Appalachia Fishing

Fishing With Pap

Fishing with Pap

Tipper and Paul

I appreciate all of you who hung around for not one-but 2 weeks of the fish. I enjoyed every photo and every guest post submitted for the week. As the series draws to a close I realized I never told you any of my fishing stories-mostly because I don’t have many to tell.

When I was young my older brother, Steve, was the fisherman of the house. It seems like he was always going off somewhere with a pole-a can of worms-and a warning from Granny to “Please be careful.”

I’m the only girl Pap and Granny had. I’m sandwiched between the 2 best brothers in the entire world. Pap took the boys fishing fairly often, and my usual part in the day of fishing was this:

I’d beg and plead to go along too. I’d promise to be patient and not want to come home because I got bored or tired of fighting the bugs and briars. Sometimes-most times-Pap would give in to my pleading even though he knew well and good my promises were false and as soon as I tired of playing around the river I’d be asking if it was time to go home every 4 minutes. I still have good memories of those times fishing with Pap and the boys though.

Pap loves to tell about the time Paul caught a big carp and I got so excited I picked Paul up pole and all and started running up the bank to the woods to make sure he got the fish pulled in.

Most of the time Pap fished either just below or just above where Brasstown Creek flows into the Hiwassee River. If we were on the river side-Pap made sure to listen close in case they let the water off to generate power.

One trip that especially stands out in my mind was farther down the river than Pap usually fished-closer to Murphy than to Brasstown. Now that I look back through the years-I realize we were near the place Pap was born when his parents sharecropped on the Harshaw Farm. Typical-after we’d been there a while I started whining to go home. A little farther down the river Pap found a large sandbar to perch on. There was a pool of water between the bar and the bank. Since the secluded area was away from the moving waters and wasn’t very deep either-it made the perfect place for me to play. Pap let me get in clothes and all. I was fascinated by the shiny sand and the millions of round smooth rocks-and when it came time to go home that day-I didn’t even want to go.

After those days, I didn’t go on a fishing trip again until I met The Deer Hunter-and even then I think I only tagged along on one trout fishing expedition up the Middle Prong area of the Pigeon River.

By far my largest experience with fish lies not on the catching side-but on the cleaning side. When I met The Deer Hunter I was working at Lake Logan-a meeting facility then owned by Champion International. As a boathouse attendant one of my duties was to clean any fish caught by the guests-and they caught plenty. Those days were some of the best of my life-but I was too young and silly to realize it.

The Deer Hunter fished quite a bit when we were first married but as the girls grew older he dropped the pursuit of fish for the pursuit of whatever the girls were doing. In fact-the only time we’ve ever taken the girls fishing (that they can remember) was last summer.

Even though I don’t have much experience with fishing-I’ll always look back fondly on the days Pap let me come too. I’ll always remember how safe I felt riding on his back as he stomped down the briars and weeds to make me a place to play beside the river.



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  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    August 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Tipper: Fishing has always been a part of my life. I used to fish a steel mill river for catfish. I started fishing when I was 8 years old so i have been fishing for 60 years. The love of fishing is in my blood.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I have fond memories of fishing with my Dad, too.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    August 7, 2012 at 2:52 am

    I was an obsessed fisherman for a number of years when my husband and I discovered the joy of the quiet on our farm pond. I hated cleaning fish. I tried to put that chore off on someone else. We had friends who were wonderful fish cookers and made good hush puppies, too. The recipes on this post make my mouth water. It has been a good while since I went to a fish-fry. Thanks for sharing the fish stories.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    August 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Tipper i really loved all the fish stories… as for me.. i had four older brothers.. so sadly never was one to go along on fishing trips that my father took them on. i really enjoy all the comments and even poetry.. wow you need never leave the blind pig site.. and you will get a sampling of all the world that you need .. recipes, remedies, folklore.
    but you know the thing that means more to me, is the feeling you get while visiting, as tho you were part of the family.
    thank you so much for always being a great story teller, and a great hostess.
    sending big ladybug hugs to all

  • Reply
    August 6, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Dolores-thank you for the comment! Its been too many years to count since I last went fishing with Pap : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    August 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    First time this one fingered typer has used this machine! Hi Tipper, I met you 4 days ago when I asked g-son Ashton to look up leather britches. What a blessing you have been, helping old memory’s to reblossom how a WI teenager become a KY girl. But that’s another story.
    My first fishing trip was the summer of 1945 I was 5. Our family of 9 went to Lake Harriet just down the road from g-ma Fergie’s farm in Oregon WI. I was walking in the lake when a blood sucker grabbed onto my leg, I screamed, took off that blood sucker, grabbed my baby brother and took him to the safety of the blanket on the ground. No Sucker was going to get my Baby Brother!!
    Midway through this one fingered typing my son in AZ corrected and typed the rest of the story. Thanks for the great music and stories… God Bless. –Jean
    p.s. I am a Hawaiian now, that’s another story!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Oh Jim, very funny. What you guys never knew that day was that Chitter was ready to go after the make believe warden, It is not ok to talk to her mom like that.LOL
    Tipper, what long legs you have for such a little girl.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    August 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I’m so sorry I’ve missed all of these wonderful posts.. It has been an even more busy canning season and other things going on.. I will try and read some of the older ones as I can.. I so miss your posts and enjoy them so much…Take care.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    August 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Tipper– I didn’t comment much during the fish weeks, but I certainly enjoyed everyone’s stories. Thanks to you and all the story tellers.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    That story warmed me. I could just
    see you carrying Paul and him trying to hold on to his fish. And
    if I’m not mistaken, last summer
    your family was with me above the Powerhouse on Nantahala, where
    everybody caught some Rainbows.
    Every time I looked around one of
    younze was puttin’ another one in
    the bag. No wonder you asked me
    how many were you all allowed.
    I was fishing near Chitter when
    she hung a big un. And before she
    could wrestle it to her side of
    the river, it got off. I knowed
    better than to say a word, just
    eased on down and let her get over
    it. The Deer Hunter got the most
    that evening, I’m just glad the
    Wardens didn’t come along and take
    you off to Franklin…Ken

  • Reply
    August 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Aren’t we lucky to have such wonderful family recollections? Did the grownups have any idea how such simple things would never be forgotten? My Uncle, the fisherman in the family,was a good and patient teacher. Lots of fond memories of time spent with him. The part I didn’t like was whacking the fish. Wish he’d taught me how to clean/filet fish.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Nice to hear your side too! Even if there weren’t any BIG fish tales.
    Happy Sunday.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 5, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Tipper–I’m no poet, but your personal reflections on fishing force me to give it a try.
    There was a bonnie Brasstown lass so fair,
    Who once went fishing without a hint of care.
    Her destination was the land of the midday sun,
    A fine place for lots of trout-catching fun.
    Where cold waters run clear and bright,
    Full of trout ready to bite.
    Action was furious and mighty fast,
    With someone getting a bite most every cast.
    Chitter and Chatter landed enough to fill a heaping platter,
    Then jolly Ken noticed that something was the matter.
    He asked: “Oh Brasstown lass so fair,
    What makes your brow wrinkle with care?”
    It was a look of bleakest gloom he saw,
    For the blogging maiden had run afoul of the law.
    Quoth she: “I’m afraid I forgot to buy a permit,
    And if a warden appears he’ll have a fit.”
    The good mountain gal at once ceased to cast,
    And just watched the others have a blast.
    That would have been the end of her wayward ways,
    Except that sneaky Ken the good woman then betrays.
    He spreads the news over to Bryson City,
    Where a guy named Don showed precious little pity.
    It was a young warden that he told,
    And they plotted with souls so cold.
    They reckoned it would be such great fun,
    To set the mind of the Brasstown miss on the run.
    Soon the Blind Pig gang came to town,
    With nary a brow furrowed by a frown.
    Then a ranger came to Don’s door,
    And asked for the poacher of trout galore.
    Oh the look of abject dismay,
    Which crossed Tipper’s face that day.
    She took the bait hook, line, and sinker.
    Even though she’s usually a calm and sedate thinker.
    Then suddenly she realized she’d been had,
    Supposed friends had treated her bad.
    It was all just a little joke,
    But she bought that pig in a poke.
    Still, there’s a moral to this little tale.
    If you intend to fish, buy a license without fail.
    Else it’s likely some n’er-do-well,
    Will decide to make your life pure hell.
    Jim Casada
    P. S. We’ll see if this makes it past the censor, since that self-same soul is the angler who unintentionally went astray. I’ve no doubt that she now rues the day.

  • Reply
    José Luis
    August 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Hello friends
    Really entertaining anecdotes and tales of fishermen and fish.
    The time for fishing is the time where those who never lie, yes lie there exaggerating.
    Normally the size of the fish grows larger with every time we go telling our friends.
    Not so for those places?, Probably yes, … or not?
    A big hug from Buenos Aires Argentina, Jose Luis.
    God bless you.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    August 5, 2012 at 9:56 am

    That sounds like a fun story for the scrapebook of memories. I wonder if your girls enjoyed the story as much as your readers did. When was the last time you fished with Pap?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

    ♪ ♫ ♫ I enjoyed your fishing story as much as or more than any of the others. It was simple and clean and it seems you felt no urge to embellish it. Bugs and briers and Pap stomping down weeds. I loved the pickin up Paul part. I’ll bet he don’t even remember. I have enjoyed this whole Week(s) of the Fishing thing. You should do it more often. Fall fishing? Spring fishing? Fishing Friday?

  • Reply
    August 5, 2012 at 8:10 am

    This was a great story. When all is said and done, what compares are is more valuable than those dear memories we have stored in our minds of the days with the people we have loved.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 5, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Sometimes it’s not what we do, but that we are doing it together that makes it special

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    August 5, 2012 at 7:41 am

    that sounds like me. Hubby loves to fish, now takes the grandboys.
    I love to go to the river with my book and camera.
    I will clean them and cook them, but please don’t stick a fishing pole in my hand!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 5, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Tipper, Thanks for sharing your fishing story! I see in it the security and love of a childood spent in a solid mountain family where love, concern, and aspects of recreation were interspersed with the necessity for daily work. Even fishing, though recreational, had its work-related connection as it provided fresh fish for our tables. I can just see you enjoying that quiet pool of water, its sandy bottom. And all the rocks to find and toss back into the water, or to put in your pocket and take home for a “collection” (maybe?). These are fond memeories from my childhood, too. I learned to “skip” flat rocks at such a quiet pool along the Nottely River. Daddy tauhgt me how to do skip rocks. That brought many hours of pleasure for my younger brother, Bluford, and me!

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