#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Landed

I don’t know how old I was on the most memorable fishing trip of my life. I imagine I was maybe in 3rd grade. My Pap-pa, Hoyt Cook, had a fishing boat, probably about the length of a car and no overhead canopy or anything, and he had a boat ramp right on his property on Lagniappe Beach in Midway in Santa Rosa County, Florida.

That day, Pap-pa took me and my dad out fishing on East Bay.

I was still pretty little, and it might have been my first time fishing ever, so Pap-pa baited my hook, and I dropped the line in the water. Almost immediately, I felt that tell-tale tug on the line, and he helped me reel in the fish, and took it off the hook, and re-baited it, and I dropped it in the water.

Almost immediately, another fish bit. Pap-pa helped me again, taking the fish off the hook, baiting the line.

Another strike.

And another. And another. And another.

Hoyt Cook with a Mess of Fish
My cousin Jimmy did some fishing for a living when he grew up. He loved being around the water.

I’m sure the fish were probably mullet, and we must have been right on top of a school of them. I don’t know how many fish I ended up catching that day. I like to think it was about 30. Pap-pa was grumbling a bit, though, about how he wasn’t going to get in any fishing for helping me. I don’t think Pap-pa was really upset, and I don’t know what my dad was doing. I was feeling really good about my own budding fishing skills, though.

Then my line broke. And no one would fix it. And I just had to sit there while Pap-pa and Daddy did their fishing. I think I caught the most fish that day, though.

I haven’t been fishing for years, but Pap-pa went out regularly in his boat. Fish – especially mullet – was a regular on the menu at their house, and Pap-pa held many a fish fry for family, friends, and neighbors. In fact, he had a fish fry for my in-laws when they came down from Missouri when Tim and I got married. He had a chest freezer in the garage, and when company came over, he’d offer them a package of fish – already cleaned – before they left.

He fished all his life; fishing and hunting, and growing a vegetable garden, and keeping a few chickens and a cow were all ways that he fed his family.

My dad fished a lot when he was younger, too. I didn’t know just how much until I started looking up his name in old newspapers online. He must have fished a lot to have the kinds of catches they write up in the paper.

Hmm. Seems like somebody should have sent a picture of me and my catch that day to the paper. An opportunity missed!

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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5 Responses to #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Landed

  1. Marian Wood says:

    Really enjoyed your story of fishing!

  2. Eilene Lyon says:

    Hahaha. I’m not the only one to think this prompt is a good one for telling fish stories! What a cute photo. Is your dad the little boy?

  3. Eilene Lyon says:

    Hahaha. Looks like I’m not the only one to think of fishing stories for this prompt. Cute photo. Is the little boy your dad?

    • Taminar says:

      That’s my cousin, Jimmy. He was 3 1/2 years older than me. Due to some family issues, he lived with our grandparents off and on while he was growing up.

  4. Barb LaFara says:

    I love a good fish story! Thanks for sharing.

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