Let’s talk fishing! Ask any Southerner what they are doing on the weekend, and the answer is probably fishing. I have many memories which spring to mind when I am out on the lake or creek bank. My grandfather was an avid fisherman who did not need an excuse to cast his line out. My brother is the same way. I like to fish, but I also like air-conditioned rooms. However, through my childhood and teenage years, many days were dedicated to my attempts to out fishing my brother.
My grandfather and brother could probably be called fanatics when it comes to fishing. One such memory springs to mind. Little Black Creek Waterpark opened when I was a young man. My brother and I read every magazine available to “bone up” on our knowledge of fish. We were particularly proud of our knowledge of Pike. We figured we were subject matter experts and could not wait to hook one. My dad, brother, grandfather and myself arrived to Little Black at the crack of dawn to find us a spot to catch the bream that were bound to be bedding. After starting our outboard motor, we eased out to our spot. Man, there were people everywhere! We had some success when my brother’s rod bent in half. He jumped to his feet and reeled like a madman! Eventually the tug-of-war battle ended with him landing his fish. At that moment he yelled at the top of his voice, “I got a Pike!” Every eye on the lake spun around to see this magical pike that was caught in Mississippi! My grandfather not to be outdone yelled, “Boy, sit your butt down! That is not a Pike!” Besides the minor misclassification of an alligator gar being mistaken for a pike it was a good day.
If you can fish every weekend, chances are good that you will not enjoy it as much. I lived in Colorado Springs for eight years after retiring from the military. I tried to fish, but it was an exercise in futility. Only when I moved home was I able get back to fishing. I like to catch catfish and bream. On a sizzling summer day nothing beats a mess of fish and hushpuppies with fries. Of course, we are speaking about fried fish, fried hushpuppies and French fries cooked in the same grease as the rest of it.
My final memory for this article is that when I was growing up we were just a bit on the poor side. We had a lot of fun, but we had to hunt, fish and trap to have enough to eat sometimes. On this day we were running trot lines and bank hooks. We had caught several blue and channel catfish and more than our share of freshwater eels. We got to the next hook and it was another eel. My father took the paddle and went to kill the eel when the eel squirmed, and dad missed. Whoops! He punched a hole in the bottom of the boat and water started to fill the boat. My brother decided then would be an opportune time to sound off with a smart remark, and my dad said, “Boy shut up! Put your hand over that hole!” Dad and I paddled like none other that day and we all made it to the bank safe and sound. The moral of the story is that unless you can look back and laugh at all your near escapes, you really haven’t been fishing! Y’all be careful out there now!