Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Anglers welcome The Bait Shop in Waterford

Finally, we have a bait shop in the area. "The Bait Shop" opened it's doors a week ago and already area anglers are finding their way to this much welcome business.
Located at Airport and Hatchery Roads, it seems about centrally located with all of the inland lakes in the area.
"We are specializing in fishing gear," owner Mark Malevich said. "It's family orientated. One of my goals is to get kids and families involved in fishing," he said.
He'll carry a couple of ice augers and a few ice shacks along with (this time of year) ice fishing rods, line, lures along with mouses, spikes, wax worms and minnows.
"We've got all new minnow tanks and the equipment to keep them fresh," he said. Malevich is no stranger to fishing or working in a bait shop.
"I used to work for KD Outdoors and have fished tournaments for several years," he said. "People pulling boats will like this location because they can pull in and drive around the building without having to park down the street or needing to back up."

Bamboo clothing review:
Mention bamboo to fly fishers and thoughts of a handcrafted rod immediately come to mind.
Now comes Boody Body wear for men, women and children with fabric made of bamboo textiles.
I’ve worn the well-fitting boxer style briefs that are designed to give men maximum support while being lightweight and dry.
These days bamboo isn't used just in flooring or to feed Pandas. Now comes clothing made of bamboo.
As a rule I never wear T-shirts but I made an exception and tried the Boody “T.” The shirt was so lightweight and comfortable I forgot I had it on.
Because it’s getting near time to get ice fishing gear together I’m going through my socks to see what might work better this year.
Boody socks are thick, stay in place, are warm and best of all, seams seem to disappear. With all of my socks I can feel the seam that runs along the ball of the foot.
The seams in these socks make for a smooth fit. I wore them all day yesterday in a pair of Dockers loafers.
The socks stayed in place all day. Check Boody products out at . Booty clothing is available at Meijer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fresh snow and cold weather make for winter sports

These next few weeks are tough for me. A recent "major surgery" has left me inactive. I'm not to lift anything heavier than a half gallon of milk. Any activity is frowned upon. Hopefully the healing process has begun and by the time we get enough ice to fish from it, I'll be good to go.
Planning on future posts has kept the mind active. Those that have read this blog before know of my interest in kayak fishing. I'll have more to say about it in future posts. There is new equipment to talk about and some websites to suggest to help you get questions answered about this ever popular sport.
Because I'm limited as far as activity I've not done much with my ice fishing gear. And with Christmas coming up my plate is getting kind of full.
My wife of 53 years was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease a couple of years ago. So far, just her balance is affected. However, as we go along other things begin to show like anxiety. So much so that she will hardly leave the house.
But I'll share more as we go along. Right now I'm trying to keep the house clean, cook, do laundry, and help my wife Pat however I can.
One thing that has been a constant comfort for the both of us is our Cavalier, King Charles Spaniel, Molly. This breed doesn't have a mean bone in their bodies. She is always on one of our laps or lying close by. It's a good feeling to know she is around and wants only for a good scratch around the ears and something in her bowl twice a day.
I will write more about my life as we go forward. I'm still figuring out how often my posts will occur and what days you should look for them.
For me, this is another chapter in life. Unfortunately I'm of the older generation that grew up prior to the gadget or computer age. Therefore I'm a bit limited with computers. I'll try and learn more and make this space as interesting and welcoming as possible.
As always, your comments and suggestions are most welcome.
Merry Christmas
New cross country skiers hit the trail at Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI. Visit for more information about equipment, trail conditions and lessons. Photo by Beukema

Monday, November 14, 2016

Statwide firearms deer opener tomorrow, be safe

Tomorrow, November 15, the woods will come alive with hundreds of hunters decked out in hunters orange, sitting on a stump, leaning against a tree or in a blind waiting to take a shot at a whitetail deer.
Make this year's hunt a safe and enjoyable one. Leave the partaking of alcoholic beverages at home and enjoy your hunt the way it's supposed to be enjoyed.
Saying be careful while hunting doesn't seem adequate. Those of us that try to write about these topics are forever reminding ourselves and you, our readers, about the importance of taking the time to be safe.
In addition to wearing hunters orange and leaving alcohol where it belongs, remember to treat every firearm as if it's loaded.
Keep the muzzle (barrel) pointed toward the ground. That trigger finger should be off the trigger and outside the trigger guard.
When shooting, be absolutely sure of your target. None of this shooting at noises or flashes of what you thing are deer moving. Don't take moving shots. Wait until your target is standing still.
Be sure of what is beyond your shooting area and what your backstop is. When going to and from your blind, use a flashlight so others know there is a human moving in and out of the woods.
No one has seen a deer using a flashlight. Those that are hunting from tree stands, be sure the stand is safely secured and that your steps are safe.
When climbing, use a safety harness. Keep in on and around the tree to gain your stand. Use a "haul rope" to pull your firearm or bow into the stand and to lower it all back to the ground at the end of the hunt. Never carry firearms or other weapons as you climb up and down.
Make your hunt a safe and memorable one. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Passwords are a necessary pain

Seems each time I go to do something on the computer I get asked to sign in which requires a password.
Keep in mind the things I sign into are things I normally use and have never been asked for a password other than the first time I created the account. Now all of a sudden, everyone wants a password.
And as many of you already are aware of, once you change a password here or there, other apps and accounts demand to be update with the new password. It's a never ending process.
I'm not a big computer user. When I do get on it, often I run into a snag that requires me to call someone for help.
Computers, cell phones, pads and other new technology have surpassed me long ago. My poor wife is in the same boat.
Any computer questions we get she hands to me. Anything that needs to be done on-line I get to do. Guess she figures out since I write I must know my way around these things. Little does she know.
And don't even bring up a GPS. When I get lucky and get it right I love it. Most times I get conflicting messages or it's taking me someplace I'm not going.
So I usually shut the thing off, pull into a gas station and ask for directions. You can't beat a hand-held compass and an old fashioned map.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Glen Uhl-don't put fishing tackle away yet

Glen Uhl would probably fish in a bath tub if he thought the least little bit there might be fish in it.
That's why he carries a small rod and a bit of tackle around with him wherever he goes.
He's getting ready to head north for his hunting camp in the woods. Wife Wanda will go along. But deer isn't the only thing on his mind.
He's going to be waiting to see how people are doing on the pier at East Tawas fishing for white fish and these tasty piscatorial species are in yet.
Uhl and his wife usually can them, keeping them to eat at other times of the year. But he insists they are good about anyway you choose to cook them.
Over the past few years Uhl and I each have lost longtime fishing pals. Joe Zikewich, known locally as Ice Floe Joe and Uhl were practically inseparable especially on the water.
Wild Bill Bill Baker and I fished a fair amount of water together namely shore fishing for walleye with set lines in Port Huron along the St. Clair River.
Since both men have passed on, Uhl and I have gravitated toward being fishing pals. However, this past year we hardly got out due to circumstances beyond anyone's control.
His wife has been ill and my wife if going through life with Parkinson's disease. We both have a responsibility to caring for our spouses that far exceeds anything else.
We look forward to the year ahead and the chance to fish a bit.
Glen Uhl speaking about whitefish fishing at OCSFA meeting.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Travel is great but good to be home

Just back from a three week trip to southern California to attend a relatives wedding and catch up with friends we haven't seen in years.
We used to live in Inglewood and Glendale after my discharge from the Navy. Since moving back east we have kept in contact with many people we used to pal around with. Most were in our wedding party.
While California is nice and boasts sunshine and warm weather without humidity most of the time, there is nothing like getting home.
Going in your fridge when you want something, sleeping your own bed, watching what you want to, going in and out in your own vehicle are some of the things I miss.
Practically anywhere we were around Pasadena mountains were in the background. So was traffic. It's horrendous to say the lease.
Doing south from Yosemite, we began encountering traffic around Bakersfield. Further south as we got into a portion of Highway 5 known as "The Grapevine" (named for a small town of that name) it became worse.
"This is the primary north/south route for trucking," brother-in-law Jim Heermans said. There was every imaginable size truck entering the Grapevine, a curving part of the freeway that leaves 18-wheelers climbing in what used to be known as granny gear, a very low gear.
Among the twists and turns came the downhills that had to be handed carefully both by trucks and private vehicles due to the possibility of overheating brakes.
I prefer driving in the right lane because I don't normally drive fast. Jim prefers the left land and gave me many reasons why this was the best choice.
Along the decent into Los Angles County we had to be aware of lane changes that were at times confusing to someone that wasn't familiar with them like me.
"Get over," Jim would admonish. "Okay now we're going to have to be in the left lane," and so it went.
Once we reached to outskirts of Pasadena and were on surface streets I found a wide spot, pulled over and let him drive the rest of the way.
While we complain of traffic around here it's not near the amount in southern California. On the Grapevine headed north was bumper to bumper traffic creeping along.
"Those people are returning home from work. They make this time every day," Jim said. We're glad we don't have to drive it daily as a part of living.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Learn from the experienced like charter captains

Brandon Stanton calls Saginaw Bay his home water. He's really comfortable on the Bay and prefers big water fishing to fishing other water.
This Sunday's 21st Century Newspaper  column is about chartering with Stanton and some of his ideas about how to fish the Bay.
Charter boat skipper are a great source for learning how to fish for different species, in all sorts of weather, and how to utilize your tackle box in ways you haven't thought of.
Many skippers are only too happy to share their knowledge and experience while waiting for fish to strike.
And trolling isn't the only way to fish. Sometimes casting lure or jigging fish is the most productive way to go.
Many anglers don't like trolling because they feel it's boring riding in a boat and waiting for a strike. But that's the time many of us take advantage of the waiting time and ask "how to" questions.
From setting lines to what rods and line to use, there is always something to learn. So the action begins, you have a strike and a fish is hooked good. What do you do next to help make a successful catch?
The next move you make as you reach for that rod that's thumping away has to be the right one. And right up to fighting that fish and netting it, are all great teaching opportunities.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Walleye 101, higher education for anglers

The first time I set eyes on Lance Valentine was seeing him seated in his boat, on a trailer in a field at the fairgrounds at Imlay City at a Woods N' Water show. That had to be tweet-plus years ago.
Since those days when the show was held in one cow shed and has now taken over the entire fairgrounds, Valentine too has moved out of the field and onto bigger things.
One thing that hasn't changed is his passion for teaching people how to fish. How to do anything connected to fishing.
In a sport where techniques, spots and even baits are held close to the vest, Valentine is one of the rare breed that is willing to share about anything he knows.
If you care on a early spring charter on the Detroit River with him and are not jigging up fish he'll probably tell you, "Move up here alongside me and try it."
I've sat in his boat and watched him tie night crawler harnesses. In a few minutes I was tying my own thanks to his instruction.
From a trailer in a field to an office, staff, and a large group of followers, Lance Valentine has come a long way.
Visit his website at
Lance Valentine in the gray pullover seeing to it that things are going smoothly with a group charter. Photo courtesy of Lance Valentine.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Too early to thing of ice fishing? Not to some folks.

Summer isn't over and gardens haven't been put to bed for another year. Yet the cold weather crowd is already making noise about ice fishing.
You know how it goes. First, it's they can't wait for colder weather and ice. Next they wonder out loud if it's too early to get the equipment out for a pre-season check.
It's much to early for me. However, because my garage has pretty much become my man cave, I'm out there quite a bit, changing this, adding equipment to this box, moving these baits from here to there and trying to figure out where things should be stored so they are accessible when needed without putting out a full-force search.
It seems like forever that I have been arranging, rearranging, shifting and getting rid of stuff I haven't used in years all in preparation to make taking a trip relatively easy.
Earlier this year I came into possession of a PWC trailer. Smaller than most boat trailers, it's perfect for hauling a kayak. With help from fellow kayaker Jeremy Crowe, we made adjustments to the rails so the boat sits on the trailer as though if grew there.
It's always been a chore for me to life my boat from the ground onto the rack of the truck. For awhile I has sliding it into the truck bed but about three feet stuck out the back. And I was worried about carrying rods, tackle and the rest in the bed without being able to close the tailgate.
Now everything fits nice with room left over. But not near enough room for ice fishing gear. That can wait a bit!
The way it's going to look in a few months. COLD! By Beukema

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Keep a first aid kit handy when outdoors

Last Saturday, fishing a kayak bass tournament on Central Lake near Jackson I got one of the hooks off a treble hook caught in one of my little fingers.
As soon as I saw how deep it was I knew it was either the ER or get another angler to help get it out.
Sometime ago a method was devised to remove hooks without cutting the shank then pushing the point through the skin.
The new method involves two people, a length of braid and  a push and pull. Russell Wilson from Central Michigan Kayak Fishing arrived to help.
"I don't have any pliers with me to cut the hook off the plug," he said. I didn't have any either. So Wilson began to slowly open the split ring and slide the treble off the plug.
Once the plug was removed, he had more room to work. He cut a length of braid and wrapped it around the hook's bend.
"Push down on the point or where it should be," he told me. As soon as I pushed on the point he yanked the line and out came the hook, pain-free.
I twas painful when I first got stuck and painful getting the treble off but the removal was painless.
I had my first aid kit with me. We squirted some antibiotic on the wound, covered it with a bandaid and I went fishing.
Check hook removal out on You -Tube. If you're ever in this situation, it's a good think to know.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

River Bassin comes to Michigan

Last Saturday, approximately 52 anglers in kayaks hit moving water in a 50 mile radius from Flint thanks to the efforts of Jeremy Crowe.
Crowe is an avid kayak angler. So is his finance, Shannon Williams. These two pre-fish tournament together, fish tournaments close to each other and travel out of state to fish river bass trails.
However, the two readily admit they have difficult figuring out where to fish lakes. But give them a river and chances are they will find some fish.
One big difference about fishing a river is the wearing of a pfd. If you ever had any doubt about not wearing one, don't let it be on a river.
Too many things can happen and most of them aren't good and most happen quickly on the river.
Reaching for a lure or rod caught in a tree can cause your yak to dump you.
Once in the moving water and especially near sweepers; those trees that hang close over the water with several limbs on top or barely underwater, can be the cause of your trouble.
Branches almost reach out and tangle you up in them. Once that occurs, the hydraulics of the river, the motion of the current, can pull you down in no time. No pfd is a good recipe for disaster.
Both Williams and Crowe can testify to finding themselves in the water several times. And both are devotees of wearing a pfd.
River and lake fishing or paddling is fun. But in no time it can turn into a serious situation when things start to go bad.
Who is the better angler, Williams or Crowe? Lets say Williams cashed a check Saturday.

Friday, July 29, 2016

What's the best equipment? It all depends.

I'm frequently asked to give my opinion on the best rod or reel, the best gun to hunt deer with, the best place to cross country ski and on and on.
Recently the interest in what is the best is about kayak fishing. You guessed it, what's the cheapest and best fishing kayak, recommend a good pfd, or where should I go to catch the most fish.
I won't give away fishing spots but from time to time, I'll share what's out there in the way of new equipment. If I don't like it or it doesn't perform well, I'm not going to bash it.
Either I feel it's something that would benefit the kayak community or other sport or I won't mention it.
That's not a cop out or middle of the road comment. What may not work for me, you might find perfectly suitable for your needs.
Here are there items you might find a need for.
1) Just a couple of years removed from it's introduction is the Assault Hand Paddle with its. hook blade and molded-in teeth.
Short paddle at 22-inches long, the paddle has a foam grip and wrist lanyard. It's perfect for holding you over a spot, grabbing a limb that has caught your favorite bait and takes one hand to use.
It's available in OD-green and orange. More and more yak anglers are carrying them situated between their legs or under the seat for quick use.
For more information visit
2) Clothing is an important issue. Because you are wet from wave spray or you decide to wade here and there, a swim suit works but doesn't really remain comfortable.
DryFins offers a chafe free, lightweight shorts made of quick dry materials. It comes with it's own bag, has a couple of pockets, looks good and is very comfortable to wear, especially in those wet conditions. Visit for more information.
I go through sunglasses like I change water bottles; frequently. Along comes Costa sunglasses with a great fit for me.
The Fantail frames (in memory of my Navy days) in tortoise color with green mirror 580p lenses and a croakie work great.
They are a comfortable fit I'm able to wear all day on the water and the drive back home. Fishing in a tournament near Lansing on Lake Ovid recently, I noticed right off the glare from sun was all gone. I could see down into the water which was very important on this weed choked lake. For more information visit
Dry Fins shorts, Costa "Fantail" sunglasses and Backwater paddle. Photo by Beukema

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kayak bass tourney, a success

Last Saturday, Fathers Day weekend, found 43 anxious kayak anglers hitting the waters of Lake Ovid in the Sleepy Hollow State park near Lansing.
With little wind, calm waters and minor motorized boat traffic the day seemed suited for a tournament with a couple of exceptions.
Temperatures were slated to go to near 90 degrees and humidity was high. Sun glancing off the water can burn skin quicker than a hot dog over a hot campfire. Long sleeves and pants with plenty of sunscreen were the order of the day.
The other exception was the mostly covered weed filled lake. Weeds were as thick as a farmers field with hay growing before the first cutting.
This wasn't a matter of throwing and retrieving lures over the tops of weeds. It turned out to be fishing for open holes in weed beds, getting a lure down deep enough as your boat slowly drifted past that hole and hoping for a bite.
I finally figured out some sort of pattern that got me a few bites; probably bluegills or perch. Then I had a good pull that turned out to be an eight-inch largemouth, too long to scale. Back in the water he went to grow up.
When you fish very hot conditions in seemingly impossible water making throw after throw with no luck it becomes easy to lose concentration and let your mind wander.
The higher the sun climbs and the bites not coming you begin to question yourself. I don't really belong here, I brought the wrong tackle, maybe I should retie and try the same baits over again and so it goes.
From each tournament there is something to learn. Ive gained several new things. They may not put me in the wind column but I think they will go a long ways toward boosting my confidence.
left is Jeff Sherwood, winner of tournament 2 in the MKS fishing series. Photo courtesy of Tom Mullins

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Kayak fishing-always something new

I'm headed to Lake Ovid around Lansing for a kayak bass fishing tournament on Saturday. New to me will be fishing thick, heavy weeds in a lake supposedly holding lots of bass, still experimenting around with equipment and where to place it all, and finally, towing a trailer with a kayak lashed to it.
New tires, new hitch pin, registration plate and a good set of tie down straps should handle everything.
I'm used to carrying my yak on the truck roof or stuffed inside the bed under the cap. So this is completely different.
I've continued experimenting with what baits and rods to bring along with other equipment to leave at  home or bring along, "just in case." That just in case pile gets bigger overtime I look in the garage.
Bait selection is always difficult for me on any outing. I take some shallow diving crank baits, a few quarter ounce spinner baits and the rest is plastics of different sizes, colors and style.
I had hope to fool around with a stakeout pole for this tournament. Right now I don't carry an anchor but due to the shallow water depths, thought I could plunge a kayakers modified anchor-a stakeout pole-into the lake bottom to keep me in once spot.
This trip I'll be camping, so my equipment for that needs rounding up and loaded along with cooking gear, food and a heavy box with a tight fitting lid to deter squirrels and raccoons from sampling the food I bring.
Better get to it. It won't pack itself!
Grandson Josh Chekal with a largemouth bass caught from a kayak.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Memorial day and bass fishing

This is the second year I'll be attending the annual get together of the Michigan Virginia Mafia, better known to this group of characters as the MVM.
For the past 10 or 12 years the same guys have been getting together to fish Lake St. Clair and it's smallmouth bass, all catch and release.
Members include Marke Cicero, John "Mini" Maniaci, Bill "Mac" McElroy, Scott Hammer, Carlos "C" Hathcock III and Shawn Dalton.
The late Ken Neeley, owner of KD Outdoors in Waterford is considered a member and throughout the week is honored and well thought of by the group.
This gathering includes lots of good food, plenty to wash it down with, great humor, lots of fishing stories and remembering those that are no longer with us.
It's absolutely held at the right time, right around this countries Memorial Day celebrations where we remember those that have given everything for all of us.
Butch Runyon pictured with his dad's WWII canteen cup.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Magical trout opener

On the Manistee River, about 45 minutes toward late afternoon turned out to be magical. Until then, the wind was blowing upstream or from the south. It blew steady and chilly.
We woke up to temperatures in the low 30-degree range. No one was in a hurry to get dressed for a go with the long rod.
Following breakfast, I head to Frederic to see old friend, fly fishing guide and fly tyer Sam Surre. I was daily confident he would be at home, holding court to friends about all things fly fishing and other subjects.
"The weather has thrown everything off," Surre said. He was referring to warmer weather several weeks earlier that had triggered a good hatch of bugs. Colder weather put a stop to that, driving bugs away and trout that weren't interested in rising for the sake of rising.
Surre feels things should improve later this week. "Warmer weather is supposed to come in later in the week which should turn things on again," he said.
About 3p.m. Rob Ward and his buddy since high school days Andy Gordon began making noises about suiting up to fish.
A few minutes after they got into the river, I walked down to see how they were doing. "There's a hatch right now," Rob said as he set the hook and missed a fish. "I've caught three right here," he said.
I got into waders and rigged up my 3-weight with a tiny olive on it. As soon as I was in the river I noticed fish rising all around me but they didn't want my fly.
I'm not good at insect identification or fly identification. If someone asks what I'm using I usually hold it up for them to see or say, "one of those little ones that's grey and black."
Although I lack in certain areas, I have paid attention and from Surre how to approach feeding fish.
I noticed a lot of bugs in the air, some dipping down to the water surface. I thought those were Hendrickson's or Hennies as the more experienced refer to them.
Taking the fly off that wasn't attracting any hits, I luckily found a small Hendrickson imitation of some kind. No sooner had a begun fishing it than I began getting trout rising to it.
As I was fishing an active trout, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a huge fish, probably over 15-inches clear the water after a bug.
Surre's lessons began paying off. Slowly and carefully I moved downstream stopping above where I had seen the rise.
After a least a dozen casts I finally manage a drift right into the lunch room of the fish I had been watching. He went for it and i set the hook. Feeling a good strong pull I thought for sure I had him.
However, he thought otherwise spitting the hook right back out. So goes the trials of fishing. That's why it's not called catching.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fly fishing-not so mysteriousg

Instead of grabbing your favorite spring or bait casting rig, how about taking one of the long rods along on your next fishing trip?
Granted, it will take experience, the right kind of flies and some luck to get a limit of walleye on a fly rod, but there are other fish that are willing to hit or be caught.
For instance, fly rods and some form of topwater bait were made for panfish, especially in and around weeds.
At the end of your tippet or leader, tie in a small foam-bodied spider or something else that has long, shimmering, rubber legs.
Don't bother with false casting-swinging the fly back and forth in the air before delivering it-rather, make your cast and follow your line and bait to the top of the water with your rod tip.
Matt Beukema looks for a spot to through a bug-by Beukema
Take in any slack and let everything sit still for a moment. Sometimes, the bite happens as soon as the bait hits the surface of the water.
If you haven't had a strike, begin twitching the bait slight by snapping the rod tip a little, very little. There's enough action in a fly rod to really move something as small as a tiny bug without much effort.
Or you can take the line in the opposite hand from the one holding the rod and give it slight tugs. This too will add action.
Watch the bait carefully and be ready to set the hook when it goes under or you see a splash near it. Usually fish won't inhale your bait, rather they get it stuck in the lip or mouth where it's easy to extract.
Once a fish is on, no matter the size, it will put a bend in the rod and make the business end jump around like a five-pound bass had gotten it.
If you worry about fish swallowing the bait, grind the barbs off a few. That will make for a quicker and easier release.
For some "dinking around action" give a fly rod a try. You'll definitely have some action.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Leave wildlife in the wild

Good advice for any of you planning on being outside, especially in fields and woods. Birds are building nests and busy finding mates.
Waterfowl are busy strutting around marsh areas looking for likely nesting spots that will conceal babies but not too far from water for swim lessons.
Young deer, fawns, are animals most likely to be picked up by humans and brought home to be hand-raised.
By trying to do the right thing when it comes to nature, we often wind up doing the exact opposite. Those nests with young birds are fine. Parents are off searching for bugs, worms or seeds to feed the little ones with.
Does leave for most of the day leaving their fawns alone while the mothers feed. By staying away and not going in and out of the nesting place, does aren't likely to leave their scent which attracts predators.
The best advice is to leave that baby bird where you found it and get out of an area where a fawn was left.
You'll be offering them better protection.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fly-Fishing Expo coming March 12-13

The Macomb Community College and Expo Center in Warren hosts the 2016 Midwest Fly-Fishing Expo, the oldest all fly-fishing show east of the Mississippi. The annual event is hosted by the Livonia-based Michigan Fly Fishing Club.  The Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center is located at 14500 E. 12 Mile Rd. in Warren.  Admission is $10 per person; boys and girls age 16 and under are free. Two-day tickets are $15.  Parking is free.
“Our cast of headliners brings a blend of familiar names and newcomers,” said Expo Chairman Joe Sprys.  “Joe Humphreys leaves us in awe every time we see him.
"Ed Engle knows how to elicit a strike from even the most finicky fish.   Jeff Currier is blessed with the skills of a truly outstanding teacher.  Skip Morris is a walking encyclopedia of fly patterns and insights into how to fish those patterns.
"And Jason Randall brings volumes of knowledge from observing trout in their native habitats and is able to make that knowledge accessible to the rest of us.”
 The show will feature dozens of free seminars about fly fishing techniques, fly tying and fly fishing destinations and bring together more than 100 exhibitors, including dozens of fly tiers, rod builders, artists, guides, outfitters and conservation organizations.   “Many of our exhibitors hail from Michigan and Ohio.
"We’ve also got outfitters, guides, artisans and artists from places like Washington State, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Connecticut and Maine, as well as several from Ontario,” he said.
Humphreys has taught fly fishing for more than 40 years and still loves to share his insights.  In fact, he is the subject of a documentary – “Live the Stream” – currently in production.  The film focuses on Humphreys’ lifelong journey to share the sport he loves while inspiring a greater respect for his home waters near Penn State.
In the course of his more than four decades teaching fly fishing, he spent 19 years directing Penn State's angling program, succeeding the legendary George Harvey.  Some high-profile pupils include former President Jimmy Carter, former Vice President Richard Cheney, and retired basketball coach Bobby Knight. He currently teaches a weekend course at the Yellow Breeches Creek at Boiling Springs, PA, hosted by the Allenberry Resort located directly on the creek.
This is a good opportunity to gain exposure to fly fishing and tying. It's a chance to rub elbows with some of the best in this sport and make plans for the upcoming trout season.

Matt Beukema limbering up the long rod on the Mason Tract, south branch of the AuSable River.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

More ice at Houghton Lake

"We've got good ice up here," Team Gunsmoke guide Brandon Stanton said when I called him about ice conditions for the second gathering of Mark Martin's Ice Fishing Vacation School.
Once we got on the ice just before sun up Sunday, I saw what he meant. We had a good 12-inches of solid ice.
Due to the recent warm weather coupled with rain, Oakland County lakes haven't been in any condition to consider fishing them through the ice.
To top it off, a tragic accident involving a dad and his 4-year-old son should have driven the message home to any of you still thinking you know more than Mother Nature.
Ask any dive team, fire department or safety expert when is ice safe. They all will tell you that no ice is safe.
Remember that the next time you strap on the creepers, strap your auger to your sled and begin pulling everything out.
Because continuous cold weather has held in the northern part of the state, Houghton Lake had good, solid ice.
Originally, this school was set for Saginaw Bay going out of Linwood Beach Marina. Once reports were received that the wind had blown what ice there was out into the Bay, plan B was put into affect.
Stanton, from Elkton and very familiar with the workings of the Bay checked things out near Caseville.
The ice seemed good so plans were made to house, feed and get everyone launched from that area. That is until warm winds broke the remaining ice up making it impossible to fish.
Plan C was put into affect and in no time officials at Houghton Lake had come through with a fantastic program, probably one of the best in the 25 years I've been attending this program.
Local businesses; lodging, meals, launch site and storage area for trailers and snowmobiles were ready to go in less than a day.
To say Houghton Lake welcomed the school with open arms is an understatement. Students as well as staff were complimentary of the facilities and services.
If you're interested in attending Martin's third and final school at Little Bay de Noc March 12-15, go to for registration information.
Brandon Stanton preparing to release a short Hougton Lake fish. By Beukema

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Stay warm on the ice with Otter fish shacks

Mike Schneider, a pro staffer with Mark Martin's Ice Fishing Vacation Schools is always on the move. Besides driving his snowmobile onto the ice at Lake Cities Lake Missaukee, he's constantly checking his GPS and Navionics lake map to be sure he is on the spot he wants to be.
Once on the spot, he takes no time in setting up his Otter style Cottage fish shack. The Otter line of portable shanties is different from any other I've fished in.
First, they go up easy and quick which means a lot when it's bitter cold and windy. The place you want to be is inside something with walls to block the wind and provide some warmth.
All Otter models provide warmth through a unique blending of seamless stitching and insulation.
If you think a portable shanty can't be insulated you haven't sat in an Otter.
The insulation not only makes it warmer than non-insulated shacks, but the noise of wind blowing and other machines passing by is muffled.
Once holes are cut to fish from or hang electronics, light your propane heater, be sure the door is closed and zipped, then sit down on one of the bucket or bench seats.
In a matter of minutes you'll be looking around for a place to hang your heavy Ice Armor coat because the warm temperature doesn't take long to make the shack comfy.
Because of a unique sewing method, there are no outside seems to leaks or allow wind in. These Otters are tight.
But back to Schneider. Once he has the shack up, holes drilled and cleaned and heater running, he's on to rods, which lure to use and bait selection.
"Keep it just off the bottom," he says, "then jig softly and let it sit for a minute." Constantly observing and offering constructive suggestions, Schneider feels one of his objectives should be putting students on fish.
But sometimes the fish don't cooperate no matter the experience, type of lure or method of presentation. That's another reason it's called fishing.
In my opinion, Mike Schneider is one of the top pro staffers who constantly makes it his business to see  to it that students are comfortable with what they are doing, know why they do it, and correcting any of the mistakes they make.
Martin's net ice fishing school is set for Saginaw Bay, February 7-10. If you go, ask for Schneider to be your guide.  You'll learn a lot and won't be sorry.
Visist www.markmartisicefishingvacation

Mike Schneider pointing out one of Otter's new Dome shacks. by Beukema

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gaylord-home of Elk Viewing and Treetops Gourmet food for Skiers

With thin snow around Michigan, even the snow belts city of Gaylord was finding it strange not to have plenty of the white stuff around. The last few years with heavy snowfalls have made us expect plenty for winter activities.
By late Saturday night and into Sunday, phones were ringing off the hook at local ski resorts. Callers were inuring about snow depths and making reservations for snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and all else having to do with snow sports.
The group I was with wound up show shoeing the Aspen Trail just outside of Gaylord proper. By mid-morning Saturday our group from the Michigan Winter trails had decided against cross country skiing, tubing or downhill skiing.
Many opted for hiking or strapping on the snowshoes in nearly 40-degree temperatures and light rainy.
Following our two-mile trail walk, we stopped to view elk in a 100-acre enclosure near Aspen Trail.
If you've not seen elk you will be amazed at their size, especially the bulls with huge racks.
All of that changed about 7p.m. Saturday night when the predicted snowstorm dumped nearly a foot on area slopes and trails.
our sleigh ride-in this case wagon ride-courtesy of Tree Tops resort, out to Project Nature and our dinner destination was enjoyable during the heavy snowfall.
We were treated to a gourmet 4-course dinner culminating in a snowy ride back to Treetops.
For more information on Treetops Skiable feast or Wilderness Sleigh Ride Gourmet Dinners visit or call (877)TREETOPS.
Trail and other resort information can be found at
Photo be Beukema of bull elk