Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Remembering Memorial Day weekend

   This past weekend I had a chance to fish with a group who have been getting ready for seven or eight years, always on Memorial Day Weekend.
   One of the members of the group is Carlos Hathcock, III. He's the son of Carlos Hathcock, the Marine credited with nearly 100 kills in Viet Nam as a sniper. In fact the present day Marine Corps snipers school is based on much of Hathcock's experience.
   Local anglers Bill McElroy, John Maniaci, and Ken Neeley make up the Michigan contingent. Hathcock is joined by Scott Hammer, both from Virginia.
   Why hold a fishing outing on Memorial Weekend? "It just works out for everyone.l We all have time off from work then," McElroy said.
   Standing in McElroy's garage last week with the rain coming down in buckets and the temperature resembling deer hunting weather, I talked with Hathcock and what it was like being a career Marine and whether his famous name was a problem.
   "It was never a problem but once people recognized it, I felt I had to be at least better than everyone else. In a way it put a lot of responsibility on me," he said. "But I was proud and honored to carry on the Hathcock name," he added.
   My chance to fish with the group will have to wait until next year. Our daughter, new grandson and son-in-law fly in today from the U.K. There was just too much to do on the home front to duck out for a fishing trip.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day, Bass season, Indy 500 make weekend special

This weekend holds a special significance for all of us, whether we are outdoors folks or not. First, lets not forget it's all about Memorial Day and remembering those that gave their lives for us in the service of our country.
Whether you attend church services, a parade, cemetery observances or fly your flag at half staff, take a moment out of the day to remember the reasons we celebrate Memorial Day.
True, it marks the opening of bass season throughout the state. Anglers will no doubt be on the water trying new hardware in the hopes of landing a bucket mouth. Remember it's catch and release.
Catch is what 33 drivers at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be trying to do. They'll all be trying to catch the drivers ahead of them in hopes of winning the most famous race in the world.
Whether you head up north to open the family cabin, stay home and work in the yard in preparation for Memorial Day or spend a part of the day watching the race, take some quiet time to remember those that gave so much.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"The Total Outdoorsman Manual," a complete book

   The newly published, "The Total Outdoorsman Manual-374 skills you need," is everything the title says. Not only is it "total," but it's complete.
   Subjects covered included camping, fishing, hunting and survival. Written by Field and Stream editor-at-large T. Edward Nickens, the 320 page manual includes contributions by Phil Bourjaily, Kirk Deeter, Anthony Licata, Keith McCafferty, John Merwin and David E. Petzal, all editors at Field and Stream.
   Supported with colorful  illustrations and outstanding photos this manual has all the makings of a classic. It's flexicover makes this manual comfortable to handle and hold while reading.
   Read and take in all of the quality photos is what you'll want to do as soon as you pick this book up. Tips and advice on practically anything outdoors related will keep you jumping around from topic to topic.
   From tying a Knute hitch, to packing for camping in 5 minutes, you'll learn more than you ever thought possible about how to camp.
   Learn to roast the perfect marshmallow, make waterproof matches, catch every fish that bites, fix a fussy motor, replace trailer bearings alongside the road, roast a deer haunch, skin a deer with a golf ball, and surviving a lightning strike are just a smidge of the interesting tips and topics you'll read about.
   The smart outdoors person will gladly add "The Total Outdoorsman Manual," to the bookshelf. Call it a must have encyclopedia for outdoors pursuits.

Monday, May 23, 2011

AIM-New tournament kid on the block

AIM-Anglers Insight Marketing has taken up where the now defunct PWT-Professional Walleye Tour-ended and is moving tournament fishing forward with it's CPR-Catch, Photograph, Record, Release format.
   While there is still a "weigh-in" of sorts with anglers and their co-anglers on-stage to give a brief rundown of the day's catch, there are no fish brought in to be photographed and weighed.
   That is all done through measurements that are calculated to provide weights. Out on the water, the angler photographs the catch against the backdrop of an official tournament ruler, records the dimensions and releases the fish.
   This has cut down on dead fish arriving at weigh-ins after being tossed around in a live well for several hours.
    While the tournament is going on, photos of the days catches along with video of the action on the water is available for viewing either at www.aimfishing.com, or should you be in attendance at one of the AIM tournaments, you'll be able to see the action stage side from one of the large screens provided for this purpose.
   AIM and it's professional anglers will return to Michigan, June 2 for the second Bay Mills Casino Invitational. Launch and weigh-in's will be at Bay Mills. For more information visit www.aimfishing.com.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Too much rain equals more mosquitoes

   April showers are supposed to bring May flowers. May usually signals the month for the garden to be planted, and new flowers added.
   Is wet as it's been, these chores will surely have to wait. But once we get a day or so of warm weather without rain be ready for an all out attack of the Michigan Air Force, as my daughter-in-law calls mosquitoes.
   They'll be out in great numbers that's for sure. Scientists say rain and standing water are the things that make for mosquito populations to increase.
   Along those lines, it has been said that long cold winters have an affect on mosquitoes making for fewer bugs in the warm months.
   From a purely unscientific observation, I haven't found this to be true. Cold winter, warm winter, whatever the winter, those suckers come back each spring and summer with a vengeance.
   Bloodthirsty doesn't adequately describe their behavior once it gets warm. Having starved during a long winters hibernation, they are no doubt on the prowl for fresh, red blood.
   And they find it rather easily in our backyards, around pools and lakes, anyplace there are people trying to enjoy themselves before being shut in again for the year.
   Keep the bug dope handy, get a couple of white, long sleeved shirts and a hat, then get ready to try and defend yourself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

State Forest Campground closings put on hold

   Closing of the 23 state forest campgrounds in the northern lower and U.P. has been tabled until the June Natural Resources Commission meeting. The proposal could have been effective last week with DNR Director Rodney Stokes signing the order.
   Reasons given for the postponement include an interest by some local governments to take campgrounds in their area over, leasing them from the DNR.
   Stokes also wants time to see if an arrangement could be worked out the the department's parks and recreation division to joint manage some of the parks slated to be closed.
   Initially, the reason for the proposed closings had to do with a 63 percent reduction in funds from the General Fund support for the State Forest Recreation Program.
   Maybe, given a bit more time, the DNR will realize enough funds through the recently introduced passport program. The program went into effect last October replacing the window sticker needed for park entry.
   By checking yes on the vehicle registration form, Michigan residents pay $10 for vehicles, and $5 for motorcycles for the Recreation Passport.
   The change in permitting came about largely to reach more motorists who otherwise might not consider visiting a state park or state forest campground.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Second annual No-Mo success for Make-A-Wish and anglers

   The second annual No-Mo (No Motors) kayak fishing tournament is in the books. The big winner is the Make-A-Wish foundation along with the 26 anglers that participated.
   Thanks to the generous donations of prizes by Pure Fishing, Hook 1, Blakemore Tackle, Mark Martin, Kevin VanDam, Plano, Quantum along with Tom Hardecki and his crew at Bass Pro shops, the before final tally is $1200 dollars. Not too shabby for a small tournament.
   The No-Mo has a ways to go before it becomes as popular and important as the Bassmasters Classic, but goals begin with small steps.
   The overall winner of the Wilderness Tarpon 120 fishing kayak was Monroe resident Brandon Burns. Second place went to Matt Berry, and third place went to Ray Canterbury.
   A beautiful custom made, three-piece, commemorative rod was won by Brian Arp. Congratulations and continued good fishing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

No-Mo kayak fishing tournament will be here soon

   If you haven't signed up for the second annual No-Mo (no motors!) kayak fishing tournament to be held May 14, there is is time.
  Open to kayaks or anything else like canoes, this tournament is for those boats that don't use motors. This year it's all about benefiting Make-A-Wish foundation.
   The overall first place winner gets a new Wilderness, Tarpon 120 fishing kayak. Other prizes include a kayak fishing rigging package, and a certificate to Hook 1 for kayak rigging parts.
   Raffle tickets will be drawn for a chance to win a quality rod and reel combo, tackle boxes, other rigging equipment, and a year's subscription to Wood N' Water News.
   Tournament waters are any water in Wayne and Monroe Counties with public access. Anglers must be back at Riverside Kayak Connection (RKC) by 1p.m., May 14 for the weigh-in.
   This is a CPR tournament-catch, photograph, and release. You'll need a digital camera to record your catch against a tournament ruler provided through the generosity of Tom Hardecki and Bass Pro Shops.
   RKC is tournament headquarters. Following the drawing for prizes a cookout will be held.
Persons interested in fishing in this worthwhile tournament should contact RKC at (734) 285-2925 for an application or email Chris Lemessurier at chris.@kayakfishthegreatlakes.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring is everything new

   Spring gives us a new beginning especially outside whether that means in the woods, on the water, or right there in your own backyard.
   For some it means a new vegetable garden layout, landscaping around the house and deck, new bird feeders to attract orioles and hummers, and plantings to enhance that attraction.
   For others it may be a new lawn mower or trimmer. If it's the former, perhaps it's time to go to a rider with a rear bagger. Or maybe you are looking to much everything right back into the lawn.
   Still, there are many seeking the newest and hottest baits to throw at bass once Memorial Day rolls around. And along with baits, boats ordered through the winter are arriving at dealers to be outfitted and tested before being released to customers.
   That brings us to tournament fishing and one of the newer tournaments around here is the second annual No-Mo kayak fishing tournamet to benefit Make-A-Wish foundation.
   Tournament date is May14 with a mandatory captains meeting May 13. Tournament headquarters will be at Riverside Kayak Connection, 4016 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte, (734) 285-2925. Get a registration form from RKC, fill it out and send along your $50 to join this worthwhile and fun event.
   Fish anywhere in Monroe or Wayne Counties as long as there is public access to the water you fish. Live bait is prohibited. Bring your plastics and go fishing.
   A CPR (catch, photograph, record) tournament, you'll need a camera with a SD card to record your catch.
   First prize is a brand new Wilderness Tarpon 120 sit on top, fishing kayak. Raffles that include rods and reels, trips and a bunch of other neat stuff are for sale.
   Come on out, wear your PFD and have a fun day. Weigh in will be back at RKC. So will raffles and prizes along with a lunch and light refreshments.
   Hope to see all of you out there on May 14. It's a great way to have fun, meet new people and help a great cause. Read more this Sunday May 8 in the Oakland Press Sports section.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden gone-Whose taking his place

Still half asleep, trying to wake up with that first cup of coffee, the TV was showing one of it's constant "Alert" messages we have become accustomed to seeing.
   But right under it in the space for the "crawl messages" came the one that did more than the morning cup of Joe to wake me. The one that said Bin Laden was dead. That our guys had got him.
   That definitely is cause for celebration and to give thanks. Thanks to all of those who have sacrificed, put in the time and took the responsibility to bring this very bad person to justice.
   Ever since 9-11 and the horrific events associated with it, our country and lives have changed drastically, and all due to one person.
   Now, it becomes very important not to relax into any kind of tranquil calm. Keep vigilant should be the watchword. For as sure as today is today, you have to know there is someone already to take his place.
   Staying ahead of whatever lies before us now will be another challenge. This time around, we don't know who that next-in-line will be.
   But it's just about a sure thing that somebody is already ready to step up and make another name for himself.
   Enjoy the victory, but keep it in perspective by staying alert.