Friday, March 09, 2007

Malone Creek [CCR]

My drive to work causes me to pass a babbling brook. The creek winds slowly back and forth across the path of the road which means I cross several bridges. I’m not sure why the road builder did not pick one side of the creek and not invest in these bridges. But it makes a pretty scene for my drive. It reminds me of Malone Creek back home. Except there is one problem. The creek here is actually the Olentangy River which flows into the Scioto River. The dams on the Tennessee River have offset my image of a river compared to the folks up here in Ohio. But they do have Lake Erie so they understand water.

Finally the snow is melting and now the ground is saturated. My yard squishes beneath my feet as if I were wringing a sponge. All that water has caused the Olentangy River to swell from its banks and show what it can be if given the water. But it hasn’t matched the floods back home for high water in Malone Creek. It may only occur once in ten years, but Malone Creek has a way of showing itself when properly fed. At other times Malone Creek is a beautiful small creek traveling a short distance from springs near Mom and Dad’s house. It passes along Granddaddy’s old farm land and mostly through the Harris’s field, winding between wooded areas and pasture. For years it has supplied water to the cows.

Most people would look at Malone Creek and swear there wasn’t much for fish in there. But in years past I would have proven them wrong. Smaller bream and catfish were plentiful in my adventures along the creek. If you were patient you could catch quite a few edible bream and fairly good catfish. On some occasions you might pull out a bass. It was easy to wander through the pasture avoiding the cows and catching grasshoppers. I always stayed away from the cows so as not to spook them. Of course we asked Mr. Harris for permission and Dad taught us to leave the area cleaner than when we arrived.

During the day it was generally easy to traverse along the creek, but at night it was best to carry a good light. Malone Creek played host to a number of water moccasins or cottonmouths as the local folks called them. I can remember Dad and I easing our boat up the creek from the Tennessee River and hearing the cottonmouths slide off the tree limbs into the water. You didn’t wander too close to the bank because you didn’t want any hitchers of that variety. We couldn’t travel too far up the creek until it was not navigable by boat so we didn’t do much fishing by boat in the creek.

Walking along the creek you find areas where it is shallow and easy to cross, especially upstream. There are the deep holes where the prize fish gather trapped until high water may let them swim to the river. It was often under a fallen tree I would plop my bait in hopes of catching the bream. I sat and watched as the fish carried away my bobber. The tiny fish always had incredible strength and I was never able to tell from the bobber’s movement what prize I may find at the end of my line. Often I kept a bucket of water holding the smaller fish and let them back in the creek once I grew tired of the sport.

Moving around has caused me to miss Malone Creek. I did have one place to fish when we lived in the mountains of North Carolina, but today most creeks are often too polluted. We do make it to the town water reservoir in the summer, but it doesn’t have the thrill of a creek. Nobody has told me if the fish were acceptable in the Olentangy River and I really don’t know anybody to ask if I can fish from the banks on their land. But I spend many days driving to work with the little river triggering fond memories of a wonderful creek back home.