Cave Run and a Slippery Sam

August 3, 2013

G. Sam Piatt

PDT Outdoors Writer

Friday, Creighton Stephens and I were driving up Ky. 801, which follows along the eastern shore of Cave Run Lake, when we stopped at the Cave Run Pro Shop, run by Ralph and Kay Keene.

We stopped to get a six-dollar, one-day permit called for by forestry officials to park the truck and boat trailer in the Alfrey boat ramp parking lot. We were going out for the evening for muskie fishing.

Of course muskie fishermen are always looking and asking for the latest hot lure. Creighton came out of the shop with two Slowie Slippery Sams and tossed one of them onto the truck seat for me.

I noticed it carried a price tag of $15.99 and figured that Creighton must have just got paid.

“Ralph told me they’re hitting on these, and his tips are usually pretty much on target,” he said.

Alfrey, located in the Twin Knobs Recreaton Area just before you enter the gate to the campground, is one of the better-situated of the more than half a dozen boat ramps located around the perimeter of the 8,000-acre lake.

All we had to do was cruise across the lake and we were on the fringe of the Zilpo Flats, one of the better hangouts of big muskie.

This time of the year the underwater weeds on the flat grow almost to the surface. You need a lure to skim across the top since its easy to get hooked up in those thick weeds.

The 10-inch long Slippery Sam with its tandem blades evaded the weeds as long as you kept it coming. Creighton had already made two or three casts with his while I searched my tackle box for a short steel leader. I wasn’t about to let ol’ Sol take the lure in his sharp-toothed mouth and bite my line in two.

I tied on my Slippery Sam and noticed it was 4:07 p.m. when I made my first cast.

On my third cast, as the lure approached the front of the boat (I was seated in the rear), something hit it and hit it hard!

I’ve caught a couple of nice muskie on Cave Run. They hit hard and usually become airborne before the battle’s ended.

This strike jarred my teeth and nearly yanked the pole out of my hand.

He dug down hard under the boat. My drag was set pretty tight but the bait-cast reel was singing as he stripped the line away.

And then – ping! – the line broke.

It’s a sickening, disappointing feeling to be reeling in bare line, especially when you’ve never had a chance to get even a glimpse of the perpetrator.

And I can blame nobody but myself. Usually, when I haven’t used a rod and reel for awhile, I’ll cut off at least 10 feet of line and throw it away. Monofilament line can become nicked or flattened, creating a weak spot.

I’m thinking I’ll take Creighton’s advice and switch to braided line.

My $16 Slippery Sam will eventually, I’m sure, work itself free from the muskie’s mouth and join the thousands of others on the bottom of Cave Run.


After a while there with no further action we moved on up the lake a little to a cove knows as Big Cave Run. It was there that Creighton cast his Slowie Slippery Sam to the edge of some surface weeds where several snags projected from the water. He hooked and boated a muskie, albeit one that did not come close to measuring up to the 36-inch legal size limit.

We intended to release any muskie we caught anyway. Cave Run Lake regulations allow anglers, if they so desire, to keep one muskie per day that is 36 inches or more in length.

We trolled several areas that have produced muskie in the past. We eventually switched to some favorite bass lures and worked the shoreline.

The water near the surface was 83 degrees and the rest of our four-hour trip was unproductive.

But it was certainly wonderful to get away for such a diversion from these computers and a book I’m trying to ready for a publisher.

If you’re feeling frustrated and maybe a bit depressed, head for Cave Run Lake, get you a Slowie Slippery Sam, and cast away your troubles.

The one Creighton and I used had white tail and a red and white skirt. It’s light enough that it doesn’t wear you out.

If the Cave Run Pro Shop and Crash’s Landing, another tackle shop along Ky. 801, should be out of them, you can order them and other lures by writing:

Super Slayer Tackle Company, 1723 Bopf St., Wausau, Wisconsin, 54401-5879; phone number (715) 845-2679; or by going onto the Web site at www.superslayer.com.


If you’re far too busy to take time to fish, maybe you better slow down and read again Emily Dickinson’s (1830-1886) poem, “Because I Could Not Stop For Death.”

The first two stanzas:

Because I could not stop for Death –

He kindly stopped for me –

The carriage held but just ourselves –

And Immortality.

We slowly drove – he knew no haste

And I had put away

My labor and my leisure too,

For His Civility.

G. Sam Piatt can be reached at 606-932-3619 or gsamwriter@aol.com.