Fishing boats on the Green River, Kentucky

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This is a splendid, entertaining piece of film about some fellas who have built traditional flatties for fishing on the Green River. Also check out the shanty boat film below – I have a feeling this is rather more made-for-entertainment, but it’s great fun and the most amusing thing most of us will see today. And those boys can’t half play!

All my life I’ve been awash with American culture – music, film, TV shows, fashions, products – and the USA often feels like a close relative – but despite all of that watching these movies is a powerful reminder of just how far away and how different life the USA really is for most British people.

My thanks to in reader Larry Henry for bringing these two clips to my attention.

11 thoughts on “Fishing boats on the Green River, Kentucky”

  1. Gavin,

    Those good ol' boys may be amusing, but it's no joke! Rural Oregon, where I live, is much like these videos. Especially the part about cutting your tomatoes with the same knife you dressed a deer with. Completely uncouth! There are guys around here who would rather fish than anything. And they talk dumb, too. You learn to not laugh until the punch line. Maybe I should start a line of flat bottomed boats! Our rivers don't meander like that, so they'd need a bit more freeboard.


    1. Oh I realise it's all real enough… There's rural England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland too, and I've long held the view that they have more in common with much of the USA than they have with, say, London. But as a country boy myself, at least I can usually understand what they say!

      That Green River does seem very still in the video.

  2. Tell you what, those "Moron Brothers" ain't no morons. Two beds, a wood stove, a roof over your head, a good guitar and time to play it, and good fishin. What more could a man ask?

    A wife?


  3. Gavin, I grew up in Kentucky, not so far from where this was filmed. My first college experience was in this exact locale, at Western Ky. University. A favored distraction was an evening at a restaurant which overlooked the Green River and served native catfish from the river, fried in cornmeal, along with the southern delicacy, hush puppies and a side dish of green tomatoes. It's unlike anything else, and so delicious we would lust for it. I go back to my home once a year or so, but this has transported me once again. Thanks

  4. Cheers Al –

    No their name doesn't do them justice and probably isn't a very good joke. But if you look closely, I'm prepared to bet that Doc Watson's signature on that guitar is only one of a very starry collection.


  5. "The Moron Brothers" are a "Kentuckiana" (Indiana & Kentucky) Bluegrass/Folk duo that play festivals in this area.

    Quite a lot of Bluegrass here even if local so called "Country" radio won't play it…Bill Monroe used to have a festival in Beanblossum in Brown County Indiana back a few ago.

    I'd love a Green River Boat to use on Scot County's Muscatittuck River which flows into the White River which flows into the Wabash River which flows into the Ohio River, which joins the Mississippi which empties into the Gulf Of Mexico….(Phew…LOL)

    May you float on soothe waters…


  6. To understand just how far apart we might be between the UK and US do a youtube search for noodling. A more materials efficient way of fishing than building a boat first.

    I really like down home people and have a few relatives in Missouri who come close to all of this. I have a great time when ever there.

    Thanks for posting this article. I also really liked the "Rivers" documentary series on the BBC. I missed a few episodes.

  7. Say what they will about catfish and hushpuppies, that guy in the bow of the boat on the Green River is still fly fishing.

    Whereas the "Surf & Turf" in most of the country is steak and lobster, in the mid-west it can easily be catfish and a pork chop. For the uninitiated, catfish is one of the best eating fish in the world.

  8. Let me add another observation on the music. A lot of Scots-Irish immigrants wound up in the Kentucky country, just over the Appalachians. They brought with them the Scotch fiddle music, which I believe is a direct descendant of bagpipe music from the era when the pipes were outlawed. This fiddle music evolved into Bluegrass and on into Country & Western music. My theory, at least.

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