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The Occasional Fisherman: Stories that last lifetimes
Fisherman column  kid
An intrepid young angler named George. Photo provided.

In my last column I asked for your memories of the first time you went fishing. The column also contained some tips on taking your child or grandchild fishing for the first time.

If you missed it, you can see those tips at: Take a Kid Fishing. I’ve received some fun, and fond replies from readers.

Don remembers when his family, including grandparents and uncles, totaling 5 families, each bought two adjacent acres in Hall County. The price $200 per acre. Within that 10 acres was a pond. His older brother took 3-year-old Don to the pond. They broke off a twig, tied some string, but they only had safety pins for hooks. Bait was plentiful. The family’s kitchen drain pipe went out into a field. Red wigglers were abundant. Bream bit every time they dropped their line in, but they didn’t catch one. The safety pins did not work.

Ever diligent, the boys decided to walk the road collecting Coke bottles. Turning them in for deposit refunds, they earned enough to buy hooks at the local hardware store. From that day forward they were able to supply the family with an extra source of food. As a boy Carlos and buddies found ditches in the woods. These were drainage ditches built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during the Depression. Occasionally, the boys would go into the ditches waist high, and kanoodle for catfish.

That’s reaching into holes and grabbing catfish with bare hands. It was very productive. That proved many an appreciated think a catfish was actually a snake. The boys normally just threw the harmless water snake on the bank. Then was the time his friend Tommy reached down, and screamed that a snake had bit him.

As Carlos looked over his friend was about to pass out into the water. Quickly he grabbed him and dragged him to shore. Placing Tommy across his bicycle’s handlebars he sped home. Reaching Tommy’s house, his mother quickly ran Tommy to the local doctor. The doctor reported; it wasn’t a snake bite, it was a scratch from what was probably a stick under water. In spite of the doctor’s conclusion, Tommy every day till high school graduation thanked Carlos for “saving his life”.

Tonya, from Register, remembers being about 3 when she visited her aunt in Marietta. She had a pond on her property. The family grabbed some cane poles, and walked to it. With a handful of worms, they proceeded to catch a bunch of beautiful redbreast (sunfish). The memory of those pretty fish made Tonya a fisherwoman for life.

As a slight touch of fall weather is hitting the area, I hope you enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the beautiful nature around us. See y’all next week for more fishing tales.

Mitchell writes an occasional column. He can be reached at

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