Friday, December 10, 2010

George Washington, Fisherman

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

George Washington, General of the Continental Army,
President of the United States...
and Fisherman

“Fishing Case for the Pocket—
properly furnished with Line & ca.”

As it turns out, our Founding Father and first President of the United States, George Washington, was an avid fisherman. From childhood, Washington loved to go fishing and bring his catch home to be prepared and eaten. Well into his latter years he fished not only from shore, for any number of freshwater fish, but offshore as well as his documented catches of cod attest..

We are fortunate to have one of Washington's original tackle boxes! As you can see above in the picture of George Washington's fishing kit, he traveled light. His fishing equipment fit in his pocket, where he would be prepared to fish at a moments notice.As I mentioned earlier, Washington was a fisherman throughout his life, including during his Presidency; and the Potomac was full of fish with regular runs of shad and herring, according to accounts of that time.

Interestingly, it is said that Washington's favorite food was actually fish, and shad was his favorite among fish.

There are some that insist that General Washington was a fly fisherman. Unfortunately, there is no proof that he ever flyfished. (Sorry Troutragous.) He was meticulous in his record keeping, annotating every expense he incured. While there is mention of nets, fish hooks, and line, no mention is made of any flyfishing gear.

Washington was also involved in a commercial fishing enterprise, and this is also noted in his ledgers from Mount Vernon.  He actually made quite a bit of money in the business selling fish locally in Alexandria and other Virginia towns, but his best markets were the British colonies of the Carribean, where he sold barrels of his salted catch. An interesting aside which relates to the abuses ofthe English Parliment against the Colonies, is that of the salt tarriffs. The best salt came from the Mediterranean. Parliment levied such a high tariff on this salt, that the colonies were forced to buy the poor quality salt available from the British. Washington was greatly vexed by this and remembered it well.

It is both fascinating and gratifying to know that our First President was a sportsman of highest caliber.

This post is a direct result of my new found interest in the pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary era of the United States. As I search for the core values of America, those values that brought us to preemminence in the world, I will share with you what I find, both serious, and not so serious!  It is my belief that before I can understand where we are going, I MUST understand where we have been, what we were, how we became what we are. It will be a long journey, one that I hope you will share with me.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Search terms:
Washington, General George Wshington, George Washington, Washington as a fisherman, Mt Vernon fishing, Fishing in the Potomac, Washington fishing, George Washington's fishing gear,


Bob said...

Washington was my favorite of the Founding Fathers. While Thomas Jefferson is usually given credit for more intelligence, Washington was actually quite shrewd and his business acumen far outstripped that of Jefferson, who at his death was virtually bankrupt due to profligate spending.

One of my favorite anecdotes about Washington is that he used to boast of the sexual prowess of the Mt. Vernon mules in letters to friends.

Anonymous said...

That was a very interesting post indeed and an awesome history lessen. That tackle box has got to be the smallest I had ever seen.

Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

Albert A Rasch said...

Thanks Bob!

If my memory serves correctly, Washington, was the first to breed horses and donkeys for mules, as a buisness. His mules were popular as hard working and tractable creatures. As you said, his business accumen was without match.

Alexander Hamilton was slick though; best damned smuggler in the Colonies!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Best Boar Hunting Calibers Part I

Anonymous said...

An interesting history lesson--and also an interesting lesson about fishing tackle and traveling light.

Thank you so much; this post will save me a ton of money. In a month or two I'll print out two copies to use as bookmarks--one for the Cabela's Spring Fishing catalog, and one for the Bass Pro Shops catalog.

Any idea what those little brown bits are? Very old, deyhydrated scraps of meat or fish that George was planning to use as bait????