Friday, July 29, 2011

When it finally rains its serious

   Suffering through sweltering heat the past couple of weeks we thought a good soaking rain was all that was needed to round out the summer season, help the flowers and veggies grow, keep the lawn green, cool us off, and keep those lake levels, well somewhat level.
   Turns out we got rain all right. Enough that serious flooding was experienced in the Tri-County area. Several small ponds in northern Oakland County were just about devoid of water.
   The rains, no matter how much were a good thing in those cases. Wet weather was no doubt welcomed by many in the wildlife world.
   But us humans had a different take. Stalled vehicles, absolutely flooded roads, flooded basements and various closings like golf courses and other outside recreation had to be cancelled.
   Another downside to these kinds of storms is the high humidity that always follows along with a fresh batch of eager-to-bite mosquitoes.
   Big enough to put saddles on, these biters are out during the day spoiling any idea of fun in the backyard. But rain, like sun, is a necessary part of the weather.
   We are glad to get it. Just not all at once and in the amounts we have experienced over the past couple of days.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kicking the can another popular saying

   These days everyone is kicking the can someplace. Do you ever notice how people, especially politicians will key in on a phrase that is popular for a year or so?
   From the president on down,l politicians seem to know a lot of people when they address crowds. Notice when they walk out they begin to point one way or another, smiling, as if in a way personalizing their appearance.  
News anchors for the past several years, have felt a need to ask the reporter in the street a follow up question to almost any story being reported. It seems as if the reporter neglected to get the full story.
   Anchors are then seen as all-knowing, being able to pull those important questions out of a hat to be asked as a follow up. Bet the reporter feels slighted in many of these instances.
   Another trend is to infer that this or that news station is the only one covering a particular story. "Only on" (name your channel), or so-and-so spoke to only (name your channel).
   All of these examples including the well worn "Breaking News" admonition seen almost every news cast, are a way of drawing us in and keeping us watching.
   Teases, those stories we are interested in, leave us with the story lead, but the meat or interesting bits are left until after the commercial break.
   These are all examples of keeping out attention and hopefully preventing us from switching stations. Another way to market news and other information in the age of technology.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Still summer but fall sports are heating up

   With a new Richard P. Smith book waiting to be reviewed along comes word and an invite for the annual Glen Arbor Salmon Slam.
   Nothing new about chasing salmon says you. Try it from a kayak, says I. It's fun, exciting, and a great time to hook up with old friends as well as meet new ones, pardon any pun.
   Many of the folks that frequent Kayak Fish The Great Lakes ( make up the anglers chasing these wonderful gamefish.
   My first trip was about three years ago. I got skunked but still had fun. Meeting people and talking fishing is great sport and very enjoyable for me.
   Any time kayak anglers get together there is always equipment to compare or learn about, new how to stuff someone has tried and techniques are finalized.
   Because kayaks are so portable, if weather on Lake Michigan prohibits kayaks, there are many nearby lakes to try. Kayaks load easily and can be transported to the next adventure in no time.
   I don't suggest you go out and buy a kayak then head for Lake Michigan. This is definitely the time you need to be with an experienced buddy and remember to heed the weather conditions.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Kids and fishing

   A friend asked the other day what was a good way for young children fishing experience. "You're an expert and know everything about fishing," he said.
   "What kind of fish can they catch; probably perch, lake trout or walleye," he asked? First, I'm for from being an expert.
   I like to fish in just about any manner but don't even begin to think I am an expert. I don't do enough of it often enough to be any good.
   Good friends often become exasperated with me when I can't put them on fish. "You know how all of this electronics works. What should we be looking for," they might ask.
   Truth is, in a boat, I'm always at the back, away from sonars or the general operation of a boat. Therefore, I'm a passenger until the captain says "we're here. Lets start fishing."
   My best advice for youngsters is to keep it simple. A hook, bobber and a live worm work best form the dock.
   Kids love to see the bobber dancing around and young, small bluegills will give them that. Don't make the sessions too long, and remember it's about them. So don't fish. Be there to help when needed.
   You'll have as much fun as they do. Remember to bring a camera along for that first fish, or reaction of a youngster when they see a worm, help bait a hook or handle that slimy, wiggling fish.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Names of fishing techniques-where do they come from

   Anyone that has been around fishing is accustomed to the names given baits and presentations. But for the newcomer, the language must be confusing.
   First you conquer the style of baits indicated by their names. Lipless crankbaits, rattle traps, crankbaits, including square bills and others, spinner and buzzbaits, jigs of many names and styles (football, round head, mushroom, etc.), topwaters, spitters, spoons, and so forth.
   Then come fishing techniques with names specific as to the way a particular bait is being fished. Wacky style comes to mind right away because we have been fishing that way lately.
   But there is the drop shot, Texas style, and Carolina. They all have a purpose and are used with specific lures and baits at certain times during the fishing season.
   To avoid any and all confusion, I take a little of everything to cover all of the aforementioned styles, usually trying them all at one time or another during an outing.
   The wise angler will know what part of the season we are in then take tackle to kind of match the hatch along with a little extra for that just in case situation that invariably comes up.
   Whether you fish wacky style or with a Carolina rig you have to wonder who comes up with these names and why.
   In any event just past a spinner or is that a nightcrawler harness?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot weather looks good in months with "R" in them

   In a few months we'll be wishing we had some of this hot weather. Well maybe not quite this hot, but on the warm side of 32-degrees.
   For now, if you can't stand the heat, take a dip. That's right, head for a local lake and spend some time in your favorite chair with a good book.
   Should you work a sweat up even in those conditions, you'll be handy to the water for a quick soak then back to the book.
   We often go to Holly Rec Area and one of the beaches in the park. Sometimes we take a little supper to cook out.
   More often than not, we would rather sit and enjoy the sights and sounds along with an occassional dip in the lake.
   When it's this hot the experts warm us to do work either early in the day or late. And remember to keep those fuides up by drinking plenty of water.
   Stay safe and try to stay cool.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Spend quality outdoors time in your backyard

   Come on along and hang out in your backyard. It's a great place to watch and listen to all that goes on there.
   You probably are used to hearing the lawnmower, weed whacker, tiller and other yard sounds. But mixed in there are plenty of others.
   Some come from the feathered kind or birds while others come from some of the furry animals including dogs, cats, even raccoons and deer.
   Your job is simply to be quiet. Sit and listen while reading a good book. A good read will calm your nerves and force you to sit still and quietly.
   Get in the habit of carefully looking up and around every so often. You'll be amazed at what flies in or walks across your lawn.
   Better still, install a bird feeder, add some "oiler" sunflower seeds and you'll begin attracting all sorts of birds.
   This Sunday's column has to do with "staycations," or vacations that are spent at home for a variety of reasons.
   In between knocking out that work list, sit for a moment or two and observe all that you have right around you at home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tour excites cycling in many

   Every year I look forward to watching the Tour de France. Even though I'm not sure with what it means when there is 2.5 minutes difference between the leaders and the peloton, the main group of riders, I'm still a follower.
   Heck, I would be in trouble just trying to pronounce some of the names, not to mention understanding just how this thing all works.
   For instance, apparently one rider per team seems to designated the winner whether he wins during the various stages or not.
   Other riders might win, but when it's all said and done, they won't make the podium in Paris. It will be the winner designee.
   A group of riders in a team always "come back" to help the favorite in the event he has a fall or mechanical trouble.
   What do they do when they come back? Offer moral support or what? Why can't riders continue to ride at breakneck speed without upsetting the peloton? (Announcers say they peloton keeps them in check or the peloton is slow to respond. So what!)
   Is it bad to be riding in the peloton? How do riders in the peloton get away just at the last minute to cross the finish line ahead of the rest of the pack? Why are riders allowed to draft behind team cars?
  Ah, the questions. By the way, what are those bars of food riders eat while racing. Whether you completely understand what is going on or not, it's still fun to watch and marvel at the tremendous physical conditioning of the athletes involved.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Camping and evening programs entertaining and informative

   If you decide to give camping a try be sure and find out if the park you plan to stay at offers evening programs.
   Some park rangers will speak and present a slide show or video of the park, surrounding  area, wildlife, plants, trees, trails, and a number of other topics.
  These are equally entertaining as well as informative. Besides learning about animals in the area you may be shown what tracks they make, where they make their homes, and when and where you might expect to see them during your visit.
   Programs such as these are usually free and often provide the ending to a perfect day in the outdoors. They also provide great topics for conversations and wonderful activities for the family to pursue.
   For instance, on your next hike you might look for a certain animal, tree or bird that was talked about during the previous evenings program.
   Be sure and take advantage of any or all of these programs when they are offered. There is always something new to learn.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Camping can mean outdoors on the cheap

   Think about it. No motel or hotel or meal costs. You bring your own accommodations and food. If you figure you have to eat wherever you're at, then bringing food from home to prepare over a gas stove or campfire.
   If this is all new to you, that is the idea of sleeping outdoors, instead of buying equipment only to find this activity isn't for you or the family, you can rent almost everything you'll need from the state park at Holly Recreation Area.
  In fact, they put first time campers next to campground hosts who are available to help set camp up and answer any questions.
      Known as the First Time Campers program, this event is available in 18 parks around the state. For information go to
   For $20, first timers will be provided a four-person tent, tarp, camp chairs, camp stove and propane, hotdog sticks, flashlight and fishing poles. The equipment is supplied by Gander Mountain.
 You'll need food, cooler, personal items and sleeping bags. For information or to register at Holly Recreation Area call (248) 634-8811.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mosquitoe population predictions way off base

   It's doubtful anyone would support any sort of increase in the mosquito population. Several years ago regarding a story about repellents a so-called authority said that annual infestations were due largely to the previous winters weather.
   Just like weather forecasts being iffy, so are speculations about how large Michigan's Air Force, as some refer to mosquito arrivals, don't seem to hold a lot of accuracy.
   Take last winter for example. It was cold and remained so for a lengthy period of time. Experts claim that the cold kills any eggs or larvae left over.
   They probably would argue that all the snow we had provided an insulating barrier thereby allowing bugs to remain dormant only to come to life once weather arrived.
   If winter's are unseasonably warm with little snow, then it's been too warm to harm dormant bugs. See, you can't win.
   It's either too warm or too cold, too wet or not wet enough, too much snow or too little. And so it goes. For once it would be nice to hear scientists admit they don't know what causes large populations of mosquitoes and that they have no idea as to how to predict what will happen for the upcoming year.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th here already

   It seems not too long ago we were shivering in the cold weather. Now July 4th is here. The year seems to really have gone by quickly.
   Many people figure summer is about half over. Fall is right around the corner with winter close behind. I think that comes from the weather we had earlier when spring should have been on everyones mind.
   What spring?We didn't have much of one. Perhaps a couple nice days then the rest were cold and rainy. And that was just after coming off a long, cold winter.
   But time is a flying. Better make hay while the sun shines as the saying goes. For me, that means trying to get as much time on the water either fishing or paddling my kayak.
   That's in between the baseball games I go to when my grandson Josh's teams are playing. Lately, they seem to be scheduled every other day.
   Once baseball is done comes basketball, wrestling and track. Throughout the winter several baseball camps are scheduled along with travel baseball practice.
   Somewhere in the mix I need to do some deer scouting along with planning where I'll hunt. A large family reunion is set for early this fall which won't interfere with any of the hunting seasons for a change.
   Don't let the nice weather pass you by. Get out and experience that favorite activity you dream about when the snow flies.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 4th plans, try these

   Camping and cookouts in the backyard seem to be a ritual for many families for the July 4th weekend. Both can be done right in your own backyard. That's right, set up your camp, plan on having your meals outside either on the grill or over a small campfire-check local regulations first-have a night campfire complet3e wtih Smores, then hit the sack in your tent.
   Otherwise, try to find a campground with space on this weekend that usually finds state parks filled to capacity. For more information on Michigan's campgrounds visit or
   Proud Lake Recreation Area Red White and Blue Weekend in Commerce Township will be held this weekend, July 1-3 in honor of Independence Day.
  The event will include campsite decorating, yard games and a bike parade for kids of registered campers. For details, call the park, 248-685-2433.
   Have a safe and happy 4th!