G. Sam Piatt
PDT Outdoors Writer
Editor’s note: Lower back and hip problems have confined Sam Piatt to his quarters for the past week, leaving him with no choice but to send in a column that ran half a dozen years ago.
Kinniconick and Tygarts creeks and the Little Sandy River all flow northward out of Kentucky to empty into the Ohio River along a 30-mile stretch of the big river from Greenup to Garrison.
Most local fishermen realize that Kinniconick and Tygarts creeks harbor good populations of that great sports fish, the muskie. Muskie going up to 30 pounds have been landed from Kinni and some weighing as much as 25 pounds have been caught from Tygarts.
You don’t hear that much about muskie from the Little Sandy, but 14-year-old Cody Brewer proved that that stream, which heads up near Sandy Hook in Elliott County, also has some big muskie to offer.
Cody, a student at McKell Middle School, was fishing Little Sandy one summer from the camp of his parents, Marty and Tammy Brewer. The camp is located a couple of miles upstream from where the river flows into the Ohio at Greenup.
The Brewers went out in their boat from the camp and Cody cast a $1 Wal-Mart spinnerbait into the dingy waters. There followed a hard strike and a battle that left the Brewers wondering what in the world their son had hooked, and if his 10-pound test line would hold.
Cody held on and eventually wrestled a muskie into the boat that was 42 inches long and weighed 22 pounds!
The fish had destroyed the lure’s skirt and straightened the lure into a straight line, but the hook held, and the young fisherman had a trophy for the wall.
From the Little Sandy.
THE PRAYING MANTIS
Summer campers know there’s lots of insects out there we need to protect ourselves from. There’s one of them that can spoil an outing for me right quick.
I think maybe my mother might have been attacked by a praying mantis when she was carrying me. That would help to explain my coming into the world with such an abnormal fear of these large insects.
It got its name from its manner of often lifting its front legs as if it were praying. But it’s certainly not praying, unless of course it’s asking a blessing on the meal. These arm-like forelegs have sharp hooks that hold its victim as if in a vice.
World Book Encyclopedia describes the mantis as “cruel and greedy,” while adding that it is beneficial “because it eats great qualities of destructive field and garden insects.”
My fear of them, I’m embarrassed to admit, is still with me today. I would rather be thrown into a den of wild African lions than a den of praying mantises.
I always tried to keep this fear in the closet, and I don’t know how Floyd Noel found out about it.
We were seventh graders at South Portsmouth School when he exposed me. A bunch of us were in the hallway at our lockers that day. I was talking to some girls. I had on my big wide Grizzly Bear belt buckle and was impressing the girls on what a hunk I was.
From down at the end of the hall someone called my name: “Oh, Sammy-y-y-y.”
It was Floyd. He was coming toward us, holding something high in his right hand. As he got closer, I could see it was (oh, my lord!) a praying mantis about six inches long.
I tried to stand my ground as some of the girls, covering their faces with their hands, moved away from me. It was evident that the devilish Floyd intended to put that thing on me.
I panicked – fled the building, screaming like a girl.
One time, when my two sons were young, I took them on a fishing/camping trip down on Kinniconick Creek. We slept in one of those little army-type pup tents, the kind held up by two poles and which has no floor.
I was sleeping on my back when I awoke in the middle of the night with the feeling that something was watching me. I got the flashlight at the side of my sleeping bag and flicked it on.
There was a big praying mantis sitting on my chest!
I swatted at it with the flashlight, squirted out of my sleeping bag, leaped up, and took off, carrying the tent and its pegs with me.
Standing 20 yards away, having shucked the tent, I heard a groggy Kelly saying, “Kendall! Kendall, wake up! Didn’t we go to bed last night in a tent?”
I SAW A MAN
I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said.
“You can never” –
“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.
— Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
G. Sam Piatt can be reached at 606-932-3619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.