‘Crick-picking’ a fine way to spend an Ohio afternoon

Strait Creek Smallie
The author, Steve Pollick, proudly hoists a nice smallmouth bass taken from Strait Creek, a small, southern Ohio tributary.

One of the most enjoyable, and healthy, outdoors activities that you can engage in this time of year, weather permitting, is to go “crick-picking.” To explain:

One of the most underfished and more overlooked resources in Ohio, or likely most places elsewhere, are little creeks –“cricks” in the vernacular. Such streams and smaller rivers typically harbor lots of different catchable species – from lowly creek chubs to sunfish and smallmouth bass, among others, and they can provide endless hours of fun fishing if we just take the time to investigate them.

A lot of us, as kids, knew this. And since we didn’t have the wherewithal for “big” fishing – boats, motors, trucks, a barn full of tackle – we just grabbed some worms and a spincast rod or two, hopped on our bikes, and pedaled to the nearest road-crossings of nearby creeks, or, if we were lucky, a park where a lovely stream ran through.

It was easy to get lost in an afternoon attending to mostly little fish, though occasional surprises would turn up – a big catfish or carp, or maybe a 14-inch smallmouth. The usual fare, though was sunfish or chubs and such. Didn’t matter. Fish are fish and fishin’ is fishin’ to a kid. Then we grow up and forget…

Which is why I am indebted to my buddy Chip Hart, known widely as the host of the Big Outdoors radio program from WLW-700 AM in Cincinnati. Chip has a farm in southwest Ohio with a crick running through it, and some years ago he reintroduced me to crick-picking. We used to spend afternoons so-doing after morning turkey hunts. I am forever grateful.

This fishing is not rocket science. Just think small. Ultralight spinning tackle, small jigs and tails, small tube jigs – nothing fancy. It is pure fun recalling how to “read” a stream, look for pools and runs where fish may be holed up, waiting for a meal to drift by. You brush up in a hurry about precision casting, too. For a just-right cast into a little pocket of water may fetch up a nice bass, and an errant cast catches bankside brush.

If water temperatures are tolerable, we just wade in, in shorts and water-shoes, and have at it, with small boxes of tackle and perhaps even the butt end of a spare rod jammed in back pockets. This is about as pure and simple as it gets. And a great way to lose track of an afternoon … I like being a kid again.

Categories: Blog Content, Ohio – Steve Pollick

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