Angler's creel

A creel is a wicker basket usually used for carrying fish or blocks of peat. It is also the fish trap used to catch lobsters and other crustaceans.

In modern times, the term has come to encompass various types of wicker baskets used by anglers or commercial fishermen to hold fish or other prey. The word is also associated with agriculture and some domestic baskets.[1]

In the North Sea herring industry of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the creel was a basket used to measure the volume of a catch.[2] The standard measures were creel, which were made in officially approved volumes of one half and one quarter cran (another unit for measuring fresh herring).

An angler's creel is designed to function as an evaporative cooler when lined with moss and dipped into the creek to keep the catch chilled. Caught fish are inserted through a slot in the top, held in place by a small leather strap.[3]

Creels are also the high sides added to a towed trailer, making it more suitable for carrying loose materials such as turf.


According to the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary[4] and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue,[5] the origin of the word is uncertain. However, the Middle English Dictionary asserts that it derives from Old French "grëil, gräil, grëille, gräille a grill (from L[atin] cratīcula)".[6]

Creels in Scotland

The word creel is also used in Scotland (chiefly in the north) to refer to a device used to catch lobsters and other crustaceans. Made of woven netting (similar to that used in traditional fishing net) over a frame of plastic tubing and a slatted wooden base, this type of creel is analogous in function to a lobster pot. Several creels put out on one line can be referred to as a "leader".

See also


  1. ^ Woven Communities, Basketmaking Communities in Scotland, 2017 University of St Andrews and Scottish Basketmakers' Circle. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  2. ^ "Basket types". Woven Communities (Basketmaking Communities in Scotland). Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  3. ^ Granger, CS (2009) Fishing Kits and Equipment Pages 94–95. BiblioBazaar, LLC. ISBN 978-1-113-43786-0
  4. ^ "creel, n.1.", Oxford English Dictionary Online, 1st edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1893), accessed 7 May 2023.
  5. ^ Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, 12 vols (Chicago: University of Chicago Press; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1931–2002), s.v. crele, n.
  6. ^ Middle English Dictionary (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1952–2001), s.v. crẹ̄l n.