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At 94 Years Old, He Tells an Interesting Fish Story

Moses Lopez, a 94-year-old North Richland Hills, Texas, resident recently caught a big bass at Eagle Mountain Lake. (Courtesy photograph)

Moses Lopez, a 94-year-old North Richland Hills, Texas, resident recently caught a big bass at Eagle Mountain Lake. (Courtesy photograph)

Moses Lopez spent his early days hunting with a slingshot.

He mostly bagged rabbits and squirrels and was handy with a rod and reel as well.

“I’d tag along with my brother,” Lopez said. “That’s where I learned to hunt and fish.”

It was during the Depression in the 1930s, and Lopez lived in Winnie, just east of Galveston Bay, with his mother, four brothers and two sisters.

Besides hunting and fishing, he found odd jobs and worked in the fields, planting and harvesting crops, doing whatever he could to help out.

“My father had passed away when I was 12,” Lopez said, “and we had a family to feed.”

Now a spry 94 years old, Lopez doesn’t hunt anymore — “that’s too much work” — but he still loves to fish.

“I’ll fish whenever I can find someone to go with me,” Lopez said.

He’s put away a few stories over 80-plus years of dropping lines, but few rival the one that he told a couple of weeks ago.

Fishing Aug. 22 with grandson Nicholas Griffin near Harbor One Marina at Eagle Mountain Lake, Lopez said it had been an uneventful day as he cast his line toward the docks.

He felt a little tug, but then the line held.

“I thought it was stuck on a stump,” Lopez said, “but then it took off. It was fast.”

The black bass was a fighter and shot out of the water, giving them a glimpse of its size.

“He was big,” Lopez said. “Both me and my grandson knew that. He said, ‘That’s a big fish!’ ”

As he maneuvered the fish near the boat, it spit out the Bandit lure — but Nicholas had a net in position and grabbed the largemouth.

“He was so big, you could put your fist in his mouth,” Lopez later told his son, Ray Lopez.

Lopez had an electronic scale, but the batteries were low, so after measuring it — 231/2 inches long — and taking a few photos, he turned to Nicholas.

“That was a thrill, but it’s time to turn him loose,” Lopez said.

“I figure it was about 91/2 or 10 pounds,” Lopez said. “That’s the biggest fish I’ve caught that wasn’t a striper or catfish.”

‘I’ve Always Loved Fishing’

Lopez said that about the only time he didn’t fish much was while he was in the military. He joined the Army in May 1941, months before Japan launched an attack on Pearl Harbor.

He soon transferred to the Army Air Forces, his son said, and ended up retiring as a master sergeant from the Air Force in 1963. He worked primarily as an aircraft mechanic and flew combat missions in World War II and the Korean War, Ray Lopez said in an email.

He married Beatrice in 1952, and they moved to the Fort Worth area in 1967, where they raised a family of two boys and three girls. When he wasn’t fishing, Lopez worked as an automotive machinist and later with the General Services Administration, before retiring in 1985.

His family moved to North Richland Hills in 1977, where Lopez still lives today, not too far from Eagle Mountain and Grapevine lakes.

“I’ve always loved fishing,” Lopez said, “but I liked hunting. My first gun was a .22. … I traded a bicycle I found and fixed up. … Then I later traded another bicycle for a 12-gauge shotgun. I could take ducks, geese … anything I wanted with that gun.”

‘I Get Around Pretty Good’

His first car was a 1939 Ford, a Model A Roadster; now he drives a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe, “a poor man’s Cadillac,” he said.

“I get around pretty good,” he said, proudly saying he still drives on Northeast Loop 820 and Airport Freeway when necessary.

Lopez even cut his own grass until a couple of years ago, “when we talked him into hiring someone to mow it,” Ray Lopez said.

He owns a cellphone — “it’s only for emergencies” — but don’t dare ask him to text: “I don’t know nothing about that.”

And no, he doesn’t own a computer: “I’m just a dumb old guy.”

But goodness, does he love to fish.

“I just feel good when I’m on the lake,” he said. “I don’t really care if I catch anything.”

Of course, he’ll always cherish his recent encounter with the black bass.

After Ray Lopez told his father that the record for a black bass at Eagle Mountain Lake was 11.65 pounds, Lopez suggested that he might have turned loose a trophy.

“I guess I’ll have to go back out there and catch him again,” Lopez told his son. “After all, I know where he lives.”