Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Berkley's Pure Fishing-innovations for anglers

   Probably the largest producer of soft plastic baits has to be Berkley. Coming to you in tiny sizes for ice fishing, right on to the new 12-inch worm, a variation of these products in sizes and colors is no doubt in a lot of anglers tackle boxes and bags.
   So is their line. The amount of different lines for different uses and conditions is overwhelming to me, personally.
   Coming out a background of fishing with the old cotton braid line, we thought we were in heaven when nylon or "catgut" as we called it made the fishing scene.
   Never mind that. Now you have a choice between low and high stretch, line that saws off weeds and is strong enough to tow a truck on it's own, to line that is invisible to fish.
   That same scent found in Gulp, Havoc, and Berkley PowerBait is also present in Flicker Shads and Frenzy crank baits.
   PowerBait and Gulp  have been widely known and used on the Bassmaster Trail. They are becoming a go to bait these days for professional walleye anglers.
   Hey, if it's good enough for them, it certainly is for me. That's why I tie on a soft plastic every time I go fishing.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Oakland County Parks hosts Free Fishing weekend activity

   Oakland County Parks and Recreation will host a Free Fishing event at Upper Bushman Lake on Saturday, June 9 in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Free Fishing Weekend.
 “Oakland County Parks and Recreation celebrates the heritage and unique ecology of Upper Bushman Lake by teaching youths about fishing techniques, the stewardship of our lakes and streams and the fisheries those waterways support,” Natural Resources Planner Brittany Bird said.
   Hooked on Fishing participants will learn about catch-and-release fishing techniques and enjoy fish-related children’s crafts and activities. Poles and bait are provided or participants may bring their own.
   The event runs from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required, call 248-863-7020 or e-mail
   Located at 10089 Sashabaw Road in Clarkston, Upper Bushman Lake in Independence Oaks-North County Park is designated by the MDNR as the only public access catch-and-release lake in Southeast Michigan.
   The event is co-sponsored by DMF Bait Company, Great Lakes Worm Watch, MDNR and the Clinton River Watershed Council.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Golf outing to benefit veterans families

   Golfers have a chance to get out with friends, play a round in a scramble format and help raise money for a great cause.  
   There's still time to sign up for the Military Family Relief Golf Outing at Oakhurst Country Club in Clarkston.
   Sponsored by, the event takes place June 4 with a 11a.m. shotgun start. Format is a four-man scramble.
   The $380 fee per team includes golf, range, lunch, and a cocktail party. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Team Selfridge Family Relief Fund and families of veterans. is a web site for discount golf around Michigan and other states. For more information and to register for the golf tournament, visit

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Memorial Day-Not far from anglers minds

   When the group that calls itself the MVM (Michigan, Virginia Mafia) gets together for their annual week of fishing just prior to the Memorial Day weekend, thoughts of those that have paid the ultimate price in defense of the country are remembered.
   Carlos Hathcock III, a 22-year Marine Corps Veteran and retired gunnery sergeant most likely has his dad Carlos II on his mind.
   Hathcock II, also a retired Marine "gunny sergeant" served during a couple of tours during the Viet Nam war.
   He's largely known for having the most confirmed kills as a sniper. Outside of his solitary duties and missions as a sniper-accompanied only by his spotter- behind enemy lines, Hathcock II was a perfect shot.
   However, little is known about his life-saving heroics. "A tank was hit and caught fire," Carlos III said.
   "Dad climbed on the tank and rescued the tankers despite receiving severe burns," he said. It's memories such as these that remind us of what Memorial Day is about.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lots of ways to fish a Senko

   Attention all you Senko anglers out there. Scott Hammer from northern Virginia told me he knows of 70 different ways to fish the popular soft plastic Senko.
   The conversation took place Saturday in Bill McElroy's garage. Present was McElroy, Hammer, Carlos Hathcock, Ken Neeley, and me.
   Hammer related how he had been asked to provide information on 20 different ways to fish the popular bait.
   This same group gets together each year the week before Memorial Day to rekindle friendships that have lasted over 10 years.
   Sunday, they will all head out for Harsen's Island and a week of fishing and camaraderie with headquarters being the house they rent right on the water.
   Stay tuned for next week's column in The Oakland Press about this group that calls itself the MVM, and  perhaps a couple ways to fish that Senko.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fireworks at Kensington Metropark

   Kensington Metropark will celebrate the beginning of summer with fireworks, June 16. The show begins at 10 pm; plan to arrive at least two hours early due to crowd conditions.
   There is a $10 special event daily vehicle permit required after 5 pm; admission is free with an annual permit.
    For additional information, please call Kensington Metropark at 810-227-8910.  Kensington Metropark does not host fireworks around the Fourth of July holiday.
    If you've not been to Kensington you may want to make a day of it. There's plenty to do including boating, fishing, hiking, biking, roller blading, taking in nature, or just relaxing.
   The farm is popular due to the various animals that make their home there. Plan on taking your kids for a good look-see at what a working farm looks like.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Invasives continue to be a problem

   If we knew and understood where many of the invasives originate from, there is a good chance we could put a stop to them.
   Several years back, purple loosestrife was a big topic. A pretty plant that was no doubt uprooted, transported, then re-planted throughout the country took something that was nice to look at and made it a nuisance.
   Purple loosestrife doesn't need much encouragement. Like rabbits breed, this plant, once it begins growing, spreads out rapidly, choking out other, domestic plant life and even causing wet areas to dry up.
   I saw some the other day while looking of another threat, phragmites. Phragmites look similar to grain growing in a field but are found not in plowed ground but swampy areas. Like loosestrife, they threaten to take over wetland habitat.
   Some of the workdays sponsored by the DNR here in southeast Michigan are designed for volunteers to get in and pull many of these invasive plants out, thereby helping to restore an already precious nature balance.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Summer Free Fishing Weekend approaching

   Mark your calendar for Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10. That's the date for this year's statewide, Free Fishing Weekend.
   The purpose of the weekend is to promote the fun of fishing in a state that is practically surrounded by fishable water.
   Free Fishing means no license is required, however, all other rules and regulations apply.  Taking advantage of these two days will cost you little, and is a good way to see if the sport appeals to you before sinking money in a boat, sonar, and related equipment.
   You're best bet is to seek out someone you know who fishes and ask them to go with you on one of these days.
   That helps with a couple of problems. First there's a good chance they will loan you the necessary equipment and second, you'll get some advice from someone who is experienced, thereby making your outing more enjoyable.
   For more information and to find other activities vista Read next Sunday's column, May 20, for more information.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mineral right issues never go away

   Recently reported in the Oakland Press, the DNR is in the process (or is it business?) of selling mineral rights.
   This has been an ongoing issue with sportsmen pitted against officials as well as oil and gas speculators. A few years back the scene wasn't in Oakland County but in the precious Mason Tract along the south branch of the AuSable River near Roscommon.
   The drillers claimed your method-that of willing underground away from the river, then angling so as to reach potential mineral sources under or near the river-was safe.
   Safe is relative and in the eyes of the driller. But suppose it is. What about all the equipment needed to be brought in causing untold damage to the nearby environment such as creating roads, areas for any waste material, and the destruction of trees and other habitat that is part of such an operation.
   Then there is the issue of noise. Drilling isn't silent. For those that live near drilling sites their peace and harmony will be an issue.
   To learn more about potential sites on the auction block go to or call (517) 373-7663.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Angler surveys-important info for DNR planning

   Angler or creel surveys are one of the ways the DNR fisheries folks can keep an eye on what is happening to Michigan bodies of water.
   Besides meeting and talking with anglers, especially when coming off the water, other methods like shocking are used o determine how many of a certain species are present, whether or not any fish are hosting diseases, and the size and age of fish.
   Creel clerks will be checking on what kind of fish were caught and released and possibly weighing and measuring any fish that are kept.
   This information tells the DNR how many hours are spent fishing, what fish are being targeted,  an how many fish were harvested.
   So, if you are asked at the dock about your catch, be patient and understand the information you provide is important for the future of our fisheries.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Be sure of your footing with a wading staff-Part three

   You have heard of a good fishing spot that is somewhat remote and not well known. Arriving at this new water you notice it looks shallow; you can see the bottom.
   The seems to be very little or no current and bet of all, there aren't any other fishermen. You suit up, grab your fly rod and move to the edge of the water.
  Stepping off the bank, you gingerly advance one foot sort of testing the bottom. All seems well. The bottom holds and seems to be firm. The next foot comes in and you're now ready to explore this new water.
   A few more steps and you'll be able to throw a line near a log that looks like a good fish-holding spot. That next step you take puts you right in the slop. The otherwise firm bottom gives way to thick muck that seems dot have no bottom to it. Before you know it, your up to your chest in water and muck.
   A wading staff would have allowed you to probe the bottom well before taking another step. Exploring-testing the bottom-is one of the uses of the staff.
   When you probe the bottom and it gives way to the staff's end you have a good indication of what your full weight might do.
   Enjoy that out-of-the-way spot, but be safe. Next time check the bottom ahead of you to be sure the footing is safe and secure.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why use a wading staff-part two

   A wading staff, stick or doddering stick; all names to describe a pole you take with you when wading all mean the same thing.
   That is they definitely help you keep your balance when wading in rivers, streams or lakes. If you've waded, you know the bottom isn't exactly as smooth as an airport's runway.
   As you wade, you'll encounter logs, rocks, mucky bottoms, trash and about anything else you can imagine. Old, discarded tires come to mind.
   A wading staff can be purchased at a sporting goods store or a retailer like Bass Pro. You could make one out of an old ski pole so long as the material is fairly substantial meaning it doesn't have a lot of bend to it.
   Or you could shape one from a closet pole or a piece of seasoned wood you find. I've got several. One is a commercial staff from Simms.
   Several I've made from tree limbs I've found while fishing beaver ponds. Shape the bottom end to receive a rubber cap, add a screw eye to the other end, tie on some light line-even an old nylon fish string works great-and you're all set.
   The line ties to your suspenders on your waders or to your vest. That way you can fish hands free while your staff floats alongside.
   You'll wonder how on earth you ever did without one once you begin testing the bottom before take a step forward.
   Happy wading!