Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Sports

April 1, 2010

Hunting champion crowned in Barren County

GLASGOW — A world class event was in Barren County last weekend and when it was all over, a local was declared world champion.

Tank, a 19-month old Walker coonhound owned by Mike Miller of Scottsville, was the overall winner of the 63rd annual American Coon Hunters Association (ACHA) world championship hunt hosted by the Dry Fork Coon Hunters Club.

And officials of the hunting organization that was formed in 1948 were so pleased with the hunting conditions and the job done by the local hosts that they intend to return to Barren County next year.

The World Championship is the crowning event of the year for ACHA, drawing 123 hunters from 13 states for the four-day event, which ended Sunday with the crowning of Mike Miller’s Tank.

Second place went to Lil Red, a Red Bone hound owned by Russ Bellar of Huntington, Ind., and third place went to another local. Stylish Banker, another Walker, owned by Chris Bryant of Columbia.

Several local hunters participated in the big hunt and three finished in the coveted “top twenty” category. They included Doug Read who had two dogs in the top 20, Ace and Edge; Glen Shelton who had Dottie, and Ashley Hopkins who had Annie.

Other locals participating included Jimmy Oakes, Bruce Steadman, Farrell Matthews and Joe and Scott Browning.

Harry Harris, a Missouri hunter who serves as chairman of the hunt, said as many as 500 people attended each day of the event and as many of 2,000 individuals may have been to at least part of the event. There were several activities during the world champions including puppy competitions, youth hunts, bench shows, coon hunting demonstrations and supply booths.

Steve Brookshier, Edmonton, who represents this area on th ACHA Board, complimented the Dry Fork Club for the tremendous job they did in hosting the world championship. Hunt directors from the Dry Fork Club were Chad Richardson and Jimmy Oakes.

Registration for dogs began Wednesday with the first actual hunts in groups on Thursday and Friday. The top 20 dogs returned to the woods Friday night to hunt alone. Each dog in the top 20 hunted until they treed a coon or two hours elapsed. Then the top 16 dogs moved to the semifinals. After that the field was narrowed for Saturday’s semi-final and final casts with the top three finally being chosen.

Other events on Saturday included the World Championship Bench Show, a youth bench show, youth coon squalling contest, a treeing contest and ending with the youth hunt at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

 

Barren River Rod and Gun Club members are reminded of the regular monthly membership meeting tonight at the clubhouse at 7 p.m. The meal will be potluck, followed by the regular business meeting.

 

Segments on falconry and paddlefish will be featured on this weekend’s Kentucky AfieldTV Show. Tim Farmer and Dan Denham use Denham’s red-tailed hawk to hunt rabbits in Oldham County and two fishermen snag paddlefish on the Ohio River.

The show will also offer some catfish recipes. The show airs Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and repeats Sunday at 3 p.m. on KET.

 

On the fishing front this week, they're still catching crappie at Barren but it's pretty much a hit and miss proposition. Those using spider rigs seem to be having the best success.

The hybrids are also beginning to hit and bass fishermen continue to have the most success on crankbaits.

 

This week’s offering from KDFWR outdoor writer Lee McClellan offers some tips on the time-honored hair jig in fishing for bass. A modern hair jig consists of deer, rabbit or synthetic craft hair tied onto the hook shank of a lead-head jig.

“Hair looks more natural in cold water,” said Benjy Kinman, deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “It flows and looks more like a baitfish or a crayfish.”

That flowing quality is what makes bass take hair jigs in water colder than 60 degrees. Hair jigs also possess a smaller profile than silicone-skirted jigs and generally weigh less. These qualities make hair jigs excellent for fooling lethargic, early spring bass.

Hair jigs work in water as cold as 38 degrees. With water temperatures in Kentucky reservoirs and streams currently ranging from the mid to high 40s or low 50s, a hair jig will catch smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass.

Fish a 1/8- to 5/16-ounce hair jig on channel drops, flats and points in clearer water reservoirs such as Barren or Green River lakes, Cave Run, Nolin River, Lake Cumberland, Laurel River, Paintsville Lake and Dale Hollow. Shades of brown, olive, green and black make the best hair jig colors for these lakes, but purple and white work well on bright days.

A hair jig slowly crawled down main lake points imitates emerging crayfish, a prime food for early season fish. Use the lightest hair jig possible, but one heavy enough to maintain regular contact with the bottom.

If the hair jig falls down a drop-off, let it sink to the bottom and leave it motionless for several minutes while you keep your fishing line tight.

Jigs tied with synthetic craft hair or rabbit fur really shine for this dead-sticking presentation. The material appears to breath with the slightest water movement – creating motion that a smallmouth or a spotted bass can’t resist.

The pull-and-drop presentation works great on points as well. Stay well off the point and cast onto it. Let the hair jig sink to the bottom. Reel up the slack and gently lift the rod tip to the 11 o’clock position. Intently watch the line as the jig falls back to the bottom. If the line jumps, goes slack, or does anything unnatural, set the hook. Smallmouth bass often inhale the jig on the drop.

A hair jig worked along channel drops in creek arms is a highly productive way to intercept bass moving from their deep water winter lairs to spawning flats in the creeks. Submerged channels serve as their migration routes. Work the hair jig along the channel’s edge or use the pull-and-drop technique to work the lure down the drop-off.

When the water warms a little more, swim the hair jig just above bottom on the flats or gently sloping banks adjacent to the submerged channel. Cast the hair jig onto the flat or gently sloping bank and let it hit bottom. Reel quickly to get the lure moving above the bottom and turn the handle in a steady rhythm to keep it there. The hair jig should touch the bottom occasionally. This presentation resembles a fleeing crayfish or an unaware baitfish.

A six- to seven-foot medium to medium-heavy spinning rod spooled with six- to eight-pound line works best for fishing a hair jig in deeper, rocky lakes relatively free of snags.

These jigs are not just lures for clear, rocky lakes, however. A hair jig cast into shallow wood cover in lakes such as Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and Cedar Creek Lake in early spring will often out-fish a soft plastic lure or traditional jig. Your jig must have a brush guard for fishing around woody cover, or the lure will snag and you could lose it.

When fishing around heavy cover such as submerged trees and brush, it’s best to switch to a stiff medium-heavy spinning or medium action baitcasting with the reel spooled with 8- to -10-pound line.

A heavier hair jig – up to 3/8 ounce –works well for coaxing wood-bound largemouth bass in early spring. Jigs are most effective when the water clears while remaining slightly high.

A 1/8-ounce hair jig fished in the smallmouth bass-rich streams of Kentucky will get crushed right now. Fish it slowly on the bottom in deep pockets near flowing water, but not in the flow itself. The largest smallmouth bass in the stream, most of them big females, are putting on the feedbag in these first few warm days of the year.

Try a purple hair jig made of craft hair, or a rabbit fur jig colored black or black and brown for early spring stream smallies. Bring several jigs, as they tend to hang up in water deeper than you can wade into and retrieve. Jig trailers – usually plastic grubs or pork rinds stuck onto the hook – create an unnecessary drag in current that looks unnatural to a smallmouth. Leave them at home if you’re fishing a stream or river. This is one of the most reliable patterns for trophy stream smallmouth.

However, for lakes, small and subtle jig trailers do work well. A small strip of black pork rind, a small black or brown grub or the last inch or two of a black finesse worm make great trailers for hair jigs. Avoid the gaudy, newer style of crawfish trailers with large flapping claws.

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