So Much Water Volume 1 Issue 3 Summer 2015 - Page 21

I blame this on two things – First, the male ego, and secondly, Ray Scott. Well, there are also those guys in the marketing departments of the fishing equipment industry as well.

Not long ago, I got the urge to sample the table fare offered by the oft forgotten Lepomis macrochirus, or as we know it, the Bluegill. As a youngster from the hills of Arkansas, I was always under the impression that these fish were called “bream” and found many of them in my mother’s cast iron skillet coated with cornmeal and resting in hot Crisco. Most of these had come to our kitchen by way of one of the stock ponds on our cattle farm or the creek that ran through it. The majority of them had come to my hand on frequent fishing trips I took on our place.

Memories of those meals along with fish fries my fishing buddies and I had years later made my mouth water for the flaky white meat encrusted in the cornmeal and seasoning. Thoughts of savoring bite-sized morsels hot from the deep fryer while cooking for my guests did nothing to squelch my cravings. Even my chuckling at how my buddy, Marvin, and I would be too full of samples after cooking for the group, that we were unable to dine with them, did not damper my appetite.

It was a nice April afternoon when I made the decision to make the trip to the local stream where I should be able to fill a stringer with the delightful sunfish. I hoped to catch enough for a nice meal for my wife and me with a few extras to store in the freezer for the next time I had the hankering for fresh Bluegill fillets. I had a nice little three-weight fly rod and a box of flies just suited for this type of fishing, but the thought occurred to me that I might need to study my options and increase my odds by taking along an alternate method of fishing. My spinning rod had been sitting in the back of a closet gathering dust since the first time I landed a 15 inch Rainbow Trout that took a fly I had tied myself. Since then, the long rod with bits of fur, feather, and thread tied around a hook had taken over as my style of fishing.

But with a “meat hunt” on my mind, I dusted off the spinning rig and checked the line for brittleness. A quick shopping trip to pick up some new mono and a few other items was necessary, so I loaded up the Dodge Ram with what gear I had and headed for the store.

Roaming the aisles of goods gave me the sense of being back in my parents’ old country store staring at the small area dedicated to those shopping for tools for their angling pursuits. It was there that they caught my eye – those little orbs of red and white plastic that were an essential part of my tackle box back on the farm. We called them “corks” since most of the men and women from whom I learned my angling skills had used those made of cork for many years. No matter that the ones we used even then were polystyrene or PVC. Of course, many outsiders used the term “bobber” to describe the spheres, but they were considered “Yankees” to those of us who were native Ozark hillbillies.