North Carolina Newspapers

Page 2, West Craven Highlights, June 3,1982
The Mullet Stroke I Remember
By Jonathan Phillips „ .....
Special Correspondent BARROW
Don’t ask me why, but it ain’t like it was a couple of 1 •
years ago. With the mullet, I mean. XV0m0m.O0I*inff
A few years back the Neuse River this time of year a- ... . u . .. j j
was so full of jumping mullet that nobody, not even f/""® 1",
guys like me for whom actually catching a fish is a dead, your Pubhsher of Highlights
minor miracle, could avoid nabbing a few if they t r^^i,
went after them. educated man but he had to ask me
It’s not that easy now. ®?tin-up was. We i to tell the truth I didn’t
Either there just aren’t as many mullet in the ^now either till I went off to teach school. You learn a
Neuse and other area rivers now (most likely) or wh w
there are just as many, but they don't jump any more Timp« ha T t
(less likely) j ^ j Times have changed. In my day, as a child, you
At any rate, I can no longer catch a mullet. The ^ ^
reduced number of jumping mullet has made my 1 ™ r R a h-
particular fishing techniques obsolete. Spencer Roach s to have it made They to d him what
Mullet anyone? P^^
I never had much pati;nce with a hook and line. If ""{Ji" wanted the
the turtles don’t get my bait, the little fish do, and " 7 i' ^ r ^
after a few hours of feeding $3.59 a pound shrimp to '*"7 ,7
25 cent a pound fish and dime-a-dozen turtles, I get trimming. Years later 1903 inaybe, people
frustrated could go to Ayden or Grifton and buy caskets or cheap
But mullet fishing was a different story. coffins. 1910 a coper lined casket cost us $150.00 (no
Then I could take my 12-foot Sears and Roebuck ,
lightweight aluminum jonboat with the peeling Oh well-we didn t have funeral homes close by-we
green paint, tie up to a piling, and wait for the op graves dug for us-cars and drivers
mullets to jump by furnished to take the family, all of which has to be
With a slightly warped but still sound Slazenger |"‘;;«ded with vault and casket-means a funeral has
tennis racket, I could swat the fish into the boat as exppsive.
they jumped past settin-up in Vanceboro is called “Visiting 7 to
On a good day I could fill the boat with jumping ^"PP^'-tumty to visit with
mullet, each with a tennis racket burn on the gills.
Skeotics places it is called “the Wake”. People who have
Of course, there are those who are skeptical of this ''‘f “P really ^ve a- party,
particular fishing technique. 7'"^’. P«°Pl«
There was this lawyer in Havelock who fishes nets happped ^wn South-an
in the Neuse ° woman, who was a devout Christian, loved and
“I’ve caught mullets in my net.” he said, “and when ■ "Pf^^tly,- die^her
a mullet gets scared he tenses up and becomes very was not going to be any frolic or
hard. I don’t think you could swat them in the boat "^"7 ?"n t! fo*-Mama. The visitors came
without breaking your racket.” f m respectful for which
Shows what a Havelock shyster knows. You just ^^e fami^ were thankful. Next mpning, after the
gotta have a smooth stroke and use a little backspin. ^ h JT a .T®"’ I f th^/ami y
Other than that, the • only major problem is flf f
smackingamulletoutof bounds, into somebody else’s Se Xh The W^ ^
Mullet elbow teaching days 1907-every teacher was
The Colonel wanted to try this method of fishing.
but he is also a tennis player, and wanted to know if ® u h""'
mullet-swatting would ruin his tennis stroke. fh Zl
I have no idea, since I don’t play tennis, but I do ^avetoslpp in was the ghost room. The people of the
recommend a wood racket with nylon strings, though ^^^^ly told me every ghost story abop
I have seen metal rackets used effectivell No gut house and vowed it was trp. “Miss Lela, aren’t
strings, however: they can’t take the moisture of Z.TJr^ . Tf
repeated contact with wet fish. schoolgirls went with me-she asked me how was I
There are problems, however. ^ the door so the g^st couldn’t open it
For one thing, toward the end of the summer f° fu
mullet get smart and don’t jump when they see you ^oto to worry-I locked the ^or pd propped it
out with your racket. The thing to do then is dress up ^
in white shorts, a white alligator shirt and a floppy ^ ^ *u- u r i* -i ,
hat. That way they think you’re really on your way to f, f,’
play tennis and don’t get scared. ^ ^ roomfull
Theotherproblemisthedreaded“mulleteIbow”.a of friends very qmet, talking just above a whisper,
soreness which sets in after prolonged mullet someone told something funny we almost
swatting.I’veneverhadthisproblem.sincemysmall ^
boat gets full and sinks before I’ve ever swatted ^'‘77 ‘^-^/ame and pnounced “daylight
enough mullet to get a case of mullet elbow.
To serve mullet daylight was coming. We had never heard the way he
Don’t get the impression that I am the world’s top- it. and we had to laugh at him.
ranked mullet-swatter. I learned from an old hermit « ^”‘1 has made Hp world in such order y fashion
who lives in an abandoned duck blind on Chocowinity ^pipture tells us if a man ^es. he shall live again.
Bay Christ exemplified it with His resurrection.
This old coot is so skillful that he can swat a mullet Th#>nfrA TTr»H»t» Tlio Ckfav>c
into the back of a 22-foot workboat-witha 30-year old Uliuei 1 lie
Wilson racket”with enough backspin to make it Summertime is outdoor drama time in North
bounce off the deck and into a cooler up in the bow. Carolina. Plan now to visit one of the state’s fine
Compared to a genius like that. I’m still a rookie. outdoor productions.most of which play during June,
Why, until a year ago I still didn’t know if “serving July, and August. They range from the thrilling
mullet” meant putting cooked fish on the table, or story of “The Lost Colony,” of Roanoke Island to the
tossing live ones into the air and smacking them into tragedy of the Cherokee Indians, told beautifully in
a competitor’s boat. “Unto These Hills.” Ticket prices are reasonable.
And with the current mullet shortage, it doesn’t theatres are attractive, and evenings at the theatres
seem as though I’ll get the chance to improve any. make ideal family entertainment. They also add up to
Guess I’ll just have to get into a different racket. a surprisingly large fraction of the state’s tourist
dollar, year after year. Cal! the Theatre Arts Section
It Pays To Advertise Department of Cultural Resources in
Raleigh for details, (919) 733-2111.
Insurance #
RALEIGH-The North Carolina Employment
Security Commission (ESC) recovered $239,290.32
in unemployment insurance overpayments during
April 1982 according to figures released today by the
Ron Hawks, supervisor of ESC’s Benefit Payment
Control Unit said, “As very poor economic conditions
continue, there appear to be increased incidents of
fraud particularly in the larger metropolitan areas
where a greater number of benefit payments are
In April the unit investigated 460 persons who
have claimed or currently are claiming
unemployment insurance benefits. Th^^
investigations showed 219 (48 percent) weiUr
overpaid $44,677.00. The commission classified 72
cases as fraud and 147 as non-fraud. Fraud cases are
classified as such when a claimant is proved to have
knowingly made a false statement on a claim which
resulted in overpayments. Non-fraud overpayments
result generally from unintentional filing errors
with which fraudulent intent cannot be associated.
During April, 74 persons were tried in state courts
on charges of unemployment insurance fraud. All 74
were convicted.
Guilty verdicts were rendered in 25 of the state’s
100 counties. Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Granville,
Hoke, Johnston, Sampson, Tyrrell and Wilson each
had one guilty verdict. Chowan, Nash, Rowan and
Stanly each had two. Buncombe, Columbus, Guilford
and Wake each had three. Gaston County had four
guilty verdicts. Cumberland, Mecklenburg, New
Hanover, Robeson and Rockingham had five.
Forsyth had six and Durham County had ten guilty
“We will continue our efforts to identify,
investigate and prosecute recipients who violate the
provisions of the Employment Security Law,” said
Looking For A ‘Fishy’ Story?
The Tar Heel state offers fishermen a wide variety
of fishing opportunities and hundredsofthousandsof
North Carolinians engage in the sport, from the trout
streams of the mountains, to the streams, lakes and
farm ponds in the Piedmont and coastal plains where
largemouth bass, stripers and bream can be found in
abundance. The folks in the North Carolina Wildlife
Resources Commission may not tell you where the
best places to fish are, but they’ll be glad to fill you in
on more information about fishing in the state.
Contact Tom Taylor at (919) 733-7123.
West Craven
Craven County’s Family Weekly Newspaper
R.L. Cannon, Jr.!-
Bu.sinoss ManaRcr
Christine Hiil
Office Manager
Betty Daugherty Sharon Buck
News Production
Kdith Hodges
Mike Hodges
P.O. Bo.x 404. Main Street. Across from the Post Office
Vanceboro, North Carolina 28580
Phone: (919) 244-0780, (919) 244-0508
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