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Fish in a Barrel
by Thomas Threadgill




Our hunting camp on the Tombigbee River had an old duck pond that we kept filled during the winter for hunting and let drain in the summer. On this summer day, my five cousins and I happened to be there in between the full and empty stages. The pond had shrunk to about the size of a small swimming pool and held about two feet of water. It looked more like a hog wallow than anything else.

As curious youngsters, we couldn't help but notice the occasional boils that broke the surface of the chocolate waters. Upon further inspection, we found the pond to be full of large carp. These fish resemble big ol' goldfish. They had entered the duck pond through a connecting stream and had become trapped by the receding waters. Though we were a mile away from the camp house and without fishing poles, we weren't going to squander an opportunity like this. We waded right in (with an open eye for water moccasins)!

The carp, aware of their pursuers but unaware of an escape route, began darting in circles. They kicked up huge wakes with the thrusts of their tails. Their splashing was only outdone by the leaping of youngsters at the muddy swirls. The fish were difficult to catch! They slipped through our grasp and dodged our swooping arms. Their timely maneuvers often left us tangled up with each other.

When the waters settled, the six of us, all muddied and tired, sat on the shores next to 25 carp ranging from 5-7 lbs. Most folks don't consider carp a delicacy, but our friends down the road were more than happy to take the fish off our hands.

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Thomas writes: "I am a southern boy from Mississippi. I enjoy hunting, fishing and other outdoor excursions, and I attend St. Andrew's school." E-mail Thomas at tcbt123

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