"Grab" Finishing in the South: Hand Catchers of Fish Get Their Quarry in a Queer Sort of Way, Daily Racing Form, 1919-12-28


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"GRAB" FISHING IN THE SOUTH Hand Catchers of Fish Get Their Quarry in a Queer Sort of Way. "Grab" fishing, as practiced in southern waters, is just what its title implies. The fish have no option in the operation, writes E. L. Youhgers in Outers Kecreation. They may refuse the most t?.m,I!jinff.,.,ai,t !,n1 ma-v ,,llle away from the possibility of being ensnared in a seine, but the "grab" fisherman gets them, notwithstanding. During the summer mouths, when streams begin to dwindle there remains in the deep pools many large fish, lhey have cither delayed too long their return to the large connecting rivers, or remain for spawning purposes. A hatever the reason, they select a nesting place among the roots which overhang the banks of the stream and hide away. The "grab" fisherman, aware of this habit of i - !? bldes h!s time urtil the stream has withered down to a ribbon and there is no opportunity for the captive fish to escape. Then he strips for action and goes after his quarry. Hanging to overlapping roots or the stout edge of the bank he extends his feet far under, the bank until they come in contact with the body of the fish. Whatever the reason, the fish thus "nestings out" are in a state of semi -torpor and do not display much activity until aroused by their losing fight for life. Having located his fish, the "grabber" reverses his position and reaches in with his hands until he secures a grip in the gills of the fish. If it be a large specimen he calls for assistance, but a fish under fifteen pounds may be handled by a lone fisherman. -In any event, having fixed his clutch In the gill of his victim the "-grabber" drags the fish from its nest and the battle is on. It is the business of the assistant, or one of two or three assistants, to strike the fish, if a large one, on the head and stun or kill it, but this operation with a large fish and two or three men floundering about in the water is attended with more or less danger to the fisherman. There is also the matter of spines to be considered if the fish is of a variety that carries any sort of armor. A deep cut by .these spines is not to be taken tightlv, more especially if the victim has been exercising vigorously in the battle and his blood is heated to an unusual degree. However, the southerner does not travel far without his bottle of iodine and liberal applications are at once made to the -wound. There are other perils attending "grab" fishing which make a stab by the spines of a sixty-pound fish seem trifling. Chief of these is the ever-present possibility of finding some other denizen than the .fish occupying the "nesting out" place under the submerged roots. One of these fishermen in relating his experience and why he abandoned the game makes this clear. . "I had heard a lot about the fun of grab fishing and had watched other men engaged in the sport, until I was induced to take a hand. The water in the deep hole overlooking, perhaps a spot thirty by sixty feet, was over our heads at the deepest point. One of our party located and brought out a big catfish that showed a lot of fight, but in the ensuing battle I lost my first fears and felt the wild enthusiasm of the sport. Then I started exploring on my own hook. On the opposite side of the hole there was a dark cavern which looked promising, so I went across and began feeling out the space under the bank. Interlacing and partially submerged roots made the work slow and difficult, but quite soon I had the joyful sensation of feeling what appeared to be the smooth side of a fish. I reached in- and legaii fumbling for its gills, but could not locate them. The fish appeared to bo moving away, so I grabbed at its body at what appeared .a spot near the tail and gave a big surge. I lost my hold and fell back, for which I shall always be grateful, for there emerged, not a fish, but an angry water niiwcasin or unusual size, which had been resting its coil : n riMM lyl, not a I tack but me, swam swifllv across one comer of the hole and disappeared before my companions could intercept and kill it. "Bight then and there I gave up grab fishing .for all time. It is fine sport for those who like it. but I have had enough."

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1910s/drf1919122801/drf1919122801_2_9
Local Identifier: drf1919122801_2_9
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800