Real fishermen never quit while the fish are biting — even when it’s been hours since breakfast.
To ensure I don’t have to give up my seat on the banks of the Altamaha or Satilla to race to the nearest town for a burger — fishermen get hungry, too —I pack something to hold me over until the fish aren’t hungry anymore.
There isn’t time to build a fire and cook some of the panfish, bass or catfish you’ve caught, especially if you’re sitting in a boat. Still, you need to silence those stomach growls that are sure to scare the fish. In addition to bait and tackle, I take pimento-cheese sandwiches and a large bag of tater chips, which can be safely stowed atop several water bottles, cans of Vienna sausages and potted meat or packages of Slim Jim meat sticks, beef jerky and peanut-butter crackers.
By the way, if you’re a bit squeamish and don’t like the taste of worm dirt, cricket guts or mosquito spray with your snacks, I suggest you also bring along some Handi-wipes. If your hands already are a little fishy-smelling, scoop up some mud along the river’s edge, scrub your hands with it and rinse them off in the river, and then use the wipes or a hand sanitizer.
I don’t recommend licking your fingers after eating your Vienna sausages. By the way, I prefer Armour’s links, especially the smoked, hot-and-spicy and jalapeño varieties. It doesn’t bother me that they are made with meat scraps from chicken, beef and pork — I like them, anyway, especially when I’m fishing. In fact, when I’ve run out of bait, I’ve used Vienna-sausage chunks to lure catfish.
Armour also makes a good potted meat, if good is the right word. Potted meat definitely is an acquired taste. It’s a combination of mystery meats, which have been cooked together with spices and puréed and oozed into a small can. If I’m going to eat it, I prefer it on bread with lots of mustard, but you can eat it as dip with your tater chips or crackers. It does a really good job of curbing your appetite for anything else, which allows you to concentrate on fishing. In fact, I’ve used it as a cure for seasickness.
While your boat is being tossed to and fro, gobble down a potted-meat sandwich and pretty soon everything you’ve eaten in the last 12 hours is sure to come back to you. It’s good, then, to replace what you’ve just lost with salty tater chips and ice-cold water. Having cleared my system, I’m usually good for another hour of fishing in offshore waters.
Snack items I won’t eat while fishing include sardines. Sure, I’ve tried them, but the concentrated fish-oil flavor is so strong, I soon lose my desire to keep fishing or even keep what I’ve already caught. Other items I leave out of my backpack are pickled eggs and pickled pigs’ feet. Boiled eggs are good and easy to stow, and you can take along some dill pickles or pickled okra in a sealable sandwich bag.
There’s one thing about all of the above items I should mention. Whatever you bring and whatever you eat, take the trash back with you. Don’t even leave egg shells on the ground. It shows disregard for wild critters and other fishermen. When I see wrappers, empty bottles and cans on the shore of a lake, creek or river, I don’t think nice thoughts about the scumbag who left the mess.
It’s fishing season, so go fishing and take a snack along with you. Prove you’re a real fisherman by being respectful of the environment and other fishermen — don’t litter.
Email Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.