One of the main features of the recently concluded 2016 Indiana State Fair was the free concert series. The reader might now be asking, “What does this have to do with the wilds of Indiana?” The answer is that this year’s series was capped off with a performance by Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. The namesake and leader of internationally-known American Country Blues band is a huge champion of the Hoosier outdoors.
Shortly before regaling the crowd with tales of visiting his favorite outdoor escapes and a special fish he caught on a recent trip, Reverend Peyton mentioned how great it was to be back in Indiana and especially at the state fair.
Both Rev. Peyton and his wife Breezy (who plays a flaming washboard and various percussion instruments in the band) are true Hoosiers and spend as much of their free time wandering the backwoods and waters of this state as they can. After another song, this one played on a 1930 steel guitar recently restored by Peyton and fitted with a very special pick-up, he went on to tell the crowd about that favorite place to visit in Indiana: Sugar Creek.
Last week the band-family had some free time and floated the creek on inner tubes. And, being a fisherman through and through, Peyton took along his favorite ultralite rod and some small tackle. On that rig he landed the biggest smallmouth bass of his fishing career.
After hoots, hollers, and lots of applause from the fishing segment of the audience, the Big Damn Band went into a song never released on any of their albums that is simply titled Sugar Creek. It pays homage to the creek, the surrounding gorge and to the beautiful state park encompassing it all, Turkey Run.
After the show WildIndiana had a chance to catch up with the band for an exclusive chat.
WildIndiana: So, Sugar Creek, what it is about that place?
Peyton: Oh man, I think it’s one of the most under-rated places on Earth. The rock formations, the absolute beauty, the life that’s there. It is crawling with all these different species of fish! I have caught every kind of sunfish imaginable. I’ve caught smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, gar. I even caught a four-pound drum in there. There is just all kinds of fun on that stream. I love it! It is my favorite place in Indiana to get away to.
WIN: For folks that aren’t familiar, where are you from?
Peyton: We are Brown County based, and that’s our home. That’s where we live, and we love it! You know, I’ve been touring the world for over a decade and I can choose to live anywhere I want. We’ve been to 37 countries and played in 32 of them. I choose to live in Indiana, in Brown County. There is a lot of good fishing in Brown County, also. A lot of good lakes and ponds. That’s really what fishing is about there, the lakes and ponds. Like I said, though, I hate to even say it out loud, but everybody already knows about it, up on Sugar Creek its really just a haven for smallmouth. It’s really worth the trip up there when we can.
WIN: So, during the show you told us about a new personal best smallie you caught this last week. Care to tell us more?
Peyton: Before that, my personal best was caught on Squam Lake in New Hampshire and Sugar Creek beat it. I was fishing with a four-and-a-half foot micro rod FROM an inner tube, floating down the creek. I didn’t get out and fish, I floated. The rod is rated for 1-4 pound line. That gives you an idea…I was just micro fishing…with little tiny stuff. I was just catching little dinks, and stuff. I had just told my buddy, Brian, man, if we get in to something good with this thing, it’s gonna be a hell of a thing! And then, we got on that fish, and he just started pulling me. We got in to shallower water where I could put my heels down, and I started working him in, literally like I was working a tuna. Pulling him up, reeling him down, pulling him up, reeling him down, and he was jumping like a sailfish, like smallies do. It was fantastic! It ended up being 19 inches, 4 ½ pounds. Incredible fish!
WIN: Thank you so much. Where are you off to next?
Peyton: Michigan, probably won’t get a chance to fish up there. But, then, off to Florida and hope to get into some redfish down there! Can’t wait to get on the water with WildIndiana. When we gonna go?
WildIndiana is currently working to schedule a trip with Peyton to a secret fishing destination in southern Indiana in the near future. Check back for more Rev. Peyton!
From the publisher: WildIndiana highly recommend that readers give an listen to Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Their stripped-down, authentic Hoosier backwoods blues feature the growling vocals of the Reverend, plenty of slide guitar, washboard, bucket drum and all manner of backroom instruments wailing out a good time. Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band music is unique, authentic yet original and the perfect soundtrack for cruising the cornfield oceans of Indiana with the windows down and the radio on overload as you head to that favorite smallmouth creek!