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Fishing Without a Pole

Fishing with Devil’s shoestring is a trick I never heard about until recently.  In south Georgia, there is a plant – a weed called the Devil’s shoestring.  Apparently young boys knew that the easiest way to catch fish is to take devil’s shoestring and smash it up with a rock, then throw the plant into the water and wait.   Several minutes later, fish float to the top where they can easily be picked up and put in a poke and taken home for Mama to cook.  As Daddy told me this story, I said ‘surely that can’t be good for you to eat poisoned fish’.  He said – they’re not poisoned.  Devil’s shoestring is a natural source of rotenone – an oxygen-stealing chemical that simply swallows up the nearby air from the water and suffocates the fish, leaving them as easy pickings.

The older ladies who normally fished the creek banks to feed their families were not appreciative of the boy’s efforts nearby, so they usually moved off when they got too near the ladies, so as not to arouse suspicion.  In this part of the country, the counties barely had enough money to keep the school doors open, but they somehow found enough money to have a full time game warden – who seemed to follow the boys around.

Devil’s shoestring link:

Go buy some dried root over at the voodoo store:

© 2019 Susan Bulloch

Categories: Dad's Stories


I write. I fix computers. I feed cats.

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