Fishing Tale, 1867

A brief note on the pleasures of fishing appeared in the Nebraska City News, May 25, 1867. The piece is unsigned, but the author may have been J. Sterling Morton, then editor of the News. “Twelve gentlemen, including ourself, one life-boat, and two wagons laden with edibles, drinkables, netts, guns, dogs, &c, &c., paid a visit to the lake about ten miles below the city, on the Iowa side, yesterday, for the purpose of fishing and hunting.

“Arriving at our destination about eleven o’clock, the life-boat was launched and the sinking and dragging of the seine commenced. It was found necessary to have half a dozen men in the water constantly; straws were drawn, the persons drawing the smallest were declared elected to fill the honorable and eagerly sought for (?) positions. Messrs. Terry, Miller, Whittredge, Shoaf, McCallum, Wilson, Mahan and ourself were duly elected and installed instanter. The first drag of the nett and we were the happy possessors of a diminutive snapping turtle and a muscle shell. Our poor luck was attributed to the along-shoremen who were all giving orders of different kinds and at the same time.

“It was finally decided, that those in the water should have control and the management of the nett, and that those on the bank should string fish, dress the aforesaid snapping-turtle and prepare dinner. We were elected captain of the waterdogs, or in other words to wade out into the lake up to our chin; from this time forth matters with ourself went on swimmingly. The fish caught were so large and numerous, that at times the horses were pressed into the service to drag the netts out. Five of the largest were cooked for dinner, and ‘there were of fragments left, twelve baskets full’ and nary a drop of lager.

“After loading both wagons with the spoils of the day the party started for the city and arrived at the ferry an half [hour] too late to cross on the ferry boat. The party transformed themselves into fish-mongers and supplied the denizens of the thriving town of Eastport with fish at ten cents per pound–taking in pay hard-boiled eggs, candy, tobacco, cigars, bird dogs, and lager beer. At this point Miller and Whittredge showed symptoms of fatigue, produced no doubt, by the great quantities of lake water drunk. All hands arrived at home safe and in good spirits, at dark.”


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