April 25, 2024

PERCH

BACK IN THE DAY

By C.C. Edwards

My dad was quite a fisherman. His tackle box was filled with unusual lures, some resembling monstrous insects and some with feathers or silver beads attached. But sometimes, like for catfish fishing, he preferred his own concoction- called stink bait. It worked especially well for the catfish.

He got lots of bites and nibbles with it and successfully hooked one occasionally, which we always enjoyed for a meal. Some people didn’t like to eat catfish- called them bottom feeders- but there was something about their shiny gray bodies and their whiskers that made them one of my favorite, especially when they were dipped in corn meal and deep-fried.

But today my dad told five-year-old me that we’d probably be catching perch, silvery wiggly little fish that I imagined would look spectacular on my dinner plate.

The first hour went by in silence as Dad and I watched our corks bob up and down and then be still. Finally, in a period of a few minutes we each got several nibbles which turned into catches. First, Dad caught one, about eight inches long, and quickly put his line in the water again. And again was successful.

I pulled in a big one which flip-flopped on the grass till I could grab onto the slippery body while my dad removed the hook from its mouth. Soon we have five, which seems like enough for a meal, so home to Mom for the cleaning and cooking.

What beautiful little beings they were; I couldn’t wait to see one on my dinner plate . Finally, Mom called us to dinner and to my surprise, on my plate was something resembling shredded coconut. “Where’s my fish, Mom?” “That’s it”, she said, “Perch have lots of small bones that had to be removed so they wouldn’t get stuck in your throat.”

Oh well, still tasty. And I wouldn’t trade my fishing trip with Dad for anything.