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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Friday, December 08, 2006

fishing rod

It seems that the year was 1956, it was in the summer, school was out and the fishing was pretty good at Lake Olmstead in Augusta, Georgia. Several of us guys would go up to this body of water on a regular basis to fish for anything that would bite a hook of any size – even used a #14 for a while – that is tiny. My younger brother and I each had a paper-route and this furnished enough cash to keep us in bait when we were not able to dig any up somewhere else.

Our paper routes were a boon not only to us, but what we earned helped out by paying for most of our clothes. The two of us bought the first TV we had at home – there were all of two channels in Augusta at the time. The paper route taught the first great lessons about high finance, because before we made any money, we had to collect enough funds from the subscribers to pay our weekly newspaper bill. Basically we paid the newspaper so much for each paper and all above that was for our expenses and profit.

The paper route was not an easy thing, since we had to rise at 4am every morning, but it was the way I supplied some of my needs and wants from age 12 until high school graduation. This particular summer, one of these wants in the area of fishing arose and demanded to be met. Until this time our fishing had been done with cane poles that we cut and prepared ourselves from a cane patch on one of our routes. This was OK for bream and sunfish around the edges of the water, but a longing was deep within to have something I could cast out into the deep water and catch REAL fish.

At that time a service station was situated on the edge of the lake and this establishment also sold bait and fishing supplies. It was there that I first saw the brand new rod with its shiny reel staring back at me from the display on the wall. Wow, with this equipment I could be a real fisherman like the older guys that actually fished in the "deeper water". The problem was the price and I knew that I would have to save a long time for this wondrous device and there were so many other things that I also wanted and/or needed much worse.

To somewhat placate the desire for the rod and reel, I even rigged up a medium cane pole with some wire loops and a fair amount of monofilament line that I kept wound up at the bottom of the pole. This worked fairly well and I even caught a few fish out in “deeper water”, but it just wasn’t the same – I had to hold the excess line in the other hand as I threw the bait out and it got tangled very easily.

Finally I could stand it no longer and after scrimping and saving, I went to the service station/fishing equipment place, paid for the rod and reel and watched them take it from the wall display and place it in my grimy little hands. The funny thing about the rod is that I don’t remember fishing with it, even though I know I did, or any of the fish I caught on it – it was simply a symbol of a rite of passage in my mind that I had finally joined the league of real fishermen.

The spot of land where the station once stood is now in the middle of an expressway and what was our favorite fishing spot is almost filled in with silt but the memories remain. God was good then and still is today. ec


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I can't relate to the fishing, but I do remember having only one English tv station in Montreal. We were so excited when the second one came.

12/08/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

AC - My brother and I would go over the back fence to a neighbor kid's house most every day to watch the latest episode in the horse opera. Then we got our own TV!! And then we got another channel - it's a wonder that our hearts could stand the shock! ec

12/08/2006 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I only fishing I remember as a kid was with my German uncle, Otto. It rather turned me off when he would nail the still living fish to a tree and use a hatchet to decapitate them. After a while, all the trees around his vacation house on the Ohio River had fish skulls nailed to them Ugh!

12/09/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

SSN - I can see how that would have had an effect on a young one. When we cleaned the fish, we got rid of the head and entrails by burying or something - didn't enjoy the smell. ec

12/10/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Kila said...

Loved the story! Great lesson learned.

Sorry about the loss of the fishing spot, though, how sad!

12/10/2006 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

kila - The lake we used to fish in is the one fed by the creek that flows through the Augusta National golf course (Masters Golf Tournament). A few years later they found out that the lake was polluted - no telling what "nutrients" we consumed with the fish. ec

12/11/2006 09:25:00 AM  

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