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Hartselle Enquirer

A creek and boys

Boys who grew up on a farm three quarters of a century ago don’t know what they missed if they didn’t have a creek nearby. They spent quality time wading, swimming and fishing in a fast-moving stream of water anytime they weren’t busy working in the fields.

Me and my brothers were fortunate to live less than a half-mile from Fox Creek, a stream that had its beginning in the Eastern foothills of the Cheaha Mountain range and flowed across Clay County before emptying into the Tallapoosa River.

We staked claim to a mile-long section of the Creek and soon learned where the best fishing and swimming holes were. Located at the western end was a deep channel of slow-moving water we called the cold hole. Because of its depth, it was the ideal spot to test your swimming ability, or cool off when the temperature was hovering around the century mark.

A mile downstream the creek dropped through a mountain gorge and provided us with our favorite swimming hole. The force of the water created a 100-ft. channel where the water reached 6 ft. deep. It was surrounded by a rocky ledge on one side and provided a natural setting for the fish and minnow game. Other visits to the creek were to camp out overnight and fish anytime we didn’t have to be in the field the next morning early. We’d pack a couple of quilts, a frying pan, a water pot and some food rations and head to our campsite. Fishing was our first order of business. We’d put out set hooks and check them periodically through the night, hoping we’d have a nice string of bream and catfish to take home the next morning. At daybreak we’d stoke up our fire and cook a breakfast of fried ham or bacon and eggs before breaking camp.

The creek offered us big fun fishing after a nighttime rain. The rain would keep us out of the fields for at least a few hours and give us the chance to go fishing for mud cats in a muddy, swollen stream. The rising water would send catfish in a feeding frenzy and they’d go after our hooks baited with worms. All we had to do was wade and fish anywhere in the water to catch fish. After an hour or two, we’d rush home with all the fish we could carry.

Clif Knight is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.

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