Listen to the experts, or your car will be full of crickets

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 14, 2006

Regular readers of this newspaper already know I enjoy fishing. I wrote about it last week.

I try to get out as often as I can to just relax and enjoy Mother Nature’s offerings.

But even at the level at which I fish — not very serious about it

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— it still pays to listen to the people who know how to do it right.

Take, for example, crickets.

They’re my favorite bait. It seems just about every fish in the world — or should I say the pond — loves a fat, juicy cricket.

I use them almost exclusively. Worms are OK, but they are messy. And all this man-made bait doesn’t excite me or the fish, from what I can see.

So, I use crickets.

I get mine at Dashiell’s Showroom LLC, on Holland Road. Anybody who is into hunting or fishing has probably stopped by to visit them. And I imagine many people have some of their stock in their homes and vehicles right now.

They offer a large inventory of gear and clothing for those who spend their time outdoors.

But anyway, getting back to the crickets.

My usual routine is to stop by on the way home and get a tube or half of a tube of the critters and have them placed in a paper bag for transport home. Once I get home, the crickets go into a bucket designed to keep them secure and allow me easy access to them.

The first time I bought a bag of bugs the man who sold them to me said I should get them home soon or they will eat their way out of the bag and get loose.

Not a problem I told him. And it wasn’t.

But then last Saturday, I took a break from work to purchase a bag and didn’t go right home. I went back to the office for several hours and left the crickets in the car.

About 4:30 p.m. I left the office and headed home.

As I pulled out of the parking lot I saw something out of the corner of my eye. When I looked down on the floorboard of the passenger’s seat I saw a cricket hopping away.

Funny I thought. How did he get in … wait a minute! The crickets are getting loose. They ate through the paper bag just like the guy told me they would.

Oh, why didn’t I listen to him?

I picked up the bag and examined it closely. In the bottom corner there was a tiny hole. And in the hole was the head of a cricket.

I watched in amazement as that bug slipped through the hole and hopped across the passenger’s seat … free at last, he must have been thinking, assuming crickets think, that is.

I rolled up the bag to cover the hole and placed it in a coffee cup I had in the center console. That kept the bugs incarcerated until I arrived home.

I pulled into my driveway and immediately carried the bag to the shed, where I keep the special cricket holder.

I then tore into the bag and started pouring the crickets into the holder.

What I discovered next was a shocker. There were far fewer crickets in that bag than there were when I bought it.

About half, perhaps two dozen or more, had apparently escaped during the two or three hours they were in the car.

Once the bag was empty, which didn’t take long, I went back to my car and looked high and low for crickets.

I found a few, maybe a half dozen or so, but nowhere close to the number that I had estimated were able to escape earlier in the day.

I soon gave up. They were probably in the dashboard and other places that I was not going to be able to access. They were gone.

It’s been nearly a week now and I haven’t seen one of those crickets in the car. And I haven’t heard them either. I figure they have all died or found a way to crawl out and escape into the wild.

I learned my lesson, and in the future I will listen to the experts when they give me advice on fishing — or most other things for that matter.

I’m just glad I wasn’t using worms, or some other kind of critter. I would have had to either fumigate or sell the car.

Douglas Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at