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A Trip Back to a Stream

Michael Simonton • Aug 1, 2014 at 10:10 AM

As a kid, my parents would take me, my sisters and our friends to a small creek that met the Sandusky River just south of Fremont.

It was only about a ten minute drive from the house I grew up in. We were probably in second or third grade when we first started going. Our main purpose for going was to play in the water and catch crayfish. We spent many hot summer days there. Catching crayfish was the main reason I liked going. At first, I was scared to put my hand in the water near a crayfish but after a few visits, I was no longer scared of any crayfish. One of the first ways I learned to catch crayfish was with a small stick about the size of a number two pencil. The idea was to find a crayfish that doesn't see you or get one that is in the defense position with its claws up and quickly use the stick to apply pressure to the crayfish's back, then use your other hand to pick it up. After you get the hang of it, it's super easy. As I got better, I know longer needed to use a stick to catch the crayfish, but only my hand. The same principal applied, just without the stick. I'd quickly put my hand on the crayfish's back and pick it up.  We'd keep some in buckets to look at more closely, usually the bigger ones and when we were ready, we always released them to be caught again or to be eaten by a raccoon. 

  As I got older, I kept going with my family or with friends but I started taking a fishing pole 

along. I would spend half my time catching crayfish and the other half catching small rock bass and smallmouth bass. Small crappie spinners and jigs are what we would use almost exclusively but sometimes we would use small crayfish that we would catch before we started fishing. The bass we caught were never big, six to nine inches long is all. It was fun to wade up and down a small creek and catch fish. I'm thirty four years old now and I still go back to this same creek about 10 times a year to catch crayfish and small stream bass. It never gets boring to me. 


This past weekend, my sister Katie, her husband Kurt and there three boy's Jack, Ben, and Sam were back in town from Columbus. Either Katie mentioned to me or I had suggested to her that we take the boys out to the creek to catch crayfish. It was Saturday around noon when we 

arrived to the creek but it immediately started to rain, so we decided to go home and try again after dinner.  


Now with dinner out of the way, we decided to give it a second go. When we arrived, the sun was out and everyone was anxious to get down to the creek. Katie's oldest son Jack went with me to begin searching the creek for crayfish. I showed him they Iike to hide in rocky areas and you can find them by moving rocks with your feet or hands. When they scurry off, you watch carefully where they go.  Sometimes you have to follow them up to ten feet but if you're lucky they'll only go a few inches. Jack is going to be in kindergarten this upcoming school year, so I showed him how to use a small net to catch them. Just about the time we caught our first crayfish, Jack's dad Kurt, caught a smallmouth bass. Jack and I quickly put the crayfish in the cooler we brought, then he ran over to reel in the bass for his dad. We all enjoyed watching Jack have so much fun, especially when he sat down in the creek and shouted back to his mom "hey Mom, I'm soak-n-wet".


Katie and Kurt's second oldest Ben, was also having fun in his own way, which was mainly hanging around his mother and re-catching the crayfish and bass we put in the cooler with the  other small net we brought and casting is own fishing pole which only had a bobber on it into the water. Ben is still learning to talk, so when we brought a crayfish to put in the cooler he would point down and say "in" "in". He did eventually wade in the creek but it was only for short periods of time. Ben is already showing signs that he's going to be a fisherman. Sam, their youngest is only a few months old, so he pretty much stayed with his mom, acted like a slug and had not a clue what was going on. In a few years he'll get his chance.


We only stayed for about an hour and a half, which was plenty of time for us to catch a few bass, catch about 15 crayfish, watch three dogs named Brooklyn, Charlie, and Savannah stampede through the water like the Budweiser horses and watch one little boy sit in the water and make his mother nervous about getting some virus she heard kids are getting from ingesting river water. This made me laugh and even laugh harder when she told me she heard it from one of those "entertaining" morning news show.


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