Archive for April, 2011
Short Notes

This is a fishing site so most of the articles should be about fishing. That said, however, there comes a time when we need to look beyond ourselves and count our blessings.

The river and her tributaries are beyond bad. There’s no way to even think about fishing them. What little progress was made in a few places earlier this week was wiped out by last night’s rains. And yet, it could be a heck of a lot worse.

If you doubt that — and you’re feeling sorry for yourself because you can’t go fishing in the river — look to the South, specifically Alabama and Mississippi. Much of that state has been destroyed by the tornadoes that swept through earlier this week. They were real tornadoes, too, the kind that leave little or nothing behind.

There are a whole lot of guys down there who aren’t worried because they can’t go fishing this weekend. They’re looking for their houses and, in some cases, for their families.


I was in a local Kroger store the other day and noticed they’re carrying crayfish from the Gulf Region — at very reasonable prices. I also noticed they had a pretty good selection of sauces from around the county ranging from mild to extra hot. For those of you who are fans of the little critters that’s about as good as it gets.

Impress your friends. Serve boiled crayfish this weekend with a unique sauce of some sort.

Note: Cajun sauce isn’t the same as hot sauce. Cajun is spicy; hot is hot.


Don’t forget about the farm ponds. They’re on fire. Several guys have reported nonstop action in the shallows. They’re catching bass, channel cats and bluegill. Don’t let the bad weather get you down. Talk nice to your local farmer. Most likely he’ll let you fish.

Throw topwater plugs or plastics for the bass, stinkbaits for the channel cats and worms for the bluegill. Saturday looks like the best day. Pack a sandwich or two, a bag of chips and a couple of sodas. And don’t forget to take the kids.

Plan B – Fish the Farm Ponds

OK guys, I’ve written enough about the glories of fishing the creeks and the backwaters at this time of the year. Given the weather — it’s horrible — I’d suggest something else. In truth, they’re a mess and not likely to get any better for awhile, especially if the weatherman knows what he’s talking about.

Besides, you’re likely to get stuck just trying to get back into those places. So, let’s go to Plan B. Try the farm ponds.

Every single one I’ve looked at over the last week is overflowing its banks. The water is up into the grass almost everywhere. Believe it or not, this will give you a shot at catching a monster bass, the kind of fish you can brag about for years.

Here’s the thing — flooded grass and shoreline bushes draw insects. The insects draw forage such as minnows and tiny game fish which, in turn, draw the bigger predators. It’s not uncommon to catch bass over 5 pounds in less than a foot of water under conditions like we have now.

You can throw a buzzbait or a trick worm and catch them. The very best bait of all, however, is a frog. Toss it right against the bank, or even right up on it. Bring it back slow at first. Speed it up if that doesn’t work. Two of the best frogs on the market for this technique are the Dean Rojas Bronzeye 65 and the Ish Monroe Phat Frog. (The Phat Frog is made by Snag Proof, a Cincinnati based lure company.)

Be quiet and careful when you approach the pond. Shallow fish spook easily.

As I write this I’m aware that the reservoirs are in the same shape as the ponds. And, I know that the bass are moving and feeding shallow in them just like they are in the ponds. But, I also know that there’s a lot more shoreline around the reservoirs and that your — and my — chances of catching a giant bass are better in a pond.

Enjoy the Experience

Fishing — the art of trying to catch a fish — is very different than catching — the act of landing a fish and having it under your care, custody and control. Smart anglers know the difference. They appreciate both and never confuse them.

Recreational anglers would do well to learn to enjoy fishing. It’s difficult to consistently catch fish, no matter the species. Fish move, they go dormant, they eat different things even when they’re active and, most of all, they have an extraordinary survival instinct.

They may not know what fishing line is, or what a hook does, but they know it’s not supposed to be there if they see it. They’ll shy away every time. Even the best anglers on the planet fish more than they catch.

And so, as spring warms and we all spend more time on the water we should learn to enjoy the experience. It isn’t all about catching fish. Sometimes it’s about watching a raccoon wash his food on the riverbank or a spying on a snake as it slithers along looking for a small rodent, its tongue flicking in and out with a rhythm that would make a drill sergeant jealous.

One time I saw a buck swimming across the river just below the power plant discharge at Aberdeen-Maysville. I’ll never forget seeing his head and rack above the water as he slowly made steady progress towards his goal — the other side of the river.

I watched him for well over a half-hour and had a wonderful time doing so. I was out several hours that day without a bite. Nevertheless, I still remember it years later, and smile every time I think about him.

To the day I die I’ll wonder what was in Kentucky that he couldn’t find in Ohio. It must have been important, to him anyway. The river’s wide at that point. It’s a long swim, especially for a deer propelling himself forward with nothing but skinny legs and tiny hooves. They can’t possibly move much water.

You don’t have to catch to have a good day fishing.