By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

BUNKER HILL -- This time of year, the bridge over the Saline River north of Bunker Hill is a busy place as people go in search of the white bass run.

Jerry Boxberger had the place nearly to himself Tuesday, but he was after catfish.

He had two nice fish on his stringer already, after only about 90 minutes on the water.

"The white bass are biting," he said.

He wanted catfish instead.

"I've got to watch them because there's a beaver den right there," Boxberger said, motioning to his left, only a few feet from where his stringer was in the water. "I don't want the dinner bell to ring."

With each cast, using either crawfish tails -- feeding the rest to the raccoons, he said -- or shrimp, he aimed for a particular spot on the water.

"There's a hole right out there," he said. "The only reason I know, I found it a few years back when there was no water in here."

Boxberger has been fishing on the Saline at the upper end of Wilson Lake for years now. The catfish, he said, are working their way up the river to feed and spawn.

"Plus, I get to sit out here and talk to myself," he said.

Although Boxberger is a native of Russell, he's now living in San Antonio. He moved to Texas in the 1970s.

"God's been good to me," he said. "I've been retired the last 15 years. I stay down in Texas until I think it's warm enough."

That's when he heads north to Kansas, and a bit of fishing on the Saline.

He was fooled this time around, as temperatures dropped close to freezing on Tuesday.

"When I left Texas last week, it was 101," he said.

Just as he said that, he set the hook.

"Oh, I missed it," he said. "I felt him."

Now living in a metropolitan area, Boxberger uses his time on the river to connect with himself.

"I come out to Wilson to get solitude," he said. "I can talk to myself."

And see the wildlife.

"Along evening," he said, "you can see deer, turkeys. Just amazing, the wildlife you see sitting here. I think that's half the draw of fishing."