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Hidden Corners of History: The Fishin’ Hole 

Hidden Corners of History

 The Fishin’ Hole

 By: Jarrod E. Stephens

 The Ashland Beacon

 


On Oct. 3, 1960, television viewers saw for the first time a television intro of a son and father walking down a dirt road with their fishing poles while the boy throws stones into the water. The scene is serenaded by a chirpy little whistling tune actually called “The Fishin’ Hole.” The Andy Griffith Show was a near instant success and showed 249 episodes from 1960-1968. Some folks can quote more lines from the show than they can quote Scriptures. As suggested by the theme, fishing was part of several episodes and was an activity embraced by countless numbers back in the day.

While I have watched several episodes of the show, I’ve never been a true fan. I am however a true fan of fishing. I bring this up because fishing has been and continues to be one of the purest forms of family recreation that can be had. Whether or not you catch any fish does not determine the quality of the time spent or fun to be had. Getting away from the hassles of life and connecting with God’s Creation are highlights that keep fishing in the top of my favorite things to do.

Fishing is still a common activity for families but nothing like it used to be. I love to go to estate sales and when the estate is from an older individual it is rare to find one where fishing equipment is absent from the goods for sale. Fishing was more than recreation; it was a part of life.

There are groups that collect data about recreational activities and while some state evidence of a high number of individuals still engaging in fishing as a family activity, it is still nothing like it used to be. People may fish, but the distractions of the world have even infiltrated the fishin’ hole. Kids get bored in a near instant and working adults spend more time working than ever. The paths to the fishing holes are growing over and the only part of the Creation that is happy are the fish.

My four sons and I love to wade fish and fish from our john boat in our local rivers. It’s a way of fishing I grew up enjoying and by golly my boys love it too. We mix it up during the summer months by wade fishing on the hottest days and fishing from the boat late in the evenings and at night while setting lines for catfish. We do this every summer, and we NEVER cross lines with anyone else on the water.

  I don’t consider myself to be an old man and it has not been too many years since I did the same thing with my dad. The greatest difference then and now is the fact that when I was a kid, we would often see friends fishing in the same holes of water. Dad would pull up alongside the other fishers, we’d compare our catches, talk for a few minutes and then move on. It was a regular occurrence.

This fading away of simplicity truly troubles me. I’m not longing to see a day whenever my favorite fishing spot is overrun with anglers, but I am concerned with the lack of interest in fishing for the sake of fishing. Instant downloads, fear of getting dirty, and constant contact with the digital playthings has stolen our families and made them more comfortable as digital citizens than citizens of the great outdoors. I always heard that fishing adds years and quality to your life, and I am convinced that out technologically driven world does exactly the opposite.

The water has felt great as my boys, and I have beat the summer heat as we fish waist deep in the river. Plus, the catch's having tasted mighty good as well. I refuse to let the fun of yesteryear fade away in the conversations of how things used to be. My sons will be able to tell their kids about fishing with their dad and not only relaying tales of how things used to be. I will not let the path to favorite fishing spot be overgrown. If the sun is shining and the water is clear you can be you can find me and my boys down at the fishin’ hole.

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