G. Sam Piatt
PDT Outdoors Columnist
During the spring spawning season, big momma bass are guarding their eggs in “nests” in shallow, clear water. It’s difficult to get them to bite during this time as their interest in food is temporarily set aside.
However, drag a lure across that nest and she’ll try to pick it up and get it out of there. The angler sets the hook and many times has a big largemouth bass in the boat to brag about.
If you put her in the live well or on a stringer and take her home, bluegills and other predators rush in to make a meal of the unguarded eggs.
And in doing so the bass angler has defeated his hopes for future success in the sport.
But some do keep them. In fact, if they can’t entice the bass to strike or pick up the lure or bait, they’ll drop a quick-sinking lure with big hooks straight down into the nest and wind up “snagging” the bass in the back or belly or elsewhere.
“During my years at Greenbo Lake, I saw it happen several times: Fishermen with four or five 5- or 6-pound bass in the bottom of the boat,” said Tommy Clay, business manager at Greenbo State Resort Park for years, until his retirement last year.
Which was all perfectly legal, of course. On Greenbo fishermen are allowed six bass a day with a minimum size limit of 12 inches.
In hopes of promoting more and bigger bass on the 181-acre lake, Clay is pushing a petition to state fisheries people calling for the end of harvesting largemouth from the lake during the spawning season, from April 1 to the end of May.
“Yes, I feel that there should be a seasonal closure on harvesting the largemouth species in Greenbo Lake April 1, 2016 through May 30, 2016 and thereafter,” said Clay, who is president of the Kentucky Outdoor Press Association.
Clay’s father, Soc, drew up the petition at the request of Rick Craft and several other dedicated Greenbo bass fishermen. Soc sent the petition to state Sen. Robin Webb and state Rep. Tanya Pullin.
Webb said she has passed the request on to the commissioner of Fish and Wildlife.
“Our principal reason is the continuance of illegal harvesting of trophy
largemouth bass from their nesting area by anglers using illegal
tackle designed to capture bass in shallow, exceedingly clear water,” said Soc. “It’s sometimes known as snagging.”
Tom Clay said it’s not a move to stop fishing during that time period. “Catch and release would be fine,” he said.
He noted that just about everyone these days packs a cell phone with a camera.
“If a youngster catches a nice bass and wants to keep it, instead take a photograph of it. Keep the photo for the memory album and release the bass until past the end of May.
If someone should catch a bass they believe would have a chance of breaking the state record, taxidermists now say measure the girth and length and send it along with the photo and from that they can make a beautiful wall mount, while the big bass continues to swim and produce.
The state, however, requires weighing on store scales, along with a photo and signatures of two eye witnesses.
That doesn’t happen often. It’s been 49 years since the late Delbert Grizzle of Flatwoods caught his state record largemouth from Greenhow in late summer, 1966. It weighed 13 pounds, 8 ounces, and measured 271/2 inches long.
That stood until 1984 when a largemouth caught by Dale Wilson from Woods Creek Lake pushed the scales down to 13 pounds, 10.4 ounces. It measured just 25¼ inches long.
In the 1980s, Carl Slayers, conservation office for Greenup County, spotted a big bass floating on the surface of Greenbo. He said he rolled up his pants legs and waded out to retrieve it. It was 281/2 inches long.
“I figure that fish died of natural causes — old age,” Salyers said.
DON’T BUG ME
After a wet spring and a soggy start to the summer across parts of Kentucky, outdoors enthusiasts should expect to encounter more mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers. That won’t necessarily translate into an increased disease risk, but it could ruin an outing for the unprepared.
A good bug-fighting strategy includes multiple lines of defense.
“You fight chiggers and ticks the same way you fight mosquitoes,” Brown said.
Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks whenever possible to minimize the amount of exposed skin. Tuck pants legs into socks or boots and tuck in your shirt for added protection.
Chiggers are mites in the larvae stage and they target areas where clothing is tight on the skin such as the tops of socks or elastic waistbands. The digestive enzymes these mites use to liquefy skin cells cause intense itching and red welts that may linger for weeks.
Spraying repellent on exposed skin and clothing is another defense tactic against chiggers, ticks and mosquitoes.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides a search tool on its website at www.epa.gov to help users choose skin-applied insect repellents. Enter the term “Insect Repellent” in the search box on the agency’s homepage for a link to the tool. It takes into account how much time the user thinks they’ll need protection from biting insects, if protection is needed from mosquitoes, ticks or both. Users also can narrow the results by product or company name and active ingredient.
Brown recommends products that contain no more than 33 percent DEET. Other repellents proven to be effective include Picaridin, IR3535 and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Always read the product labels and follow the directions for use, especially before applying any repellent on a child.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Order his books at www.gsampiatbooks.com.