Monday, August 15, 2011

Night fishing, Kentucky River

These first two pictures are from early morning, as the sun was rising, right before we left:

These next four are evening photos, as it was getting dark, shortly after we arrived.

Towards the bank:

Looking downriver:

Across the river:

Looking upriver:

I fished the Kentucky River for the first time this past weekend, going out with a friend to a spot near Campbellsburg in Henry County. This is property belonging to a co-worker’s father. We got there later than I wanted (I knew we would), but we still had a little daylight left to get set up and start fishing.

It was around 8:00 when we arrived, and I gave the owner a small bottle of E&J brandy as a token of appreciation. He then led us back through the property and showed us how to get down to the rock bar on the river. When he found out that we had 8- and 10-pound test line, he told us we might be challenged. “And if you’re after catfish,” he said, “they’ll start biting around 3:00.”

The river bank was not just treacherously steep, but the only reasonable path down also led through a bed of poison ivy, so I was extra careful going up and down (and now two days have passed and I haven’t broken out, so I must have been successful).

It was a very beautiful spot. The weather was calm and pleasant. Daylight was quickly leaving and I spent a little while casting around with a beetle spinner, but nothing chased it but some little fish close to shore.

When it got so dark that it was getting hard to see my footing clearly, I baited some circle hooks with chunks of bluegill and started fishing the bottom of the deeper water upstream from the rock bar. My friend used a spinner bait and an artificial worm for a while before switching to a nightcrawler straight out in the river.

We had a few nibbles early in the night. The mosquitoes were a nuisance, but around 10:00 or so they all went away; I think it got too cool for them. Bats swooped around us all night long. Once or twice they bumped my fishing line, which I think has happened every time I have fished at night.

The moon was full and so bright that we could see around out pretty well. Not well enough to tie a knot in fishing line, but well enough to walk over the large uneven rocks.

Right about midnight my friend caught a freshwater drum. We didn’t measure it, but I’d say it was 14-15 inches. I caught one about the same size a short while later, and then he caught another smaller one. I can’t remember if he caught two or three in all, but I know I caught just one.

We heard various interesting bird calls. One that I heard I have since identified as the horse-whinny call of a screech owl.

Around 2:00, the first partial tank of propane ran out, and we sat just in the moonlight as we waited for the lantern to cool so we could put on a new tank. It was very quiet, then suddenly something went CRASH! in the underbrush along the riverbank nearby. I think it must have been a deer bounding up or down the bank through some bushes.

I had nibbles on my two lines all night. Finally, something took one of my hunks of bluegill, and I fought with it a couple minutes as I reeled it in. It didn’t feel big enough to be a monster, but I knew it was a decent size. I got it in close and could barely see its pale body thrash near the surface in the moonlight, but then my line broke. I examined the break in my line and saw that my other pole was twitching. Then I checked the time; 3:03 a.m.

I didn’t manage to set the hook in whatever was eating at my other line. It pulled off most of my bait. I had similar nibbles and near-hookings on-and-off until the sun came up.

With the full moon and haze and clouds, I didn’t see any meteors, but my friend saw one.

We left at 8:00 a.m. I wanted to stay longer, but we were pushing our limits.


  1. Sound like fun and a nice place to fish. Next time come equiped with heavier line to catch thos big catfish.

  2. I don't fish. Also I've spent very little time outside this region and have almost no personal knowledge of the geography outside of said region. But even with that ignorance handicap, I have to believe the Kentucky River and its surrounding land has to be among the most beautiful anywhere.


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