Wednesday, December 29, 2010

End of year stuff

This is the second week for the Ultimate Fishing Show-Detroit, annual fishing contest. I ask a question and readers provide the answer to me at I need those answers by Wednesday of the following week.
Each week one winner is picked for a good Plano Tackle box. Up to ten pairs of tickets-a $20 value-are awarded weekly. Ticket winners can claim their tickets at the shows Will Call booth while tackle box winners can pick their prizes up at the show office.
We'll through all entrants into a hat and draw for a grand prize of a great rod and reel combo also to be claimed at the show office at Rock Financial Showplace in Novi. Show dates are Jan. 13, 14, 15, and 16, 2011.
See this Sunday's Oakland Press, Macomb Daily or Royal Oak Tribune for the the weekly question. Good luck!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Loss of a loved one is always tragic

The name Adam Starr may not mean much, but if you've ever attended any of the Ultimate Fishing Shows-either Detroit or Grand Rapids-you no doubt saw him.
Adam is an imposing figure. He stands well over 6-feet. But it's his ear to ear smile that will captivate you. It goes along with his almost boyish looks.
Adam is the show manager for these shows and others. He's generally out among show attendees fielding questions, solving problems, and helping in many different ways.
Sadly, on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, at 10a.m. Adam's wife Mary passed away following a short battle with a flu-like illness. She was just 41 and leaves three small children ages 2, 4, and 7.
Arrangements for Mary Starr and a guest book may be found at
Your thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Quiet the day before Christmas

Our road seems quiet. There aren't many cars heading out, taking occupants to the work place today.
Just about everyone is done shopping. There may still be a bit of a rush this morning, but I'll bet by the time the afternoon rolls around, even the malls will find a scarcity of people.
Our day is spent doing some cleaning and cooking, then later, getting ready for the late Mass and singing of Christmas Carols.
I find that it's nice being outside Christmas eve because it's so quiet. In my running days I never missed going on a run before going to church. It was made more special if it was snowing.
With two total knee replacements I've had to join the walking crowd. Maybe Molly and I will take a short "shuftie" as the Brits call a short walk.
Whatever your plans are for the Christmas season, I hope you have a happy, safe, and merry one.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas remembered

One reader, Sandman who regularly contributes comment to this space wrote about a recent post that talked about the size of gifts received, and that many times it was the smaller gifts that turned out to be the best.
"Truer words were never spoken, Roger. ...'I still have a pair of wools socks my father gave me many years ago but they are saved for the memories of when we fished together in an ice shanty staring into the green water.'
Today, while waiting in line at the grocery store, I asked the lady ahead of me if she was ready for Christmas.
She motioned with her hand to indicate sort of. "I'm going home now to bake cut out cookies," she said with a smile.
"It's funny how something like cut out cookies reminds you of when you were a kid. I look forward to it every year," she said.
So it's not the size or cost of the gift that's remembered but the thought that went into it. The fact that you merely took the time to think of others.
It's the snow falling Christmas eve, going to Mass or church service, singing carols, looking at all the lights in homes, and the pleasure of your friends and family when they are close.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas shopping

Yesterday's column had to do with nearly last minute Christmas shopping along with a few suggestions.
The saying that sometimes the biggest things arrive in the smallest packages is true when shopping for the outdoors person on your list.
Often, a small bunch of different style and color ice jigs, a hand warmer, a warm pair of socks, or some of the new line made for ice fishing will put a smile on someones face.
Ice scoops are one item generally thought of one time. That's the first time you buy one. You may thing it's all you need.
But just like everything else in the sporting goods world, scoops constantly change. Some have a soft metal handle that isn't really good for thick, heavy ice, but wonderful on small lakes when panfishing through smaller holes.
Others are heavier, made of steel and even come with an ice chipper built into the handle. And handles themselves are different. Some are long, others short.
Just like buying a car, keep kicking tires as they say. If you get really down to wire with nothing to wrap then it's time for a Christmas gift card.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cold and snow make for outdoors activities

Don't forget to eat your vegetables, wear clean underwear and dress warmly. It's advice most of us at a certain age used to hear from our parents. Mine insisted on the underwear part "in case you get in an accident."
All that holds true today. But this is the time of year when SAD-Seasonal Affective Disorder-kicks in and leaves us feeling sluggish, down, and lethargic.
I've noticed it myself the past several years. Now I use one of those lights that is supposed to help boost the levels of vitamin D, the vitamin we get from sun.
Now experts tell us to get outside daily for a walk, whether the sun is out or not. Spend a good hour outdoors doing something.
That something might as well be something you enjoy. Try walking but be careful with ice covered surfaces.
I try to cross-country ski a couple times weekly-around Oakland County give Independence Oaks or one of the Metro Parks a try.
Find something you can do outdoors for a short time then get out and do it. Your body and your mind will thank you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ultimate Fishing Show-Ultimate Contest

That's right. Step right up and play the Ultimate Fishing Show-Ultimate Contest. As in previous years, I'll ask a fish or fishing related question each week.
Should you choose to enter, send your answers to my by the following Wednesday. The weekly winner receives a new Plano tackle box and a pair of tickets worth $20 to the show. Runners up will receive two tickets each.
The final grand prize will be a really great rod and reel combo. All prizes and tickets can be picked up at the show office for the Ultimate Fishing Show at Rock Financial Showplace in Novi.
Tickets can be claimed at the shows will call window. Stay tuned for the first question this Sunday.
Join in the fun, enter the contest and see the show. Your a winner both ways.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold that cuts!

Funny. You can't wait to get back home from a vacation then the weather hits. We were waiting for our flight in Atlanta to Flint when I spoke with two pilots that I thought would be flying us.
"No, we were supposed to fly to Minneapolis but the airport is closed with 16-inches of snow," one said.
Once airborne, our pilot announced the same storm was headed to Flint but he thought we would beat it.
As we landed we could hear snow/ice hitting the outsides of the windows on the aircraft. Close enough.
Our daughter in the U.K. reports everything is high and dry since we left. No snow or ice left. Oh well. guess it's that time of the season.
Little Molly likes the think snow about well enough to do her business, have a bit of a romp then back in to get wiped down before stretching out on the first available lap.
Happy winter, but do be mindful of snow removal. Hire it done with someone who has a proper plow or do it in bits.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are Show deals really deals?

Tackle dealers, boat dealers and others all offer "show specials" or "special show pricing" at outdoor shows.
Before you step foot inside a show there are some things you should do. Just like a shopping list is a good way to go to the grocery store; it saves you from spending more than you would have without the list, the same is true with a fishing show.
Make a list of what you would like to see, what seminars you want to attend, and the tackle you may be interested in purchasing.
Next, go on the inter net or visit a couple of sporting goods stores to get their current pricing on tackle. That will give you a good basis go work from.
The same is true with boats. See what marine dealers are offering in terms of equipment and prices.
Often, tackle and boat manufacturers will offer special pricing either by way of adding equipment to a boat, or upgrades in tackle. These offers come from the factory and are generally good for the duration of the show.
Going to a show with a good understanding of costs will make you a better consumer.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Taking advantage of shows

Most people go to shows to eat a hot dog, walk about and dream about a boat they hope to own, ask a few questions, grab a mountain of free material and call it a day.
They are missing out on the best part of shows. All those seminars. They are absolutely free, are full of valuable information you won't get any place else, and are presented by the top people in the business.
Is that a joke? Not on your life. Why else does Show Span feature Kevin Van Dam, the worlds best bass angler as it's headline speaker?
It gives a certain validity to the show, attracts people which translates into the bottom line, and most of all for those attending, gives people a chance to see KVD up close while at the same time learning something from the best.
You can go down the list of seminar presenters. Lance Valentine of Walleye 101 is a born teacher. You see it in his presentations. So is Mark Martin who is quick with a witty comment and at the same time speaking from years of experience.
David Rose is a great, funny, and informative speaker with the ability to talk about many forms of fishing.
You will learn something from any of these speakers and others that are featured. If I were attending the Ultimate Fishing Show in Novi, I would grab a program when I entered and highlight those seminars and times I wanted to attend.
Bring a notebook and pen along to jot things down like the names and colors of baits, their sizes, and when to use them. You'll also want to copy websites down in case you care to contact presenters or follow their season.
Don't worry about taking notes word for word. Just grab the highlights or the things that are of interest to you.
Many speakers will provide free handouts about the topics they cover. Others will have outlines that are more in depth for sale at inexpensive prices.
Whatever your interest-musky to blue gills-go to the show prepared and with an open mind willing to learn something new.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shows and seminar season

Just after the New Year rolls in, outdoor shows of nearly every description make their annual appearance.
Personally, I like going to them if for nothing more than to see what is new on the market in terms of gadgets.
In prior years, many people brought rods, lures, tools, clothing, you name it, to shows for sale. Much of this was created right out of peoples homes.
For instance, a charter boat captain would get an idea for a lure that he thought would produce. With a little handwork and engineering on-the-fly, a prototype would be produced and the next thing he knew, friends were asking him to make one for them.
If that worked so well, why not make a bunch, rent booth space and have a go at selling them to the general public?
Some of these caught on while others were a flash in the pan. I still have rods and lures I bought from people that thought theirs would be the next thing Kevin VanDam would hold up following his next Classic win.
Some make the grade and others fall by the wayside. It's still good fun to walk around shows and see what the others guys have. Who knows, it may just give you an idea to build that better mousetrap.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow and cold continues in the U.K.

I know this isn't Michigan. But it's worth mentioning especially since one village near here last night recorded the coldest temperature in history for that part of the country, -19 Celsius.
When people learn we are from Michigan they automatically assume we have several feet of snow and Arctic temperatures all winter long.
Two weeks ago I attended a yoga class. It's a first for me, doing yoga with long underwear on. The room was ice cold and took most of the class to warm up.
The sub division or "estate" as they are called here has so much snow and ice, taxi service isn't available. Public transport; buses and trains, are still trying to catch up. Many trains have been stranded out in the middle of nowhere loaded with passengers.
Airports have been closed or on reduced schedules. People in snow removal businesses are working 24-7 trying to catch up.
Walking is chancy at best. Sidewalks remain snow and ice covered. The best place to walk is in the street, but traffic seldom slows down for pedestrians.
Kids are enjoying time of from school. Sleds or "sledges" as they are called here are out in abundance. Hills in the area are full of children sliding down snow-covered hills.
Some Christmas decorations are up making for festive, postcard-like images in many of the older villages.
The cold snap and snow are forecast to last for sometime. So much for global warming.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brits not accustomed to snow

There are cars in ditches, buses sliding on roads, and sidewalks calf-deep in snow with more on the way.
The English have no snow clearing abilities and little experience driving in the stuff. If you had a snow shovel concession here you could sell out in a day, retire and move to the Bahama's!
Even the several sporting clay shooting clubs nearby are silent. Usually throughout the week you can hear the sounds of shotguns being fired.
When people learn we are from Michigan they seem in awe that we live in an area that gets vast amounts of snow. How do we cope, they ask.
Of course, in the states, we generally are geared up for this sort of thing. We've got the snow removal equipment, the salt to put on roads, and probably more importantly, experience gleaned from years of snow fighting.
Out of 300 area schools better than half have shut down. Kids are out on the hillsides "sledging," as it's called here.
At home in Michigan, hunters are in the woods for muzzleloading season. Rabbit hunters are sure to be out listening to the bawl of their Beagles.
And backyard bird feeders will be busy with those colorful Cardinals along with their Chickadee friends.
Old Man Winter has barely gotten a start at home. But over here, he's about as welcome as walking in the road has become.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Be ready for first ice

I've mentioned this topic before. It's about getting ready for ice fishing and "first ice." Those experienced folks with a lot of hard water under their boots always mention first and last ice as being the best as far as fish catching goes.
The problem with either of these times is the safety factor. Near Bay Port during the hay day's of perch fishing, some anglers would slide small pieces of plywood out on ice just a couple of inches thick in order to take advantage of that first ice.
I have been on ice that was moving up and down, definitely taking a chance. The only good thing was we were in water that was barely waist deep, usually the drudge cuts around Bay Port and Mud Creek.
Don't take those chances. The older you get the wiser you get. You learn pretty quick that no fish is worth a dunking in ice cold water.
Be safe. It's better to wait until there are several inches before venturing out on ice then take all of the precautions you possible can.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fishing during deer season? You bet!

Be smart like a fox. If deer season is over for you or the opener didn't live up to your expectations, try fishing.
That's right, fishing. This is a great time to hit the lakes. There's little, verylittle or no boat traffic. Usually the jet skis have been put up and those hotshots in high-speed boats have retired them for the winter.
The lakes are yours to enjoy. And what's more, many people are still in the woods trying to bag a buck, chase squirrels, or get a shot at a rabbit.
There's no need for new equipment; you probably have everything you need to catch fish already. You don't even need any new license. The current year is still good through the end of March.
Just slow things up. Make presentations more slow and deliberate. Experiment with different baits. Some favor small stuff because fish may be lethargic while others swear by big baits as fish are putting the feed bag on for the winter.
In either case, the water is all yours. Get out and enjoy it. Give those deer a rest until next season.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving eve

No doubt kitchens in the U.S. are beginning to get a hard workout in preparation for Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Here, in the U.K. it will be just another day. The closest holiday talk over here is the latest news about the Royals wedding. That of William and Kate. The date-April 29, also the date of my wife's birthday-will be a holiday across the U.K.
Last week, on one of the talk shows, there was some discussion about the American Thanksgiving. Much of it seemed to downplay the celebration and it's meaning.
The average Brit has no clue as to what and why we celebrate the day and the traditions that go on year after year.
Like the Detroit Lions and their annual Thanksgiving Day football game. Too bad it's a national broadcast, because more often than not, it's been a national-certainly local-disgrace.
Winter is making her first appearance in the form of cold weather and the possibility of snow later in the week.
We will have a traditional dinner this Saturday with relatives. We will be thankful for our new grandson, Ewan James, our family, and our son Mark who just arrived from his teaching post in South Korea.
Have a safe, happy Thanksgiving and remember to set aside some time to be truly thankful for all we have and enjoy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hunting, U.K. style

Someone told me a long time ago when you begin humanizing wild animals, anti hunters begin to take aim.
The conversation was prompted by the late Howard Shelly. Shelly, whose magical and lyrical voice could be heard on the old Mort Neff Michigan Outdoors TV show.
Shelly, who resided in Davisburg, might say, "There goes Mr. Rabbit, or I saw Mr. Moose," and so forth.
The titles always fit with his narration and didn't seem to draw the viewer into thinking these wild critters were in any way human. It was just Shelly's style of narration.
I used to do the same thing until someone pointed out to me how I was making wild things, well, seem more human. Actually, I think the meaning was to be along the lines of more pet-like. Hence no shoots pets!
But I digress a little. Here in the U.K. they are still muddling over a large stag that may have been shot. It was called Emperor, named by a wildlife photographer who by his own admission, has never hunted except with a camera.
Shelly did hunt and had taken many wild animals, both big and small game. He definitely was not on the anti side of things.
But there is that name thing. Most people around here think it's a shame deer are hunted and that this one was probably hunted for it's large rack.
If they had their way they would ban all hunting. Sound familiar? I was watching the program being aired about deer hunting and wondering when they would get around to blaming the U.S. for the stag's death, and for bringing hunting to the U.K.
Not this time. Hunting is hunting and remains a sport no matter what country it's enjoyed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Deer season a success!

Whether this year's deer season will go down as successful is still open for discussion. Current DNRE estimates seem to indicate a successful archery season with good numbers of deer being taken.
Tim Payne, wildlife biologist for the DNRE is southeast Michigan says for this year, crop picking has been timely.
"Soy beans have been picked and most of the corn crop has been picked too," he said. That means less places for deer to hide out and should favor hunters.
You have until the of the month to get your deer before other seasons begin. Lots of hunters either wait or those that haven't connected will get out for a bit on Thanksgiving and those days following.
Remember, hunters in the woods translates to deer on the move. Have a good, safe hunt.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oakland County hunter numbers possibly down for opener

While official car counts haven't been completed, it would appear as though hunter numbers in Oakland County may be down. However, in neighboring Lapeer County, there were plenty of hunters in the woods.
A Monday opener may have had a lot to do with a light turnout. Look for a renewed effort to have future openers changed to weekend's or other days, providing more participation for a larger number of hunters.
With warm weather, deer may not have been on the move like they would have been with colder temperatures.
Those arguing that global warming has arrived will surely have something to say about the unseasonably warm weather we have been experiencing.
There is still time to get in the woods and take a deer. Have a good, safe hunt.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Veterans Day, U.K. style

All week long preparations were being made for the Veterans Day remembrance or Armistice Day as it is still referred to here.
Schoolchildren learn about the first World War, the one that was said to end all wars. They also learn of WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
Like the U.S. poppies are sold to help with costs for war vets who have been injured or otherwise are in need of some sort of assistance.
Saturday evening in London, units from throughout the U.K. payed respects to the fallen in a two-hour-long ceremony with the Royal Family in attendance.
Sunday morning, churches continued the mood, some holding part of their services outside at the site of war memorials found in many villages around here.
Sunday was also the day for wreaths to be placed at the U.K.'s most revered and popular monument, the Cetapoh near London. We used to celebrate Armistice Day in the U.S.
Now, it's called Veterans Day and doesn't get near the recognition it should.
I was standing at a monument in Almondbury, when an older gentleman, dressed in a full dress military uniform, his chest practically covered in medals, approached.
When he got to the monument, he stopped, faced it, then bowed. He placed a small wooden cross with a poppy attached alongside the monument, bowed and left.
The name on the monument was that of a Korean War veteran and the dates. They don't forget the sacrifices made for them over here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend before the opener

It's the end of the week and we are in to the final countdown before November 15. Some lucky hunters will head north after work or perhaps wait until the traffic dies down and go Saturday.
Some may have a few days off early next week to take advantage of hunting a Monday opener.
That can work a couple of ways. More hunters in the woods, moving in and out, should stir the deer up and keep them on the move.
Less hunters may mean harder hunting. Staying in the woods, on stand longer or doing some sneak hunting.
Whichever way it works out for you remember to hunt safe, wear plenty of hunters orange and leave the alcohol consumption for camp or better yet, wait until you get home.
Have a safe hunt!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nasty, British weather

The Brits call weather like we've been having, "Bloody awful." It's been cold, rainy, very windy, and gray. Add to that, evening comes very early, and dawn takes forever. It seems as though you are getting ready to go to bed or just getting up.
Besides trying to help with our newborn grandson, Ewan, I try to take my daughter and son-in-law's, three-year-old yellow lab, Bonnie, for some long walks. But this weather has put a crimp on how far we go.
Bonnie has been absolutely amazing with the baby. She seems to "mother" him. When he starts to cry, she moves to his side, tail wagging, with a concerned look on her face.
When it's diaper or "nappy" changing time, she stays by the baby watching the entire process. She's a most gentle dog. Next to our own Molly, she's the best ever.
This Sunday's column deals with Molly and dog trainer Marc Guerrieri who operates his school out of Canine Resolution on Walton Blvd., in Waterford. ( or 248-681-4201 for information.)
Guerrieri has that magic touch with animals and one that makes dogs want to be with him and come to the classes.
Even after training, he's available to answer questions or offer advice and suggestions. If you have a new dog or puppy and are looking to teach it some of the basic obedience, give Canine Resolution a call or visit the website for more information.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weather; it's something we have no control over

With the way the weather has been in southern Michigan, the chance of snow for the deer opener seems to falling between slim and none with none coming out on top.
It could be another very unseasonably warm time to be in the woods trying to hunt whitetails. By and large, hunters prefer it cold, with a good covering of snow.
Tracking snow it's called. If you don't drop a deer practically where you shoot it, you could be in for some tracking, hence the name.
Tracking deer through fallen leaves, swamps, across running water, over logs and branches, can be difficult. It takes a sharp eye to follow these sorts of trails.
Stories of deer that have been shot but not recovered are common. For me, there isn't any excuse to shoot and not find a deer that you have hit.
First, if it's that kind of shot; one that doesn't look really clean, don't take it. It's not fair to the animal.
Any shot you take should be one that you are fully confident in making. Success means you should be dragging a deer out you took a shot at.
And please pass on those running shots. Especially those with deer running away. They hardly ever work out successfully.
Remember to be absolutely, one hundred percent sure of your target and what is beyond it. Slugs and rifle rounds travel great distances even after hitting something.
Be sure. Be safe.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Snow or not, hunters will make do

Whether there is snow enough for tracking for the November 15 firearms deer opener is anyone's guess.
The number of hunters that will be in the woods is another big guess. Traditionally, the first few days of deer hunting are usually the best for hunters because there are more hunters in the woods which translates into moving deer around.
And once deer are on the move, there is a pretty good chance they could come through an area where a hunter is sitting.
But this year, with the opener being on a Monday, and an economy that is pretty tough at the moment along with high unemployment, this could be a season that goes down as one of the least amount of hunters participating, which would definitely change the numbers in the wrong direction for the deer herd.
Still, in years past when money has been tight, hunters-certainly the dedicated ones-have saved their money for this one time of the year and made a season out of it.
Like the weather, we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Whitetail Hunters; Be Safe Through any Season

It's not just the deer firearms opener coming up November 15 that hunters need to think safety while in the woods.
Any season-small game, upland bird, waterfowl, bow-require each of us to practice hunting in a safe manner.
It's not just about the hunt and taking game, but it includes the entire outdoor experience. And along with that experience goes safety and hunting responsibly.
The following are suggestions to make your hunt as safe as possible:
Always treat firearms as if they are loaded, keep muzzles pointed in a safe direction, remember to unload your gun before leaving the woods, know your target and what lies beyond it, wear plenty of hunters orange, be safe climbing into and out of tree stands, hunt with a buddy, and always let someone know where you intend to hunt and what time you expect to return.
Remember the old rule of crossing fences or other obstructions. Unload your gun before passing it over either to another hunter or lying it on the ground on the other side to prevent it from falling, before climbing over or under that fence.
It takes but a moment to reload and be on your way. And if you are going into or out of the woods during reduced light hours, carry a flashlight and turn it on.
Too many hunters still shoot at sounds instead of identifying what is making that sound.
It's important to you and those around you that practicing safety is the first thing on your mind when you park the car, slam the trunk lid and begin walking into the woods.
Safety. Think it, live it, and hunt with it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Counting down

For many, the days are being counted down toward the November 15 annual statewide firearms opener.
Business at sporting goods stores, as well as catalogue orders no doubt are increasing as we get closer to that time when hunters typically are in the woods.
There is still the unanswered question as to whether there will be enough snow for good tracking.
With the white stuff predicted that will be anyone's guess until the time it actually happens. In past years, I've hunted in practically my shirtsleeves, while other years, it snowed so hard you could hardly see the end of the the shotgun barrel. And there were those years of heavy rain as well.
Proper clothing to withstand wind, rain, cold, or snow are a must these days if you plan on sitting for any length of time. That's what deer hunting is about, sitting for hours with absolutely nothing going on.
It takes a certain type of person to be able to do that. For me, it's sometimes a little like ice fishing.
If there isn't anything biting fairly soon, I like to be on the move to another spot. The same is true taking a deer stand.
I'm good for a little bit, then the fidgets set in. Deer, like turkeys, can spot what we think are subtle moves from a ways off.
I've taken a few deer but thanks to my inability to sit still, I've probably missed more chances than I even know about.
How do you sit still for hours? One way is to take a good book along with you and read. That's exactly how I shot my first buck.
Read about it and deer camp in this Sunday's Outdoors section.

Friday, October 29, 2010

At the bird feeder

Cold, windy days, mean only one thing this time of the year. Snow is right around the corner. And that means it's time to get serious about bird feeder over the winter.
On the days it's blowing and feels too cold to go outside, the skies are gray, and it makes you feel like you should have moved to Arizona when you had a chance, take a look out the window at your bird feeder.
It seems that no matter the conditions, some feathered creatures will venture out for a nibble. Some prefer feeding directly from the feeders. Others would rather stay on the ground and nibble the overflow that gets knocked down.
Those pesky squirrels can tell when the feeder is full and given a chance, they'll take it over, leaving others to sit close by until they have had their fill or knocked everything out of the feeding station.
At our home we usually put out black sunflower seeds called oilers, along with some suet. We get a variety of birds, some quite colorful.
Project Feeder Watch in conjunction with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology kicks off on November 13.
Visit to learn more about this program and others Cornell Labs sponsors.
It's practically a sure thing to break up these dreary days, especially if you aren't into any of the hunting sports.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall in the U.K.

Over here in Yorkshire-that's James Herriot land -the country vet made famous by a series of books and TV shows-leaves are changing colors and dropping off trees, its been windy, and mornings are frosty.
For some reason, British people keep their homes on the cool side. They really are into dialing down.
It's taken us a bit, but I think we are getting used to not hearing the furnace kick on. To ward off the chill, we dress a little warmer around the house.
The talk around here at present is the shooting of a large elk. Known as a red stag over here, the animal stood 9ft. tall and weighed several hundred pounds with a massive rack and was thought to be 12 years old.
He was called Emperor by those that followed his movements on a lady landowners estate. Apparaently, this lady heard gunshots and hasn't seen the animal since.
Animal rights groups and pro hunting people are arguing over the possible shooting of the animal.
People have come from around the world to book a hunt for Emperor. The thinking is if he was killed-there hasn't been any evidence of that as yet-the mount will probably be sold to be hung in a hotel lobby or someone's estate.
Whether he should have been shot or not is an on-going argument. Hunters are obviously blamed, poaching has been mentioned, and the notoriety caused by the press has also been blamed.
See, things really don't change that much from country to country.

Fall in the U.K.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Walks in England

I don't understand why the Brits don't have more gold medal winners in the Olympic marathon event. This is the place to train with all the hills everywhere.
I'm over here for a visit with our daughter who just delivered her first baby, a great little boy that is getting a lot of attention.
Every day I take their yellow lab, Bonnie for a walk. We generally go several miles. But like running, I start out a bit chilly, but in only a few minutes, I find I have worked up a sweat and am breathing hard.
One day, due to computer problems, I walked a couple of miles to the library to use their Internet only to learn they were closed on that day. The walk was all up hill with about 30 pounds of computer and related materials in my backpack. Then i had to turn around and hike back.
There are many walking clubs and groups around here that hike at least one day of the week together. Signs saying "footpath" are all over and well protected by the government. Some paths run through pasture land, along side gardens, and next to houses.
The English, it turns out, are big on walking and take care not to lose any of these public pathways.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Family addition!

Many of you who know me, know our daughter Jennifer was having her first baby this month. Well, the little one finally made it's appearance at 8a.m. here in the UK.
She delivered a healthy baby boy. Everyone; mom, baby and dad are doing fine. The four grandparents are fine as well. We'll all make a trip to the hospital later today after mom has had some rest.
The little guy, Ewan James, decided to keep with Brit tradition and arrive on a typical British day the weather is, well lousy. It's cold, blowing, gray, and of course raining! Nothing new on those fronts.
Thanks to all of you who have expressed an interest, written, phoned or emailed. They have all been most welcome and very much appreciated.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Preparation for deer camp

Will a Monday opener mean a smaller number of hunters in the woods? That depends on who can get off work, or whether hunters will wait until the following weekend to head north and open a traditional deer camp.
These types of openers are difficult to predict as far as numbers of hunters and deer taken go. Those that stay home and hunt close here in southeast Michigan are probably going to be in the woods Monday. If not all day then for sure for an evening stand once the work day is over.
Will job losses change the outcome for the 2010 season? Because dollars are tighter maybe more hunters will stay close by to hunt or not hunt at all.
Perhaps the cost of a trip north will prove to be too costly during these times. Still, many who are out of work may figure they can supplement the family grocery bill with some venison in the freezer.
Wherever you decide to hunt, be safe. And don't forget to wear all the hunters orange you can.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Physical shape for hunting seasons

Whether you walk out in the woods and sit down all day in your stand, you need to be in good physical shape. In fact, it should be the best you can possibly be.
Several years ago, following a series a warnings that I didn't pay attention to, I would up having a stent placed in one of the arteries near my hear.
The artery was 90-percent blocked. I have no idea how many arteries a person has that have to do with the heart muscle, but apparently one not doing it's job puts a strain on the body.
I'm writing this from an English Pub near Huddersfield, England where our only daughter makes her home.
We are here at the request of our daughter and son-in-law to be available for help once their first baby arrives. That should be any day now, and judging from the way my daughter looks, it would seem to be really close. But what do I know?
Except their wireless Internet doesn't like my computer. Today, I hiked uphill about a mile and a half to a small library in hopes they had Internet access. Turns out they are closed on Monday's.
Back down the steep hill I went until i came to this pub. I asked the bartender if they had wireless and if so, could I use it.
She not only confirmed they had wireless, but was writing down the name of the provider and the pass word to get on with.
"How much is it," I asked. "Oh, it's nothing. Free. Maybe you could buy a cup of coffee," she said with a smile.
I'll gladly pay for coffee if it will save me a three-mile hike up a very steep hill, several times a week.
I'm in shape to hunt this year and probably won't get a chance to get out until the late season. Oh well, the body does feel stronger and I even think I'm losing a little weight.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bear video and gun sighting

This Sunday read about award winning author, photographer, and big game hunter Richard P. Smith's video, "Field Judging Black Bears."
The time and effort that went into producing this video will not only make you a better hunter but a more informed one when it comes to judging the size of bears.
Nothing comes easy and trying to tell if a bear is a shooter or not is going to take several looks of the video along with good field experience.
Hiring a qualified and experienced guide would, in my opinion, be essential. From past discussions with Smith, I know he has personally used guides on some of hunts.
Hunting is what this time of the year is all about. And getting ready for it involved checking firearms and at least running a patch down the barrel.
Getting to the range for some shooting is a good idea too. The Oakland County Sportsmen's Club will host Hunter Sight in Days, open to the public.
Dates and hours are Oct. 23-24, 30-31, and Nov. 6-7. All times are 10a.m.-5p.m. For further information call the club at (248) 623-0444, Tues.-Sat.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Check out area lakes and parks

Any drive, especially through Oakland County will result in area lakes being without much activity on them.
This time of the year, with so much to do-small game hunting, bow hunting-many sports-minded folks are in the field or woods.
It's a good time to fish, take that hike you've been putting off or go for a bike ride on one of the many mountain bike trails.
If you decided to go into the woods wear something with orange to distinguish you from game. Even though deer firearm season is some time off, be on the safe side.
You hunters should be absolutely sure of your shot before taking it. Know that it is in fact game and know what is beyond the area you intend to shoot at.
And don't leave those northern rivers like the AuSable or Manistee off your to do list. There's still trout in them that need something to eat and will chase any variety of wet flies.
This is a good time to throw those woolly buggers you've been saving up.
The Huron-Clinton Metro Parks and the Oakland County Park system have plenty of hiking opportunity close by.
Take advantage of the nice fall days and get outside.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Deer Quotas

There seems to have been some misunderstanding with last Sunday's story and the amount of deer a hunter can legally take.
The story was correct in that a licensed hunter may apply for up to five antlerless permits in certain DMU's (Deer management units) for private land use.
Deer to be taken on does and button bucks. Hunters are allowed two antlered deer per year. They may take one in archery and one during firearms or muzzloading season.
Or they can take two antlered deer in one season provided they have the combo license and that there are at least four tines on one of the racks.
The story was not meant to say the DNRE was allowing some sort of open season on all deer and hunters could take practically all they cared to.
There is a quota in effect brought about through studies of wildlife biologists and submitted to the NRC (Natural Resources Commission). It's the NRC that approves these yearly quotas.
Put another way, deer hunting regulations remain the same as in prior years. But is certain DMU's quotas have been established to take additional does and button bucks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Season of choices

The choices of outdoor activities this time of the year are endless. This Sunday's story has to do with salmon fishing. And where there are salmon, there's a good chance steelhead won't be fare behind.
The choice of what to fish is up to you. But if it's in a river, get ready for some hard and fast runs should you hook into a steelhead or salmon.
Salmon can lie against the current like a log. You can put all the backbone of the rod you're using into them and still not budge them.
Steelies on the other hand are the most active and aggressive game fish-I think-in North America.
They'll take you downstream, around a couple of bends under some logs then break you off quicker than you can set the hook.
And don;t forget those fall runs of walleye. This time of year they are schooling, putting on the feed bag and getting ready to smack about any lure that is presented just right.
Check out Sunday's story about steelhead and salmon. If you're a first timer, give guide Kip Lowrie a call. All of the contact information is in the story. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Where are the deer?

Where are the deer at? That's every deer hunters question this time of year. If you had been in my backyard a couple evenings ago you would have seen one feeding behind my shed.
Another nice buck was observed almost behind the entrance building to the Pontiac State Recreation Area.
In other words, they could be just about anywhere this time of year. But be sure of one thing. They are going to be close to food sources, water, and good cover.
So that's where you come in with all the pre-hunt scouting you should have been doing. There is so much to do in preparation for deer hunting.
There are the stories of hunters who park their truck alongside the road, walk in a few yards, sit down for a half hour and drag a six-point out.
I've seen this happen but believe me, these are few and far between. Your best hunt will be the one you have put in time preparing for. Good Luck.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sandman and hunting

I get many comments from someone who calls themselves sandman. Hope someday to get an email so we can correspond.
Incidentally, his latest comment had to do with Rose Oaks and hiking in through the railroad tracks. He felt that was either the best or only way to get into hunting spots.
I can't argue as I haven't been there to hunt or even walk the property. Now for additional doe permits being issued for certain DMU's (Deer Management Units) mostly here in southeast Michigan.
A hunter can purchase up to five permits to take does or button bucks on private property. This is the DNRE's answer to herd control.
There are more sides to this than there are to the largest iceberg floating in the northern Atlantic.
Five deer is a lot of deer. I felt lucky to take one, and if I got another, two used to go pretty well in the freezer.
There must be an answer to these sorts of questions. True, the deer are being forced out of their habitat and into our yards. My wife and I sat and watched a young deer munch grass in our backyard last week.
They are like homeless people. They have no where to go, and their food sources are being eliminated.
So hang on for some hot and heavy comments-pro and con-to deer herd numbers, how they are arrived at, and the solutions that have been forth.
It's true when they say the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Deer season

Since the story about hunting on Rose Oaks County Park Property, Ive received one email from a reader complaining about hunters walking in along the railroad tracks carrying tree stands.
Truth be known, people were hunting this property well before it was allowed. That doesn't make any of this better or more fair.
For the life of me I can never understand when there are published rules and regulations, why a certain segment decides it's perfectly okay to disobey them.
It reminds me of a walleye fishing trip a few years back. Several of us fished from the same boat and limited out early.
We headed to shore to drop our fish in our respective coolers and call it a day. But the licensed captain said lets go get another limit.
Now that is from someone who should be respected, know the game laws, and practice them faithfully. You don't get a limit of anything, pack it away and start again as if you hadn't taken a thing.
That's why many residents around Rose Oaks are apprehensive about hunting in the area and what may happen.
Hunters on private property, errant shots, wounded deer; you name it. Like I've said before, sportsmen are there own worst enemies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deer issues

Spending all day on the phone with the DNRE because an annual, fall experience. There seems to always be issues popping up when it comes to whitetail hunting.
The one I thought would create the most controversy was the new crossbow use. I won't get into an argument about what I think about it-maybe I will at a later date-but suffice it to say, I don't think it was needed.
Now comes the numbers of deer one hunter can take per season. It's controversial. Depending on the DMU (Deer Management Unit) they are all different.
Biologists, along with the NRC set deer quotas yearly based on studies they've conducted. I'm not of the ability to argue whether their studies are flawed or not.
I have a B.S. in Social Science and that's about as far as it goes. Sometimes these issues have to be explained to me many times before I get an inkling of what is meant or trying to be accomplished.
My suggestion is to do some homework. Either on the web, by reading whatever you find that is reliable about deer numbers, attend NRC meetings and make your feelings known, and stay in touch with DNRE officials.
Granted, this doesn't answer a lot of questions but may serve as a starting point for some of you.
I've yet to have a discourteous DNRE employee on the phone, be treated disrespectfully, or hung up on.
To the contrary, I've always had my messages returned. Give it a chance.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Time for less talk and more action

Get em' while their hot is the best thing to say this fall. We're talking fishing, especially salmon headed out of the Great Lakes and back into streams they originally came from.

The run is in and according to Kip Lowrie, Rochester's man with his finger on the fishing pulse, this could be a good year.

Before you wander off alone, take Lowries advice. First, right up front he's a guide. That's his business. He does other things-gives seminars, instruction on fly fishing, fly tying and so forth, but the guide thing is important.

You'll want to get off on the right foot if you've never experienced salmon fishing. Lowrie is huge on stream etiquette and it's going to be a major point should you hook a fish. That's because anglers are should to shoulder.

Everyone had a line out so when the call goes out fish on it's either wind yours in or take a chance in getting hung up with the person who is trying to land one.

Tempers flare, rights to spots get argued and true sportsmanship goes out the window.

Do yourself a favor, hire a reputable guide for half or all day. He'll supply all the equipment, put you on fish, teach you how to drift a bait and tie a knot and hopefully land one.

You can reach Kip Lowrie at 1-866-wet-a-net.

I can vouch for his integrity as I've known him since he was a youngster working behind the counter at the old Paint Creek Outfitters.

Enjoy a fall salmon trip with Lowrie or someone else you know.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall is in the air

It's also on the ground. All those leaves blowing off trees have to go someplace and they usually find their way on lawns, in the woods or in lakes.
While we like neat looking lawns and do everything from raking to blowing leaves, then can serve a useful purpose.
We put ours in a compost pile. Just keep chucking leaves in along with grass clippings, potato skins, banana peels, or anything else that is of vegetable origin. Then we leave it alone.
I was surprised this past year when I stuck a pitchfork into the pile and came up with really good looking black dirt.
That was used when we dug holes to plant vegetables. The good, clean composting helped give them a start and in our clay soil help the tiny new roots begin to grow easier than fighting hard clay.
I don't know if it's still popular but folks used to collect colorful leaves and press them into scrapbooks. Some are used as fall decorations such as wreaths or even table settings.
Leaves are a good thing whether you compost them or not. Sooner or later they turn into organic soil that helps grow new varieties of plants, trees and flowers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Missed seasons

These last several years I've missed more seasons than probably the number of them I've participated in my life. Just kidding on that last bit, but it does seem every time I get ready to hunt my wife reminds me of our grandson's basketball game.
Or the fall salmon fishing trip with kayaks I wanted to get into. Last you I got totally skunked. People were catching fish all around me, but here I was paddling the same speed, down the same depth and not a bump.
This year, pumped for he fall hunt seasons and then later firearms deer, I'm out of it once again.
Although this time it's a good thing. My daughter Jennifer is having her first baby in England where she and here husband live.
The nervous part of this is they don't use doctors over there. Instead mid-wives do all the delivering unless there is a problem.
While I feel concerned, I've talked with several British people who reside here and they say it's been that way for ages and not a big deal to them.
So I guess having a new grand baby is reason enough to put some sports on hold temporarily. But hang on when I get back. That is if there isn't too much left to do around home.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

So much to do this time of the year

I there ever was a season that had it all it's got to be fall. Minus of course, snow for tracking deer, downhill or cross country skiing, and searching for cottontail activity.
From visit to one of the local cider mills, to hayrides at Kensington or picking your own pumpkin for Halloween, the outdoor plate is full.
Just a casually woods walk helps rejuvenate the soul, clear those cob webs out, and when finished, leaved one refreshed.
Alan Heavener, over at Proud Lake has been renting canoes and kayaks since forever. Talk about a relaxing time, rent a canoe, take a lunch and have Heavener pick you up at one of the take outs.
No one is on the water. The birds are all excited and chattering, I supposed getting ready to vacate these northern climes for wintering grounds.
Or grab a rod and some tackle, take a chair and park yourself on a dock at Kensington for the afternoon.
Don't worry about catching anything. Just enjoy the experience, take in some of that free vitamin D we get from the sun, and spend some time day dreaming.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alaska Dreaming

This week's story deals mainly with driving to Alaska and a great source for trip planning called "The Milepost."
I remember hearing about Alaska in the mid 1950's when my dad was sent to Fairbanks and Ladd Field to work on fuel control for the F-100 Super Saber jet, our countries number one line of defense at the time.
Dad was a civilian employee with Stewart-Warner and would be in Alaska about a year. I came home from school one day to see the living room floor covered with a heavy Air Force blue parka and pants, heavy long underwear and boots.
There were other things; survival kits, gloves, heavy socks and large mittens that came well up on the forearm.
This was impressive stuff to a young kid, trying on a parka and boots that were miles too big.
When my dad returned his talk was mainly of how cold and expensive it was. Several dollars for a bottle of beer or equally costly as the charge for a dozen eggs.
Still, the Land of the Midnight Sun, as it is known seemed to call even back then with all it's hardships.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The clock has been set

Ever notice how you see an abundance of deer through most of the year but when September rolls in, sightings seem to thin out?
I'm convinced deer-especially bucks-have a clock in their brain that tells them this is the time of the year not only to chase does, but to be on the lookout for anything out of place in the woods.
Many times bucks will stand and stare at you, then continue to browse, in no hurry or not a bit anxious to send the white flag up and head for the swamp.
These days and more so as we get colder, it's a different story. Sneaking into Fort Knox and the gold depository is probably similar to easy up on a nice buck without him knowing you're there.
Like the famous fort, they have built in radar, those huge ears that make for great listening devices, and speed that can get them out of Dodge quicker than you can take a sight on them.
That's not to say you shouldn't be out and about scouting; figuring out where to set up blinds, and keeping your eyes open for all sorts of sign including droppings, well used trails, and bedding areas.
But if you think you are going to walk up on a wall hanger and get a shot without him making some much as a sniff or snort, think again. Those shots are few and far between and always lucky.

Monday, September 13, 2010

9-11, someday, will it be forgotten?

We just commemorated the attack on America. Television and radio were devoted to this tragedy.
Like the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese that has been called, "A day that will live in infamy," so too should September 11.
I write about remembering these events out of a personal experience. Several years ago my family visited the Normandy invasion beaches, toured the narrow lanes lined with the famous hedgerows, and visited Point du Hoc where bomb craters are still visible.
Later we spent time in the American cemetery showing our respect and honoring those that lay there in perfect, military formation.
Following that story, I was asked to speak to some community groups about the visit and what the experiene was like.
I wrote a column for Memorial Day about the experience. A short time later, Warren Pierce from WJR called about doing an interview on a program he was doing about WWII.
With so much to say and share time was an issue. Pierce's interviewing style doesn't leave room for much explanation.
His final question had to do with the present generation and whether people today remembered any of these events.
"No, I don't think our children are being taught about this part of our history. When I mention the Normandy Invasion, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, the Battle of the Bulge, the "Frozen Chosin", or
The Tonkin Bay of which my ship, the USS Topeka (CLG-8) played a part, I get blank stares.
"Or comments like 'I never heard about those things,' which is an absolute shame.
This started as a "where were you on 9-11." I was on a boat with Tom Furay and his brother. We were in Lake St. Clair catching perch.
Arriving at the dock we secured the boat, stowed our gear and went our separate ways. Once I started my truck and began driving out of the parking lot I heard one of the national news correspondence say, "the second building in the World Trade Center has been hit. I believe we are under attack."
It was a long, thoughtful drive home.
We set the date and time and just like clock work, Pierce's producer called. We talked about what there was to see, how it affected us, and some personal thoughts.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Passwords and log in's

This is definitely a new age we are living in. Sandman commented that he too was having a hard time keeping track of all of these key words, numbers to get you into a certain service and those darn passwords and logins.
I suppose they all have their purpose. That being security and keeping the undesirables out of sensitive areas like NASA, the CIA and others to name a couple.
The trouble is they keep you and I out just fine. But along comes good old Joe Doakes and in no time he's set himself up at command central, ready to launch F-16's or whatever it is that they do.
See this is a lot like gun control. The thinking is if we ban all guns then there won't be any crime. Why? Because there aren't any guns.
Here's the real deal. The bad guys are always going to have access to guns; legal or otherwise. If they need to figure out a way into Fort Knox to get them, you can bet they'll have a blueprint and be inside quicker than someone with a key.
Same is true with all of these computer safeguards. While we all suffer with trying to come up with a name or some other bit of information that will allegedly thwart even the best hacker, guess what?
Your bank calls you to say someone in South Africa has just cleaned out your account. And you thought everything was hunky dory when you used your wife's maiden name.
Better stick to 1234356 or something similar for a couple of reasons. First, it's easy to remember and second, chance are the bad guy is going to look for something that has a little more pizazz or punch to it.
He's probably thinking that no one in their right mind would use a bunch of consecutive numbers as a security measure. Then again, he's the same one that figured out you used your wife's maiden name.
In the meantime, lets keep these new contraptions on the market. They create jobs, help out the economy and help teach our school-age youngsters skills they may be able to put to good use
in the future.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Passwords-those things we can't live without

I've accumulated so many passwords and log in names I need a directory just to keep track. You would think that one or two would do the trick for drug stores, office supplies and other outlets that require them.
But each one has it's own idea of what constitutes a password, the length, and the kinds of characters that go into it.
Trying to write a blog from Pasadena, I was continually told my password or log in were not correct.
I checked the little book I keep track of such things and tried again. Same message. Then it dawned on me.
As a form of exercise, some companies arbitrarily decide it's time to throw a wrench into the system and make the person using it jump through some hoops.
See, I think there is a person in a room someplace that monitors these things. Every so often he figures things are going so well why not kick them up a little and require some changes.
Imagine a pilot flying to Germany who has put in all the required codes and passwords. Somewhere over the Atlantic he gets a message that says his log in is no longer good.
He quickly asks for a new log in only to be sent a questionnaire that covers his first pets name, his mom's maiden name, how old he was when he first learned to ride a bike and so forth.
I jest. But as sure as we have come to rely on these conveniencesof modern day technology, they sure can be ca challenge.
Happy Twittering, or Face Booking. But beware for that guy that is going to surprise you one of these days.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wonders never cease

A little instruction, some practice and guess what? No more crashes into the rose bushes. So far!
A couple days back I wrote about trying out my brother-in-laws bike for a short ride while visiting in Pasadena, California.
The homes around here are beautiful and the variety of flowers in bloom is spectacular.
Just like Holland is the place to go to see all varieties of tulips, Pasadena is the destination for roses. Better yet, just call Pasadena the Holland of Roses.
Sure there are other flowers. And birds. This morning's wonder were a couple of parrots that flew into the tree across the street to eat some sort of nut that was growing there.
But back to the bike. In no time I was off for a short ride around the considerable neighborhoods to look at houses and yes, those beautiful flowers.
Somehow I got sidetracked and wound up on Colorado Boulevard, the main street when it comes to the Rose parade. This is one of those streets that never shuts down.
I was supposed to be gone for a short ride which turned into a couple of hours. Actually the ride didn't take that long.
I made a few stops off Colorado at what they refer to as alleys; short streets with all sorts of shopping stands.
Each alley is named-antique alley, restaurant row (as if there was another needed) and so forth. There are ample benches set out for passerby's to sit and read or people watch.
I used a couple for rest before hopping on the bike and pedalling home. Because I like to think I'm a practioner of Yoga-I take two classes weekly-I think I've learned some about it.
One thing is how important balance is. I found that out riding a bike. It's something that is easy to lose, but with some practice it comes back. Happy riding and stay balanced!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The all important bike fit

Pulling out of my relatives drive on the way to seeing the sights and smelling the roses, the Trek bike I was pedalling felt a shade too big. Never mind I thought. I'm not going far and can take minor adjustments with ease.
Because drives out here in sunny California are steep leading to the street, I was braking hard to avoid running into traffic. Perhaps a little too hard.
The next thing I knew was my balance seemed to abandon me. I couldn't believe that I was going down for the count and hadn't even got out of the drive.
That's exactly what happened. They talk of taking time to smell the roses or getting up close and personal.
I did all of the aforementioned and then some crashing into the high curb, going over the handlebars, and into my sister-in-laws rose garden.
Not only did I smell the roses but I got a good whiff of some sort of eucalyptus that hung on me well after the crash.
The moral of this story is to be sure the bike fits before riding it. By the way, this crash was so good by Los Angles standards, I even stopped traffic, at least momentarily.
And who said these mighty speedsters of the seven-lane highways don't have a heart?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kayak fundaments-very important

Thursday's column is about grandson Josh's first kayak fishing experience. I can't help but thinking, for these first-time, introductions to new activities, it goes without saying that fundamentals are key.
Then again, too much information on a subject at one time can leave the intended newcomer confused.
Having said that, there are different ways of sitting and was to move that stabilize both you and the boat.
While some of these things are for comfort, they are also meant as a means to be safe whether that means an informational overload or not.
In any event, kayaking is fun and safe when done in a proper manner. To learn what's proper take a lesson or at the least get out with someone who has some experience. Take in the good points and forget those that leave off those finer points that could save your life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fall and it's activities are coming

I'm not trying to rush the seasons but when I see press releases for fall hayrides and pumpkin selecting, it gets one wondering.
Already, some trees are beginning to color up. Others have begun to lose leaves. We used to have tomatoes ripening in the garden into October. This year it looks as though they will be finished in September.
Stores are advertising specials to have bows gone over, tuned up, and otherwise set in shape for the upcoming whitetail season.
Small game hunters are getting ammo sorted, guns cleaned and boots oiled all in preparation for that first hunt.
Once those bows are put into hunting shape take some advice and start shooting. Try and shoot a few arrows each day.
It's not only good for target accuracy, but you'll be surprised at the muscle you've lost since last year. Shooting only helps bring that muscle memory back and over time, will work the soreness you are bound to experience out as you use them.
But don't let the coming of fall fool you. There are plenty of days left with warm sunshine, and bug less outings once that first frost hits.
Plan activities for the outdoors and enjoy them. In no time at all, we'll be reaching for the heaving clothing to fight off those cold, north winds.
Then comes ice fishing and cross country skiing along with late season whitetail and muzzleloading hunts.
See, the outdoors calendar always has something going on, hot, cold, wind or rain. Enjoy all of the seasons.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Invasives, unwanted exotics; all make a variety of pollutants

Follow the news and learn there is more to the term "unwanted" than ruptured oil lines or illegal dumping.
We have been through the purple loosestrife, a beautiful plant imported to help with erosion problems. But once it's established it brings with it another set of problems. It takes over wherever it grows.
Nothing will combat it short of manually digging the things out and tossing them. The clue to this plant being a problem should have been it's looks.
It's really quite nice to look at with it's lush, purple flowers. Anything that nice looking has to have a downside, and this one certainly does.
So does autumn olive found growing wild in or near many of our parks. That's why the DNRE hold special work days for the public to get involved and help remove this pesky plant.
Now certain animals, alligators, snakes and others are being released once they outgrow their surroundings.
Brought here probably illegally, wild animals are just that, wild. Once they begin to grow and get out of the cute, cuddly stage-although I can't imagine a snake or gator being cute and cuddly-their natural instincts kick in.
They look for opportunities to hunt for a meal all the while not taking kindly to any human interference whether it's meant as help or not.
Don't bring plants home from elsewhere to plant in your yard or on your property, And leave those exotic animals where they live. Don't try to domestic them. Sooner or later, just like a teenager, they grow up and want their independence.
Don't deprive them of the natural, wild life they are intended to live.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Arts, Beats, and Eats-to carry or not

Apparently I stand corrected about the recent flap over the right to carry weapons not concealed at the aforementioned festival.
Sandman commented, "Is it wise to advertise that you are packing ( a firearm), no." The comments goes on to state "I don't think that the point wasn't to show an exposed gun so much as it was Royal Oak making the decision to not allow any guns which is against both state and federal laws."
If that's the case as was stated, then there seems to be a rights issue. But aren't we all adult enough to realize there was an error in judgement? That the right to bear arms is still alive and well?
Why pick a fight over the right to carry at a public gathering like this festival? I don't get it. Yes, we go back to having the right to carry. That seems to be understood and acknowledged. Lets drop it and move on.
I'm understanding that if the antis or whatever group is behind this, were to get their way, the feeling is that it would be just the beginning. That the right to carry would be further diminished down the line at some other function or venue.
I think in some of these arguments, more harm than good is done on behalf of rights. At least that's the perception by those that oppose guns in any form.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Enjoy fall-like weather; Mr. Winter coming soon

No one can complain about our weather these past several days. Cool, low humidity, and sunshine make for fall-like days many consider perfect. Now if only the bugs-those pesky ones-leave, all will be right.
A couple of days ago I took our grandson Joshua for a late afternoon paddle/fishing trip on a local lake.
He had never paddled a kayak or been in one for that matter. The trip was to acquaint him with these kinds of boats and at the same time allow him to fish to help keep his mind off what he was doing.
He's nearly 13, 5-5, 115-pounds, and size 10 1/2 shoes. "I'm nearly as tall as you, grandpa," he said when I asked about his stats.
A really wonderful baseball and basketball player with lots of potential talent, we've spent the past few weekends having him try out for travel baseball teams in the area. So far he hasn't quite gotten the call.
A little fishing trip might help ease the mind from thinking about all those "what ifs," I reasoned.
After a brief lesson of do's and do nots on the beach, we launched Josh and his boat, a Wilderness Tarpon 100-or 10-feet.
Initially he and the boat were two separate items. The boat tipping this way and that while he was looking back at me uncomfortably. But in no time, he had things smoothed out including his actions and the boats.
Soon he was throwing a small spider with rubber legs along lily pads, catching and releasing good-size bluegills.
Later, we took a leisurely paddle around an island, then paddled the majority of the lake before heading in at dark.
For a few hours, Josh was able to leave the world of athletic competition behind and concentrate on learning a new skill. I would like to think that it helped.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gun control rights to bear arms

The ongoing debate about whether to allow handguns to be openly carried at the Arts, Beats, and Eats Festival seems odd.
Like others, I don't understand the issue or why this is being brought up at this time. There doesn't seem to be any question that the right to bear arms is understood.
But why do you need to push or flaunt it? No one has said leave your guns at home. Why would you want to carry a firearm at a festival in the first place?
Yes, people carry them concealed and if worn properly, no one is the wiser. I'm speaking from 35 years of law enforcement experience.
Yes ago, beginning my career as a young deputy in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department the question about carrying a weapon came up in one of our academy classes.
"Yes, you have the right to carry a gun. But I'm telling you right now, expect to get stopped and questioned by any police officer that sees you," the instructor said.
Is it worth it to carry a gun to prove a point? Not in my way of thinking. To the contrary, it seems this would add fuel to the fire about limiting guns and stir up the antis.
A word to the wise should be sufficient. If you have a CCW and feel you need to carry, that's your call. But there isn't any need to advertise that you are armed.
On the other hand, those that have a need to wear a gun exposed can legally do so. But just what is the point?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ease the pinch on your wallet and fish this way

This week's column deals with a good way not only to get out and fish, but to do so relatively inexpensively.
An added bonus is the relaxation that comes from this type of fishing along with the friends you could make.
We're talking pier or bank fishing. No need for an expensive boat, color graphs or GPS systems that pinpoint your location anywhere in he world.
By using a lot of things you have around home or buried in the garage, a trip to the river bank or a pond can be done without a lot of cost and still be enjoyable.
Put your creative cap on and think about things you could use to make fishing easier and more comfortable for you.
Pier carts are one such thing. Many are homemade. Some are built using discarded baby carriages while others use an old child's wagon.
Rod holders are another item that can be homemade and built to fit the railings found where you fish. These things are all different. Some use small clamps while others take a larger style.
Next, when you do get out, pay attention to what others bring along. If you see something that seems interesting ask about it.
One thing about these stationary anglers. They are usually eager to share information. After all, there are no secret spots. You all are fishing from the same bank in the same water.
It's just a question as to who will attract fish and how. If you see someone having success ask them what they are using.
You'll see the bait or set up when they haul the rig in to land a fish or reset their presentation. Pier and bank anglers are some of the most friendly and accommodating.
Get your bucket and a rod, some tackle and a snack. Put it all together then get out and enjoy a few hours waiting for the fish to hit. Good luck!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More to talk about than sports

People I know aren't talking a lot about how far the Tigers will slide or if they will make the playoffs.
Nor are they getting carried away with all the new acquisitions the Lions are trotting out. The current topic is all about the weather.
All of the heat and humidity we've been experiencing recently affects people differently. My wife used to live in the Mojave desert. To her, this is warm weather.
Others, like me, don't care for the humidity. Bring on the warm temperatures but hold that high humidity.
But there's another way to look at it. In about two months we'll be wishing we had these days back.
Especially the sunshine-filled ones. When those cold, windy, gray days become normal around here, you can bet we'll wish we had some of these August days back.
In the meantime, stay hydrated, rested, and try to enjoy the weather. It's going to be gone before you know it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Asian CarpAsian ally planted?nintentio

That's what I have been hearing from circles. That these Asian carp have been intentionally introduced to the Great Lakes.
Some think fishermen actually caught them below the electronic barriers, brought them to Lake Michigan waters and released them.
Still others claim that the DNRE is behind this and have been secretly introducing these predators for a long time.
Finally, there is a lot of talk that the carp have been in Michigan waters for years and are now only being made public.
Any of these suggestions are preposterous. First, i suppose some clown of a fisherman could have dropped some into Lake Michigan, but to what end? It certainly isn't funny.
Next, why would the DNRE intentionally introduce a species that they have little knowledge of and know iiffict's to control?
Finally, if these fish had been here for years, it would seem they would have turned up on the end of hooks or in nets. No one has brought forth any evidence suggesting this.
Lets not cry wolf right out of the box. Get your facts straight and your ducks lined up before spouting off, free speech or not.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stealing is never right

It doesn't take much to steal from old folks. In most cases what are they going to? Usually too old or weak to put up much resistance, they often become targets just by being older.
The incident involving the 89-year-old Davisburg resident who collects errant golfballs hit in his yard next to Springfield Oaks is more than a sign of the times.
Who would take some golf balls and a little loose money? Not someone in desperate need looking for a way to feed a family or pay bills.
If that was the need, stealing golf balls out of a homemade cart alongside the road isn't going to get you one month more on the mortgage or a sack of groceries.
No, this was a spit theft. Something done more because it was there than what it would bring. Like most things, there has been some good that has come from this.
People have been dropping golf balls off and expressing concern. I dropped a bag of balls off a couple days back and was glad to see humor and enthusiasm from the golf ball victim.
As my late grandmother would have said, "Shame on you." That does double.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Grieving takes some time

My old fishing pal Billy Baker died a few weeks back. His comment when I told him as I was leaving that I would see him again proved prophetic. "No you won't," he said as we shook hands.
If there is good to come from these things I find it in a couple of ways. The first is his long standing suffering is over. He's at peace and free from pain.
Second, while he's missed, he leaves great memories those near to him can hang onto, talk about and even get a laugh from time to time.
I stopped by his home a couple days ago to see his friend, Lois Morgan, who cared for him, putting up with a lot from an old guy that was used to complaining much of his life.
Lois said she, family members and neighbors were moved by one thing that happened shortly after Bill died.
Her yard was decorated with small American flags. She's a patriot and so was Bill along with being a WWII veteran. When the funeral director from Donelson-Johns and Evans arrived he casually asked if Bill was a veteran.
Told Bill was, the funeral folks covered Bill in an American flag before removing him from the home.
Next to the military funeral at Great Lakes Veterans Cemetery in Holly, this simple act was greatly appreciated and entirely a surprise to those gathered at the tine home in Pontiac.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and comment. Those of us that knew Bill will remember him in our own way.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hunting season already?

While the hunting seasons are still a bit in the future, now is a good time to begin to take stock of equipment.
Simple tasks like running a patch down a barrel, wiping barrels, actions, and other metal parts with a lightly oiled rag, and checking that ammunition you've had stored since last year are some of the things you could start with.
Bow hunters should be shooting at a bale or McKenzie if they have one. Keep the range short; from 15-20 yards is fine.
When you are in the woods shooting for real, do yourself and the deer a big favor and don't take those shots beyond 25 yards. Shots taken at these longer distances usually miss. Those that don't aren't well placed meaning a wounded animal that wanders off to die, or one that carries an arrow in it for a long time.
If you haven't shot your bow in a long time, take it to an expert and have it gone over. It may need to be tuned or timed.
Be sure your arrows are straight, and have all the fletch intact. Look the broadheads over to be sure they are sharp and ready to go.
Are your sights set for the range you intend to shoot? Now is a good time to begin to make those adjustments.
Finally, you should be in the field doing your annual scouting. If you are hunting a new area, get familiar with it before Oct. 1 rolls around.
There's always something to do when it comes to being prepared for those great fall hunting seasons.

Cross the Straits into another world

It sure seems that way. Once you pay the Mack Bridge toll and head a little north then west; in my case to the Keweenaw, it's like you are in another world. Yoopers would like you to believe that although they are still a part of Michigan.
Those of us downstate probably don't get the chance as often as we would like to spend time just about anywhere in the U.P.
Not the large towns but some of the smaller ones and the areas adjacent to them offer some really great getaways if you can do without frills.
Without recommending specific trips, take just about any two-lane highway and go for a ride. Chance are you'll come to a state rec area or some other facility open to the public.
If you have a canoe or kayak, you're surprises will double . Take the time to stop at several of the those signs that direct you to public access points and launches.
Many of these small lakes go unused throughout the year. There's a good chance you'll have one practically to yourself.
Granted, many of these state forest campgrounds and others are very rustic. Spend a few days in one, then change it up for a state park with showers and you'll be good for another couple of days.
Travel safe and stay surprised.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Those good old days may be coming back

When you think about how our society is going these days what with inflation and job loss, you begin to wonder if we aren't headed back to what some of my generation term the good old days.

I see it more these days with things like home gardening, composting and a renewed interest in preserving food we grow. Those canning jars we let go of years ago might come in handy in today's times.
Look at all the ads for "green" this and that. There was a program on cable the other night showing how to compost at home, then moved on to commercial compost operations.
Recycling, something that was last seen seriously during the second world war is more popular than ever. And a good thing as well.
We used to work on our own cars and keep them longer. The trend had been to take them to mechanics for work and get a new one every couple of years.
Mostly the auto companies forced those shade tree mechanics out of business when they went to all of the computerized workings.
Now people are beginning to change their own oil, do their own lubes and other work they can still get at without having to disarmthe entire vehicle.
And as far as longevity goes, at least in our household, we continue to hang onto our transportation long after most people would have moved up.
Yes, this year was spent in the garden but not with great effort. But there is always next year.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Youth Baseball

Three days a week my wife and I are busy, thank you. We both have prior invites that keep us committeed pretty much throughout the summer.
No, it's not black tie or even casual business attire. All you need is comfortable clothes-shorts, T-shirts and sandals are in vogue-a lawn chair and a good pair of lungs to cheer with.
We are hooked on our 12-year-old grandson Joshua Checkal's baseball games. Of course, once basketball seasons hits, we follow that too.
The games are fun, exciting, and in his case, his team-players and coaches-have been together for a long time.
Now we get to kind of reap the rewards and see these kids grow. They not only are bigger, but quicker, more accurate with throws and hit the ball harder and longer.
Josh is throwing smoke when he pitches. His control can use some work but for the most part he's right on.
That comes from the numerous catching and pitching camps he's been in 0ver the winter thanks to his dad. He's enrolled in about every baseball clinic around.
In fact, he just finished up a stint in one of Clarkston's Dan Fife basketball camps. He like both sports.
We do too. Give us someone to cheer for. In fact, we pretty much know the team so we get involved.
Beats whatever show the pros are putting forth. At least our guys try and they do appreciate a little recognition and a trip for ice cream after a win.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seasons come and go quickly too

Monday's posting had to do with how fast time flies. Today's mail brought catalogues full of hunting gear.
We are just getting into some good fishing when retailers are already bringing out the heavy clothing, shotguns and rifles, bows and stands, all the ingredients needed for hunting.
Just like Christmas being advertised months early, our sporting seasons seem to have followed this trend.
I guess it's a marketing thing. A need to get what is new out before the season arrives. Bottom line though, it's all about making the dollar.
Any day now I should receive promo releases on ice fishing equipment, what is new and what to buy for the coming season.
Do retailers think rods, guns, shanties, and other equipment wear out after a year's use? You would think so the way promotions go.
All in all though, it's fun to get these things and look them over. Some equipment are for dreamers like myself.
After all, you can shoot only one gun at a time. Happy browsing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Time flies

I could never figure out when persons older than me used to say, "The older you get, the faster time goes." Or, "Slow down and enjoy life. It's gone before you realize it."
I'm finding these words get truer with every year I add on. But still, I hurry through days, weeks, and even months, often looking a long way ahead.
For instance, I just got off the phone with my daughter residing in England who is expecting her first child this October. I wondered if she, the baby, and husband were going to up for the Olympics in 2012 in London. After asking I thought that is a long way off. No need to worry about that just yet.
But here I am looking forward to the arrival of a new grandchild in October, being in England, and spending time with her and my son-in-law.
Just weeks prior I was looking forward to September and kayak fishing for salmon. That went out the window when my wife decided to attend her class reunion in California over the time I would be gone.
The same is true with the Nov. 15 firearms opener. I had been invited to deer camp in the U.P. and was already looking forward to that trip. That also got cancelled due to the new arrival.
That's the way it goes sometimes. Our plans get nixed for others that take priority. It's good in a way as it keeps us grounded and more or less reeled in.
By the way, thanks to all who took the time to email or otherwise write in about my fishing buddy Bill Baker. He passed within a couple days of my seeing him.
His response when I shook his hand and said I would be seeing him again proved prophetic. "No you won't," he said.
On a hot day, the honor guard took over for a military funeral at the Great Lakes Veterans Memorial Cemetery. It was a most fitting goodbye to someone who loved his country and devoted part of his life to serving it. He'll be missed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Weather, and what to make of it!

Sometime this coming winter, we'll look back on these hot days and wish we had a few. But for now, the weather maps are colored mostly red indicating super hot temps.
The last I heard, the long-range forecast is for continued hot weather on into September. As far as I'm concerned, the hot weather can go away then and let the cooler weather in that leads to hunting season, bucks thinking about the rut, and those fall colors we like to see.
Remember, when it gets this hot with equally high humidity, the formula for quick, sometimes severe thunderstorms is a definite consideration.
That means staying close to the radio or other news source, especially if you are on the water. Boaters and anglers need to keep a weather eye as they say. These storms usually show themselves late in the afternoon or early evening.
The good thing about them is that they move fast. The bad thing though is they can be very dangerous and destructive.
Stay safe and stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Copper Country means no traffic jams

During my visit to the Keweena Penninsula, I was given a guided tour by Laurium based outdoor writer Jim Juntilla.
He's sort of a transplant having lived all his teenage life in Laurium before heading downstate and college at Wayne State's school of mortuary science. His dad was an undertaker so it may have been assumed young Jim would follow in his dad's footsteps.
That didn't last too long. Young Jim was wooed into the advertising biz where he made a career out of doing public relations work and writing some of those catchy ads. When he retired he wanted to live in one place, back in his hometown.
Along with his name and contact info on his business cards, Juntilla includes "the northern most outdoor writer and photographer in Michigan. To date he's had no arguments or challenges.
Back to traffic or rather, a lack of it. "Wow, we've got a traffic jam. What was that, four cars that turned left at this intersection," Juntilla quipped while driving me around.
Roads are paved, two-lane throughout the peninsula with very little vehicle traffic. But if you're driving say on highway 41, kind of the main drag through the area watch out for both deer and bear.
"We've got more deer around here than people," Juntilla said. He wasn't kidding either. We did see deer but no bear.
However, not long into our tour, he took me to a spot not far off the road to show me an active bear den.
Then we were off to see more streams most of which he called good brook trout spots if you did some bushwhacking to get back in away from the highway.
Maybe, Oakland County with all of it's lakes resembled the Keweenaw years back. Take traffic, freeways, and a building boom, and you are left with two lane roads, plenty of woods and a lower population density.
If that is true, it had to be a long time ago. Checked out my story about the Keweenaw in Thursday's Oakland Press sports section.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fishing, pasties, and large cinnamon rolls

Everything in the western U.P. is large. From the largeness of Lake Superior to the large cinnamon rolls bakeries and restaurant's feature.
In Laurium you can't beat Toni's Pasty Shop for great baked goods, pasties, and wonderful, home style food.
Once you appetite is satisfied, head out to any number of small streams for a day of brook trout fishing.
Don't let looks deceive you. Many of these look like a trickle, but spend a little time bushwhacking and you will most often come up with a nice moving creek, narrow and covered with brush. That's where the brookies are likely to be hiding.
You might take a day off from water activities and hit one of the many museums in the area, or tour a mine shaft. Tour directors provide coats as the temperature rapidly cools when you go underground.
With miles of sandy beaches to choose from, pick a spot, take a picnic and good book and spend the day listening to the wave action, while having the entire beach practically to yourself.
If you must, buy a jar of thimbleberry jam. A small jar averages about $8 and are available in grocery stores, mom and pop stores or roadside stands.
Traffic, or the lack of it is no problem. This is one place where you can truly slow down and smell the roses.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Keweenaw and more

LAURIUM-This small village is right next door to Calumet in the Keweenaw Peninsula, about a nine-hour drive from Oakland County.
Whoever coined the phrase, "so many lakes and not enough time," should have included rivers. On my drive here, I passed or crossed water of all kinds; lakes, ponds, creeks, rivers, and of course, Great Lakes.
I'm always struck by the beauty of the Upper Peninsula and the wildness that the area seems to emit.
Heading north and west on highway 28 then eventually, highway 41, reminded me of bird hunting in this area several years ago.
That's because I saw so many lakes with no one on them. I vowed then to come back and fish as many as I could. Of course, I have never gotten to do it-too many other irons in the fire.
But passing Baraga State Park made me think of that vow. The park is located practically on the water; one of Lake Superior's many bays. It's actually on the opposite side of the road from the lake.
My thought has been to make the park my home base then head out from there to as many of the other small lakes and streams around it.
Whether you fish or not makes no difference. Kayaks, especially sea kayaks outnumber power boats in this reason. This is a great area for paddle sports.
It also works well for hiking, biking, sightseeing, or hanging around the many museums. As for me, I'm off to Lac La Belle ( French for Lake of the Bell's), for some kayak fishing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chasing Musky

This weeks story has to do with Captain Steve Jones and his musky charters on Lake St. Clair. Jones is known and respected far and wide by fellow charter operators and anglers who have booked a charter with him.
If you go fishing with Jones bring sunglasses, sunscreen, jacket, rain gear, something to drink, and if you are prone to getting hungry, a lunch.
Jones has the important stuff; boat, rods, tackle, and the most important bit, the ability to put you on fish.
With the catches he's been experiencing lately it would seem this would be a good time to book him for a trip.
The abundance of musky has to do with several things, one of which is the practice of catch and release.
"We revive the fish and get them back in the water as soon as we can," Jones said. "On this boat, we don't keep any musky," he added.
Catch and release does pay off. We're seeing it right here on Lake St. Clair with every musky trip Jones takes out.
The same could be said with the nice population of small mouth bass. Most are returned to the very water they were caught in. It no doubt is part of the reason Michigan, and Lake St. Clair have become destinations for small mouth and musky fishing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tournament weigh-in's, a thing of the past?

The actual live weigh-ins we are accustomed to seeing at fishing tournaments could be a thing of the past if tournament directors follow the lead of AIM.
Anglers Insight Marketing took the place of the now defunct Professional Walleye Tournament Trail (PWT) last year.
One of the changes in AIM's format is what is rapidly becoming known as CRR for Catch, Record, Release.
At AIM tournaments, anglers are issued a standard numbered ruler and a scorecard. On the water, they don't have to worry about live wells being too warm or bringing dead fish to the weigh-in.
Instead, one they catch and boat a fish, they lay it on the rule, nose against the bump board. The rule is clearly marked so where the tail ends is the length. This number can be seen clearly from a camera shot.
The pro or co takes a digital picture getting the fish and rule in the shot. This picture is relayed to tournament officials for certification. The length is turned into weight from an official chart.
Anglers can fish all day, and continue to measure and record fish. At the end of the day they pick the five or whatever the limit is, they want for their weight that day. Both the co and pro sign the card.
There are no dead fish to deal with, no fish going for a long ride in a hot live well, and best of all, no points knocked off the anglers weight due to dead fish.
When fish are caught, they are released in a matter of seconds right back into the very water they came from.
Anglers seem to like it. Crowds do too because they can see the days catches as they are displayed on wide screens around and on the stage.
Good for AIM.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cooler temps are easy for outdoors activities

We've all been waiting for a break in the heat and humidity and it looks like it's finally here. A good, steady, soft rain during the night for a couple of days would be just what the doctor ordered for those spindly plants in the garden and droopy plantings in hanging baskets.
No matter how hard we try to eliminate them, we can always grow weeds. Seems as though we just get everything cleaned out and weed-free when a little drizzle comes along making new weeds sprout all over again.
These warmer temperatures have reached as far as Copper Harbor in the U.P. Old friend Jim Juntilla who calls himself Michigan's northernmost outdoor writer says you can drop a kayak in one of the inland lakes and have water temperatures are 70-degrees.
But a couple blocks away, Lake Superior has hit about 60-degrees for it's summer time high. He mentioned temperatures so I would know what to bring for a fishing/kayak trip we've been planning.
Closer to home, thanks to all of you that took the time to write, or email about my fishing pal Bill Baker.
Bill passed on a couple of days ago. He was buried with full military honors in the Great Lakes Military Cemetery in Holly.