The Carp and the Duck

Well it is cold and rainy.  It was a perfect day to stay in.  We got up, ate breakfast, went to church, picked up Lane and laid around.  I have not been fishing.  I don’t have a report for you all so I think I will just tell a fishing tale.

I was blessed to have so many outdoorsmen and women in my life.  I spent much of my youth in the woods or near water.  I think a lot of folks in this area have been blessed in the same way.  I want to talk a little about Conley Bottom.  For those of you familiar with Lake Cumberland most of you will know where Conley Bottom is.  It is situated in Wayne County KY, my uncle Ralph Thornton and I spent days and days there.  We would fish for blue gill near a big willow tree off to the left of the dock, between the dock and the campground.  We caught tons of fish around that tree and we sure ate a bunch of them.

A typical trip would begin early. Monk, as we lovingly called uncle Ralph Thornton,  would show up, we would load up and drive to Louie’s bait shop.  We would pick up a snack, a canned Gatorade apiece some worms and head out.  Monk drove a 1978 red Chevrolet Chevette which was garage kept and still in great shape when I left for WKU.  He would load his old fiberglass rods paired with old green Johnson reels.  The reels were religiously spooled with Stren Mono clear blue florescent.  We would tie a number 2 gold crappie hook on, a split shot, and a bobber.  We would be set up to fill a stringer.

I remember him always cautioning me to watch for snakes, while I never wanted to get bit I would have liked to see one.  I would play in the rocks and in the edge of the water.  Looking for any type of critters I could find.  A water dog or a crawfish was always an exciting find.  I fished a lot too.  Monk never was the be still, be quiet kind of a fisherman.  He understood I was a kid and loved the wonderment a child can bring to an outdoor adventure.  He let me reel every fish he caught in.  He would let me hold the fish and examine the fish.  He also had me help in the cleaning process.  I would stand in a chair and scale while he did the knife work.  We would do dissections and have lessons on what parts did what.

I hung into a huge carp one day.  It ran and pulled up and down the bank. I walked, Monk coached.  My brother had caught a big carp once and I wanted to beat him.  After a long battle it broke the line.  I was very upset, Monk tried to calm me down by saying we could not eat it any way.  I did not care about eating that thing I wanted to brag about it.  This carp taught me not to force a fish, it was the first big fish I had a hold of.  The next lesson the carp taught me was not about fishing, it was about Mothers.  It just so happened there was a mother duck and a bunch of babies on the bank up from where I lost the fish.  I wanted to sneak up on them and catch a baby duck.  Monk said thats not a good idea but go for it.  (thinking it would swim off)  I sneaked up and as I got closer I made my move.  All the ducks made a move for the water one little duck tripped and i scooped it up.  It of course went crazy peeping.  Here comes momma duck and she was out for blood.  I threw the little duck in the water and ran.  She gave a little chase but once she learned the baby was fine she went back in the water with the babies.  Monk laughed, I cried.  Mommas will sure protect their babies.  I remember talking to Monk about not wanting to hurt the little duck I just wanted to pet it.  He told me no matter your intention that Mother duck did not know, she just did what came natural.  Her response to the her baby being in possible danger.

Life is much like that duck situation.  Sometimes we set out with good intention and end up hurting someone.  It is times like that we need to lean on grace, and prayer.  Like that duck, people can be reactive and protective if they feel threatened.  I think it is inevitable as a human to sometimes fall short.  I have found if we own up to our short comings with honesty and humility it helps people find the grace they need.  Another thing is when we feel threatened or wronged, we should be willing to offer grace and love to those who have wronged us.  When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment?  He said Love the Lord God with all your heart.  And love your neighbor as you love yourself.  The reply to Jesus was something like but who is my neighbor?  Jesus said the real question is, are you a good neighbor?  Mathew 22:34-36

This is just the tip of the iceberg on the things I learned about life in the outdoors.  I will share more of them with you all as time goes by.  I hope this reminds you of someone in your life.  Ralph Thornton was the most Christ-Like man I ever knew.  He loved people, he worked hard and prayed harder.  His faith was as big as this great country.  He was solid and honest.  Just plain and simple the best man I ever knew.

Thanks for taking the time to let me share bits of my life with you all.  Good Luck and God Bless.  image

Bertram Oil Comes On Board to Help FOM West KY.

Hello my friends.  I hope this finds everyone warm and safe.  I for one am ready for spring.  I intend to rush it a bit as I head to FL to get in some fishing very soon.  What a better time to catch a personal best than spawn in FL?  My lovely wife will be going with me and I also look forward to some beach time with her.

Life has sure been busy around the Morris residence.  I am not sure if any of you know my day job is working at PJ’S College of Cosmetology.  With the help of a lot of people and God I passed my cosmetology test on Monday.  I am excited to move forward in that career.  I am also taking classes at WKU. I am carrying 19 hours there ( at night.)  I apologize for not writing as often, and am excited to get back on the water so I can bring you more information.

I have some exciting news on the Fishers of Men side of things.  We have a new sponsor.   I want to thank Bertram Oil of Monticello KY for stepping in and helping bring the word to a lot of fishermen this year. I look forward to seeing how the Lord blesses people with their gifts.  I am also excited to be partnering with such a great family they are a Blessing to know.

So now to talk a bit about fishing.  I have one word, red.  Red, in my opinion is going to be especially good this spring.  I believe with the amount of cold weather we have had, the water isn’t going to heat up quite as quick.  As the fish start transitioning up toward spawning areas, they will be eating red crawfish.  What better than a big old crawfish to energize the spawn.  I think the fish will be active and plentiful this spring on Barren River Lake.  As the days lengthen i think the fish will be anxious to move but the water temperature will hold them back deeper where they will stack up and eat red crank baits.  I am getting my red baits ready to go!  I think you all should too.

In closing I want to thank you all for reading, and reaching out.  As always please like and share.  Please support our sponsors.  Links are posted on the web site.  I will have some more information soon!  Good luck and God Bless.

And Here Come the Holidays

Hello from Barren County KY!  It has been an outdoorsman’s month here in the Bluegrass state.  Modern gun season for whitetail deer is in full swing.  Crappie are turning on.  A lot of game will be harvested over the coming weeks. I hope all of you get in on the action.

 

I think we hunt and we fish because there is a almost primal urge to do so.  For the millions of us who do these outdoor activities a bond can be formed just from the commonality of the hunt.  A brotherhood of like minded people.  We enjoy the fellowship with other outdoorsmen the discussions, understanding and support.  This is also a primal need we all have.  We all want to be accepted, we all want to feel valid, and worthy.  This fellowship of support can transcend borders, beliefs, races.  It is a beautiful thing.

 

The time spent discussing fishing, or hunting is comparable to family.  The Holidays are upon us and we all look forward to spending time with family and loved ones.  This fellowship that is also bound from commonality. The commonality of blood, the stories of the past Holidays and things only your family can understand.  Your family picks you up when you fall.  They understand your failures, and still love you in spite of your downfalls, or blindspots.  The good thing about family is you may not see a brother or a cousin for years.  When you see them you automatically go back to where you left them last.  How is this possible?  Family.

God is another way we are all brought together.  Our Church family is much like our blood family.  We have all kinds in it, yes even a Cousin Eddie from Vacation.  If you think you don’t have a cousin Eddie then he is probably you. I joke, but it is true that Gods family is made up of all kinds and all are welcome.  Just like it is important to spend time with family (even the ones who get on our nerves) it is important to spend time with our church family.  Church is not about legalistic views and rules.  It is about Jesus, the Cross and what he came for.  Just like any family you are not always going to agree with each other, there will be hurt feelings, anger all different kinds of turmoil that can happen.  Just because we are Christian does not mean we are perfect.  The only time the human element can be removed is when we all get to Heaven.  So until then lets all try our best to have respect and love for each other.  The Church family is to have like minded believers to lean on in times of trial and tribulation.   Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 
25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

I am excited to extend my family a bit more.  No we aren’t having a child.  I am now the Director of the KY West Division of Fishers Of Men Tournament trail.  I look forward to spending time getting to know all of the competitors and great folks involved with this organization.  I would be glad to answer any questions any of you may have about competing or anything else.  I haver the schedule for the 2018 season posted on the Fishers of Men web site.

 

God Bless each of you.  Thank you for reading! Happy Thanksgiving.image

 

 

The Fall Bite is Here!

Hello my friends.  I hope all is well with you.  I have had a big September with some ups and downs.  Competitive fishing can be a roller coaster ride at times, one can be flying high one day and lurching through the next.  Two big tournaments in two weeks, in the back of the boat for one in the front for the next. I fished the BFL and the Skeleton Cup.  I learned a lot from both tournaments.

The BFL was a wash. I caught some fish but not the right fish.  That makes for a long day. If any of you want to know what its like to have a bad day at my office stand on a drive way in 90 degree heat and cast and reel for eight hours.  By 1:00 you will be ready to go home I promise it is not much fun.  How do I cope?  I have learned to enjoy the view, to pray and talk to God.  If I am in the back of the boat I will fish and watch the depth finder.  I take mental notes of brush, bait fish, stumps, schools of fish.  This can provide a wealth of knowledge. So I went to the weigh in with nada but made the best of it.

The Skeleton Cup was a different story.  I was in the front of the boat and knew where some fish were. Now the question was would they bite?  I drew an early boat number went straight to them and sat down.  By the first hour in we had caught four.  That is a good day in the office.  If you want to know how that feels, there is only one way and thats enter a tournament and experience it. We had a camera boat with us some, that was another awesome experience.  I would like to thank GLoomis, Shimano, Power Pro Line, Jakall, and Barren Outdoors for that opportunity.  I also want to thank Trevent Hayes for his passion for the outdoors and commitment to bring a local tournament to the people on KySports.TV check them out look for the coverage.  Ended up 15th place in the tournament and took home 400.00 worth of fine GLoomis rods.  While we would have loved winning it all we went out to have fun and we sure did.  We were tickled with our placing.

After a hard tournament season.  I felt I could not build momentum this year.  I caught fish but just couldn’t put it together on tournament day.  This was a great way to close the season out.  Rolling into next year on a high will be a big boost.  It is more proof to be still, and trust God.  God will make good on his promises, however he only does so in His time.  Do not be discouraged by the struggle.  The struggle means you are still in the fight.  It never fails when I willfully submit to Gods will blessings always show up.  We must walk in Faith and not in Flesh.

Now to fishing

Bass are fair crank baits on flats with pockets 12 to 20 feet deep.  Shad colors are best early in the morning.

Crappie have really picked up.  Early morning bite is on as well. brush or lay downs 8 to 12 feet deep.

Hybrid have been really good around Baileys point I have picked some up on Red Eye Shad. Live bait and trolling are more effective.

The weather is nice get out and get on the fall fishing folks. Please be careful as the Corpse of Engineers has began drawing the lake down.

Thank You for reading.  Good Luck and God Bless!

imageimageimage

God Had a Plan For Me

Good evening folks I hope everyone is doing well.  We have had some wet weather as of late in the Barren River Lake area.  It truly makes my heart go out to the folks in Texas.  Also the folks in Florida as another hurricane bares down on our great country.  I was in class this week and my professor has ask us to write a speech about ourselves.  It made me think.  Many of you do not know anything about me other than I love to fish and help people catch more fish.

I guess the best place is to start at the begining.  I am from Monticello KY.  Monticello is a beautiful place. It is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains.  With cold streams with trout to beautful lakes teeming with small mouth and other great fish.  It is closer to Lake Cumberland but is within a rocks throw of Dale Hollow.  Not to mention numerous farm ponds.

My Father taught Diesel mechanics at KY Tech.  My Mother ran a beauty shop out 0of our home.  Together the our family had a large farm producing soy beans, corn, beef, pork, tobacco, and Tennessee Walking Horses.  As a child i spent a lot of time in the woods and on the water, outdoors was always a huge part of family life.  We fished all the time my Uncle Ralph Thornton took us at least once a week when we were not in school.  My memories of early childhood are full of the great times we had on and near the water.  I had many other folks who took me fishing my parents grandparents and cousins we were simply a fishing family.

Sometime around third grade, my parents lost their farm, and consequently their marriage failed.  I along with my Mother moved to Los Angeles California.  That my friends was an absolute culture shock.  I was not a very happy camper at this time, however it is when my Faith began to really develop.  I put my Faith in God that he had a plan and that all this upheaval was for a reason.  Church was always a part of our family and all were Christians.  This strong base in Christ pulled me through this difficult time.

We moved back to KY after a brief stint in CA.  Once we moved back things for young Josh didn’t get much easier.  I eventually moved in with my Great Uncle Ralph Thornton who we affectionately called “Monk”.  Monk,  was a very devout Christian and would only miss church for a fishing trip.  He said “Jesus loves fishermen” and he reckoned God would understand.  We worked the garden, mowed the yard he had a few acres with some cows and chickens to help with food.  I eventually saved a bought myself a horse, I was around 12 at this time.

Monk fed my love of the outdoors.  Having a guardian who grew up during the depression in rural KY it was simply his way of life.  He hunted and fished to provide food and recreation for the family.  He also helped grow my strength as a Christian.  He never forced us to go to church but made it available.  He trusted prayer and example to lead us to the light.  His trust was founded and he was the most Christ-like person I have ever known.  The foundation of who I am has a lot to do with the prayer, example, and work he put in.

Fast forward a few years.  I am a young man trying to find my path in life.  Thinking as most young men do, that I had everything figured out.  I moved to Glasgow with my mother and enrolled at WKU.  I always wanted to fish and hunt.  However everyone said you can’t make a living doing that.  I believed them, unfortunately.  However I do believe that my path had to go the way it did to get me ready for the next step.  As I said God had a plan.  So I flunked out of WKU my freshman year met a girl and decided it was time to get married.

We wed and went to work.  The daily struggles of life working minimum wage and maximum hours to scrape by.  It was a grind.  Hard work prayer and perseverance pay off.  We eventually got better jobs and a house.  I always kept going back to I am supposed to fish.  I did fish for fun quite a bit.  I never had the opportunity to tournament fish.  I thought about it but was really scared to try.  I know now it just wasn’t the right time.  God was building something in me.

Fast forward a few more years.  I now have a son who is such a fine young man, one of my greatest blessings. I also now have a pretty good boat.  Through church God put a man named Ross Anglin in my life.  God knew what he was doing.  Ross moved here from TX to become the youth minister at Crossland Community Church in Glasgow KY.  Ross loved to fish and we became fast friends and pretty soon fished my first tournament.  We got second or third that night, and I was addicted to tournament fishing.  My focus became bass,  I ate breathed and lived it.  I was obsessed.  God reviewed to me yes you can do this you can make money in the outdoor industry.

I answered Gods call.  I prayed and fished and He gave me the tools I needed to be successful.  I am very Blessed to have great sponsors it is absolutely a God thing.  As I have said He had a plan.  I started seeing this plan coming together.  I prayed for sponsors to help offset the costs of fishing.  I was very impatient, and worked and prayed very hard.  My question to God was when?  Well when, when got here it scared me to death.  My thoughts were brought on by Satan saying you can’t do it.  So I prayed.  I said God now what do I do?  I have to produce?  What if I fail?  God said,  do you not trust me?  You ask for this I gave it to you now hold up your end.  You are ready.

As my professional life grew, my  personal life was not in good shape.  My wife at the time and I split up and divorced.  This turned out to be one of the best things for personal growth that has happened to me.  God and I are closer,  and I am a better person.  The mirror one is forced to look into in a time of change like this is a blessing.  While never an easy undertaking it is what had to happen for the next steps God had for me.  I never saw it coming.  I was never dating seriously again, but if I did I had pre requisites.  Well October of last year God says ol’ boy she does exist, and here she is.  She wanted nothing to do with me, and I don’t blame her but over next few months of phone conversations, and me sure she would  not date me we went out.  The draw was undeniable.  She was Christian, driven, educated, funny, had a good career, and beautiful.  We are getting Married in October and I am ecstatic.  My life is better than it has ever been and it is overwhelming to look at all the things that have unfolded to get me here.  God makes all things work together for our good my friends.

I have been blessed by so many things in my life.  An amazing son, good health, a good career, I am marring a woman I did not think was in existence. I have been on mountain tops and in valleys low.  I have learned to trust God and Listen to God in both and in between.  One of my best blessings however is you all.  The folks who read what I write, and Gods will to use me for the growth of His Kingdom.  I also get to help you all catch fish, and I love that.  So thank you for reading,  thank you for your prayers and support.  I welcome any questions you may have as this is merely the tip of the iceberg.  If I can help you in anyway please let me know.

Good Luck and God Bless

Barren River Lake Pays Off Again

It was overcast and rain was in the forecast.  I met Brian Dillon (pictured above) at Barren Outdoors to try and get on some fish.  We loaded Brian’s equipment in the boat and  headed out.  About 10 miles from the ramp is started pouring.  We waited the main storm out then launched.

I had an idea of where I wanted to go so after a short run we marked some fish and started after them.  The fish were suspended as I had figured they may be.  The trick was getting them to bite.   It didn’t take very long thanks to good weather conditions to get things going. These fish had been eating shad and were all fat,  the bait of choice was a lipless crank bait. The fish were about 20 feet deep.  So we just counted the bait down and pulled through the fish.

After we got this part figured out I wanted to check another theory.  We moved to a different area.  This theory also produced, just not as well.  I am in preparation of a couple of tournaments in September.  I am on a pattern that I feel will be key at that time.  To be ready then you have to fish where they are going to be not where they are.

 

What does that even mean?  Well it is simple.  As the length of daylight hours shorten and the water temperature starts to fall bass will begin the migration back up creeks.  A lot like the spring when they transition for spawn.  These fish use routes,  the routes need to have a few key things to them.  Food, shelter, and deep water close by is a plus.  The bass will have a huge appetite and will feed up for winter.  So if you can locate the fish in deep water and think where will they go when they move, you develop a game plan.  To fish where they are going to be one would test out by seeing if any fish are present. If they are that means there is food and shelter there.  While right now they may not be the “right fish” those fish will eventually be there on their way to the fall feeding grounds.  I just hope at the time of the tournaments that is where they will be!  Now I have the knowledge of where these fish are now.  I can follow them if I stay persistent.

 

Bass are 20 feet deep on the main lake.  These guys can be difficult to get fired up.  Crank baits and Carolina rigged Z Man 4 inch TRD worms (these guys are very buoyant) worked well.  Finesse is also a great option now.  Drop shot and shaky head.  Slow it down and don’t over work the baits.

 

Hybrids have slowed down a bit still trolling between the islands.

 

Crappie are in 15 to 18 feet of water near brush.  Live minnows is best.

 

Thank all of you for reading!

 

Good luck and God Bless!

photo by: Leslie Kidd Photography0051

Slow Down and Listen

Hello my friends.  I hope all is well with each of you.  It has been another hard week of fishing in southern Kentucky.  Hopefully these cooler nights will make some changes take place on the water.  The only thing we can tell our selves is the fall feed is coming.

When the fishing gets like this, a dead zone if you will persistence along with faith that it will get better are our best tools.  I look at the dog days of summer as a puzzle that can be unlocked.  Someone can catch these “uncatchable” fish, why should it not be me or you?  One big reason is the velvet lined groove we get into.  My ol monster ten inch worm killed them in August last year so it should this year too right?  Not necessarily.  Fishing pressure is a killer.  The fish see so much of the same thing they learn not to eat it.  When was the last time any of you caught a fish that didn’t have some hook holes already?

With those things in mind, I have really been working on my finesse game.  Drop shot I am comfortable with, NED rigs I am comfortable with, and of course the shaky head I love.  Here is where I fall a bit short.  Being still.  It is so hard me to let a bait soak.  Our natural tendency when we feel the urgency of getting a bite I think is to speed up.  I have to constantly tell my self SLOW DOWN.  Letting these baits set and letting the current move them slightly is where they will shine.  I think we can overwork a bait if we aren’t careful.  remember natural is always a good thing and a reaction bite is not always going to be the case.  So the fish this time of year are screaming fir us to be still.

 

God also asks us to be still.  I personally have been in situations where I wanted to hear from Him, and He was silent.  I had prayed, read, fasted done all the things a person does when you seek God and his will.  With a few major exceptions.  I was not still.  I was not patient.  I wanted an answer right now, so much in fact that I could not slow down and listen.  No reply is an answer, and Gods answer was to slow down.  Be still and know that He is Lord.  God will teach us, and convict us.  We have to be able to slow down and let it soak in.

0059

Photos by the very talented Leslie Kidd

Fishing report for Barren River Lake

 

Bass are scattered at best.  No good fish to speak of are being caught.  The night bite is not on either.  The fish are suspending and seem to be most active between first light and 9 am.  Without a doubt finesse is the ticket.  Be prepared I have talked to a lot of good fishermen this week all have said the same thing,  its dead.  One or two bites is what they are getting.

 

Crappie are starting to do better.  They are 15 to 18 ft deep on brush.  Live bait is the ticket.

 

Blue Gill are good on bluffs if all else fails go get you some crickets folks!

 

Catfish are on flats and long points, cut bait is preferred.

 

Hybrids can still be found around the islands.

 

Good Luck and God Bless!