Recently I was rummaging though some old files when I ran across a letter sent to me by a young reader more than 20 years ago.
No, he didn’t ask me if there was a Santa Claus. He asked me something an adventuresome teenage boy would ask an old weatherbeaten editor.
“Have you ever gone bow fishing before?”
He continued: “This year was my first time going bow fishing. My dad got me the reel and arrows for Christmas. I bought a used bow that my grandpa’s friend had.
“In the past I had gone out and spearfished for carp with a pitchfork but found it was hard to get close to the fish without them swimming away.
“I go down to Big Creek, to the north end to bow fish and after the rain the carp will be in the backwaters. I went out three times this year and was successful all three times.”
Yes, I told the young letter writer, I have bow fished before.
I went on to explain:
Back in the good times long, long ago, my friend Slick and I ventured out several times in search of fresh fish (carp) for the dinner table. Fortunately, we were never very successful.
This was back in a time when such frills as factory-made rods and reels and bows and arrows were hard to come by, so we would make our own.
Slick’s father, Art Michael, was a carpenter and we used to rummage through his scrap wood in search of a board that could be used as a bow. We would also confiscate several wooden dowels that would became our arrows. We would glue feathers to one end of the dowel and apply a point to the other with a pencil sharpener.
Needless-to-say, the accuracy of such arrows was not very good under water. The only chance we had was to find a carp whose back was sticking out of the water. It was not an easy job.
I must admit we never tried a pitchfork or a spear. Can’t believe we didn’t come up with that idea.
What’s hard to believe is that most of the places where we bow and conventional fished no longer exist – basically victims of drainage tile.
I wonder what happened to all the carp? Truth is, I’m sure they probably made much better fertilizer than food.
Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.