#039;Perfect spot#039; may be Youngblood#039;s

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 5, 2003

They found the perfect spot to fish.

At least, that's what it seemed like when Howard Jackson, Sabrina Mahone and Debra Jean Mahone were fishing Monday. The three were using old-fashioned cane poles in the lower half of the pond below the Youngblood Dam, just off County Road 25.

Even if they hadn't been pulling several hand-sized bream out of the water, the setting still would have seemed perfect. Though summer heat was making its presence felt everywhere else in the county, beneath the shade trees, Jackson and Mahone were keeping cool. A light breeze stirred the grass and lifted dandelion puffs across the fishers and lightly set them down on the surface of the pond.

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Sabrina and her mother, Debra Jean, were having the most luck in pulling the fish out, but Jackson was having some luck - getting the fish to nibble on his worms without biting the hook.

Sabrina said she tries to go fishing "almost every day."

"I usually go down to Lake Simmie," she said, noting that this is her first trip to the Youngblood fishing hole.

"I pulled one out last week that must have been this big," gesturing with her hands to show a fish that must have weighed four or five pounds.

Jackson, on the other hand, is a regular. He grew up in the area and has long-loved the pond where his fishing line was drifting along. He said he used to swim in the upper half, but hadn't taken a dip in the waters in several years.

"You can get some good fish out though," he said.

According to Margaret Pace Farmer's 150 Years in Pike County, the Youngblood Mill Creek was home of two mills, both likely established around 1836. Founded by people named Youngblood who emigrated from South Carolina, the town of Youngblood gained much of its economic life from products produced and ground at the mills.

The worn remains of a mill are still visible above the fishing hole. From where Jackson and the Mahones are fishing, it's possible to see how the water spilling over the dam could have turned a turbine and provided energy for various purposes. A rusty piece of electrical equipment still stands by the pond's edge and an abandoned white building - perhaps once a store - sits by the water as a testament to days gone by.

But for Debra Jean Mahone, it's not so much the past that matters. It's the present, where she is doing a dance to celebrate the latest bream pulled from the quick-moving waters, and, perhaps more importantly, it's the future, when she plans to fry up the day's catches into a delicious meal.