The “Honest” Fisherman


By Reggie Manning


Never had to tell no fibs about fishing seeing as how I used to be prolly the best saltwater fisherman that I ever met. It got to the point that I had to repaint my boat about every month or so to disguise it. Other folks would follow me everyplace I went because they knew that I knew where the fish wuz at and knew how to catch them. They'd even try to follow me under the NC Highway 12 bridge at The Thoroughfare that cuts thru from Core Sound to West Bay. At low tide, I could just barely squeeze through under the bridge. Most of them couldn't.

Dunno that much about freshwater fishing because we didn't have that much and it was for drinking and the occasional bath.

I do recall something about those fish in Don S's pictures. In saltwater fishing, we'd use fish of that size for bait. And you can axt Son about that.

When he was just a little feller, every time I'd head to the coast on Friday night, he'd want to go. I told him he had to be 6 years old to go and spend the night on the boat. When he turned 6 (on the 14th of December), there wasn't nothing to do but to take him for an overnight trip. Colder than all get out. Missy said we were both gonna freeze. But we loaded up with Beanie-Weenies, Pepsi Cola, and sleeping bags and away we went. Went to Drum Inlet down at the very easternmost end of US Highway 70 in NC. Flounder fished just inside the inlet until it almost got dark. Then ran up the Sound and pulled in behind Raccoon Island out of the worst of the wind and wave to spend the night. After we were all bundled up in the sleeping bags, he kept asking about pirates coming to get us. Told him the story about Blackbeard who had sailed these same waters and how Blackbeard got his head chopped off by LT Maynard of the Virginia Royal Marines. And about how Blackbeard still roamed around at night with a lantern looking for his missing head. (By that time, he's sitting up and peeking over the gunnel looking for any strange looking lights!)

This past August, he and I went down to fish one of the lakes on his golf course after all the golfists had gone home. It started getting pretty dark. And you know what that rascal said?  "It's getting pretty dark.... I guess we'd better head for Raccoon Island." Had no idea that he still would have remembered that.

Might not have been the very best saltwater fisherman but I could take his place until he showed up.

    Reg, non-picker-upper of dead fish off the beach