Stocking Day

It was stocking day on a small stream I occasionally fish. I usually avoid stocking day but I was in the neighborhood and stopped by. IMG_2499

I arrived around mid afternoon and the stocking truck had come and gone, leaving behind – according to the state game agency website – “1,000, 9 to 11 inch rainbow trout.”

I knew this because seven cars had crowded the small parking area and a couple more had squeezed onto a gravel bar flanking the small stream.

The highway bridge serves as the stocking site. On stocking day this is where you’ll find the fish and the fishermen. The trout that survive the stocking day angling onslaught eventually disperse and a couple of miles of the spring-fed creek, which winds through the heart of largemouth bass country, holds trout year round and is a surprisingly good fishery.

IMG_2501I walked toward the bridge. The creek became dark with trout, which were crowded into the deeper water that pools against the far bank. A guy dressed in tan shorts and a golf shirt, fly vest, wide-brimmed hat and oversized net was casting a chunk of shrimp into the pod of trout. He hooked three and landed one, adding it to the four he had clipped onto a metal stringer. Three other fishermen stood shoulder to shoulder. An older man was sitting on a step stool he’s positioned under the bridge. Two guys were on the downstream side of the stocking site but all were within casting distance of each other.

I walked back to the parking area. Two more cars had arrived. A red Jeep pulled in and parked beside me.

“Do any good?” the driver asked.

“Not fishing today.”

“They dump some fish?”

“I think so.”



Forrest Wood Cup Revs Up

COLUMBIA, S. C. – During Wednesday’s registration for Thursday’s opening of the FLW Forrest Wood Cup bass fishing championship on Lake Murray the atmosphere was mostly relaxed and jovial. Anglers wandered in and out of the hotel conference room where registration tables lined one wall. In a corner of the room a couple of FLW pr guys were doing a podcast and in another corner an ongoing radio interview was being conducted with a revolving door of fishermen/guests. A few fans milled around, clicking photos with their phones. IMG_2404Fishermen were between their final practice day (Tuesday) and the first fishing day (Thursday), fulfilling tournament and business obligations. They all put on a relaxed face during the registration but much is at stake and it showed. For the guys who fail to bring a decent sack of fish at Thursday’s weigh in, the championship will effectively be over. Veteran pro Dan Morehead from Paducah, Ky., knows this. He has qualified for the FLW championship 14 times. He’s come close but has not yet hoisted the Cup trophy. Like all tournament anglers, Morehead guards his planned fishing strategy as though it were a state secret. He did admit to having a “pretty good practice day” Monday. Will this be his year? “We’ll see,” he said. We will, beginning early Thursday.

“Should You Take Your Spouse Fishing?”

Should you take your spouse fishing? Good question. You can find the answer here. It’s a link to Gannett’s new website (click on the “learn” section and scroll down to find the answer).

NowU launched Tuesday, July 15, and I’m pleased to have a story included. The target readership is folks age 45 and older, although there’s plenty for anyone of nearly any age.

The site includes travel, technology, family, career, fitness and nutrition, sex on the road (that’s in the “connect” section), and more  . . . even a fishing story.

Give it a look. Tell your friends. Mention it to strangers.

Fish by the Inch at the Hobie Bass Open

Each of the 33 anglers who climbed into their paddle and pedal boats Saturday at the Hobie Bass Open catch, photo and release kayak (canoes and paddle boards welcome, too) tournament on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley were fishing by the inch and hoping to punch a ticket to The Netherlands.IMG_8226

The Hobie Bass Open is one of four qualifying events for the 2014 Hobie Worlds Championship, which will be October 5-11 in The Netherlands.

The field includes anglers from 11 states and one Canadian province (Ontario). Among the group: 14 Kentuckians, including Louisvillian Drew Russell who finished Day 1 in second place, 5.25 inches behind leader Tom Michael from Mt. Ephrain, N.J.


Yea. The winner in a CPR (catch, photo, release) tournament is determined by total length of fish caught. Each angler can turn in three photos of bass (largemouth, smallmouth or spotted) daily. The fisherman with the largest two-day total length wins.

After Day 1 , Michael had three fish for 57.25 inches. Russell had three that totaled 52 inches.

The winner earns a spot on the Hobie team bound for the Worlds Championship. The top 10 finishers earn a check.

Kayak Bass Event at Kentucky Lake

The California-based Hobie Cat Company will host a Hobie Bass Open qualifying bass tournament Saturday and Sunday at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

The winner will earn a spot on the Hobie Team bound for the Hobie Fishing World Championships October 5-11 at Vinkeveen, The Neatherlands.

Saturday and Sunday’s event will be a CPR tournament. That’s catch, photo and release. No weigh-in, in the traditional sense.

This is also strictly a paddle or pedal powered tourney. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are welcome. No motors. No wading. No fishing from the bank.

The winner will be determined by the total length of the three largest bass (largemouth, smallmouth or spotted) caught, photographed and released each day.

I’ll have updates here, at and via Twitter at @cjoutdoors1 and @garygarth.


Kentucky Monthly Profiles Soc Clay, the Sourdough King

Check out the May issue of Kentucky Monthly magazine, which is on newsstands now.

(Yea, I have Field Notes column in it, page 49, about a quirky fishing tool.) But the big news is on pages 28-29, where famed Kentuckian, outdoorsman, master scribe, cook, mentor and friend Soc Clay is profiled.

In a 13 question Q&A format Soc talks about one of his favorite subjects: sourdough bread. I have one of his century old starters. Good. Very Good. Very Very Good.

The story is by Cynthia Grisolia. Check it out.

KDFWR Commission Set to Hire Agency Director

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ nine-member commission has called a special meeting for Friday morning at the Game Farm headquarters. The board is expected to vote on hiring a commissioner. The meeting will begin at 8:30.

Commission members are appointed by the governor to four-year appointments. The nine member commission hires the agency commissioner, who essentially serves as the agency’s executive director overseeing day-to-day operations of the department. The commissioner’s job has been vacant since September, when then commissioner Jon Gassett resigned while the game and fish agency was under investigation by the office of the Office of Inspector General.

When the OIG report was released in December it found a raft of serious violations against several high-ranking agency officials.

Mr. Hobie Cat

The California-based Hobie Company makes some of the best fishing kayaks on the market, including nine models fitted with the company’s almost magical “MirageDrive” peddle system. They’re good boats and I highly recommend them.

They make other stuff, too. Sailboats. Paddle boards. Catamarans. But it all started in 1950 when a 17-year-old surfing hotshot named Hobart Alter started shaping balsa wood surfboards for his friends in his family’s Laguna Beach summer home. His nickname was “Hobie,” which was understandable. What California surf wiz has buddies who are going to call him Hobart?

Four years later Alter opened a surf shop and never looked back. He and some friends/employees came up with a foam surfboard and the small company soon owned the surfboard market. About 15 years later Alter came up with the “Hobie Cat” catamaran, and soon commanded that market. Other ideas and stuff followed, including the MirageDrive fishing kayaks.

Hobie Alter died a couple of days ago. He was 80, and along with a raft of achievements – including his 2011 induction into the National Sailing Hall of Fame – he had made good on an early ambition: to make a living without having to wear hard-soled shoes or work east of California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

Hobie Announces Fishing World Championship Qualifying Schedule

Hobie has released its Fishing World Championship qualifying tournament schedule, a five-tournament slate that includes kayak events in New York, Florida, Ontario, Oregon and Kentucky.

The Hobie World Championship will be held in Amsterdam in October.

Hobie World qualifiers include: the Kayak Fishing Classic, Jamaica Bay, New York, May 15-18,; the Kentucky Lake Hobie Bass Open, Kentucky Lake, Kentucky, May 30-June 1;; Kayak Tournament, Jacksonville, Florida, June 22; Border City Classic, Windsor, Ontario, June 28,; and Oregon Rockfish Classic, Depoe Bay, Oregon, July 12,

The Hobie World Championship and qualifiers are CPR (catch, photograph and release) tournaments. Anglers will enter their three best lengths in aggregate each day; winner determined by best total cumulative length.

KDFWR Commission to meet in Executive Session

A special meeting of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources commission has been called for 1:30 p.m. today (Friday, Feb. 28) at the agency’s Game Farm headquarters near Frankfort, Ky.

The commission will meet in executive, closed session to discuss a personnel issue.

No word on the specific subject but the nine person, governor appointed commission, which was scathingly criticized in a report released in December by the Office of the Attorney General, is in the process of hiring a new agency commissioner.