Friday, October 1, 2010

Family Reunion.....a Good Reason to Go Fishing

Redneck Adventures
by Skeeter
Like it or not, most folks down south still have one or two family reunions to contend with each year. We may not want to go, but go we do just to appease our elders. Now that we’re getting to the age  that we are the elders I try and act the part and do as much hugging, hand shaking and back slapping that my role calls for especially with the females!

We’ve sorta strayed from the old reunion format of bringing covered dishes and apple cobblers, talking for an hour before dinner, eating for about thirty minutes then everyone saying “see ya’ll next year” and then ske-daddleing! Now we kinda plan on spending the day, having some BBQ or a good bate of catfish, pitching some shoes, and even a cold brew or two! Makes it all a little more tolerable.

Now if it’s gonna be a fish fry somebody’s got to furnish the fish and store bought fish just won’t get it! Someone got to catch and clean some good Tallapoosa River squeelers with some Tallapoosa Appaloosa belly flaps thrown in for some variety. Well just a couple of weeks ago, me and some of the clan got together on just such an adventure. Myself, Thornt and Uncle Winters did a two day float trying to secure what we thought would be an ample supply for the reunion that was coming up this fall.

Now I decided that it being a two dayer we would need more than one boat which suited Uncle Winters just fine cause he’d just procured  a new one man kayak. Now this kayak was one of those that you had to slide down inside of, you didn’t just sit on top, you had to scoot down inside a little nesting area with a couple more smaller nests to store some gear. Now Uncle Winters had added a few more options like a good seat, an anchor-mate (that was real handy), some rod holders, and one of them two ended paddles. Now don’t get me wrong the kayak was a good one man fishin’ vessel, with a little experience, but on this maiden voyage it proved to be quite an adventure!

We started out early one Saturday morning right after sun-up on the upper end of the big Tallapoosa River near the Georgia line. Uncle Winters in the kayak, me in my “old town” and Thornt in the big jon boat with all the ice chest, food, camping gear and the beer. Thornt had begged so hard to get to go, he had promised to dig more worms than any of us could ever use, so we let him go. Of course, we made sure that we brought our own worms, just in case! Thornt and Uncle Winters lead off the expedition with me bringing up the rear, we didn’t try to stay together since we had separate boats, but chose to stop and fish any little “honey-hole” at our own leisure so we traded places as to who was out  front and who wasn’t. We’d paddle past, ask what had been caught, talk about the new kayak, and what a fine day it was and how it just don’t get no better than a good day on the river.

Now sometime about mid morning, I’d fallen behind a bit and Thornt and Uncle Winters were fishing up ahead, but within site of each other. And since I was not within site of what happened next, I couldn’t swear on what was the truth , but I’ll try and tell it like it was told to me. Uncle Winters swears that a fish jerked his rod slap out of his hand and into the river. Now being able to see his rod in fairly shallow water, he reached out for it, but missed it. He leaned out a bit farther, OOPS….TOO FAR….SPLASH…now what happened next I’m pretty sure was pure instinct. Uncle Winters finds himself upside down still seated in that kayak. Now let this be a lesson to those of you who buy kayaks and  two ended paddles, one or the other should have them directions on how to git that sucker flipped back from a submarine to a kayak! By this time Thornt had heard the commotion and could see the kayak upside down, but no Uncle Winters in sight. Now he was anchored in knee deep water, so he steps out and heads in that direction. About that time that instinct I was talking about earlier had kicked in and Uncle Winters is coming out from under that sucker and  headed toward the bank. Thornt swears that  Uncle Winters is half running and looking back over his shoulder like he’d just gotten away from a “booger”. By the time I got there, they had pretty much recovered everything, but the worms and the ice. They had even found the missing rod and the fish was still on, that turned out to be a “yellow perch” which is not a common fish in the Tallapoosa.

That afternoon we set up camp on a big gravel bar, and that night we enjoyed a  good steak grilled over a stick fire, and laughed and re-enacted the priceless events of the day and other such days from back in the past. Every one of them tales always started off with same beginning…”You remember that time we?”. The old gravel bar wasn’t that comfortable, but with the caty-dids, bull frogs, yotel dogs, and hoot owls all sounding off and the endless ripple of that river, I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven!

The next morning, it’s eggs, bacon and toast and after a good policing of the camp site off we go. The second day was not as eventful, but we still enjoyed catching a bountiful supply of squeelers and one appaloosa. Uncle Winters did see a large canine that day and from the description of the large size and red color it could have possibly been a red wolf that was native here in the south.
Well, we had run out of bait by lunch other than some of Thornt’s spagetti worms which were smaller than the hooks we were using, so we pretty much tried to make some time realizing we still had to load all the boats and gear (no beer left) and unload at home with a pile of fish to dress.

We are very fortunate to have two clean bountiful rivers like the Tallapoosas. Use them like they were your own, cause they are. If you put it in  your boat, bring it home in your boat.




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