Displaying items by tag: outdoors

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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We All Float On – Canoeing and Kayaking in Dawson Springs

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/22/13)—If you live in or around the Hopkins County, KY region, adventure is right outside your doorstep (or at least a few miles down the road). From acres of sprawling forests, unique rock formations, and trail-laden parks, to immense waterways, scenic back roads, massive cave systems, and beyond, the western Kentucky region—and the state itself—is brimming with a variety of outdoors opportunities.

Yet, for all of the adrenaline-based activities at our disposal—mountain-biking, rock wall repelling, ATV/dirt bike riding, and jet-skiing, which is to name only a few—there are just as many options for relaxation, nature observation, family-friendly fun, and even a little light exercise.

Case in point: canoeing, kayaking, or boating on Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park’s Pennyrile Lake or Dawson Springs’ nearby Tradewater River.

Though many in our area are familiar with both locations, there may be less who are aware of their canoeing, kayaking, or boating possibilities.

Don’t own a canoe or kayak? While there are even more options at your disposal in Hopkins County if you do, don’t worry—both Pennyrile Lake and the Tradewater River have rentals available for reasonable prices. Worried about the upcoming shift into the fall and winter seasons? Don’t be. Both locations are accessible well into the later months of the year (and sometimes further).

Pennyrile Lake
A decades-old, 56 acre, reservoir-style body of water that stretches well over 3,300 foot from north to south, Pennyrile Lake is located amongst more than 14,000 acres of majestic woodlands. Though Pennyrile Lake’s size could be considered small in comparison to other nearby sites, such as Lake Beshear and Kentucky Lake, its diversity lends itself to a variety of pursuits. Take a few hours to soak up the indigenous wildlife amongst untainted shorelines, varied inlets, and a dense lily-pad “field”; examine the intricacies of sheer rock facings and outcroppings that border the lake’s edge, which are common to the Dawson Springs area; cast your fishing lure into fallen brush piles, beneath overhanging trees, and around the perimeter of adjoining docks; bring your camera and capture a variety of intriguing photographs; or simply take a fresh look at Pennyrile Lake’s historic dam from the water level. And that’s just scratching the surface. The pathway and approach you take to explore this striking setting is up to you and yours. What’s more, Pennyrile State Forest Resort Park offers lodging, camping, fresh food, golfing, swimming, and a bevy of other services/outdoors entertainment.

Here’s the lowdown on pricing and boating options, as well as times/dates that the lake is open to visitors:

• Paddleboats - $5/30 minutes; $8/hour; $25/day
• Canoes - $8/hour; $30/day
• Jon Boat (no motor) - $10/hour; $35/day
• Jon Boat (with motor) - $20/hour; $45/day; $86/two days

All rentals include boat paddles and life-jackets at no additional charge. Rentals are available from 10am – 5pm every day of the week until October 31st. For more information on Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, such as boat availability, call (270) 797-3421 or visit http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/pennyrile-forest/. Detailed directions to the park are also available at the aforementioned link.

Tradewater River
Named for the oftentimes “neutral” trade interactions it fostered between various native American tribes and white settlers in the early-to-mid-1800’s, the Tradewater River is a truly historic tributary of the Ohio River that meanders across western Kentucky and parts of Indiana for well over 100 miles. Though portions of the relatively slow-moving, yet tranquil and naturally picturesque, river are difficult or impossible to traverse by boat, canoe, or kayak due to large, sporadic deposits of fallen debris, local outdoors enthusiast and Dawson Springs resident, Hank Mills, offers regional adventure seekers and nature lovers a chance to experience between two and five unobstructed miles of the relaxing waterway through his personal, riverside business, Tradewater Canoes and Kayaks.

Below is a list of canoeing and kayaking options, as well as times/date and methods of scheduling a rental.

• Lower River (approx. two miles/one-and-a-half hours)—$20 per boat OR $15 per boat for groups renting three or more boats
• Upper River (approx. five miles/three to four hours)—$30 per boat OR $25 per boat for groups renting three or more boats

Rental fees include paddles, life-jackets, and onsite transportation to and from your launch/arrival site (if applicable). While walk-ins are acceptable from 9am to 5pm up until Labor Day (September 2nd, 2013), calling ahead of time to schedule a rental is strongly encouraged for those traveling into Dawson Springs from out of town. After Labor Day, pre-scheduling trips and rentals by phone will be mandatory. To set up an appointment, to find out more information, or to get specific directions, please call (270) 871-9475. Leave a voicemail if you don’t get an answer and someone will call you back as soon as possible. You can also find Tradewater Canoes and Kayaks on Facebook.

While the two aforementioned options are ideal for a relaxing daytrip by yourself, with friends, or with the whole family, Tradewater Canoes and Kayaks will also be hosting an exciting, adrenaline-pumping fitness challenge on Saturday, August 24th. In addition to a two mile kayak portion, the event will also host a 4K run and a 16.5 mile bike ride. If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, visit the following link for information on registration, locations, and more:
http://www.dawsonspringsky.com/trails/2013%20Brochure%20.pdf.

You may also find the Tradewater River Fitness Challenge on Facebook.

In the end, taking time out of our busy schedules and modern, fast-paced routines can oftentimes remind of us of what we are: adventure-seeking beings that have a natural drive to explore the world around us. We are nomadic at heart. And why not go and smell the roses from time-to-time? Immersing one’s self in the natural world can soothe and relax the mind, body, and perhaps the very essence of our being. Floating and swaying along on a serene waterway lightens our sense of immediacy, giving us a feeling of buoyancy and weightlessness, while provoking our ancestral instincts. 

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Luke Short and Tradewater Canoes and Kayaks

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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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Perseid Meteor Shower - The 'Best and Brightest'

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/2/13)—Independence Day celebrations are long gone for 2013, but mother nature has a phenomenal interstellar “fireworks” display up her sleeve that has been wowing audiences all over the world for thousands of years: the Perseid meteor shower.

Generally regarded by both seasoned astronomers and recreational stargazers as the “best” annual meteor shower visible from the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseid meteor shower not only produces some of the brightest meteors of the year, but it also correlates with the tail end of the Delta Aquarid shower that peaks in late July and continues into early August.

What’s more, those trying to fit in a viewing of the Perseids will have plenty of opportunities to squeeze in a little “time off the clock.” In fact, the 2013 Perseids meteor shower can be viewed during the post-midnight/pre-dawn hours of early August for nearly two full weeks, with their peak production of 50-100 visible meteors per hour taking place on the late evenings/early mornings of August 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13.

As EarthSky.org explains of the immense meteor shower:

The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere…The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero, but, as with all meteor shower radiant points, you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower; instead, the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. They are typically fast and bright meteors. They frequently leave persistent trains. Every year, you can look for the Perseids around August 10-13. They combine with the Delta Aquarid shower to produce the year’s most dazzling display of shooting stars. In 2013, the Perseid meteors will streak across the short summer nights – August 10-13 – from late night until dawn, with little to no interference from the waxing crescent moon. Plus the moon will be near the planet Saturn in the evening hours, giving a colorful prelude to late-night Perseid show.

To maximize your viewing experience of the Perseids, however, there are a few guidelines that should be followed:

• First and foremost, you’ll want to locate an open and public vantage point that is as far removed from light pollution as is possible (this includes everything from glowing city lights to the lights of a car or nearby security light). Fortunately, Hopkins County has plenty of rural areas that are perfect for such an occasion.

• Secondly, it’s important to remember that watching for meteors is really all about getting out and enjoying the fruits of nature. While the Perseid shower is legendary because of the powerful and dependable displays it can produce, it would take a lot of patience to catch each and every one of the 50-100 meteors the annual shower can create.

• Third, don’t forget to make yourself comfortable while gazing at the night sky. Bring a chair or seat, check the weather, and dress appropriately for the climate.

• Finally, make sure you’re looking for meteors at the right time. To reiterate, the Perseids will be peaking during the late evening/pre-dawn hours of August 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13.

To learn more about the Perseid meteor shower, click here.

Wondering what the shower might actually look like? Check out a stunning time-lapse film of the 2010 Perseid meteor shower by clicking the video player attached below this article.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photo by Jeff Harp
Information provided by EarthSky.org

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nOM—Adventures in Yoga & Food: Hello, Sun

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/28/13) - “Each morning the sun takes another course into the sky. Light and warmth follow and the day begins, a common event of enormous circumstance. The sunrise informs and actuates the present. Each one is different. And deep within that mystery lies a gift for anyone perceptive enough to notice, anyone willing to accept it. It is the blessing for the day at hand, a fresh chance to create and to connect and to experience what it is that we were born to do.” – Robert William Case

Up until very recently, I was a self-proclaimed night-owl, passionate about how much I loathed the morning. After my first year of college, I (purposefully) never had a class earlier than 10am. Throughout my 10-year career in college admissions I had to be at work at 8:30am, and I was the queen of the snooze button. Every time my alarm went off, a few more minutes of sleep sounded like a better idea than eating breakfast, never mind a morning workout or a yoga and meditation practice. This was partially because of my insomniac tendencies. I rarely went to bed before 2am, oftentimes having caught an unplanned nap on the couch after work, my daily 4pm Starbucks habit getting me through the workday but not keeping me from crashing as soon as I got home.

It was an unexpected bout with anxiety (a story for another column) that inspired me to stop hitting the snooze button and create a morning routine, and now I can’t imagine my life without it. While I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call myself a “morning person,” I have begun to really enjoy the stillness and ease of the early hours. There is something sacred about the morning–a heaviness that lends itself to slowing down and paying attention, peacefulness that promotes deep inner listening, newness that feels like tangible hope and pure potential.

These days I’m almost always in bed before 10:30pm and I’m up long before I have to be anywhere. I have seen positive transformation and improvements in my life that I can only attribute to changing my schedule and using the golden hours of morning to my advantage. This is how I’m currently starting my day.

• 6am – My “Tibetan bell” alarm fades in, slowly nudging me awake. I sit up and notice my body and my breath, and take a moment to just watch my thoughts without engaging. (Try it–those first few thoughts you have can be equally hilarious and crazy!) I head to the kitchen, juice a lemon, add lukewarm water, and step outside and say hello to the sun. I bring myself present by reminding myself of the day and the date. I’m fortunate to live in bucolic splendor; I often walk barefoot into my yard in my pajamas and notice my feet firmly on the soft ground. It is a beautiful reminder of my connection to the earth, an acknowledgement of the support she provides me day after day.

• 6:30am – I’m on my yoga mat. I might do an online practice via Kripalu or YogaGlo, or a practice I have on CD or DVD. I might do my own practice set to music or in silence. But I always practice pranayama (breath work) and asana (yoga postures).

• 7:00am – I light a candle as I set an intention for my day and settle on to my meditation cushion for a minimum of 21 minutes. (I always give myself that one extra minute to settle in and breathe deeply).

• 7:30am – I make breakfast (usually fruit, raw nuts, and chia seeds or flax meal, or a green smoothie, or sautéed greens, poached eggs, and avocado), and an almond milk latte.

• 8:00am – I break a sweat (for the second time if yoga practice was vigorous!) and get outside, heading to the park for a walk. (I find that a walk after breakfast works for me; if I’m doing something more vigorous like a kick-boxing DVD, I do that before I eat breakfast).

• 9:00am – I begin working for the day.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of times that I can’t keep this schedule for one reason or another. There are some days that I make the choice to stay in bed longer, or I go to the diner for breakfast with my boyfriend if he has a rare day off from work, or I listen to my body and choose a gentle yoga practice or skip the walk if I’m feeling truly run down. I have had to learn not to freak out if my routine doesn’t happen exactly as planned. The point is not to accomplish it, but to be present for it, morning after morning after morning.

Your needs – physically and spiritually – are unique to you. Here are few general suggestions that you can mix and match to create a morning routine that works for you.

-  Wake up gently.
Instead of that blaring alarm that rudely jolts you out of sleep, why not experiment with a kinder, gentler alarm? I have an app on my iPhone called “Sleep Machine” that is wonderful for ambient noises to fall asleep to, as well as an alarm that fades in and includes soothing music or a Tibetan bell (my personal favorite).

-  Drink lemon water.
Lemon juice aids digestion, helps to cleanse the body of toxins, and boosts the immune system. Drink the juice of one lemon with 16oz of lukewarm water on an empty stomach and if you can, wait 30 minutes before eating breakfast.

-  Say hello to the sun.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The sun is new each day.” Saying hello to the sun each morning is a lovely way to mark the new day, to acknowledge it, to be present to it for at least a brief moment. Time passes and the days go by, and sometimes we get so busy that we wake up, five years have gone by, and we were too preoccupied to notice. Taking just a moment each day to acknowledge the new day itself helps to counter this.

-  Practice yoga.
After a night of sleep, the body can be stiff and sore. Gentle yoga breath work, movement, and postures can help to wake up the muscles and connective tissues, preparing the body to move with more ease through the tasks of the day.

-  Practice meditation.
Meditation doesn’t have to be scary. Set a timer (that Tibetan bell timer works great for this, too!), sit comfortably, close your eyes, and simply rest your awareness on inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Here is a great illustration that explains the many benefits of meditation.

-  Eat a healthy breakfast
Starting the day with a combination of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and good fat is a great way to ensure good choices for the rest of the day. You are literally breaking a fast, and what you put in your body first can and does set the tone for your entire day.

-  Break a sweat.
There are a lot of reasons to exercise in the morning, but my favorite? To get it over with. Plus, I find I make better food choices over the course of the day if I’ve already got a solid workout under my belt. Win-win.

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Hilary’s website: www.hilarylowbridge.weebly.com 
Connect with Hilary on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HilaryLowbridgeYoga
Hilary in 140 characters or less: www.twitter.com/hilarybreathes  

Sugg Street Post
Writing/Photos by Hilary Lowbridge 

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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: 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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