Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Get the boat ready, find those waders and lets go fishing

The time is right and the weather-at least for now-is cooperating. I'm seeing more boats on trailers, gassing up or headed down the road for a launch.
Being one that doesn't always practice what he preaches, I'm between a rock and a hard spot. This June 6 will mark our 50th wedding anniversary.
Our kids are coming home from literally all over the world. That's the good part. The snag is there is a ton of work to do both inside and outside the house before this thing can happen.
I can't even get in the garage to organize my fishing tackle and get a yak ready for the upcoming No-Mo fishing tournament in a couple of weeks.
Plans for a vegetable garden and new flowers will have to be put on hold until I can get a paint brush out of my hand.
Those of you that are hitting the water, have a good safe trip and good luck.
Nice walleye happened along to grab my hook.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cold conditions for pre-tournament fishing on Detroit River

The last day of tournament practice for the kick off of the Cabelas walleye tournament was cold to say the least.
"Better bring your ice fishing stuff. I've got mine," longtime professional Mark Martin said. He was right about the weather. For most of Thursday morning we needed all the close we had with us.
Just before practice officially ended at noon, the sun came up and warmed things up a bit. At launch time it was 41-degrees, with water temperatures not much higher.
We fisher several spots Martin felt would be holding fish for the tournament. Some were producers while others were duds.
"Many of the big spawners have left there river," Martin commented. "There are still some smaller ones hanging around, but it might be a tough bite."
Choice of tackle was fairly easy. Whatever jigs you use seemed to work so along as they were running straight down to the bottom. "Color is the last consideration" he said.
During our time on the Detroit River we had several hard strikes and even got a couple up alongside the boat.
Hopefully they will still be around for the weekend when it all counts.
Mark Martin holding a nice walleye.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ice fishing is over Glen Uhl says

Glen Uhl, the sunshine man for the Oakland County Sportfishing Association declared that he has stored his ice fishing gear. "There is no more ice," Uhl said.
Glad he made that announcement, Spring is definitely here if he has the spud and shanty stored. But in the meantime, winter hasn't quite let go of its hold.
We get one nice day then a couple with the wind howling and the temperatures going through the basement.
With work to get done indoors, I haven't had a chance to do any yard work, not to mention that fishing organization I frequently mention.
Thursday will be a pre-fish day with my pal Mark Martin. He's been doing quite well on the Detroit River pre-fishing for the Cabelas walleye tournament this weekend.
"I can't talk long," Martin said when I reached him on the river. "I'm going to be winding another in in just a second."
So, the good news is the walleye are in the river, The bad news is it's still cold out there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday morning blues or blah's

Blues or blahs, take your pick. Just after being tempted with nice weather over the past couple of days-despite hail and high winds-here we go with more wind, dropping temperatures and snow. And it sounds like there will be plenty of it too.
Yesterday, Sunday, there was a great turnout for the annual Kayak tune up day held at "kayak fish the great lakes" headquarters.
Not much work was done. Rather a lot of talk about getting on the water sooner rather than later, exchange of ideas on how to carry tackle, how much is too much, and what is new that anglers can't do without.
The annual No-Mo kayak fishing tounrament that benefits Make-A-Wish will be held May 18 at first light. Any lake in the state with public access is considered tournament water.
Didn't catch any fish? Not to worry says tournament director, Chris LeMessurier. "You can buy some raffle tickets and possible get drown for a new Wilderness Systems kayak," he said.
For more information or to register visits

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Grump may be gone but not forgotten

We weren't particularly close. Once in awhile we would talk about the neighborhood, people we both knew, our kids and his favorite topic, old cars.
He was tagged with a nickname that fit his expression, Grump. He just looked like Grump but he didn't show that side of his personality, if indeed he was a grump. Serious, yes. Grumpy, I don't think so.
Saturday was one of those days we like to think about when the snow is flying, snow blowers drown out all the sound on your street or road and you come in to warm up, grab a coffee, then head out to finish moving the snow.
This past Saturday was different. It was eerily quiet in our neighborhood. As I sat in the backyard mentally going over my chore list, I noticed how quiet it was.
The birds were the only thing making noise. Looking for mates, arguing over bird seed or nesting territory, they were busy little things.
This Saturday was different. There weren't the sounds of circular saws chomping on a board or a drill or router with their high-pitched noise biting into wood.
No hammers banging the heads of nails, or leaf blowers clearing the yard of the accumulation of last falls leaves.
It was common knowledge in the neighborhood that Grump had been diagnosed cancer and was given-at best-two years to live.
He met that challenge head on. He told me about it once but was matter of fact when he described it. I  was surprised at what seemed to me, his acceptance of his situation at this juncture in his life.
From time to time we would wave as we passed on the road. Every so often I would wander over to talk with him when he was tinkering in the garage or yard.
Asked how he was feeling, he would usually turn the question around with one of his own. "Well, how are you feeling," was his usual response.
Grump passed away this fine, sunny, unusually quiet morning. His passing reminded me once again how precious this life is.
It also reminded me of my health, dealing with cancer. My doctor at U of M now refers to me as cancer free. I'm a survivor.
But she also reminds me that I had an aggressive form of bladder cancer and that there is a good chance it will return sometime. Therein lies the reason for me to be checked four times a year.
Cancer is nasty and not something to be taken lightly. I think of mine almost daily. The group I meet with each week at Gilda's club has the same feelings.
All of us do our own personal check daily. On waking, I lie there for a minute to see if anything hurts or if there are any new pains I hadn't noticed the previous day.
Each bump, bruise, fall, or different sensation that are all quite normal to most people, are scary to cancer patients. We all think, "here I go again."
I don't know if Grump had these feelings. I'm sure it was rough sledding as he went along. His caregivers-wife Joan and all his buddies that dropped in from time to time-are all feeling a sense of loss this day.
In one way, we think it's a blessing and that he is in a better place, pain free at last. On the other hand, there is a void left in the lives of those remaining who were close or cared for Grump until the end.
It reminds me to be grateful for each day I have and to be thankful that, at least for the moment, I'm both pain free and cancer free.
As this day goes by and others follow, I'll be reminded of the guy they called Grump and remember him along with others during my nightly prayers.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Signs of spring

I always look for red wing blackbirds and listen for their songs. That is my most telling sign that spring has arrived. They have shown up in my backyard scattering bird seed hither and yon.
Going out to get the paper the one morning, I noticed night crawlers on the drive following an overnight shower.
The annual No-Mo fishing kayak tournament set for May 18 is right around the corner. In fact several of us are getting together this weekend to work on boats, add new gadgets, and exchange war stories of past tourneys.
This year will be the fifth annual to benefit Make-A-Wish foundation. So far $4,000 has been raised.
I've fished all but one of the events and haven't brought anything in to be considered as prize worthy.
There is no official weigh in at this event. Called a CPR-catch, photograph, release-tournament, the angler brings in his camera with an SD card showing the fish laying on an official ruler. So far, I've turned my ruler in each year, dry as a bone.
Any boat that is propelled by paddle is allowed in this event. To enter go to and download the entry form or send an email to Chris LeMessurier at
See you on the water.
Kayaker landing a salmon

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Those that knewJoe Zikewich lost a true friend, consummate fisherman, and devoted patriot

The V.F.W. hall in Oxford held an overflowing crowd showing their respects to the man nicknamed Ice Flow Joe.
Joe got the moniker from the many times he had been rescued by helicopter from ice floes on Lake St. Clair that had broken loosed and were headed downstream to Toledo.
Proud of his country and his service during WWII aboard the USS Lexington, Joe often talked about the war and the time a Japanese Kamikaze struck the ships flight deck killing 43 and injuring 237. "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of those guys," Zikewich used to say. In their memory, he always wore a piece of shrapnel from the plane that crashed into the ship.
If you're ever in Lake Orion, take a couple of minutes and visit the memorial to service personnel on M-24. There you will find the "Peacoat Memorial," a vision Zikewich had to remember those lost not only on the Lexington but in their service to the country.