Fishing with Garvin

Casey Creek is a nothing trout stream but it was one of Garvin’s favorite spots so here I am.DSCN0610

Barely a rivulet with a sand and gravel bottom that generates a cloud of silt with nearly every step, Casey Creek is a stream that’s often choked with blow downs and root wads strewn about from the occasional thunderstorm-generated torrent. It rises in Tennessee before spilling into Kentucky and winding northward, eventually feeding Lake Barkley, the final Corps impoundment on the Cumberland River. This is not exactly classic trout country. But the creek is spring fed, clear and flows surprisingly cold for about three miles. Eight times a year the state dumps 1,000 or so fresh-from-the-hatchery trout (mostly rainbows along with a handful of browns) into the creek from a county road bridge. The few trout that aren’t caught immediately by the locals quickly acclimate to their new surroundings. It was for these trout that Terry Garvin preferred to fish.IMG_3843

Garvin and I began fishing together more than 20 years ago, not long after we met. He wasn’t much of a fisherman then, but became one by way of a curious, sharp mind that he could focus to unusual purposes. He’s the only person I’ve known who could render trout fishing into nearly a purely intellectual contest of wills between fish and fisherman. This may sound silly but you wouldn’t think so had you ever fished with Garvin. It was remarkable to witness.

I am alone on the creek, which is not unusual for a weekday afternoon unless it is stocking day, which it is not. The last trout stocking was nearly three weeks ago.

The first pool upstream from the bridge was Garvin’s favorite spot so that’s where I start but a recent storm has wedged a cottonwood against the mud bank, clogging the run and pushing the current into a queer dog leg that plunges under the root wad. Garvin would have figured it out but after hanging up and breaking off on successive casts I move upstream, crossing the creek to reach a narrow chute that empties into a long pool that is big for this stream. A roll cast drops the gold flecked nymph at the head of the pool, where it sinks slowly, attracting a swarm of minnows.

I last saw Garvin on a Monday in April in Little Rock. We’d planned to fish the White River a couple of days that week; a trip that had been scheduled for months. But he’d been felled by terrible medical problems no one saw coming.

“Better reschedule,” he’d said and I’d agreed, although we both knew it probably wouldn’t happen. The following week I spoke at his memorial service.

On the third drift the leader darts and I set the hook. A buttery colored trout comes to hand. One is enough. I do not think I will fish here again. DSCN0608

 

 

Peterson Wins Hobie Bass Open

Tyson Peterson caught more than twIMG_3832o dozen bass on Kentucky Lake Saturday and Sunday, most off ledge cover in the 15 to 18 foot range.

He couldn’t keep any. That was against the rules. But he measured and recorded his six longest (three each day), caulking up a total length of 116 inches, or about 19.3 inches per fish. It was enough to win the 2015 Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky Lake and earn  the Lexington, Ky., man a spot in the 2015 Hobie Worlds Championship later this year in China.

The Hobie Bass Open was a CPR (catch, photograph and release) tournament. Anglers could fish from a kayak or paddle board. The field included 73 adults and six youth anglers.

Peterson began kayaking about five years ago and soon started fishing from the versatile boats.

“It was a different way to get on the water,” said Peterson, recalling his early kayaking days  “And it’s a lot more relaxing way to be on the water. Then it became a fishing sport so I grasp it. I’m an avid fisherman. I like the peace that it brings. It’s always a good time out on the water.”

Peterson beat second place finisher Tom Michael by 6 1/4 inches. Michael, who is from New Jersey, won the event last year.

The victory qualifies Peterson for the Hobie Worlds 2015 Championship in November in China and earned him a spot on Team USA.

“I’m going,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

 

 

 

Political Angling

I happen to live in a slice of the country where we get local TV political ads from four states. It has not been easy viewing. The Illinoisans seem to be the hardest knuckled bunch but none are people I’d care to share a duck blind with. IMG_1182

In my home state of Kentucky we have a creel full of local, state and national races. The big one, of course, is for U. S. Senate, where Candidate R apparently thinks President Obama is his opponent and Candidate D can’t seem to do much more than talk about the past evils, failings and shortcomings of Candidate R.

I, for one, would like to have heard some fresh ideas, or at least some general thoughts on how any of the candidates, but especially Kentucky senate Candidate D and Candidate R, plan to deal with any of the long list of challenges facing the country: the economy, environment, ISIS, health care, immigration, crime, minimum wage, education, crumbling bridges and highways, poverty, Ebola . . . as everyone knows, it’s a long list.

The political ads have ranged from befuddled to ridiculous. I can only assume they hit the same lowest common denominator across the country. The price tag: $4 billion.

Please vote Tuesday, even if you have to hold your nose to do so.

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.”

 

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.

“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.