The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Monroe Tipton on Fishing

By Monroe Tipton © 1984

Issue: April, 1984

I would like to tell you about some fishing trips I have been on. First, I will talk about trout fishing. I remember I was on Burks Fork near Herman Kemp’s place. There was a woman fishing up above me. It was rather steep there. Anyway, it came a shower of rain. She put her umbrella up, which she held in one hand, her fishing rod in the other. I saw her get a good strike. At the same time both feet slipped out from under her. The umbrella went one way, and the rod and reel the other. She fell plum down in the mud and slipped in the creek up to her knees. Well, when she got out, I’ve never heard such talk from a woman in my life. I didn’t wait around long for I knew I would have to laugh and I was afraid she might flog me with her fishing rod.

Another time, I was fishing in New River near Paradise Point, which is near Allisonia, Virginia. Some man caught a twenty one inch brown sucker. He didn’t know what he had caught. About that time Steve Marshall came along. He told the man he had a very rare fish, a “bugle mouth bass”. He was going along, showing his fish to everyone and telling them what he had. I got so tickled, I simply got my stuff and went to the house.

Me and my brother-in-law were cutting timber for Blaine Huff. We had to go along what was called the “Cliff Road,” which ran right beside of Big Reed Island Creek. Now Heath Kemp always set out poles all along the creek and put big rocks on them to hold them down. One evening as we came in from work, we tied a big shoe on one line and different things to the other ones. Next morning we left early and hid behind some laurel bushes to await Heath. After a while he came to check his poles. When he saw the one with the shoe on it (the shoe had the pole bent almost in the water) he said, “Good God Almighty, I got a whale on that!” But when he pulled that shoe up, I’ve never heard a man cuss so in my life. We waited until he went on, then we left. We overtook him and I think he was mad at everyone in Carroll County. It was all we could do to keep from laughing.

Another time, I was fishing in a trout lake up above me. There was an old man and woman fishing there too. They quarreled and fussed all the time. The man would say to her, “Don’t throw like that,” and she would say, “Mind your own business. I do what I want to.” Well, the woman caught 17. He caught one. I didn’t catch any for I was too busy watching and listening to them.

Another time, Heath Kemp, Fred Dalton and I were fishing in Big Reed. I caught the first one, a nice catfish. Heath said it was no good day to fish. I said, “What do you mean? I already caught one.” At the days end, I caught 2. Fred caught one. Heath caught 37, but later we found out he was using Gypsy bait oil.

But the worst I have ever got away with was when Warren Sifford and I were fishing in the New River for white bass. We had fished for 6 hours and never got a bite. We had gone to the shade of some trees to eat some dinner when a little girl came by. She had been fishing where we were and pulled out 17 white bass, the least one was 14 inches long! I told Warren, “Let’s go to the house after being out done this way!”