Monday, April 02, 2007

Fish Story


I was getting onto the Howard Franklin Bridge yesterday when I noticed some people fishing in the big ditch that's in the middle of the highway. I've seen people like this my whole life. In Louisiana you couldn't hardly throw a rock without hitting a car full of people with cane poles and overturned white buckets trying to catch a fish. Looking at the people on Sunday it occurred to me: there has to be a better place to fish than in the middle of the friggin' highway. Seriously, they were about 100 yards from the ocean. Not to mention the fact that there are lakes everywhere in Florida. Yet, every time I go for a drive, there they are on the side of the road... in the median in the middle of the highway... at a public pool... if there's water, they're there with a pole. Do they know something we don't know?

When I was in my teens growing up in Louisiana my father used to get together with his buddies and go "yo-yo-ing." Since moving away from Louisiana I have discovered that no one anywhere else in the entire United States of America knows what "yo-yo-ing" is (also, the Louisiana definition of "statutory rape" bears little resemblance to the rest of the nation). The yo-yo is this little metal device about the size of a yo-yo (go figure) that you hang from a tree branch just above the water in a lake in Louisiana. The yo-yo has fishing line on it and a hook on the end of the line. You pull out the line and set a trip mechanism on the yo-yo, put a minnow on the end of the line and drop it in the water. The way it works is, the fish hits the bait which releases the trip mechanism which causes the spring-loaded yo-yo to pull tight and set the hook. It ain't rocket science but it is a handy little piece of engineering. Unfortunately, it really takes all the sport out of fishing as well as the fun. It's sort of like if you went bowling and pulled the ball out of the return mechanism, set it on the floor, then went to the bathroom and when you came back..... the ball had already been rolled for you. Unless you really get a kick out of going to the bathroom in bowling alleys, (and who doesn't) I'm thinking it would be less fun.

I would be wrong.

My father used to have a blast when he went yo-yo-ing for two reasons. First of all, my father was (and is) a horrible fisherman. He's totally incapable of catching fish. In fact, the only person who is a worse fisherman than my father is myself. The entire time we lived in Louisiana my father caught 50% more fish than I did, which is to say I caught two and he caught three.

The other reason that my father loved to go yo-yo-ing was because, after setting out the yo-yo's, you had to wait a while before you went out to see if you caught anything. In Louisiana there are only two things to do when you have time to kill: drink beer and oppress the blacks. My father chose the beer.

So, here's how it would work: My father and his buddies would drive down to a secluded spot on the lake, get into a little metal boat and spend about an hour hanging is yo-yos from cypress trees all up and down the bank. Then they would go back to shore and start a fire. In Louisiana, the way to start a fire is to carefully pick through the brush in the undergrowth around your campsite until you find a good handful of loose, dead twigs and sticks. You place these in a pile in the middle of the campsite. Then, you take off your jacket and lay it gently on the pile of sticks so that it doesn't get muddy while you are using an industrial chain saw to cut down an entire fucking tree. Once the tree is down you douse it in gasoline left over from the chainsaw, light it, and you're good for the entire night. (By the way, a good way to tell if you have a big enough fire in Louisiana is this: if five drunk rednecks can piss on it without it going out.... it's about right)

Once the yo-yo's were hung out and the fire had been started the true purpose of the fishing expedition could begin: the drinking. My dad and his friends would stand around a fire all night, drinking and laughing, stopping every hour or so to go out, pull fish off of the yo-yos and re-bait the hooks. By the time the sun came up they had an ice chest full of fish, a giant black burn spot on the ground and a good solid beer buzz. Good times.

6 Comments:

rick said...

Reading this got me homesick!!!

8:51 AM  
Tom said...

Thanks for bringing back these great memories. However I do dispute the part about me not being a good fisherman, hell I had a bass boat!

Dad

10:55 AM  
Booray said...

Yes, you had a bass boat. It was a bass boat in the sense that when it was in the water, you could assume that there were some bass somewhere in the general vicinity. However, bass actually ending up IN THE BOAT...... not so much.

3:10 PM  
Marijayde said...

LOL - you guys are cracking me up!!

9:44 AM  
Tom said...

When you were thinking about buying that mansion on the water (hey, I'm an old man. Anything over a hundred thousand is a mansion) I remember that Bobbi said "It will be nice to have your Dad teach Sam how to fish"

She didn't say anything about you teaching her how to fish

Your loving Dad who is a true fisherman

7:00 PM  
Sagnuts said...

I had me one of them singing bass things once.

5:37 PM  

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