Monday, January 31, 2011

Asain Carp comments at Ann Arbor Meeting; Feb. 3

   Officials are taking comments during a public meeting to be held Feb. 3 at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, 1275 S. Huron St. Ypsilanti.
   Two sessions will be held each day, from 2-5 p.m. and 5:30-8 p.m. Each session opens with a half-hour presentation, followed by the opportunity to comment.
   To register your request to comment and for more information, go to and click on the "Getting Involved" button.
   "At meetings elsewhere around the Great Lakes, residents have to make it clear that allowing Asian carp to get entrenched in the lakes, their tributaries or other smaller parts of the system would represent a disaster far greater than what Chicago may think it faces.

   "The carp vacuum up algae and other small food that is the start of the feeding chain for fish that anglers prize. One variety of Asian carp jumps out of the water when riled, putting people on personal watercraft, in particular, at risk. The carp now make up as much as 90% of the living mass in some Mississippi tributaries, a situation that would spell disaster in places like Lake St. Clair or Saginaw Bay.
   "So far, federal agencies have moved with slug-like speed. The study currently under way could take as long as five years. Michiganders need to urge the study officials to move faster, spell out more alternatives and, above all, weigh the potential damage throughout the Great Lakes basin. No one takes that more seriously than the people of the one state that sits entirely within it," according to the Detroit Free
   You can and should get involved by making your comments known either through these public meetings or by letting your elected officials know of your concerns.
   Allowing Asian Carp into the Great Lakes will affect the loss to Michigan both financially in terms of tourism, and also the loss of jobs in a variety of areas.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Walleye-101; free semars with Lance Valentine to make you a better fisherman

   This Sunday's column is about Walleye-101, the phenomenal fishing seminars presented by Lance Valentine.
   Valentine, who fished the pro walleye circuit for several years found his calling, teaching others how to be better anglers.
   What you see is what you get. He readily shares information with anyone. There are no secret baits, tricks, or fishing spots. Valentine is an open book. Ask him a question and you'll soon find out.
   And hold those thoughts about running out and buying new tackle. "Don't buy anything else until you learn how to use what you already have, then you can go out and fill in your tackle box with the right equipment," Valentine said.
   Another Valentine tip: "Fish one bait or presentation. Leave everything else home. This forces you to pay attention to what you are doing and really fish a jig, crankbait, or whatever else you are using. You'll come away a better fisherman because of it."
   For more information on Walleye-101 seminars, other activites, or products, visit

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Through the ice, you need to feel the bite

Because fish during the winter tend to bite rather softly you need to feel the bite. Sitting on a bucket on frozen water watching line that is down through a hole in the ice can be monotonous.
Try different presentations. That means not so much changing lures or lure color but try various jigging techniques.
You might run all the way to the bottom and thump it a few times causing a cloud of dirt particles to erupt. Sometimes a curious fish in the area may come over to see what is causing the disturbance.
But to better tell when you get a bit you must be able to feel your line. That's why some use very light line like sewing thread. Add a spring bobber to the rod and you have a set up that should detect a bluegill sneezing at 15-feet.
Bobbers for ice fishing aren't sensitive enough. Unless the fish you target are walleye or some other larger fish.
Another way to tell if you are getting hits is to watch your line. If it moves, it may not be the wind. To be sure, give it a set.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ice fishing-think lite!

"Make sure you have light line spooled on," Glen Uhl said. "Better make that sewing thread." He was referring to really thin and light line. This time of year, panfish on a lot of Oakland County lakes are particular.
They seem to be a little more than line shy. So much so that sizing down is one trick that appeals to them. Therefore lighter line, like sewing thread.
Any good sewing supply store will know what you are talking about when you ask for thread to be used for ice fishing. It's actually nylon, but very light while still strong.
And the light line translates into those small teardrops we talked about a few days ago. Unless you're on Saginaw Bay and have the walleye dialed in, there's no need to heavier Rapala's or baits like a Swedish Pimple.
Keep it simple, small and slow. Fish are lethargic but still looking for something to eat. Slow your jigging down.
Begin your search just off the bottom and work your way up. It's not uncommon to find fish suspended especially this time of year. Good luck!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Teardrops; still popular with hard water anglers

Just when you think not much can change in the teardrop world, out comes new ones better than their older cousins.
Teardrops are those tiny baits you swear wouldn't catch a thing because of their size. But time and again, they fool even the most experienced ice angler.
When you add bait-a mousie, spike, waxworm or minnow-the small, size 18 hook is covered. There's not room for anything more. Maybe that's why fish hit them with so much agression. It looks like too tempting a morsel to pass up.
Whatever the reason, teardrops aren't losing their popularity. At the Ultimate Fishing Show-Detroit, there were several tackle dealers showing their version of this time-worn bait.
Stopper lures had some really tiny ones. I asked what made theirs different from the competitions and was told theirs are made from tungsten.
You might know that we would be getting down to some of these "designer" metals before too long.
Why tungsten? Because it's heavier and gives the bait a faster fall which translates into getting back down to where the fish are, quickly. That is important when fishing through a hole cut in the ice.
Take too much time and those fish below you have a tendency to move off in search of greener pastures. Better make that readily available bait.
Whether you choose these fast falling baits or opt for something that is more standard, carry a good variety of colors, sizes and shapes in a small box every time you go ice fishing.
From bluegills, and perch right up and including crappie and walleye, teardrops bring em' in.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Stuff!

One item that caught my eye at the Ultimate Fishing Show was a new version of a lure wrap. These wraps are just that. They wrap around lures tied to line on your rod and around the rod.
The wrap helps keep lures from tangling with other rods and lures, getting hooks caught in clothing, carpet, of flesh, and makes it easier to transport rods with lures already tied on.
These are called Lure Secure and are made in Minnesota for this Michigan-based company. One thing that attracted me to these wraps is their transparency.
Being a totally visual person-I need to see things to have an idea-I prefer to see my equipment rather than open pouches and drawers.
The clear material on a Lure Secure allows me, at a glance, to know I have a crankbait, jig or jerkbait tied on.
For corporations, clubs, and other organizations, these wraps can be customized with a logo. Besides adding to the employment here in Michigan, owner Gary Talarico says the company that manufactures his product is helping it's employees.
"This company employs recovering people who have alcohol or drug problems. They work for a year, then the company finds them more permanent jobs." So it's a win, win, win.
First for the people recovering that it helps, next for Michigan workers, and finally for us fishermen.
For more information or call (877) 4FISH11.

Monday, January 17, 2011

KVD has time for everyone

The worlds best bass fisherman, Kalamazoo resident Kevin VanDam is definitely an attraction at fishing shows.
The past Saturday, VanDam appeared at the Ultimate Fishing Show-Detroit. He gave two seminars on the shows Lake Ultimate, then held a Q & A for over an hour in one of the seminar rooms.
And that's Kevin VanDam. He's wildly popular, much sought after, and highly thought of by anglers of all level of experience.
Normally, seminars last about one hour. VanDam's always go longer. That's not his doing, rather it's the crowd that follows him wanting more from KVD.
Once the program is over, he picks his rods and tackle bag up, setting off for the next appointment, meeting or to answer the many messages coming in on this phone.
The trouble is, he never gets far. Following his last Lake Ultimate appearance, I offered to help him carry his equipment. "No thanks, Rog. I've got it," he said.
As he walked down the steps from the lakes dock, there waiting for him had to be a hundred or more people.
They all wanted just a moment with this ambassador of bass fishing. Some were content to be in his presence and listen as he answered questions.
Others asked him to sign a photo, cap, perhaps a favorite lure, or something else they considered worthy of his autograph. Still others asked him to pose for a picture.
Always accommodating, he would set his equipment down, move in next to the person, smile, shake hands, wait for the camera to click, then start out again, trying to get to the confines of the shows office for a quick bathroom break or a bite to eat.
Being Kevin VanDam means more than fishing. It's the part about meeting the public that he does really well. He seems to always have just a little time for every person.
That's just one of the parts that go to making him the great and wonderful person he his. Ever humble and appreciative, make no mistake. He's till the ever consummate fishing tournament contender.
He can go from nice guy to all business quicker than you can say Strike King, one of his sponsors.
A seminar or after seminar experience with VanDam is truly an educational experience.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What's good about Friday?

What is good about Friday, this Friday in particular, is there are three days left for the Ultimate Fishing Show-Detroit at Rock Financial Showplace in Novi.
Over 75 seminars will acquaint you with the finer techniques of walleye, ice, fly and kayak fishing, just to name several.
Presenters include world-class bass angler Kevin VanDam, Lance Valentine from Walleye-101, Chris LeMessurier of Kayak Fish the Great Lakes, Mark Martin, Chip Cartwright from Wolverine tackle, and new this year, Marianne Huskey, AIM touring walleye pro originally from Sault Ste. Marie, MI.
Kids can fish in the trout pond, enter the kids casting tournament and browse all the neat, new gear.
KD Outdoors has a large space devoted to gear for sale with show prices. Check out the new rods at Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) and learn a little about center pin fishing that seems to be the rage at the moment.
The Coast Guard Auxilliary will help you become more safe on the water, and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) will answer those questions about fish stocking and deer numbers.
Because of our close proximity to Canada, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will help you plan your next trip into Canadian waters so you are properly prepared and versed on laws affecting both sides of the border.
When you get tired of wandering through all of the boats and tackle, take a breather with something to drink and maybe have a shore lunch-walleye and the trimmings-cooked and served show-side.
The Ultimate Fishing Show- Detroit is on today from Noon-9:30p.m., Sat. 10a.m.-9p.m., and Sun. 10a.m.-5p.m.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cross County Ski-closer than you think!

Instead of grumbling about this latest accumulation of snow, try to shift that negative mind-set and think positive. Get outside and enjoy it.
One way is to get some exercise while at the same time having fun. Cross county skiing fits both of those requirements.
While up north getaways-Crystal Mountain, Boynes, Treetops and others-are a great diversion from skiing close to home with amenities can't be beat, there is opportunity right here near home.
Check out Indian Springs Metropark, and it's bigger brother Kensington, boasting plenty of groomed trails and sights that will remind you of being up north.
Not to be overlooked are our county parks. Independence Oaks of course comes to mind. Beginning this Saturday, Jan. 19, cross country ski lessons will be offered at the park.
The $10 fee gives you entry to the park, the lessons and equipment rentals. You'll learn the basics which will provide you with enough to have an enjoyable experience outside during a Michigan winter. For more information visit

Monday, January 10, 2011

Crystal Mountain Cross County experience

THOMPSONVILLE-Crystal Mountain is the place for everything you care to do outdoors. Cross country skiing is a big hit beginning with the one mile Otter loop which is relatively flat and a great place for beginners to check out the sport.
It's a lighted trail very near the center of the resort. In it's second year is a one mile, three station paintball biathlon course suitable for every ability level.
If you are new to cross country skiing be sure and take a lesson-group or private-before heading out.
One lesson will put you in the proper form and allow you to participate in a great family, healthy sport.
While you're at it, try snowshoeing. Rent a pair of snowshoes and hit the very same ski trails to experience what it's like walking through the woods the way hunters and trappers sometimes do.
There are numerous restaurants on the property, close by to the ski trails serving quality food. And of course, in the background are the several lifts and hills that make up the downhill skiing experience.
For a great weekend getaway, following a day on the trails or slopes, you'll want to pamper yourself at the Crystal Spa, where the mood is tranquil, quiet, relaxing, and peaceful.
Visit or call (800) 968-7686 for more information.

Friday, January 7, 2011

One week to Ultimate Fishing Show

A week from today, the Ultimate Fishing Show-Detroit will be into it's second day, having opened on Thursday.
The annual fishing contest is over, questions have been asked and answered, and winners picked. Be sure and get into the contest swing next year when we do this again.
Those of you that plan to attend should do so prepared to learn something new. Do that by visiting any of the manufactures boots where new equipment will be trotted out for you to see and ask questions directly to the folks that make the stuff.
Another, very useful way to learn, is by attending any of the numerous seminars going on practically non-stop. Be sure and consult your show program for topics, times, presenters and where they will be presenting as soon as you arrive at the show.
Professionals spend a lot of time on their presentations and speak from years of experience. Although you won't receive a full blown "masters degree" in any one topic given the amount of time available for presentations, you will come out with a better understanding of the topic.
Hopefully, this will lead you to doing a little study or reading on your own to improve your skills.
So, here's the show tip of the day: Plan ahead. Do that by bring a small back pack, satchel or even one of those "green" bags we now use for groceries.
Put a notebook and pen in it so you're able to jot ideas, tips, websites or anything else you learn that may be of interest.
Into that bag should go business cards of the presenters you may wish to contact at a later date, any material they may hand out at their presentations and any other materials you might pick up at individual booths.
Have a great show and equally great learning experience.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter is back!

I hope you weren't fooled with those abnormal temperatures at the tail end of last week. Winter definitely is back.
My grandson Joshua says the ice is great for playing hockey. "It's really nice and smooth since it got cold again," he said.
I always get leery when I see fisherman on the ice when it is so warm. When you add in the rain, you know that ice is melting. Still, diehards were out, sitting on buckets and trying to coax a fish to the bite.
Now that it has been colder for a few days, as the old timers say, "she's makin' ice."
She's also making snow. Not a lot but enough to get those cross country juices flowing again. That could change over the next few days.
Downhill skiing is still going good. It should with all the snow making equipment that's available for ski runs.
In it's 17th year, Discover Michigan Skiing is a program for all manner of snow sports including snowboarding, cross country skiing and downhill.
Many resorts and parks participate in the program offering reduced rates on lessons, ski rentals and lift tickets.
For more information visit

Monday, January 3, 2011

Remembering Steve Repko

Former sports copy editor and baseball columnist Steve Repko lost a two and a half year battle with a variety of illnesses Dec. 31. He was 58.
"Rep" as he was sometimes called could be curt, sometimes short-tempered, and demanding around the workplace. But his heart was in the "old school" of journalism. He took pride in the product and tried to be an influence on others to do their very best.
I had a couple of shaves with Steve which left a cool relationship for a while. But looking back, I think his heart was in the right place. He meant well even though his comments to fellow workers could be critical.
I began visiting Steve when he was in Ford Hospital then later in a rehab facility in Livonia. Several of us from the Oakland Press were on hand to help facilitate his move back to his childhood home in Ypsilanti.
Confined to a wheelchair, or walker, Steve fought hard to walk unassisted. He eventually accomplished that only to lose strength in legs. He never quite recovered after that.
On kidney dialysis three times a week, other medical issues began closing in on him. But whenever I called him or visited he always showed a positive and upbeat side.
After moving home, he told me several times he was determined to walk into Ford Field for a Tigers game and next on the list was to play golf. He got to Ford Field where fellow writers gave in a standing "o" but didn't live to get the golf game in.
I'll remember Steve for never complaining or saying "why me." He was always most grateful for anything anyone did for him.
When we returned for the birth of our grandson in the U.K. there was a message from Steve on my phone. "Hey you old fisherman, give me a call." I usually responded with something like, "how are you doing you broken down sports writer?" It was all good fun.
So now, Steve's suffering is over. I hope he's in a better place. So long Steve.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you had a safe New Year. Typically, I was in bed by about 9:30p.m. I go to bed early throughout the year, so when I do stay up a little late, it really knocks me out the next day. I feel like I have started drinking again after 33 years of abstinence.
No predictions or resolutions, at least public, coming from me. Like they say, I've been there and done that.
I can't think honestly of a resolution that I have kept. Like you, they've all been made in good faith. But that faith wasn't as strong as I would have liked it to be many times.
I think I have joined the school of setting realistic goals, then trying really hard to meet them.
The Ultimate Fishing Show-Detroit fishing contest begins it's last week before show time on Jan. 13.
Be sure and look at tomorrow's paper-Jan. 2-for contest results and the final question. Good luck if you haven't participated and thanks to all of you that took the time to email an answer.