Friday, December 14, 2012

Epic Bachelor Party Ideas

My friend is getting married next spring and my other friend and I are in charge of planning the bachelor party.  Tonight I am driving down to Oklahoma City to come up with a date and ideas for the bachelor party. 

This will be one of the last of my close friends to get married, for the first time, so we are wanting to do something epic.  We are going to try to plan a long weekend trip.

My friend doesn't drink so a 3 day bender is out of the question.

We are thinking that a trip somewhere to do something is what is in order.  But what, and where?

The few ideas we have tossed around so far is driving down to the Gulf in Texas and get a charter to go fishing.  Most of us love to fish and none of us have been fishing in the Ocean.  It will be warmer there in February/March.

We are also considered going to colorado and renting a cabin or condo to go skiing.  We would prefer to go fly fishing but at that time of the year it will be more sensable to go skiing.

There is also an option to get a cabin closer to us, but at that time of year there is not much that I can think of for us to do.  A couple years ago we rented a cabin and a boat at Lake of the Ozarks and had a great time boating and swimming.  This will be a little early in the year for that.  We are looking at doing something that will be as appealing as that was.

Vegas is a traditional big bachelor party experience, and I know several of us want to go there anyway, but the cost may be too high for some of our friends.  We could see about staying at a closer hotel and casino in Oklahoma or Kansas.

The three of us will be together this weekend.  We seem to always come up with new and exciting ideas when we are together.  Who knows when or where we will end up.  I guarantee you, it will be epic.

If you can think of any epic bachelor party ideas leave a comment. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thinking About Selling My Boat

The area I live in is pretty poor for fishing or boating.  Both of the larger lakes within an hour and a half drive are way low, to the point you cannot get a boat on them this fall.  The smaller lakes and ponds are really low as well. 

I was only able to get my boat out on 2 occasion's this last year.  I'm starting to wonder if it is worth having a boat here. 

It has crossed my mind to take my boat up north to Dad's or down South to Oklahoma City.  Both are quite a ways away though.  I bought a camper and would love to be able to go camping and fishing this spring and summer, but there is nowhere close to do that.  It's at least a 2 1/2 hour drive to get to anywhere that has enough water.

Dad is thinking of buying a pontoon for when we go up there to fish and camp with them so I won't need my boat up there anyway. 

Really, a smaller boat that I can throw on top of the explorer would be more of what I need around here unless Canton lake fills up this spring.  I'm tired of paying 100's of dollars every year, to keep a boat, hoping that Canton will be usable. 

We just aren't getting any moisture to keep the few lakes we have full.

I decided that I am not going to be fishing the BFL's this year so I can do some more camping with my family.  It would be great to have my boat when we do that, but then we need a second pulling vehicle.  The cost of that is also driving me to think of selling.

It may be time to sell my boat.  Maybe things will change by spring.  If not, I will haul my boat up North to my parents to sell it.  They live around a lot of good fishing and I think I could get more money out of it and a quicker sell.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Deer Jerky

Living out in the middle of nowhere, I stock up on a lot of food when we do go shopping with the exception of meat.  I usually have a freezer full of meat.  There is always a decent supply of fish and deer meat.  I have never been deer hunting to shoot a deer, but I usually get a deer from somebody that wants to go out hunting but does not want to clean the deer.  We get some beef from different people that are butchering a cow and need to clean out their old stock. 

Needless to say, I end up with a good amount of meat and some of it needs to be used up pretty quickly.  I have found a way to quickly use up my old meat so it does not go to waste.  I can either grind it up into burger, or turn it into jerky.

This weekend I opted for the latter and made 2 batches of jerky.  I started the first batch Friday night.  I grabbed an old roast we had just gotten from somebody.  I sliced it up and trimmed off the fat.  I then placed it into one of my favorite jerky marinades that consists of water, viniger, salsa, oyster sauce, liquid smoke, season salt, barbecue seasoning, garlic salt, chili powder, onion powder, and pepper.  I add a lot of seasonings and salts. 

That night I had dreams about tasting the jerky.  The next morning I put the strips on the dehydrator and let it do it's job.  A few hours later the jerky was done and it was great.  That night, I sliced up a hind quarter of a deer to do the same thing.  This time I let it marinade for a couple days.  Last night I made 2 batches out of the hind quarter.  It was not quite as flavorful as the beef since I had sliced it a little thicker, but it still got the nod of approval from my 6 year old. 

He had gotten into the beef jerky the other night and ate a whole zip lock bag full.  I had shared a lot of it with other people and had not gotten to eat a lot myself, so I was a little dissapointed because it was really good.  Last night when I went to put the meat on the dehydrator I realized I had not taken the beef jerky off one of the racks.  I still had a zip lock bag of beef jerky.  I hid it from the kids.  They can munch on the deer jerky.

I have another hind quarter to cut up tonight that my brother in law gave me to make into jerky, as long as he gets some. 

Another reason I started this jerky making marathon is to clean out some larger meat out of the freezer to make room for another deer.  Dad's neighbor has a tag to fill and does not want to clean the deer so he is going to shoot one, tag it, and give it to me.  As soon as he shoots it, I will make a trip up North to skin it, process it and bring it back.  A deer is definately worth 8 hours of drive time.

Since I shared the jerky with others, some of them are asking me if I want more meat to turn into jerky.  Who am I to say no? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Gun Itch

It's been about a year since I purchased my 9mm.  Now I'm getting the itch to purchase a new gun.  Right now I'm not sure what I want.  I will be looking for something in the 350.00 or less range. 

A shotgun would be very useful.  I would want a side by side or an over under if I do that.  It would also have to be a slightly older gun.  I like the detailing in the wood and the look of older guns.

I am also interested in a rifle.  There's not any size or style in particular.  I already have a .22 but if I found the right one I would even buy another of those.  If I get a .22 it would be a cool looking lever action or a pump action.  I do want a wood stock and not a synthetic stock.  It may or may not be used for hunting. 

My third option would be a bow for deer hunting.  I haven't looked into this too much.  There are a lot of options out there now and all of the bows I have looked at look like toys compared to the bows I used to use up to '97.  I'm sure any of them would be better than what I used then.

The purchase will not be this year unless I find an individual close that is selling. 

Right now I'm in saving mode to pay of the last of my debt.  Once I have my truck paid off then I will think about purchasing something after I have saved for it.  At that time I may start looking at spending a little more and purchasing something special. 

Last weekend I went pheasant hunting with Dad in Northwest Kansas.  I didn't even get to fire a shot through his new 12 guage as we didn't see a pheasant after walking through about 6 miles of fields.  I did see a lot of big bucks, coyotes and a bobcat.

Having a gun in my hands felt good.  I was hoping that Dad would let me carry the Ithaca side by side I bought him, but he apparently likes that one too.  It got me to thinking that I need to get more of my own guns.

A few years ago I was content to not have a gun in the house.  I left all my guns at Dad's.  Now, I would like to have a few more guns of the bigger variety to play around with.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Year Off

There is still time left, but I think that I am not going to fish tournaments next year.

There are a few reasons, but one really important reason.  The baby.  It is also expensive for me to travel as far as I do to fish as a co-angler.  A lot of the time I book hotels, eat out, drive around, etc. 

I also want to spend more time outdoors with my family.  I only took my boys out fishing a few times this year.  That's unacceptable.  I should be taking them out as much as they want to go when I have the time to go.  With the purchase of the camper we should have more opportunities to go out.  We won't have to worry as much about the wind, the heat and the rain.  If we ever get any of that rain stuff. 

I won't have to take time off work for tournaments, I can use my time off for a family vacation.

I will miss tournament fishing and the chance to to win something for doing something I love.  Maybe next year I'll jump back into it. 

I have been considering doing 1 big tournament next year.  Maybe a Stren Series tournament. 

This is just the beginning of winter and I can always change my mind.  Right now I'm leaning towards a year off. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


No fishing for me. It seems that if I am not in a tournament I don't get to go fishing anymore. It doesn't help that the closest lake is over an hour away and the water is too low to put a boat in. Even if I could there are islands that are right beneath the surface all over the lake. The islands make the lake a wonderful place to fish when the water is up but when it's down it seems to be really dangerous. I still want to get my boat out 1 more time this year to try to burn as much gas off as I can. Even with gas treatment I hate to have gas sitting in the boat over the winter. It will be getting really cold really soon so I need to act quickly. This weekend I need to go shopping for Thanksgiving. I will be out of town next weekend for Thanksgiving. The following weekend the water may be frozen! Is it time to go ahead and winterize the boat, or should I heat the garage? We have had a great fall and I have not gotten to take advantage of it. In February I will be having a baby. It may be time to sell the boat. Na! How will I get out of the house if I do that? I am thinking of taking a break from tournaments next year. That is a hard decision as that is when I get most of my fishing in. On the other hand it will be hard for my wife to watch 3 kids. Maybe we can camp with our new popup a little next year if I don't have tournaments every month. It comes down to me being the father I want to be or the fisherman I want to be and right now my kids are winning. If I don't fish the BFL next year maybe I could fish 1 bigger 3 day tournament. I will have to do some thinking the next couple months. I really love fishing tournaments.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 2 Red River BFL Regional

I woke up for day 2 around 4:00.  The bed was extremely comfortable and I did not want to get out of up.  It was chilly outside, around 42 degrees.

I loaded up everything out of the room and took off for the launch ramp to meet up with my partner.  We were both there really early, considering we were in the last flight.  It was nice to get out on the water before the rest of the competition arrived.  I would much rather sit out on the water and have the truck parked, than wait forever in a line then fight for a parking spot.

My partner for day 2 was a ways back after day 1 too, so he said we were going to swing for the fences and fish all day for bigger bass.  We punched mats of hyacinths and flipped reeds.  It was a slow tedious process and by noon I still had not had a bite, besides a few short fish I caught doing something else every once in a while.

My partner had 3 decent sized bass so I knew we were in the right area.  He even set the hook one time and had hooked an alligator.  The gator was covered with grass so my boater didn't see what he had.  He still thought he had the tournament winning bass.  I said, "Don't reach your hand down there, that's a gator."  He saw his tail then.  My partner then said, "I'm getting my hook back."  He got it back.  I'm just glad he did with the gator outside the boat.

With no previous experience punching, I wasn't having any luck.  I decided to try something a little different than my partner was doing.  I grabbed a heavy shaky head and flipped it into the reeds.  Quite a few flips later I saw my line move a little and I set the hook.  I had my first keeper around 12:30. 

Over the next couple hours I ended up catching 3 more keepers this way.  My partner hadn't caught any during this time.   He did hook into big snakehead and thought he had the tournament winning fish again, but was disappointed as he swung the fish towards the boat.  All of my fish were a little smaller around 13 to 14 inches.  We were starting to put a good pattern together but were running out of time.

My partner got his final 2 fish, then I saw my line move.  I set the hook.  Snap.  The fish didn't move towards me much like the others had when I set the hook.  That was with 30 minutes left in the tournament.  We had to make a run back towards the ramp then.

I had timed the ride out, so I knew we would have a few minutes to fish a little closer to the ramp.  He pulled off to some rocks that he said he knew some keepers were at.  He caught one and was able to cull a little.  Then I felt the tap tap and set the hook.  Snap.  I was really snapping the rod back but my line should not be breaking from that. 

We pulled into weigh in with 1 minute remaining.  We were the last boat to arrive.  My partner really wanted me to get that last bass.  I weighed in my 4 fish for 4 pounds 15 oz. to finish 77th place overall.  There were 143 boats so I finished smack in the middle of the pack.

I drew 2 of the best partners for fishing this trip.  I had a lot of fun fishing with them.  They showed me some new ways to fish, made sure I was able to cast to some good spots, and were super nice guys.  I hope I run into them again some day.

I took off for home after the tournament and drove a different route so I could bypass Dallas.  That evening I left Louisiana, drove through Arkansas, Texas and got half way through Oklahoma.  I almost hit a deer at 80 mph on turnpike.  That scared the  heeby jeebies out of me so I stopped a the first hotel I saw and got a room for the night after being up for 20 hours and driving for 7.

The next day I had 4 hours drive to get the rest of the way home.  That section is a drive I make often so it seemed like another 7 hours.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First Day of Red River Regional

It was a long drive down to Louisiana but it I have been having a fun trip.  I drove close to Dallas after leaving Oklahoma city.  It is one of my top 3 worst cities I have ever driven in, New York being first, and Chicago second. 

I didn't even make it into Dallas so it could move up the list. 

Besides Dallas the rest of the ride went pretty smooth.  Once I got into Louisiana I realized I was about out of gas.  That headwind was draining the gas.  I drove for about an hour before I found a gas station.  It was a really neat General Store that had an amazing food section.  There was so much food piled up in the glass case.  I filled up and realized I had really pushed it to the limit this time.

Once I got to Nachitoches, I located the Events Center and Registered for the tournament.  Then I came back to check into the hotel before going back to the meeting.

This morning I got up and the wind had died.  It was dead calm and warmer than I thought it would be. 

We fished hard all day and I caught a lot of bass.  Too bad most of them were slightly short.  I ended up with 3 12" keepers that weighed a whopping 3 pounds even.  One of them coughed up a couple oz. shad in the livewell. 

Most of the competition caught 4 or 5 keepers, big fish were hard to come by today so I am not too far back even though I am in 106th place.  I will still need a big stringer tomorrow to get in the money cut.

I think we figured some things out at the end of the day that should help me tomorrow.  I have a little reorganizing to do then I'm going to bed. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On my way to Louisiana

I'm on my way down to Louisiana to fish the Red River BFL Regional tournament.  I'm really excited to be fishing the Red River after so many big tournaments have went on there the last few years. 

It's exciting to have a chance to fish for a boat and a chance at making the All American.  They say you can't win it on the first day but you can lose it.  I'm going to try to get a limit of fish so I am in contention on the second day. 

I can feel the bass on the end of my line now.  I love bass fishing this time of year.  It seems like I have always been better in the fall. 

After the Super tournament I talked to a guy that gave me some pointers on the Red River on what to have tackle wise.  That will give me a starting point. 

I have traveled 3 hours so far and stayed with a buddy in Oklahoma City.  Tomorrow I will make the remaining 8 hour drive and go to the pre-tournament meeting. 

My wife and kids were going to come with me but she has been out of town a lot with work lately and had to catch up at the office.  I was really looking forward to having them along.  It would be nice to have someone to go the restaurants with me.  Maybe I can get some of the tournament guys to go out.  I guess now I can concentrate on the fishing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Camping Trip - High Temp 36 Degrees

Gavin's keeper.  The last one of the day.  He wasn't letting this one go.
I called Dad last week to see what they were doing for the weekend.  The boys have been amped to fish since we got back from Grand Lake, so I thought I would drive up to my parents and hit some ponds and small lakes with them and Dad.  Dad had other plans.  He was wanting to camp. 

We watched the weather and the forecast became more bleak as the week went on.  On Friday it was snowing up there.  It's not winter and there isn't ice on the lakes yet so we went camping.

It was cold.  Two layers of coats cold.  I bundled up in my coveralls, coat and multiple shirts and was ok.  I couldn't move my limbs due to such bundling but I wasn't frozen cold.

It was after dark on Friday by the time I reached the lake.  Mom and Dad had a fire going so we sat around that and talked for a while before we were all too cold to stand outside any longer.  We went into the heated 5th wheel and got some sleep.

The next morning we were not in too big of a rush to get out onto the lake.  It didn't look like anybody was.  There were about 4 boats on the water through the whole day.  We started out over a fish attractor and tried to catch some crappie.  We saw 1 caught in a boat next to us and that got us all jacked.  I slowly lifted my rod tip to raise the jig off the bottom then let it sink back down, repeating the motion over and over.  I had a few light taps but never had one take it.  Then I get a tap.  I lift the rod tip and the battle is on.  I feel the fishes head jerk from side to side.  I realize it's not a crappie.  That feeling is all to familiar.  Then I see the shiny sides and the ugly mouth and my thoughts are confirmed.  It's a drum.

We trolled some after that and Dad caught a white bass.  Nothing was biting in the deep water.  Everybody was starting to get chilled and hungry so we went in for lunch.  With no vehicles at the launch ramp we just tied up to the boat dock and walked to the camper. 

Again, nobody was in a hurry to go back out.  Dad snuck down to try fishing off the rocks for a shallow crappie.  I saw him catching fish after fish so I went down.  He was catching a white bass on every cast.  We both started catching them.  Then just like that they were done.  We decided to go out in the boat and try slabbing them in the cove.  No luck.  Dad's trolling motor broke earlier this year so we couldn't work the shorelines.  We tried drifting down a shoreline but the wind wasn't letting us.

We were getting ready to try another cove when we noticed a rain cloud approaching.  Dad didn't want to get wet so we jetted back to the ramp and loaded the boat. 

Leo had been keeping a fire going all afternoon so we stoked it up a little to get ready to roast hot dogs and brats.  We sat around the fire most of the evening and the night until we couldn't take the one sided heat any longer.  Back to the camper to shed the layers.

Sunday was nicer.  We realized the best fishing was going to be from the shore so we walked to the back of the cove.  We were catching a lot of fish but they were small.  The wind was blowing to the other corner of the cove so Dad walked over there.  He caught several keepers so I walked over there.  We were catching keepers on about every cast so the boys decided they were coming over too.  They got into the action.  We only fished for about an hour before heading back to pack up camp and clean fish.  In that time we had kept 19 fish and had thrown back close to 100.  That's fun fishing.

I had scheduled an appointment to look at a pop up camper that afternoon so we left the lake to go look at it.  It was reasonably priced and came with everything you needed to start camping as well as tons of extras.  The camper was in great shape so I made an offer.  He counter offered and I counter offered again until we came to an agreement of $3450.00 for the 2003 Starcraft pop up along with a 32" flat screen t.v., a fold down grill, all of the new bedding, pots, pans, silverware, microwave, coffee pot, DVD player, video game system, and everything else that was in there.  The great thing will be the air conditioner and the heater.  Now I can camp anytime.  It has 2 queen size pop outs.  The sofa and the table also turns into 2 more twin size beds.  It will sleep 6 pretty comfortably.  It will be nice next year at my tournaments to not have to get hotels all the time.  Maybe I can find a boater that will want to camp and would be willing to take me out prefishing in exchange for a place to stay.

On my way home I averaged 14 mpg with the explorer.  That's only 5 mpg less than not hauling anything.

Next week I leave for Louisiana for the BFL Regional on the Red River.  My wife isn't going with me.  She has been on too many trips the last few weeks to take any more time off from work.  Even though it has been trips for work.  She went out to Colorado Springs for a week and now she is out at Seattle Washington for the week. 

I was planning on making a longer trip out of this and spending some time in Louisiana, but now it's all about fishing and getting back.  I'm not fun enough to spend that much time with myself.

Last night I cleaned out the garage so I can park the camper in there.  They are calling for tornadoes, high winds and hail tomorrow.  Is it spring already?  No need to risk it, I'll have my boat and camper in the garage. 

Gavin Hooked one and was struggling getting it in so Leo came to help.

Getting the fish lined up ready for the big picture.

The big picture

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BFL Grand Lake Super Tournament

The BFL Super Tournament at Grand Lake was on September 15th and 16th.  I had convinced my wife that her and the kids needed to come to this tournament since Grand Lake is such a nice place to visit.  She agreed to travel with me and camp at the lake. 

The weather was setting up to be great.  Early in the week I checked the weather and it was supposed to finish up raining early Friday afternoon and be calm and cool Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Thursday night I looked again and it forcasted rain all weekend.  I knew my wife would not want to tent camp in rain all weekend.  I didn't want to either.  I quickly looked up motel rooms in the area.  Holy Cow!  There were only 2 rooms left at a hotel with 2 out of 5 stars and the room cost 110.00 a night.  I looked at the reviews and there was nothing good to say about the place.  The next closest motel was 30 miles away.  I was preparing for the family to stay at home and me to sleep in the back of the truck.  At least it would be dry there.

Then I looked at vacation rentals by owner thinking that everything there would be booked way ahead of time.  I saw a nice looking cabin on the waterfront for 125.00 a night.  I e-mailed them and they called back early Friday morning saying that the cabin was open and was indeed 125.00 a night even on the weekends.

The cabin was newly built and had king size beds, granite countertops, a dishwasher, washer, dryer, and every cable channel.  It was awesome.

We got to Grand Lake Friday afternoon and had some time to relax in the cabin prior to the pairing meeting.  At the meeting I met my partner and got a plan for the next day, cranking.

It seems that at each tournament this year I have fished a different technique. 

The next day I was up early after not sleeping the night before.  I met my partner and we headed to the ramp.  It was drizzling and kind of ugly out in the dark.  I was glad I didn't have to get up out of the back of my truck into the drizzle to get ready that morning.

At take off the rain was coming down harder.  It stung my face and hands as we headed to our first spot.  The area we fished looked great.  Lots of rocks, steep banks, boat docks.  I could spend 2 weeks on that bank. 

I hooked into a fish right away.  It felt good.  When I got it up to the boat we saw that it was a catfish.  It had ate the crankbait and had all 6 hooks clamping the fishes mouth closed.  It took 10 minutes to pry the fishes mouth open and get all those hooks out.  Right after that my partner caught a sandbass.  He shook it and it came off the hook.  He said, "See, that's how you do it."

We caught tons of sand bass and lots of short bass but were yet to get a keeper.  Then one of the sandbass my partner caught flipped at the wrong time and drove the hook into my partners finger past the barb.  I cut off some of my braided line while he cut the hook away from the crankbait.  Then I wrapped the line around the curve of the hook, the other ends around my finger.  This was only going to happen once.  Either I was getting the hook or ripping off his finger.  I jerked and the hook popped right out.  I asked how it felt when I jerked and he said it was like a bee sting.  He felt it but it wasn't bad.

He bandaged himself up the best he could do in the rain with duck tape and we were fishing again.  I had seen a video of how to remove a hook with string online before but had never seen it in person.  It worked pretty slick.  My boater mentioned that with the hook in his hand he would not have been able to do it himself.  He needed to hold his hand steady while I jerked. 

Once we were fishing again we continued to catch all kinds of fish but keeper bass.  My boater slowly filled his limit and I caught 1 keeper.  I had a giant hit a rattletrap off of a roadbed.  I was reeling him in and he splashed the surface and was gone.  I had another 3-4 pounder come out from under a boat dock and suck in my bait.  I tried to get it to the surface and it came off.  I also had another keeper at the end of the day come off my crankbait as I pulled it up to the surface.

My boater pulled in a hog out of a bunch of brush.  I swept the net under the fish and lifted.  It was as if I were powerless.  I couldn't lift the fish out of the water.  It felt like a ton of bricks in the net.  I lifted harder and the cable to the boat ramp lifted out of the water above the net.  I had gotten the net under the cable and was trying to lift the whole boat house.  I pulled the net back towards the boat and got the beast in the boat.  It was a nice bass.  The kind you use your whole hand to lip the fish.

I don't know why my keeper bass all came off the hook, when every other fish that hit never came off.  Most were even tough to get off the hook.

At the end of the day, I had caught around 100 fish.  My thumbs were bleeding from lipping them all.  It was a great day for fishing but not for a tournament.  I had caught the 1 bass I needed to advance to Regionals and actually moved up from 23rd in the standings to 21st. 

My wife and kids were at the ramp when I walked up to weigh in.  I tried to look happy as I took my single bass across the stage.  He was long and skinny at 1 pound 14 oz. 

We spent the rest of the evening at the cabin.  I took a nap and woke up to hungry kids telling me I needed to cook supper.  I had gotten steaks for us and sausage for the kids.  I fired up the grill on a stunning evening and grilled up the meat while looking out over the lake.  We ate good and watched some t.v. before turning in to bed.

Sunday morning the kids were wanting to go fishing.  We drove around the Grove area but couldn't find any easy access to the water to fish from bank.  I mentioned that we should stop by bass pro to replace some of the crankbaits I had lost and the kids were ready to go.

We stopped at bass pro and made it home with a couple hours left before bedtime.

Regionals will be in Louisiana on the Red River.  My wife's mother and possibly one of her sister's may be going down with us.  It will be like a little vacation.  We are planning to spend most of the week down there.

Friday, August 31, 2012

School Lunch Portions Too Small

I may be jumping the gun as it's only the 4th day of school here, but when your kindergarten student asks for you to save food from supper so he can eat it cold the next day at school because they don't serve enough food, I think there may be a problem.

My son doesn't eat a lot at home, most of the time, but he doesn't complain of hunger.  What is going on?  Then my high school aged nephew comes over and raids my freezer so he has something to eat with his school lunch saying that with the new Michelle Obama lunch program they are getting hardly anything to eat.

On spaghetti day, they measured out one small scoop of spaghetti, a small serving of lettuce and a half a piece of toast made out of regular bread.  The football team was fatigued and getting sick part way through practice.  I believe it.

As an honorable mention All American football player in high school I can relate.  I tried to gain weight and could not.  With weights in the morning, practice in the evening and all the running I could do in between I would eat 8 eggs for breakfast, 3 plates full of food for lunch and 4 heaping plates of spaghetti for supper.  The food would change daily but the serving sizes didn't.  I couldn't get over 160 pounds.  My matabolism was extreemly high.

Not all students are athletes, and most are probably not as active as I was, but the food amounts that my nephew explained to me would not get an average student through a day of studying.  For some students this may be the only meal they get each day. 

What will this do to our academic scores?  Will this stunt growth in young americans? 

I'm not about to find out.  My kindergarten son is complaining of being hungry at school so I will start packing his lunch.  He's far from obese.  He looks like a twig with a head.  As a parent I will make sure he gets the right nutrition and does not gorge himself on unhealthy foods.  That's part of being a responsible parent. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Need to Travel

My buddy sent this pic to me the other day.  "The good ole days"
 It's been a tough summer for fishing around here.  The ponds and rivers are drying up again.  The weather has been either hot or windy or both.  It's starting to cool down now.  I am feeling the urge to go fishing on one of these cooler 95 degree days. 

I have been playing some online poker to keep myself occupied.  Maybe one of these days I will have a brag post where I win a decent tournament on there. 

I'm getting ancy for the Grand Lake tournament.  It was such a fun lake last year.  That and our last tournament in July was tough.  I want to go catch some bass.

I was online the other day and saw that Jacob Wheeler won the Forrest Wood Cup.  How awesome is that?  Just a couple years ago we were talking at the BFL's in Ohio.  He had some great advice about moving up that has stuck with me since that conversation.  I would like to think that if I was still in Ohio I would be on the Boater side of the BFL's next year.

This fall should be a lot of fun.  I will be fishing the Grand Lake 2 day tournament and now I'm planning another trip to Las Vegas.  If everything goes well at Grand Lake, I may even get to go to regionals in Louisiana.  I've been getting some tips on where to go eat if I make it.

School is starting up next week and both boys will be going this year.  We did some school shopping last weekend and they are getting really excited.  We will be busy chasing the nieces and nephews to volleyball and football games. 

Fall is an exciting time and would be even better if it wasn't followed with that dreaded winter.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Home of Home on the Range

This last weekend we took a trip to Northern Kansas to visit family.  We had great weather compared to the 115 degree days we had been having.  Saturday was only in the mid 80's. 

While we were up there we visited a cabin where the song "Home on the Range"  was written.  It was interesting to imagine living in that cabin with a gravel floor and that size of living arrangement.  The owners were also getting a trail set up along the creek that the cabin sets on.  We walked part of the trail before loading up the kids and going back to Grandma and Grandpa's. 

That afternoon as most of the family was napping a few of us snuck off to play a round of golf.  It was the first time in several years that I had been golfing.  I used to golf all the time.  When we had kids, I pretty much quit playing.  I had a few bad swings, but was amazed at how well I could still hit the ball.  Setting the ball on the green from 150 yards seems impossible when you haven't played in forever, and yet I did that a few times.  I just couldn't get it on there from 3 feet away!

On Sunday we visited the Lutheran church we were married in.  It is a little church in the country about 15 miles from any towns.  Everybody there invited us to stay for breakfast afterwards and we stayed and ate and talked for about an hour after the service.

We dropped the kids off on the way back.  They are staying with my parents this week.  They stayed there last week as well.  This will be a trip they remember.  My youngest son doesn't want to come home.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Arkansas River BFL

Friday morning I had some work to do before I left for the tournament at Muskogee, OK on the Arkansas River.  I quickly packed everything and headed to work.  The boys started getting all crazy when I told them they weren't going with me.  They hate when I pack my poles and not theirs. 

After working for about an hour I took off on my 4 1/2 hour drive to Muskogee.  About an hour down the road I realized I had forgotten my tackle out of the boat.  I had grabbed my tournament bag but had forgotten that on Memorial weekend I had been Walleye and Crappie fishing and had switched my boxes out.  All of my terminal tackle and crankbaits were in the boat.

If I turned around I would be pushing it to get to Muskogee.  Especially since I didn't know where the pairing meeting was to be held and it did not pull up on mapquest or my GPS.  I needed time to drive around if need be.

I passed through Broken Arrow on the way and stopped at the Bass Pro to stock up on some necessity's as well as a quite a few other things.  Forgetting my stuff was a $70.00 mistake.  Not really.  I picked up a lot of cool things that should help out in the future and I restocked all of my hooks, jig heads, and bullet weights as well as added some new goodness to my arsenol.

When I got to Muskogee I checked into Days Inn.  It was nice for the price of the room.  They told me how to get to the marina and where Walmart was located.

I drew a great boater and an early position, which was good.  It was going to be hot the next day, 106 degrees, and I wanted to get them early.

The next morning I missed my turn to the marina and showed up a little bit late to meet my partner.  We still had time to help out another boater get their boat in the water. 

We took off at 6:00 AM and made a huge run down the river.  A couple hours later we were fishing.  My boater quickly pulled in 2 keepers, then a third. 

I was getting bit, but it was light and when I set the hook my bait was wadded up on the hook but no fish.  My boater finally told me I was setting the hook too late.  I needed to set the hook as soon as I felt the fish. 

We fished in about 1/2  a foot of water most of the day.  This, again, as in every tournament this year was new to me.  I caught one fish that touched 14 inches when I measured it but when my boater measured it was about an 1/8th of an inch short.  I hated to throw it back but 1/8 of an inch will cost you dearly.

My boater rounded out his limit but had his big one die due to how he had hooked it under the tongue.  Before we left my boater said lets go hit some rocks.  I was excited, this was my chance.  I love deeper water.  I started out with my regular rock bait.  My boater said that he has luck there with crankbaits.  I switched to a crankbait and right away got hit by a 15 1/2 incher. 

That would be it for the day.  We had a long run back and the wind had picked up.  It was a rough ride back.  We couldn't slow down as we had to get back in time to lock through.  We were in the air more than on the water for quite a while.  It was a little fun but my back paid the price.

I caught a couple of rock bass in the river on the way back to the ramp but no bass.

My bass weighed in at just under 2 pounds and was good for 45th place out of 90.  It moved me up in points from 34th to 23rd for the year with the Grand Lake tournament remaining.  The cutoff for Regionals is 40th place.  If I catch 1 keeper at Grand Lake I should make it to the regionals.  I would like to better than that though.  This will be my 1st tournament with some previous experience on the body of water we are fishing. 

After the tournament I drove to Oklahoma City to visit Mizike.  We went out to the casino for a couple hours that evening for something to do.  I ended up leaving with an extra 250.00 thanks to my favorite slot machine.

The next day we ate at Toby Keith's restaraunt.  The chicken fried steak was huge.  It was the size of 2 or 3 regular chicken fried steaks.  I at the whole thing and all of my sides.  Dang you, Man vs. Food.  I was miserable.  We checked out the museum of osteology after that.  Then I headed home. 

It was a great weekend.  I learned some new fishing techniques, and had a load of fun.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We Killed the Rabbit

 Holy smokes it's 2 months later into the summer and I am just getting around to posting again.  Quite a bit has happened since the last post. 

We are expecting another little fisherperson.  Look out crappies!  We are thinking that it will be sometime around February.  Christina has been pretty sick with this one.  She is sick all day and evening.  Hopefully that lets up soon, she is so miserable.

I had never heard the saying, "She killed the rabbit", before this pregnancy.  Maybe it's because we lived in a different society with our last two pregnancy's.  Wildlife is a lot more thought of here.  Apparently, before pregnancy tests, they would use a female rabbit and inject a woman's urine into it.  If the woman was pregnant there would be a distinct change to the ovaries of the rabbit.  Some believed that the rabbit's died from this change, but in reality the rabbits would be killed when they would disect it to look at the ovaries.  In fact any woman that thought she might be pregnant then "Killed the Rabbit".

I also got the boat registered.  It only took 1 year to get everything legalized.  If I move states again, I will sell my boat no matter how much I love it.  It's not worth not being able to fish during the prime fishing season.  Now it's miserably hot and the fish are harder to catch.

I did go back to Glen Elder the week after my last post.  I took the boys back and we had fun in the wind.  Apparently it blew for 11 days straight above 40 mph.  You would think that would be some kind of record.  Around there I am sure it is not even close. 

We caught a few more fish, but still it was slow.  I haven't whacked em at all this year. 

This last weekend we took a trip with Mizike and his family down to Broken Bow, Oklahoma.  That area is so green and the water is crystal clear.  It feels like you should be catching trout, not bass.

We didn't fish much but did get a few hours in.  I had 1 bass take my worm and swim with it.  When I set the hook there was nothing.  I could see him swimming with my lure in his mouth at 7 foot deep.  He was a monster of a fish around 5 pounds.  That was my only decent fish except for a little smallmouth that took my worm next to a stump.  As soon as he hit he headed straight for the surface.  I tried pulling sideways to keep him from coming out of the water but there was no deterring him.  He lept several feet into the air and right at the peak of his jump my lure comes gliding out of his mouth.  It was a spectacular jump.  I have never seen a fish get that high out of the water.

Next weekend is the FLW BFL tournament out of Muskogee, OK on the Arkansas River.  It will be a blast to fish even in this heat.  Rivers are generally tougher fishing than lakes but in a tournament you can get away from the crowds.  I like tougher tournaments.  I tend to do better in them.  After fishing Broken Bow, I am looking forward to some stained water.

With some luck, I may have a chance for a check in this tournament. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Waconda Lake Camping - Not For Tents!

We have camped and fished at Waconda Lake (Glen Elder) as long as I can remember.  The fishing has always been good and the fish from there always taste a little better than from anywhere else I've had fish. 

This weekend I was meeting up with my parents to camp.  They have a nice 5th wheel camper with a pop out living area.  I brought all our camping gear and figured the boys and I would just stay in a tent.  The wind blew about 40 mph all weekend so I never got the tent out of the truck.  We slept in the camper on the floor instead.  The hard floor wins over having a tent with broken poles slapping you in the face all night wondering if you are going to fly off to OZ.

With the wind blowing so hard we stayed close to the ramp and didn't find as many fish as some of the other fisherman had.  While I was cleaning our 4-5 fish at the fish cleaning station, others were cleaning 5 gallon buckets full. 

I still brought home a couple zip lock baggies full of fillets. 

Saturday morning the wind whipped Gavin's fishing hat off his head and into the water.  My pole tangled with another pole in the boat the same time so I couldn't swipe it out of the water.  I grabbed Leo's pole and tried snagging it as it was quickly floating away from the boat and sinking.  It wasn't working as I couldn't cast straight in such a strong wind.  Dad was trying to pull the anchor but it was stuck in a tree.  I emptied my pockets quickly and dove into the lake.  It was too late and the water was too cold to stay in there long.  I swam back to the boat, realizing how out of shape I am.  When I got back into the boat I realized my wallet was still in my back pocket.  Both my Kansas and Oklahoma fishing licenses lost the ink off the paper drying out.

We caught a few crappie, some white bass, some just short walleye and a bunch of drum over the course of the trip.  Gavin caught a crappie trolling and was pretty excited about catching his first keeper fish.  He loves to eat them.  It's about time he starts catching them.  He'll be 4 in 2 days.

This weekend I am thinking of going back.  It's a 4 hour drive and is supposed to be 105 degrees with more wind.  The fun sun seakers will be out all over the lake creating danger to everyone else.  It's still tempting to go after a bucketfull of walleye and crappie.  I haven't spent a weekend at home the last few weeks.  I'm torn on what to do.  Good thing is, I don't have to decide until the weekend gets closer.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekly Catch Up 5.21.12

Leo's soccer season is over.  It's actually been over for a couple weeks now.  His team finished 2nd in the league out of 5 teams.  In the championship they made it to the final quarter then the other team scored twice.  After the second goal Leo got upset as he realized they were not going to win and were not going to be having the pizza party that you get for winning.

All of a sudden he got a look on his face and started running at the kids from the other team.  His Waterboy expression cause me to yell loudly at him to stop.  He stopped right before getting to the other kids.  I pulled him out of the game and told him that sports are for fun and competition but he should never take it so seriously that he would want to hit another person because he is losing. 

Fishing wise I have been a few times since my last post.  On the first trip a guy from town asked if I would like to go to Canton lake with him.  I jumped on the opportunity.  We got up early and headed for the lake.  It was windy and chilly at first.  We got out and had a good day anyway and I caught a 5 pound walleye right away.  I caught another 3 pound walleye and some shorts throughout the rest of the day.  Later in the day the wind went down a little and we decided to try for some crappie on the dam.  The white bass were spawning so we got into them pretty well.  I also had 1 nice crappie on but lost it.  Our freezer is now full of fish.

The next fishing trip was my 3rd Okie Division BFL at Fort Gibson lake.  I finished 25th and moved to 35th in points overall.  My boater finished 3rd and was putting on a clinic.  He must have caught 20 keepers throughout the day.  It was a great day of fishing.  The lake was great but the trip overall was purely crazy.  It deserves a post of its own.

This weekend we drove to my parents 5 hours away to pick up a couch that did not fit in their new living room.  While we were there we drove to one of their close lakes that my Aunt and Uncle were camping to fish and eat hot dogs cooked over the fire.  I caught several bass.  None of them were very large.

This next weekend I will be going back north to take Dad's pickup and trailer back.  We will stay and camp with my parents for the weekend at Glen Elder.  It has some fantastic crappie and walleye fishing this time of year.

Our New Couch

Friday, April 20, 2012

U6 Soccer

We just had our third game last night, our second game the night before and our first game last Saturday.  This whole week has been soccer, soccer, soccer.  We have 2 more games this weekend.  Then next week is tournament time.  It might be too much in two weeks for the younger kids.  They've now had as many games as they have practices and they were going to practice 2 days a week.  They didn't get enough coaches to start the season on time so they had to crunch everything together. 

I think Leo would benefit from a longer season.  He has shown great improvement in the little time he has played.  He takes my advise and uses it on the field.  I think he even hears me yelling from the sideline and tries to do what I tell him.  He practices when he is not playing.  This season he is really into it. 

Last night he got his first goal for the season.  He had two more shots that miraculously got blocked.  I think he can kick the ball harder than I can.  Usually he is on defense as he plays that position well.  Wednesday night he kicked the ball from one end of the field to the other to clear it from his area.

He might see some more offense after last night.  Christina said she is not coaching any more after this year.  She says that she gets too into the game and doesn't pay attention to how she should be helping the kids on the field.  It's ok though the parents are all telling the kids what to do when it comes to gametime.  She also had a run in with a soccer mom that wasn't too pretty.  Those soccer mom's can be vicious.  It resulted in the mother not letting the child play any more.  Christina is pretty upset how it turned out for the child. 

Now that I have seen U6 soccer first hand, I will probably coach when Gavin is coming up.  You can really work with the kids to get them playing well.  They are still all about the fun of the game.  It looks like a really rewarding age to coach.  I really enjoyed coaching 3-4 year olds in Ohio as the kids are so funny.  At  this age they take it a little more serious and really try.  I enjoy watching the kids have fun but I'm a competative person.  This age has it all, fun and competitiveness.

We have 21 U6 players out this year and have 2 teams in Kiowa.  It's too bad soccer isn't a more popular sport here because we have some talented young soccer players.  The good thing about soccer here is that it gets the younger kids involved in team activities and interested in sports in general.  They can take what they learn in soccer and use it in the other sports they will play.

If you are in an area where your kids can play soccer, let them.  They might not be too in to it at first but they are probably learning some in between pulling grass and pulling their shirts over their heads.  Try coaching a season too.  It's very rewarding later on when your child asks you to coach them again.  They tend to take you a little more serious, like you just might know what you are saying to them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weekly Catch Up 4.17.12

The last week as usual has been pretty hectic.  Gavin fell and fractured his wrist on Monday last week.  We play volleyball on Monday evenings so we took him to volleyball and he seemed o.k.  He was holding it a lot but I thought maybe it was not broken.  When we went to bed he was in pain again so we decided to take him in to have it checked out on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning he woke up and said, "Dad, we need to go to the hospital, it still hurts." 

We had it checked out at the clinic here in town.  They said they were pretty sure it was fractured but wanted to have a specialist look at it since it was close to the growth plate. 

Wednesday they had an appointment scheduled in Wichita for us.  I pulled Leo out of school and took him with us.  They made the same read as the clinic had done here, so they put a cast on him and said it will be on for 3 weeks. 

This weekend we had some severe weather in this part of the country so we stayed home.  I drove around looking for any tornado's that might drop nearby.  There were several that touched down around here.  All I saw were very turbulant wall clouds.  The storms were too crazy for me to be chasing.  There was lots of hail and storm after storm moving through the same area's.  I didn't want to get stuck between them.  I got in behind one and followed for about 20 miles and about couldn't get back to town as another about beat me back.

Several times the big red cell on the radar passed within a mile or two of town.  The scariest was in the middle of the night after we had lost power.  I checked my cell phone and another line of storms had built and was coming at us.  It became tornado warned and was heading straight for us.  A few miles before it got to us the warning was lifted, and you could see it dissapate on the radar screen.

We were one of the only fortunate towns around that did not have to sound our sirens, although there was one time that we should have. 

Leo had his first soccer game of the year on Saturday.  He played well.  I saw a couple of things we need to work with him on.  For the most part he played a solid game and was into the game almost the whole time.  He's really developing as a soccer player.  It's too bad the season here is so short.  He really enjoys it.  While we were playing volleyball last night he was kicking a ball.  Hopefully he enjoys T-ball as much this summer.  After that it's on to swimming. 

My fishing is taking a back seat to all of this.  It will take even more time as the boys get older and the sports seasons get longer.  I'm just glad I'm around to get to watch them do everything.  We will always find time to fish and it will be that much more enjoyable when we do.

Friday Evening we got out some wood and started to make a fort.  It turned into a candy stand near the road.

This was one of the early forts before it was modified several times.

The boys got haircuts after getting Gavin's cast.

Gavin's cast

Friday, April 6, 2012

Weekly Catch Up 4.6.12

The last couple weeks has been amazingly crazy.  Two weekends ago I made plans to go visit Mom and Dad.  It was Mom's birthday and they are getting ready to move.  This would be the last weekend I could spend with them for a while.

On Friday morning I got a call from Mom saying that Grandpa had fallen and broken his leg.  By the end of the work day Mom called back and said that he had gone into surgery and when he came out his heart was weak and he had a heart attack and was going back in to surgery.  She cautioned me that they may need to leave if it did not go well. 

I didn't want them to stay for us coming out so I told them that we could meet them in Kearney.  Dad said he was going to wait to see how the surgery went before deciding anything and said we could change course if needed, so we headed on out to Mom and Dad's.

I called Mom on the way and she hesitated.  I could tell she was going to tell me something.  When she didn't, I could tell it was not good.  When we arrived she told me that Grandpa had passed.  I knew that with his conditions a broken leg and surgery would not be good.  He had a broken hip a couple years ago and it didn't turn out too great.  Even though I was thinking it might not go well it still wasn't easy to handle.

Grandpa had been a big part of my fishing life and a huge influence on me as a person.  When I was young we used to camp as a family all the time.  Grandpa would take us out fishing or skiing the whole time we were at the lake.  A few moments stick out more than others.  One time  we were trolling and I had fallen asleep holding my pole.  My line tightened and I woke up thinking I had a fish.  When I got my line in, I saw that I had hooked another lure.  It was a purple hot-n-tot.  To my memory I have never used that hot-n-tot.  It is in a tackle box with all the lures with special memories to me.  I need to put them in a display case with the stories of why they are special.

I have a lot of wonderful memories of Grandpa and no bad memories.  He would do anything for anyone in the family.  He was a very caring and generous person.  I will miss spending time with him and will cherish my memories of all the time I did get to spend with him.

Saturday morning Mom and Dad left to help Grandma prepare for the funeral.  We left to go back home. 

Sunday morning I woke up to a text message from my banks fraud department asking if I had made any purchases that morning.  I pulled up my bank account on my computer and sure enough somebody had been making purchases using my card information.  I called the bank to let them know that I hadn't purchased anything.  They told me they were shutting down my card and would get another sent to me as well as reimburse the monies that had been spent on those transactions.  Almost 2 weeks later I have not seen my new card or my money.

I am 85% sure that the guy at JC Penny's that looked extra long at my card the day before is the culprit that has caused me so much grief the last two weeks.

All the travel that was to follow was made even tougher without having a debit card. 

The funeral was on Wednesday so we left Tuesday around noon to drive 5 hours to where the funeral was to be held.  Wednesday we had the funeral.  It was nice to spend time with family.  After living in Ohio for the last 7 years, I had missed getting to see many of the family.

We drove back after the funeral.  Thursday I had to play catch up at work and put in a huge day from 8AM until 2:30AM the next morning.  I went home for a few hours of sleep before I had to take off again for the BFL tournament at Lake Eufala.

Sunday after the lake Eufala tournament I got up for a couple hours, then laid back down for a 7 hour nap.  I got up long enough to drive home from OKC, then went back to bed.  The previous week had taken it's toll on me.

Life is starting to feel somewhat normal again.  We will still be busy as usual.  Leo's soccer started this week.  We have practice 2 days a week and a game.  The last couple season's have really helped him.  It feels good to watch him and see that he is the more experienced player on the team.  He really listened to the guy that was working with him yesterday.  He showed Leo why it's better to kick with the inside of your foot rather than your toe.  "I have been trying to work with Leo for 2 years on that by the way."  Leo listened and started kicking correctly.  He has a lot of power and is starting to get some finesse in his game.  As much as I disliked soccer before, I enjoy watching him play.

This weekend we are sticking around town.  There is a bike race and an easter egg hunt.  Leo has been waiting on this bike race for a year now since he saw or heard about it last year.  It wouldn't surprise me if he decided to take the training wheels off his bike because of this race.

Last week, Christina decided to air up his tire.  She put a lot too much air in and the tube blew up.  Leo was deeply upset by this.  We told him we could get a new tire.  When Leo heard the bike race was this weekend he demanded that we go to walmart that night to get a new tube for his tire.  We went to walmart.

The boys drive me nuts all the time with the little things they do.  Last night they spilled what seemed like a bucket full of water out of the bathtub.  I was HOT.  I get mad when they get a small amount on the floor.  A fish could have swam around in this puddle.  HOT.  Other times they melt my heart.  They show that they really have been listening all along and do what they are supposed to do.  I know.  I should have had robots instead of kids.  The good things wouldn't mean as much if they didn't do all those bad things I guess.

I'm a pretty strict parent.  I want my kids to try to do the right thing all the time.  They may grow to resent me some from it, but if it makes them a better person, so be it.  I also let them see me love them.  I probably look like a bi-polar monster to them sometimes.  I feel like it sometimes.  They drove me to it.

I have been putting a lot of hours in at work the last few months and have not spent a lot of time at home.  I have a lot of projects finished now so I will be trying to spend more quality time with my family.  It's going to start by cleaning the house.  Most of the kids toys have got to go.  Nothing says quality time like telling a kid he's got to pick which toys he wants to keep and then only letting him keep a few of those.

There will be a garage sale coming soon in Kiowa, KS.  The boys are already without cable.  If they have very few toys, maybe they will respect what they have and take care of it.  If not, there's lots of sticks in the yard for them to play with.  I don't mind if those get broken.

Lake Eufala BFL

After a 16 1/2 hour day at work and a few hours sleep, I was off to fish the Lake Eufala tournament as a co-angler.  It was a 4 1/2 hour drive to the lake.  I went to the town of Eufala expecting the tournament registration to be there.  After a short drive around town I realized that it wasn't.  I looked at the paper I had printed out for the tournament information and it showed that the registration was in Chekotah.  I was already heading the wrong direction on highway 69 so I had to wait until an off ramp to turn around. 

At the first off ramp I found a good camping spot so I set up the tent, paid my dues and took off.  My GPS is old now and has not been updated so when I got to Chekotah it did not know where the walmart was.  I drove every way except towards the walmart.  Finally, I checked the 4th direction and there it was.

I had seen Route 69 Diner while driving around so I went back to eat.  Eating is my second favorite thing about tournament fishing.  I get to try new places I wouldn't even see otherwise.

The hand breaded chicken fried chicken meal was amazing.  There was a special I didn't see though.  Steak and baked potato or all you can eat fish.  I was happy as I would have been with any of the three meals.

I finished eating and headed back to the pairing meeting where I discovered I was one of the last boats. 

The next morning I met my boater and we set off to fish.  We had a few hiccups getting out on the water, starting with not being able to find the check in crew.  We were the last to leave the marina once we figured out where to check in.

Trying to stay positive we hit some great looking water.  The lake had came up 7 or 8 feet that week while the bass were getting ready to spawn so the great looking spot was not to great early in the morning.  Next we hit the most beautiful bank I have seen.  I started catching a few bluegill then eventually a short bass.  On our way back down the bank we were fishing a little further out when I had a hit in about 11 foot of water.  It was a 2 3/4 pound largemouth. 

We continued to fish that bank as well as other banks, rip rap, shorelines, bluffs.  We caught a lot of fish just not the right kind or size.  After what seemed like a long day we headed in for weigh in.

My fish got me 58th place and moved me up to 52nd place in the standings.  Fishing seemed tough.  We just couldn't figure them out no matter what we tried. 

Our next tournament is at Fort Gibson on May 5th.  I am looking forward to the fishing the rest of the year.  I feel that I fish better in late spring, summer and fall months.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Canton Lake Walleye Spawn 3.17.12

Saturday, I was happy to be at home sitting around doing nothing, even though there is so much to do.  It was ugly and windy outside.  It was still warm.  The sky was hazed with dirt from all the wind.

Somewhere, from deep inside, my will to go fishing gradually took over.  Leo and I left around 3:30 to head to Canton Dam for our 2nd day of the walleye spawn. 

We got there around 5:00 and found us a good place close to where we had seen the walleye roll 2 nights before.  I cast beside the rocks and right away had a walleye on my chartreuse grub. 

The wind was blowing Northwest and made it miserable for Leo trying to cast.  Sometimes his lure would go straight out.  Sometimes it would go behind him in the rocks when the wind would gust.  He snagged a lot more than the last time out.

I had just gotten his lure loose from a rock and was walking it back to him when one of the large rocks I was walking across rolled.  It trapped my foot between it and another rock.  At the same time I went face first toward the rocks below me.  I stuck out my hands to try to catch myself on the way down.  The momentum was too much and my arms buckled under the pressure and akwardness of the fall.  Luckily my face buried into my crumpled arm to avoid smashing into a rock as well.

I had gotten lucky.  My shoe came off so I avoided a broken leg or ankle.  My arm shielded my face from the rocks.  Unfortunately, my shoulder thumb and wrist on my right fare well from all that weight being thrust on them all at once at an akward angle. 

My head was shaken, my pride was diminished, and my legs, knees, arms and hands were all scraped up.  I rolled over with my feet still up in the air and my head down toward the water.  For several minutes I laid gathering my thoughts and figuring out how I could get back up.

Finally, I got up.  I was o.k.  We continued to fish.  Leo was a little shaken and decided not to fish much more after that.

I ended up catching 6, only one of those was a keeper. 

My knee was aching from the fall and Leo was cold so we called it a night around 9:30.  When we got to the top several other anglers came over to admire our walleye.  Then the game warden stopped to look and to check my license. 

Leo was pretty excited to be able to show off our fish.

Even though it was windy and ugly and I almost broke myself apart on the rocks, it was still one of my favorite days.  I got to fish with my son and caught a pretty nice walleye.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Canton Lake Walleye Spawn

After work yesterday, I picked up Leo and headed to Canton Lake to test the theory of the walleye spawning when the dandelions bloom.  We got to the lake a little before sunset and started fishing.

Leo caught the first walleye about 15 minutes later.  It was short of the 18 inch mark so we released it.  At that point he started to pour on the talk about being a better fisherman.  Not long after that I hooked into one that was a little short, then one that was right on the line that I threw back to avoid any unneccassary fines.  He quieted down a little.  Then I hooked into a bigger fish.  It gave quite a fight as I pulled it into the rocks.  He got my blood pressure up with excitement when I saw him.  He was about 4 pounds. 

Leo was excited because we got to keep a walleye.  The sun was down but there was still some light left so I knew there was time for one more bite.  I hooked into one more as the visibility from the sun was going away.  He looked smaller than the one I threw back earlier but I wanted to measure him anyway.  He was skinnier but went a 1/4 inch over the 18 inch mark so we put him on the stringer.

Once it got dark the fishing slowed down fast.  I did get one more bite and it was a monster fish.  It was stripping drag and I could not get it turned as it headed for deeper water.  I was going to let it play itself out when all of a sudden my pole went limp.  It had gotten off. 

We left around 9:30 as Leo was done fishing and playing in the rocks.  I think the fishing was going to start picking up again as the night grew on but I want to keep him interested in fishing so we headed for home.

When we got home, Gavin was still awake.  He asked where the fish were so I pulled them out.  His eyes got real big.  He asked, "What are you going to do with those fish, cut them up and make food?"  I said, "Yes."  He then let out a loud "Yea!"  It was pretty commical to hear a 3 year old say that.

Dad called today and wants to meet there tonight.  It's been a lot of years since we have been fishing a walleye spawn together.  Some of my fondest memories are my late nights on the rocks with Mom and Dad fishing for walleye.  Tonight, Leo, Dad and I will be hitting the rocks together chasing after those elusive monster walleye.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Walleye Spawn & Dandelions

Growing up Walleye and Dandelions have gone together like bread and butter.  In the spring I watch and wait to see the first Dandelion flower.  Most people think of it as a weed.  It is one of my favorite flowers. 

I learned long ago that when you see the first Dandelion flower of the year the Walleye are usually staging to spawn.  I'm not the one who originally made that connection and passed it on to our family.  Dad always said that every spring.  I'm not sure if he made the connection or if he heard it from somebody else. 

For the most part it has been true.  From reading about fish spawning habits, I would go a step further and guess that the first full moon around when the Dandelions are starting to bloom is the likely time for Walleye to spawn.

Today I saw several Dandelions and it made me think of that.  It also reminded me of all the times we would drive to the lake after Dad and Mom would get off work.  We would crowd in along the Dam and fish all night trying to catch one of the many Giant Walleye that would come in close to the rocks.  Most of the time we would catch several of the smaller males.  A couple times Dad got one of the 8 pounders.

Tonight, I may start that same tradition with my boys.  When I was their age I was bundled up and sitting on the rocks until the wee hours of the morning, sometimes sleeping on the rocks so I could get some rest for school the next day.

These are the things that I remember from my childhood.   I would like to build their memory banks with such fond memories of their Dad as I have of mine.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Broken Bow Oklahoma FLW BFL

Thursday Evening I left work with nothing on my mind but getting to the lake to do some fishing.  The weather had been nice the last couple days with temperatures around 70 degrees. 

My trip would start with a stop in Oklahoma City to visit my good friend Mizike and stay the night at his place.  The drive to Oklahoma City was great.  The wheat fields are turning green and it was light for a majority of the way there.  All winter I have made these long drives in the dark after work.  It felt good to see outdoor colors again.

A few days prior to my trip I started getting a cold.  The last couple nights I had hardly slept due to my coughing and choking on mucus running down the back of my throat.  I was tired by the time I reached OKC.  I barely spent any time chatting and hit the sack pretty hard.

The next morning I was up early ready to continue my adventure.  I packed and waited for somebody to arise so I knew I could leave without setting off an alarm.  I had just gotten my shoes tied when Kimmers came out of the room and wished me good luck as I was out the door.

From OKC I would travel roads I have never been on.  I traveled I 40 to a Turnpike going South.  About 20 miles out of OKC I stopped for some McDonalds breakfast.  I made it a ways down the turnpike before seeing a sign last stop for 77 miles.  I passed it and as I did I realized I had made a mistake.  I should have stopped.  The McDonald's breakfast was not settling well and I was not sure I could make it 77 miles. 

77 miles later I was feeling o.k. and continued on.  I was following GPS since I had only a general idea where the lake was.  I saw a sign that I was almost to Texas when I realized the GPS was leading me astray.  It said I needed to go 45 more miles before turning off the road I was on.  That would put me well into Texas.  I pulled off the road and did something I have not done for years.  I pulled out the Atlas and mapped the rest of the way to the lake. 

I pulled into town around Noon.  The weather was perfect except for some decent winds.  I stopped at Walmart and picked up some supplies.  From there I drove to find the motel I was going to stay and then on to see the lake.

The lake was extreemly scenic with the mountainous backdrop and the tan rocky shoreline that extended down past the pine trees several feet.  There were islands jetting up out of the water throughout the lake.  It didn't take me long to find some parking and walk to the water to try some casts.  I walked up and down the bank trying to get a bite on a lure I later heard was working well in the same area.  After a couple hours I decided to go get checked into the hotel room and get a bite to eat. 

The hotel room was being cleaned when I got checked in so I sat a couple bags in the room and went off to a Mexican eatery in front of the hotel.  My meal was unbelievably good and the plate it was served on was gigantic.  The meal took up most of the table.  I don't know how 2 people could eat at one table there.  Somehow, I at most of the food and drank a couple of cokes before paying and heading back to the room.

As I was walking back, I noticed that several boats were getting back from the lake.  I stopped to talk to a couple of the boaters who were extremely nice and gave me a couple hints for the next day.  We had our pairing meeting in a couple hours so I went up to the room to lay down for a bit. 

On my way to the car for the pairing meeting I saw several more boats had arrived.  I asked if anybody wanted a ride to the meeting so they didn't have to unhook their boats.  A few guys agreed to ride along and made the pairing meeting more fun.

My partner was called at the pairing meeting and we met up.  He told me we would be fishing some deeper water with the cold front that was coming in that night.  We decided to meet at Walmart in the morning and I would follow him to one of the ramps.

After the pairing meeting a few of us talked outside the rooms for a while before calling it a night. 

The next morning I got up to a busy parking lot as everybody was preparing to head for the launch ramp.  At walmart I didn't have to wait long for my boater to arrive.  I was putting my fishing gear in the boat when one of the guys with him said, "Hey, I know you!"  I looked over and realized this was the group camping close to me at Grand Lake.  My boater was one of the first people I met in the Okie BFL. 

I didn't have to back the boat in since his buddies were with him so I met him at the check in.  We waited as our number was called and then rocketed across the lake to his first spot.  I was glad I had packed my cold weather gear as it was really cold that morning. 

We fished the first spot for a couple hours waiting on the fish to turn on.  My boater caught one Kentucky that made the length requirements.  I had one bite but missed.  We moved in to work the bank for a minute to let the spot rest and my boater caught a decent largemouth.  A boat looked like it was watching our spot so we went back out to where we had been fishing.  After not getting bit for another spell my boater decided to work the bank again.  This time the other boat moved right into the spot. 

We fished a couple more areas quickly and came back to get the marker from the first spot we fished.  The other boat was still there so we headed across the lake to try another area my boater had luck on the day before.  My boater picked up another decent largemouth there.  We then moved back to our first spot of the day.  The other boat was working the bank so we picked up the marker and tried the area a little more.  We fished the bank for a little bit again then headed back to where my boater picked up his last bass.  He caught one more keeper, so we kept working around that area. 

During all of this I was trying anything I could think of to catch a fish.  Finally, I put on a swimming senko and cast out to a windblown point.  I felt a light pull so I set the hook.  My hook came back empty.  My boater cast out to the same spot and brought in his 5th keeper of the day. 

He decided that since most of his bass have came from areas that he had not practiced that we would try a few new spots.  They looked good but produced no bass. 

With about 20 minutes to go in the tournament we tried one last area.  My boater said that he didn't think he could catch any more bass until I caught one.  My next cast my rod about got jerked out of my hand as I hooked into my only bass of the day.  Also, my first fish of the year.  My blood was pumping and I was completely excited as I knew I would save my points and still have a shot at regionals.  Right after that he said that now he can catch that kicker fish.  He got a bite right away and yelled, "It's a big one."  It was a big bass between 4 and 5 pounds.  He was able to upgrade quite a bit with it.

The weigh in showed that the day of fishing had been good for a lot of people as my 2.4 pounder brought me 74th place out of 106. 

I learned a lot in this tournament, probably more than any tournament I have fished up until this point.  Even though I did not catch a fish in deeper water, I learned how you should fish it to catch fish there.  I have no doubt that on a different day we both could have loaded up with bass off that first spot we fished.

My boater showed patience in waiting for the spot to turn on, and at the same time to move away to catch some other fish in case it didn't.

He finished in the money for the tournament.  It sounded like most of the people had luck in shallower water that day.  A few of us gambled that the fish in the shallower water would be shut down due to the cold front that moved in and dropped the surface temperatures 5 degrees and the fish in the deeper water would continue to feed.  The fish definately didn't let the cold front bother them.  They were still eating.

That afternoon I left the weigh in and decided to try another route back to OKC.  I am glad I did because the first 80 miles were through mountainous terrain that kept me in awe around every corner.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


After months of waiting since the Grand Lake Tournament last season, tournament season is finally here.  I am only fishing the BFL's this year.  At least I have something to look forward to each month.  Once a month feels about right, with having family, and wanting to camp and spend some weekends with them.

Tonight I drive3 hours to Oklahoma City and spend the night at Mizike's.  Tomorrow morning I will make the remainder of the trip (4 hours).  I have a motel room booked so I should be able to look and play around all day Friday until it's time for tournament meeting.

Saturday is the first Okie BFL at Broken Bow.  I will be trying to trick any ole bass into joining us in the boat for a ride around the lake.

A three day weekend is awesome in itself.  A three day weekend getting to fish for bass and spend some time with friends is just outstanding.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tournament Preparation Day 8

Two days of preparations left.  Yesterday I was working late, until 10:00 at night, so I didn't get much accomplished.  I did read through the whole issue of B.A.S.S. Insider that came in the mail.  Especially the articles about early spring fishing.  I may not have learned a lot to help me with this exact tournament, but I did put some more information in the storage banks for future use under certain conditions.

The tournament is getting closer and I am more anxious than ever to get on the road.  All of my gear is ready and sitting in the living room ready to load into the Explorer.  My motel room is booked and I have the printout from expedia and addresses for the pre-tournament meeting and tournament takeoff in the truck.  I have a good idea of what the weather will be like and what I will be using in shallow, medium, or deep water. 

For the next couple days I will be able to relax and envision myself hooking into bass and exploring a new area of the country.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Making Sausage

Three days went by and I did very little to prepare for the upcoming tournament besides think about it.  Many thoughts raced through my head about what I would use, and how I would use it.

The rest of my time was occupied with a trip to Northern Kansas for my Aunt's birthday party and making sausage links with Christina's family.

Friday night I had a terrible headache as I left town with our 2 boys and 2 of our nephews.  I picked Christina up along the way.  On the road we decided to stop and eat at The Great Wall Buffet in Great Bend.  Their food is always warm and fresh.  We made it to Gaylord late Friday night.

Saturday morning we got up around 8 to see when we needed to start processing sausage.  Christina's Mom told us that we would be starting around 9.  We got ready and headed to the house that the sausage making was going to take place.

There were several people there to help.  The process of making sausage was pretty neat.  We had a person cutting the meat into small cubes and weighing it out into 10 pounds.  Another person was making up the secret family German spice used to flavor the sausage.  They would take the meat and dump it into a mixer, dump the spice on top then mix the meat so the spice covered the meat.  The meat was then taken to the grinder and ground into sausage.

From there, the sausage was loaded into the stuffer.  It took 2 people to operate the stuffer.  One would turn the crank and the other would handle the casings and sausage as it was put into the casings.  The sausage was then handed to the tiers who would tie off the ends of the sausage and tie the end of the string to hang the sausage.  Then it was handed to the poker, who would poke holes in the casings for smoke to enter the casings during the smoking process.  The sausages were then loaded into a box awaiting the next step.

All of the casings had to be washed prior to using them as well.

Once we got through stuffing all the sausage, we took it to a smokehouse to let it smoke for 2 1/2 hours.  It was smoked with hickory.  The method used was cold smoking.  To do this a the bottom of a small metal box was filled with charcoal and lit.  Once it was going good, hickory chunks were added on top of the charcoal to start smoking.  The box was covered with a vented lid and placed in the smokehouse where the meat hung.

It was quite a fascinating process.  I was able to try out several of the roles of sausage making.  My main duties were to help with the tying and poking of the sausage.

After sausage making, I slipped over to Kirwin Lake to see where I would like to try some early morning fishing on Sunday.  The lake is a lot different than when I used to fish there all the time.  It would be hard to bank fish this time of year.  I tried casting out a few times for wiper.  There wasn't much time with the birthday party coming up so I didn't get many casts.

The birthday party was a huge success and I got to visit with a lot of my family I don't get to see too often. 

Sunday I spent some more time with my family before leaving later than I had originally planned on.  We made it back to Kiowa around 9:00 last night.  It was a very busy weekend.

The whole time we were up North I had a hard time getting information on the bassmaster classic.  The b.a.s.s. website on my phone did not have an updated security certificate, so I could not look information up directly.  I could find some news from papers around anglers hometowns so I was getting some information.  Last night when I got home I finally got to see how the tournament played out.  Congratulations, Chris Lane, on your big win.  Looks like you are off to an extraordinary season and career.

Christina & Gavin at the Tying Station

Getting the Coals lit for the Smokehouse

The Smokehouse

140 pounds of sausage hung and ready for smoke.