Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nenendez to return to tournament trail; West Boggs rehab underway

One of professional bass fishing’s good guys plans to return to the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament trail next spring.

Mark Menendez of Paducah, a top angler, unfortunately had to take a leave from the tournament trail after his wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
After initially thinking she had beaten the disease, it returned and she lost her battle with the disease this past spring.
Although times have been difficult for Mark, he plans to return to tournament fishing early next year. He says he is confident he still has the physical skills and know-how, but figures mental concentration may be his biggest challenge.
Fellow outdoor writer Gary Garth recently wrote and interesting  column about Mark in the Louisville Courier-Journal. It is a good read and can be accessed at the
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WEST BOGGS REHAB -- The renovation of West Boggs Lake in Loogootee hopefully will not only improve fishing, but help the local economy.
West Boggs Lake was once a premier bluegill and bass fishing lake, drawing anglers from 81 Indiana counties, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. Anglers spent an estimated $1.1 million in the local community in 1999, according to a DNR survey.
  The quality of the fishery declined when populations of undesirable fish increased. From 2004 to 2010, the DNR survey found that recreational boating decreased by 11 percent and the number of angler visits decreased by 63 percent. 
The once million-dollar fishery now contributes about $326,000 annually to the economy. 
“Anglers buy bait, food, gas, and lodging in the area, bringing economic gain and tourism to the community,” DNR fisheries supervisor Brian Schoenung said. “In a small town, the nearly $800,000 dollars lost annually can have a big impact.”
  The fisheries renovation at West Boggs was scheduled for this fall, beginning with the removal of adult bass and catfish that later will be returned to the lake.
  Trained DNR staff will apply rotenone in the West Boggs watershed to eradicate remaining fish in the lake. Rotenone is a naturally occurring substance in several plant seeds and stems and is an EPA-regulated chemical. Rotenone quickly detoxifies in the environment and has virtually no effect on mammals and birds. 
After the fish eradication, the lake will be allowed to refill. It will be stocked with hatchery-raised game fish and fish salvaged from the lake before the renovation.
  A similar renovation in 1994 increased the number of angler visits to the lake annually by 71 percent. 
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LIFE JACKETS -- As the weather cools, wearing an overcoat becomes a nearly automatic equipment choice for enjoying the outdoors.
At the same time, many people recreating around water seem to forget about wearing another, more vital type of jacket—a life jacket, according the the Indiana DNR.
That’s a mistake that can be life threatening during a season when many enjoy kayaking or canoeing, duck hunting from a jonboat, or taking a late-winter ice-fishing trip.
Water temperatures plummet, increasing the chance of hypothermia and the risk of drowning, particularly if a person goes overboard while not wearing a life jacket. 
Indiana law requires all vessels to carry one wearable U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD (personal floatation device) for each person on board. In addition, vessels 16 feet in length or longer (except a canoe or kayak) must have one USCG-approved PFD on board and readily accessible.
“Cold water brings additional concerns to the recreating public,” said Indiana Boating Law administrator Lt. Kenton Turner. “Life jackets are a yearlong priority and should be the first thought on everyone’s mind when enjoying Indiana’s waterways.”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Persimmons make tasty pudding, cake, wine; even forecast winter weather

Persimmons are part of autumn's bounty.

Persimmons are a bounty of autumn. The fruit of the tree can be used to make pudding, pies and cakes, tasty wine and even forecast the coming winter weather.
Persimmons are one of the most popular items harvested in the fall, although other fruits of interest include the pawpaw, wild grapes, elderberry, and wild cherry. These can be picked while on a fall hunting trip for squirrels, a fishing trip, or they can be hunted and picked on any fall outing.
Persimmon trees have gray, fissured bark. Once you learn the tree, they are easy to identify.
Persimmons should be picked from the ground and not the tree. If picked from the tree, they may be what we always have called “puckery”. One not fully ripe will leave the inside of your mouth with an awful taste and make the inside feel as though it puckers. 
Some people shake the persimmons from smaller limbs, but there is a danger of getting some puckery ones included in your picking.
Persimmons can be used to make wine. To process them is easy. You just look them over in the kitchen. Wash them off and make sure they are clean. Then squash and drop skins, seeds and all into the container where you make your wine.
However if you plan to use them to make persimmon pudding, cookies or pies or to save and freeze for later, much more work is involved. The biggest problem is getting out the seeds. They are sizable, but difficult to easily remove. 
The skins and stems also must be separated. They need to be run through a colander or Victoria strainer,  and that is a work of love, but one well worth doing. If you are lucky you may be able to purchase persimmon pulp (where someone else has done the work) at a fall festival or roadside stand.
Persimmon pudding is a holiday treat at our house. It is a traditional part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Here is a persimmon pudding recipe::
Ingredients -- 2 cups persimmon pulp, 2 cups sugar (granulated), 2 cups milk, 2 cups flour, 3/4 stick of margarine or butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Melt the butter and stir it into the pulp. Then stir in flour, sugar, cinnamon in that order and stir it well.
Pour the mixture into a nine by 13-inch cake pan, and bake for one hour in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. It can be served with whipped cream. it also can be cut into squares (like brownies) and eaten with the hands, although you may have to lick your fingers afterward.
There are a number of other recipes. My mother-in-law always made a pudding that was less like a cake and more like a soft pudding to be eaten with a spoon. Either way it is delicious.
If you want to enjoy eating a few raw persimmons while on a hike or baking a tasty pudding, give them a try.
You also can checkout persimmon winter weather forecasting. To check the forecast for where you live, cut open a seed from the local area. Use a ripe seed.
Observe the shape of the kernel inside.
-- If the kernel is spoon-shaped, lots of heavy, wet snow will fall. Spoon shape equals shovel!
-- Should iit be fork-shaped,  expect powdery, light snow and a mild winter.
-- If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be "cut" by icy, cutting winds.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Leaves turning color early this autumn

It was a relatively cool and damp summer in much of the Midwest, and leaves have started turning color. Some forecasters say leaf color change is earlier this year.
Forecasting just when leaves will turn color and reach their maximum brilliance isn’t easy to predict. However, some forecasters expect much of the Midwest to be ahead of the average this year.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the primary time for full color in the northern half of Indiana is Oct. 5 to Oct. 21, and the dates for southern Indiana are Oct. 12 to Oct. 28.
The leaf color depends on many factors from the type of tree to weather conditions and more, and while muck is known about the color of leaves and when they will fall, there also are unknowns and predicting the color peak is really tough.
In several recent years when summers were hot and dry, it was thought color would be dulled. However, pretty leaves still seemed to prevail in many areas.
Most autumn seasons, I enjoy the turning of leaves and also respond to questions about them. with information provided by people with much more knowledge of botany than this old scribe.
       Abby van den Berg, University of Vermont plant biologist, who has done research on leaf colors, said some data suggest a small amount of physiological stress can result in more brilliant colors.
"The real bottom line is that there's no great way to predict these things," she said. "It's pretty much impossible, especially over a large scale."
The prognosticators predicting less color last year may have been partially right, but there is was color in areas, than many anticipated. 
Drought some years causes trees to switch to survival mode. When dry conditions exist, some trees lose their leaves before they change to the familiar red, yellow or orange, according to nature experts.
 However, this spring and summer there was plenty of rain, and trees were loaded with healthy, green leaves. They are green because they contain chlorophyll. 
According to one agriculture department website, there is so much chlorophyll in an active leaf that the green masks or overpowers other pigment colors. Light regulates chlorophyll production, so as autumn days grow shorter, less chlorophyll is produced. 
The decomposition rate of chlorophyll remains constant, so the green color starts to fade from leaves.
While that is happening, increasing sugar concentrations cause increased production of anthocyanin pigments. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. 
Another type of pigment, carotenoids are found in some leaves. Carotenoid production is not dependent on light, so levels aren't diminished by shorter days. Carotenoids can be orange, yellow, or red, but most of these pigments found in leaves are yellow. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange.
Temperature affects the rate of chemical reactions, including those in leaves, so it plays a part in leaf color. However, it's mainly light levels that are responsible for fall foliage colors. Sunny autumn days are needed for the brightest color displays. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.
Whether or not you care about anthocyanins or carotenoids, there should be plenty of beauty to be found this autumn.
A live leaf camera at several Indiana sites can be found on the internet

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our rat terrier/beagle/whatever mix, Missy loves to ride the ATV

Missy loves to ride on the Yardsport
     Missy, our new rescue dog, loves to ride on our little ATV, In fact, she just loves to go with me anywhere. The ATV is a little noisy, but she is always ready to go.
     I am hopeful that  riding on the ATV and walking along side here in Indiana will translate to walking along side and riding on the old golf cart in Florida.
     Missy provides a great deal of companionship. I grab a camera and a bottle of water and away we go.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fall is a great time for camping, festivals abound near campgrounds

It is very enjoyable to sit around a campfire on a fall day.

     Fall is a great time for camping. The air is crisp, leaves begin to change color, and an evening campfire feels good, especially if it is warming a pot of chili. A long sleeve shirt is in order.
Fall has arrived, and so is some of the best camping of the year.
Summer’s oppressive heat and most of the pesky bugs are gone. A pot of chili or ham and beans on the fire makes sitting and enjoying the weather something special. It’s time for marshmallows and Smores.
Fall presents many opportunities for the RVer and camper. It’s just fun to get out and enjoy the weather, however there are lots of things to do. There are festivals, football tailgating, fishing, and hunting, including deer camp--a special time for many.
There are festivals galore throughout the Kentuckiana area. Many of them either have camping on site or nearby. 
There are far too many festivals to list. There is a website:, if you want to check them out. Hoosier festivals also can be found at (type in Indiana or the state you want).
Some RVers use their rigs for deer camp, while other hunters use tents. For many outdoors people, it is the favorite event of the year.
Deer camp has both the social and culinary aspects. The camp atmosphere may be better than the hunt itself. I suppose it is like the guys who go to the NASCAR race and never make it to their ticketed seat.
What hunters call deer camp varies widely. Some use the same cabin year-after-year. Others utilize campers, and still others set up tents. Many camps are quite simple, basically providing shelter, and others look like small tent or camper sites with many of the amenities of home.
(Indiana’s firearms deer season opens Nov. 15 and runs through Nov. 30. Archery season opens Oct. 1.)
Something that is a must at any camp is a campfire. A good fire starts with camp setup and may not go out until hunters are ready to head for home. It provides warmth, a place to cook, relax and swap tales.
Many deer camps are long-standing tradition. Some are on private property, or located in campgrounds, or setup where permitted on public land, such as national forests. Many hunters establish their camp a week or two prior to the season opener to insure they have the same spot they have used for years.
Several generations have sat by the campfires, told stories, heard stories--some of them many times. But that’s OK. It’s part of what deer camp is about. Sure there is the anticipated hunt, however reliving hunts from the past is a part of the experience. The deer get bigger and the weather and other hunting conditions get tougher over the years.
My favorite aspect of deer camp is food--the eating. In most camps, the night before the season opener is a feast. I’d rather get an invite to eat than to hunt.
Some people who harvest a deer early in camp, fry tenderloins or venison steaks. Some make strew with the fresh meat. That’s also a real treat. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Full moon has impact on fishing

Why does a full moon seem to impact fishing, and in particular the catching of fish? There definitely is something to it. No question in my old mind.
My friend Jim Mansfield kept detailed records over many years about the more than 100,000 panfish he caught. Without questions, his statistics showed fishing was better around a full moon. The best days seemed to be three to five days before the moon was full.
In late winter, I usually fish for shellcrackers (redear sunfish), and there is no question the crackers move into the shallows around lilly pads and snail three-to-five days before the full moons in March and April, depending on the weather and water temperature.
Whatever the reason, fish seem to be more active around the time of the full moon. Some hunters believe it impacts other animals as well.
Yamaha bass fishing pro Mark Davis says he tries to time his big fish hunts during the three days immediately preceding a full moon, regardless of the time of year. 
He also doesn’t know why bass seem to bite better during that time, but his years of experience as both a tournament pro and a guide on Lake Ouachita near his home have proven it is the most reliable time to catch a big fish. He really likes to be on the water when the sun and moon are visible at the same time.
“Overall,” concludes Davis, “catching a big bass now is all about finding cover close to deep water, and then fishing that cover extremely slowly. Don’t worry about leaving your lure motionless on the bottom for up to half a minute, because the bass definitely know it’s there, and they’re probably watching it.
“The less obtrusive and aggressive you can make it look, the better your chances for catching one of them.” 
People says the full moon impacts people as well as other animals, but whatever the reason, it appears to be a good time to go fishing. There isn’t a bad time to go fishing; some are just better than others.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Missy enjoys the warm Sunday afternoon sunshine

      Missy, our new rescue dog, is a pure joy. 
    She loves to explore the back yard, but also loves the sunshine. Yesterday was cool, the sun was warm on our back deck.
     While it seems there almost was no summer, fall is one of the best time of the year whether you are a hunter, fisher person, hiker, or a dog.