I’d rather go fishing

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019

could write a serious column about the news that I hear every night, but I’d rather go fishing. The fact is I’d rather do just about anything than write a serious column. I used to enjoy hearing the news, but it’s gotten so negative, and questionable as to its veracity or truthfulness, I’d rather go fishing.

My mother lives in Mitchell County, about 45 minutes away. Along the route, I take a road that is known as County Line. Something goes on there that takes me back to an older day and it involves fishing. That’s why I bring up the subject today.

It’s not really a bridge, but it used to be a bridge. It’s been torn out and the road simply built over what used to be the bridge. At that place along the way, there is a small waterhole that is the result of natural, swampy lowlands and when it rains, it becomes a little larger in area. Since Hurricane Michael, there are trees and limbs down around the edges of the waterhole.

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Most times, as I approach, I can see a car or pick-up truck parked on the side of the road. I slow down for safety’s sake and take a look at the people. It’s like the old days. They have their cane poles extended out over the water and they are fishing.

Fishing from bridges, and in little, natural waterholes like that, used to be a common sight, but is hardly seen anymore. Fishing, these days, occurs around ponds, in rivers like the Flint, or lakes like Seminole. One hardly sees fishing from the side of the road anymore. Sort of like we never see cane poles sticking out the back windows of cars.

I have wanted to stop and ask them “Have you caught anything?” Most of the time I convince myself that I’m in a hurry. It’s a shame that our lives are so hurried that we don’t feel there is a brief moment that we can stop and smell the roses…or fish.

The fish caught in those by-the-road places usually aren’t so big. Some red-eye bream or maybe a speckled cat might be the usual catch. But the reason that people stop, or at least the reason I used to go to places like that to fish was not a small red-eye, but the possibility of a surprise bass or trout. Plus, the catch is not as important as the time spent holding that cane pole with nothing else to do.

On a trip over last week I saw a truck parked at the waterhole. I slowed down as usual, but then made a point to stop. I wanted to see his bucket or string of fish. I wanted to see some of those little red-eye bream or, maybe a speckled, black cat.

These days being how they are, he seemed suspicious as to why I might stop, but quickly I tried to put him at ease and asked the question, “Catching anything?” He replied, “Haven’t gotten a bite. Been here about 15 minutes and haven’t gotten a bite!”

Still, there was a smile and he said, “There’s some big ones in here. I’ve seen them swirling around in the water.” Fishermen always have expectations or, else, why go?

Neither he nor I had any agenda other than talking about that little fishing hole by the road. He was a young, black man and I was an older white man, but that didn’t matter. We had at least one thing in common. Both of us wanted him to catch some fish. I miss the good, old days!