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Pitching, Flipping or Casting

May 12, 2016

By Chris Erwin

His classmates know Dylan Gifford, a junior at Boyd County High School, as a pitcher for the Lions’ baseball team. His performance on the field has been reported to be exceptional, making him a standout athlete. What many of his classmates may not know is his interest extends out on the water where he enjoys fishing.

Dylan Gifford holding the 42-inch Muskie he caught at Cave Run Lake on 6 pound test line (photo submitted)

Dylan Gifford holding the 42-inch Muskie he caught at Cave Run Lake on 6 pound test line (photo submitted)

From all accounts, he has become pretty good at it. Dylan and his father David Gifford have been enjoying the lakes here in eastern Kentucky, along with making their way to Lake Cumberland where they fish for bass and other game fish as Dylan’s skills continue to develop.

On a recent trip to Cave Run Lake, Dylan and his father decided they wanted to do some crappie fishing. They sampled a few places and finally locate some good crappie. They were using typical crappie gear including light action rods with 6-pound test line. Their lure of choice was a 1/16-ounce crappie jig.

It wasn’t long before they start putting fish in the boat. After landing 15 or 20 crappie Dylan gots a normal strike.

One of the things that crappie does at times is to grab your offering and swim up with it. This makes your line go slack.

Dylan quickly reeled up the slack and set the hook. Feeling the fish, he began to reel in his catch. Then as the fish was on its way up he felt the fish get really heavy… so he set the hook again. This triggered a monstrous downward thrust pounding his crappie gear.

Dylan Gifford from Boyd County High School winds up to pitch a game for the Boyd County Lions Baseball team. (Photo submitted)

Dylan Gifford from Boyd County High School winds up to pitch a game for the Boyd County Lions Baseball team. (Photo submitted)

The fish started stripping off his 6-pound test line like it was hooked to 40-pound anchor. This is where most anglers lose the huge fish. Too much pressure and the fish break off. But at the same time, if you don’t keep some line on the reel, you end up running out of line, and the fish breaks off.

According to David, Dylan’s father, he played the fish like a pro. They thought they had hooked a big catfish, thinking a Muskie would just bite the line in two. After playing the fish for some time Dylan worked the fish to the surface, and the both realized this was no catfish!

“It’s a Muskie!” Dylan yelled. This is usually the part where your partner grabs the dip net and stands ready to dip the monster, as it gets closer to the boat.
There was a problem… Dylan’s father didn’t bring the big net. After all, they were crappie fishing and a Muskie net takes up a lot of room in the boat.

The fish broke the surface again, and they could see the little 1/16-ounce jig is stuck right in the corner of its mouth. This is about the only place where the fish couldn’t just bite off the line.

David remembers he has a pair of welding gloves in the boat. So he put them on and makes an attempt to gill land the fish.

As soon as he tries to grab the fish, it explodes on the surface and makes another run, stripping line and bulldogging downward. After a few more tries, the fish is tired and comes to the surface. Where David slides both hands under the fish and lifts her in the boat.

To land a 42-inch Muskie on 6-pound test line with no dip net, I can tell you, Dylan did a great job playing one of the many monsters lurking in Cave Run Lake. The lake is known as the Muskie Capital of the South for a good reason.

The next time these two go fishing I bet that big old net will be stowed away somewhere. Congratulations Dylan, that’s one huge fish caught on very light line. It’s a job well done.

Chris Erwin is the Author of Camping Kentucky, founder, and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email chris@ashlandbeacon.com

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