Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

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: mpowrfishing.com 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 resurface...to 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 http://www.entm.purdue.edu/entomology/ext/targets/e-series/eseriespdf/e-47.pdf . 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monster silver carp caught at Kentucky Lake; big fish may be one of many

A commercial fisherman holds a silver carp, which is much smaller than the monster recently caught at Kentucky Lake.

Bill Schroeder caught a big fish last week at Kentucky Lake. It was more than a big fish. It was a monster...probably a world record.
The 84-year-old Paducah man is a well-known local bass fisherman and was fishing for bass when he foul-hooked what is believed to be a silver carp. Silver carp are among a group of nonnative carp called Asian carp.
Schroeder battled the huge fish for an hour and 45 minutes and it pulled his 20-foot bass boat about three miles. He couldn't get it into the boat and finally had some help to land the fish that weighed in at 106 pounds.
Tom Moodie of Green Turtle Bay Resort on Lake Barkley said the fish battle drew a crowd of onlookers. The huge fish reportedly pulled Schroeder’s boat through the canal between Kentucky and Barkley lakes.
Moodie added that he has fished for Asian carp a number of times, and said they are good eating. However, they are quite boney.
Schroeder’s fish is being checked for weight and to determine if in fact it is a silver carp. If verified, it likely is a state, national and possibly a world record.
The International Game Fish Association lists the world record for silver carp at 70-pounds, eight-ounces, caught by Chongdae Lim in Korea.
In the same Asian carp family are Bighead carp with a 73.5 pound fish caught in 2003 at Reelfoot Lake. A 90-pounder also was reported at Guntersville Lake in 2005, and a 93-pounder reportedly was landed in Iowa about the same time.
According to the Mississippi Fish & Wildlife folks, Asian carp, specifically bighead and silver carp, are nonnative fish invading lakes and rivers in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes regions, and negatively impacting native organisms.      
These fish filter tremendous amounts of small plants and animals (plankton) from the water, thereby reducing the amount of food available to native species. 
Because bighead and silver carp feed on plankton (unlike the bottom-feeding common carp), their meat tastes very mild; it readily absorbs spices and marinades, and is great to use in a classic fish fry. In part because of their mild taste, bighead and silver carp are preferred food fish worldwide. In fact, they are two of the world’s most popular fish in terms of total global production. 
These fish are an excellent source of protein, are generally low in contaminants and taste great. They’re an almost perfect food except for their numerous “Y” bones, but these can be addressed when preparing the fish. 
A number of state fish and wildlife organizations--including Kentucky--are trying to find ways of reducing the numbers of Asian carp, including ways to put them to good use on the table or otherwise.
The Mississippi fish and wildlife websites lists a recipe of world-famous chef Philippe Parola for silver carp he calls Silverfin Cakes. It follows:
1 pound Asian carp fillets  1 T lemon juice 
8 T unsalted butter, melted  2 T bread crumbs 
1 T Dijon mustard   1 cup seasoned flour* 
1 egg, beaten    
4 T vegetable oil 
Poach or steam fillets until fully cooked, then break into pieces and remove all bones. 
Place the meat into a mixing bowl. Add butter, mustard, half the egg and lemon juice; mix well. Add bread crumbs and season to taste. 
Form small cakes with the fish mixture. Coat with remaining egg and seasoned flour. Pan fry in cooking oil over medium-high heat 4–5 minutes or until golden brown.   

Monday, May 25, 2015

Spring gives anglers many choices

Yamaha pro Todd Faircloth fishes stickups during May fishing outing.

Spring brings with it many choices, especially for largemouth bass anglers.
Where to fish? Hovey Lake, Patoka, Forest service Lakes, Oil Creek. of where? Then there are questions of what bait, what tackle, when and more.
The public relations folks at Yamaha frequently prepare fishing information based on interviews with the pro fishermen they sponsor, and a recent release about Todd Faircloth pointed out issues he faces in May on the tournament trail.
Faircloth knows he will find fish in some stage of the spawn practically anywhere on a lake this month and he has to decide which ones he wants to catch.
“It’s a nice problem to have,” laughs Faircloth, a four-time winner in Bassmaster® competition, “and it only happens this time of year. In the upper end of most lakes, the fish will already be in the post-spawn, in the middle of the lake it’s late spawning and probably some post spawn, while in the lower end fish are spawning and possibly even in pre-spawn.
“An angler really has the opportunity to fish in his comfort zone with a choice of lures and presentations, but it doesn’t last very long.”
Faircloth prefers to start his May fishing in the lower end of a lake, concentrating on main lake ridges and humps or perhaps in a deeper creek. To him, this section offers the highest percentage for success because he occasionally finds bass in all three stages of the spawn.
On many lakes, the humps and ridges may be covered with milfoil or hydrilla, so what I’m also looking for are clear spots where there isn’t any vegetation,” explains the Yamaha Pro. “These are kinds of places bass will use for spawning.
“Everything depends on water temperature and water clarity, but no matter what the water temperature may be, I know it will continue to get warmer in May. That means I can usually fish water in the five to eight-foot range, and use soft plastic worms and stickbaits on Carolina or Texas rigs. It’s some of my favorite fishing of the entire year, and it isn’t hard to catch a lot of bass.”
If wind or other weather conditions create unfavorable fishing conditions on the lower end of a lake, Faircloth usually goes in the opposite direction, to the far upper end of the lake. Here, bass can frequently be found on main lake points or by the first deep dropoffs leading out from their spawning flats. These bass, because they’re further into the post-spawn, are often feeding heavily before moving to summer structure.
“It can be a good time to fish a medium-diving crankbait, or possibly a Carolina rig, depending on the mood of the fish,” Faircloth notes, “and if current is present, a plastic imitation shad on a jighead may be an even better lure choice. 
“In current, I look for bass in the calmer eddies where the force of the water is broken and forms a good ambush spot. All I do is cast upstream and let the water wash my lure into those eddies.”
In the middle of the lake, Faircloth expects to find post-spawn bass, but his lure choice here is quite different. He likes to fish topwaters, working noisy popper-type lures around specific targets like shallow brush and logs. He changes to faster walking-type lures or a buzz bait when fishing the larger flats. 
“Overall, the mid-section of a lake can offer some of the most exciting fishing because topwater lures work so well and allow you to cover a lot of water,” Faircloth commented. “In May, the majority of mid-lake bass will have completed 
Now is a great time to be fishing for bass, but don’t forget about bluegill, crappie and others.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring vs. Fall; spring probably is the winner and fall second

Flowering bushes like this one point to a new season.

Spring vs. Fall. It’s a tossup. Which one is the best season?
Spring brings with it a sense of new, a feeling of freshness. Spring flowers are spectacular. Hardy flowers like crocus and daffodils are like me. They can hardly wait till spring. They will poke their buds and blooms through late snows just to give us hope that a new season is arriving.
The birds also announce the arrival of a new season. You can hear it in their song. There is a noticeable, pleasant difference between the aviary spring chorus than the few chirps you hear on a cold, winter morning. In addition there are the new voices of birds making their way back from southern climates.
Grass begins to green (yes, I know that leads to the dreaded mowing). Buds on trees get larger and the turn a brighter red, and suddenly begin to explode into a canopy of green.
It’s time for crappie fishing, and with the coming of the dogwood blossom, catching suckers (fish) on the riffles. It’s also morel mushroom season There is nothing quite as spectacular about the wildflowers in a spring woods. As you begin hunting morels in late March and continue for the next several weeks, it is fun to observe the woods change from winter brown to the spectacular spring colors as different flowers bloom.
On the other hand, fall is a great time of the year. The crisp, cool days of autumn are a welcome relief from summer’s heat. It also is a great time for fishing and spending time in the woods. Catfish gorge themselves in late summer and early fall, and there is no better time to catch a big cat.
As clear, cool weather approaches, Nature’s paint brush goes to work painting a magnificent landscape. The beauty of autumn is unequaled in nature. Spending time on a wooded trail in October is hard to beat. 
Camping is a treat as most of the bugs of late spring and summer have departed. Campfires are not only a joy to watch, they can help repel the evening chill as youngsters toast marshmallows to make smores. (Most everyone is familiar with smores, but just in case you don’t. They are hot, toasted marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate made into a sandwich by two Graham crackers on the outside.)
Fall also means hunting season. As the leaves turn, it is a time for hunting doves, fall turkeys, and scouting for deer. And time should be reserved for gathering nuts and persimmons. It also is a time for wonderful fall festivals with plenty fun things to see and do, and good food.
Spring and fall seasons are a tossup for top billing in my book, but one thing slightly tips the scale to spring. It isn’t a problem with fall, it is what follows. I’m really not a fan of winter. It has some good qualities like the first pretty snow, and a cup of hot cider by the fireplace, however in my book, it just can’t compete with spring and fall.