Mixsonian Larry

Fishing With Grandma

Plantation Lake 208
Plantation Lake in 2008

My earliest memories of fishing were when I was a kid, from when I was around five or six until I was a teenager. My grandparents owned a farm the country of Florida. My grandparents were poor farmers who had about a 90 acre farm which had a lake in the farthest back point of the farm. Actually I don't think the lake actually was on their property but one of there neighbors but it was kinda of a community lake that most everyone who lived in the area went fishing at. It was called "Plantation" lake.

In the summers we would go fishing at Plantation Lake. It would be a family thing, my father, grandfather, grandmother, and brother. Sometimes, but not often, my mother and sister would even go but they never did much fishing. As we were leaving the house we would get down the cane poles and we each would take one. We would then walk to the lake, out through the back pasture, follow the logging road for a bit, then follow the fence line. When we got to a certain point we would stop and turn over logs to find worms for bait which we would put in a can.

When we got to the lake there would be a bank along which we would set up, unwind the fish line from the poles, adjust the bobber, get a worm and thread it onto the hook and then swing it out into the water. Each of us would then find a seat on a log that were conveniently left there by someone who had been there before. I would then wait anxiously watching the bobber. There was nothing more exciting as a kid to see that bobber go under, giving a yank on the pole and seeing what you might catch. Sometimes it would be a "Spec" or speckled perch, maybe a brim, perhaps a catfish, or a shad which was just junk fish and tossed back. You never new what you might pull up.

One time I pulled on the pole and it wouldn't come up, I pulled and pulled and finally came up with a big old snapping turtle. In the early years my dad would be there fishing along with us but some time later he got a cast or spinner rod which was considered "modern" fishing. Dad would then leave us fishing on the bank and he would walk around the lake casting out into it with his spinner rod to catch a large mouth bass which was considered the ultimate fish for you would never catch a bass with a cane pole. Most often dad would not catch anything but every once in a while he would catch a Bass which would be something really special.

As I got a bit older twelve or so Dad got a new rod and real and he let me use his old one and I would go with him as he walked around the lake, casting for Bass. To me that was really something special for me to go with him to go for the "Bass" while everyone else stayed back at the bank cane pole fishing. I don't think I every caught anything but Dad taking me cast fishing with him was really something special. I had that rod and real, which I think originally belong to grandfather many, many years later and it always brought back memories of fishing on Plantation lake.

After fishing until late evening we would then wind up the poles, take the fish and walk home though the woods. When we got back to my grandparents home we would have to clean the fish, taking a knife, cutting the head off, gutting them, scraping the scales off (unless it was a catfish which you have to skin). Grandma would then cook them up for dinner, rolling them in corn meal and frying them. You couldn't ask for a better meal, fresh caught fish, corn bread, fresh tomatoes from the garden and mash potatoes. Those were my earliest and fondness memories of fishing.

Larry Mixson July 23, 2000