It was early fall and Daddy, myself and Doc, a family friend, decided to make a trip to the Big Satilla river. We had some Catawba worms, regular worms, minnows and crickets and a paper sack containing a yellow jacket nest. We were loaded for bear and had a grand old time on the trip down with me being the designated driver.
I was entertained the entire trip by all manner of tall tales and the farther we travelled the taller they became. For some reason all inhibitions were tossed out the window somewhere along about Nahunta. I must confess that after Nahunta a few of the tales fell into the category of “I don’t believe I would have told that.”
Finally, we arrived at the Douglas Fishing Club and unloaded all the gear for our stay. Daddy and Doc made the decision that they would take the boat up to Boones Lake and catch enough fish for supper and that I would have to stay ashore at the club and just fish from the hill. They left me a few crickets and the yellow jacket nest explaining there wasn’t enough room in the boat for all of us.
I did not like the arrangement too much but decided there was no need to argue and I watched them disappear up river. I sat down on a high bank overlooking the river and got my pole ready, hooked a cricket and put him on the bottom. While I waited for a nibble I tapped out a handful of yellow jacket grubs and tossed them into the river. Some of them sank while others floated downstream on the surface. I had been sitting there for maybe ten minutes when I heard a snap downriver, then another. Something was eating the floating jacket grubs. Just then my pole was nearly yanked out of my hand and I hauled in a huge bluegill. What few crickets I had were soon gone and I began using the jacket grubs on my hook. What a time I had as I pulled in bream, redbreast, stumpknockers, channel and yellow cat. I made a stringer out of a tree limb and placed it in a shallow pool of rainwater nearby to keep the fish fresh. I couldn’t believe my luck. (luck; n. skill )
The shadows were lengthening fast when I heard a boat motor and downriver came the two anglers laughing and frolicking with not a care in the world. I figured Dad and Doc must have loaded the boat since I had caught so many while sitting in one place.
Dad pulled up and shut down their motor. Doc looped a cord over a stump to hold them in place and looked up at me and, somewhat unsteadily, said, ‘We ain’t had a bite. Not ‘nary one. Can you believe it?”
Then he and Dad began a dissertation as to why the fish were not biting and how we were going to have to go to the hard road if we wanted any supper and that I would have to drive.
I stood up and said, “You sure are right. They ain’t bitin’,” as I reached for my stringer and held them aloft.
“Conway, do you see that!” Doc exclaimed as he pointed at the stringer, his red face beaming. He asked what I was fishing with and I replied, “Yellow Jacket grubs.”
Daddy threw his hands up and exclaimed, “Well, that explains why we didn’t catch anything, Arlis. We ain’t got any yellow jacket grubs.”
It was smiles all around as we cleaned fish for supper and I have never been bragged on as much in my life.