It is always done now in the evening time, but my brother’s and I did it in the early morning when we were children. The bait is bacon and has been since I can remember. Cheese falls apart. You tie it on the rock with a string. Flat rocks work better than round ones. The other end is tied to a stick. And you simply lie on your stomach on the dock, drop the rock in the deep cold water, and unroll the string until it hits the bottom of the lake. Then you wait and watch.
It’s the only true way.
Then they come.
The sneak out from under the rocks and they come to eat the bacon. And you slowly lift the rock onto the dock. And one falls off the rock. If you get lucky you can get more than one at a time. You grab it gently behind the pincers. They flail them back as far as they can trying to intimidate you to be so frightened you let them go. But you drop them in a bucket of water where they tuck and swim backwards to the bottom where all the others crawl, that you caught.
But we don’t eat them or harm them. When we are done we go to the end of the dock. We dump all of the crawdads on the end of the pier and we watch them walk off the dock back into the water and count them to see if we broke our record.
It is simple. I have done it every summer…forever.
My father taught me.
I taught my husband,
my children’s friends,
hopefully someday my grandchildren.
There is nothing like the joy of it.
It is one of my summer-sames.
I think those crawdads remember us each year and wait for us. It’s one of their summer- sames as well…