 for an application. It is a juried show, and a vendor fee is required.
To find out more details about the scavenger hunt and the possibility of a clue… visit www.lakewedoweelife.com
The proceeds of the scavenger hunt will be used for a downtown art project in Wedowee.
#feelinfroggy #lakewedowee #artandcraft #WEDOwedowee
Every year the Lake Wedowee Property Owners Association (LWPOA) partners with Alabama Power to bring lake lovers together for one reason - keeping Lake Wedowee beautiful. It’s amazing to see such a diverse group of people joining in for a day (or three!) to give of their time and energy to take such good care of our playground. Arriving at the highway 48 bridge boat ramp parking lot, you will find pontoon boats ready to receive you and your hard work. Jump aboard, meet some new friends, ride to your designated part of the lake, and get to work pulling garbage off of the shoreline and out of the water. Thankfully after years of cleanup, the amount of trash pulled out of the lake is less than ever.
Renew Our Rivers is the official campaign started by Alabama Power in 2000 that now encompasses rivers, lakes and creeks getting cleaned up across four southern states. There are 37 lakes in the state of Alabama that participate and according to LWPOA, Lake Wedowee is the best organized group that they work with.
Come join in for a day of fun, making new friends and doing your part in stewarding our beautiful water.
October 24, 25, 26, 2023. https://lakewedoweepoa.com
#lakewedowee #alabamalake #ilovelakewedowee #wedowee #WEDOwedowee #WEDOmedia
By Angie Stryker /
“Wedowee just has so much potential!”
“It’s such a sweet little town, I’d love to see some new things to do.”
“What about the kids and teens, what are they supposed to do around here after time on the lake?”
“We need this place to be a working town, not just for visitors.”
Stick around long enough and you will hear one of these quotes from those passing through, or those who have lake property, or long term residents. More and more, people come for the lake, but end up staying for the way of life here - long winding country roads, slower pace of life, long conversations in the driveway or on the porch, delicious southern food, and well, the skies are just bluer here.
In the last summer, we have seen people - new and old - put their dreams for Wedowee into action in the way of new businesses. If you have only been on the lake - then you are missing out on some of the fun and wonderful spaces that have come to Wedowee. This is great news for when the sun sets early and the water level goes down. We are so thankful for all the business women and men who are working hard to make Wedowee a wonderful place to live, work and visit, year round.
The Range, https://thecreekatwedowee.com/the-range, 1310 County Road 269, Wedowee
Did you know that Wedowee now has a golf range, in the technological style of Top Golf? Hit balls and let the computer tell you how great (or terrible) your swing, your arc, your ball speed, your aim are! All while enjoying pizza, burgers, beer and drinks from the cooler. The Range is exactly what we have been missing in the “things for the teens to do” category.
Wake and Shake, https:/ wakeandshakedonutshop.square.site/ home, 108 Main Street South, Wedowee
We hope you haven’t missed the “best donuts I have ever had” as one patron declared out loud recently, at Wake and Shake. Espresso milkshakes (topped with a donut), to cake donuts with any possible topping that you can imagine, to lattes (and a breakfast donut) are all available at the cutest little donut shop in town (with a fantastic mural for photo opps outside).
Wedowee Animal Hospital, https://wedoweeah. vetsfirstchoice.com/, 794 West Broad Street, Wedowee
Wedowee finally has its own animal hospital. Now, your fur babies can enjoy the lake AND a place to go if something happens to them while they are on vacation. Our local friends are happy that residents have a friendly place to go for pup and kitten checkups. In the words of Bob Barker, “Help control the pet population. Spay and neuter your pets!
Boondocks on the Lake, https://www.facebook.com/ BoondocksOTL, 9681 Hwy 48, Lineville
One thing that has been absolutely missing from Wedowee is yoga. That’s right. Saturday mornings this past summer at Boondocks at the Marina you got your stretch on with some amazing instructors who challenged you and helped you love yourself well, all while overlooking the lake. You left sweaty and feeling incredible. But only after grabbing a mimosa and brunch! Does it get any better?"
Decor and More, Dixie Doodle Dog Treats, Find Dixie Doodle Dog Treats on Facebook, 117 Main Street, Wedowee
Need a place to consign some of those home decor items to pay for the redecorating? How about shopping for what others are selling? And what if we told you that you could pick up some homemade treats for those fur babies while you were shopping (or selling)? Shari’s place does both.
48 West Music, https://48west.live/, 216 West Broad Street, Wedowee
Wedowee has always been the proud location of some wonderful bands and live music. Now, there is an official venue full of life and live music, right in downtown. 48 West Music hosts bands from near and far on a regular schedule in different genres. It’s a really cool vibe inside an old church. Did we mention you can bring alcohol?
Fun fAxe Ax Throwing, Find Bobbers Bar and Grill on Facebook, 22295 Hwy 431, Wedowee
One thing we did not see coming — axes. Being thrown. For fun. If you haven’t done it yet, then you need to just go. Take the teens and the kids! There is something truly adrenaline grabbing about picking up an ax and throwing it at a wall. Trust us, it’s FUN.
Anchor on Main, Find Anchor on Main on Facebook, 106 Main Street South, Wedowee
Take your time as you stroll through the new gift store in town to take it all in. Local vendors have some really beautiful gift items for men and women. And if you are wondering where all the fun earrings are that you see on women around town, Joy makes them and has them for sale inside.
Twin Rivers Business Center, 12 West Broad Street, Wedowee
Let’s say that you are in town for a special occasion and you want to commemorate it with ink? Now you can. Wedowee has a new tattoo artist in town, people. So get your ideas ready for that next piece of body art. Or let’s say instead of a tattoo type of vibe, you need to host an important meeting in town. Now you have a space outfitted just for that, at the business center at Twin Rivers Business Center (Old Bill’s Dollar Store). Now both are available in the same place, thanks to the rentable spaces inside. You could even have meetings about tattoos. Or get tattoos of meetings. Find more information with a visit to 12 West Broad Street, Wedowee.
We celebrate all the exciting progress in Wedowee and welcome new business owners and families who are making Wedowee an even better place to live. And speaking of development, if you haven’t met Chris Dunlap yet, he’s our new Economic Development Authority Director. Find him out and about in town to hear how he wants to help your idea or your business plan come to fruition.
WEDO love Wedowee and Cheers to an exciting summer’s worth of new. Starting a new business or service in the Wedowee area, be sure to let us know so we can introduce you to the community.
#WEDOgreatthingstogether #WEDOmedia #WEDOsmalltowns #businessisbooming
By Kelly Caldwell /
The areas on Lake Wedowee where a boater can legally wake-surf or wake board have been drastically reduced as of September 1 according to a new law that was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey in June.
Legislative Act 2023-459, formerly known as HB422, aims to regulate and/or prohibit wakeboarding and wake surfing under certain conditions on Smith Lake, Lake Wedowee and a section of Shoals Creek in Lauderdale County.
According to the legislation, the definition of wake boarding and wake surfing includes both the operator and the rider regardless of whether the person on the board is being towed across the wake or surfing the wake, and regardless of whether the board and rider is being pulled by a tow line.
A person may not engage in wakeboarding or wakesurfing under any of the following conditions:
Other states across the Southeast have passed similar laws regarding the wakeboarding and wake surfing. Georgia’s law, which applies to all state waters, went into effect July 1 while South Carolina and Tennessee both passed laws in 2022. All four have been based on a model act drafted by the Watersports Industry Association (WISA).
According to its website, “WISA is the towed water sports industry’s leading advocate, known for preserving the vitality of our activities long into the future. As a group, we develop best practices, maintain waterway access rights, educate participants, promote safety and facilitate sustainable industry growth.”
The group launched the Wake Responsibly campaign in 2022 as an effort to educate people on the best practices of wakeboarding and wake surfing. They include:
There is a grace period of sorts for first offenses for one year from the effective date, however, second or subsequent offenses within the first year will be treated like a first offense with regard to penalties.
Penalties for a first offense are a fine of no less than one-hundred dollars ($100).
“We plan to educate the public using news media, social media outlets and all avenues of public boater safety education that we have available to us, including our Boat Alabama boating safety courses taught by Troopers,” Deputy Chief Matt Brooks, ALEA Marine Patrol Division, said. “As with most laws, there will be a transition and adaptation period for both the public and law enforcement. We will exercise patience and ask for patience in return. This will be just one of many boating safety laws and regulations that our Troopers will enforce.”
Brooks went on to say when ALEA stops a vessel for a violation of this law, they will use a combination of enforcement and education with operators we stop to bring awareness to the law and issues.
“We will respond to and handle complaints as we receive them,” Brooks said. “The public can reach the nearest Trooper dispatch center by calling *HP or *47 on their cell phones. Of course, 911 can be called in any emergency situation.”
To learn more about Wake Responsibly, visit https://www.wakeresponsibly.com/
When you were a kid and needed to learn something new, you went to Dad, right? He’s the one who taught you how to ride a bike and drive a car. He’s also the one who taught you how to bait your hook for the first time.
You’ve never forgotten these skills and now is a great time to say thank you to the man who helped you learn and grow by taking him out for a day of fishing. You might even teach him a thing or two.
Whether it’s for Father’s Day or his birthday. This is a great time of year to surprise him with can’t-miss gifts he’ll enjoy while sharing his favorite pastime with you. So don’t delay. The weather’s great and the boat is ready. Make the most of it with this list of tips guaranteed to show Dad a fishing trip he won’t forget.
Surprise him with the perfect invitation.
If your dad can't say no to helping with a project, surprising him with a fishing trip will be easy. Ask for his help on something you can't do yourself. You can even poke at him about how hard the project will be, just don't go too far or he wont show up. And then, when he arrives, show him the car packed and ready to hit his favorite honey hole. He'll be so happy he may just forgive you for the trick.
Plan to the last detail.
On a good fishing trip, the drive is half the fun, so don’t race through it. Take Dad to his favorite restaurant for breakfast, play his favorite tunes in the car and have a steaming cup of his favorite coffee waiting for him when you hit the open road.
Surprise him with the right gear.
Help dear old Dad up his angling acumen by giving a few thoughtful gifts throughout the day. Start the surprise by setting up his favorite rod and reel before picking him up, with Sufix 832 Advanced Superline. A go-to fishing line for the world’s best anglers, this braided line has the strength and durability to ward against line breaks and will ensure Dad’s next big catch makes it all the way to the boat. At the end of the line, you can tie on the dynamic Rapala Ripstop. An innovative new lure, the bait features a unique hard-plastic-boot tail that creates hard-rolling, slashing action to mimic live minnow movement, perfect for drawing plenty of attention. Then after a morning of catching fish on the water, hand Dad the Rapala Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet to make quick work of even the most intimidating fileting chore. Its lithium-ion power battery provides continuous, full power operation for 80 minutes, and will have the two of you enjoying a delicious shore lunch in no time.
Cap the day off right.
When the sun starts to set and the day of fishing is finally done, cap the day off with a drink at his favorite spot or sit around the fire telling stories. Just don't be surprised if the size of Dad’s catch has grown considerably by then - it is a fish story after all.
Sit back and enjoy the ride.
All of your planning has come to make this day as special for you as it is for your father, so don't miss a moment of it. Put the phone away and unplug while engaging in conversation. You may just learn a thing or two about your dad that you never knew before and the memories you'll get from your trip together will last a lifetime.
Featured Recipe for this week:
Strawberries and Cream Cobbler
Here is a quick Lake Wedowee Safety check list complied with the help of Marine Police Officer Barry Popham and Kathy Morris of Wedowee Marine. Please look over and take note of these tips. There may be some you had not thought of before. ENJOY the Lake and have a SAFE summer!
Don't forget that the lake is for everyone's enjoyment and a reckless or rude boater can turn a nice day at the lake into a disaster!
Featured Recipe this week:
Cowboy Campfire Bacon Burgers
From several points in Randolph County, Mt. Cheaha looms in the distance. It may not seem like much from here but as you make your way closer its size may become a little overwhelming. Cheaha State Park is atop the mountain which is the highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet. Located in the Talladega National Forest, Cheaha is the Indian word for "high" and is a foothill of the Appalachian Mountain system. Cheaha State Park has been in operation since 1933, however, the official opening date was June 7, 1939.
Featured recipe this week:
Mama's Banana Pudding