Bringing Back the Old Ways

Check out the crushers that are located inside a sheepshead mouth!

A Little Miss Judy’s Believe It or Not Story!

Did you know that a sheepshead can suck the insides out of a fiddle so fast that it is known for leaving the empty crab carcass still hanging on your hook? This is definitely a fast move in my book! I am always telling customers, especially after they say, “Yep, my crab is still good!” My usual snappy comeback is, “Are you sure?” And 9 times out of 10 when we are on a strong sheepshead bite you’re left over crab is just an empty fiddler shell hanging on your hook. When these fish are in the competitive feeding mode they are quick!

Back in the good old days when we had to rely on the old ways, it was a known fact that most fish found themselves schooling and surviving closer to land. As time went on due to too much “fishermen invasion” (and many other things) the fish were forced to move to deeper waters. I wish to write a fish story in regards to catching near shore, way back when, while using a cane pole. The old cane pole probably wasn’t the first type of so-called fishing device used. If I had to guess I would have to say that an old limber tree limb probably made its debut originally. I would assume after thinking about it a fisherman saw a limb hanging out over the water and came up with this idea. I just guessing here, but keep reading it am going to get interesting. Whatever the case may be there were probably many responsible for inventing the “the fishing pole” and they didn’t even have a clue.

In Captain Judy’s book of old time fish catching history there are two types of cane poles. Without going into any kind of research pattern I will tell you what I know about them. There is the cane pole that had insides and one that is hollow. The one that had insides is the one that you need to use. The other once dried out just crumbles into pieces. Heck, sometimes even before it dries out! I came to this conclusion as a small child. The reason being is the fact that my next-door neighbor Mr. Eminent Bridges had a great big so-called cane patch in his back yard. The side that faced our house was always missing a few limbs, because as a small child I would cut some poles from time to time. As a child I didn’t know the difference. When the hollow cane poles were green they had somewhat of a limber stage to them. That’s if you used the narrowest part closes to the top of the pole. However after a while the limberness was gone, the pole dried out, it turned brittle, and it basically broke up into splinter like pieces. No fishing pole device here. My Aunt Hattie has a real cane pole patch with the ones that grew complete with insides. Once they were air-dried they made great fishing poles. By air-dried I mean dried in the natural old sun and air. I know you probably knew that already, but I had to just throw that in there. I know I am getting out there with this story. Please keep reading I am going somewhere with it.

This is little Miss Judy way before becoming a charter boat captain. This picture was taken during the cane pole fishing era! Don’t you think my father’s Barber did a great job on my hair? I call this the famous bowl cut! I swear sometimes I think they are still cutting my hair like this today!

Now that you know about the different kinds of poles I can get to the real point of this story. You know the old saying “perch jerking?” Well, now you can go “sheepshead jerking!” Well, it goes something like this: You tie a short piece of line to the tip of a cane pole, drop in your bait offering, get a hit, jerk your pole up, take your fish off, and start over. Back in the old day many years before my father started fishing the basic fishing pole was the only fishing device available. In other words when you fished with a pole you had better know the art of being a “jerker!” With all that being said, “It worked great for sheepshead!” In fact long after the so-called “metal limber rods” were invented the “old fishing pole” still ruled in the sheepshead catching department! I’m certainly not suggesting that you try using a cane pole while offshore fishing in 40 feet of water when targeting the winter sheepshead. However, for those that do have problems catching sheepshead when they are feeding around pilings a cane pole is going to be your ticket to this ride! Once again this is one of those suggestions that if you try you certainly don’t have to tell anyone. For those that don’t want to be seen with a cane pole while traveling to the fishing grounds it makes a great whip style flag holder. It is never too late to get yourself a cane pole with insides, a flag of your choice, and to start making way to that favorite fishing spot!

Thanks for reading! – Captain Judy

Captain Judy Helmey
Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956
124 Palmetto Drive
Savannah, Georgia 31410
(912)-897-4921 or (912)-897-2478
(912)-897-3460 [Fax]

You can find Judy’s Savannah fishing report here.