We decided to go fishing at Shelby Forrest, a State Park in Memphis. We caught the Mississippi River and the day started out very cool. We started out very early as we typically do. I was very excited. I don’t know why I get so excited for one…new fishing spots and two…large bodies of water. Well, to say the least, we didn’t catch anything. We made the call to change locations and drove to downtown Memphis. We went behind the pyramid and got situated amongst the large rocks on the bank.
We almost met the same fate. In fact, some might say we still cid! But, I’m a lemon-lemonade type of girl. We kept catching “bait” fish and/or fish so small that they’re really not worth keeping. However, so many of these fish were swallowing the hooks and were just not going to survive. So I suggested we keep them. My husband thought I was crazy…well, I might be but sometimes it pays off; even if the pay is small.
I started reminding him of my goal to catch and cook and taste as many types of fish as possible. I’d read about fishermen frying up small fish whole, only removing the scales. So I decided I would try it and because I have a habit of naming certain things I told my husband I was going to make some fishy chips. He just shook his head. I’m not sure if he could visualize what I actually had in mind. And many might feel it’s gross. But I scaled the small fish, cleaned them, breaded them and yes…put them in some hot grease and fishy chips became a great snack/lunch!
I cooked them hard with eyes and guts and all and when I ate them they were crunchy and small like chips. The old man river provided yet another meal. My husband probably thought I should be ashamed. But I have no regret…nor any justification. Only can say, we kept the ones that weren’t going to make it.
It’s Saturday at 4 am, dark out, and I’m not sure of what the plan is other than we’re going fishing with the in-laws at one of their favorite spots. I’ve already prepared Friday evening. We got all we need…bait, cooler, ice, water, jon boat and snacks. Planning for an all day outing, as the in-laws are retired and have both been fishing since they were kids. They’re the reason my husband loves it so much.
Even with looking forward to the fishing outing, I’m still not sure what’s the plan. I didn’t even feel like asking at this point because I really hadn’t fully woke up. At any rate I see that we’re driving about 30 minutes to the in-laws’ opposed to meeting them at their favorite spot. The place is called Cold Creek and apparently they always do well here. The drive is close to an hour and a half surprisingly to me and my husband. Plenty of time for me to wake up and for my excitement to increase.
We finally make it to the county to which we were traveling. A little daylight is arriving but at this point we still don’t know how far away we are from the water. Lol. I’m trying to not ask too many questions because I know it’s been years since my husband has gone to Cold Creek. After passing the huge white painted prison…we soon arrive!
We pull in behind my father-in-law and we all get out to check the water out. Suddenly my mother-in-law mentions a lake up the road. So it’s decided we’re going to bypass Cold Creek…just for now and go try the other lake first. It’s a long narrow gravel road to get there so we’re moving slowly due to having boats and potential oncoming traffic. The road seems wide enough for only one vehicle at a time in either direction.
We make it to the “lake” to try it out before Cold Creek. And, just beyond some litter including a few empty bottles and an orange t-shirt on the ground was one of the most breath-taking views I’d seen. Right there…not too far from my own backyard. Just goes to show, you don’t have to travel far and abroad to experience such beautiful nature. I later learned this beautifully cedar-lined body of water is called Heathright Pocket near Covington, TN.
We each get in our boats and start to venture out staying close to the bank and casting near the trees. The water is calm and it’s body is a lot wider and longer than my first jon boat experience. Maybe about 5 minutes or so of having started something bit. It felt huge! I casted outward away from the bank but was really just buying a little time to get to another spot closer to the trees. As it bit and I started to feel it move and hear the line squeal I started to slowly pull it in. But, I missed it! I was so hurt.
After that we continued on and decided to cross over to the other side while seeing what could be out there on the way over. And right as we started to go, the in-laws decided it was time to go to the originally intended destination—Cold Creek. Since that day I refer to it as gar lake. We were not ready to leave this intriguing body of water that we had no idea at the time of its name. There was no cellular service available which included maps. Otherwise we could have just opened a map app for our current location.
At any rate, we headed back to Cold Creek. It wasn’t that impressive in looks but hey that’s not the most important thing when fishing. But after having just left somewhere that was beautiful and where there was a gut feeling of SUCCESS…Cold Creek was underwhelming. There we were…we went in the opposite direction of the in-laws. We got some good bites but quickly learned they were mostly Gars. And, as I mentioned in my first boating experiencing, it is not so easy to hook a Gar due to their anatomy. But, we were not going to give up at good fight! We actually landed a couple using the net to get them on in. But aside from those two…it was mostly fighting Gar for at least 2 hours.
After a break we decided to go in the opposite directing hoping to find something other than small Gar. But by now, I was so tired of fighting with Gar…big and small…I’d decided Cold Creek is not my spot. Had we been prepared with some rope and a good technique to hook’em we would have had too many Gar. But, it was still fun and just a great reminder to this new timer that it is called fishing for a reason opposed to fish-catching. 🙂 Between us and the in-laws things weren’t totally for naught. Good family time and some yum drum for a good pan fry.
This past Saturday I went fishing on a boat for the first time. Firstly, I cannot swim! And, secondly, I was not afraid. I had an awesome time. Started out early; although there were a couple of hiccups. But nothing was going to get in my way of boat fishing! The boat was not a big plush motor boat. It was a jon boat. Yes…a jon boat. Before a couple of years ago I’d never heard of a jon boat. A jon boat is made of aluminum, wood, or fiberglass and has a flat bottom. It usually has up to three benches to sit on. They are not just for fishing but are also suitable for hunting and cruising. They are better suited for more shallow and calm waters and typically can also have a motor on it. This particular day we went motorless and just paddled.
MORE THAN JUST ABOUT THE BOAT…
I was excited about what fish I might be able to catch by not being limited to the bank. I hoped I would catch fish I’d not caught before and guess what!?! I did! I caught a Gar…a few of them. My husband has referred to Gar fish as “trash” fish in the past. But, I thought…God didn’t make any trash! I’m sure he won’t be calling it trash fish again, especially after tasting it. One of my goals in fishing is to catch as many different species of fish as I can and also to dine on them…if appropriate. I say “appropriate” because while you may not always can control what you catch, it’s not always legal to keep certain fish.
What’s a Gar? It’s much easier for me to direct you to this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gar than to try to explain it myself. But I can describe it. Gars have elongated bodies that are heavily armored with hard and bony scales that have shiny surfaces. They have a lot of long sharp teeth that fill their elongated jaws. I’d recently heard that the meat of a gar fish is really tasty…but you have to be able to get to it. A regular ole fish scaler is a joke. Some people use power tools to break through that tough armour to get to the prized white meat. The MOST interesting thing to me about the Gar was how it went about biting and how I had to go about catching it. First of all, if the water is clear enough for you to see one it’s best to simply put the bait in front of its mouth. But only the bait…not the stopper. It seeing more than the bait (in my case Saturday…worms), it might get spooked and let go. Also, I had to bring it in gently because due to their teeth it’s nearly impossible to hook one with a regular hook. So it’s best to have a large fishing net ready to scoop it up if you can get close enough to it. Apparently, the best way to hook one is by using “entanglement bait”. For example, certain strings that it can get its teeth caught in.
I also caught a few bream, a crappie, and a catfish. While each catch was exciting it was simply a tranquil cruise on the portion of the Wolf River I was on. Because the boat is so low I was curious as to how I was going to get in…without tipping on over. LOL. You’ll get a chance to see how things went down…I made a few videos and took some pictures.
TIPS FOR BOAT FISHING AND FISHING IN GENERAL….There are a lot more to consider than what’s here, but for this particular outing these things were very important to me.
Safety first! Life jackets/vests are a must as well as bug spray, sunscreen, and sometimes a hat of some sort to block some of the sun. I also like to take bottle water and something to snack on. Protein is great! I made turkey and bologna sandwiches with cheese and cut. Wrappred them up in aluminum foil and threw them in the cooler with the cold water. And, for those who might have issues with blood sugar (not only diabetics) something sweet in case your blood sugar level happens to drop. I’m a “passer-outter” usually due to my blood pressure dropping so I definitely have to consider the heat and having cold water. And, I ALWAYS wear my “fishing boots”. No matter where I’m going to fish.
Hey ladies! Come…a…little…closer; I want to tell you about my first time fishing! It was during a second date in June of 2019 at a private lake in Galloway, TN. I was with an old grade school crush with whom I’d reconnected over business. Our first date was the evening prior. During our phone time I’d told him I’d always wanted to learn how to fish. So when time came he told me he’d pick me up very early in the morning. We’d gotten in a little late from the first date but I was so excited that I was finally going fishing. Even if I had to just observe.
Based on the little I knew of fishing I figured I’d better wear some rubber boots. But I still had to be cute and made sure to coordinate and took a backpack with snacks, water, and bug spray. But my date had EVERYTHING I needed; after all he’d been fishing since he was a young boy. He was well known for his numerous big catches over the years as well as fishing for HOURS on hand.
Before we fished we went four-wheeling on his family’s 100 acres of land. What fun! He even let me drive the four wheeler for my first time ever, until I almost ran us into the lake! Lol
When it came down to fishing he set my mobile chair out along with a cooler with water and ice, WORMS, and different fishing “thingies” I’d only seen on TV. (I’ll tell you all later about those thingies.). He was patient and showed me how to throw the rod out and how to reel in a catch. When we caught the first fish I was so excited. I jumped up and down like a kid. He was genuinely happy for me. Little did he know, I was hooked on fishing at that point. And, we’d actually hooked and caught each other as well. We’ve been together from that point on.
Well, this ain’t no love story blog! I can’t wait to get to the epitome of what this blog is about. I’ll usually give some helpful information, such as introducing those “thingies” I mentioned along with creative and fun content related to fishing; you know, some things traditionalist might cringe over. But hey, that’s what fishing is TO ME. It’s about making it your own! It’s ok to be different and believe me that says a lot coming from someone who has fished with a family with way over 300 combined years of fishing experience.
I’ll post videos and photos and would love for you to do the same. We’ll exchange ideas such as creative fishing outings. How does Crappie and Cocktails sound? Some people don’t want to fish for hours on hand. Crappie and Cocktails will allow us to fish for Crappie and then break for cocktails! Yes, make it yours ladies…yessss. And, if you’re in the Memphis, TN area you might just have to join me and my girls for such an outing. But if you’re not, you’ll have to share photos of your Crappie and Cocktails fishing outing.