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Bassin’ around

Summertime in Kentucky, where beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams are plentiful, will lure even the most casual fisherman to the waters for an attempt to land the big one…or at least to craft a good story about the one that got away.

Celebrated photojournalist and fisherman Soc Clay grew up farming and fishing in Greenup County, assuming he would one day farm for a living like his father. A desire for more, however, led him across the

Soc Clay. PHOTO: Wanda Clay

river to Ohio— from his home in South Shore, Kentucky—to a steel mill job, where he would meet his wife and also discover a true passion for sport fishing. Saving the $7.77 needed to purchase gear was no small task as Clay worked for $1.68 an hour.

“My new wife, Wanda, coming from a fishing family, understood my desire to pursue this fishing stuff more seriously and decided it was okay to eat beans and cornbread several more times to save the money,” Clay quips.

The effort paid off as Clay would embark on a writing career spanning more than half a century and fueled by his passion. What began as a 600-word outdoor sports column, written mostly as a challenge for a Portsmouth newspaper, turned into thousands of published stories and photographs in publications such as Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, and Sports Afield. In 1983, Clay was named Poet Laureate of Kentucky, the first outdoor communicator to ever receive such distinction.

To chronicle his adventures in fishing from one end of the state to the other, Clay penned a book, Bassin’ Around Kentucky, Fat Cat Books. After fishing with many of the sport’s greatest, Clay offers here what he learned from them. “If you can absorb the advice and suggestions, if you can put yourself in our boats, our waders, our float tubes, or in our lawn chairs on the bank of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams of this great state, I am confident that you will gain new insights into the fascinating world of angling,” assures Clay.


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