By CLINTON POWELL
Jobe Publishing Contributor
When Barren River Lake was new, there was a spot Daddy wanted to go fishing that he called the Crow farm. As best I can recall, we got to it by going to Lucas and taking a country road back to a cove, that would be somewhere in the vicinity of where the Barren River Rod and Gun Club is now located.
We traversed a narrow path down a steep wooded bluff down to the lake, how Daddy found these “out of the way” places, I’ll never know. The water in the cove was a beautiful green which Daddy described as “real fishy.” It was clear enough to be able to see fish that were several feet deep. On the other side of the cove was a large branch that fed into the cove so the conditions were perfect, in Daddy’s opinion, for fish to thrive and there just had to be several big ol’ bass laying in there.
We started fishing from the bank, but Daddy really wanted to be able to cast to the other side as that was the “fishiest.” It wasn’t possible to walk to the other side as the bluff was just too steep to make it around the end of the cove. Daddy said “there was more than one way to skin a cat” and he was gonna get to the other side “by hook or crook.”
He spotted an old wooden, green painted, flat bottomed boat on the shore that was chained to a tree. Daddy dragged it down to the water and told me to get in and we’d fish from the boat. Daddy pushed off, jumped in the boat and we drifted out as far as the chain would allow, which was about a third of the way across the water. It was just far enough we could cast within a couple of feet of the opposite bank, which made Daddy happy.
I was a bit concerned, however, as the boat had a small leak that I just couldn’t seem to ignore, that was until I hooked a very large bass. I had never had a fish on my line that big and it was pulling line out about as fast as I could reel in, making the brakes on my reel squeal. He kept jumping out of the water while Daddy hollered “lay with him!” Finally, the big bass must’ve begun to tire because I started gaining ground on him. As he got closer to the boat, Daddy told me not to let him get under it because he would shake off the hook and get away. Unfortunately, that is exactly what he did and just as Daddy predicted, that big ol’ bass slipped the hook and got away. Just then I noticed the water was now ankle deep in the boat so we made our way back to shore, before we had to swim out.
The next time Daddy wanted to go to that cove, he decided on a different tactic, we borrowed Uncle Joe Marshall’s fishing boat. This was a very small aluminum boat with a 7.5 hp. outboard motor. There was no trailer, so we just picked it up, slid it into the back of Daddy’s pickup truck, leaving the tailgate down, with the motor hanging off the back.
Daddy thought it would be best to put the boat into the water on one of the old roadbeds that now dead-ended into the lake. We carried the boat to the water and the three of us, Daddy, me and my brother, Steve, piled in. We had no map, so Daddy was using “dead reckoning” to find the cove, but when you’re on the lake, most of the shoreline looks the same. We eventually found it, but we had used too much fuel to get there.
Best I recall, the fish just weren’t biting and we hadn’t been there long before the wind started getting up and the skies began to darken. We decided to head back, but we were a long way from the truck. Daddy thought we’d best get to one of the marinas to take on some fuel.
After we left the marina the storm hit full force, the wind was whipping up white caps and rain was coming in sheets. Daddy kept it near the shore in case we capsized and had to swim for it, but there came a time we had to cut across the lake to the other shore. I don’t mind saying, I was scared “poopless” as we slowly made our way across, that 7.5 hp. engine just didn’t push that boat very fast. The rain was stinging our faces as the waves rocked us and crashed over the side of the boat. We used the minnow bucket and worm boxes to bail the water, attempting to stay ahead of the flood.
We finally made it to the other shore, but Daddy said the storm was too violent to keep going, so even though we were up against a sheer rock bluff, we stood in the boat with all three of us clinging to the slippery rocks for dear life. Eventually, the storm slackened some and we made our way to the truck. I don’t think any of us ever mentioned borrowing Uncle Joe’s boat to go fishing again.