Saturday, February 21, 2015

Outdoorama rolls into town for the 42nd annual show

Outdoors folks of all ages and interests will no doubt head to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi for Outdoorama, February 26-March 1. Details on times, seminars and other information available at
The late Wilfred "Bill Baker," my longtime fishing pal talked me into attending this show back in the days when it was being held in several buildings at the State Fair Grounds.
We even booked a trip with Bill Chalis who owned a fishing and hunting camp, "...on Lady Evelyn Lake near Haleybury, Ontario, Canada.
Instead of getting there via the Bluewater Bridge out of Port Huron, for some reason, we went north the the Soo, crossed there then had to backtrack to get us head north and eventually on to our meeting spot.
It was the first time I met legendary fisherman, Dan Gapen, Sr. from Minnesota. He grew up doing the grunt work for his dad who was guiding on Canada's Lake Nippigon.
Known as a staunch supporter of river fishing Dan is known for pike, muskie, and walleye fishing in fast water.
His company, Gapen Tackle, is still operated from Becker, MN. He's been a member of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame since 2000.
Known for creating various ice jigs and baits like Gapen's Spin Bee, Crankbaits, Ugly Bug, Bait-Walker, Walk-N-Lizard along with many others, Gapen's name is well known to anglers throughout the country.
Attractions for this year's Outdoorama include Big Buck Night, over 100 seminars, special prices on tackle and boats, and outfitters coming from all over the country and Canada to help you book that trip of a lifetime.
Enjoy the show, take plenty of notes and be sure to visit vendors for those great show prices.

Photo of Outdoorama attendees at an outfitters booth. Photo contributed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Saginaw Bay-Last stop for Fishing Vacation School

Sitting alongside Mark Martin in his insulated Otter Ice shack, you wouldn't know this longtime pro walleye angler was into the third and last ice school of the ear.
What singles Martin out from others is the "on" button he possesses. The guy is absolutely in gear and on anytime to talk about fishing.
He is the best representative of the sport I have ever come across. Not only does he fish hard and share his extensive knowledge, he works just as hard or harder presenting education-filled seminars, photography, personal appearances around the country and excellent spokesman for the products he uses and believes in.
Ask him a fishing-related question first thing in the morning. You may get a bit of a yawn then an explanation along with more information that you probably asked for.
In the evening after 14-hours of fishing, doing live interviews and working with students, that same Martin is still "on" and willing to answer questions, get up and speak or help rig your rod.
The most excited I have seen him is when I or someone else has a fish on. Yesterday was a great example.
I hooked into what turned out to be probably a five-puns walleye. With my rod bent double Martin moved to kneel alongside the hole I was trying to bring the fish through.
"That's it, keep reeling," he said. "I see him. That's a great fish." About that time the fish was just under the ice. It must have looked up, saw us and spit my glo-in-the-dark Slender spoon then headed back down into the 25-feet of water he called home.
We were using a Lowrance graph to show depth and fish. With the latest equipment, neither of us saw this fish come from the bottom right up to my spoon and attack it.
So much for having a world-class ice fishing professional seated alongside of you with all the latest equipment.
Sometimes it is about luck.
Mark Martin with a five-pound Saginaw Bay walleye. By Beukema

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Plenty of ice-fish it safely

It seems Saginaw Bay has had it's share and perhaps a little more of accidents including fatalities this winter season.
Several anglers have gone through the ice on a body of water that absolutely has to be respected. The size of the Bay, depth of water and the ever changing winds make for a challenging place to fish; summer and winter.
If you are going out in a group, stay with that group. Drive out and back in single file, leaving room for the machine in front of you. Toward the end of the line, someone should be carrying a length of rope.
Remember pressure cracks may be safe to cross in the morning but come nightfall they could have moved enough to make for open water.
Carry safety equipment. Ice picks worn around the neck are most beneficial to gain purchase on the ice if you go through. Make your own with a couple of old screwdrivers. Drill a hole through the handles to accept a length of rope. Tie each end off past the handle and hang the rope around your neck. (Some people have even used ballpoint pens to get a grip on the ice!)
Consider taking a boat cushion with a long section of rope attached. This gives you a throwable device and allows the person in the water something to hang onto.
Always, especially on the Bay, keep an eye on the weather. Check it the night before fishing and the morning before you shove off. Keep an eye on conditions throughout the day and be alert for any sudden changes like a wind shift.
Be prepared to pull up your equipment and head for shore. But do so in a safe manner keeping in mind those pressure cracks that may have expanded.