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Today is October 21, 2019


Hot weather and outdoor activities

Hot weather and outdoor activities

Some small streams are hardly big enough for a canoe or kayak, yet can produce impressive catches of fish. Neal Brown casts into a pool in an effort to collect a Kentucky bass. Photo: Tony Kinton

It is August! Anyone possessing more than a year of experience with Mississippi weather knows that this month can be reliably defined with quite a few adjectives: hot, miserable, suffocating, stifling, disagreeable. The list is far longer, but there is no need to belabor the issue. Sufficient it is to simply say that August is generally not prime for outdoor activities.

Still, an outdoor propensity remains pronounced in a great many individuals. The lure of being outside, while diminished, is present and powerful, even in the face of unpleasant conditions. And it seems that the more time we spend sequestered near the AC or with various and obnoxious devices blaring what is often a poor substitute for substantive entertainment or viable enhancement serves only to prod that urge to be outside in the natural world. The situation can become near maddening.

Is there hope other than waiting until October before emerging from a numbing cocoon unknown to countless generations that preceded this world of modernity? Yes. Is hopeless resignation the only path? No. There are options for the outdoors types suffering from this heat-induced form of incarceration. But, these options come with a few caveats.

Know that heat will be present and conditions will perhaps be less than desirable. And since there will be heat, precautions are in order. Don’t push the limits and have to terminate an otherwise enjoyable outdoor adventure because of a heat-related disorder. Be sensibly careful. This care includes such elements as wearing the proper clothing and a hat. Always a hat! Apply sunscreen. Drink adequate amounts of water. Don’t overexert. These and other prerequisites to hot-weather activities are well known, so practice them with vigor.  

But warnings not specifically related to heat are also important. Things such as knowing where you are going, how to get back from there and letting someone else know where you are going and when to expect you back certainly apply. And be highly aware of the nasties that lie in wait. Ticks are paramount. They are insidious little beings that are more than capable of dealing serious grief. Always use some form of spray or lotion, and always do a strip search immediately upon returning from any sojourn outside. A shower is advisable after the search.

A viable suggestion regarding tick prevention is to do research—articles, books, websites. Here can be found a list of products that may help prevent tick attacks, as well as advice for proper removal and treatment if a bite does occur. Don’t take this tick issue flippantly. It is extremely important.

So what should you do when you go outside seeking relief from confinement? That is purely a matter of choice. Some may head to the lake, ski boat in tow. Others may simply opt for pool side. And there are the more sedate, such as I, who gingerly stroll around the back yard in early morning. All good, these doings.   

Don’t overlook fishing. Bass boats are buzzing during August, and these fish can be found. But a far more pedestrian approach is both available and enticing. In fact, this tactic is just getting started toward its peak season and can run through late fall. The fishing referred to here is that found on small creeks and rivers, some maybe even too small to accommodate a canoe or kayak minus a great deal of portaging over tangles.  

August quite often finds stream waters low and slow. This translates into tiny shoals, deeper and pronounced pools, exposed logs and shallows flowing over sandbars. And despite the appearance of these diminutive waterways, fishing can be spectacular. Bream, catfish and Kentucky and/or largemouth bass are common in most of these streams.

How do you fish them? Wading is productive. So is fishing from a canoe or kayak. Seldom will the streams highlighted afford adequate water for bigger boats. The canoe or kayak will float in shallow water and is easily portaged. And if you are using a boat of any type, don’t hesitate leaving it on a sandbar and wading a bit. Sneakers will dry in time, and wading can regularly put you in a profitable position for good casting.

For bass, throw a spinnerbait so that it runs the length of logs that feature a dark pocket. The same applies to a steep bank that enters the flow. Where sandbars end and give way to deeper water, cast so that the lure runs parallel to that drop. Kentucky or largemouth bass should be there. And the occasional bream in the same locales will move out of his league among predators and tackle a bait intended for bass. If you want to target bream, tie on a Beetle Spin. Catfish? Use worms and fish the deeper isolated pockets.

August may not be the ideal time to be outside, but some activity can be had in relative comfort. Even if this is limited to early mornings, any amount of time outside can be beneficial in warding off the delirium of detention.

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. His newest book is “Rambling Through Pleasant Memories.” Order from or Kinton’s website:

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