• OUTDOOR TALES: When crappie spawn depends on many factors

    It’s crappie season. Usually, anglers know when it reaches its spring peak by measuring the water temperature. With the crazy weather late winter and early spring, it isn’t as easy this year.

    When the water temperature reaches the right level, the spawn occurs. Both fish and anglers go in a frenzy. The fish are active and easier to catch, and fishermen try their best to take advantage of the situation. And while you can catch crappie most any time of the year, just before and at the time of the spawn is the most productive for catching the tasty fish.

  • OUTDOOR TALES: Field dressing turkeys important

    Turkey season is underway, and from all indications there should be plenty of birds for Kentucky hunters.

    Turkey season kicked off in Kentucky April 7 with youth weekend. Then, last Saturday was opening day of the regular spring hunt and the last day of the spring hunt is May 6. 

    “Our flock is stable, with a population estimate of about 250,000 birds,” said Steven Dobey, KDFWR turkey program coordinator. 

  • OUTDOOR TALES: Ethanol, old boat motors don't mix

    When I arrived in Florida last December, my old boat initially ran fine for a couple days. It has an old Mariner 60-horse engine. It’s been a good motor.

    After a couple of fishing trips in early January, the engine lost power. It obviously wasn’t getting enough gas and wasn’t running on all three cylinders.

  • OUTDOOR TALES: Morel mushrooms are tasty and fun to hunt

    It seems most everything is off schedule or ahead of schedule this spring with the warm weather. That includes morel mushrooms, which people have been finding several weeks earlier than usual. 

    Veteran shroomers (mushroom hunters) were finding the yellow morels in March even before the small black morels normally begin to peek through the leaves of the south side of wooded hills.

  • OUTDOOR TALES: Turkey safety equals turkey success

    Turkey hunting requires preparation. Wild turkeys are much different from their farm-raised relatives. They are much smarter.  

    The more a hunter learns about wild turkeys and their habits, hunting equipment, and where the birds are located, the more likely he or she is to be successful. Scouting for birds before opening morning is important.

    Preparation includes learning safety techniques, which may not only make the hunter safer, but also more likely to bag a bird.

  • OUTDOOR TALES: March Madness isn't just about basketball

    They call it March Madness. It’s all about basketball tournaments, and the national championship. Well, that’s what it is for most people. It’s an IU and Kentucky game in the Sweet 16. 

    But, for some people in Florida, March Madness is when the shellcrackers (redear) come into shallow lake beds and are easy to catch. It’s when in a half-day fishing you can catch your limit of 50 fish.

  • OUTDOOR TALES: Boating combines fun and learning

    It was supposed to be a short, fun boat ride for the granddaughters. It was kind of a do-over after a storm shortened a ride the previous day. But, the ride turned into something more, something a bit special.

    In every column, in every story I write I try to include at least one little tidbit of knowledge a reader might not have previously known. I’m not always successful, but I try.

  • OUTDOOR TALES: Alabama rig legal for now

    Since the Alabama rig burst onto the bass scene last year, winning tournaments and attracting fish as well as fishermen, it has been somewhat controversial.

    The rig has five spines or wires which can pull five hooks or baits. It has been ruled illegal in a few places and has been prohibited from the Bassmaster Elite bass tour and Bassmaster Classic tournament.

    However, Kentucky natural resources officials as well as those in Indiana have given the rig an OK, at least temporarily.

  • OUTDOOR TALES: Sucker fishing fun, tasty eating

    Sure, you can catch fish anytime of the year, even through the ice. However, some times are better than others, and some certainly are more pleasant than others.

    Spring kicks off fishing season for most folks, and one sign of spring is sucker fishing. Yes, there is a sucker fish. (Not talking about fishermen who buy far too many fancy lures.)

    Sauger fishing is slowing. Crappie and bass can be taken early, but their numbers usually don’t pick up until later in the spring.

  • OUTDOOR TALES: Top angler offers tips

    With a name like Whitey Outlaw, he might be suited to be a country-western star, or maybe a World Wrestling fighter, but to those who know the name, know he is one of the top crappie fishing pros in the country.

    Whitey has been fishing crappie tournaments since he was 15, when he won his first tournament on his home lake, Santee Cooper in South Carolina.

    He has fished every CrappieMasters major tourney since, and he and his partner, Mike Parrott, won the organization’s Classic three years ago.