Palaver from Persimmon Crossingwith Warren Faulk
LITTLE BOYS FISHINGBoth my parents grew up in families that loved to fish, they both enjoyed it and passed the hobby down to my brother and me. The grocery business didn't leave much time but we closed the store every Thursday afternoon and usually went fishing except during cold weather when we divided our Thursdays between fishing and hunting. Actual fishing time was probably two to three hours per trip. You can cram a lot of living in two hours. If everybody loved to fish as much as we did the world would be a better place.
Mama said I was six weeks old when I first went fishing. Daddy went wading in the Gulf (now called surf fishing) and she followed along with me in one arm and the bait bucket in the other. They would have been fishing for whiting mostly but that kind of fishing also produces red fish, flounder, pompano and just about every trash fish known along the Gulf of Mexico's Alabama shoreline. This would have been about where the Pink Pony Pub is now ... scene of a recent shark attack. The people were more polite then too.
By the time I was four or five I had a toy rod and sand bucket. I walked the back bay shoreline grassbeds and with a minnow for bait would spot and entice small crabs into my bucket. These I transferred to a hamper and by the end of the afternoon we had enough for a crab boil most trips. The big memory here is having gotten tangled up with an unusually big blue crab. I had him and he had me. Mama to the rescue.
About the time my brother learned to talk we all went out into the Intercoastal Waterway. We put him in the middle of the skiff with family on all sides. Every now and then someone would say "I've got a bite". Before long Mike began to echo with "I've got a bite" each time one of us would speak. We ran out of dead shrimp for bait in no time. It seems that everytime Mike said he had a bite he meant it ... and he wasn't fishing.
A year or two later we were fishing in the same spot and encountered a school of ribbon fish. This is a fish that looks about like a cross between an eel and a swordfish with lengthwise irridescent stripes. They are only about two feet long but lots of fun to catch. Lots of banter in the boat when ribbon fish are being caught.
Next day, three year old Mike was telling the story of the ribbon fish he caught with a big pink ribbon tied around it's neck. Mike is 53 now and he still does not see the humor in these stories even though they have been told to him and about him hundreds of times.
Daddy and I took a rental skiff out into Bon Secour River one afternoon. We weren't too particular about what we took home in those days. One fish is about as good table fare as another if you don't let the labels bother you. I had a lard can with about 50 mixed croakers and sweet fish when we got back to the bank. I took these up the bank toward the truck while Daddy talked to a friend at waters edge.
Well ... a big hog lived there and it liked fish. It got between me and the truck. Up until that point I thought pigs said "oink" but they really say "fish". I fed those fish out one at a time, all the while maneuvering toward the truck. I remember having three left when I reached safety. I felt like a failure but Daddy didn't say anything and ... he didn't laugh. At least not 'til the next time fish stories were being told at the barbershop.
-- Warren Faulk
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