Sportsman starts early

Colton Crooks, 12, of Charles City caught a 26" Walleye, his biggest ever, while fishing down river from the Birmingham Bridge. Contributed photo.
Colton Crooks, 12, of Charles City, caught a 26-inch walleye, his biggest of that species ever, while fishing downriver from the Birmingham Bridge. Contributed photo.
By Thomas Nelson,

Colton Crooks is a young sportsman in Charles City and has spent more money and done more work toward fishing and hunting than some adults.

“Most kids do not jig fish because it takes finesse,” said Darin Crooks, Colton’s father, in an email to the Press. “He’ll tell you there’s nothing better than feeling that pop on your line.”

Having just turned 13, Colton has been fishing since he’s been about 5 years old, Crooks said.

One of Colton’s favorites spots to fish is the Cedar River.

“I just like it,” Colton said. “I like catching walleye and crappie and northern (pike), and largemouth (bass) and smallmouth (bass) in ponds and stuff.”

Rivers and ponds are where Colton prefers to fish as opposed to lakes and streams, he said.

The largest thing Colton’s ever caught was a northern pike that was 32 inches long and weighed 9 pounds, he said.

“Most of the time I throw them back,” Colton said. “But certain size crappie and certain size walleye, we’ll keep.”

Colton was taught by his father to catch walleyes and anything else by jig fishing, Crooks said.

“Colton didn’t like fishing a few years back until I took him over to Clear Lake crappie fishing,” Crooks said. “He fell in love and now wants to go to a college that has a fishing team so he can pursue his passion.”

Colton has spent much of his money on fishing tackle and equipment that he’s assembled over less than a year’s time, Crooks said.

“His rod and reel combos are over $300 and that is odd for a 12-year-old,” Crooks said.

Colton is also involved in football, baseball, wrestling, track, races dirt bikes and hunts, Colton said.

“He does it all,” his father said.

Colton is also a talented hunter, having shot a 12-point deer last year, Crooks said.

“I shot that one with a 20 gauge (shotgun),” Colton said. “Right now I’m using a 12 gauge.”

Before he could shoot, Colton went duck hunting with his father at 3 years old, not yet using a gun. He shot his first turkey when he was 7 and used a bow and arrow to bag a turkey when he was 9, Crooks said.

This year Colton and his father are going to Canada to fish at Red Lake, Crooks said.

“About 14 hours up,” Crooks said.

When Colton gets older he wants to go fishing in the southern United States in Texas or Alabama, he said.

“He wants to get on a college fishing team,” Crooks said. “You never know, (maybe) become a pro bass fisherman someday.”