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The Old Fishing Hole

One of the creeks that ran through the ranch had a couple of good fishing holes in it.
The better fishing place was near where the creek came into the property. Here the
creek bottom was solid rock and at one spot there was a waterfall with about a four
foot drop. At the base of the waterfall was a good big, deep hole of water. In the
summertime the creek might dry up to just a trickle of water, but it was seldom I
remember seeing the water hole at the base of that waterfall completely dry.

Whenever dad could get some free time in the spring or summer we would go to the
upper falls as we called the spot and go fishing. Dad would always let me know a
day ahead of time when he was going to be able to go so that I could catch some
grasshoppers for fish bait. If it was the wrong time of year for grasshoppers then I
would dig some earth worms for bait. Buy fish bait? Unheard of!

A rod and reel was something else that we had never heard of. A cane pole? Nay,
you had to buy them, as we didnít have a cane patch nearby. A fresh cut willow
limb would make a good fishing pole. You would need to cut a new pole each time
you went fishing as they would get brittle and break easily after they dried out, but
that was no problem, as there were a lot of willow trees along the creek bank.

As dad opened sacks of feed at the barn, he would unravel the twine that the tops
were sewn with and roll it up into a ball and save it. This is where we got the string
for our fishing line. We would then get a cork stopper out of a Mrs Stewarts Bluing
bottle or a old wine bottle and take an ice pick and stick through it lengthways to
make a hole to run our line through. After you ran your line through the cork you
would then take a used match stick and run through the hole with your line to hold it
snugly in place. Dad would buy the fishing hooks by the dozen, usually about .25 cents,
and a dozen hooks would last for several fishing trips.

After preparing the line the evening before and wrapping it around a piece of
cardboard you would be ready the next morning to cut your pole, attach the line to it
and start fishing. A good sharp pocket knife was always handy for this purpose.

Usually on the day of the fishing trip mother would get up extra early and make some
homemade biscuits along with some fried chicken, potato salad and a big jug of iced
tea. We would have a picnic in the shade of the trees along the creek bank while we
fished. This would be something the whole family could enjoy.

Most of the fish that were caught here were perch. They never got very large,
normally about the size of a mans hand. These are a boney fish and some people
will not eat them because of this but I think they have a great flavor. You just have
to be careful while eating them and watch out for the bones.

About a mile down the creek from the falls was another pretty good hole of water
where dad and I fished some. This wasnít a very good spot for picknicking and
mother didnít go with us very often when we went to this spot.

This was another good spot for perch and every now and then you would get a small
catfish. One day while fishing here something grabbed my hook and jerked the cork
completely under the water. I tried as hard as I could, but I could not get it out of
the water. I was about to break the pole, I thought, so I called dad over. When dad
got there I backed up from the bank and he grabbed the line and started working
with whatever it was that was on there.

Pretty soon dad had it up to the bank where he could grab it and pull it out of the
water. ďItĒ was a softshell turtle about a foot in diamenter. This was a very exciting
day for a 6 year old boy.

The falls and water hole on Buckcreek
where I fished a lot as a kid.

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