Monday, April 5, 2010

Fishing and Family - Brings Back Old Memories...

Pond fishing has always been a little nostalgic for me.  Where I grew up, fishing was basically part of life.  Our venue of choice were a chain of private ponds and lakes stocked with panfish (bream, bass, crappie, catfish) near my home in a tiny map-dot called Upatoi, GA.  From literal infancy, I spent most of my free time fishing the lakes in the rural area where I grew up.  Friends and neighbors alike had some of the best stocked and maintained ponds you can imagine.  One guy who we went to church with, Mr. Sasser, even had a full sized swimming pool with concrete bottom built into a brick deck overlooking his lake so you could actually go swimming and fishing at the same time!  I kid you not - the man was a genious.  We lived at this man's house during the summer time.  He was like family to us.  We just attached our fishing rods to the wrought iron railing around his pool, cast out as far as possible (the pool was like 15' above the lake because of the slope so you had to cast far), set the drag alert on the reel, and then swim until you caught a fish.  It was like heaven on earth for a country bumpkin.  One time, I even managed to land a 19.5 lb catfish from one of Mr. Sasser's ponds.  The video footage of me telling the story about catching this fish at the age of 5 is the stuff legends are made of.  People I don't even know talk about that stupid video.  My family taunts me about it to this day and it is still a favorite party pleaser.  It will literally bring you to tears it is so dang funny.

Fast forward to today.  I still love fishing as much as ever, although these days I am almost exclusively a fly fisherman.  I have even managed to endoctrinate my wife.  She pretends to like it and I pretend to be patient.  So far it is working.  Anyway, during a little carry over vacation from Easter (separate post), I took Amber, my grandfather, dad, mom, uncle, and my 2nd cousin (four generations of Ward men total) fishing on one of the local ponds near the area where I grew up.  Many of my old stomping grounds are no longer accessible to me, but there are still great places to fish.  Today, I have to give a special thanks to the Roelkey's for allowing us to fish at their amazing place out in Talbotton, GA.  They have a pristine 20 acre lake stocked with Georgia Giants, Shellcracker, and Bass.  We arrived in the heat of the afternoon at around 3:30pm.  The weather was beautiful but hot.  Too hot in fact.  However, in spite of the heat, we caught the fool out of some fish.  From the moment we arrived to the time we left, we caught fish.  Most importantly, my wife and my grandfather caught fish.  I am glad about that for very different reasons obviously.  Anyhow, it couldn't have been a better day to fish and no one left without catching something.  My uncle caught what was probably the largest Shellcracker I have ever seen.  Allen, the guy who owns the lake, also said it was the biggest he had seen.  He was like 15" long I kid you not - check out the pics below.

No, I am not posting a picture of me with the famous just forget it.

Check out the size of my fly reel in comparison to the fish...unbelievable string of bream.


  1. Hey Ben,

    I've enjoyed reading your blog. I can't believe this timing: I was just telling my wife the story of your 19 lb. catfish today as we were watching an episode of 'Man vs. Wild' on the Discovery Channel. The host, Bear Grylls, was trekking through a swamp in Louisiana and caught a catfish using the noodling technique. When he yanked the beast out of the water, he said, "This thing must be 19 or 20 lbs." That's when I told the story.

    Good to see you and Amber are doing well. Hope to talk with you soon.

  2. Hey Trevor,

    Great to hear from you man. That is so hilarious and ironic - just proves the infamy of the catfish story.

    Anyhow, hope you guys had a great Easter. Maybe next time we're in town, we can catch up and do dinner. Stay in touch.