I do not usually read EXPLORING KANSAS OUTDOORS in the CourierTraveler by Steve Gilliland, but the picture of the bluegill at the top of his May 14 article caught my attention.

As a youngster growing up on Fall River in Greenwood County, bluegill fishing was a regular summer activity for my friends and me. It didn’t take us long to fill up a minnow bucket. We always felt sad when a bluegill swallowed our grasshopper-tail-baited hook. That was a death sentence for the little fish. After removing the hook, we would gently toss the fish back into the river hoping somehow it might live.

We would take them to the bait house to be sold for two cents each. The high school farm boy that worked at the bait house would count them and throw out a few that looked unhealthy. One could make fifty cents a day and in the mid 1950s that was a lot. Fifty cents would get you a grape soda, a frozen Babe Ruth Bar and a baseball card with a sheet of bubble gum.

I do not consider myself to be an overly softhearted soul but “Bluegill batting” broke my heart. Steve and his buddies thought it was great fun and almost an olympic sport to catch a blue gill, throw it into the air and bat it with a canoe paddle into the next field. What!! Steve was so proud of this invented activity that he continued to debate it for an entire paragraph. Really sad Steve … really sad.


Donald G. Bennett

Arkansas City

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