So I am working Central America in the late eighties, but when I get to come home I had bought a house on Sylvan Lake in Maywood in Olive Branch, Mississippi right across the Tennessee border from Memphis.
I was drinking too much in those days and would typically get up to some mischievousness during my short stays at home. Those were stress-filled years.
One of those day/nights/weekends included fishing Sylvan Lake while drinking (it is really more of a glorified big pond) ... and falling in the water out of the boat, swimming over to this stump pile, and laying my hand on the biggest water moccasin I had ever seen ... which probably had a lot to do with me being almost eye to eye with him and up to my chin in water trying to keep my drunk @$$ from drowning. He cut me some slack and I thanked him and he swam on ... but it gave me the eebie jeebies I can tell you that. I had already mentally accepted the fact that I was about to be bitten I was just hoping it was not going to be in the face.
Anyways ... so I finally get back to shore, because my buddy I was fishing with paddled back to shore without rowing over to pick me up once he saw the snake, his name was Mike, ... I get back to shore and I am pretty ticked-off that he had tipped the boat and caused me to fall out. But rather than stomp a mud hole in him right there, I planned my revenge.
You see, we had been planning on telephoning for fish when the sun went down - had been planning on doing it since the last time I was home.
We had gotten an old magneto type telephone, which had given us the idea in the first place, from a local antique shop in town. I had previously tried an old army crank field phone and it had not worked some months earlier ... but an old man who lived down on Old 78 (we called it Old 78, I think they call it 178 these days but it turns into Lamar as you get into Memphis), had showed us the error of our ways. His name was Spencer and I remember his wife's name was Mary and I think their last name was Wilder ... for anyone that may live in that area. A great old couple. True country folk who had lived their all their lives. Anyways ...
So later that night we had this magneto all rigged complete with fiberglass poles over each side of the jon boat and off we went ... Mike was just as blistered from smoking the mary jane and drinking, which he was notorious for doing and was the real reason I had been knocked out fo the boat earlier in the day - but once the sun went down he really cranked it up with the mary jane.
Well, we're cranking on that magneto down by the spillway and all of the sudden these fish start fluttering to the top. My intention was to dip them up with the net but if you stopped cranking they would regain their wits and swim off pretty quickly. So the plan was for me to crank in the back of the boat and Mike would reach over and net them ... but leave it to fat Mike he tries to grab one with his hand.
Over he goes, all 6'5" 300 pounds of him ... I thought I was going to have to tip the boat a little to get him in the water but he does it on his own.
Now, do I stop cranking? Heck no. I'm just laughing my @$$ off and cranking that magneto hard as I can and he is squealing like a little girl until he got out of range ... which wasn't too far, and over to the spillway where he climbs up on the rocks and out of the water panting like a wet dog that just swam in from Europe.
Justice was mine.
Later on, when we got back to the other side and on the shore, he said the shock was not unbearably painful, but that it seemed to hit him right in the gonads. Who knows why but that is what he claimed.
That's my only real experience with using a magneto to telephone for fish.
About three weeks later I caught my biggest bass in my life in Lake Managua from a little point just south of Santa Gertrudis on the other side of the lake from Managua using a survival rig, with live bait and a cane I had cut in the jungle and strung together out of boredom, while OPing in Nicaragua. I think they changed the name of the lake to Lake something else since then but I've always thought I would like to go back there and bass fish without having to worry about someone seeing me or shooting me. Or better yet, south of Managua was Lake Nicaragua and they say there is some of the finest bass fishing in the world there ... too bad the communists are everywhere down there.
Old surplus army phones do not seem to work. You need something more substantial, something with a bigger magneto in it. The magneto we were using, and it brings back memories and I wish I had managed to keep that old thing over the years, looked like a bunch of horseshoe magnets lined up with this round coil in the middle and a simple handle on the end that you cranked. The faster you cranked the more juice it turned out and it was pretty potent because I shocked myself with it accidentally out of water and it would sure as heck wake you up and make you smell burnt hairs in your nostrils.