Saturday, May 8, 2010

Why Every Creek Angler Needs A Fish Creel

When you fish a creek you will run into more than a few anglers wearing a fish creel.  If you're new to creek fishing this might seem a little strange until you catch a fish or two.  You might be tempted to hang them on a stringer and go on fishing.  If you can keep the flies off your catch you might return to camp with something that looks like jerky hanging from the stringer, not to great for dinner.  A fish stringer is great for lake fishing where you can set up a chair and hold one spot for most of the day.  Catch a fish, put it on the stringer and fling the whole deal into the water right in front of you.  That is not the way fishing a creek works.  You need something to put your fish in as you work your way along the water.  You're going to be covering a lot of ground, sometimes a few miles in a single day.  What is the best way to make sure your catch stays fresh?  The fish creel.
  Back in the old days fishing creels were made out of wicker and woven into something that looked like a basket with a shoulder strap on it.  The angler would gather moss along the creek and line the inside of the basket with it.  The fish were then placed into the basket and occasionally dipped in the creek to keep them cool and moist throughout the day.  By the time they returned to camp the fresh catch would be cleaned and made ready for dinner.
  These days creels are made out of nylon or canvas but they serve the same purpose.  You might even see a few anglers dipping their creels in the creek.  The gathering of the moss is pretty much a thing of the past as the creels of today have plastic liners built in, but it is still a good idea to help your fish stay cool and fresh.
  A good fish creel needs to have a sturdy shoulder strap, mesh vents on the sides and grommet holes on the bottom.  The vents and holes allow water to drain from the creel when dipped into the creek.  The strap on most creels will adjust to any length desired.  Nothing says, "this is my camp" like a fish creel hanging from a tree branch next to a fishing rod.  
  At the end of the trip rinse the inside of your creel out with fresh water so it will be ready for the next trip.  When you get back home you might want to go one step further by putting a small amount of baking soda in your creel to remove any unpleasant odor that might develop over time.
  I'm sure that your creel will become your best friend on the creek.  Wear it with pride.  You are a Creekside Angler!


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