July 1, 2004
Tift County-- One of our popular leisure activities, preferred by more people than golf and tennis combined, just got better for one fisherman in particular.
In a world where people expect convenience, L.A. Scott must have the most convenient fishing hole in the world. "It's real fishing as far as I'm concerned, better than sitting on a pond bank," says Mr. Scott, as he holds a rod and reel in his left hand.
He fishes in his backyard pool. "There's nothing fancy about it, but it's a big one," says Mr. Scott. He built the pool in the 60's for his children to enjoy and they certainly did, but soon they moved away, leaving him with a money pit.
Those expensive chemicals and electricity no longer made economic sense. Mr. Scott's pool is longer and wider than most, with 12 feet of water at its deepest end, with plenty of room for the fish. So, converting it into a fishing hole made sense.
The pool, with light green water, still has its chrome hand rail on the shallow end, chrome ladder near the deeper end and a diving board. "Got one. Oh, man," says Mr. Scott as he feels a tug on his line. It's cheap fishing."
Convenient fishing, less than a minute's walk from his back door to the pool. He clamps his rod and reel to the diving board, with cat food available for throwing out to entice the fish to come eat. "Won't be long before you can't hold him in your hand," says Mr. Scott, just before he throws the fish back into the pool.
The pool has a new use, becoming a home for hundreds of fish. "Probably 300 to 400 catfish and 200 or 300 brim," says Mr. Scott to says the fish don't taste like traditional fish when cooked. Mr. Scott learned that his fish want variety, feeding hotdogs one day, worms on another day.
Sometimes they throw leftover grits in water and soon the fish eat them. They like corn meal, too. "Getting a bite," shouts Mr. Scott The catfish particularly like cat food. "We can catch a lot of fish on cat food." He has a fish on his line and as he pulls the fish over poolside, he realizes he caught another bream. "He's a beautiful little fish," says Mr. Scott
The fish gets a break. Mr. Scott throws it back into the pool. "I'll eat him later when he grows some more," says Mr. Scott.
He really likes to hook a catfish, says some of them weigh six-and-a-half pounds each, giving Mr. Scott quite a tug when the fish swallowed the bait. It seems as if the catfish comes out of nowhere and attacks the hook. A fierce battle happens with the catfish winning occasionally, somehow getting off the hook before Mr. Scott pulls him in to eat.
Life as a fish in a backyard swimming pool has its risks. "Oxygen turnover, and in that case, all of them will die." Mr. Scott learned from that mistake after losing all his fish one year. He bought a machine he tied to the diving board that helps get oxygen in the water, a machine he hasn't turned off in three years.
L. A. Scott doesn't worry about having fresh fish to eat, doesn't worry about maintaining a swimming pool either, he enjoys fishing, swallowing it hook, line and convenience.