I was scheduled to fish a tournament on Kentucky Lake with the Murray State Bass Anglers on the day of the tornadoes, Saturday. I was supposed to fish with Allen Everett, a Murray State student and friend of the family. We launched on Kentucky Lake Friday morning to do a little practice.
The fog was unbelievable. It was as thick as pea soup. I mean you could see it moving around with the wind, but unlike most of the times it didn’t go away. I had my running lights on most of the morning. And, the fog was cold. I don’t mean cool. I mean cold. At the same time though the air was warm. All that made for a strange combination, one that should have dissipated it fairly quickly. It didn’t.
So anyway, we decided to run the canal and go over to Lake Barkley. There wasn’t even a whiff of fog on her, not a thing. The best way I know to describe it is to say that it was a picture-perfect afternoon on the lake.
In all the years I’ve fished those two lakes I’ve never seen anything like it. The lakes couldn’t have been more different. It was weird and unsettling. Honestly, it gave me the creeps.
So anyway, the bite on Barkley was slow at first, just a few little ones. But then, about 1:30 the bass went crazy. In an hour we caught several good fish on a drop shot with a Strike King 3X ElazTech Z Too Soft Jerkbait. After that, we switched to a 300 Series Strike King KVD Jerkbait. It produced too. However, about 2:30 it just stopped as far as the bigger ones were concerned. We did keep on catching dinks though.
All in all it was one of the strangest days I can remember. It’s proof that weather conditions have a huge impact on how fish behave. It’s just that we don’t know the why of it or how to deal with it.
That was the strange part of our day. What wasn’t strange — actually it was gratifying — was what we found out about the bass populations in these two fisheries.
We caught at least a couple of fish from the last five to seven year classes of the spawn. That tells me that the bass are in good shape on both lakes. They’re reproducing, and they’re growing. That’s all it takes to make a good bass fishery. Another thing we found out was that the smallmouth are just as plentiful as the largemouth, maybe even better.
What wasn’t good was (is) damage the tornadoes did to the United States and especially to Western Kentucky that night and the next day. Melissa, the kids as well as me didn’t have any issues, but we were just lucky. We only live 25 miles from Mayfield and the other towns that were hit hard. But for the grace of God that could have been us.
It looks like the country has come together to help all of the victims though. Supplies of all kinds are coming in, and they’re very much appreciated. Because of that response I decided to contribute my time to the environment and try to help clean up the waterways.
Lyon County Judge Executive, Wade White, gave me the parameters in which my crew could work in Eddy Creek on Lake Barkley. County public access that married up to Corps of Engineers boundaries was the only location we could use. We weren’t allowed to infringe on private property.
My crew consisted of my fishing buddy Allen Everett along with Jack Hutcheson, Luke Wilson, Caroline Menendez and Max Menendez. They’re college freshmen and high school students who worked very hard. I brought my aluminum boat — the one I used to win an Elite Event — to ferry the debris out of the creek and onto county property. We managed to get a sizable pile of 2x4s, trusses and floor joists plus every other kind of debris you can imagine.
The magnitude of this disaster really comes home when you see debris that was previously someone’s house floating in a creek. It was once where they lived, went to bed, ate supper and raised their kids and now it’s reduced to a pile of rubble. It’s sad, heartbreaking.
Before I go I want to say that Melissa, the kids and I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and to remind everyone to be kind during family get-togethers. You never know what tomorrow might bring.
One other thing: If you’re contributing supplies to the victims of this disaster please don’t forget the other smaller communities around Mayfield. It received most of the publicity, but they got hit hard too.