Fishing at Horse Creek

Rick Watson
Posted 3/20/16

My work took me to Fayette this past week. The schedule was loose and the day was the warmest yet of 2016, so naturally I chose to take the back roads where there’s always something interesting to see.

The route I chose ran by the old house …

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Fishing at Horse Creek

Posted

My work took me to Fayette this past week. The schedule was loose and the day was the warmest yet of 2016, so naturally I chose to take the back roads where there’s always something interesting to see.

The route I chose ran by the old house where I was born. At one point, I came to a piece of property that once belonged to my Aunt Willodean. These days, all that’s there is a grove of privets as thick as thatch.

My aunt bought the house and property from the Warren family, who lived there when I was in grade school. The land was on the edge of Horse Creek and often turned into a swamp when it rained.

A clip of memory played through my mind like an old movie, and it helped melt away the miles of my trip.

Cane pole fishing was a big part of my young life. I spent hours catching crickets, digging red worms and looking for the perfect fishing spot on the banks of Horse Creek.

My brother Neil loved to fish too, but he took bait to the next level when he fashioned an old window screen into a minnow basket trap. It was cylinder shaped with a cone mouth, and he used pieces of loaf bread to tempt them inside. The minnows would swim in through the cone to get to the bread. Once inside, they couldn’t find the small opening to escape. It was an ingenious design for catching minnows and crawfish.

One day when I went with him to “run the baskets,” we discovered he’d trapped something he had not counted on. We tethered the baskets to the bank with a length of wire and when he started pulling he realized there was something in it much heavier than minnows. When we got it to the top of the water, we saw something thrashing inside.

Once on the bank, we discovered it was thick with snakes. There were six Cottonmouth Moccasins in there, and they were not happy. We couldn’t figure out how to free them without getting bit, so the next few minutes did not go well for these poisonous pit vipers.

That was the summer I refined my fishing techniques. I didn’t have the money for fancy rod and reels or store-bought rigging, but I did OK. I must have looked like Opie from the Andy Griffith Show walking to the creek bank, a bamboo pole with the line wrapped around it like stripes on a candy cane. About 18 inches from the hook was a small section of dried corncob that served as a fishing cork.

The rig was perfect for the brush-gnarled banks of that little creek and through the years of my youth, I pulled my share of bream and bluegill out of those waters.

I hadn’t thought of these stories in years, but you can always find interesting things when you take the back roads.

Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Changes is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at rick@homefolkmedia.com.