Monday, February 28, 2011

VanDam wins fourth Classic-Breaks $5 million in total earnings

Call him the Kalamazoo Kid, KVD, world class fisherman, or anything else you choose. Just remember that Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Michigan's own, is the best fisherman we'll probably ever see in a long time.
   Last weekend, VanDam nailed his 3rd Angler of the Year in a row and sixth total, along with back to back Classic and AOY wins. He has a total of four Classic wins.
   He owns or is a part of nearly every bass fishing record including most top 10 finishes, smallest winning catch, most Classic appearances, and cumulative weight for a Classic career.
   From here on, VanDam writes the record books. People wonder if he's done fishing competitively. Not by a long shot. As long as there are bass tournaments, Kevin VanDam will be a part of them, competing as only he knows how. All out to win.
   Like a champion in other sports, VanDam is gifted. But he works hard at fishing constantly trying new things, tweaking here, adjusting there in an all out effort to take out any possible chance of error by controlling what he has the power to control.
   And in the end, it boils down to experience, equipment, and what he has going between his ears that makes him a winner.
  Get a copy of his newest book, "Kevin VanDam's Bass Strategies-Revised Edition, Hot new Tips," and read it. Really read it. If you do, you'll learn more about what he ties on when it's windy.
   You'll begin to get the insight as to what a champion is and how he thinks. Congratulations Kevin, and happy reading to all of you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow got you down? Head for Outdoorama and take the chill off!

It's sure to be warmer at Outdoorama this weekend. That's because of all the people who attend will be generating good old body heat.
   As I've written before in this space, there is plenty for the entire family to enjoy. And once you tire of walking through all of the displays, take a seat. There is plenty of seating adjacent to refreshment stands.
   But it's the show that you have no doubt come to take in. With small children, be sure and get them around to see things that would be of interest to them.
   Many of the wildlife exhibits do just that. The older generation gets a kick out of seeing these animals and learning about them too.
   Spread your time out with visits to outfitters and equipment retailers. Nothing lights up the eyes of a youngster when he or she is involved with the purchase of a rod and reel combo or sees pictures of the trip you are planning for warmer months.
   And don't forget to take a breather and learn something at one of the many seminars offered with your admission.
   If I were you, I would take a small shoulder bag or pack to put all the promotional material in you are going to receive.
   If nothing else, it makes for good reading and lets the imagination run wild with those trips we often dream about.
   Enjoy the show!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Something for all ages at Outdoorama

Outdoorama has come a long way since it's beginnings at the State Fair Grounds. I used to attend with the late Bill Baker. We booked out first (and only) week-long Canadian fishing trip one year. In those days, outfitters were in the main part of the building. Equipment booths were located in the rear, making it a large show.
   Today's version is also quite large complete with outfitters not only from Canada, but places out west and right here in Michigan.
   The differences in the two time periods probably has more to do with the environment message and things for children to do.
   One year, a company was promoting how to properly recycle any battery. The interesting parts were what a battery does to environment; none of which is exactly complimentary, and how much of a battery can be re-used. The answer is just about all of it. Since then, I go to great pains to find sources I can properly dispose of all those triple and double A's along with the rest of them.
   Children will love the animal exhibits as well as hearing experts talk about the various species they have brought to the show.
   Yes, those outfitters and the booths with new equipment will be there. And so will on air personalities Jenny Olsen and Jimmy Gretzinger.
   But if you bring children, be sure and show them the exhibits they will mostly appreciate. There is even some fly tying for kids and a pellet range allowing them to shoot safely. Happy show-going.
Outdoorama runs this Thursday-Sunday at Novi's Suburban Collection Showplace. For more information visit

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back to back Bassmaster Classic wins; another first for Kalamzazoo's Kevin VanDam

   Bookies will tell you that there is nothing such as a sure thing other than trotting out the time worn adage of death and taxes
   That is until Kalamazoo, Michigan native and resident Kevin VanDam came on the bass fishing scene. A northerner, the odds have been stacked against VanDam in a sport where the good old southern boys always seemed to have a lock on fishing.
   That's probably due to a longer season, warmer weather that allows fish to grow larger, and that many tournament anglers hail from the south.
   VanDam doesn't seem to have let any of that affect his performance from the first time he stepped into a bass boat competitively right up to Sunday's win the the Bassmaster Classic held on the Louisana Delta.
   The world's best fisherman not only added back to back Classic wins-accomplished only once before by Rick Clunn-VanDam's Classic winnings of $500,000 put him over the $5 million mark in earnings, not to mention holding Angler of the Year the same year he won the Classic.
   What's left for VanDam to accomplish? School is still out on that question.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Todays -Campers; all the comforts of home and then some

   The current RV and Camper show in Novi's Suburban Collection Showplace (Formerly Rock Financial Showplace) is all about big. Make that huge.
   Motorhomes and fifth wheel trailers seem to have taken center stage. While there are travel trailers, and a few pop-ups, along with some customized vans, everything seems to be made for all the comforts and at hefty pricing.
   There are some nice deals on small, introductory pop-ups and a couple of smaller travel trailers. While motorhomes are offered at special pricing, $400,000 is still a lot.
   We looked at coaches with solid wood interiors. Trim was all wood, cabinets and drawers were cherry covered.
   Bathrooms; large enough to stand in the showers, seemed to be the trend. A couple had electric fireplaces good enough to heat part of the unit.
   One sported a plasma TV. At the push of a button, it lowered into a cabinet allowing a clear view through the large window behind it, in the event you park in a scenic area.
   Microwaves are as common as are queen-sized beds, allowing access on either side rather than being shoved up against a wall.
   Some closets are cedar and walk-in and may have a chair or stool inside for one to sit on while putting footwear on.
   Slideouts are as common as the mosquitoes you won't have to contend with as you sit at your dining table for dinner.
   All you need is the money and a few personal items to set you up. In no time at all, you too can be off and down the road driving your home on wheels.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keep it dry! New stuff to protect your gadgets

   Dry Dock-not the kind ships go in for extensive overhauls and bottom painting-rather the name of a company that is marketing the DiGi02 waterproof case.
   Designed specifically to hold cell phones while on the water, hiking, back packing, riding a bicycle or doing anything else that may involve the elements, the sleek, see-through case will even hold those I-Phones so popular these days.
   Our electronic gear keeps us connected and entertained, but there are many times when we cannot bring our favorite gadget with us for fear that if we do it may never power up again. Seattle Sports, a leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality outdoor gear, has created a solution – DryDocs, a line of waterproof cases for cell phones, cameras, MP3 players, laptop computers, e-readers, iPads, important documents and more.

  Designed to keep moisture and sand out, Dry Docs cases allow you to use your phone or other device while it's protected.
A sturdy safety lanyard along with a Velcro strap ensure that you won't loose your device because it fell out of the boat, or backpack.h
   Available in a variety of sizes to fit an assortment of electronic devices, cases are made from thick, eco-friendly PVC-Free film. They are both puncture and slash proof.
   As I get ready for spring and launch day for my fishing kayak, for the moment, my case will go into the box I use to transport my gear to the launch.
   I'll figure out where I want to attach it probably once I get into the boat. Right now I'm thinking the logical spot would be attached to my crate/storage area right behind the seat.
   You don't need to be on-the-water to own a DryDoc case. Any outdoors activity you participate in where you carry a cell phone to stay connected is worthy of this kind of protection.
   So geo-cache, hike, or photograph till your heart's content. And be assured your cell phone will remain securely with you and be high and dry.
DryDoc DiGi 02 case with lanyard

Monday, February 14, 2011

February-a month for the ladies!

February could easily be dubbed "Ladies Month," at least for this year. That's because today is Valentine's Day, typically a day that seems to have more meaning for the female population than the male set.
   Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Valentine's Day like many other men. In fact my wife prepares a very nice, elegant, tasty, and picture-perfect, Valentine breakfast for the two of us each year.
   The other reason This month and especially this year could be called one for the ladies has to do with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) Becoming an Outdoors Women (BOW) Feb. 25-27 at Big Bay in the Upper Peninsula. The program is for women 18 and older.
   Participants will learn to cross country ski, build fires, ice fish, tie flies, first aid in the outdoors and other skills-14 in all.
   The registration deadline is passed but there still may be openings. Call (517) 241-2255 or visit for more information about this event and future BOW opportunities.
   Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Ice Fishing-The Ultimate Guide"-great reading over the winter.

This 214 page book published by Heliconia Press (888-582-2001) not only makes for interesting reading, its very educational for hardwater anglers.
   Thumb through a copy and you'll be amazed at the color photography that illustrates topics such as gear, clothing, and even different species of fish. There can be no doubt whether that's a whitefish or an eelpout you just pulled up through the hole.
   Ontario, Canada outdoor writer Tim Allard wrote and provided the photos that go into making this a worthy book for your shelf.
   Books dealing with ice fishing; good books, are too few. I only have a couple. One I used to refer to for years.
   Now, Allard's "Ice Fishing-The Ultimate Guide" has moved into the number one position on my reference shelf.
   You old timers who have been punching holes in the ice since well before power augers became popular will benefit from a read of this book. And obviously so will the newcomers.
   Besides informative and educational, it's written in easy-to-understand language, making it entertaining reading material when you come off the ice and settle down into your favorite chair.
   Read more about "Ice Fishing-The Ultimate Guide" in Sunday's Oakland Press.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Safe ice? You bet if you have an air boat!

Ask any of the experts-police and fire departments that deal with ice rescues-they'll all tell you that there is no such thing as safe ice.
But there is an exception and it doesn't have as thing to do with how cold it gets or even the thickness of the ice.
   It's the method to get on and off the ice that make the difference. By using an air boat. Originally designed as swamp buggies then used by waterfowl hunters. air boats are slowly gaining in popularity.
   Even some fire departments whose area includes water are utilizing them for rescue purposes. The reason they are looked upon favorably for this sort of thing is the aspect of safety.
   If you break through the ice, you float and keep right on going through any open water, then crawl back onto the ice and continue on your way. This is accomplished because these air boats actually begin with a boat for a base.
   The upper part usually is enclosed. Power is supplied by an engine mounted on the back utilizing an airplane prop for propulsion.
   Control is gained by use of a foot pedal throttle and large rudders mounted up near the engine that can be turned from side to side. While an airboat won't turn on a dime, it will spin within a circle about it's entire length.
   Riders stay high and dry along with being out of the wind. Still, it's a good idea to wear a PFD just for an added measure of safety.
   Want to be safe on the ice? Take an airboat ride!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Deer and Turkey Spectacular; Lansing Center, Feb. 18-19-20

   A spectacular is what this show is all about. There's is only one problem. Be prepared for crowds. The isles are generally packed wall to wall, elbow to elbow with people looking for the newest and bestest in hunting gear.
   It's even jammed for those shopping for outdoors nick-nacks to display in their home or up north retreat.
Add to it a variety of great, how to seminars and you'll be in for a great show, probably a long day if you go through the entire show, and a great urge to bring on this years hunting seasons.
   Be sure and check out all of the racks and mounts brought in for display by Michigan hunters. It's an impressive site.
   This year, 12 booths will feature changing rooms for women to use when trying out the latest in outdoor apparel. Try before you buy and you can do it here.
   With 250 booths, there is a lot to see. And not necessarily is it all about deer hunting. Glen Helgeland, the shows promoter says there is a good following made up of waterfowl, upland bird and rabbit hunters.
   With those kinds of hunters attending, it's no wonder that there will be puppies of the sporting breed variety on the premises looking for new homes.
   Fro more information visit http://www.deerinfomichiganhome.asp/. Watch for this Sunday's story about the Deer and Turkey Spectacular in the Oakland Press, Macomb Daily and Royal Oak Daily Tribune.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cross country ski patrollers-Winters volunteers

   The cross country ski patrol at Independence Oaks County Park is all volunteer being made up of four National Ski Patrol level people along with 15 other volunteers.
   All patrollers have years of skiing experience between them, come basically trained in first-aid and supply all of their own equipment on their individual dime.
   For the 09-10 season, patrollers won the "Best Small Ski Patrol award" for Eastern Michigan under the banner of the National Ski Patrol.
   The trophy, all three feet tall of it according to John O'Dell, patrol director, is impressive not only for it's size but for winning the award itself.
   It was presented in the spirit of outstanding service to the public. Patrollers, when on duty, are out and about skiing the trails, offering advice about technique, and pointing out better ways of dressing.
   When time permits they stage mock emergency drills to help keep their training up as well as to involve other park staff in the event a real emergency happens.
   By some accounts, Independence Oaks is thought to be the first park with a ski patrol, beginning in 1978. That makes this award extra special as it is a recognition for all the years of work that has gone on previously.
   With all of the snow we've had this year, patrollers have been kept busy doling out useful information and in general, being seen on the trails.
   Congratulations for a job well done, and recognized by your peers. Read more in this Sunday's sports.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter storm-Stay warm!

Weather predictions were close for this last storm. Lines at gas stations and grocery stores were long on Tuesday. You would think someone was giving something away the way people are lining up with empty gas cans, new snow shovels or finally taking the plunge and investing in a snow blower.
   The best advice in these situations is to stay put and see what the weather brings. Remaining off the road allows for better, quicker, more efficient snow removal.
   Staying warm may be a priority especially if you lose power. It's a good idea to have flashlights close by so you know where to find them.
   Be sure you have blankets, warm clothing and even know where sleeping bags are in the event there's a need.
   Now is the time to get your first aid kit out, keeping it handy just in case. If you have bottled water be sure it's out of the cold so it doesn't freeze.
   Should you need to light a fire a FireSteel 2.0 Scout from Light My Fire is a good, compact, and full-proof way to get some spark going.
   It's a small flint and steel held together with a substantial cord so you won't lose one or the other pieces. It will provide sparking to start a camp stove, or a campfire provided you have some dry tinder or other small, fire starting material.
   Right now the FireSteel 2.0 is available through It may be too late for this storm but consider having several around for future emergencies.
   Keep one in the house emergency kit, another in your tackle box or boat, and perhaps one in the pack you use for hunting. Stay warm!