Most anglers, and fish, are lying low during this oppressive heat wave.
You can keep cool on the water if you keep the boat moving, but that requires bucks flying from the billfold to pay for gasoline.
A less expensive way to practice the sport is to don a pair of shorts and old wading shoes and head for the Kinniconick Creek, which heads up near Petersville in Lewis County and flows about 75 miles to empty into the Ohio River at Garrison, still in Lewis County.
This all-rock bottom stream has a canopy of trees overhead and cool waters that tumble down over shallow riffles and through shaded pools.
The creek is too low just now to provide a successful float trip. You’ll wind up dragging your canoe or car-top boat over some long shallow spots.
In wade fishing, if the fish don’t bite, at least you can sit down and let the water lap under your chin.
You can do that and fish. I’ve done it. Sit down, let the water lap around your chest, and cast.
Don’t go barefooted or a crawdad might mistake a toe for a meal.
TO GET THERE
To get to the Kinniconick by using, say, South Shore as the kickoff point for your adventure, you’ll want to:
Take Ky. 8 West through South Portsmouth, St. Paul, and Quincy and on west along the river to the Greenup Spur (Ky. 10) of the AA Highway, turn right, and at Garrison turn left on Ky. 1306. Just before you make this turn, you’re going to cross the creek on a concrete bridge.
This road follows along the Lower Kinny. You see the creek off to the left most of the way, and you’ll be passing some good-looking fishing water, with long, clear shaded, shallow pools.
But, if the AC in your vehicle is working, keep driving — on over the hills to the Grayson Spur (Ky. 9) of the AA Highway.
Now turn right on the AA, then within a mile turn left on County Road 1102. The sign posted there says Lower Kinny Road. This road follows the creek across to Ky. 59, a connector route between Vanceburg and Olive Hill.
If you turn right on 59, you’ll follow along Upper Kinny, all the way up to Ky. 344. Make a left turn onto it and almost immediately you’ll see the old Kinniconick Hotel on your right. You can follow 344 and one other route on to the headwaters of the stream if you’d like.
So now you’ve learned to travel the entire length of Kinniconick by highway. And you’ll discover several good-looking spots to wade fish. Some spots, where a wide spot on the highway borders the creek, you can park and hit the stream without worrying about landowner permission. If you’re going to travel overland by foot any distance, especially if a gate is involved, you’ll want to knock at the nearest house to gain permission.
One good spot is found just after you’re turned left back there on County Road 1102. Go about a mile and turn left on a dirt road (before you reach the second small concrete bridge). That puts you into Goodwin Eddy, an excellent spot for wade fishing.
Another option for fishing when the daytime temperature causes sweat to run down your brow and drip off the end of your nose with the slightest movement is to wait ‘till the sun goes down. When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, big bass go on the prowl in the lakes of southern Ohio and northeastern Kentucky.
It’s kind of eerie out there, with just the hoot owls and the bullfrogs to keep you company. But big, hungry bass go on the move in search of food at night, and fishermen who can find time to fish from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. usually put some of them in the boat.
My introduction to night fishing came some years ago on Dale Hollow Lake, a 27,000-acre impoundment straddling the Kentucky-Tennessee border. The guide and I had plenty of action with the smallmouth by casting rubber worms, lizards and crawdads, usually attached to small lead jig heads, sometimes without the added weight of the jig, just the worm hook, in toward steep bluffs and off rocky points.
“Black lights” hung over the side of the boat facing the shoreline illuminated our Shakespeare clear blue fluorescent lines, allowing us to see the slightest bump of the lure, or see when the bass picked up the lure and ran with it. When the line went tight we set the hook, hard.
We cast right to the shoreline and, before we ever flipped the bail, we let the lure sink until the line went slack. Oftentimes, the smallmouth would take the lure on the way down, or pick it up as it hit bottom.
If not, we lifted the rods to about 45 degrees, then dropped them, reeling in slack line as we did so. When four or five lifts like this didn’t produce a strike, we would reel in quickly and make another cast.
Some say a record largemouth swims in the waters of 182-acre Greenbo Lake. The best way to find out is with a plastic lizard, rigged Texas or Carolina style, bouncing down off the slopes toward the boat, in the cool of the night.
It could work, too, on Ohio’s smaller Turkey Creek Lake, located in Shawnee State Park off Ohio 125. That lake’s been around a long time. Surely some big largemouth swim there.
Nighttime provides some exciting fishing. It’s the way to go when daytime temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
NEW BASS LURES
Anglers are always looking for a bait that will entice more bass to strike, and it appears Rapala has come out with a couple of them in its new BX series.
These tough balsa-constructed baits come in two models, the BX Swimmer and the BX Minnow. Both allow anglers to hook and battle the strongest jaws, both in fresh and salt water.
“They’re the toughest balsa-constructed bait ever produced,” said Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, Rapala pro angler, whose job is to test new lures, accepting or rejecting them.
“The action these lures provide is incredible,” he added.
The BX Swimmer features an articulated body that harnesses a durable pivot system, producing a slow-sinking bait with methodical swimming action that entices strike after strike.
The BX Minnow is a sleek minnow-shaped bait with flat sides that flaunts a strong flash on the roll as it slices and twitches through the water.
According to Ike, the heads, gills and scales on the new lures meld together to form lifelike finishes unlike anything seen on balsa lures.
The Swimmer is nearly five inches long and the Minnow 4 inches long.
Rapala was unofficially founded in 1936 when Lauri Rapala invented the Rapala fishing lure. It has grown from those humble beginnings to become a market leader in the fishing tackle industry.
The Rapala brand is known by fishermen in more than 130 countries for its strict standards of craftsmanship.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.