Displaying items by tag: tips

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. 

____________________________________________________

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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Semi-Homesteading with Mama Cass: Homemade Vanilla Extract

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/11/13)—The best part about working at a library, besides having an unlimited number of books at your disposal, is you get to play Sherlock Holmes. Every day I would receive phone calls from people who had questions and needed an answer. Most were students who needed homework help, some wanted a third party perspective to settle a dispute, and a few were just curious, but each person gave me a chance to play detective and find answers to questions I may have never thought to ask. Thanks to random callers, I know the fines associated with harassing red-tailed hawks, how starfish reproduce, and the supernatural beings associated with Western Kentucky. While I have always considered myself to be a rather inquisitive individual, being immersed in a sea of questions for the better part of six years has undoubtedly helped to nourish my curiosity. I find myself spending a great deal of my time wondering, and more than once I’ve been accused of being “random” when after a long silence I’ll pose a question. I just want to know things and I don’t consider curiosity a vice, even if it is rumored to kill a lot of cats.

My “need to know” is exactly how I came across my first vanilla bean. I am a member of the Pennyroyal Herb Club and, at the time, the club had vanilla beans to purchase for their annual Christmas at Munn’s Open House. I had never seen a vanilla bean in my life and, while I had no clue how to use them, I purchased a few out of curiosity and took them home. With the exception of the pod, vanilla beans aren’t exactly very “bean-like.” I sliced open the pod and expected to find little black beans inside. Not quite. If you’ve ever had real-deal vanilla ice cream, I’m sure you noticed those tiny dark specks. That’s what is inside. It smells like heaven and it’s those fragrant morsels that are responsible for the flavor.

Besides being delicious and aromatic, vanilla beans are also a very high-needs crop. Vanilla beans primarily come from flat-leafed vanilla orchids, which must be pollinated by hand, harvested by hand and then cured for several months before they are ready to be sold. The entire process takes around ten months and this work is reflected in their price tag. Unless you have access to wholesale prices—and a need for thirty plus beans—expect to pay $4-$6 a bean. Due to this expense, recipes that call for one to two beans aren’t made very often. So what’s a vanilla lover with a budget supposed to do? The most price effective way of using vanilla is in the form of extract—PURE vanilla extract, not that imitation nonsense. Yes, it is much cheaper than the real deal, and I admit I am guilty of purchasing imitation vanilla in desperate times, but you aren’t doing your baked goods any favors. The difference between imitation and pure vanilla extract is like the difference between a chicken and a Velociraptor. You’re not fooling anyone.

Most “pure” extracts in stores don’t quite live up to their name when you glance at the ingredients label. They are either watered down or contain a sugar-syrup solution and artificial colors. These extra ingredients, in my opinion, distract from the real flavor of the vanilla bean. Plus, an itsy-bitsy bottle will set you back nearly $10. By investing in a few beans and a bottle of alcohol, you can have a never ending supply of real vanilla at your disposal. I’ll show you how.

1) You’ll need to acquire some vanilla beans and some alcohol. There are many different places to buy vanilla beans online. Here is one. Here is another. Just do a search for “where to buy vanilla beans” and you’ll be swamped with selection. As for alcohol, vodka, rum, and bourbon will all work nicely as long as it’s something high proof. I used Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum because it is what I had on hand. I’m just going to go ahead and say it is not really okay to use super cheap alcohol at this point. Your vanilla won’t blow up or anything, but it won’t be as nice as it can be. So c’mon, splurge a little and get some mid-priced booze. Or top shelf booze if you are feeling fancy. This is your extract. Feel free to mix it up. Go crazy. Just not too crazy, we are trying to make extract here, guys.
2) Here comes the fun part. If you have never seen the inside of a vanilla bean and are easily entertained, oh man, are you in luck. Holding the vanilla bean on a cutting board, take a paring knife (or a pair of scissors) and slice it down the middle. Now isn’t that cool? Prepare to be completely covered in those little delicious flecks. They will hide in your nails for the rest of your life—or until your next manicure.

3) Shove the split bean pods into your clean glass jar. The math is three beans to one cup of alcohol. Put a lid on your extract, store it in a dark spot (like the back of your cabinet) and wait at least two months. This is the hardest part, but the end results are amazing. Plus, when your bottle starts to run out, you can simply top off the bottle with more alcohol, wait another few months, and voila! More vanilla. It’s everlasting. It’s easy. It’s still stuck under my nails.

If you would like your own vanilla extract, but don’t want to mess with the hassle of making it, I will have extract for sale at the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Fest in Madisonville, KY this Saturday. I will be at the Learn’d Housewife’s booth. Hope to see you there!

Sugg Street Post
Written by Cassie Pendergraff
Photos courtesy of Cassie Pendergraff

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nOM—Adventures in Yoga & Food: The Reality Yogi

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/6/13) - Practicing yoga is an act of self-care. It is a way to take time – ideally, every day – for connecting with body, mind, and spirit. The reality is, however, that it can be really challenging to make the time for this kind of practice. Especially when it becomes one of those things, and you know all about those things. Things that you think you need a very specific set of circumstances to do correctly. If I lived in my perfect yoga world, every day there would be 90 solid, consecutive minutes, falling exactly three hours after I last ate (a light, healthy, organic, free-range, locally-sourced, gluten/soy/wheat/dairy free meal) in a day that I was perfectly hydrated (but for some amazing yogic reason, I wouldn't have to pee during those 90 minutes) and wearing the perfect yoga outfit (and it would have to be Lululemon from head to toe, because what is more ironic than a $300 yoga outfit?) in a room that had been smudged with (organic) white sage approximately 30 minutes before I began my practice, candles (that I made myself) lit, and a perfect playlist cued up. And of course I'd be on my Manduka Black Mat Pro. Duh.

I think those exact circumstances happened once. Well, except for the Lulu outfit. Oh, and I've never made a candle in my life. And I only just got a Manduka Black Mat Pro a year ago as a birthday gift. But yeah, something like that happened one time. In 1999. That's the ticket.

Okay, it never happened.

And let's face it—it probably never will.

Here is the truth: you don't need the perfect amount of time, the perfect space, the expensive mat, and definitely not the $300 yoga outfit to practice yoga. You don’t even have to make it to one of my classes at the YMCA to practice yoga. You can practice yoga anytime, anywhere. You can practice yoga for ten minutes a day with incredibly positive results.

Let's say it is the end of a long day and you finally have a bit of downtime to yourself. And if we are being honest (and we are, or at least, I am about to be), you are probably likely to grab a glass of wine, maybe some chips, (mmm, chips), definitely a lime La Croix, and sneak a moment to catch up on your DVR. Maybe it's Housewives, Parks & Rec, or a Law & Order: SVU marathon. Or you catch up on your internet-world for a minute—Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger. Maybe you attempt to do all of this at the same time. All the while you might be thinking, gosh, maybe I should do a bit of yoga. (By the way, if this is true for you, word for word, it also seems that we are the same person!).

So it feels like a choice, then: yoga or guilty-pleasure decompression. I know what I’m more likely to choose.

But it does not have to be a choice—at least not all of the time. Have your wine, have your chips, watch your reality television. Or listen to your favorite music. And while you do, put your legs up the wall for 10 minutes. Or sit cross-legged on the floor and lengthen your spine as breathe deeply (and sip your wine). Or just sit on the couch, watch your favorite show, and focus on inhaling deep into your belly, flaring your rib cage with the breath, and drawing it up over the collar bones, exhaling from the upper chest, rib cage, and following the breath all the way out with the belly.

I'm not saying this should replace your focused practice of yoga, or that you should never step foot in a yoga studio again. But as an addition to a mindful practice, this is a great way to work some additional yoga, gentle stretching, and deep breathing into the reality of your day.

Today, I did some yoga in my kitchen in between folding laundry and drinking coffee, thinking that I need to start eating more celery because it's supposed to be good for your heart—or at least that's what I read in some magazine yesterday.

Luckily, the beauty of yoga is that I stopped thinking about celery and stressing about heart health for a hot second and had a very fleeting moment of blissful peace and concentration.

You can, too.

• Stand with your feet a little wider than your hip’s width apart.
• Begin to twist, allowing the arms to gain momentum like empty coat sleeves of a trench coat draped over your shoulders. Lift the opposite heel as you look behind you.
• Coordinate it with some strong pranayama (breath work) practice—a sharp inhale through the nose as you come through center, a forceful "HA" breath out the mouth as you twist.
• Let the momentum build and build, and let your hands hit you wherever they may (it's probably somewhere you have a big concentration of lymph nodes, and they need a love tap now and then!)
• Continue for a minute or two, then let the momentum slow down, like the battery in the toy is slowly dying.
• When you are finally still, notice how you feel. Breathe deeply.

This incredibly simple twist is so therapeutic and beneficial. It is a nice squeeze and soak for all of the organs in the abdomen, flooding them with freshly oxygenated blood, and it also keeps the spine supple and creates space for all of the nerves traveling out of the spine to the rest of the body. Hooray!

Or go throw on your Lulu clothes, roll out that Manduka, light the candles, smudge the room and have that perfect, enlightening 90-minute practice. I'm jealous already.

Love,
The Reality Yogi

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
Written by Hilary Lowbridge
Photos by Hilary Lowbridge

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Semi-Homesteading with Mama Cass: Uprooting Veggie Phobias

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/4/13) - I often hear parents complain about how their children won’t eat vegetables. To be honest, this baffles me. I grew up loving broccoli and cauliflower and would eat raw corn straight out of the field. I never entertained the thought that it was possible to dislike vegetables, let alone that my children would refuse to eat them. However, the idea that they are meant to be detested is so prevalent in our society we have an entire market devoted to hiding vegetables in food so that we can trick kids into eating them.

Everywhere I go, people seem to be amazed that my kids will eat green beans, artichokes, and yes, even brussel sprouts. I’ve racked my brain trying to understand the difference. Why do my kids beg for seconds and other kids turn their noses up? Is it possible to inherit vegetable-loving genes? Maybe we got lucky? Was it all that kale I ate while pregnant? Then I read a study that said that kids who spend time in the garden eat more vegetables and everything made perfect sense.

See, as children we are naturally neophobic of new foods. It is a tool that once kept our foraging ancestors alive. They had learned the hard way what plants were okay to eat and which should be avoided. Anything new was treated with a healthy skepticism before being ingested. So when your two year old refuses to eat her broccoli, it isn’t because she is being intentionally stubborn, but rather because her brain is in survival mode. However, the trick is how to go about getting them to eat it. The answer is not only simple, but is so effective that it is being implemented in various childcare settings all over the United States: grow your own food.

There’s something innately beautiful about eating something that you have grown yourself. This magic isn’t lost on children either. In fact, it has been my experience that children are enamored with the gardening process from start to finish. It is the equivalent of magic to them; to be able to put a tiny seed in the ground and watch it grow into a giant edible plant. There’s an overwhelming sense of pride that comes from making a meal with vegetables you’ve reared yourself. So, not only are you cultivating a new hobby, but your child’s self-esteem as well.

Including your children in the process makes a monumental difference. Take them to the local lawn and garden store or request a seed catalog online. If starting seeds sounds too overwhelming, most greenhouses will have an abundance of ready to plant vegetables and herbs to choose from. Allow them to make the decisions on what plants they will nurture. You can mark down on your calendar the days until harvest time and look up fun recipes you’d like to try. Making these choices on their own will bolster their investment in the meal itself. Discuss the importance of keeping the plants hydrated and the weeds out. Don’t get discouraged if you’ve never gardened before, because learning together with your child is part of the fun—just be sure to plant a few herbs that you can use right away if patience is not a strong suit.

There’s a giant misconception that gardening is pointless unless you happen to have a dozen extra acres lying around. In reality, a general lack of space has inspired some of the most unique planting arrangements out there. Rooftop gardens and vertical landscaping arose out of necessity of those large metropolitan areas with practically no workable ground. Container gardens and small, raised beds have become very popular in the past decade, and work quite effectively. Obviously, some plants require more room, but even vining plants like cucumbers, beans, winter squash and even melons can be trained to grow vertically.

If for some reason you are incapable of growing a few backyard crops, try visiting your local farmer’s market or consider purchasing your vegetables through a CSA. Engage your children beforehand by reading books on farm life and the importance of farming. The more connected a child feels to their food, the more alluring it will become. Involve your children in the meal planning in your home; talk about what you plan on purchasing and how you will use these ingredients into make dinner. In fact, just involving your children in the preparation of the meal itself can be enough to spark an interest.

This summer bring more to the dinner table by growing a few fresh vegetables and herbs in your backyard. You’ll find that by planting a few seeds you’ll nurture your child’s curiosity for nature while your broaden your weekly menu. All the energy that goes into tending that little seed will finally be rewarded with a bounty of fresh, and virtually free, produce. Even the staunchest of picky eaters will be far too curious not to at least give it a try.

Gardening Inspiration Books

Green Thumbs: A Kids Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening by Laurie Carlson
Kids Garden: The Anytime, Anyplace Guide to Sowing and Growing by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell
Project Garden: A Month-by-Month Guide to Planting, Growing, and Enjoying ALL Your Backyard Has to Offer by Stacy Tornio

Books for Children about Gardening/Farm Life

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Zinnia's Flower Garden by Monica Wellington
Farming by Gail Gibbons
Thundercake by Patrica Polacco
Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering
First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew by Robbin Gourley
Chicken said “Cluck” by Judyann Grant

Sugg Street Post
Written by Cassie Pendergraff
Photos courtesy of Cassie Pendergraff

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Developing Your Small Business in the Modern Marketplace

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HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (3/5/13)—Running a small business in the modern, technology-bound age is no easy task; but then again, it really is. Sound confusing? Well, truth be told, a new-age, multi-edged business sword has encroached upon that dated, two-sided blade, and those who choose to wield it are faced with two approaches: let the different sides become overwhelming and alien, or simply realize that the added edges allow your blade to easily cut into all sides of the vast, contemporary market. To put it plainly, there are a multitude of user-friendly venues available to business owners today, many of which are completely or nearly free. In fact, all it takes to really get your name out there in a relatively big way is some creativity, a unique product people want or enjoy, and some new-age know-how. From social media like Facebook and Twitter, to online reviews, smartphone apps, and QR codes, the options business owners now have at their disposal is seemingly limitless. And while the thought of carrying your business into this ever-growing, electronic marketplace can be startling—especially to those who are new to the concept—it’s really quite easy once you look at some of your options.

Of course, we at the Sugg Street Post are keen to a number of the online tools that are available, yet we don’t claim to know everything—and few newly established small business owners do. Fortunately, members of the Sugg Street Post were able to pick up some valuable tips from experienced business advisor and consultant, Marc Willson, during his recent visit to Hopkins County.

A seasoned retailer and restaurateur who re-established The Willson Company in 2010 to serve as a business advisor to small towns and merchants, Marc Willson has served a variety of national retailers in many capacities. In addition, his know-how and experience also led to his employment as a multi-state STAMP (Small Town & Merchant program) representative for Virginia’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

From his work with bicycles, Earth Shoes, and Circuit City early on, to his co-development of Virginia’s StoreTracks.com, his management and marketing of eCampus.com in Lexington, KY, and beyond, Marc has played a vital role in a multitude of successful online and brick and mortar retailing situations.

So, what are Marc’s secrets, and what has he learned after all these years?

After over four decades of experience, Marc’s central battle cry for small businesses is, “Get found and be open,” and he says there are five central elements and/or tools that entrepreneurs need to embrace to make this happen in the modern world:

1.) You must have a website.
2.) Your business must have a Facebook page.
3.) Your business website has to be mobile enabled.
4.) You have to be aware of and involved with review sites (i.e. Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, etc.).
5.) You should create and utilize smartphone QR codes.

In correlating the connectivity of QR codes, maintaining a home website, and a business Facebook page, Marc notes that, “Business owners need to place a QR code on the window of their business that can direct potential customers to the business’s home website. According to statistics, 70 percent of the money spent in America is spent after five o’clock and on the weekends, and if businesses in small towns are closing up at five o’clock and on the weekends, they’re missing out on this action. The QR code gives them another chance to garner interest through their website or to make an online sale. Business owners should also have a QR code that takes customers to their Facebook page on the counter inside their location…because customers are more apt to like your page on the spot than they are to remember to do it when they get home.”

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With these easily accessible and free electronic tools at nearly everyone’s disposal today, Marc believes that all retailers and entrepreneurs should take stock in the power and usefulness of smartphones as well.

“Smartphones are the wallet of the future,” says Marc. “Businesses are found with these devices and they will be paid with these devices, and this relates back to my battle cry for small businesses today: ‘Get found and be open.’ Businesses have to have a website. Google is a verb today. If someone types in Madisonville, KY on Trip Advisor, it will tell you where to eat, where to stay, and what to do based on reviews, and if you’re not on there, you’re missing the boat. That’s how people that are visiting a new town find out what there is to do.”

Marc explains that there’s another element currently at play in the modern market, too: a change in people’s buying habits due to unmistakable downswings in the economy. As a result, there are several new breeds of customers out there.

As he notes, there was a recent Harvard Business School study done on the results of a recession, and it basically showed that consumers will fall into three categories, which are as follows per Marc:

1.) Paying But Patient—This is most of America. A consumer in this category has “slammed on the brakes” financially speaking, because they’ve lost income and are trying to support a household. As a whole, we know we’re going to get out of this recession, but, in the meantime, we’re a lot more careful when it comes to spending money.
2.) The Comfortably Well-Off—The top five percent of this nation is as rich as it’s ever been. The stock market is over 14,000 points again. So, some economists will tell you that we’re going to end up like the rest of the world: there are haves and have-nots. The rich are rich. If you can get ahold of the rich in your store—if you can tap that market—they will spend.
3.) Live For Today—These are people that are making money, possibly from dual incomes, and they usually don’t have kids. They aren’t saving yet, and they don’t care about retirement yet either. The people in this group tend to spend the money that they make.

From these recessionary consumer groups, each has a focus on different spending habits, which can include the purchase of essentials (water, food, shelter, etc.), justifiable indulgences or treats (gifts, restaurants, etc.), “postponables” (new tires, gas stove instead of electric, etc.), and expendables (things that have no real purpose).

While Marc explains that many avoid the realm of “expendables” in this day and age, he also believes that many still take the time to treat themselves with nice food, pricier clothing, and other relatively extravagant “necessities” every now and then.

“The good news is that we still reward ourselves for a job well done,” says Marc. “We’re born and bred to buy. From your first breath up into older age, spending is ‘good’ and it makes you ‘feel good.’ As a matter of fact, Americans are beginning to move out of the ‘new normal’ into the ‘new abnormal,’ which is basically like saying, ‘We’re tired of saving money; we’re tired of tightening our belts. We want to spend money again,’ and that will happen even more as the economy continues to improve. Interestingly enough, 75 percent of the gross domestic product in the United States is a result of consumers spending their money. It’s all based on consumer spending, so if people don’t get back out there spending money again, this economy won’t correct itself.”

For all these suggestions and tools at the modern business owner’s fingertips, though, Marc says it’s ultimately all about margin rather than actual revenue.

“These small businesses need to know where they are making their money,” explains Marc, “because 80 percent of retailers move their volume from 20 percent of their inventory. With that in mind, these small business owners need to ask themselves, ‘What is that 20 percent? How do I get more of it? How do I get rid of the 80 percent? And more importantly, how do I sell more of what’s really making me money?’ At the end of the day, a small business is all about cash flow. You’ve got to make hay while the sun is shining and you’ve got to sell the products and services that are making you money.”

In trying to get a better grip on these ideas and tips, with especial regards to a better business plan and cash flow, Marc encourages business owners to get in contact with their local Small Business Development Centers. For business owners based in Kentucky that are interested in learning more about the organization, click here to visit the official Kentucky SBDC website.

If you would like to know more about the SBDC’s Small Town and Merchant Program (STAMP), please take a moment to watch the informative video attached below this article or visit the link above.

If you're interested in taking your small business to a whole new level, please contact the Sugg Street Post via Facebook or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . In addition to website creation (which comes mobile ready), we also offer professional graphic design, professional photography, and professional writing services. What's more, we want local businesses to succeed without having to break the proverbial bank in doing so. With that in mind, don't be surprised if we can offer you some of the most affordable rates in the region. 

To learn more about The Willson Company and Marc Willson, visit their official website by clicking here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short

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

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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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