Trout fishing on Michigan’s Au Sable. From USA Today/Travel. https://usat.ly/2twYhpM.
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.
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.
Tyson Peterson caught more than two 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.”
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.
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.
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.
I 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.”
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. Fishermen 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The California-based Hobie Cat Company http://www.hobiecat.com will host a Hobie Bass Open qualifying bass tournament Saturday and Sunday at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.
The winner will earn a spot on the Hobie Team bound for the Hobie Fishing World Championships October 5-11 at Vinkeveen, The Neatherlands.
Saturday and Sunday’s event will be a CPR tournament. That’s catch, photo and release. No weigh-in, in the traditional sense.
This is also strictly a paddle or pedal powered tourney. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are welcome. No motors. No wading. No fishing from the bank.
The winner will be determined by the total length of the three largest bass (largemouth, smallmouth or spotted) caught, photographed and released each day.
I’ll have updates here, at http://www.courier-journal.com/blog/outdoors/ and via Twitter at @cjoutdoors1 and @garygarth.