Killing time by the Alabama

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Monday’s temperatures topped out at 93 degrees, but that didn’t deter Gilbert Simpson Sr. from pursuing his passion of fishing.

“I’m used to it,” said Simpson. “I walk around in the heat, so I can come out here for hours and it don’t bother me.”

Three times a week, Simpson stakes his claim along the banks of the Alabama River near the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It became a part of his routine two years ago, a short time before Crown Laundry laid him off.

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The secluded spot is reachable from Old Montgomery Highway and a slow pace through potholes on the gravel road. A steep descent down a packed-dirt trail leads to the sandy embankment where Simpson tends to three poles supported by Y-shaped sticks.

“I’m killing time,” said Simpson. “It’s just fun. I’m just passing time.”

He arrived at his spot at 8 a.m. Monday, and fished until he ran out of bait — shrimp and crawfish. More than seven hours yielded five fish.

“Sometimes you come out here, you might not catch nothing,” said Simpson. “They don’t be biting all the time. They’re biting slow today.”

The catch didn’t include two fish that escaped the poles with damaged mouths, full bellies and, most important, their lives. Simpson won’t have to worry much. He will have more opportunities, weather permitting. The one thing that will keep him or his poles from the business at-hand is a muddy embankment.

The frustrations won’t keep him at bay either. He has reeled in enough fish to hold more than one fish fry in the past, and feels he has found a hot spot. But, his best fishing advice puts the proverbial ball in his prey’s court.

“Hope they bite,” said Simpson. “Sometimes they bite. Sometimes they don’t.”