Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weekly Catch Up 1.25.12

This month is flying by.  I'm sure it has something to do with the weather we have been having.  Usually at this time of year I am miserable waiting for the snow to melt or the temperatures to get warm enough to step outside without getting a face full of cold wind.

It is still a month away from tournament season but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. 

Last Sunday was an awesome day with over 60 degree weather.  Instead of fishing I spent time at home with the family.  We had traveled to Pratt the previous 2 nights to watch the high school basketball team play in a tournament there.  I was feeling lazy Sunday.  Since it was a nice day and basketball was in the air we put up the boys basketball goat they had gotten for Christmas.  At the same time I smoked a turkey.

Once the basketball goal was up I started working with my oldest boy, showing him the basics.  He had played basketball last year in Ohio and had retained a lot of what he had learned.  He had also improved on his dribbling.  We were just about done and ready to head inside when he brought his Mom out to play a game.  We were playing around and Christina and I were getting pushy blocking out after shots and keeping each other away from the goal.  I went up for a shot and she turned to block me out.  It pushed me out into the grassy area where my foot caught the grass and my ankle rolled under all of my weight.  I felt a pop and went down in pain.

My ankle took its time swelling and did not swell much at all.  It did turn black and blue.  Monday it was hurting to walk on it and I was slow.  Tuesday was a lot better.  I could walk without a limp and almost at full speed. 

I have had ankle sprains before and this was not nearly as bad.  They have never healed this quick.  It must have been a pretty minor sprain. 

Leo has played each day so far since the goal has been put up.  He will get a lot of use out of it.  It is still a few years before he will start playing team basketball around here.  By that time he should be pretty decent.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Clark County Lake Fishing Trip 1.14.12

Saturday was our first trip fishing for the year.  To make it fair, I called Dad to see if he wanted to meet me at Clark County Lake.  The lake is about halfway for us.  It takes me 2 hours to get there and Dad 1 1/2 hours. 

We got a late start, leaving the house at 11:00.  Neither Dad or I knew if the lake was going to be frozen or not.  As I was driving I passed streams and ponds and all of them were frozen over.  The temperature in the truck was reading 47 degrees though and we have only had a few cold days so far this year.  The nights have been below freezing.  We figured the coves may be frozen but the main lake should still be accessible.

As we pulled into the lake area I saw instantly that there were boats out on the lake.  That was a great sign.  I drove around to the back side of the lake on a rough trail road to meet up with Dad.

He was parked on the side of a big hill leading down to the water.  The water was shallow there but there was a trail to get down to the shore.  We hiked around the lake to an area we knew had deep water.  I tossed out some wax worms under a bobber on one pole and had a robo worm on the other pole and eventually switched to try several other lures.  Leo and Gavin had on crappie tubes under bobbers.  Dad was casting and reeling several different lures trying to catch a white bass. 

After trying on the main lake for a little bit, I followed the shoreline back into a cove and fished it with no luck.  When I got back to Dad and the boys he suggested we try the corner of the dam. 

We some some fish swimming around there but couldn't get anything to bite.  There was a layer of ice about an inch thick on the first three feet of rocks out of the water.  The boys had fun taking large sticks and busting the ice from the rocks.

We eventually called it a day with about an hour of sunlight left.  No first fish of the year yet!  The boys were really good at the lake and tried hard to catch a fish.  Gavin collected shells to take to his Mom and Leo tried climbing the canyon walls.  Gavin outlasted Leo on the fishing but eventually tangled his line up so bad I don't even know if scissors can get it undone.

It was fantastic fishing in January, not wearing a coat, and fishing open water.  It sounds like the weather is supposed to be nice most of this week as well.  I might have to slip out again this weekend.

A view of the lake from the cove.  The water was down quite a bit making it hard to find a place on the west side of the lake deep enough to fish.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Registered for the FLW BFL Okie Division for 2012

I am finally registered for all of the Okie Division BFL tournaments as a co-angler.  All of the tournaments are over 200 miles away with all but 1 being over 300 miles away.  Not bad?  Right@!  Each tournament will be like a little mini vacation to some great fishing lakes.

Here is a list of tournaments and dates:

Broken Bow - 3/3
Lake Eufaula - 3/31
Fort Gibson Lake - 5/5
Arkansas River - 7/21
Grand Lake 9/15 & 9/16

The first two tournaments and possibly the third could be cold.  I am excited about getting into the action so early in the year.  It would be nice to throw some other tournaments into the mix but I can't find any close except for a couple walleye tournaments.  Maybe Dad and I will look into a couple of those.

I would like to try a stren series tournament, but it looks like there is only 1 within 300 miles this year and it happens the same time as the Broken Bow tournament.

The cost of the tournaments is 585.00 with my membership.  The travel expenses even with camping at 150.00 for the first four trips and 200.00 for the last will be around 800.00.  It may be a little less than that for travel but I like to have it if I need it.  In all, this season will cost 1385.00 and I will be lucky if I can win back just my entry fees.  There is hope to go far beyond that though.

My first goal this year is to make it to the Regionals.  To do that I will need to try to catch a fish in every tournament and do well in a couple of them.

My second goal is to make it in the money in at least 2 tournaments.

I need to fish more this year between the tournaments.  It seems like if I don't have a tournament scheduled I don't make it out nearly as often to fish.  Leo will be 6 and Gavin will be 4 this summer so I need to get them out as much as I can.  Maybe I should start booking camping sites at different lakes every other weekend, then we will have to go so we don't waste our money.  Then we will be booked before something else comes up.  Something always comes up when your close to family.  They will understand though. 

Last summer was just too hot.  We also didn't have our house yet so it was hard to make it out when we didn't have easy access to the boat and my fishing and camping gear.  This year we are settled in and ready to enjoy an outdoor summer.

This weekend I am going to try to make it out since the water is not frozen yet and we are supposed to reach 50 degrees.  The boys can go if they want.  We might not catch anything but we have to try for the first fish of the year.  I'm thinking about heading Northeast to Anthony lake.  We will try it for a bit and if we need to keep working Northwest and try Afton Lake and Cheney.  It's a good time of the year to get out and scout the waters.  This way when spring comes I will know where the good camping is as well as the boat ramps.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Great Salt Plains Lake Review

Driving around the Great Salt Plains lake in Northern Oklahoma took me back to an earlier time in history.  I could envision bait shops, cabins, boats, people camping and playing on the beaches.  It was easy to visualize because not a lot has changed around the lake in the last 30 years, except the lack of people and water.  You could tell the lake used to be very popular.  It made me want to go back in time to see the lake in it's prime. 

It could be too little - too late, the Great Salt Plains lake has filled up a little with the rainfall we had this fall. 

The lake still has a few more feet to raise to reach normal pool.  Even at normal pool I would be concerned about getting my boat in and out at the boat ramp.  A few feet will not leave a lot of ramp under the water level.  

Another concern is the salt content of the water.  Even if you can get your boat on the water, locals are saying that the salt can ruin your motor.  I'm guessing that if fresh water fish can live in the water it is not horribly bad for your boat.

I am hoping that some fish survived this last summer with the extremely low water levels and high heat.  It will be worth a few quick trips down there to check it out.  I have been wanting to try the spillway out since last summer when I saw several large snapping turtles and large catfish swimming around.

Summer 2011
Winter 2012
Boat ramp still slightly out of water.

Weekly Catch Up 1.11.12

This last weekend I met Mizike in Oklahoma for our first ever EPIC Weekend.  It was Epic in the first place because it was just us.  No wives and no kids.

The first night I got there in time to watch the K-State game.  It made me wish I was not a fan.  Happiness was drained after the game and I passed out for a little bit.  Not long after that I woke up and was fine the rest of the night.  It was crazy.  I felt like I was going to get sick, passing out and waking up feeling nothing an hour later.

The next day we got up to eat Chinese Buffet.  I can't remember what it was called or where it was but it would be worth searching the whole city to find it again.  After that we checked out Bass Pro.  For the first time that I can remember I went into a fishing store and didn't walk out with fishing items.  Instead I bought 100 rounds of 9mm target shells.

Later in the afternoon we checked out a couple local casinos.  I would go back to either one.  The Firelake Casino seemed a little nicer.  After a few hours of play neither of us hit anything too great.  We both got up a little then would play back down until we both ran out of spending money.

We got home that evening and decided we needed to do something epic, something to remember.  From there we started coming up with completely random things to do while drinking.  This is not a complete list but we smoked out of a hookah, flipped a coin to see show would chase a shot with similac baby formula, we reenacted a scene from braveheart and recorded it.  All of this and more was happening while we were wearing just our left shoe and sock.  It made a fun and memorable night.

The next day I got up feeling rough.  I laid around as long as I could fighting off the hangover but eventually had to get up and drive back to Kansas so I could catch up on some work.

Monday night we played volleyball.  My wife and I made an agreement to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.  Tuesday was last night and we didn't run.  I met up with some other guys in town and played cards.  This Thursday we will have to try harder to get out and run.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Out With a Bang

Since I won some money in Vegas last year and have this years tournaments and travel paid for I decided to use the leftover funds on a new gun.  I went to several pawn shops and gun stores around Garden City looking at pistols and trying to find something I wanted.

The first gun store had a .380 for 275.00.  It was a nice looking gun, I wasn't picky as I didn't have a hand gun at all.  The next pawn shop had this 9mm S&W for 285.00.  It was practically new, came with a case and 2 clips.  I asked the owner if he would come down on the price.  He said he had that much into it and didn't want to take a loss. 

We left and went to another pawn shop that was closed then to a pawn shop that only had a few guns.  He had a .380 pistol for 175.00.  It was in rough condition, still working but a little under cared for.  The pawn shop guy said that he has had nothing but jams with the .380's and suggested I not buy that as my first gun.  I will go back to that pawn shop and buy something.  It was amazing that he lost out on a sale to help me out like that. 

We left the pawn shop to eat at El Conquistador's, one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Garden City.  While we were eating Dad and I talked about the S&W more and more.  The pawn shop had everything marked high that I could see so I didn't know if this was a good deal.  It felt good though so I called my cousin to see what he thought.  He said at that price and the condition it would be a good deal for a first gun. 

We went back to pick it up.  When I got in the pawn shop a girl came to help me.  I asked to look at a .380 in the case that was marked at 129.00.  If I was in my right mind I would have gotten it too for that price.  It was a better deal once I looked them both up.  I had her put the gun back in the case and asked if she would throw in a box of shells if I bought the 9mm.  She looked at the owner who glared at me as she answered yes.  I let out a huge grin and the owner shook his head and walked into the back of the store.

As I was filling out the paperwork for my background check he came over and put the box of shells on the table and the case for the gun with the clips.  He seemed sort of pleased to make the sell, but didn't want to act like it since he had been duped.

That day the wind picked up to 50+ miles an hour so I didn't get to try the gun out.  The next day was nice and Dad and I fired off 45 rounds through it.  At first the trigger was super tight and hard to pull.  I couldn't hit a piece of paper at 20 feet, I was pulling so hard on the trigger the gun was turning when I fired.

By the time the 45th round was fired the trigger had loosened up and it was accurate as a dream in the center of the paper.  I really have to make sure I squeeze the trigger gently or my shot will end up completely right of target.

All in all, I am happy to be a gun owner.  After looking up the prices of a few of this model I didn't do too bad.  They sell around 300.00 to 350.00 for the gun and 1 clip.  Smith & Wesson has been a brand I have been familiar with since I was a child so it made since to have one as one of my first hand guns.

Thank you Intro to the Outdoors and your Quest for the Holy Hand Gun posts, for peaking my interest in purchasing my first hand gun.