Gone Fishing

My Dad was always intent to make fishermen out of my brother and me. One way was to go seining for catfish in a nearby muddy river. Dad and my oldest brother would hold the seine. Ray and I, using large hoes, would juggle under the banks where the fish lived. Bushes hung over the banks and snakes would fall around us into the water. When the seine was lifted many fish and one or two snakes were there. Dad would first catch the snakes on the back of the neck and toss them downstream. Next the fish would go into a burlap bag. By the way, the snakes were water moccasins – very, very poisonous.

Another quest for catfish in the same river was using short bamboo canes, with line, hook and worm bait. Near dusk we would go along the river and stick canes into the bank. Then we would have some type of cookout. After a couple of hours we would gather the fish from the hooks. Again, frogs would jump and snakes would crawl into the water.

No matter how late we got home, Dad would clean the fish and for breakfast there was catfish in cornmeal and deep fried.

One time Dad drove the three of us approx. 20 miles into North Carolina mountains. Here was a wide river named “Green River”. With fishing poles in hand we hopped from one large stone to another to get to mid-stream. We had no sooner arrived when each saw a high wave of water only a short distance away. The wave looked to be 20 feet tall. Tossing away the poles we jumped as quickly as possible from stone to stone back to the bank where we grabbed bushes and small trees to save us. The water was now gushing over our legs. There is no doubt that within seconds we would have washed away. One would think that Dad should have known that we were below a large dam which was frequently opened. Dad strongly suggested that we not mention this event to our mother.

David T. Daniel
Southbury, CT ©2012

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