Stocking Day

It was stocking day on a small stream I occasionally fish. I usually avoid stocking day but I was in the neighborhood and stopped by. IMG_2499

I arrived around mid afternoon and the stocking truck had come and gone, leaving behind – according to the state game agency website – “1,000, 9 to 11 inch rainbow trout.”

I knew this because seven cars had crowded the small parking area and a couple more had squeezed onto a gravel bar flanking the small stream.

The highway bridge serves as the stocking site. On stocking day this is where you’ll find the fish and the fishermen. The trout that survive the stocking day angling onslaught eventually disperse and a couple of miles of the spring-fed creek, which winds through the heart of largemouth bass country, holds trout year round and is a surprisingly good fishery.

IMG_2501I walked toward the bridge. The creek became dark with trout, which were crowded into the deeper water that pools against the far bank. A guy dressed in tan shorts and a golf shirt, fly vest, wide-brimmed hat and oversized net was casting a chunk of shrimp into the pod of trout. He hooked three and landed one, adding it to the four he had clipped onto a metal stringer. Three other fishermen stood shoulder to shoulder. An older man was sitting on a step stool he’s positioned under the bridge. Two guys were on the downstream side of the stocking site but all were within casting distance of each other.

I walked back to the parking area. Two more cars had arrived. A red Jeep pulled in and parked beside me.

“Do any good?” the driver asked.

“Not fishing today.”

“They dump some fish?”

“I think so.”

“Good.”

 

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Exploring New Places

Spent the past few days in and around Columbia, S.C. for the FLW www.FLWOutdoors.com Forrest Wood Cup championship.IMG_2472

You can find my coverage for that event here and here (click on the “learn” tab).

Between four days of tournament coverage I’ve had an opportunity to see some of Columbia, the host city.

One of the best things about visiting a new city is that you arrive with no preconceived notions or prejudices as where the “bad” parts of town might be. So you go wherever you want in complete comfort. Some might consider this naive or even foolhardy. It’s actually refreshing.

I haven’t seenIMG_2439 all of Columbia but I’ve seen as much as I could. It’s a lovely southern city, filled with polite, friendly people and interesting places, like the Al-Amir restaurant.

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Forrest Wood Cup Revs Up

COLUMBIA, S. C. – During Wednesday’s registration for Thursday’s opening of the FLW Forrest Wood Cup bass fishing championship on Lake Murray the atmosphere was mostly relaxed and jovial. Anglers wandered in and out of the hotel conference room where registration tables lined one wall. In a corner of the room a couple of FLW pr guys were doing a podcast and in another corner an ongoing radio interview was being conducted with a revolving door of fishermen/guests. A few fans milled around, clicking photos with their phones. IMG_2404Fishermen were between their final practice day (Tuesday) and the first fishing day (Thursday), fulfilling tournament and business obligations. They all put on a relaxed face during the registration but much is at stake and it showed. For the guys who fail to bring a decent sack of fish at Thursday’s weigh in, the championship will effectively be over. Veteran pro Dan Morehead from Paducah, Ky., knows this. He has qualified for the FLW championship 14 times. He’s come close but has not yet hoisted the Cup trophy. Like all tournament anglers, Morehead guards his planned fishing strategy as though it were a state secret. He did admit to having a “pretty good practice day” Monday. Will this be his year? “We’ll see,” he said. We will, beginning early Thursday.

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“Should You Take Your Spouse Fishing?”

Should you take your spouse fishing? Good question. You can find the answer here. It’s a link to Gannett’s new website NowU.com (click on the “learn” section and scroll down to find the answer).

NowU launched Tuesday, July 15, and I’m pleased to have a story included. The target readership is folks age 45 and older, although there’s plenty for anyone of nearly any age.

The site includes travel, technology, family, career, fitness and nutrition, sex on the road (that’s in the “connect” section), and more  . . . even a fishing story.

Give it a look. Tell your friends. Mention it to strangers. www.NowU.com.

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Award Undeserved but much Appreciated

For reasons unclear (at least to me) the Kentucky Wildlife Federation Foundation has named me its 2014 Conservation Communicator of the Year. The presentation was made Saturday evening in Lexington, Ky., during the League of Kentucky Sportsmen’s www.kentuckysportsmen.com annual convention and banquet.

I was honored and humbled, then and now. Dan Sesit of the KWFF made the presentation with an introduction laced with far more accolades than I or my work merited.IMG_2060

Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, again.

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Hobie Bass Open Wrap-Up

The Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky Lake – a catch, photograph and release kayak tournament – wrapped up Sunday afternoon when Tom Michael of New Jersey rang up a two-day total of six bass that measured  110.75 inches. That was five inches more than Texan Rob Milam, who finished second. Michael pocketed $1,500 and some fishing goodies along with a spot in the Hobie Worlds Championship later this year in The Netherlands.

It was a different type of bass tournament. No weigh-in (photos only; all fish were released at the boat). No group flight or shotgun launch (kayaks could launch from any legal ramp or access). And no power boats.

Hobie www.hobiefishing.com officials insist that kayak fishing is a growing segment of the fishing industry. And they may be right. (It’s one of my favorite means of fishing but I’m hardly a standard bearer.) Tournament director Keeton Eoff was impressed with Kentucky Lake, the state park (Kentucky Dam Village) and officials from Marshall County, Ky., who helped stage the event. Eoff said they would be back – maybe next year.

If that happens maybe Kentuckians will make a better showing on our state’s namesake lake. Kentucky Lake is the best bass fishery in the state and one of the best the country. The tournament, which was barely publicized , attracted 33 fishermen – including 14 from Kentucky. The highest Kentucky finisher was Louisvillian Drew Russell, who placed sixth, after being second after Day 1.

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Fish by the Inch at the Hobie Bass Open

Each of the 33 anglers who climbed into their paddle and pedal boats Saturday at the Hobie Bass Open catch, photo and release kayak (canoes and paddle boards welcome, too) tournament on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley were fishing by the inch and hoping to punch a ticket to The Netherlands.IMG_8226

The Hobie Bass Open is one of four qualifying events for the 2014 Hobie Worlds Championship, which will be October 5-11 in The Netherlands.

The field includes anglers from 11 states and one Canadian province (Ontario). Among the group: 14 Kentuckians, including Louisvillian Drew Russell who finished Day 1 in second place, 5.25 inches behind leader Tom Michael from Mt. Ephrain, N.J.

Inches?

Yea. The winner in a CPR (catch, photo, release) tournament is determined by total length of fish caught. Each angler can turn in three photos of bass (largemouth, smallmouth or spotted) daily. The fisherman with the largest two-day total length wins.

After Day 1 , Michael had three fish for 57.25 inches. Russell had three that totaled 52 inches.

The winner earns a spot on the Hobie team bound for the Worlds Championship. The top 10 finishers earn a check.

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