Duck Hunt 12-19-15
I have not been out this year. I did not buy a Kentucky non-resident license this year so I waited until the 19th when Ohio South Zone duck season comes in. We have had no winter so far. It has been so warm that Debi and I took the 18â€™ cuddy cabin for a boat ride last Sunday. We put in at Chilo mile 435 and ran up to Charleston Bottoms mile 415 and back. We saw a decoy hunter above Augusta and one at Dover. We did jump up 3 groups of ducks with a total of maybe 15 mallards, but that was in 40 miles of river. (We ran up KY bank and down the Ohio).
Friday night NOAA said west winds 5-11 in Maysville KY, which is not good. Low was maybe 34 degrees, and river at 28â€™ or almost pool stage. I still had to paint Ohio numbers on the Duck Skiff since I just got it registered in Ohio Friday.(was Kentucky its whole life until now) I did not get up early , painted on the new numbers and took Debi to breakfast at the New Richmond Frischâ€™s. I was heading east on 52 at about 11:00 pm. I saw some field hunters at the waters edge just before Bull Skin Creek. The river was a mess, lots of wind blown white caps. At Ripley the river looked a little better so I decided to put the skiff in there. No other ducks hunters were at the ramp. I have the new (2002) mercury 15 hp outboard which I have not ran since I bought it this summer. It has electric start which is fantastic when it is 5 degrees out. The cool thing about the mercury is all controls for the motor are on the tiller handle. It started up and I headed US along the Ohio bank with a barge. I spotted 5 mallards ahead with my binoculars just above Higginsport and headed out towards the middle, but I did not cross over because I did not want to cut in front of my barge. I slowed down and hoped the ducks would think I was a small barge. No- they got up and flew US. I got my phone app out I saw that I was going 15 mph at full throttle. I was a little surprised, my 2 -10 hp Johnsonâ€™s pushed the skiff at 13 mph. I headed on US. The stretch across from Dover was a mess; the wind was running US making big whitecaps. As I rounded the bend at Ripley things got ever worse because now the northwest wind ran parallel to the river. Past 3 mile creek the bend protected the KY bank from the wind.
I crossed over in front of the sheet pile wall just below Maysville. I started putting down the KY bank spotting with my binoculars. I saw nothing. At the new Maysville Bridge I spotted a duck sitting on a log just DS from the house under the bridge. I cut the 15 and started paddling. As I got closer I saw that it was a male wood duck. The log was out maybe 15 yards from the bank, so I did not look over the side of the skiff to much, because I did not want to spook the wood duck. I got right beside the log, jumped up and my wood duck was gone. The vanishing wood duck. I cranked the 15 and headed DS. I spotted ducks below the Maysville sewer plant. I cut the 15 and put the troller on low. There were 5 mallards in the shallow water. At about 200 yards they swam out and went
DS and then slowly headed back in. We played tag for about 5 minutes and they headed back out and kept going, heading for the middle of the river. I gave up on them and cranked up the 15. About a mile farther down I spotted 2 duck ahead. I cut the motor and put the troller on low. As I got closer I saw that there were 5 more along the bank. At 200 yards they just got up and headed across the river. The skiff was fooling no one today.
At Balls creek the turn in the river put the wind in my face. I cranked up the 15 and
Head DS past the power plant. I headed out at the water intake, because I have seen water shoot 6â€™ in the air when they flush their filters. The river looked better at Lawrence Creek, but I decided to throw out a few decoys at Eagle Creek. I put out 4 duck decoys and 2 geese and sat in the skiff next to a fallen tree just US from the creek mouth. It was 4 pm. I sat there till 5 and saw 2 ducks fly over high. Pulled out and was home by 6:30.