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Excerpt: Squirrelly Bill, Elk River fisherman

"From the mouth of Wolf Creek up to Stony Creek was long the favorite haunt of 'Squirley [sic] Bill' Carpenter, who, by the way, was a son of Solomon Carpenter, the chap who was born under the rock, as already recounted.  'Squirley' was an all-round fisherman, a canoe builder and operator, flatboat builder, and steersman, raftsman and general waterdog and fisherman; he was the most inveterate, persistent and uncompromising fisherman ever known in the valley of Elk.  Spring, summer, autumn and winter made up the fishing season for him.  The river frozen over with ice a foot thick didn't daunt him in the least.  He would go up to the deep hole at Breech Clout, cut a hole in the ice, sit down on the rock - Breech Clout is the name of a huge rock jutting out from the north bank of the Elk, about one mile above Wolf Creek - and catch all kinds of fish, when it was so cold that any other living man would have frozen to death.  His usual method of fishing when the weather was warm, was to roll up his trousers about the knees and wade out as far as he could into the edge of a deep hole and stand there all day, or until he had as many fish as he wanted.  He was a bait and pawpaw pole fisherman, pure and simple, and despised the new-fangled fishing frumpery of rod, reel, flies or artificial lures, of any kind or character."

Source: W.E.R. Byrne, Tale of the Elk (1940).


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