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July 30, 2012


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How about the "Hornyhead", or the

B.Ruth-The part of the Little Tennessee that Stephen, Bill Burnett and I grew up on is way above any dams so the water flow stays pretty much constant throughout the day. If you know the river you don't get your boat stuck in the shoals and shallows. If you get into some of the rough places you might tip over. Especially if you were already tipsy when you got in the boat.

You know the hog that inspires the names for all these fish is an ugly animal and a scavenger too. Do we have second thoughts about eating him? No, we eat almost every part. And his rendered fat to cook and flavor many other foods.

What do you call a bacon flavored lollipop?

Down here we have a hog snapper, a salt water fish. I don't remember hearing about any of the hog fish you mention. Please enter me for Jim's book. I plan on taking up fly fishing when I get back to the mountains.

Love those terms...

Tipper, and Uncle Al....
Never heard of a goggle-eye!...
However, one time when I jerked a fish inside out, to set the hook, my husband said he saw its eyegoggles bulgeing out its sides.
He also told me to not get so excited and to calm down to set the hook, that it real hard to scale them when they were inside outards....!!!
Thanks, Tipper

We used to fish on the Little T...
Before we married, our kin and my husband, boarded the boat...We drifted down the little T using large corn kernels for bait...I can't remember catching but one trout...The memory was before we decided to head back, the water went down and the men had to get out and drag us back up the T between pools and rocks, where we launched...Another time after the children were born we went with my parents, picnic, life jackets for the kids. poles and corn,wormsm, etc. We took off the kids jackets, to eat our picnic...
The water was very you can imagine my son threw in or dropped his little hammer toy...he reached in to grab it and over he went...bobbing...I screamed and in I jumped over him dragging him to the bank...He thought it was funny, I thought I was a gonner...I made him eat with his life jacket on...They learned to swim that very summer..but swift water is still no match, with limbs in and hanging over the edge, even if the child is a good swimmer...
PS...I did a research on all the fish of the Little T...Mollybottems, several darters, catfish, trout, on and on..Several sucker fish, named by hog molly and hog sucker...They ain't too ugly, but the Mollybottoms, is a spotted big mouth ugly fish...You know what, we need these scavengers, that eat mussels, snails, algae and most of all decaying leaves. Imagine if all our mountain creeks and streams didn't have those bottem feeders that like rotten leaves...ewwwww!

Tipper--Hog suckers are, as Stephen Ammons points out, common in the Little Tennessee as well as most mountain streams of much size. I'd never heard of eating them here in the mountains, but as Mary Shipman rightly points out, elsewhere they are prized fare. Most of the spearing, snaring, or gigging of them is done during their spring spawning runs when they move into small feeder streams. Properly prepared they are wonderful, and the bones (which they are full of) just sort of melt away. Unfortunately, I've only eaten them a couple of times and don't know the secret of preparation although I suspect it involving scoring the body at several places and deep frying. I know the sweet, white flesh is delicious.
Jim Casada
P. S. I was part of a shocking team that sampled two places on Deep Creek last year and we brought up a goodly number of hog suckers, but nothing like the numbers I saw as a boy and young man. Otters have played hell with them as they have with trout.

We must not have any of those hog fish in these parts. I've never heard of them, but we could be calling them another name. Regardless, they sound too ugly to eat!

These are certainly descriptive names, there is a visual attached to each one. I am not so familiar with fresh water fish as I am with salt, but I don't think I would like that one either.

We just used the general term "sucker" and no we never ate or did much else with them. It is interesting how differently other parts of the country refer to fish. Anyone heard of a goggle-eye?

Hog suckers, are considered nongame fish here in Missouri. and are prized fish on a gigging trip.
Cleaned rolled in seasoned cornmeal and deep fried on the bank, with hush puppies and potato wedges! Yum!
The first night of gigging seaason here is always a big celebration, fishing after dark in the lighted boats, a big gathering of family and friends, a little picking and singing and a lot of fun.

We used to catch fish with circular bloodshot rings or sores on their sides. Kinda like teenagers get on their necks. We said "a sucker has been ahold of it," and would put it back. The big headed, small bodied catfish your description calls a hog molly, we called a mud cat. Ours sometimes had big bodies with huge heads. Mud cats are good to eat if you keep them in clean fresh water for a few days. Blue cats and channel cats are both beautiful animals coming out of the water and look even better floating in a pan of grease. All three have stingers on the sides of their heads and will stab you if you don't know how to handle them. They say if you do get stuck by one, you can rub the slime off their belly onto the wound and it will take the pain away. I've tried it and it works! I saw Clayton DeHart get stung by a big catfish. He had on rubber boots and the stinger went through it and into the side of his foot. He couldn't get the boot off and he couldn't get the fish off the side of his foot. He was hollering for help and hopping around with a fish stuck on his boot. The sight would have been comical except for the terrible pain he was in. Somebody else had to yank out the stinger for him. He put the belly slime on it too and the pain eased after a while.

The Hog Sucker and the Red Horse are common fish in the little Tennessee but I have never heard of anyone trying to eat them. As a matter of fact I was always told not to use the Sucker for cut bait to fish for catfish because they wouldn't touch them.

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