Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chad Smith travels the country to fishing tourneys, but does't fish; he keeps Yamaha motors running

Chad Smith loves to hunt and fish, but when he travels to fishing tournaments, he doesn't fish. He makes sure competitors are on the water.

        Chad Smith has been traveling the country to fishing tournaments for nearly 20 years. He travels 35,000 miles or more a year to be with the top national anglers, but Smith isn’t there to fish. He’s there to make sure their Yamaha outboard boat motors are working well.
More than a decade ago, I met Chad, who was headed out on the bass tournament trail with a new mobile workshop, and then our paths crossed again a few weeks ago at Indiana’s Lake Monroe.
He criss-crosses the county pulling a 36-foot trailer stocked with tools and parts, and is ready for any Yamaha motor breakdown during the highly competitive fishing tournaments.  Originally, he traveled the pro bass circuit, but now he and two other mechanics also follow walleye and other fishing trails as well as supportand college fishing events.
“They joke about me,” says Chad. “They call me the Maytag man because there are so few problems with the Yamaha motors...seventy-five percent of the problems are self-inflicted impact damage.” He explained that most problems are is caused by competitors hitting stumps, rocks or some other structure.
“When you are a tournament fisherman, you have to fish in all kinds of weather. That’s when most of the damage occurs. They may fish in three-foot waves, in the rain, and in conditions where there is poor visibility,” he added.
His number one priority is keeping the anglers using Yamaha engines in action, but from time-to-time will help other anglers, if time permits.
He said he carries spare parts for Yamaha’s larger outboard engines, and nearly all the engines he services still are within warranty period, so most repair costs are absorbed by the company.
The back end of the trailer opens into a complete workshop. It has a hoist to pull a motor and move it inside for repair work, if necessary. He carries everything needed to completely rebuild a motor.
He arrives at the tournament site early, and stays until everyone is off the water the final day, and then it is on to the next tournament. Most repairs he makes are minor and take only about five minutes. “If I have to change a gear case and a prop, it takes about 15 minutes,” he said.
When ask which group of anglers maintains their engines best, he is quick to acknowledge the saltwater tournament fishermen.  “You have to maintain them well if you fish saltwater, if you go 50 miles off shore. It’s not like the freshwater guys who can go to the bank, and call someone to bring their trailer.”
He said the two most important factors about engines and saltwater is to maintain them well, and flush them regularly. However, he says simple maintenance is important for all boaters whether tournament anglers to or just folks who like to fish and boat.
“When a family arrives at a boat ramp and the engine won’t start, the kids are broken hearted,” said Chad. A few things can make a big difference in keeping a boat operational, according to Chad.: They include: keeping battery terminals clean, the battery charged, oil changed, parts lubricated, and clean fuel filters.
The biggest change in engine problems--or lack thereof, he has seen is the improvement brought about by four-stroke engine technology. There is much less maintenance, and today most diagnostic work is done on engines with a laptop computer.
Smith enjoys the tournament trail, but really appreciates his time at home with family. And when not on the road, he also loves to hunt and fish when he has the opportunity

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cedar Valley Bluegrass Festival slated for July 5-7 just west of Derby, IN

        I'm a bluegrass junkie. I love the music. I love the atmosphere. It's just good listening and fun.
        Again this year, Dennis Howell is hosting the Cedar Valley Festival. A release I wrote for Dennis follows. Sure hope to make it there on Saturday.
        Cedar Valley again will host a three-day bluegrass festival July 5-7 in the shaded woods three miles west of the Ohio River.
Among the top bands featured at the event will be Karl Shifflet and Big Country Show, and Tommy Brown and County Line Grass.
Other bands scheduled include: Cowan Creek, Kings Highway, Don Stanley and Middle Creek, plus Blue Lonesome.
According to the group’s website, Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show is best known for their highly entertaining “retro” stage show. It captures - quite winningly- the irrepressible bounce and down-home, audience pleasing, good-naturedness of classic country & bluegrass acts of the 1940’s and 50’s. 
Hailing from Texas, a state with a rich musical heritage, they have managed to insert their own unique perspective, cultivating a sound that has brought them acclaim as one of the most identifiable and recognizable names in bluegrass music.
With family roots traced to Bill Monroe's home place of Ohio County, Kentucky, Tommy Brown cut his teeth, so to speak, on classic traditional bluegrass. A third generation musician, Tommy began pickin' the five-string banjo at age six. His musical abilities were recognized when he garnered both the Kentucky State and the Tennessee State Banjo Championships. In addition to banjo, Tommy is a masterful guitar and mandolin player. 
The Cedar Valley Festival was started by Dennis Howell in 1993, and in recent years, he has partnered with Mark Hargis of bluegrass group Kings Highway.
The festival will open July 5 with an open stage for both individuals and bands. Shows begin Friday evening and will continue throughout the day and evening on Saturday.
Tommy Brown and Kings Highway will play both nights. Cowan Creek is scheduled to play only Friday, while Don Stanley and Carl Shifflet will plan on only Saturday.
Camping is available and visitors should bring their own chairs. Food service will be available.
For more information on the festival, call 812-836-2311 or 270-314-3399, or visit the festival’s website at:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Chair sticks to old man's posterior; blame the bugs, not the donuts

Photo by Phil Junker
Poplar tree scale disease results from insects which secrete a sticky, sugary substance. It's not sap. It.s bug "poop".

An old green lawn chair sits at the end of my lot on the bank of the lake. It is located beneath a couple of poplar trees. 
I often slip down to the chair with a container of worms and try my luck for bluegill. Sometimes my grandkids accompany me. The gills usually cooperate.
Several times when I had been in the area late in the afternoon, I noticed the grass looked like it was wet. But with the hot dry weather that didn’t seem possible, but I didn’t give it much thought.
A few days ago, wearing swim trunks and a tee shirt, I headed for my chair with worms and a rod and reel in hand. I noticed the chair looked a bit damp, but the old man (me) ignored it. That is until I started to get up and head for the house after catching a half dozen bluegill.
Opps! As I stood up the chair came with me. It was stuck to my large posterior. No, it wasn’t too large for the chair. The chair was stuck to my swim trunks. Well, I started to pull the chair from the trunks and down started the trunks. Glad no one was around or I probably would have been posted on You Tube, or maybe America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Once the swim trunks were pulled from the chair, it was obvious further investigation was in order. It was sticky everywhere under the poplar trees, and the leaves seemed to be shinny with “goo”.
In all my years wandering in the woods, I had never seen anything quite like it.
Arriving in the house, I first removed the trunks and my wife, Phyllis instructed me to put some spray stuff she uses before placing them in the laundry basket. Next, I headed for the computer to post a query on Facebook.
Within a couple of minutes, my grandson, Denver sent me a note as did a fellow from Canada, explaining it is a common problem with poplars with what is called tulip tree scale insects. According to Denver, it is especially bad this year because of the warm winter and dry spring. Apparently, Denver learned about the poplar scale insect problem from a Boy Scout outing.
According to Garden, the tulip tree scale (insect) sucks the tree's sap and is especially harmful to saplings. Even in mature trees, the scales are a nuisance. They secrete a sticky, sugary substance that attracts ants and wasps, which can exacerbate the scale damage with the harm they themselves do. Additionally, this sugary mix generally leads to mold growth that can damage the tulip tree's leaves and twigs.
But, it said nothing about sticking to your swim trunks and tee shirt.
The poplar is the state tree of Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.
I since have learned numerous friends have had similar problems with the insects and sticky goo in the past, but not the the extent of this year. Now, I note my neighbor’s poplars also are infected. Just seems to be the poplars.
Several sources have suggested spraying the trunk of three and any limbs I can reach with a systemic insect control chemical. Anyone have any specific suggestions of a brand to use? It also has been suggested to use a dormant oil spray in early spring.
Guess, I’ll have to cover the old chair with newspapers the next time I head down to bother the bluegill.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Outdoors help glue marriage

Well, we made it. Wife, Phyllis and I now have been married 50 years. It hardly seems I’m 50 years old. Maybe, I was born married.
Anyway, according to the calendar and official records, we were married 50 years June 9. Today, I consider that an accomplishment of which to be proud, but must acknowledge some luck. I found a country girl, who would put up with a stubborn writer nerd.
Both of us love the outdoors, and I’m convinced that has to be a major contributing factor to hitting the half-century married mark.
On a Friday, Phyllis and I were at my cousin’s wedding. On Saturday, Phyllis and I were married and headed to Lake Shafer for our 12-hour honeymoon. The next day, we drove to Indiana State for my graduation, and Monday morning I started a new job as a police and city hall reporter for the Terre Haute Tribune.
A couple months later, we managed a long-weekend honeymoon, this time to Lake Michigan and Chicago.
We have always camped, fished and enjoyed the outdoors together. We took our son, Erik tent camping before he was a month old.
However, about half of our anniversaries have been spent apart. For 25 or so years, I spent our anniversary with my fishing buddies on trips to Aerobus Lake in northwest Ontario. There were exceptions, on the anniversaries that ended in a zero or five, I had to be with Phyllis. The guys were kind enough to postpone the annual trip a week or two.
One year when we still lived on our small farm, we headed out for an anniversary dinner only to find that our cows had found a hole in the fence and were on the gravel road. We spent most of the evening with a roundup and repairing fence.
On our 25th, Phyllis announced we couldn’t go out to eat until her Putnam County 4-H Council meeting ended. There was important business on the agenda. Yeah, it lasted to 10 p.m., and the only thing open was serving burgers. But, I do remember it.
A couple months later and after my return from Canada, we took an anniversary trip to Ontario and stayed a week at Timber Point Camp at Lake Aerobus. Phyllis loved the beauty of the place, and enjoyed trolling for and catching lake trout after dinner.
Unfortunately, midweek she developed a sinus infection and we made a two-hour trip to the nearest and only doctor in Ear Falls. He wasn’t there for the appointment when we arrived. He had an emergency and had been flown into the bush to set broken leg.
When he returned, I went into his office with Phyllis. He checked her and provided medication. The wall behind his desk was covered with lures.
“Do, you collect lures?” I inquired. 
“No, they all have been removed from fishermen, and I keep them as part of my payment,” he responded.
Phyllis recovered quickly. We managed to catch more trout before our return trip south.
This year, I just wanted to slip off with my bride of 50 years to a small cabin somewhere to watch a few sunsets over a lake, and a dinner or two of walleye. But our kids decided otherwise and slated an informal get together of family and friends. Must admit it was wonderful, especially seeing people we hadn’t seen in some cases for many years.
Now soon, we plan another trip north in search of that cabin and a plate of walleye.
So, if you have found a potential new companion, it would be good to determine if he or she is outdoor compatible, but don’t try to teach them to fly fish on a first date.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Indiana black bass regs don't impact Ohio River tournaments

New Indiana black bass regulations exempt most streams in counties adjacent to the Ohio River.

New Indiana black bass fishing rules took effect the last week in May, and fortunately reasoned ruled with Department of Natural Resources officials, who heard the voices of Southern Indiana people about the potential negative impact the new regs would have had on the area.
The intent of the rule changes is to provide increased protection for black bass ( which includes numerous bass, including both largemouth and smallmouth) in certain rivers and streams in the state. However, southern Indiana streams, which empty into the Ohio River are exempt, including Perry, Spencer and Posey counties. 
If these streams had not been exempted, it would have effectively eliminated bass tournaments at places like Rocky Point and others along the river.
Aside from the southern exceptions, a person catching black bass (smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass) from a river or stream in Indiana may keep only those fish that are under 12 inches or over 15 inches long. The daily bag limit for black bass is five fish singly or in aggregate, which means the catch limit may include any combination of the three bass species. No more than two can be over 15 inches.
The apparent initial thrust of the regs was developed to protect and enhance the state’s smallmouth fishery.
  The exceptions are:
–Rivers and streams in counties bordering the Ohio River still have a 12-inch minimum size limit, with an aggregate bag limit of five black bass. Those counties are Clark, Crawford, Dearborn, Floyd, Harrison, Jefferson, Ohio, Perry, Posey, Spencer, Switzerland, Vanderburgh and Warrick.
  –The Blue River in Crawford, Harrison and Washington counties still has a 12- to 15-inch slot limit and an aggregate bag limit of five black bass, with no more than two being more than 15 inches.
  –The minimum size limit on the Ohio River main stem (not bays and tributaries) remains at 12 inches for black bass, with a daily bag limit of six.
  Indiana DNR officials said the changes are in response to public concerns regarding harvest pressure on smallmouth bass that were expressed during the Indiana Natural Resources Commission’s comprehensive rule enhancement project.
  The Natural Resources Council Advisory Council, Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable, fishing groups and individual anglers supported a rule change to further restrict the taking of black bass, especially smallmouth, to potentially provide a larger number of bass for anglers in the future. The protection for black bass that are 12- to 15-inches long is intended to limit harvest of these fish when they have the highest reproductive potential.
Numerous individual anglers and groups pointed out the concern of bass tournament anglers who regularly fish tournaments as well as individuals who regularly fish the Ohio River and its embayments. Among other factors, they pointed our the economic impact they bring to to river counties, plus the fact that most of exempt streams contain few smallmouth.
  The new rule does not affect existing regulations on lakes or reservoirs (including Lake Michigan), where black bass must be at least 14 inches long to be kept.