Fishing under the bridge……. An essay by William Marshall

When I was a kid, one the biggest adventures that I took part in was crappie fishing at night with my dad and uncles. There was this one spot on the lake where all the best fisherman seemed to line up at night and catch the big ones. It was under the bridge that crossed White Oak Creek. The fisherman would come from miles around and tie up under the bridge. We would shine our lights down into the water to attract the fish. Sometimes we would catch a bunch, sometimes we wouldn’t catch hardly anything. It was the stories and tales that the adults were telling that made it so fun.

One night, we didn’t make it in time. All the spots under the bridge were taken. Not a single good place to tie up could be found. We could either, go out on the big lake and try a couple other spots, that was fun, but it would only be us and Uncle Russell wouldn’t get to tell the funniest stories and jokes because he had already told them to dad. Uncle Russell suggested that we go to this little spot he knew back into the creek a ways. There were some little stobs sticking up not too far away from the bridge but not close enough to be a part of the action under the bridge. We set up and began fishing. We were not catching anything. I don’t think anyone under the bridge was catching anything either. Boring night, no fish, no stories.

After a few minutes, my Uncle Russell handed me a boat paddle. He said, “Son, splash the water with this a little bit.” I figured it was a new fishing technique that this 8-year-old had never seen. I splashed a little water around, Uncle Russell loudly exclaimed, “Whooooo, what a big un! Put him in the ice chest, great job boy. Nice catch.” I giggled a little bit. I didn’t quite understand. I guess we were pretending to catch fish.

A few minutes later, same thing. No fish, just splash water, “Whooo, what a big un! Put him in the boat!” Uncle Russell was making it fun even though we were not catching anything. It wasn’t long, one of the boats from the bridge untied. They were abandoning their spot and heading our way. As soon as that happened, Uncle Russell told us to get it in gear. We rolled up our gear and anchors. We passed them as they were idling towards us. We waved to them real nice like and tied up to their former spot under the bridge.

I don’t think anyone caught too many fish that night. But we did get a primo spot under the bridge for story time. “Whooooo, what a big un, that was!”

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