Spearing on Little Sandy Creek

Leon Archer

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Although it has been many years since I speared my last sucker in the cold waters of spring, I still smile thinking about the deliciously wet and frigid outings with my school days friends on Little Sandy Creek. 

The suckers would make their annual spawning run somewhere between mid-April and mid-May, and we would anxiously await them.

The run came fairly close to the end of muskrat trapping season, and sometimes I would see the newly arrived fish while running my trap line, but more often trapping would be over and my first sighting would be from the Route 11 Bridge as I looked down at the stream on my way to school.

The day I would see a school of suckers at the tail of the big pool under the bridge would also find me inattentively fidgeting during the day’s classes. I would notify my spearing buddies that I had seen the fish, making their day in classes just as long as my own had become.

We could hardly wait for school to let out so we could rush home and grab our boots and spears. Before nightfall, we would have wreaked havoc on the poor fish, noisily pursuing and stabbing at them as they fled upstream and down seeking shelter from our attack.

It was almost like a scene out of Golding’s “Lord of the Flies.”

As young boys in that setting, we were probably as much akin to blood thirsty savages as we could ever have been, but it was sheer joy of the chase that inspired us, not any dark, evil intent.

It never occurred to me, and probably not to my friends either, how cruel a fate we were visiting upon those unfortunate, terrified fish. Sometimes it is good not to think too deeply about one’s actions, which an atavistic boy can seldom be accused of doing.

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