In the good ol' days when I was a kid we lived near the beautiful Llano River. Most summer weekends you could find my family camped out on the river. It was a paradise meant for playing in the sand, climbing granite boulders, swimming and fishing.
My dad would lead us to a remote spot, away from the noise of crowds. Walking in to camp was not so bad, provided we could jump into the river as soon as we found our camp. We had boundless energy and we loved being on the river with Mama and Daddy. Our packs were good ole burlap bags which we called toesacks. Dad would carry the heavy one with the cast iron skillet and shortening, sometimes with one of the smaller kids on his shoulders. Mom and kids would carry the fishing supplies, spare clothing, bedding and the baby.
Fishing gear was easy to carry because we only carried the string, hooks, sinkers and corks. Oh, and a can of earthworms we had dug up from the backyard. My dad would cut willow poles for us to fish with. Each of us could properly "string" out poles, assemble the line, and bait the hooks. We even knew which hook to choose for the kind of fish we wanted to catch. We also had a way of catching live bait. My brothers always caught a bug they called a "helgamite". I was not afraid of bugs but those helgamites looked a little scary so I stayed away from them.
We were river rats of the hightst order, we loved swimming and playing in the water. The only reason we got out at all was because we also loved to fish. Even baby brother loved to go "pishin". There was always excitement when we landed a fish. We always cleaned our catch and my parents would cook them up for supper.
I rarely get the oppurtinity to fish anymore, but when I do think about my dad and how much he loved to fish. The memories of these special days linger in my heart and in my mind I can still see the golden flash of the sunperch and feel the warm sand on my toes.