April 3, 2007
The road to everyday peace is straight and narrow, smooth and well off the beaten path. Ward King enjoys going there about twice a week. He goes fishing every chance he gets and he gets a lot of chances to fish the Ocmulgee River.
"I see my line over there," Kings says. Lines tied to tree limbs that most people would never see.
"I feel him jerking." A four pound channel catfish took one bite too many.
On the river, Ward King finds more than fish. He finds piece of mind. "A lot of people say,' I'm depressed.' I don't even know what it is."
He knows about river water. As a second generation commercial fisherman now retired, he learned to pay a lot of attention to the water level. "You want to know what's coming and what's going."
He fishes one way when the water rises. "You want to change your way of fishing." Just the opposite way when the water level falls.
When not thinking about what the water rising and falling, he thinks like a channel catfish.
"You got to think of the way he's going to feed, the way he is going."
With all that knowledge, he seems to do the impossible-- catches fish when others don't. Ward started fishing when he was a teenager more than 60 years ago and his dad gave him a piece of valuable advice. When the channel catfish don't want to bite, try a piece of hand soap.
"Ivory. It's cheaper for one thing." And, that's no fish tale either. "After being there and seeing them do it, then I knew they done it."
Ten pounds of small and large catfish caught in a few minutes with hand-soap baited hooks also proves the old fisherman's secret still works.
Ward King knows exactly what floats his peaceful boat, a type of boat many people wish they had. King stopped his fishing for hire because customers got too picky about the size of fish they wanted.