Monday, April 29, 2013

Health-It's really all you have

With my recent diagnosis of bladder cancer I've had more time to think than I need. That brain works overtime, especially with me.
   I can't help but think of all I need to do, all I didn't do, things I would like to do, and the do's I did that I would do differently!
   When I walked into my urologists office I felt fit as a fiddle. In a few minutes that would change. After a urine test was examined the doctor came into the room to say they found blood in my urine.
   What does that mean, I asked. Bladder cancer was the quick, cold reply. You could have knocked me over with a feather. It's been the foremost prominent thought on my mind ever since.
   Lab results after successful removal of the malignant tumor report that I was cancer free. All that was needed was three month follow ups for bladder exams. To most people that would have been great news.
   It hasn't set that way with me. Sure I'm glad there isn't any more and that it hasn't progressed but a part of me can't understand why I have it at all. Medical people claim even though I haven't smoked in over 30 years, the smoking I did do has done the damage.
   Thinking about it a bit more this is a bit like wishing the putt went in the first time or the fly had landed in a better spot. I just wish it was better.
   Still, all around me, there are examples to me of what I should be thankful for. My neighbor has similar cancer but more advanced. He's facing bladder removal, a pouch or other method for elimination. I look at him and see he's a basket case. Nothing I say can improve his mood or give him a tiny bit of hope. Reminds me of me.
   But I've taken step. I'll be calling Gilda's Club in Royal Oak to find out about support groups for this type of cancer.
   I'm trying to keep and stay busy to keep my mind occupied. With the help of my very supportive wife, Pat and good friend Bill Semion, I'm beginning to see that I don't have it all bad. There are many others far worse off.
   Then there that is the old bug called depression that isn't shy about entering into these situations. It doesn't creep in, it throws the door wide open and announces, here I am. So that's a battle on another front I'll take on.
   And with the help of positive people like my wife, Bill, Larry Jackson and Jack Ferguson along with the rest of my family, it's starting to look a little brighter.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Trout opener, on schedule despite high waters

   Despite reports of higher-than-normal water levels, the trout opener will happen this Saturday. Unless of course you fish any of the flies only, catch and release stretches where fishing has been all year.
   Good friend Nelson Alexander hadn't fished an opener in years. "That time of year has never been any good. It's always cold and rainy," he would say if asked to fish.
   "I'll want until late May or June for the hex and the really big fish to come out." His tune changed the year he bought a cabin on the AuSable's South Branch.
   You can't get him away during the opener and the week before. He's busy making plans, wondering who will show up and figuring out a mouth watering menu to keep em' coming back.
   A year or so after taking over ownership of the cabin I kidded him about fishing the opener and was rewarded with one of his hard stares that translates to don't mess with me. Since then I haven't.
   This year though he has conceded that fishing may be a bit tough on his side of the river. "I've never seen the water run so high," he said.
   It's a good thing the cabin sits high and dry because the lawn in front that goes down to the river is covered by a good two feet of water.
   Don't let any of this high water talk discourage you. If you make the opener an annual event then go and enjoy it however the opportunity presents itself.
   Besides, there should be plenty to eat at The Old AuSable Fly Shop's annual cookout.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ok-I know I'm late, but don't count me out, yet!

   Hey readers. I had a little bump in the road along that path of health. During a routine checkup last week my doctor informed me I have bladder caner. Very quickly I was admitted and the malignant tumor was removed. I'm waiting now to see what the outcome on the labs will be and if chemo is in the future.
   Like they say-whose they?-life rolls along pretty smoothly until that bump hits you then things really slow down.
   Normally, I'm a pretty positive guy. I can't stand being bedridden. Sickness of any kind is hard for me to handle.
   Normally I'm up and at em' pretty quickly. With two total knees replaced i was ahead of the rehab curve by the time I began rehab. I try to stay healthy and in some sort of good shape. This was definitely a blast out of nowhere.
   Anyway, I haven't gone away. Just laid up for a few days with pain meds and a lot of other stuff you wouldn't care to read about.
   Bladder cancer they tell me is most curable. It's also one that is highly likely to come back once it begins.
   I'm hanging in and will have blogs this week more in tune with the season. Till then, hang in and count your blessings.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Marathons, spectators and bombs. What's next?

   Deviating a bit from my normal blog I thought it important to say a word or two about the recent and tragic events that happened at the finish line during the Boston Marathon.
   I speak from some experience on these topics having run long distance before I fell to the surgeons knife and had both knees replaced. That included a full marathon; 26 miles, 285 yards of it.
   I also have considerable experience in the protection of the public after concluding 33 years in law enforcement.
   The $64 dollar question when these things come up is can we even be 100% safe? And of course the answer is no.
   The reasons are many for the difference in the kinds of protection when I was growing up and what is available now.
   Filing a police report used to be as simple as picking up the phone to report a incident. A car was dispatched, a report taken, then that same report was followed up. These days you might be lucky to get a car to come by for a major crime.
   I'm not picking on the police. It's due to the state of the times. Budget cuts, doing more with less, a lack of respect being taught in the home and very little if any family life left. Hardly anyone has dinner around the table together, nor do families attend church services of their choice.
   The availability of the inter net and all the information it holds makes it easy for unscrupulous people to find a bomb or other explosive recipe.
   While we need law enforcement, we also need to know it's time for all of us to pay more attention to our surroundings, be aware of any suspicious activity or persons and take the initiative to inform someone in authority.
   Unless our country does a complete turn around-and I doubt that will happen-we can expect more of the same.
   Bans on guns and ammunition aren't the answer. The real answer is people will begin to stay home in lieu of going to a Lions or other professional game in the face of such potential dangers.
   That all translates into the loss of revenue or dollars to these big clubs. If we give in and stay at home, the bad guys win.
   Just like 9-11 when flying became worrisome, slowly people began returning to flying as a form of transportation showing those that would endanger our lives that we wouldn't be beat and that our way of living would continue.
   I don't know about you, but I plan on going to see the Tigers play and if the Lions ever put a team together, maybe I'll go.
   But not going won't be because I fear these radicals. Rather it will be whether we can put a good team on the field.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sheepshead-good table fare?

   Here in the Great Lakes area, sheepshead are practically a dime a dozen. They hit on just about everything but especially when trolling.
   Walleye anglers have plenty of experience with them. They often strike very similar to a walleye. Even experienced tournament anglers can confuse them initially for a walleye bite. Usually, they are considered a nuisance fish and are tossed back.
   But down in Alabama, particularly in the Gulf Shores area, sheepshead are treated differently. While not considered the lobster or flounder of the area they are considered good eating.
   I ran into a couple of fishermen coming off the pier at Gulf Shores carrying a large cooler. By the way they were hauling it, I could tell it had some weight to it.
   I asked them how the fishing had been. They stopped and opened the cooler revealing sheepshead completely filling the cooler.
  "What kind of fish are they," I asked noticing the wide dark strips and sharp looking teeth. "Sheepshead," they answered then went on to say that they were really good eating.
    They seemed to know we didn't care for them up this way. On this same pier, underwater lights have been installed. They are turned on at night to attract sheepshead and other fish.
   Another method is to take an ordinary flat shovel and run it down pilings of a pier knocking off barnacles and small shell fish that sheepshead eat.
   This is similar to chumming for fish and brings them in hopefully to take a bite out of the shrimp you have hooked up for bait.
   Wherever you go, especially around water, you'll find different techniques for catching fish, and the fish you do catch you might have never considered eating.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pier carts-all sizes and all styles

GULF SHORES, ALABAMA- This is my first ever visit to the south during or shortly after a winter in Michigan. I must say, sunny, blue skies and temperatures in the mid 70's might tempt me to return some day.
   Just up the beach from the condo we are renting is a public pier that juts out into the ocean for several hundred yards.
   Today I walked down to investigate and see how the fishing action was going. It cost $2 to walk out on the pier. For $11 you can fish from now until the end of August.
   Besides a lot of anglers either holding or using rod holders to hold at least 9-foot rods were a variety of carts. I call them pier carts because you won't see them on beaches or any other place than piers.
  Because anglers carry so much stuff onto the pier to fish with or make their time out there comfortable, they need a way to transport a variety of rods, tackle, cooler, net and gaff, lunch and snacks and chairs to sit on.
   People used to take the kids wagon for such purposes. Then along came coolers with wheels. Some lashed their equipment to the lid of the cooler and hauled it out.
   Fishermen generally, being handy and willing to make changes or develop their own ideas for such things as rod holders, have a field day with these carts.
   Down here you can buy them starting out for $250. They go up steeply after that depending on size and the attachments you might like to have.
   Now comes those homemade carts. One was made over from a child's Radio wagon, others were built from the ground up to the owners specifications.
   Wheels from shopping carts, bicycle wheels and balloon-type tires for kayak carts have all made their way to a cart.
   It's amazing the number of rod holders some people think they need. Always included is a large cooler and a big net the size to trap Moby Dick in.
   With You Tube and Google so available, these projects should be easily found along with simple plans to build them.
   For the anglers in Michigan, fishing from piers like Lexington or Grand Haven could be much more enjoyable with a pier cart.
Sam Stanczak from Fairhope, AL with his beach cart.

Atlantic Salmon being re-stocked in Lake Huron

   Salmon fishing used to be good in Lake Huron. But for the past several years, it's slowed to a trickle it that.
   Many anglers that used to fish the lake for salmon haven't. Instead they have moved over to the west side of the state and Lake Michigan.
   Now, thanks to the DNR and Lake Superior State University, Atlantic salmon are being stocked again in Lake Huron.
   Plans are for approximately 100,000 salmon to be released in tributary streams this spring. Yearling Atlantic salmon will be stocked in the St. Marys River, Au Sable River, Thunder Bay River and in the Lexington Harbor in southern Lake Huron in coming days.
   The DNR’s Fisheries Division originally experimented with rearing and stocking Atlantic salmon from 1972 to 1982. These stockings resulted in only modest returns, and the program was essentially inactive until 1986.
   That year, Lake Superior State University (LSSU) began rearing and stocking Atlantic salmon into the St. Marys River under a memorandum of agreement with the DNR. The fish are reared at the LSSU aquaculture laboratory, located directly on the St. Marys River.
   The laboratory now serves as the sole source of Atlantic salmon eggs in Michigan and continues to offer recreational fishing opportunities on Lake Huron while providing LSSU students with educational experiences in fisheries research, culture and management.
   In 2010, the DNR began experimental rearing of Atlantic salmon at its Platte River State Fish Hatchery near Beulah. After two years of working through disease problems and investing in equipment to control disease outbreaks, the production of Atlantic salmon yearlings in 2013 has been exceptional.
   “This year’s production of Atlantic salmon yearlings has gone according to plan, and we’re pleased to report the fish are healthy and disease-free,” said Ed Eisch, Northern Lower Peninsula Area Hatchery manager.
According to Todd Grischke, Lake Huron Basin coordinator, the stocking of these fish in Lake Huron represents the culmination of many years of planning and cooperation.
   Atlantic salmon are one of several species of salmonids stocked in the Great Lakes, and are caught by anglers on both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
   For more information, visit the Atlantic salmon section on the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them section of the DNR website.
    For more information, visit the Atlantic salmon section on the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them section of the DNR website.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Skunks and fishing license renewal-more signs of spring

   Fellow angler and longtime tournament walleye fisherman Mak Sak writes "Spring is definitely here. I saw my first skunk today."
   Anyone that fishes gets a reminder each year when fishing licenses expire the last day of March. For several years I forgot about getting a new license only to be reminded at the ramp about it.
   "You remembered to get your license renewed," was and still is a friendly reminder at the beginning of each new fishing season.
   Traditionally, the annual "ice out" brings with it lots of anticipation as to what the new season has in store for us, exploring never before fished lakes, and maybe a trip to Canada or the Boundary Waters for one of those life changing experiences.
   In a rush to gather tackle, change line, and get those "must have baits" into the box, we often forget the legalities of the sport like that new license. We'll remember soon enough once a Conservation Officer asks to see it!
   If you haven't purchased a new license do it now before encountering an embarrassing situation.