Friday, May 31, 2013

Tie one on; a bait that is

   Ask anyone that fishes and chances are you'll come up with a different way to tie a bait on to go fishing.
   In fact, growing up on Lloyds Bayou in Spring Lake that's what we used to do. Grab a Dardevl or Johnson Silver Minnow, tie it direct to our line and go fishing. We did the same thing when mono or what we used to call cat gut came on the scene.
   Now you have baits that anglers feel should be tied directly to the main line. Some think a barrel swivel and a leader should be added to prevent line twist while others believe in cross locks.
   Because we're coming up on slower fishing, many will be throwing worms. This requires a different way to tie things on.
   Personally, if I'm using a large worm hook I'll tie directly to the hook, thread the worm on the hooks bend, tuck the hook point just under the worm and throw it.
   This method of fishing is slow and one that requires feel. It takes a moment or two for the bait to get to the bottom before you can start working it.
   Because it's rigged weedless or Texas style chances of hanging up are pretty slim. This kind of fishing needs to be worked very slowly with pauses every now and then.
   The other style I like is wacky worm fishing. You don't hear it talked about lately but believe me, it catches fish.
   Using a small circle hook, I'll hook about a four-inch worm in the center so the worm dangles off each side of the hook. Give that a toss and let it work it's way down and see what happens.
   You can buy wacky rubber gaskets that slip over the worm. The hook goes under the gasket or keeper and helps save the worm from getting torn up too quickly.
   Give 'em a try. One is bound to work for you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fishing baits-tie direct or use hardware?

   This question must be nearly as old as fishing itself. Except in the very early days, they didn't have cross locks or swivels to tie to leaders and eventually to that piece of bone they were throwing.
   I'm far from an expert when it comes to answering some of these questions. Most of my answers come from hanging around with Kevin VaDam (or at least reading one of his books!) fishing with Lance Valentine, Bill McElroy or John Miniaci.
   All of these guys have lots of water under the transom and know what they are talking about when it comes to the "how to" bit on fishing.
   But here's my take. Ice fishing with Mark Martin has taught me to tie a jig direct to the mainline. The exception is when you some of the Rapala baits and jigging spoons.
   Just about anyone I know ties spinnerbaits direct to the main line. I've seen some manufactured with eyes to either tie direct to or add a snap. I like the direct method the best.
   Topwaters, cranks or jerkbaits get my vote for snaps. Having said all of this, it can get a little tricky when you are throwing hardware to spin in the water.
   Here you'll want a barrel swivel, leader, snap then the bait. Spoons come to mind for this type of fishing.
   So what's your choice, tie or not to tie? Experiment, read and talk to others. Before you know it you'll come up with your own method.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Free Fishing weekend-Best deal since sliced bread

   Better than sliced bread or a nickel cup of coffee are the two Free Fishing Weekends that Michigan's Department of Natural Resources promotes each year.
   Their idea is to introduce more people to the sport of fishing, thereby possibly attracting newcomers to the sport.
    Dates this summer are June 8 and 9, statewide. Anyone-residents and non-residents-can fish without a license but must comply with all other fishing regulations.

   Michigan has been celebrating the Summer Free Fishing Weekend annually since 1986 as a way to promote awareness of the state's vast water resources.
   With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes, fishing and Michigan go hand-in-hand.
   "This summer’s Free Fishing Weekend is a great way to get outdoors and experience some of the best freshwater fishing in the world," said DNR Director Keith Creagh. "There’s an opportunity for everyone to get involved, as it’s an inexpensive activity and readily accessible – so get out this June and try it yourself, for free!"
   If you don't have the equipment try borrowing some from a neighbor, friend or relative. There's  good chance someone that already fishes just might invite you along to give it a try. Good luck!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Kayaking fishing popularity holds it's own

   Anytime a kayak angler pulls up to a boat ramp and starts the process of unloading, a group of curious bystanders show up. That's great. The more that are interested and ask questions, the better for the sport.
   Getting the yak ready to go in the water is different then backing your Lund or Ranger into the ramp.
   First of all, these app-species boats are usually loaded to the hilt with every bit of conceivable gear you can image.
   No trips to the truck for rods, tacks, pfd's coolers, fish finders or anything else that is fishing related. It's already loaded and ready to go.
   So are the clothes, Fowl weather gear, rain sues, sweat shirts and boots all have their place and whether they are used or not, they are there just in case.
   But with limited space on a kayak you have to pick and choose what you're going to take on a particular trip.
   Tackle is always a problem for me. I go through it all and think I better take this just in case. Or with plastics, maybe some creature baits, worms and smaller stuff like Berkley Gulp minnows.
   I haven't even gotten to rods and reels, bug dope, snacks, and spare clothing in case the weather change.
   Am I going to be out at night? Then I need to take my stern light along so other boats will be able to see me.
   Keeping things dry and accessible is another thing you need to plan on. This is what makes the sport so much fun.
   All the tinkering that goes on in garages in preparation for the net trip. When you hit the water you might see someone with six or eight rods on his boat.
   For someone like me two is usually about right. One final thing to think about is how far is it to the water from where you drop your boat?
   If it's a public launch, no problem. But if you have to go through grass and sand to get to where you're going, a boat cart is going o be essential.
   See it never ends. In fact my wife just asked me if I needed this tackle bag in the living room. Of course I do. I'm, going through a little reorganization!

Protect your eyes-wear good sunglassesg

   This Sunday, I wrote about kayaking and that it was an activity that senior citizens could enjoy without costing an arm and a leg.
   One piece of equipment that is a necessity whether on the water or hiking a trail is good eye protection. The powerful rays of the sun can do damage to eyes that are not protected.
   Watch Prince Fielder or Magglio Ordonez take the field. Even with apparent low light visibility, you'll notice they all wear sunglasses of some sort.
   The next Bassmaster event or pro walleye tournament, the anglers fishing would no more think of leaving the dock without shades as they would head for open water leaving rods at the launch.
   Guideline Eyegear are polarized-100% UVA and UVB protection. Plus, frames are constructed from 54% bio based (castor bean) polymer material.
   But enough of the numbers and scientific talk. I have a pair and was able to give them a test while kayak fishing.
   They were wonderful; lightweight and gave me that ability to see through the surface to a point underneath like other glasses do. As soon as I got to the ramp, they went in a case then a pocket on my vest.
   If you purchase a pair be sure and get a pair of croakies, those neck lanyards that attach to glasses. You never know when you might take a swim and loose a good pair of glasses.
   For more information visit

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Health issues-keeping my otherwise busy

   Dealing with cancer, or in my case, bladder cancer is almost a daily challenge. For instance, I've been to three different doctors all with their own approach to my problem. I could go to 33 and get that many more opinions.
   Then there are the daily aches, new pains, just small things that make you wonder is this thing moving around in there?
    It really plays mind games with you. Fortunately my wife is very understanding and friends are too. I don't think you really know what one goes through unless you have it.
   Anyway, I digress. University of Michigan bladder oncology was highly recommended. So off we went last week with all of my records and to meet a new doctor.
   I begin chemo next week for six weeks, then three weeks off before resuming chemo for another three weeks.
   I've been told that the reaction to this are flu-like systems and the feeling of being extremely tired for a couple of days.
   I guess I'll find out sooner than later. In the meantime, stay healthy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Angler surveys; just ahead

  It takes just a few minutes of your time but your cooperation can lead to changes and help plan future plantings of fish.
   In the past "creel surveys" were done dockside as you pulled into the launch prior to loading on the trail.
  That process is in effect today and indeed, will be up and running soon. This data-the species of fish you bring in-helps the DNR plan for future plantings of fish.
   DNR creel clerks will ask anglers how long they fished, what species they were targeting, and how many fish were harvested and/or released. In some cases, clerks may ask to measure or weigh fish and take scale samples.
   These efforts are part of the DNR’s Statewide Angler Survey Program, a long-term monitoring program designed to track recreational fisheries across the Great Lakes.
   "The point of the whole program is to characterize how many fish are harvested, how many hours anglers spend fishing, and what fish they are targeting," said DNR fisheries biologist Tracy Kolb. "We use this information to manage fisheries across the state."
   The DNR appreciates anglers' cooperation as it usually only takes a couple of minutes to answer the creel clerks’ questions.
   Anglers interested in seeing the results from surveys of Great Lakes ports in previous years can find them online at

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thanks for all of your kind words and concern

   I'm overwhelmed at all of the heartfelt response I've gotten from here and out-of-state regarding my present physical condition, namely early into bladder cancer. It's more appreciated than anyone of you will ever know. You don't feel so alone once you start hearing from people.
   My urologist, Robt. Badalament, MD had advised me to take it easy for a month. "Nothing physical. Don't pick up anything more than 10 pounds," he said.
   I asked him if it was okay to go fly fishing. He had a long thought about it before saying, "Okay, but be careful."
   Heeding his advice, I've been pretty stagnant since my operation. The reason for the precautions has to do with a weakening in the bladder in the area the tumor was removed. Apparently, it wouldn't take much to tear the bladder wall leading into more complications.
   My annual spring trip to urologist Ulrich Ringwald also gave me hope and a good feeling. Ringwald is a large man; well over six feet tall, and he has a voice you can hear throughout his office.
   He likes me I think because I talk golf with him and try to speak a little German, his native language. I explained my situation with the cancer.
   He suddenly leaned forward and loudly said, "Roger, each day you wake up you should say I'm lucky. Forget about anything else. Don't worry and get on with your life."
   Easy to do doc, but I know myself and know I'm doing better.
Thanks to all you reader who have been bored to death by my physical problems. Now, lets get into morel mushroom pickings, something a little more pleasant.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Readers express concern, hope, and offer positive thoughts regarding personal health

   Thank all of you so much for your kind words, thoughts, prayers and suggestions about how to move forward.
   Last Monday I wrote about a personal health issue-bladder cancer-that has recently decided to invade my life.
   It's been a big test for me to try and sort through all of this not only physically, but maybe more so, emotionally.
   I think each day gets a little better. My thoughts are finally moving in somewhat the right direction. As I explained to someone recently who asked me about my feelings are referred to the pain scale used by medical people.
   You know give us a number, one being the lowest or least pain to ten, the highest pain being experienced.
   I offered the number seven. The reason for seemingly such a high number I described as feeling as though I'm walking on egg shells. Or better still, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
   Any new little pain, tingle, or whatever else that I feel, my mind already makes the jump to bladder cancer.
   Over reacting? I'm learning more and more that I'm not the only one. I joined Gilda's Club in Royal Oak on Monday. Tuesday I was back for a 2-hour session called a wellness group.
   It's open only to those with cancer. This group meets each week. They talk about where they are at with their treatment, anything new they are doing-new meds, exercise, etc.-and the group individually listens or asks questions.
   Everyone gets to know the rest of the people in the room, from what kind of cancer they have, how they are doing, to how they have been feeling.
   It's no holds barred. They explained to me that some days there is a lot of laughter and other days there  are tears. Today was a generally happy day.
   My friend and longtime Gilda's very active member Evie Bos was working on one of the gardens, weeding it in preparation for springtime mulching.
   She asked how I was doing. When I explained the sleepless nights, the worry, and the depression that goes with all of this, she nodded her head and said she understood.
   A 3-time cancer survivor she has had and still has many of the same feelings. For me, the chat in that garden did a lot for me knowing that others have gone through much of what I'm experiencing.
   My allergist, Ulrich Ringwald told me today in his normally loud voice that fills a room: "Roger, you should get up each day and say to yourself, I'm lucky." I wish it were that easy.