April 4, 2014

On The Rebound: Opening the season with a shutout

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Although the thought of keeping a fishing log has always appealed to me, I have never logged my few trips to the water. The main reason is that most pages would require a lot of effort. There would be no fish to report, so the pages would be filled with my mediocre prose and scratched out stick drawings.

Should I decide to begin keeping a log this season, it would begin with Monday’s trip to Wood Creek. It would of course begin with a shutout.

The conditions were nearly perfect with temperatures in the 70s and very little wind. I slipped a thermometer in the water and watched the gauge drop to 53 degrees.  There was only saw one other boat in sight at Homer Dees’ ramp. Rumor has it the ramp is named for a store that once stood on the entrance to Lake Road. That fact I can neither confirm nor deny.

I paddled right from the ramp toward a creek and shallow water. It was the direction that ducks and a blue heron were going so I took that as a good sign. The first casts of the season are just shaking the rust off and can go in random directions. I did find a really fast way to propel a kayak up the lake. If you hook a tree branch about 50 feet in front of your boat, you can actually pull yourself pretty quickly. Treble hooks work better than single hooks if this is your plan.

So I’m pulling myself deeper and deeper into a quiet tributary. I’m thinking of Conrad’s classic Heart of Darkness and the search for Colonel Kurtz. I picture savages in the woods. Then a boat passed me. Then another and two more kayaks. There are two bank fishermen that were not talking in their quiet voice.

Someone anchored across from me with a dog that could bark for 15 minutes on a single breath. The owner  yelled every few minutes for the dog to shut up. I think it was a Chihuahua. It did not understand English. Next came the boat with a youngster that spoke so fast it sounded like an infomercial.

I was not here for companionship, so I delved further up the creek until logs blocked my path. I pulled up on the bank and explored. Interesting that no matter where you get out at a lake there are always baby toys washed up. There wasn’t much else to see, but I decided my best bet to catch a fish would be live bait and a bobber. I turned over a few logs to find worms. Usually you can find a bobber washed up on the shore. I didn’t find a bobber, but you can make one out of a Five-Hour energy bottle.

That completes the first fishing log of the season. It took about 500 words for me to say the fish weren’t biting. I spoke to one elderly man that looked like Norman Thayer from On Golden Pond. He caught five rainbow trout, but said nothing else was biting. Another pair of boaters caught one crappie and one hybrid striper. As is usually my luck, they caught all of the fish in the lake before I got there.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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