Friday, September 17, 2010

An Embarrassment of Riches

The seasons are changing in the Bluegrass State. Cooler night time temperatures are the norm now. Kentucky’s archery deer and turkey seasons are in full swing. The first official day of autumn is less than a week away.

Fall is my favorite time of the year. The changing colors of the leaves stir mixed emotions. October is my absolute favorite month but also one of my most confusing. Bow season is in full swing and I love to be in the woods with my longbow and cedar shafted arrows, chasing whitetails and turkey. I go as often as time allows, which is quite a bit considering my office is in my house and I am my own boss.

October is also catch and release trout season in 14 streams across the Commonwealth. The chance to chase rainbow and brown trout is difficult for me to resist. The 4 weight fly rod in its case in the corner beckons me often. I can wake before sunrise drink a cup of coffee and both the longbow and the fly rod both call out to me. I am sure to disappoint one of them.

On occasion I take them both. One of my favorite trips is in the Clifty Wilderness section of the Red River Gorge. Sleeping in a tent, into the woods with the bow before daylight pursuing the game. Back to camp for lunch where I string up the fly rod and cast a dry fly with a nymph on a dropper trying to entice the streams trout. Back to the woods in the evening, hunting till dark. It truly is an embarrassment of riches.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The greatest bass angler in the world

(photo courtesy of BASS)

While I am not a tournament angler, I must admit that part of the perks of being an outdoor writer involve fishing and riding along with some of the best bass anglers on the planet. Having followed the professional tournament circuits for years and written articles with tournament anglers I have come to appreciate what these guys do.

I will now make a statement that should not shock anyone. The best bass angler on the planet is not a good ole southern boy, but is a well spoken man from Michigan. In my mind Kevin VanDam cemented that title with his win in this weekend’s Bassmaster Classic on Alabama’s Lay Lake.

For those keeping score, that is KVD’s third Classic win to go along with his five BASS Angler of the year titles. Only the legendary Rick Clunn has more Classic wins (four) and only Roland Martin has more AOY titles (nine). VanDam has a chance to storm past both.

He broke on the big time scene in 1989 as a 22-year-old rookie and won his first BASS Angler of the Year in 1992. He also captured that title in 1996, 1999, 2008 and 2009. He won the FLW Angler of the Year title in 2001. His other two Classic titles came in 2001 and 2005. In addition he is the all-time leading money winner on the BASS circuit with over $4.5 million dollars.

His focus and mental toughness rival that of greats in other sports, such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. He has the ability to intimidate his fellow anglers, particularly when he is at or near the top of the leader board. When talking about this mental approach, longtime outdoor scribe Alan Clemons compared him to the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt on the Fishing Wire ( this morning.

“I've watched both, Earnhardt and VanDam, and they're linked by several similarities including relentless determination, fierce competitiveness, uncanny skills and the ability to create doubt,” Clemons said. “Doubt in the minds of their competitors. Doubt that even their best effort on the best days might not be good enough, and they wonder how to throw up roadblocks.”

High praise for the king of bass tournament fishing.

To read more about KVD’s win you can go to the official Bassmaster web site at :

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Kentucky record elk

It is official; Kentucky has a new state record non-typical elk. Terry Royalty of Harrodsburg harvested the behemoth on a wildlife management area in Knott County this past October.

The bull scored 372 6/8, outdistancing the previous Kentucky record of 367 7/8 taken in Harlan County in 2008.

“This new state record shows the quality elk hunting we have on our public lands,” said Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Jon Gassett in a press release. “In addition to the great elk hunting on private lands, Kentucky boasts world-class elk hunting on public lands as well.”

To read more about Royalty’s hunt and his new trophy you can visit:

Applications for this year’s hunt are now on sale online at, the official Web site of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. It costs $10 to apply, and a hunter may apply only once. The drawing for the elk quota hunt is open to residents and non-residents. The deadline to apply for this year’s hunt is April 30.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ballard WMA youth waterfowl hunt canceled

This weekend's youth waterfowl hunt at Ballard WMA in Ballard County has been canceled due to flooding on the Ohio River.

Boatwright WMA, located to the south of Ballard WMA, will remain open under flood water conditions, said Kory Knight, wildlife management foreman for Ballard WMA. “The check-in for the Boatwright WMA youth waterfowl hunts are 4:30 a.m. each morning of the hunts at the Ballard County Highway Garage in Barlow,” he said. “These hunts will be open on a first-come, first-serve basis until the slots fill up.”

Hunting will be boat-in only and hunting parties may choose where they hunt on Boatwright WMA.

Good luck to all the youth hunters and be safe.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show follow up

The Derby City Fly Fishers hosted their 5th annual Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show. Snow and slick roads didn’t seem to hurt attendance and organizers were pleased with the show.

“I think it’s been great considering the weather,” said DCFF president Kenneth Kloeppel. “It was a steady stream of people throughout the day and all things considered, we really can’t complain.”

There was no shortage of things to do and see at yesterday’s show. Seminars drew good crowds and as always, people stood shoulder to shoulder when Macauley Lord did his casting demonstrations.

Plans are already underway for next year’s show. While some shows cater to the experienced angler, there is a lot at this show for the person just wanting to learn about fly fishing.

“We are trying to drum up support and interest in fly fishing in the community,” said Kloeppel. “We get a lot of people that show up and say they want to learn, but are not sure how to get started. We want to help this person, which in turn grows the sport.”

The Derby City Fly Fishers host regular club meetings and fly tying at the Louisville Nature Center. For more information about the club visit:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show is Saturday

The Sport Show season is officially upon us and for those who love fly fishing in the Kentuckiana area, there is a good opportunity to increase your knowledge of the sport, talk to guides and sample new products this weekend.

The Derby City Fly Fishers will be hosting their fifth annual Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show Saturday, Jan. 30th from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Fern Valley Holiday Inn and Conference Center.

The one day event is focused on introducing fly fishing to a beginner audience while offering expert instruction and information to the advanced fly fisher.

Attendees to the show will be able to learn fly tying and fly casting, attend seminars on various topics and talk with guides from across the region.

“What is different this year is the theme of our seminars,” said Kenneth Kloeppel, Derby City Fly Fishers president. “We have 5 excellent presentations centering on fishing destinations that are within a 1 day drive of Louisville, KY. With the economy in the pits we fishermen have to look for ways to maximize our money when it comes to trips. So these seminars are not only focused on teaching you fishing techniques, but each covers a unique location in our region.”

Legendary fly casting instructor Macauley Lord will give casting demonstrations. Lord, A Louisville native is an author and the lead casting instructor for L.L. Bean.

“Macauley has been with us for the past 4 years and draws a crowd showing how easy it is to cast a fly rod,” Kloeppel said. “For those who are just starting into fly fishing, be sure to check out Gerry McDaniel of Cumberland River Outfitters who will be doing two seminars on Saturday covering the basics of tackle, flies, and where to fish. Last, a new thing we're doing this year are featured fly tiers in addition to our fly tying booths. We have 4 amazing tiers who will be doing a 45 minute session each on tying deer hair bass bugs, tube flies, and how to tie with foam.”

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Beatty Buck

In 2000, a hunting trip in his home state of Ohio changed Mike Beatty’s life forever. He had been hunting hard for a long period of time but things were just not falling into place.

“I had hunted 28 days straight and had not really been on any good deer,” Beatty told me when we talked Sunday at the Louisville Boat, RV and Sport Show. “I decided I was going to take the evening off because I was getting a little burned out. My wife told me she would take care of the kids and for me to just go hunting and I did.”

While sitting on stand he went through two rattling sequences when a 160 class 8 pointer appeared, hung around for several minutes and then moved off without presenting a shot. Another rattling sequence minutes later brought in the life changing deer that presented a shot at 10 yards. The arrow found pay dirt and the deer fled.

Knowing the deer was mortally wounded; Beatty waited nearly an hour before he picked up a blood trail and began the arduous job of tracking him.

“I got on the blood trail and followed it for a while before running out of blood and then I heard a deer blow at me,” Beatty said. “I backed out and called it a night and went back the next morning and found him 29 yards from where I stopped looking the night before.”

The deer, which is one of only three deer over 300-inches to be taken by hunters and the largest ever taken with a bow, set Beatty’s life on a different course. It had 39 scoreable points and a net score of 304 6/8. The recognition from sponsors and opportunities led him to his role in the hunting industry and his company Tag’D Out.

“Tag’D Out was founded by myself last year and here we are a year later,” he said. “We had been treading water and motoring forward and now we have our first Tag’d Out DVD.”

The DVD has 12 whitetail hunts, four bear hunts and two elk hunts, along with Beatty telling the story of the famous Beatty Buck. The company has assembled nearly 20 sponsors and nine pro staffers. Their latest project Tag’D Out 2 is now in production and they have compiled 12 whitetail hunts, a mule deer and a bear hunt.

“We are still a small company with room to grow, but each of us works 40 hour a week jobs in addition to the company,” said Beatty, who works full time for AT&T. “A lot of our sponsors are interested in doing a TV show, but right now at this time it is just a little overwhelming to go in that arena.”

If you missed the Tag’D Out crew in Louisville, they will be make another stop in Kentucky at the Lewis County Sportsmen Expo March 6-7 in Vanceburg. For more information about that show go to:

To find out more about Beatty and his company Tag'D Out at their web site

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today is the final day of the Louisville Boat, RV and Sport Show. If you are one of those who are interested in deer, particularly trophy bucks, you should make plans to attend.

There is a big buck contest on display including a trophy that currently qualifies as the largest typical taken in the U.S. this year. The deer was harvested in Lewis County, KY, and scored 197 2/8.

Also on display is Mike Beatty’s world record non-typical archery buck taken in Ohio. Beatty is there promoting his DVD’s under the banner of Tag’D Out. His bruiser buck, taken in Ohio in 2000, has 39 scoreable points and an official Boone and Crockett score of 304 6/8. It is one of only three 300-inch buck ever taken by a hunter.

On tomorrows blog I will have an interview with Beatty detailing the hunt as well as more information about the Lewis County brute.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dock Dogs in the spotlight at Louisville Boat, RV and Sport Show

One of the more popular attractions at the Louisville Boat, RV and Sport Show is the Dock Dogs competition. Dogs are enticed by a retrieving object to leap as far as they can into a pool where the distance of their jump is measured. There is also a speed retrieve competition. If you have never seen a Dock Dogs competition you can watch a short video here:

Mark Filiatreau, his family and his dog Cooper where participating for the first time and were really enjoying themselves.

“We came out last year and watched and when we left the boys asked me if we could get a dock dog,” Filiatreau said. “We were out in Missouri and we found Cooper, so we picked him up and been playing with him. We brought him out just to see if he would jump. Now that we know he will jump, we’re going to go home and work with him and see if we can get some air out of him.”

The Filiatreau’s are not professional dog trainers, but that didn’t stop them from getting Cooper ready for the competition.

“We have a pond at our house with a dock on it,” Filiatreau said. “The boy’s (Elliot and Garrett) just got to throwing stuff off the dock for him and Cooper started jumping in after it. I said ‘well boys, there’s your Dock Dog.’”

Filiatreau has some advice for others who are interested in getting them and their dogs involved in the sport.

“I would tell anybody that was interested to give it a try,” he said. “You don’t have to have a high dollar dog or anything, just give it a try and go out and have some fun.”

If you are interested in learning more, you can find more information about Dock Dogs at

Monday, January 18, 2010

Louisville Boat, RV and Sports Show returns this week

The Louisville Boat, RV and Sports show returns to the Kentucky Exposition Center Jan.20-24 and the promoters have made some changes.

One of the biggest changes is the shortening of the show to five days in order to make it more accommodating for both visitors and vendors.

“We were one of the few 9-days shows left, most show are only 4 or 5 days,” said show manager Kim Muncy. “We have really good attendance on weekends and very slow the early part of the week. It has been proven that you get as many people through the show in 5 days as you do 9. We think it will bring a renewed energy and excitement to the show with more people in the aisles instead of spreading attendance out over a longer period.”

New for the show this year:
KDFWR Hunting Pavilion with laser shooting, and a 'big buck contest', Beatty Buck, etc.
FLW Boating/Fishing simulators which are a part of the Take Me Fishing Center sponsored by the RBFF.
Trout Fishing is FREE for kids this year.
Miss GEICO – Fastest offshore racing boat, capable of going 185 miles an hour.
The show hours are:

Wednesday, January 20……5pm – 9pm – Customer Appreciation Day, Admission $5 ($3 savings)

Thursday, January 21…..…12pm – 9pm

Friday, January 22………...12pm – 9pm – Ladies Day, Ladies Admission $5 ($3 savings)

Saturday, January 23……..10am – 9pm

Sunday, January 24………10am – 5pm

I will be there each night, and will have interviews with some of the guides and vendors to write about here in order give an overall feel for the show. If you happen to see me, please feel free to strike up a conversation.

If you want more details on the show you can visit their website at: