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September 21, 2012

On The Rebound: A can of corn and a Zebco 33

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — When the girls in the house announced they were going shopping Saturday, I announced I was going fishing. It would be less stress for all parties involved.

A buddy and I had discussed several times trying to catch trout at Turkey Foot in Jackson County. Turns out he was in Cincinnati with a busted radiator. So not letting friendship get in the way of fishing, I went without him.  He seemed to understand when I called him to ask for directions.

The image I had was elegantly casting into the rolling waters with my fly rod. There were no rolling waters. I drove parallel to the creek for what seemed miles before finding a puddle to cast into.

A rope swing dangled over the water. There were a lot of signs that people were here. I guessed this was the only water in this section of Daniel Boone Forest and the fish were going to be nervous.  A few small bass and bluegill darted around. Nothing seemed interested in my elegantly casted flies no matter how elegantly I casted.

That’s when he stepped out of the woods.

I’m thinking great time for a psycho. He probably thinks fly fishermen are sissies. I reach into my hip pocket to make sure I have a weapon. I had nothing, unless he had a peanut allergy.

“Not catching anything are you?” he said with a smile.

“Not even a bite.”

“I fly fish too,” he said. “Mostly in the Smokies.”

I’m thinking, “What a sissy.”

He proceeded to tell me he lives nearby and was raised on this creek. None of the trout are indigenous. (He won extra points for using indigenous). They are all stocked and raised on corn.

“If you go back to town and get a can of corn and Zebco 33, you’ll catch some fish.”

He slipped back into the woods. I slipped into the truck and drove to town. I bought corn, but wasn’t sure where to get a fishing rod in Tyner, McKee, or Gray Hawk.

This time I took a left turn to fish in the camping area. I knew there were large pools there from when I camped many years ago. The camping area was closed due to road construction, so I parked at the entrance to walk the half-mile.

That’s when he stepped out of the woods. This was a different guy.

He appeared to be made from granite with a stare that would make Steven Seagal flinch. I reached into my hip pocket to make sure I had a weapon. One aggressive move and this guy would be picking 27 fish hooks out of his face while I ran away.

“This area is closed,” he said in monotone.

“Closed to cars, not walking,” I said as I tightened the grip on the fishhooks.

He stepped aside and wished me luck.

There were several large pools at the camping area. I might be the first person to fly fish with corn, but it turns out it works pretty well. I caught six fish that all ranged in size from sardine to minnow.

I will go back when the water is higher and the creeks are stocked. All I need is a can of corn and a Zebco 33.

mhoward@sentinel-echo.com

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

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