Avoiding ‘Tank’ key to a good fishing day

My definition of a fisherman is a person who has a very real fondness for dropping a cane pole attached to a line with a cork, fishhook and worm on the end into a murky muddy whole filled with fish.   

That is how my daddy fished and how he taught me to enjoy this sport. I fished with him until I decided other things were more fun, and by that time, my brother had replaced me as his fishing partner.

I remember having the best and darkest tans all summer during my early teen age years because of sitting on a fishing bank in a halter top and blistering to a “potato chip” crisp.  

I cannot remember ever catching very many fish, but my daddy surely did and I came away with a great tan.

Some of our fishing trips make some of my fondest childhood memories.  

One of them was fishing at Mr. John Yates’ pond somewhere here in Attala County. There was a big barbed wire enclosed pasture we had to walk across after crawling under the sharp wire tips to get to the fishing hole. 

The walk itself was not a problem, but the big black bull with the gigantic horns coming out each side of his big head was quite an obstacle. He was very protective of his heifers that were also housed inside that spikey fence enclosure and never took kindly to anyone stepping into his territory.  

We would always walk the outside of the fence several times to make sure we did not see “Tank,” who actually moved like a big armored tank with horns, anywhere close before we crawled underneath the fence. Then we absolutely took our lives in our hands and walked swiftly toward the pond hidden deep in the copse of trees. Once we got there, it was easy to hide from him so  that we could fish in peace.

One hot July day when I was about 10 years old, we decided to make our “run” for the prize. We had walked for about 15 minutes when we heard something that sounded somewhat like a freight train and felt the earth rumble underneath our feet. We knew for sure Tank had smelled us and was roaring toward us with those big horns bending down toward the ground.  

We were about 50 yards, half of a football field, from the safety of the trees and Daddy just yelled, “Run, Peggy Jo!”  

As I ran as fast as possible, he headed in the other direction to detour Tank away from me and climbed up a tree. The big bovine went for him but could not reach him, but he surely gored that tree.  

After about 10 minutes or so of butting the oak tree, the tired bull walked off and Daddy came down and followed me over to the pond.

I really do not remember how many fish we caught that day, but I do believe whatever the amount, we surely paid a high price for them. 

We just have to have hush puppies with fried fish. I make my own and once you do you will never buy the frozen ones again.

Hush Puppies

1 ½ cups self-rising corn meal

½ cup self-rising flour

1 small chopped onion

½ chopped bell pepper

1 T. sugar

1 beaten egg

1 cup buttermilk.

Mix all really well and drop in hot peanut oil with a tablespoon and fry until golden brown.