Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sunglasses important to the outdoors person; don't leave them at home

Every angler has at one time or another has forgotten something in their rush to leave for a fishing trip. Once,this old writer started a fishing trip to Canada without my tackle box. 
Fortunately, my daughter called alerting me to the tackle box, and met me to save the day, even if there was a brief delay.
A recent news release about forgetting sunglasses, caught my attention. I admit a sunglass dependency. I even wear them while driving on cloudy days.
According to the news release from the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources, It’s disheartening when that something you forget is sunglasses. Squinting and shielding your eyes for hours takes some of the fun out of the experience.
“More than just the damage or discomfort from the bright light, you start getting eye strain because you’re squinting to make your pupil even smaller because your pupil doesn’t get small enough naturally,” said Dr. Seema Capoor, an associate professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky. “The squinting causes brow ache and tension headaches. It’s much more comfortable and safer with sunglasses.”
However, not all sunglasses are created equal. The best cut glare and make it easier to see into the water but also block the sun’s harmful rays.
Amid a sea of brands and styles and lens types and colors at a wide range of prices, Like mattresses, it seems there always are sunglass sales. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the choices, so stick to some basic criteria when selecting a pair, says Capoor.
“For something like fishing where you’ve got a lot of reflection off the surface of the water and you’re out in direct sunlight my recommendation would be to go with more of the wraparound style of sunglasses,” Capoor said. “Get the good UV filter in the lenses and polarization. The anti-reflective coating or mirror coating on the outside surface is also very helpful.”
Look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet radiation can affect different layers of the eye and continued exposure without protection may lead to permanent eye damage. Regular use of sunglasses can slow down cataract formation and lessen the risks of macular degeneration.  
Children and people with light-colored eyes should be particularly mindful about wearing sunglasses.
“Times have changed and there’s more penetration of ultraviolet light from the atmosphere than there was 30 years ago,” Capoor said. “It is advisable for children, especially blue-eyed or light-eyed children, to be wearing protective sunglasses now.”
Composite lenses made from impact-resistant polycarbonate material are lighter than glass and ideal for anglers. Polycarbonate also is the preferred lens material for shooting glasses. Protective eye wear is required at all shooting ranges on Wildlife Management Areas in Kentucky.
On the water, polarized lenses are highly recommended for anglers because they sharpen vision by reducing glare from the sun’s reflection. Darker lenses don’t necessarily block more UV rays although they may be preferred by people who are extremely sensitive to light. The environmental conditions can dictate the right lens color.
Gray, brown and green tints are best at providing maximum contrast while maintaining clarity and offering the most sun protection, Capoor said.
Gray is a good all-purpose lens tint that cuts down on extremely bright conditions and won’t distort colors. Green also limits color distortion, reduces glare and improves contrast in bright sun. Brown and amber are versatile tints that cut glare and filter out blue light, increasing contrast and sharpness, especially on cloudy days.
Yellow reduces glare and enhances depth perception and contrast in low light or hazy conditions. It is considered a better option for shooters than anglers.
We’re taught to apply sunscreen liberally and often to protect our skin from overexposure to the sun. Sunglasses and shooting glasses are just as important. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pond are good place to fish anytime, but especially when conditions poor

What started out as a good spring for outdoors folks, turned into lousy weather condition in late spring and early summer.
Rain, rain and more rain not only discouraged people from enjoying the outdoors just because of the crummy conditions, but because of high and in some cases dangerous water in streams and lakes.
Among fishing spots that usually remain safe and dependable are farm ponds and small lakes. 
Ponds often are good places to fish during high water, and also a good getaway during hot weather, or anytime for that matter--even through the ice in midwinter ponds can offer fishing action and some fresh fish for the dinner table.
When people fish ponds, it usually is for bluegill. Some ponds also produce largemouth bass, crappie, redear, and catfish. 
Ponds can be found on state and forest service land, and many private ponds exist. However, if you decide to fish a private pond, make sure you have landowner permission.
Ponds usually are quiet places. There isn’t much happening other than a little wind, bugs and an occasional frog or bird whistle. Shadows are unusual also, so when a pond is approached for fishing, it should be done quietly. Be sneaky. Wear clothing similar to to the appearance of the surroundings and keep a low profile.
On a smaller scale, ponds are like larger lakes. Look for structure such as points, weed beds, drop offs and weed lines. Outside weed lines around points are a good place to try. Don’t overlook underwater structure like downed trees. Fish relate to these places.
Use as light or small size line and equipment as feasible and still catch fish under the conditions. Also, use bait or lures similar to natural bait found in the area.
When in comes to live bait, bee moths are good, but many anglers have success with worms and crickets. And, minnows work well for crappie.
Many anglers like using artificial baits. Around ponds where there are crawfish, the Rebel mini-crawfish lure is an excellent bait. Most anything will hit them.
Beetle spins are good baits as well, and you can catch anything on them. Small jigs fished under a bobber, which is slowly twitched and retrieved is good at attracting crappie.
The farther you can cast your lure or bait from where you are standing the better, especially at clear water ponds.
Often you can catch more fish from a pond than a larger body of water. And, it is a great place for a youngster to learn fishing. It is much easier to teach a five year old on how to fish on a pond bank, rather than explaining how to cast from a boat. It’s also more fun and safer.
# # # #
BATTLE CONTINUES -- Wanted, dead not alive! Asian carp have been the scourge of America’s lakes and rivers for nearly a century. 
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently partnered with Wildlife Forever reminding anglers to Trash Unused Bait to help stop the spread of these and other aquatic invasive species (AIS). 
Highway billboards, wanted posters and soon to be released ads in local papers distributed throughout the state advising anglers how they can help.
“Asian carp are on the door step to the Great Lakes. As juvenile fish, Asian carp look very similar to Gizzard Shad and other baitfish so it’s critical that anglers put unused bait in the trash to prevent further spread,” said John Navarro, AIS Program Administrator for the ODNR Division of Wildlife. 
Both Bighead and Silver Carp are established in the Ohio River watershed but have not been detected in the Lake Erie watershed.

Monday, July 13, 2015

No boat required; for many the river bank or lake shore will do just fine

Jerry Phelps lands a crappie while fishing from the bank at Kentucky Lake.

        Bank fishing is the way the majority of anglers pursue their sport, however there are people who say they can't fish because they don't have a boat.
A few years ago, I met Jerry Phelps at Kentucky Lake. At the time, he had a relatively new bass boat, but hadn’t used it for two years. He’d rather fish from the bank, and says he catches more fish.
Not only does Phelps catch fish from the bank, there are plenty of other good examples. Currently, anglers are are pulling in nice catches of sauger from the banks below Ohio River dams. In Europe bank fishing where anglers are assigned a fishing spot tournaments are popular. 
However, with the advent of the bass boat, bank fishing in this country has become an almost lost form of fishing. Boats are great, but the lack of one doesn't curtail the ability to catch a stringer of fish.
While there are plenty of places to fish from the bank, some locations are much better than others. Bank fishing isn’t as simple as walking down to the water and throwing in your line. It may produce fish, and it may not. Just like from fishing from a boat, may or not result in fish.
Watching and talking with Phelps bank fishing, you can learn a lot about catching fish from the bank. He works at bank fishing just like a good boat fisherman works the water of any lake or stream.
When Phelps bank fishes, he takes structure, weather, water temperature, season, and the phase of the moon just like any accomplished boat angler. He primarily fishes Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, and often fishes the shoreline of Land Between the Lakes where there is public land available to all anglers. However, he fishes other lakes as well.
No matter where he goes, he notes structure and other important information about the location. When he decides to fish, he considers the conditions and then selects the spot he will travel to fish.
Cold weather doesn't stop him either. “Once on Feb. 2, the temperature dropped to three degrees. We had to use a heater to keep our reels thawed, but we caught our limits of crappie, and big ones too. Most of them went over a pound,” said Phelps.
Another benefit to winter fishing is the water level at most lakes is lower. Anglers can walk the bank easier and also locate structure which will be underwater when the level comes up in the spring. These will be ideal spring and summer fishing spots.
Phelps says he learned everything he knows about fishing from his mother, who didn’t miss many days bank fishing. “I learned everything from Momma,” he says with a big grin.
Most of Phelp’s fishing is for crappie, although he also catches his share of bluegill and bass. He fishes with jigs and uses bobbers. The bobber is used to keep the jig at the depth he wants, and with the bobber he call pull the jig over submerged structure.
Crappie and bass are just two kinds of fish which can be caught from the bank. More types of fish than hopeful 2016 Presidential candidates are possible.
You may not have a boat, but that isn’t a valid excuse for not fishing or catching fish. 
Maybe I'm just lazy as I tack the years onto my old body, but I spend much more time fishing from the bank behind the house, even though a boat is leaning against the walnut tree a few feet away.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Proud moment when grandson receives Eagle Scout award; also brings back many fond memories

Grandson Denver receives Eagle Scout award, the Boy Scout's  highest honor

Many youngsters first experienced camping and the many wonders of the great outdoors through Scouting, which started back in 1911 and continues today.
Back more than a half century this old writer was first involved in Scouting and later was an adult leader. My wife, Phyllis, was a Girl Scout leader, and son, Erik and daughter, Michelle, both were Scouts. Michelle advanced to a Gold Bar, the highest rank or award in Girl Scouts.
So, it was a proud day Sunday, when grandson, Denver, was honored with the Eagle Scout award.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. 
Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout. Additional recognition can be earned through Eagle Palms, awarded for completing additional tenure, leadership, and merit badge requirements.
Historically, the BSA's highest award was originally conceived as the Wolf Scout, as shown in the June 1911 Official Handbook for Boys. The August 1911 version of the handbook changed this to Eagle Scout. 
Although more than two million young men have earned the Eagle award, that is just slightly over two percent of those who begin the Scout journey.
Scouting is much more than obtaining badges. It is about learning leadership, becoming self-reliant, and also learning about the importance of community, nation and the world.
And while Scouting has changed over the years to involve a broader range of interests and skills, the Boy Scouts still have a heavy involvement in the outdoors and related activities.
Grandson Denver was awarded Eagle during ceremonies conducted for him by his Troop 306 in Hendricks County, In. He joined the troop in August of 2010.
Denver, who will be a senior this fall at Danville High School, attained the rank of troop Quartermaster for several terms as well as patrol leader and assistant senior patrol leader.
Currently, he is a member of the Firecraft organization (involves learning in-depth outdoor skills), and has achieved the Order of the Arrow, and has attended summer camp at four different camps as well as Philmont Camp in New Mexico.
Although Eagle Scout requires 21 badges, including 15 mandatory, Denver now has completed 27 badges, and will qualify for Eagle Palms.
My Scouting experience only took me to the rank of Second Class Scout (maybe First Class) before I moved on to Sea Scouts, which I think no longer exists. It was an early type of Explorers, which comes for older youth interested in continuing their Scouting experience.
And while I never rose far in the Scouting ranks, the memories of Scouting days are still numerous and in my old head. It was there I obtained my first camping experience and learned campfire cooking at a campout at Frazier’s Farm.
I still can’t tie knots, but don’t think those memories will ever slip away.

Monday, June 29, 2015

New motorized reel expands fishing opportunities for disabled anglers

A new motorized reel and associated harness can provide greater fishing capabilities for certain disabled individuals.

Although numerous disabled anglers have learned to fish with one arm and hand, most are limited to the types of fishing they can enjoy.
There are several aids available to enable them, and now there is a new device that may further expand their opportunities to catch a variety of fish.
Through years of research and development and advice from such angling luminaries as Al Lindner, Dan Sura, Dave Csanda and Jeff Zernov, as well as input from anglers with physical limitations, the M-POW-R REEL® was developed.
  The M-POW-R REEL is a  motorized spinning reel which enables physic ally-challenged (especially one-handed) anglers to rediscover the joy of fishing. 
Powerful and versatile, the reel is designed to fit virtually any spinning rod, ice rod or fly rod, thanks to an innovative new harness developed specifically for the reel to use with various rods.
  The new product package includes the M-POW-R spinning reel, special harness, four-amp battery, battery charger, fanny pack, and a pulse width modulated speed control, which provides optimum torque throughout the motor’s power band. 
Anglers operate the reel with a thumb-actuated button attached to the rod via the harness. A spare spool, backup reel handle and a power point adapter plug are also included.   
Initiated by Dr. Roland “Doc” Kehr, former co-owner of the Lindy Little Joe Tackle Company, the M-POW-R reel was developed for Doc’s son Nathan, who has cerebral palsy and is unable to use his left arm and hand.
Nathan, growing up in the Brainerd Lakes area of Minnesota, has been an avid angler all his life, but his disability limited his enjoyment of the sport. 
He could cast with his right arm and reel with his right hand, but he couldn’t do both simultaneously, impeding his ability to fight and land fish. He had to rely on his fishing partner, most often his father, to either hold the rod or operate the reel. Doc was determined to find a solution. 
  “We’re very excited about sharing this new technology with other disabled anglers,” said Dr. Kehr. “It’s enabled my son Nathan to fully experience the thrill of fighting and landing more and bigger fish, and we’re confident it will empower many more people facing physical challenges to truly appreciate and enjoy this great sport.”
  Another angler to discover the versatility of the power reel and new harness is John Vandercook, a passionate and discerning angler who lost his left arm in a motorcycle accident.
  “I can do anything any other angler can do, it just takes me longer,” said Vandercook. “But the reel and harness now allow me to retrieve the bait or fight a fish without pressing the reel handle against my ribs to reel. 
       For years I've focused on jig fishing and trolling, but the M-POW-R now makes it possible for me to fish bass, trout, whatever ... on the retrieve. As soon as that bait hits the water it's one push of the button and that bait is moving. In my experience, that's what gets strikes.” 
  Although he’s a fan of the 6’ 6” medium-action graphite M-POW-R rod, he champions the versatility the new harness affords, which allows him use of the reel on any rod he chooses.
  “Depending on what, where and how I’m fishing, I may want to use a longer, shorter, or heavier or lighter action rod. As we know, not every rod is perfect for every situation.” 
In addition to the new reel and harness fishing package, the company will continue to sell the original M-POW-R Reel® and Rod combo fishing package, which includes a two-piece medium action graphite rod to complement the reel and harness.
  For more information, visit the company website: to see all of the accessories included in both fishing packages.
(AUTHOR’S NOTE -- Like much specialty equipment for disabled individuals, the equipment is relatively expensive. However, it may be a valuable tool for certain individuals.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day prompts good memories

Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is special. Spending time with dad in the outdoors can make the day a time to remember.
Father’s Day in the outdoors can be celebrated fishing, or with a picnic in the backyard or at a nearby park. There are many fun activities to be enjoyed with Dad.
Mother’s Day was created first. Then came Father’s Day which was created early in the twentieth century. Celebrated on different days in different countries, Father’s Day is believed to first have been celebrated on July 5, 1908, at the Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont, WV. 
Despite support from many churches and the YMCA, it was many years later before the day became official. Although a congressional bill was introduced in 1913, and President Calvin Coolidge supported the day in 1924, it wasn’t until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation and it became a federal holiday.
It was my father, who introduced me to fishing and the outdoors. However, my mother, also loved the outdoors.
Our early fishing trips involved walking several miles down railroad tracks to Big Creek. We couldn’t afford a car. so our feet provided the transportation. We carried poles, other gear, and some snacks.
Most of the fish we caught were small. The fish I landed were little sunfish. Once in a while, I caught one big enough to keep for dinner, but size didn’t matter to me. It was the adventure of the fishing trip that mattered. I spent most of my time exploring the creek bank and the old concrete railroad trestle that spanned the creek. It would have made a good setting for one of those ghost hunter television shows.
The trip to the creek always seemed shorter than the walk back home, especially on a hot summer day. Dad would carry the fish. We never seemed to mind the distance. The trip always was fun, and I looked forward to the next one.
After several years, we bought an old, used bright red Studebaker pickup truck. Then, our fishing horizons expanded. We could drive to ponds, the Wabash River, and eventually my folks saved money for our first fishing vacation at Guy’s Camp on Lake Freeman in north central Indiana. It probably took place over Father’s Day weekend.
At Lake Freeman, Dad taught me how to assemble, put out, and run or check a trot line for fish.
Dad and I, plus the family dog (creatively named Boy), would bait the hooks with chicken livers for catfish, and a few of his special dough balls for carp. He cooked the dough balls and added a small amount of strawberry jello.. It worked.
I still have fond memories of this first vacation fishing trip. I can picture the tiny cabin, the little cove it overlooked, the wooden boat, and the Monon Railroad bridge where anglers tied their boats for night fishing.
There were the “silvers” (white bass). I had never heard of them, but found them exciting. A school of the fish would hit the surface chasing minnows. “The silvers are firing”, my dad would shout. We would try to row to them and throw a bait their way, but the feeding frenzy was over by the time we arrived at the former scene of the “firing”. However, it was exciting, and I can see it vividly in my mind more than a half century later.
Father’s Day today often is about gifts. People think they need to buy Dad something and one of those four dollar cards. Then, take him to a nice restaurant for dinner. That’s OK, but Father’s Day should be about creating memories. If possible, spend time with Dad. 
A cookout, a dinner, a trip to the creek or lake shore for bluegill just might create a special memory. And please, leave the smart phone in the car.

Monday, June 15, 2015

How do cicadas know when 17 years roll around and it is time to appear?

Somehow cicadas know when 17 years has passed, and it is time
 for them to emerge from underground.

Cicadas, locusts, bugs, whatever people call them are coming. Maybe, they are already here. For one brood, 2015 is their year.
Cicadas also are known as locusts, but they are not a true locust, They are however, unusual creatures. Scientists know a lot about them, but mystery still surrounds these strange bugs.
It seems nothing is simple when it comes to cicadas. The ones that make the news are the broods or groups that emerge from underground every 17 years, thus the name “Seventeen year locusts”. But, then there are broods that emerge every 13 years, and then there are some slightly different ones that pop up every year.
But, it is the 17-year bugs named Brood X that is emerging in part of the midwest, including southwestern Indiana and western Kentucky this spring and early summer.
After the cicadas have counted 17 years—"we really don't know how they count the years," a biologist  said. They are ready to emerge, which usually happens in late spring when the soil reaches a temperature of about 64 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius).
People love them, hate them, or just put up with them.
Keith Clay, a biologist at Indiana University, says most people either love of hate the cicadas. He has spent considerable time studying the Brood X variety, which currently is on stage across a good portion of the midwest.
According to Clay, some people so dislike the loud noise made by the thousands, maybe millions of cicadas, they plan vacations elsewhere during the brief life span of the bugs. (Cicadas don’t appear out west.)
However, Clay claims there are those who so look forward to the 17-year awaited emergence, they plan camping trips to be in the middle of the happening.
Purdue University also has been studying these bugs who spend nearly all of their life underground. 
In a news release Purdue said, “As the soil temperature warms, a new love song will fill the air in...After spending the last 17 years underground feeding on tree roots, millions of periodical cicadas - up to 1.5 million per acre - will mature, attract mates and lay their eggs.
“In late May, the last immature-stage cicadas will begin to crawl out of the ground and latch onto vertical plants, fence posts or other above-ground structures where they can molt into adults,” said Purdue University entomologist Cliff Sadof.
Adults will mate seven to 10 days later and females will lay eggs into slits cut into the twigs of many tree species. In six weeks, these eggs will hatch into nymphs that will fall to the ground and crawl beneath the soil where they will feed on tree roots for the next 17 years.
Those who are curious can look for periodical cicadas by checking trees that were present 17 years ago and listening for the shrill mating calls that can be heard up to a quarter mile away.
"The cicadas will be most concentrated at forest edges where they will be warmed by sunlight early in the day," Sadof said. "Males need to reach a critical temperature to be able to sing. Early singers out compete their rivals for females.
While cicadas won’t be on the menu at the Junker house, Sadof says there are people who eat them.  "They are edible, but people who are allergic to shellfish shouldn't eat them."
Humans aren't the only ones who can eat cicadas, however. Birds, fish, spiders and snakes eat periodical cicadas, and sometimes dogs and cats will do the same. I’ve also heard of bass fisherman who have had success landing a lunker using them as bait.
To learn more about periodical cicadas, insecticide use, resistant plants and other cicada broods in Indiana, visit .