As I sit here working on a new novel, two of the main characters find themselves floundering in a life-and-death, watery situation. The water, having nothing to do with their deadly conundrum, revolved around a fish. Now, the fact that this large disgusting fish was something they were actually attempting to catch set my mind working. You see, I love to fish and have been doing so most of my life. As a kid, and I mean a kid of 14, possibly 15, I found myself standing in the Chickahominy river from April until October.
The river was a short walk of probably three quarters of a mile from my back door til I could get a line wet. This in turn, lent itself to an amazing amount of fodder I could use in writing sessions, especially short stories.
Many smaller backwater tributaries flowed from the main river. I frequented these when I wanted to fish by walking down the middle of one of these canals casting to each side. In this way, I missed nothing due to brush along the bank. The down side came one day after I caught a Pike (Chain Pickerel). I ran this string with a sharpened metal end through the fish’s gills and out its mouth, pushing it through a ring attached to the other end of the stringer.
With the fish secured, I tied it to my belt loop and continued my angling adventure. Several minutes later, I felt a subtle bump on my rear end. I paid no attention until this continued with more repetitions. Turning to see what had the audacity to interfere with my concentrated attempt to procure my quarry; boy, did I see it. The one who dare mess with me while fishing, was the fish I had just caught. I figuratively jumped out of my skin, afraid I was being attacked by something new to this world.
There is one other scenario worth mentioning. I was standing ankle deep in a similar scenario, working my way to deeper water. A small head breaking the surface, flicked a forked tongue at me, waylaying my journey. I fled to the bank, happy I was not chest deep and noticed the serpent followed me to the bank. Upset with this creature interrupting my angling, I found a tree limb; brought it down across his head numerous times until at last my hunting knife removed his slippery head. This in turned allowed me to resume my trip into the river and complete my day of fishing. As you have probably noticed, neither man, beast, or serpent interrupts the time I allot to fishing.
So goes my antics as a young lad. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed sharing.
Take good care of yourself. May God bless you; keep you in his grace and may his countenance shine down upon you! Have a great week!
I rarely find myself with a lack of material to write–not so, many years ago. When I was a young lad, I spent a large portion of my time fishing in the Chickahominy River/Swamp. What I did back then to catch fish would now be labeled as crazy (e.g., walking down the middle of the river, casting to each bank so as not to miss a spot where a fish might be hanging out.)
The prize species to catch was a Chain Pickerel. We always called them Pike, and if I remember correctly, a four-pound specimen could win you a citation.
What many people do not realize is a Pickerel is prized for its white delicious flesh, considered one of the best in the fresh water world of fishing.
I remember days when I would literally have to fight a snake for a particular fishing ground. Occasionally, this confrontation would take place when I was chest deep in water. It didn’t matter to me. I came to fish! As far as I was concerned, if need be, one of us was going to die to maintain the right to fish and it wasn’t gonna be me.
Those indeed were the days. During the summer, I spent almost every day reeling in my share of Chain Pickerel. Not only were they delicious, but they also retained the nickname, “Wolf of the Water.” They would hit like a ton of bricks and fight every inch of the way. If you were unfortunate enough to get your hand in its mouth, well, let’s say a bear attack comes to mind.
I’ll never forget, pulling in the wonderful bounty of sweet delectable flesh, attached to a creature who was not afraid to take you on.