Bring out your inner child by fishing with crickets

Published 1:37 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2022

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Growing up, I cut my teeth in the fishing world catching local pond bream. The word bream encompasses many species of fish including Bluegill, pumpkinseed, and shell cracker. For those that don’t know, these fish have the profile of a miniature football and seem to have a deep sense of aggression towards crickets. 


At a young age, my brother and I would get our mom to take us to get 50 to 100 chirping crickets at the local bait shop. If mom’s taxi service wasn’t available, we would rustle our bare feet through the grass to collect enough for an evening of fun. 

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Catching bream with crickets isn’t hard. Once you find bream, all you have to do is put a cricket in their general vicinity and it will be attacked by the swimming miniature footballs. 


So was the case a few weeks ago on a visit to Lake Moultrie. We met our guide, Stevie English, at Black’s Camp for a day of panfishing. Some more refined anglers may turn their nose up at catching fish that weigh a pound or less all day. Thankfully, my wife and I are not refined. 


Our courtship involved many evening fishing excursions on neighborhood ponds. We lived in an apartment complex without a pond, but found we were rarely ran off of a neighborhood pond if we were fly fishing. 


Some evenings we caught close to fifty fish as we made sure not to hook a jogger or a doodle with our back cast. 


When we got on the boat with Stevie and saw a couple hundred crickets in a cage, our smiles engulfed our faces. We love to fly fish, but seeing 200 crickets on death row immediately brought out the primal desire to leave fishing behind, and start unapologetically catching. 


Stevie English has searched the waters of Santee Cooper country his whole life. As a fourth-generation guide, he had us over a school of bluegill in no time. 


As fast as we could put a cricket on a hook, we had a bite. For every two bites, we had a fish. In no time our fish tally was over sixty and we just stopped counting. 


I get why some anglers strive all week for a shot at an elusive fish. Permit, Tarpon over a hundred pounds, and a largemouth bass over ten pounds are all noteworthy accomplishments. 


But when I think back to what gave me joy as a kid, it was catching a bunch of bream on crickets. There is no better way to introduce a kid, or a kid at heart, to fishing than a cage of crickets and willing bream. 


My only regret of our trip with Captain Stevie English was that our kids weren’t there to join in the fun. I can guarantee you they will be next time, though. I can’t think of a better family fishing trip than catching panfish with Captain Stevie English out of Blacks Camp. 


The Hunts spent the day catching panfish with crickets on a recent visit to Lake Moultrie.