Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sports shows offer outdoor folks reprieve from winter blahs

        Winter has already been colder, snowier and nastier than all of last year, yet there probably is nearly two months of disagreeable weather ahead.
Sure you can work on organizing your tackle boxes (doesn’t everyone have more than one?}, or read a good book while the snow and wind blow outdoors. Football season is over, so what’s to do? Outdoor sports shows can provide and escape for a few of those days, and be a nice winter break.
Shows also are a good place to plan trips, learn about the latest equipment whether fishing tackle, a boat or a recreational vehicle. Information these days is readily available on the web for computer users, but there is nothing like talking to folks face-to-face about their resort, area, RVs, boats, or other outdoor gear. You can see it and touch up, and probably try it up close and personal.
The 2013 Louisville Boat, RV and Sports Show starts Wednesday of this week and runs through the weekend. More than 100,000 square feet have been added for this year’s show at the state fairgrounds in Louisville in the South Wing and East Hall.
According to a new release from the Louisville Show, now sponsored by Progressive insurance, ”When not shopping, visitors to the show can experience the benefits of the outdoors through a variety of new education and entertainment, including the new Paddle Sports Demo & Try-It Pool, a chance to meet the famous R.J and Jay Paul Molinere of ‘Swamp People,’ and Ron and Amy Shirley of ‘Lizard Lick Towing.’ Visitors also can  take a moment to sit and watch performances on the all-new Trampoline Wall, sharpen hunting and fishing skills at daily seminars, and much more.”
The show opens Wednesday at 5 p.m., and will operate Thursday and Friday from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, it will open at 10 a.m. 
The cost of the show is $10 for adults and youngsters 15 and under are free.
Next month, the big Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show is slated for the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. It will be the 59th year for the show that covers more than 650,000 square feet in six buildings at the facility. It’s a long trek to Indianapolis, but if you love the outdoors, the show is worth the time and effort.
  Acres of boats, RV’s, fishing tackle and hunting gear, outdoor destinations, paddle sports equipment, educational seminars, outdoor celebrities and unique and entertaining attractions combine to form a veritable outdoor supernova, which is difficult to be fully experienced in a single visit.  
When I lived closer, I usually tried to schedule several days. Mid-week visiting is good when possible as crowds are smaller.
The Indy show is scheduled Feb. 15-24. It opens at 10 a.m. on weekends, and at 1 p.m. on Monday. Other weekdays, the doors open at 3 p.m.
Scout Day is slated for Feb. 18. All Scouts in uniform  can climb the rock wall for free as well as fish in the trout pond at no cost.
The fourth annual Quiet Sports Expo also will be part of the sports show. According to information provided by Josh Lantz, “Human-powered adventure activities like, hiking, paddling, mountain biking, rock- 
climbing and fly fishing may leave a small ecological footprint, but are as hard-core as the ever- growing number of enthusiasts who practice them.  
“Sometimes referred to as the quiet sports, these activities are some of the fastest-growing outdoor recreational pursuits.  And in this case, quiet certainly doesn't mean dull or mundane.  
“Let's face it.  Indiana may not be the extreme, eco-adventure capitol of the world, but the Quiet Sports Expo is geared up to alter that perception.  How?  By offering existing and would- be quiet sports devotees an unequaled opportunity to see the latest, cutting edge quiet sports gear and learn from some of the best and most experienced adventure paddlers, backpackers, 
mountaineers and other quiet sports moguls in the world.”  
Both the Louisville and Indy shows offer visitors a chance to escape the blahs of winter and look to a year of outdoor fun.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pro bass angler Alton Jones likes winter fishing; offers techniques

Former Bassmaster Classic champ Alton Jones likes cold weather bass fishing.

Former Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones has some surprising thoughts when it comes to winter bass fishing.
Surprisingly, Jones ranks winter as one of his favorite seasons of the year to catch bass, because he can literally fish top to bottom with two of his favorite lures, surface plugs and deep diving crankbaits. These lures aren’t normally associated with cold weather fishing, but the Yamaha Pro has been catching winter bass with them for years. 
As a young outdoor outdoor writer, I was surprised when some of the biggest largemouth of the year were caught during February and March.
“Bass are not always in extremely deep water during the winter months like a lot of fisherman believe,” explains the veteran angler. “Actually, they can be just about anywhere. Once a lake ‘turns over’ and the thermocline goes away, bass are not as limited to specific areas as they are at other times of the year. 
“That’s one of the reasons winter bass fishing can  be difficult, since the fish have so many location choices, but because winter bass usually gather in extremely large schools you can also have excellent action once you do locate them,”  says Alton in a news release provided by Yamaha.
Jones especially likes to use large topwater lures when he’s fishing clear water on calm, bright winter days. With a surface lure he’s always fishing near or over cover, such as bluff walls, deep brush piles, flooded timber, or subsurface vegetation. 
“I prefer a big walking lure I can fish very slowly around these types of targets,” continues the Yamaha Pro. “Bass may come up 20 feet to hit a topwater lure as long as they can see it, which is why this technique only produces well in clear, calm water. 
I usually walk the lure several feet, then let it sit motionless for 15 to 20 seconds before I move it again. I want bass to have plenty of time to decide to hit it.” 
The bass Jones is targeting are suspended over the cover rather than holding on the very bottom. He makes his casts parallel to long, steep bluff walls, for example, because winter bass often locate just eight or 10 feet deep along the wall, even through the water may be 30 feet deep. The same is true around flooded timber where bass may be suspended just a few feet below the surface even though the water is much deeper. 
“Fishing a topwater lure over submerged vegetation can also be extremely productive,” he adds, “especially later in the day. Bass move up and hold right over the top of the vegetation where they can enjoy the sun, but if they can see the surface, they’ll definitely come up to hit a topwater lure.” 
When he’s fishing different conditions, such as cloudy or windy days, Jones changes from a topwater lure to a deep diving crankbait, and instead of looking for submerged cover, he searches for baitfish, which also gather in large schools during the winter. 
“Typically, shad and other baitfish will move to deeper holes in creek and river channels and even in large coves,” Jones explains, “and you can easily see them with your electronics. Bass usually position 
themselves underneath these balls of shad, and frequently you can see them, too, with your electronics. 
“A deep diving crankbait works well because you can trigger reflex strikes from the bass by running the lure through the baitfish as fast as you can reel it. I’ll make a long cast and reel the lure down, pause just a split second, then reel it fast again. 
Jones has an interesting perspective on fishing and why he fishes. "Fishing provides me with a new opportunity for success on every single cast. My faith in Jesus Christ is the most important aspect of my life. I chase little green fish with brains half the size of my thumbnail, yet they often outsmart me. But I can rely on my faith even when the fish don't cooperate. What a wonderful and sometimes humbling sport!" 

Monday, January 14, 2013

With deer season over, now is good time to hunt buck antler sheds

Hunting for buck deer sheds has become popular for multiple reasons.

Hunting seasons are winding down, and the cold keeps the fishing gear of most anglers in the closet, so what’s a person to do on these midwinter days?
Some weekends there are sports and travel shows. Then you can attempt to organize your tackle boxes, or you can head to the woods to look for shed deer antlers.
Yes, hunting shed antlers is becoming a popular pastime among both deer hunters and non-hunters.
There are several reasons for hunting for the shed antlers. They can provide a nice trophy for a “man cave”, they can provide valuable information for hunts next fall, and they can create winter outdoor fun and exercise. And when hunting for sheds, you may get a good view and perspective of the woods and wildlife you might not see during other times of the year.
Hunters know, but not everyone may be aware that whitetail deer bucks loose their antlers every winter, following the annual rut. 
Bucks grow antlers in the spring for use during the fall mating season. When the antlers begin to develop they are covered with a material often referred to as “velvet”. As the antlers mature, the bucks rub off the “velvet” on trees and bushes.
Once the mating season is over, the bucks no longer need the antlers as weapons against other bucks, and the antlers drop off during a period of several weeks. The timing depends on the location, but in this area, usually takes place sometime in January or February. It can happen earlier or later.
By spring it is unlikely antlers will be found. 
The antlers are composed of calcium, and when they are shed, mice rats and other small animals make quick work of them. They become tasty meals for many forest creatures.
Under normal conditions, bucks grow larger antler racks as they age. If you find a large rack, it indicates a big buck made it through hunting season. It may be a good place to consider locating a deer stand next fall.
Racks usually are found in locations where deer spend considerable time. Bedding and feeding areas, plus heavily traveled trails are good place to search. Places where deer jump at a creek or ravine are spots where sometimes the antlers are shaken loose.
Shed hunting can be fun and informative, and iis kid and family friendly. It is a good time to bundle up the family and head out to your favorite hunting grounds in search of antler sheds.
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NEW YEAR PLANS --  As Hoosiers make plans for a new year, they can take a cue from two Indiana University graduate students and a pair of Sheridan High School teachers.
  Laura Harman and her boyfriend Nathan Haffner, both originally from Fort Wayne, resolved this time last year to visit all 24 state parks in Indiana in 2012. They completed their resolution in late December when they visited Brown County State Park, the last on their list.
  Jesse and Abby Linville, the teachers, visited every state park in 2011 and plan to hit every state forest in 2013.
  Coincidentally, both couples accomplished many of the most common resolutions that Americans set for themselves. They exercised, spent more time with each other, traveled to new places, learned new things and de-stressed.
  Harman and Haffner spent at least a day at each park, hiked and bird-watched, visited nature centers, read interpretive markers, took hundreds of photographs, played basketball and tennis, and camped.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Global warming, cooling or whatever, the snow makes good ice cream

Fresh snow is ideal for making snow ice cream.

Blame it on global warming. Blame it on global cooling. Blame it the Mayans. Whatever, we have had snow this early winter. Depending on your perspective, it can be good or bad.
There’s an old saying, “When life gives you lemons. make lemonade.” I’d suggest, when life gives you snow, make snow ice cream.
When I was a youngster growing up in eastern Illinois. and that first measurable snow arrived, Mom would make a bowl of snow cream. It tasted great, and as I grew to grade school age, I was able to help make the tasty stuff. However, my duties usually related to gathering the white stuff. 
Someone often chuckled and added, “Don’t get any of the yellow snow.” I may not have been very old, but knew they were telling me to get clean snow and avoid any area the dogs used as an outdoor restroom.
Later, when we were fortunate enough to have a refrigerator that had a freezer,but it still was fun to make snow ice cream.
Most of the recipes for snow ice cream are quite simple, but there are a few variations.
The simplest, and the way I recall making it, requires only four ingredients. That is one cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar and four or five cups of clean snow.
Mix together the milk, vanilla, and the sugar. Stir this mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add the snow to your mixture, stirring constantly, until it is as thick as the ice cream. Enjoy.
Some recipes add one beaten egg. That makes it a bit richer. Some call for separating the white and yellow of the egg, beating, and then adding together. Others even call for cooking the egg mixture a bit. And some add a dash of salt.
On the internet, I just read a simple recipe from Paula Deen, the well-known southern TV chef.. Her ingredients are eight cups of snow, one 14-ounce can of sweetened condense milk, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Simply place snow into a large bowl. Pour condensed milk over and add vanilla. Mix to combine. Serve immediately in bowls.
My cousin, Janet wasn’t big on white milk, so she would add other flavorings to the ice cream.
Keeping it simple seems fine to me. 
One of the good things about freezers these days is you can even save some of your snow ice cream and eat it later.
The EPA or some environmental groups probably today say the snow is full of all sorts of toxins, but go for it. Enjoy it. You won’t be eating that much anyway.
Guess, I’m still a kid at heart. I like snow, and would love a bowl of snow ice cream, although today it would have to be with artificial sweetener.