Benjamin Woody was an unforgettable individual, a person who cherished outdoor
activities and shared his enthusiasm with his eclectic collection of
acquaintances. To some he was known as a crotchety old fellow, curious in his
ways, and stubborn as a mule, but to the numerous grandchildren, to include my
husband Otto, Pa Woody was hero, champion, and all-around best buddy.
Summer afternoons, in his estimation, were intended to be spent lounging on the
banks of the nearby Kinchafoonee Creek. With homemade cane poles protruding
from the side window of his dilapidate vehicle, and an accumulation of assorted
youngsters, he negotiated slowly toward what was considered his private portion
of the creek, known as the Big Hole, and unloaded the assorted paraphernalia.
Settling on a grassy area of the bank, he baited the rusty hook, dangled a
well-worn pole over the murky water, and watched patiently for the nibble of a
It was thought, in the deep south of those long-ago years that fishing was an
important element of life, something pleasurable that also provided victuals for
the next meal. For Pa Woody fishing was his great escape, his way of living
out his retirement from farming and harvesting pine trees from the shady woods
surrounding Webster County.
The local anglers used various varieties of fish-bait; Catawba worms, crickets,
and even dough balls, but one of Pa's chosen favorite was the seemingly
worthless blue jay. Years before he carefully studied the Sears and Roebuck
catalog and then placed an order for the .22 caliber rifle that he employed to
procure bait for his fishing expeditions. Frequently he utilized portions of
the despicable species of bird to acquire a sizable string of fresh fish.
When the weather became so unbearable humid that the gnats stuck to exposed
skin, Pa Woody jumped into the cool water of the creek, and proceeded to pursue
his preferred form of catching fish.
Stay tuned, next time I'll discuss a nearly forgotten manner of fishing called
hand grabbling or noodling.