FROM THE VAULT: Fishing by hand is reaching into the unknown

Spirit of the Bluegrass
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NOTE: While travel is restricted due to the coronavirus crisis, we are digging up some “feel-good”stories from the past. This one is from July 1999.

FALMOUTH, KENTUCKY (WDKY)– On a hot summer day, we found two men wading in the Licking River, looking for the perfect fishing spot. Sounds relaxing, but the way they go after the big ones is more like work.

“It’s pretty exciting. Really there’s not a lot of people who have been able to do something this extreme,” said one of the fishing buddies.

“What we’ve got here is a big flat rock and there’s a crevice underneath here.”

Wildlife officer Mickey Craig and a friend were fishing without poles, using their fingers as bait. During the summer spawning season for catfish, they say about the only way you’ll get one is to pull it out of the river by hand.

There’s method to the madness. You reach blindly into holes and under rocks, looking for eggs.

Find them and you can bet there’s a catfish in there too, guarding the nest.

“Unless you’ve done this before, it’s hard to know what goes through a man’s mind when he’s sticking his hand up in a hole in the middle of the Licking River,” Craig said.

That was an understatement.

The object is simple. Let the fish bite you.

And my partners went off again, leaving no stone unturned, refusing to let sleeping cats lie.

For me, a taste of it was enough. Now there’s new meaning to the term ‘the fish are biting.’

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