Saturday, October 04, 2008
Carol and Her Cast Net
Carol and Her Cast Net
By Richard E. Noble
Being an Eastpointer, of course, requires knowledge of both cooking and smoking mullet but it doesn't end there. You have got to know how to catch it also.
A traditional, non-commercial method for catching mullet is via a cast net. Cast netting for mullet is an old Eastpointer and Franklin County tradition. My wife Carol was not satisfied learning to catch mullet by throwing a cast net. She wanted to learn to make her own cast net too. And she did.
I really don't remember how long it took her to hand tie this net but it was a long time - a year anyway. She would sit in our camper, or outside by the campfire with her weaving tools and knot by knot tie this throw net. I was not convinced that she would ever really finish it - but she did.
And on this one auspicious Sunday afternoon we went over to Battery Park in Apalach and meandered out onto the pier to give Carol's new cast net a try. My old buddy Ronald the Redneck just happened to be out there with a pretty good Sunday afternoon crowd. I told him all about Carol hand crafting her net. He took a look at it and was mighty impressed.
Carol had been practicing throwing the net. She had finally mastered the technique. She could toss it and make it spread out pretty well on the front lawn. She was quite proud of herself.
So she got herself into the proper position. She had a portion of the net up over her shoulder and the weight line between her teeth and she gave it the old sashay and tossed that thing right out there.
It spread perfectly. It looked beautiful as it floated through the air and then settled on the surface of the water and started sinking rapidly. She had done it perfectly - except for one tiny detail. She forgot to loop the retrieving pull rope around her wrist. So, in effect, she had just thrown her net away. When I saw the rope handle out there floating, I looked at my wife. Her face was twisted in distress. "Richard! You've got to get it honey?" she pleaded.
How the heck was I supposed to get that darn thing? I had no idea but within a few seconds I was leaping off the pier and into the drink. I remember seeing a tiny piece of the handle of the green colored pull rope momentarily on the surface. I tried to gage my leap off the pier with one arm stretched out to grasp the rope where it had last been.
You won't believe this but no sooner did I hit the water than I felt that tiny rope hit the palm of my hand. I had the darn thing. It was a miracle.
When I came back up to the surface I held the rope up in the air where everybody could see. We had a crowd there now and I got a big cheer.
But the water level was about 10 foot below the level of the pier. I swam over to a wooden piling and tried shimming myself up the pole. I got up the piling far enough that I could hand the rope up to my wife who was lying on her belly and reaching down over the edge of the pier. She was just able to get it and pull her net up. But Dick was still down there clinging to a piling.
I kept trying to shimmy my butt up that pole. I remember shimming up poles when I was a kid but that was when I weighed 42 pounds and not 242 pounds. I was going nowhere fast and it was a long swim down the channel to solid ground.
Ronald the Redneck then appeared over the edge. He bent over at the waist and stretched his hand down to me and said; "Grab ahold and I'll pull you out."
At first I thought I would do as he said but then it occurred to me that I weighed over 200 pounds, if I grabbed onto his hand with him bent over as he was, why I'd just pull him into the channel on top of me. There was no way that he could reach down from the position that he was standing and pull 200 pounds up onto the pier with one arm. I mean come on!
"Ronald," I said. "I know that you are a big old, strong, country boy but you can't pull me up there. I weigh as much as you do."
"Do you want out of there or don't you?" he said.
"I want out."
"Well then get ahold, like I told you."
I thought Ronald was nuts but I reached up and grabbed onto his hand.
I no sooner got hold of his hand than I was skidding and bouncing up on that pier. I got a sliver in my nose from sliding along so fast. I couldn't believe it.
I rolled over on the pier and I looked up at Ronald who was standing there with a big grin on his face.
"Ronald, if I ever doubt your word again, you just bring me back down to this pier and throw me back in.
"I'll do that," said Ronald. And I know that he will and I also know that he can.
Richard E. Noble is a Freelance Writer and has been a resident of Eastpoint for around thirty years. He has authored three books: A Summer with Charlie, Hobo-ing America, and Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother which are all listed on Amazon. If you would like to stock his books in your store, he can be contacted by emailing him at Richardedwardnoble@gtcom.net.