G. Sam Piatt
There’s nothing quite so wonderful an experience as that presented by a mid-October body of blue-green water, a light short-sleeve-shirt breeze, a wisp of clouds in an otherwise azure sky, and a shoreline covered with colored trees.
Such was the stage presented to my son, Kendall, and me just two days ago as, about two o’clock in the afternoon, we slid a car-top aluminum boat into the water.
We left but little wake as we moved silently along with an electric trolling motor. We began casting Bill Norman and Bandit crankbaits toward the sparse brush and weeds along the shoreline.
The applause, from crows overhead and ducks on the surface, came quickly as Kendall rocked the small boat by rearing back on his rod to set the hook. The fish on the other end of his line did not come quietly. It ripped the surface open three times before he derricked it into the boat. It was a largemouth bass that would go about two and one-half pounds.
As he worked the hooks from its lower lip with needle-nosed pliers, I found myself hooked to a fish of my own. To my surprise, it was a crappie – a very nice white crappie that would approach 12 inches in length.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. I fished with a guide from Missouri on Kentucky Lake a few years ago who trolled medium-sized crankbaits, such as the Bandit, in fishing strictly for crappie.
He trolled four lures on each side of the boat, each on reels with varying lengths of line. We were kept busy reeling in first one pole and then another. As I recall, we caught 22 crappie before we quit.
But back to Friday’s performance. (I apologize, but I won’t be able to tell you the stage we were on.)
We caught bass and crappie by casting and by trolling. I also, using an ultra-light rod and reel, caught half a dozen bluegill by using a meal worm hooked below a bobber set at about three feet.
I could have caught more of these little fighters, but the bass were more fun. None of the bass we caught would have gone quite three pounds, but Kendall battled and lost one that would have gone over five.
We fished until sundown. A gaggle of geese in V-formation honked down at us we took out.
We kept enough fish for a mess.
Of course, no one is going to clean fish after dark, especially when worn out by five hours of fun. I have a refrigerator in the garage used for drinks. It has a large vegetable tray on the bottom. I double-bagged the fish in plastic grocery sacks, tied the bags tightly, and stored them overnight in the coolness of the refrigerator.
THE RUFFED GROUSE
Probably no species of wildlife provides more of a challenge to the shot-gunner than the ruffed grouse. They’re usually found in the thickest tangles of edge cover and deep hollows, and they flush like a cannonball with feathers and always when least expected.
The season opened yesterday in Ohio and will run through Jan. 31. The daily bag limit is two.
The season doesn’t open in Kentucky until Nov. 1. That first short season runs only through Nov. 8, but it reopens Nov. 11 and runs on through the end of February. The daily bag limit remains at four.
FALL TURKEY SEASONS
The fall shotgun season for wild turkeys is becoming more and more popular with hunters in both Kentucky and Ohio.
In Kentucky, it opens Oct. 26 and runs through Nov. 1, then reopens Dec. 7 and runs through Dec. 13. No more than two birds – of either sex – may be taken during shotgun seasons.
In Ohio, the shotgun season for wild turkey opens tomorrow and runs through Dec. 1. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The bag limit is one turkey of either sex.
SMALL GAME SEASONS
The Ohio seasons on the cottontail rabbit, the ring-necked pheasant and the bobwhite quail all open Nov. 1.
The rabbit season runs through Feb. 28 and the daily limit is four.
Pheasant season runs through Jan. 5 with a daily limit of two (cocks only).
Quail season runs through Dec. 1 with a limit of four per day.
Ohio’s squirrel season opened Sept. 1 and will run through Jan. 31. The bag limit is six a day.
In Kentucky, the first half of squirrel season, which opened Aug. 17, ends Nov. 8, but it reopens Nov. 11 and runs through Feb. 28. The daily bag limit is six.
Eastern Kentucky’s season on rabbits and quail opens Nov. 1 and runs through Nov. 8, then reopens Nov. 11 and runs through Jan. 3.
In western Kentucky. rabbit and quail seasons open Nov. 11 and run through Feb. 10, with daily limits of four and eight, respectively.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.