29 July 2009

Hunting Humor & Tales

I do have a couple of fish stories that I need to write about in this series. When the boys were at home I used to go fishing with them and enjoyed it very much. However, I haven’t been fishing in years. But there is one fishing trip I now mention because I have never forgotten the experience. The family and I had gone up to visit my parents in Summerville, Georgia. It was before my father died in 1970. We were living in Greenville, Alabama at the time. My brother Willard was the game warden in the northwest corner of Georgia. He loved to fish. So Dad, Willard and I drove down to Cedar Bluff, Alabama which was only about 25 miles from Summerville. We were near Lake Weis but were fishing in back waters off the Coosa River. It was getting late in the afternoon and I had cast a long way from the boat. I was using a reel and rod that my brother had loaned me. Eventually I began to reel in my plug but not very far because I felt the tightness on the line. My brother quietly said, “You’ve hung up on a log.” I kept on trying to reel it in when all of a sudden this large Bass came flying out of the water and I shouted “I’ve caught a fish!” That Bass was pulling like a grown man. I got him closer when here he came again a’flying out of the water. I could readily see he was one big fish. I finally got him up to the boat when all of a sudden he swam around the other side of the boat and 'pop' went the line. This time my brother quietly said, “That line was rotten.” First of all I didn’t have the experience to reel in a fish that big but what really hurt was learning that the line was “rotten”. I could have died. You talk about feeling low, discouraged and down in the dumps, I experienced all those feelings. I couldn’t sleep that night for seeing that big Bass that got away. But there is one that didn’t get away.
Our second son, Joel, is what you call a ‘natural’. The first Christmas that we gave him a Zebco reel and rod he went fishing with his buddy and he catches a nice bass. When he was 14 he was visiting with his grandmother and aunt near Wildwood, Florida. My wife’s uncle Gilbert had mining done on his land for lime rock when the workers hit springs of water. The gaping hole filled up with water and was stocked with bream and bass. The boys and I would go fishing in the pond (that was no telling how deep) and we would usually catch blue gill, bass and bream, and have enough for a nice meal for the family. But this time he was fishing with a great aunt and he had to walk down into the gravel pit to get to edge of the pond. He says that he had a purple worm on the line and had cast it way out and let it sink down deep. All of a sudden something hit that worm and the work began. The ‘old’ pro knew how to deal with that big boy and he got him to the bank, grabbed that large mouth bass and hightailed to the car. He wrapped it in his army jacket and sat in the back seat and closed the door. He didn’t want that trophy to get back into the water. When they got back to the house his grandmother Slaughter asked, “Joel, did you catch any fish?” and it was then that he laid that jacket down on the coffee table and opened it up for her to see. The bass weighed between 10 and 11 pounds. His aunts had that fish mounted for him and it has hung in our home since 1972. That experience nearly ruined the boy because he had hit the top rung of the ladder and he expected to catch a big one every time he went fishing. He quit fishing for several years but in recent time he has become addicted to this hobby once again. But now he releases his catch regardless of the size.
He has a kayak now and goes fishing all over the state of North Carolina where he lives. He is always sending pictures home so all of us can see that he still is a professional in the art of catching fish. (Say, did I ever tell you about the two Eskimos who were fishing in their kayak when the winter storm turned horribly cold and the water froze causing them to be stranded a long way from land. One of them lit a match and set the kayak a fire in order to keep from freezing. However things got worse than ever because the wooden kayak burnt up. The moral of this story is, ‘You can’t heat your kayak and have it too.’)

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