Displaying items by tag: West Kentucky Wild

West Kentucky Wild: Early Season Squirrels

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/28/13) – The 2013 squirrel season opened up on Saturday, August 17th. Rain had come sometime during the night and lightning flashes were receding in the distance. Daylight was still over an hour away, giving me a chance to stop in town, grab cup of hot coffee, and a sausage biscuit, while still having enough time to drive to the Muhlenberg County farm before daylight. The rain during the night, along with the calm winds, left ideal hunting conditions.

For reasons unknown, I decided to take my .22 rifle at the last minute, which is tough enough anyway, but especially so in the early part of the season with all the green leaves. To make matters worse, the 3 X 9 scope that is usually mounted on this rifle was moved to the .50 caliber, black powder muzzle loader last fall to help short up my aim for deer season. I suppose if I had really wanted a mess of squirrels, I would have taken a shotgun. Sometimes it’s just about the hunting part and the chance to get out in the woods. After all, it was a beautiful morning—even the mosquitoes and gnats weren’t too bad.

The hardwood ridges on the farm are filled with many varieties of trees that attract squirrels, including beeches, black gums, and oaks, but I knew it was the hickory trees that would give me the best chance. The tight barks, pignuts, and scaly barks are usually the first to hold concentrations in the early days. Later on, the oaks bearing acorns take over. With the abundance of nuts this year, it seemed all species of hickory were full.

The squirrels seemed to be scattered, too, with no one area better. While the rain drops falling from the still-wet leaves masked the sound of nut cuttings hitting the forest floor, there was still quite a racket when a squirrel jumped from one limb to another.

The final results were definitely in the squirrel's favor on this day. There will be other days—hopefully when some the green leaves have fallen. And you can bet a scope will be attached to the .22 rifle a on the next trip.

And don’t be fooled; Duck Dynasty's Robertson family isn't the only place fried squirrel can be found. There are still kitchens in this part of Kentucky where you can find platters of fried squirrel, along with milk gravy, fresh-sliced garden tomatoes, and hot biscuits. If you’re looking for a recipe for fried squirrel, I’d be willing to bet that your grandmother, or maybe even your mother, has one.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short

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West Kentucky Wild: Bass at Night

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/15/13)—Problem: summertime doldrums. Extreme heat, lots of sun, water temperatures in the high 80s, and a lack of current caused by an absence of wind or very little water being pulled through the dam. Not to mention the big lakes that can accommodate all the summertime traffic of ski boats, jet skis, pontoons, etc. Throw in an occasional barge along with a slow bite and you’ve got a challenge on your hands. Maybe it’s time to start getting ready for deer season. 

Too hot to fish?
There is no such thing. You just have to adjust to either a few hours at dawn or a few hours at dusk. (I will admit that fishing all day in this summer heat should be one of the official stages of the Iron Man contest, though) Perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at nighttime fishing.  

There is no question that bass, as well as some giants, feed at night, especially during hot weather periods. Summer nighttime fishing for bass works as good on local lakes as it does on bigger waters like Kentucky Lake. It is especially effective on clear water lakes and strip pits.   

Moon vs. dark: Which is the best?
While the experts say couple of days before and couple of days after the full moon is best, experiment and come to your own conclusion. While it’s certainly easier to see and get around, many anglers still swear by the dark. Personally, I prefer nights with very little moon and plenty of stars.  

With the specialty night lights available now—a favorite of mine is the one with lights built into the bill of the cap, which frees up your hands for retying and netting—there is no reason to let the dark hold you back. If you desire more light, there are some really good black lights available too, which will help you see shorelines and obstacles in the water. An added bonus: fluorescent mono line is magnified by black light, so you can see movements and twitches clearly. 

Lures
While nighttime fishing has sold millions of black Jitterbugs (and rightfully so), there are nights where top-water lures are not the best option. Some conditions, such as excessive moss or grass, will limit the selections. Try spinnerbaits in dark colors. Plastic worms and jigs will work, too.  

Final Word
It’s a good idea to get on the water prior to dark. Remember that it’s going to be cooler, lots quieter, and the fish will bite. Be sure and take your life jacket and your mosquito repellent, watch out for the summertime storms, and be sure and take a net. That big bass just might let his guard down. 

Required Listening
Edgar Winter’s third studio album, They Only Come Out at Night, which was released in November, 1972. Listen to the album in its entirety by clicking the YouTube player below this article. 

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A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

To read other “West Kentucky Wild” installments, visit Nick’s Sugg Street Post blog page by clicking the following link: http://www.suggstreetpost.com/index.php/outdoors-west-kentucky-wild 

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short

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West Kentucky Wild: Deer Hunter Support Sought for Charitable Food-Based Ministry

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/5/13)—Wanted: West Kentucky deer hunters’ support for the 2013-2014 "Want Not Waste Not" charitable food campaign.

With the 2013-2014 deer season rapidly approaching (archery season kicks it off on September 7th), local deer hunters’ attentions will be turning to preparation for the upcoming season. The excitement begins to build as the days get shorter, nights get a little cooler, and the leaves begin their changing process. Thoughts of harvesting that trophy buck dominate our dreams. Though the 2013 Kentucky Statewide deer tag allows a hunter to take two deer—one antlered and one antlerless—seldom is that second tag ever used. However, the “Want Not Waste Not" ministry hopes to change that.

Having heard somewhat about the program, I wanted to find out more. So this past Saturday, August 3rd, between weeding flower gardens and the PBS 7pm showing of "Elvis from Hawaii,” my better half and I headed to the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville, KY for a sportsman's bash.

We browsed the many different vendors displaying their wares and services. I enjoyed eating a bagged taco from the Hope2All concession stand. I have to say, those ladies are really good salespeople.

We eventually cornered Chad Browning, founder of "Want Not Waste Not.” Chad was more than happy to talk about this program.

He explained how he and his wife, Tonita, were driving down one of the Peabody coal roads during the opening weekend of the 2011 season and came upon three abandoned camp sites that contained a total of seven complete deer carcasses. As an ethical hunter, this was very disturbing to Chad. To make matters worse, Hope2All community food bank was asking for people to donate any processed deer at the time. This was the birth of the "Want Not Waste Not" ministry God called upon the Brownings to create.

During the 2012 season alone, a total of 61 deer were donated. However, Chad anticipates collecting 150 or more this year.


“By partnering with Hope2All to distribute the processed deer, we can concentrate on collection and raising funds as it takes $60 for each deer processed,” said Chad. “The final product is ground venison mixed with beef fat in two pound bags.”

Want to donate a deer to this worthwhile cause? If so, read up on the following guidelines:

1. Your deer must be field dressed. If the current temperature is 50+ degrees, add a couple of bags of ice to the chest cavity if possible.

2. You must use your tag. Call the tele-check line at 1-800-245-4263 and get your confirmation number before you call.

3. Call Chad Browning at (270) 635-0544. Be prepared to give your name, phone number, area/location, and your confirmation number. Leave a message if necessary.

4. The WNWN ministry also offers deer donation pick up services that cover both Hopkins and Muhlenberg County. They also accept deer from other counties when possible. Call them at the number listed above and they can direct you to where to take it.

“We are currently working with three processors: Livingston Meats in Hopkinsville, KY; Barnes Processing in Beaver Dam, KY; and Yoder’s Custom Meats in Sebree, KY,” says Chad. “They will accept the deer without any issue. Just tell them it’s a donation for the ‘Want Not Waste Not’ program.”

Not a hunter, but still want to show your support of this charitable minsitry? Tax deductible donations are also accepted. In fact, a gift of $60.00 takes the deer from the forest to the dinner table of a local family in need.

Make all checks payable to the following address:

Hope2All
200 North Main Street
Nortonville, KY 42442

If you would like to volunteer your time or donate a deer, please call (270) 635-0544.

To learn more about the WNWN ministry or Hope2ALL, please visit this link: http://www.hope2all.com/. You can also find the WNWN ministry on Facebook by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/WantNotWasteNot.

Additional photos from the outdoors festival held at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville, KY this past weekend are attached below.

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A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

To read other “West Kentucky Wild” installments, visit Nick’s Sugg Street Post blog page by clicking here: http://www.suggstreetpost.com/index.php/outdoors-west-kentucky-wild

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Photos by Nick Short/Want Not Waste Not

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West Kentucky Wild: Finding Late Winter, Early Spring Bass and Crappie

freedigitalphotos.net

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (3/4/13) - A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the "ins and outs" of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

The pre-spawn period, which is currently underway, offers some of the best fishing of the entire year. From now until the time the fish actually move onto their spawning beds can be excellent for both crappie and bass.

But where should you start looking?

Location, location, location...

For many businesses, getting the right location can make the difference between success and failure. This also applies to finding late winter to early, early spring fishing. If you fish a small pond, start anywhere.

But what if you fish in larger bodies of water?

North by Northwest is not only a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it's also a specific geographic description of the banks you need to be concentrating on in your favorite lakes as winter slowly releases her grip.

As the year begins to evolve from the short, wintry days of February, we merge into March and the the length of daylight (sunlight) gradually increases. During this time, the sun is positioned at an angle where the maximum amount of sunlight warms these northern and northwest banks first. Fish are cold-blooded and will seek this warmer water. As a result, it's during this time of year that water that's even just a few degrees warmer makes a great deal of difference in where the fish are located.

As the prevailing winds begin to shift and start blowing from a southerly direction, you will see additional warmer water being pushed onto these banks. However, while this does help, continue to look on these banks for any coves, cuts, indentations, or points of land that block off the wind. These areas allow the sun's rays to quickly warm the calmer water. Clear water will always warm up faster than stained or muddy water.

As the water temperatures leave the 40's and begin their upward climb through the 50's, all species of fish will become more active as they begin to increase their feeding habits in preparation for the spawning ritual, which is also triggered by water temp's and moon phases.

With these facts in mind, it's clear that now is the time to begin your quest for some of the best fishing of the year. Good luck and be safe. 

Final Word:  Spring surely can't be that far away? Any day now, I expect to hear the "spring peepers" croaking, and to hear the sound of the red-winged black bird announcing their official declaration of spring. Welcome back...

With these tips in-tow, you should also be better prepared for Winding Creek Bait & Tackle's seasonal Crappie Tournament, which is currently underway. Who knows, you may just snag that $250 cash prize for the biggest (weight-wise) crappie - but don't forget to register beforehand. For more information on the tournament and registration, click here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short

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West Kentucky Wild: Bass Club Nets Award

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (2/27/13)—A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

It seems as if the Hopkins County Bass Club has been around forever. Some of its more senior members even remember when it was the “Madisonville Angler’s Club” - back when most of the fishing was done from Jon-boats at local lakes, strip-pits, and ponds. Regular monthly meetings were held at the former Tucker Schoolhouse Road location.

In the late ‘70s to early ‘80s, the club transitioned from Jon-Boats and local lakes to bass boats and big lakes like Barkley, Kentucky Lake, and many others. It was also during this time that the club changed its name to the Hopkins County Bass Club. The club became a B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) affiliated club that participated, and still participates, in Kentucky BASS Federation events.

Although club bylaws state that the purpose of the organization is “to stimulate a proper public attitude and appreciation regarding the art of bass fishing, and to encourage the participation of young people,” another says that the purposes of the club are purely social, educational, and charitable. The HCBC has especially taken the part of giving back to the community to heart.

By hosting the annual “Hopkins County Fall Bass Classic” each September on Kentucky/Barkley Lake for the past 20 years, the club has been able to give back almost $70,000 to families or groups in need, especially over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.

During this time, the staff and faculty at Madisonville’s West Broadway Elementary School have been instrumental in helping the club find those who may have been overlooked.

In a recent ceremony held at West Broadway, Club President Mike Cartwright, as well as other HCBC members (including myself), were presented with an official “Thank You” from Kentucky Governor, Steve Beshear, who recognized the club’s charitable contributions to the community.

Needless to say, we were honored to accept the prestigious award, and the response we got from the children in attendance during the ceremony, which included my granddaughter, Lucy, was overwhelming.

If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor for the Fall Bass Classic, or if you’re just interested in becoming a member of the HCBC, simply email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call President Mike Cartwright at (270) 836-2562.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Photos courtesy of the Hopkins County Bass Club

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West Kentucky Wild: What’s My Line?

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (2/9/13)—A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

Confused by all the choices? Braid, monofilament, fluorocarbon, low-visibility, high-visibility, tensile strength—and what about pound test?

I just wanted to change the line that’s been on my reel since, well…forever.

Late winter and early spring is a great time to change your line before it lets you down. We could spend days just talking about lines and all the different applications, but this article will deal with the basics to help you figure it all out.

Monofilament

Monofilament is still, by and large, the cheapest and best overall choice for general applications. Always use the lightest pound test you can get away with. For spincasters, as well as spinning reels, use six to eight—and even up to ten—pound test. Any bigger and it begins to get cumbersome. Casting reels will handle larger lines and lures. Depending on snags, rocks, or heavy cover, lines from 12 up to 20lb mono will work very well. However, the stronger or “higher test” line will decrease casting distance and flexibility. Colors to use: clear blue and moss greens. Monofilament lines also have good knot strength and provide some stretch.

Braids

Braids are indestructible, last forever, and have zero stretch. To put this in perspective, 60lb test braided line is about the same diameter as 6lb mono. Braided line is excellent for use in heavy vegetation (lily pads, grass, etc.). It will cut through vegetation easily, whereas mono will hang. Braided line allows for long casting distances and quicker hook sets. The negatives: price, high-visibility, and noise. Also, when pressure is heavily applied to the spool, the line tends to tangle by cutting into itself. Braids can be enhanced by using a leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon. A good choice for a “Carolina rig” is a fluoro leader.

Fluorocarbon

Fluorocarbon is the most expensive line available. As a result, it’s generally only available at high-end tackle dealers, such as Winding Creek Bait & Tackle in Madisonville, or through mail-order outlets. Try the 150 yard spool if you can handle the $20 or so cost. Sunline’s “FC Sniper” or Seaguar are both good choices. Fluoro has very little stretch, is so clear it’s practically invisible, sinks quicker than mono or braid, and provides an excellent feel on jigs, worms, and shaky-head applications. It also works well with crankbaits and suspending jerk baits. Negatives: price (use a backing line so you can use only as much fluoro as you need) and some stiffness. A Palomar knot is the most commonly used, but experimentation may be required. Fluoro leaders work excellent with braided lines. Colors: clear.

FINAL TIP: Fresh line and a good drag will greatly increase the odds of landing that big fish.

Good luck!

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Column logo/photo by Jeff Harp

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West Kentucky Wild: Why Fishing?

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (2/3/13)—A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

Why fish when you could be doing something productive? As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

In truth, fishing can be pursued in its purest and simplest forms—a piece of line, a hook, and a cane pole—or you can take it all the way to high-performance boats, high-profile tournaments, and everything in between.

Some of my earliest memories go back to the “pond” behind our house, fishing either with my brothers or by myself. As kids, that pond looked a lot bigger than it really was. Cane poles or hand-lines were used, bait was an occasional grasshopper, but most of the time we used plain ol’ fishing worms, which we sometimes left in our blue jean pockets (much to our mother’s dismay). From that pond, we caught catfish, carp, a turtle or two, and the same stinkin’ bluegill at least a hundred times.

While all my brothers enjoyed it, fishing just grabbed a hold of me at an early age, and it hasn’t let go of me yet. After the pond, I graduated to bigger ponds; I went from a cane pole to a spincast, push-button Johnson Century, to an open-face Mitchell 300 spinning reel, to today’s state-of-the-art rods and reels.

To me, fishing is just a big ol’ jigsaw puzzle that you try and piece together. And on these rare occasions when it all comes together, there’s nothing like it.

I haven’t fished much from the bank in recent years, but I still have a 12’ John Boat that my son and I use to “attack” Peewee Lake with. I sure am more comfortable fishing from that 20’ Triton bass boat, but that one is limited to the big waters.

It’s been said that the good Lord doesn’t deduct the days spent fishing from your allotted time on this Earth. I sure hope that’s true.

If I close my eyes and look hard enough, I can still see that red and white bobber dancing on the surface. I know it will go under this time.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Column logo/photo by Jeff Harp

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West Kentucky Wild: Cold Water Bass

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (1/22/13)—A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

Let’s face it, all that new fishing gear you got for Christmas is just sitting there waiting—and it’s driving you crazy! You’re fired up and ready to go, only there’s a couple problems. For one, it’s colder than heck, and there’s even a thin film of ice in some places on your favorite lake. That brings out the second problem: water temperatures stuck in the low 40’s.

Though I can’t help much in the way of fixing either one, I can tell you that the fish will bite if you can get around that whole “ice thing.”

What to Throw?

1.) Rubber-Skirted Bass Jigs

As far as color, stick with black, brown, or a black and blue combo. Start with a ¼ ounce weight and go as high as a ½ ounce. An old-school #11 Uncle Josh “Pork Frog” will complete this big fish killer. Fish it slow, then even slower; make sure to keep it touching the bottom. Strikes will range from a “mushy” feeling to a distinctive thump. If you think you got a bite, a “jerk” style hook set is free.

2.) Suspending Minnow Jerk Baits (Long, slender minnow imitators)

The choices are endless as practically every lure manufacturer makes one. Prices will vary from relatively reasonable to $20 or more per lure. Some good, affordable choices include Smithwick’s “Rogue,” Strike King’s “Wild Shiner,” or any models by Luck “E” Strike. Those that are four to five inches in length seem to work best, and they perform at their peak in deeper, “clear” water. For these, stick with shad or minnow color.

These lures are not hard to learn about or use. Simply make a long cast (usually with a mono or fluorocarbon line that’s 12lbs or less), crank it five or six turns, let the bait just sit, twitch it a couple times, and repeat the process. Don’t be afraid to vary the length of time you let it sit; in the end, the fish will tell you how long. In colder water, fish will often swipe at this lure while it’s sitting still, so watch your line.

Local angler, Wayne Adams, shows proof that cold water bass will bite! This fish, along with several others, were taken during an outing on January 20th with fellow angler, Daniel Davis. As Daniel noted, most of the damage was done with suspending minnow jerk baits. Daniel also said the bites got better as it warmed up and that he got plenty of experience netting. Thanks for the pics and info.

PHOTO: Local angler, Wayne Adams, shows proof that cold water bass will bite! This fish, along with several others, were taken during an outing on January 20th with fellow angler, Daniel Davis. Most of the damage was done with suspending minnow jerk baits. Daniel said the bites got better as it warmed up, and that he got plenty of experience netting. Thanks for the pics and info, Daniel.

3.) Crank Baits

Grab some Rapala “Shad Raps,” models SR5 or SR7, in crawfish or shad color. These are cold water standards. Additionally, any flat-sided cranks, such as Bomber “Flat A’s” in fire-tiger—or any of the crawfish colors—should also work. With these, smaller to mid-size seems to work best in colder water. Just remember that the water is cold. Slow your retrieve and don’t expect it to get a ton of bites.

FINAL WORD: Dress warm, be extremely cautious, and, if at all possible, take somebody with you. From there, give these lures and techniques a shot—you might just be in for a surprise!

If you need any of the lures mentioned, or any others, go see Barbara Wiles of Winding Creek Bait & Tackle at 1635 Eastview Dr. in Madisonville (270-825-9997) or visit her website by clicking here. And remember, if she doesn’t have it, she will get it for you!

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Column logo/photo by Jeff Harp

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