Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pesky ticks can be avoided

It's not too early to be concerned about ticks. In fact, these little pests never go away.
For the most part they are just a pesky nuisance, but caution is in order in dealing with these little nasties.  Taking care of tick bites, and avoiding them, if possible, is important. Some ticks do carry lyme disease, however the presence of ticks shouldn’t keep people from avoiding the outdoors.
There are hundreds of species of ticks, but only a few that really bother people. And of course, those are the ones to be concerned about. Among those one of the most pesky around these parts are called deer ticks. Some people call them turkey ticks, and others call them bear ticks or some unprintable bad word. The deer ticks (what I call them) and their numbers seem to track with deer. 
Some people think the number of ticks expand during a mild winter, and their numbers are reduced by really cold weather. However,  research reveals it is almost impossible to freeze out the tiny pests.
Dick Gadd, president of SCS Limited, a company that specializes in tick and other pest repellent, said in an interview, ticks bore into decaying leaves, and can withstand prolonged periods of subzero cold.
While ticks can lead to bites that itch,  in rare cases they can cause Lyme and other diseases. However, they aren’t a reason to stay indoors when one should be enjoying the outdoors. Prevention is the key -- avoid the bite.
In order for a person to become ill, a person has to be bitten by an infected tick (only a very small percentage of ticks are infected). A little prevention can eliminate the bites.
People usually think of finding ticks in the woods, but in fact they are just as likely to be found in tall grass. Make a special effort to avoid tall grass, and around your home, keep the grass mowed.
The best way to prevent bites, if you plan to enter a grassy or wooded area is to wear a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants. Tuck the shirt in at the waist and the pants tucked into your socks. When in an area with lots of ticks, I use long socks and put a rubber band around them to hold the pant legs in place. I also at times wear hunting pants that have a draw string at the bottom.
It also is important to wear a hat. This will keep ticks from dropping off overhead branches into your hair. Light color for the hat and clothes make it easier to see the tiny nasties.
Repellents are most effective in keeping ticks away from any exposed skin, if you spray the clothes. I use Duranon Tick Repellent, which contains permethrin. Whatever brand you use, the ingredient permethrin is important. It needs to be sprayed on clothing a couple of hours prior to wearing them.
After leaving a grassy or wooded area, you should check for ticks on your clothing or skin. If a tick is attached to your skin, it can be removed with either tweezers or forceps by grasping the insect as close to the skin as possible. Try to move the head of the tick.
Ticks should not be removed with your bare fingers, but if tweezers or forceps are not available, you can use tissue paper or a paper towel to prevent the passing of any possible infection.
I use a tool called a Tick Remover. I keep one hanging on the side of refrigerator along with family pictures, doctor appointment reminders,  and my wife’s “To Do” lists.
SCS Limited has a very good website with information about ticks and other insect pests, how to prevent them, and much more. The site is:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ah, spring; ah, morel mushrooms

Black morels usually are the first to appear. They can be tough to see, but are good to eat.

        It's been a tough winter, but with spring finally on the horizon, thoughts change from shoveling snow and salting ice, to catching crappie and hunting for morel mushrooms.
Black morels should be making their way through deep woods leaves in the near future. I have found them as early as the last week in March, but that is rare. Early April usually marks their arrival.
A quick look on the internet indicated  a few black and small gray morels were found March 11 in Georgia. As the weather warms finds begin to move north, and will continue till late spring in the northwoods of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Dedicated mushroom hunters (shoomers) follow these tasty fungi all the way to the northern border. Many find plenty to sell to folks who don't want to, or can't, venture into the woods distant from home. 
Two keys to a good spring morel season are moisture and warm weather. We've had the moisture this winter, now for the warmth. My friend Doyle Coultas also believes a snowy winter also is benfeficial to spring mushroom finds.
The early black morels, also called “hickory chickens” and by probably a dozen other local names, are the first to appear. 
The blacks are usually found in heavy wooded areas, and are first found on the south or southeastern side of hills where the early spring sun strikes first. It won’t take too many sunny days and it will be worth a trip to the woods to see if any blacks just might have popped through the leaves.
The blacks are  followed (and overlapped) with the long stem variety, then the white morels and the big yellow sponges. There usually is three weeks or so of good hunting.
While hunting morels, it also is a good opportunity to scout for wild turkeys and find good hunting sports for the season that opens in Indiana April 22 and runs through May 10.
It’s also fun to enjoy a combination day of mushroom hunting and crappie fishing. If successful, it 
Word of caution -- Don’t eat any mushroom you aren’t sure is safe. The morels are wonderful eating; however, some other types of fungi are poisonous. There are numerous books and internet websites which identify the edible mushrooms. 
There are many types of mushrooms; however, I concentrate on the morels. They are the ones I know best, and I feel confident picking and eating them.
The mushroom books are good, but I highly recommend first time hunters try to get out with an experienced “shroomer” as the hard-core hunters call themselves. An experienced hunter not only teach you to identify the morels, he or she also can provide tips on how and where to find them.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bass pro Jordon keeps spoons handy

Photo courtesy Yamaha
Spoons can be successful in catching northern pike, lake trout, and muskies, however Yamaha pro angler Kelly Jordon also uses them for largemouth bass.

Spoons have produced northern pike and lake trout for this old scribe for years in Canada, but I never gave much thought or effort to using them for bass in the Midwest.
True, I have caught several bass on a Johnson Silver Minnow over the years, but that is the extent of my spoon success stateside. So, a recent news release from Yamaha was of considerable interest. It is worth sharing.
“If you caught 15 bass, each weighing between four and six pounds, on the first 15 casts you ever made with a new lure, wouldn’t that lure become one of your all-time favorites? Of course it would, which is exactly what happened to Yamaha Pro Kelly Jordon several years ago when he decided to tie on a big flutter spoon one afternoon at Lake Fork. Ever since that day, Jordon has kept a box full of spoons in his boat and ready to use, regardless of the time of year.
“I had known about the big six-inch flutter spoons for some time, because they’re made right at Lake Fork by a friend who had designed some special spinnerbaits for me,” admits Jordon, “but I just never had considered using them. Then, when I found a school of bass suspended about 25 feet deep off an old sunken bridge and didn’t have any other lures I could use efficiently at that depth, I put one on.
“On my first cast, I counted it down to what I thought would be the right depth, jerked it once, and a six-pound bass just slammed it. I caught a four-pounder the next cast, and that’s how it started. I caught 15 bass on my first 15 casts before I lost one.”
The Yamaha Pro believes the 1 1/2-ounce lures trigger strikes because they imitate a shad either dying or being chased by another bass, since they can be retrieved to flutter erratically up and down throughout the water column. Jordon has caught fish on them from 10 feet down to about 50 feet, but knows other anglers who’ve caught bass as deep as 80 feet with the big spoons.
“The winter months are a good time to use big spoons because they do work so well in deep water,” says Jordon, “especially when the fish are very close to the bottom. I like to make a cast, let the spoon sink completely to the bottom, then hop it lightly. I do this with my rod tip and only hop the lure six to 12 inches up above the bottom at a time, and after two or three hops, I’ll just let the spoon lie motionless. 
“I have actually had bass pick up my spoon when it is lying on the bottom, but not often. Most strikes come either as the spoon begins its upward movement, or when it’s falling.”
If he locates bass suspended five or six feet above the bottom, Jordon will still begin by making short bottom hops with the spoon, but then he’ll suddenly rip the lure up through the fish and let it fall again. When fish are suspended even higher, he’ll cast beyond them, let the spoon sink, then begin swimming it back, sometimes reeling really fast, then stopping so the spoon sinks. Because of the way they are designed, these lures flutter as they’re falling, too.
“These big spoons are not effective around vegetation because the dangling treble hook does get snagged, but they’re excellent winter choices around deeper structure like ledges and breaklines, humps and high spots, and certainly along sunken roadbeds and old bridges. If they do snag, you can usually jiggle them free because they’re so heavy.
Yes, this old scribe, now also keeps several spoons in my tackle box.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Surely winter will end; then turkey season soon will arrive

Surely this tough winter will come to an end soon. Hopefully, an abrupt end, and then on to spring. Ah, yes, morel mushrooms, crappie, and turkey season.
Turkey season will arrive soon, and before the season opener, scouting should be on a hunter’s agenda.
While it might not be the best time to be trekking through the woods searching for turkeys, keep your eyes open while on a later winter hike, or when you're driving around territory close to your favorite hunting spots suggests the National Wild Turkey Federation. 
The late winter flocks that you see will break apart in the spring, but it's a good way to learn what birds are in your area and give you a starting point for on-the-ground scouting in early spring.
Indiana’s youth turkey hunting weekend is April 18-19, and the regular season is April 22 to May 10.
Kentucky’s youth hunting weekend is just a month away on April 4-5. The regular spring turkey season is April 18 to May 10.
Besides scouting for birds and preparing gear for hunting trips, one should think about their health.
According to the NWTF, hunters spend months and sometimes years planning their dream trips, all the while never thinking about the physical excursions the hunt might require. Poor fitness and undiagnosed health problems can combine into a disaster. 
The NWTF suggests a visit to your doctor to ensure you're healthy enough for the trip, and then start training. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise, and is often required when pursuing wild turkeys. 
I used to start my turkey season with hunts with my friend Carl Hunter in the hills near Lake of the Ozarks. Carl, a retired track coach, was kind and waited for me to huff and puff up some of the hills.
It may be too late to get into top shape for the upcoming season, but some walking can help prepare a hunter for the woods.