Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I wish I had dime for every fish I pulled out of the Tail Race Canal with my Dad. I'd have more money than Bill Gates and Donald Trump put together.
Crappie, bream, rockfish, red fin, bass … you name it, we caught it. Sometimes Dad and I would go at daybreak and at other times we'd go after he closed the store.
Most of the time, we would go on Wednesday afternoons because in those days on Wednesday every store in Moncks Corner closed at noon. As they said then, "We roll up the sidewalks in Moncks Corner on Wednesday afternoons.”
I don't know how that tradition got started. I'm guessing that so many people went to mid-week prayer services at their respective churches that they would close up their businesses at midday, which allowed them to attend. If that is true, it's too bad that we don't do the same today. The fact that we don't may reveal something about ourselves we don't want to see.
Getting back to fishing, we'd often go up to the old Power House, which at that time was the only power house that provided electricity for Berkeley County.
How many times did we see small rockfish breaking the top of the water in schools there? We used a variety of artificial bait; hoola-poppa with a buck tail, double buck tail, rebel, devil's horse, etc. Of course, there was a line that was illegal to cross near the turbines. Crossing that line could incur a heavy fine for obvious reasons.
Sometimes the small rockfish would be breaking in the area that was illegal to cross so we’d park our boat near the line and cast our plugs over. We weren’t suppose to do that either but we did on occasions when the game wardens weren’t looking.
From the landing near the Dock Restaurant, which was the only landing on the Tail Race at that time, you could take a right and go down the Cooper River and find many places full of blue gill, bream and bass. But, before you went that far down the river, if you took a left on the Canal at the first dog-leg turn to the right, you would turn into Clarks Field. It was great fishing there as well.
One time my older brother, Eddie, and I ran into a school of bream there and I thought our arms were going to wear out pulling in all those fish. No, we didn't go over the limit but we came close. Boy, could you get some ducks there, too! Summer ducks, mallards, teal, you name it, they were there.
The sunset was always memorable on the way back to the landing. First, I always wanted to run the motor. We had a 12 horsepower browning motor on the back of our aluminum boat. Somehow, running that motor always made me feel like I was growing into a man. It’s strange how small things like that can make you feel bigger, more responsible, more like an adult when you are a youngster.
Isn’t it funny, when you are a youngster you want so much to grow up fast, but when you are grown up you wish you were a kid again?
At sundown in the summer when you run your motor full blast don't open your mouth or you will get a mouth full of gnats! Many times I took an old cooking colander and put it in front of my face, and peep through the holes so I could see where I was going. Gnats hitting the colander sounded like hail on a tin roof.
On the way back you could also smell the wonderful fragrance of the cooking from the Dock Restaurant. It was a wonder to behold!
I would beg Dad to let us enjoy some of that cooking but, no, Mom had supper ready for us at home and her cooking was far better.
My only problem was that I was so hungry I had a hard time waiting until I got home. Come to think about it, I'm pretty hungry now, so I better get to the kitchen. Catch you next time.
Do you have any memories of the things I’ve shared, or of your own childhood in Moncks Corner? I would be privileged if you would share them with me. Contact me at email@example.com.