Cane Pole Fishing with Grandma!
I was digging through Grandma’s old recipes and her favorite cookbook looking for her Scalloped Potato Recipe (which I am posting for you) and as we day dreamers sometimes do….I started thinking about Grandma Alice and all the fun times I had with her.
Grandma had white hair and always wore a dress with a bib apron at all times.
She and Grandpa also had one of the largest vegetable gardens in the little town of Bennington, Kansas.
Perhaps that was a carry over from when they raised nine children on their farm near Niles, Kansas. (Niles is about 15 miles from Bennington)
My Mother was the last of the nine children and was considered a “change of life baby”.
Back in those days a “change of life baby” simply meant that the Mother, after delivering her baby would start menopause. (sorry, if there are men readers, but this is the way of life) 😉
But ……Grandma had another talent, away from raising children, tending a large garden, walking to church on Sundays…. a talent she taught me at an early age.
Grandma liked to fish!
And fish she did…almost daily.
She fished from the Sand Creek (a tributary off of the Solomon River) which was about a block from their home on the corner of Putnam and Princeton Streets.
The streets didn’t have names back then, or if they existed, they were only known to city planners.
All I knew was that Grandma and Grandpa, lived on the corner, across from the football field which was by the Sand Creek.
Grandma Alice would catch catfish, bullheads, perch and bluegills …or whatever was biting that day.
She would take the fish home and cook it for supper.
What is interesting is that my Dad was a fisherman…later in his life he fished for Bass, but earlier on, he would walk the rivers and deep creeks and catch catfish and bullheads and bring them home for our dinner.
When I say my Dad walked the rivers….I mean he walked in the rivers…at night. But that is another post! 😉
However, it was not my Dad who taught me to fish…it was Grandma Alice!
Grandma Alice had an old cane pole about 6-8 foot long, and she carried her white enameled bucket, with it’s red rim… which sported a few black blotches where the enamel on the bucket had been chipped.
Grandma always walked to the creek…and the handle on the old bucket squeaked with each step she took, as it kept in tune with “hitch-in-her-get-along” irregular gait.
She didn’t have a tackle box. Her bucket was her bait box, and it held a couple of round, red and white bobbers, a few small sinkers, a couple rusty, extra hooks and her line.
Anyone remember the short, round coffee cans with a key on top to open the coffee? 🙂
Her Bait? Live earth worms in a clump of moist dirt she kept in an old Butter-Nut coffee can with holes punched in the top.
(She dug the worms herself from her vegetable garden)
Once in a while, her bait consisted of chicken livers…but that was rare, because she loved Fried Chicken livers and didn’t want to give them up to the fish. 🙂
Grandma didn’t use that fancy monofilament line….nor did she have a reel…she had a fishing line that resembled string that would float along the top of the water.
This “string” was actually tied to the narrow end of the pole…actually about 5-6 inches from the end of the yellowed cane pole.
The length of the line was determined by the length of the cane pole….which made for easy “pulling” in the fish and for transporting the pole.
When carrying the pole from spot to spot on the creek, the line was spiraled around the pole and the hook on the end of the line was stuck into one of the spirals.
Grandma never caught more bullheads or catfish than we could eat at the evening meal. They were not large, but more of a pan size.
If she needed more fish, she would grab her bucket and pole and off she would go back to the creek.
Waste Not…Want Not.
Or as she would say… “If we don’t waste what we have, we’ll still have more for a time when we need it”.
I really miss my Grandma Alice…and everything she taught me…..especially about the patience of fishing and the quiet time alone.
Did your Grandmother teach you something you treasure?
Enjoy your Monday my dear readers…
Oh, the scalloped potato recipe follows! 😉