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Duck Hunt 1-9-16
Wind was supposed to be south east 5-7 mph Saturday which is fantastic, almost a DS breeze. I looked over my Ohio River Navigation charts Friday and the KY bank DS of Manchester, Ohio (mile 397) would be protected from any wind, so I decided to go to Manchester. I figured if the ramp was still blocked by drift, I could go to Rome. Low so far this winter has beena temperture of 18 which occurred the first of this week, but they were calling for the high 40’s for Saturday. River down to 28’ at Cincinnati which is almost pool stage (24’) so very little current was expected.
Got up at 6:45 and was on the road at 7:45. Saw the normal hunters west of BullSkin and again honked as I passed. There was 1 boat at the Bullskin ramp. I had a great breakfast at the Dairy Yum Yum, I felt guilty not going there. I looked over at the Maysville ramp and saw only 1 boat, that is a bad sign. I was the only one at the Manchester ramp. They had not pulled the dock and it was a mess, but the ramp was clear enough to put in , after I removed a few logs and searched for the board with the nail in it. As I was putting in I saw 3 Geese fly downstream along the Ky bank. I cranked up the 15 and putted across the river. The river was a sheet of glass. I putted down the Ohio bank, spotting with my binoculars. As I looked at the high bank opposite the old fort of Manchester, I thought of the many Indians who sat on that hill and watched the old fort in disgust. (Manchester was one of the first settlements on the Ohio River in Ohio formed in 1790 and was called Massie’s Station. There used to be 3 islands there and was the site of many Indian attacks on flat boats going DS).
I putted all the way down to Moyers (mile 400) and did not see a duck. I decided to try above the islands. I ran up the Ohio bank right next to a Marathon barge. I went US at a slow run looking through my binoculars as I went US. DS of Manchester I spotted ducks ahead. I wanted to cross over to the Ky bank, but I would have to cross in front of the barge which is not a safe thing to do. I got out in the middle beside the barge hoping the ducks thought I was part of the barge. I watched the ducks as I went past and they got up, it looked like 4 black ducks. I headed back US and got close to Manchester. I saw geese land on the KY bank that I had just floated. I ran up and got about .75 mile above them and crossed over to the Ky bank. I located them with my binoculars and then saw them get up. I did not scare them. I headed back up the Ohio Bank. I decided to make the big run and go all the way to Rome (mile 384) As before I ran up slow spotting as I went. Above Manchester I saw a duck boat pulled into the bank, at first I thought it was decoy hunters, but it was duck hunters who appeared to be staying in a RV at the RV park in order to duck hunt. I waved at a hunter and his dog on the bank. I passed Bruch Creek and saw nothing. I ran all the way to below Rome and spotted blacks ahead. I crossed over and ran above them. I located them with my binoculars and started DS with the troller on low. At about 200 yards they swam out to the middle and took off, there was 3 blacks, they were not buying the log. I headed back up the Ohio and just below Rome Spotted 2 blacks. Again I crossed over and ran up the KY bank, and this time crossed over at the Rome Ramp. I was a mile above the ducks, so I started down with the 15 at idle. I spotted them in front of a fallen tree in shallow water. I started paddling. At 60 yards they got up, not a good day.
I headed back US and crossed over to the KY bank above Rome. I headed DS at a slow Idle. At the start of Brush Creek Island I spotted the flutter of a spinning duck decoy. It was hunters in a brush blind sitting on the bank. It was 4:30 and I did not want to disturb them by saying Hi during the prime hunting time. I headed DS. Below Brush Creek island I spotted 2 blacks ahead. I started paddling. I lost them, blacks are hard to spot on a mud bank. I kept going DS and thought I must have passed them and sat up to get a better look. They were 100 yards below me swimming DS. I kept on paddling, and got to within 60 years and they headed out to the middle of the river. I Continued DS and spotted what I thought was Geese ahead across from Manchester Island. I looked carefully and spotted the boat downstream, it was decoy hunters. I crossed over to the island so as to not disturb them. I then crossed back over and headed down, It was now 5:00 and I was having a hard time seeing in the low light conditions. I spotted ducks ahead on the rock bank across from the Ramp. I started paddling. At 60 yards they headed out to the middle of the river. I was done. Pulled out and had a great supper at the Yum Yum. I decided to empty out my soup thermos that still had some of Debi’s homemade chicken noddle soup in it in after I ate so I would not have to empty it at home , but I could not open the lid, this was nuts. At home I still could not get the lid off, I tapped it and the thermos exploded and sprayed rotten chicken soup all over the house, it smelled like vomit. Debi was not happy. In almost 50 years of duck hunting this was a first.
 

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That was me and Coop you waved at above Manchester. Really lacking bird River is Dead. Sunday was brutal, with the wind and white caps.
 
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