In May of 1959 a lone fisherman by the name of Charlie Aron Buchanan headed out early to wet a line in the Nueces River near 19-mile crossing. According to family members, the Uvaldean packed a lunch and departed his house at 100 Daniel St. around 6 a.m. When he did not return by dark, his wife called two of their sons Loyde “Buck” and R.A. Buchanan to investigate.
The men found their father’s body that night in the river about 200 yards downstream from the crossing. He was floating in about two feet of water and still clutching his rod and reel. On the other end was what grandson Carlton Buchanan described in a recent e-mail as a “big bass.”
Buck Buchanan, who is now 85 and lives on North Camp Street, said earlier this week that his father took up fishing when heart disease forced him to stop working.
“That’s why our mother asked us to go look for him. She was afraid something might have happened,” Buchanan said.
He added that his father often did things alone, after he retired, including fishing.
According to Buchanan, who was 25 at the time of his father’s death, the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office had also been notified but no law enforcement was there at the time the brothers found their father’s body.
Not surprisingly, the cause of death was determined to be a massive heart attack. Buchanan was 59 at the time he collapsed in the river, which was not particularly young, but what is intriguing is that despite the pain he must have endured, the fisherman refused to give up on the bass that was tugging at his line.
Carlton, who was born and raised in Uvalde but now lives in Ballinger, e-mailed us a couple of weeks ago in search of the story about his grandfather’s unique death, which appeared on the front page of the May 7, 1959, issue of the Leader-News.
“I had always heard the story but never read the obituary,” Carlton, who is also called “Buck,” said in a phone interview. He also provided us with the contact number for his uncle Loyde.
“Like I said it was family lore as us younguns would listen to the adults talk about his death, the fish, the rod in his hand, and so on,” Carlton wrote in an email. “I only had him (grandfather) until the age of 7 and my mom’s dad died before she was born. So I never really had a Granddaddy.”
Carlton, who was drafted by the New York Giants and also played football for the Cleveland Browns, insisted that the story not be about him.
“R.A. (who died in a car wreck right after graduating from high school) and Loyde are the ones that found my grandfather. I can’t imagine what they went through during this tragedy,” Carlton said.
So there you have it, the story of an angler who died making sure that the big one did not get away.