Palaver from Persimmon Crossingwith Warren Faulk
Men Fishing Like Little BoysThis won't be about big game fishing. That's too much like work. I started out croaker fishing and I still prefer that over just about anything else. This is not to say that I don't have a passion for fishing. I do, but it just doesn't lead me down traditional roads. My passion seems deepest when I am in the worst possible situations. When it is difficult to find a place to fish, or I really don't have time, or even dangerous.
I grew up in a family that did a lot of shoreline and river fishing. At 18, I went to Germany and spent four years not fishing. Darned near did me in. Closest I came to fishing was feeling for German Brown trout under the rocks in a very small stream in the Taunus Mountains, near the Gross Feldberg. The memories are still very sharp. That was in 1960. Herr Jager if you are listening, I did not keep any of your fish. Danke schoen.
So then I end up in inland Massachusetts. The only game in town as far as the locals were concerned was trout. Rainbows, brooks and browns. I found a short stretch of water on Ft Devens that began at the base of a small dam and ran into the Nashua river which was so polluted that fish wouldn't venture into it. The dam was all about impounding a small pond where the owners stocked all three kinds of trout regularly and often. When it rained the pond overflowed and carried the fish into my little hideaway. Overgrown as it was, the best I could manage was an under handed flip of a spinner in one or two places. Otherwise I just baited a light spinning line with a worm and let it drift downstream. The trout were hiding in little holes and when they took the bait they stayed where they were. I would just work my way down to them and lift them out. I caught pickerel there too. It is quite a sight to see a five pound pickerel thrashing around in six inches of swift water.
What the people of New England did not seem to know at the time was the fact that they had excellent bass and bream fishing all around them. Their ponds were loaded but they seemed to consider them trash fish. Too bad for them. My brother and I took one trip to see how many we could catch in a short time. We fished from a rowboat in Knopps Pond near Groton, MA for about 2 hours. We started storing fish on two six foot stringers. Ended up adding the anchor rope to one of the stringers and fed the neighborhood on return home. Easily 200 bream and we didn't make a dent in the population.
I found another overgrown trout stream and within that a small impoundment that was manmade and about three feet deep. Instead of trout I found more bream(blue gills). This time they were huge. Every fish I caught there save one was about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds and about the size of a dinner plate. I took twelve fish each time and no more. I didn't want to fish them out and 30 pounds of fish is a lot to haul 100 yards up an overgrown stream. These bream were much more vigorous and bigger than any I have caught elsewhere.
In Vietnam I got so frustrated that I went fishing in spite of the circumstances I found myself in. Twice I joined Vietnamese fishing parties on "junks" and went reef fishing. Once I took a jeep and a rifle and my fishing rod and went several miles in the dark to an isolated beach ... and caught one tiny blowfish. That was 1971. Sharp memories about this too.
Back in Germany a few years later I was reduced to fishing for carp with english peas ... unsuccessfully I might add. And then I planned a trip to one of the lakes in Bavaria. I hoarded fishing worms from my flowerbeds in Augsburg for weeks. Got to the lake and found that fishing with live bait was illegal. I spent several hours thrashing the water with Mepps spinners with no strikes. The trout were in plain view. When I got ready to leave I dumped my worms in the lake where they were promptly devoured, also in plain view.
This past week I caught eight small bass from a Georgia pond that is nearly dry. There is about as much algae as water in the pond and the fish came in tipped over to one side because it was so shallow they couldn't swim upright.
I have an ancient hand dug water well that I don't use anymore. It is 33 feet deep and usually holds five feet of water. I wonder how many catfish I should stock in it.
-- Warren Faulk
And for more, check Mr. Faulk's earlier remarks on little boys fishing
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