At 80, She Still Loves To Fish – Everyday

Today’s entry in The Week Of The Fish was written by Bob Weekley in 1992.

Bob weekley
Bob’s Mother

At 80, She Still Loves To Fish – Everyday written by Bob Weekley

This is a story not about a fish, but about the person who caught it. The fish? Well, it was a good one, a largemouth bass that weighed 8 pounds and was 22 inches long. Not bad at all. Citation size.

It was caught Sept. 13 at Crystal Lake near West Union in Doddridge County, where my mother and father built a home many years ago. The fisherman? It was my mom, Lena “Billie” Weekley, who is 80 years young and who fished every day possible. Mom is not into women’s lib, so we can call her a fisherman, not a fisherwoman or a fisher person.

As everybody knows, mothers are the greatest, and to have a mother who fishes at age 80, well, it’s especially nice. Mom and a friend, Mary Star of Wolf Summit, Harrison County, fish together a lot, and they fish everywhere. I can hardly mention a place within reasonable driving distance they haven’t fished.

I take mom on shopping trips to Parkersburg, and drive to Marietta, New Martinsville and other places along the Ohio River, and as we pass a certain spot, she will say, “Mary and I fished that river or that lake.” The list amazes me.

Sometimes a particular site will appear to be difficult as to river access, but apparently that is no problem for them. “Oh, we just slide down over the bank,” mom will say.  I could not believe two ladies could have fished that many places, but they seemingly aren’t through yet. Occasionally on our drives, mom will say. “I am going to tell Mary about (this lake or that stream), and we’ll try it.”

Mom fishes Crystal Lake more than anywhere else because she lives there. She and dad were among the first to build there, starting with a two-room cabin and adding on over the years.

But, as I say, her fishing isn’t limited to Crystal Lake. She has also fished Conaway Run Lake, Middle Island Creek, Pennsboro Reservoir, Ohio River, Muskingum River and appropriately for mom, Fishing Creek. There are probably other places I’m not aware of. Mom is a busy fisherman.

My dad, who passed away several years ago, was a hunter and a fisherman, and of course mom was and is a fisherman, and they fished together most of their adult lives. They say, “Take a kid fishing,” and I believe in that, but taking an older person fishing is nice too, especially if it’s your mom. But in my case, I don’t have to take mom fishing. She goes on her own.

The big largemouth she caught at Crystal Lake wasn’t the first nice fish she has landed there this year. Earlier she caught a 23-inch largemouth, which although longer, wasn’t quite as heavy as the aforementioned fish.

Mom has her share of fisherman’s luck. She caught the 23-inch bass on a bluegill that she had hooked just moments before. She put the rod down with that bluegill still on the line and, and went to the house to see about something she was cooking. When she returned, she reeled in what she thought was a small bluegill but which turned out to be a big bass.

Mom isn’t just a live bait fisherman. She is hooked on Lary Ikes and jigs, too. In fact just about anything as long as it will catch fish.


I hope you enjoyed Bob’s post about his mother as much as I did. I hope I’m as spry as she was when I reach 80.



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  • Reply
    August 2, 2012 at 10:39 am

    -Thank you for the comment-I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the fish stories : ) I don’t know anything about ducks-but hopefully one of the other readers will chime in with some information.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings
    August 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    What a great story! I hope I am still fishing at that age. I married a man who doesn’t like to fish but God gave me boys who do. 🙂
    We had fresh caught bluegill for supper last night. They were caught by our 13 year old son who loves to fish. Friends of ours who have a pond allowed him to fish there and bring home what he caught. It was quite yummy too… filleted, dredged in flour mixed with salt and pepper then fried in butter. First time he got to bring home what he caught because usually they are too small to fool with.
    First time he had ever cleaned fish and filleted them. I told him how plus handed him a book (Back to basics – old version) to read the section on fishing/cleaning. He did great! That’s Homeschooling for you. 🙂

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    August 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I’m glad for the guy that won the book.
    I’m also glad so many took their grandchildren
    fishing and taught them something.
    My grandson was one of my fishing buddies.
    We started out in the creek behind our house.
    I took the barb off the of his hook
    so if he caught one he could remove it without
    messing up it’s mouth and put it back in the
    stream. Kids remember things forever if taught
    We got a Molly Crawl Bottom and we retuned
    it back to the water. I dont know who told me
    what it was, probably my husband.
    I read in the Franklin Press about the work of
    Mr. McLaney, who checks the streams in
    Macon Co. NC. [His words, “The public has
    experienced a tremendous loss of
    informationand knowledge,” He said.
    “For example, high school kids now don’t know
    the Molly Crawl Bottom.” The small sculpin
    (Cottus bairdi) is the most common fish in the
    watershed, but kids don’t know it by any name,
    including the folk-name their ancestors used.
    They don’t know it exists.But their grandparents
    knew it.]
    Next, I took Jesse to the tribal ponds and they
    have a mess of Hog Suckers. Also, Red Eyed Rock Bass, Trout and crawdads. He will be 19 yrs. old Saturday. He is a great fisherman now.
    I will not go to the lakes to fish with them on their
    boat. I just
    tell them, “I can’t walk on water.”
    We have 7 great- grandchildren. So maybe I’ll get
    to teach them to fish and a few of the old ways.
    I’m still learning from some of the posts.
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Wow, I’m am excited to have won the book and can’t wait to read it. Thank you Jim for donating it and I’m sure I will love it since it deals with two of my favorite things,fly fishing and mountain folk. I have enjoyed all the fishing stories from the readers of Blind Pig and the Acorn. This is a wonderful place to relive some memories from the past and get a glimpse of other people who share similar interest. Thanks Tipper for all the hard work you do to make this available to us! Although living in a metro county of Atlanta now my roots and my heart are in the hills among the people I hold dearest to my heart and some day, God willing, will return to them!
    Thanks again Jim and Tipper!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Morning Tipper,
    One of the activities that my Mother and I seemed to agree on was fishing. In those few years between childhood and adulthood I spent many an afternoon with her fishing at a stocked lake that had some good sized and smart fish. It was a spring fed lake and had all the tasty fish one could want, but it took a smart fisherman to get a mess of them! :-)Hope your day is a good one . . .

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    August 1, 2012 at 11:36 am

    This is such a beautiful memory of your mom. It’s a great story to share. We lived in the city and fishing was never on the list of experiences to learn about. Of course, I have to admit, I don’t particularily care for slippery and slitherly living things. Thanks for the great story!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Mama was an avid fisherman with two special fishing buddies. As she aged, she missed them & fishing. We have a pond (almost gone now with the drought) stocked with catfish, bream, & bass. We would put a folding chair on the dock & help Mama out there. She had to have help casting & reeling in but was always thrilled to fish. After she got unable to do even this fishing, she’s say she wished she could just feel a fish taking the bait one more time–hope there’s fishing in Heaven.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 1, 2012 at 9:38 am

    my Mom taught my children to fish and they love it till this day — their exploits with their grandmother are some of their best (and often funniest) memories.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I used to be called “Billie” also. My niece bought a vanity plate for me with a female fishing on a bank and “Billie Dance” written below the picture. Co-workers thought I might have talent in dancing… They didn’t know a thing about Bill Dance, the famous fisherman the name was stolen from. I wonder if Bob’s mother got her nickname (Billie) the same way I did.
    I will be so blessed to still be fishing at 80!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 1, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Tipper–First of all, congrats to Ron, and I hope he enjoys the book. He’ll find it deals with mountain folks and history about as much as it does fishing.
    I really enjoyed this story about Ms. Billie’s obsession with fishing. I’d love to know how much longer she lived and continued to fish.
    Ed’s grandmother-in-law had to be a sensible woman and certainly my kind of folks. Who could argue with here statement “Well, you know the Lord knows how I like to fish!” The same holds true for me and always has.
    As for Bob’s 1992 story, beyond enjoying it the tale also gave me the perfect catalyst and concept for my August newsletter. It will center around what is my earliest memory from childhood–the first fish I caught and my Mom’s involvement in the experience. Incidentally, if I can indulge in a shameless bit of self-promotion (which won’t make me a penny), any of your readers who would like to receive my free monthly e-newsletter just have to visit my website,, and sign up. They’ll get it automatically and have access to archived back newsletters as well.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Good morning. I have enjoyed the fishing stories.
    Do you know anything about duck keeping? I’m seriously thinking about it but can’t find much information on duck houses and fencing. They can free range when I’m home.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 1, 2012 at 7:12 am

    She reminds me so much of my Aunt Polly who fished every chance she got into her 90’s

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 1, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Congratulations to Ron on winning Jim’s book!!
    Now that’s a woman! I love her catching a big fish on a little fish. Maybe she should have left the big fish to see what happened along next.
    Thanks to Bob for this story about a remarkable woman, his mom. Another glimpse of a remarkable woman. I do love to hear about our strong mature women.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 1, 2012 at 6:09 am

    There is a story in my wife’s family about her grandmother Addie. It seems she never missed an opportunity to go fishing. Well, one day when she was getting out of the boat, she fell and hit her head. She suffered severe brain damage and almost died. She managed to recover after promising the Lord to stop fishing if he would let her live. The only visible signs left of the injury was that she was markedly walleyed. Some time later, as the story goes, one of her grandchildren caught her behind the barn digging worms. “I thought you promised God you wouldn’t go fishing any more.”
    “Well, you know the Lord knows how I like to fish!”

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