Darold Henson

Class of 1936
Lincoln Community High School
Lincoln, Illinois

     This photo and the article below were published in the Lincoln Courier, June, 1977, immediately following Darold Henson's  retirement from LCHS.

      In the photo, note the two "lunker" largemouth bass mounted on the wall.  I was with him in the early 1970s when he caught the one just above his head, and I had it mounted for him as he has never been interested in collecting trophies.

     A successful angler has to be both astute strategist (know where and when to fish) and adept tactician (know the right techniques and how to use them).  The mounted fish above his head was taken from a small reservoir of a town in southwestern Illinois. Darold had done his homework in finding a somewhat remote lake with plentiful fish and scant "fishing pressure." 


     Because it was springtime, he knew the water temperature was moderate enough that bass would feed near the surface, so he used a top-water lure.  The "go devil" technique requires a long, 9-foot pole, which is gripped and braced along the inside of the arm.  A lure with a propeller is tied on a heavy line (24-pound test) extending about six feet from the end of the pole.  This lure is dragged back and forth on the water's surface near the shore, where fish like to feed before the hot summer sun forces them into deeper, cooler waters.  The larger bass are very protective of their territory, and this lure churns the water with a loud gurgle that provokes bass into attacking and devouring the intruder.  This method proves very exciting, as hooked fish explode from the water, jumping and thrashing to shake loose, then diving to break the line, and jumping and diving again and again until freed or tired and netted.  Often the larger fish do escape, leaving the fisherman with a most empty, frustrating feeling of loss and defeat; but desire for another try soon arises. 

     Fishing, then, can be but is not necessarily a mindless puttering where the greatest challenge is putting a worm on a hook and the fun is dozing in the shade of a willow tree on Salt Creek; it is a sport that can teach the need for thoughtful, skillful perseverance.

     Darold has only two mounted fish, symbols of countless trophy-sized, fresh-water game fish (mainly bass, walleye, and crappie) caught in his legendary fishing career of approximately 80 years.

      The Courier article mistakenly says Darold fought in WWII without injury.  In fact, just beyond the beaches of France, he took shrapnel in the right leg near the knee.  He recovered and continued in the campaign leading to the Battle of the Bulge.  In the bitter winter of that campaign (1944), his feet were nearly frozen, and he was withdrawn from combat to avoid the threat of amputation.  He received the Purple Heart.  He is also eligible for the coveted Bronze Star, which he has never applied for.  I suspect the misunderstanding between interview subject and interviewer was due to the customary, modest understatements of the interview subject.  He has told me of his willingness to risk his life in war so that I would not have to.  L.H.


Renowned Courier writer-editor, Ken Goodrich (1953 photo)



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