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Big Fish Little Water

June 21, 2018

By Chris Erwin

In the last 20 years, I have reported on a lot of fish stories. It’s no secret; I love fishing. It all started back in the seventies when I picked up a copy of Field & Stream Magazine and read about a guy from Greenup County Kentucky catching fish in a little stream called Tygarts Creek.
That author was Soc Clay, and the guy standing in the Creek was Charley Sloas, another local guy who for over 30 years had his mug plastered in the pages of every outdoor magazine that was worth spending your hard earn money to buy.

Billy Switzer of Vanceburg KY, standing on the bank of Kinniconick Creek holding his 51 inch Muskie weighting 36.5 pounds caught on March 17th of this year (photo submitted)

These days we don’t hear so much about the small streams of Kentucky, but they still keep producing fish even if it doesn’t make the pages of the big outdoor magazines. Soc wrote me the other day to say, “the Blue Bells are blooming” which in angler talk, means the smallmouth are in the riffles of Tygarts and Kinniconick Creeks.

On March the 17th of this year two guys Billy Switzer and David Kimler of Vanceburg Kentucky, decided to drag a small Jon-boat down to a secret hole in Kinniconick Creek where rumors had it, there was a Muskie working the hole of water. Little did they know what was waiting for them?
Switzer pushed the little boat in the water, and the two of them started fishing. It was cold; the water temperature was only 42 degrees. They started throwing a lure known as a Salmo Skinner for anyone not familiar with this lure; it’s much like many of the minnow type lures running from the surface to about three feet deep.

David gets a taker, and the struggle is on! Catching any size, Muskie in a little Jon-boat in a little creek like Kenny is thrilling but David lands the fish a good looking 33 incher. After releasing the fish the two guys begin celebrating their catch and start talking about what a great fish that was in this little hole of water.

It’s only a short time, and the lure finds another taker, and the whole thing starts over. The little boat rocks from side to side and the battle played out. Again, the fish comes to the boat. it’s another mid- thirties fish. What could possibility be better than this? Two muskies in one day on the same lure, it was remarkable; that this little hole of water could produce these fish.

Most people would be ready to pack it in and call it a great day on the water; however, we’re not quite done yet! Billy makes a cast and looks over to David and says, “now I’d like to catch that one’s mother” as he twitches the lure along… out of nowhere the water explodes Switzer’s rod buckles, and the little boat starts rocking like its running in white water! They get the first look at the fish “It’s not possible”! The fish look bigger than the boat as the line pings and spits’ water from strain.

Billy’s Pflueger fishing reel is singing like it’s at the Grand Old Opera, and they start wondering if they are going to capsize this little dinghy boat before they can get this monster to the boat. With the help of David, they finely wrangled the fish to the boat and over the side. Looking down at this monster it looked like they just landed Moby Dick in the bath tub.

They put the tape-measure to the fish. It was a hair being 51” so being the story teller I am; we give them the hair, and we have a 51inch Muskie caught from a little hole of water that most people would think would only produce bluegill.

Switzer displays his Muskie after it had been mounted by Jackie Thomas (photo submitted)

Since this was the biggest fish, Billy Switzer had caught he had the fish mounted. The mount was done by Jackie Thomas. Until next time keep your lines wet and your faith strong. Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine

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