Nothing like cane-pole fishing

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Ever fish on the creek near your house?

Many years ago, it provided a lot of meals for our family.

A catch of creek-caught pan fish provided a healthy and more than welcome meal.

An ol’ cane pole and a can of fishing worms, and a little patience along the banks of the creek’s favorite spots were the orders.

It always worked and made all satisfied.

I always caught more than was needed, but more than enough was better than not enough.

Catching the fish was easy, but finding the worms was not. It took a lot of digging here and there.

Either a good cane pole or one cut from the nearby woods were prized tools of the trade for youngsters.

I treasured mine until later I graduated to rod and reels and artificial bait.

Still, the good ol’ cane pole always worked and always resulted in fish being caught, as well as turtles and eels.

Bream, freshly caught, cleaned and fried, along with homemade slaw and cornbread made a meal that would challenge the coastal community seafood restaurants.

We all had our favorite spots, and protected them as much as could be done.

River robin, shellcrackers and crappie were also favorite pan fish.

In later years, I learned just how delicious catfish are.

Frank White had a television show — the Southern Sportsman and I watched it religiously.

I was always impressed with the way he always ended his show: “Do yourself a favor and take a kid fishing.”

Surely, kids still fish, but something tells me not as many as did when I was a kid.

As we all got older and had access to transportation, our fishing holes multiplied.

I don’t think there is a creek, river, pond or lake in this county I have not fished at one time or another.

For many years, I usually went twice a day — early morning and late evening.

It was always nice to catch something, but if not it was just the pleasure of having been and mingled with nature and the sounds of secluded areas.

Stoney Creek, the Little River and the Neuse River were great sources of fishing during my early days.

They provided the stage for learning and then reaping the benefits of the lessons.

So, I’ll echo and add to the words of the late Southern Sportsman: do yourself a favor, teach and take a kid fishing, and teach him how to clean the catch.

It is good eating you cannot buy in the fish markets.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.

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