It was a nice day as I drove through South Carolina.
Being hungry, I stopped at a McDonalds and ordered a
breakfast meal. Because I had driven almost thirty hours,
I decided to stay over for a few days and rest. After I
ate, I checked into a local motel, bathed, went to bed
and slept for almost twenty-four hours.
The next morning I walked across the street and asked the
bait shop owner where the nearest fishing hole was located.
After getting a detailed map, I purchased a three day
fishing license, bait and headed to the lake.
Opening my trunk, I carefully took out my fishing gear,
ice-chest, chair and tackle box. I put them on the lake's
edge, baited up and began to fish. Within an hour the sun
became rather hot and the air humid. I took a rag, dipped
it in the water and placed it over my head to try and cool
"Good morning," said someone, walking up from behind me.
When I turned around, I saw a Game Warden with a clip-board.
"Good morning," I said, as I nodded my head.
"Catch any fish?" he asked.
"No sir, just relaxing and wasting a little time."
"Can I see your fishing license?"
I reached in my shirt pocket and handed him the three
day license I had purchased at the bait shop.
"Can I see you driver's license also," he requested.
"I see the name on the driver's license is spelled Kiser
and the name on the fishing license is spelled Kaiser,"
said the warden.
"The gentleman at the bait shop must have written it wrong,"
I told him.
"Well, I am afraid I am going to have to write you up for
fishing with an invalid license and I am going to have to
confiscate your fishing gear."
"You've got to be kidding," I told him, with a surprised
look on my face.
Sure enough I was written up and all three of my fishing
rods and tackle box were taken and placed in his truck.
I was told that I would have to pay a fine and that my
fishing gear would be sold at auction.
I stood there almost in tears as he drove away. Those rods
and reels were very special to me. They had been used to
teach my children to fish. They had been used, for more
than twenty years, fishing with all my friends, and
relatives, who were now all dead. All my memories of
fishing the California Delta were held in those three
fishing poles and tackle box.
After returning to my home in Georgia, I telephoned South
Carolina trying to explain the situation, but no one would
listen. I was told that the Department of Fish and Game
had a "zero tolerance" for fishing and hunting violations.
Finally, in tears I paid the fine and gave up the fight.
About nine months later, I received a letter in the mail.
I have no idea who it was from as there was no return
address. On a plain piece of notebook paper read "Auction
for the Department of Fish and Game held this Saturday at
On Saturday, at six in the morning I drove out onto Interstate
95 headed to South Carolina. By ten o'clock I had found the
auction. As I looked around there were hundreds of rifles,
bicycles, several trucks, numerous boats and piles upon
piles of fishing equipment.
All at once, there it was -- my wonderful stuff all thrown
in a pile as if it were worth nothing.
I reached down and untangled my three fishing rods from
the large pile. I removed my shirt and t-shirt. After
putting my shirt back on I took my t-shirt and I began
wiping down the three Daiwa rods and the three
Ambassadeur reels. The tackle box was no where to be found.
As the auction began I took my seat. In my wallet was
twenty-seven dollars. For more than an hour I waited
for my property to be brought to the auction block.
"We have three identical rods and reels here. I guess
we will sell this as a unit," said the auctioneer.
"Fifty dollars," yelled someone in the crowd.
"Fifty one dollars," yelled another man.
I rose from my seat and I walked out of the auction.
"Sixty-six dollars," I heard as the bidding continued.
"One hundred dollars," came another bid. The auction
"One hundred dollars once, one hundred dollars twice,
one hundred dollars three times. Sold for one hundred
dollars," went the auctioneer.
I walked to my truck, got in and placed my head forward
onto the steering wheel and just sat there.
I jumped as I heard something hit the side of my truck.
I turned around and saw the back of a man putting my
three rods and reels, and my tackle box into the back
of my truck. When he turned around I saw it was the
same Game Warden who had written me the ticket almost
a year ago.
As I got out of the truck he stuck out his hand and
said, "I wasn't wrong. It's the law that is wrong."
I shook his hand, thanked him and drove away with
'memories in tow. I cried as I crossed the South
Carolina-Georgia state line. ~ Roger Dean Kiser
Credits: True stories from The Life and Times of Roger Dean Kiser,
We thank Roger for sending it to us.