When conditions are as dry as they’ve been lately, flowers wilt, grass gets crispy and Joe Lavigne reaches for his fishing rods. That’s because the Independence resident knows what lack of rain does to the rivers that ribbon the landscape all around his house.
The same waterways that in the spring are often torrents of free-flowing filth that knock down trees and carve property-line-altering chunks out of towering bluffs become low and slow in the fall. The roaring, tusk-snapping, mud-caked boars radically transmogrify into cute little newborn sucklings.
And Lavigne gets a hankering for bacon.
Multiple times a week, the retired schoolteacher and coach gets his other-worldly patient wife to drop him off at a bridge that spans one of his favorite rivers, and after negotiating bends and dodging trees and logs, he alerts her when he’s about an hour from the downstream takeout point. She dutifully meets him with his pickup truck, into the bed of which he loads his battle-scarred 10-foot aluminum flat boat as well as a cooler holding his limit of spotted bass, called Kentuckys by most locals.
Lavigne has toted me along on this trip numerous times, and it’s always among the highlights of my year. The sanctity and solitude of a float down one of the rivers is worth the trip alone, but the incredible fishing action takes it to another dimension. Lavigne estimates he catches his limit on 99 of every 100 trips down the rivers he fishes, and he throws back Kentuckys most anglers would keep.
To see it for yourself, check out the video below.
Like the video? Please give it a thumbs-up, and subscribe to the Marsh Man Masson channel on YouTube. Also, leave a comment below or on the YouTube page. Is targeting spotted bass on local rivers part of your fall routine? If not, what are your favorite fishing strategies this time of year?