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.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tournament Preperation Day 4

It's Friday, the Bassmaster Classic has started, and I am more anxious than ever to get out fishing.  I even had a fishing dream last night. 

I was out fishing for crappie with friends and family and I took them to a hot spot that I had caught crappie at before.  The lake levels were way down.  We couldn't put the boats in so we fished from shore around the boat ramp.  The crappie must have moved because they weren't biting at all.  Then out of nowhere my bobber starts to go down.

I start reeling the fish in and it isn't much of a fight.  I could still tell there was some weight to the fish.  As I get it close to shore it appears to be about a 7 or 8 pound catfish.  Is it fair to increase the size of a fish you caught in your dream?  This catfish was different though.  It had large pinchers on the front like a lobster.  The bait pulled free a couple feet from bank and landed at the waters edge.  The fish lunged out of the water after it, grabbed it and was starting to head back out to water.  The crew that was with me was telling me not to bring it in.  I wanted to see it closer so I pulled it up on the shore. 

I didn't want to grab it so it flopped a few times on shore and rolled back into the water.  I was thinking, "What a wierd, scary looking fish".  "Would it taste like fish or lobster."

I continued to fish and went around the bend to some covered boat docks that were in a little deeper water.  To get under the boat docks, I waded out into the lake.  I cast under the dock and got a bite pretty quickly.  This one had a little more fight to it.  As I got it closer I realized it was the same kind of fish.  The fish pulled and made me slide onto my side in the water.  As that happened he came up close and brushed my leg with it's body.  I saw the pinchers and grabbed for them.  I was scared that he was going to get me with those monster pinchers.  Right about that time I woke up.

There was a picture of a giant lobster on MSN yesterday.  That stuck in my mind and made for one crazy dream last night.

I checked out the weather again for Broken Bow.  It had the following weekends forecast.  There is a chance of rain on Friday and Friday night.  Friday nights low is 46 and the high Saturday will be 58.  It will be chilly riding in a boat with water temperatures around 48 degrees.  The wind is supposed to be less than 5 mph.

I didn't do any other preparations as I had 2 of my nephews over for the evening.  They are some pancake eating fools.  Every time they come over they want pancakes.  I bough 3 boxes of pancake mix last time at the store so we were good to go.

This weekend we are heading North to go help make sausage at Christina's uncles.  I might get to fish a little bit on Sunday on our way back.  I would like to catch a fish before the tournament. 

Dad took off work and went fishing Wednesday at Norton Lake in Northwest Kansas.  He ended up catching several crappie.  The first fish of the year honor's go to him again.  I need to find a good winter fishing area around here.  This is several years running he has gotten that title.  They are moving to Northern Kansas soon and will be around great fishing.  It is going to be hard for me to beat him now.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tournament Preparation Day 3

Last night I was able to spend some time looking at information on Broken Bow.  With the limited information I found, I saw that the lake is really rocky around the shoreline.  The walleye are starting to run North towards the river.  The water temperature is around 48 degrees and 1.5 feet low from normal pool.  My research gave me a few clues on what the bass will be doing and what I need to start fishing with when I get there.

I also organized my tackle last night.  It wasn't quite the mess as it usually is since I didn't fish a lot last year.  I decide that I have way too much tackle and a lot of it will never get used.  If I get around to it I may try to sell some of my least used tackle on ebay.

After a couple of hours I had my tournament bag ready.  It is ready for any lake any time of the year.  If something unexpected comes up, I have something to try in that situation.  It's hard not to take everything you can.  You never know what you think you will need while you are out fishing. 

I have considered what I want to start out with and will be tying that on in a couple of days.  That may change once I talk to my boater and see how we will be fishing.  With it being early in the season I am guessing we will be fishing slow.  I'm not sure what depth we will be fishing.  This is still new territory for me so I will be learning a lot about these waters this year.  Will the same techniques that worked in Ohio work in Oklahoma?  Probably, but are they the best techniques for this area?  I won't know until I get some experience trying many different things.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tournament Preparation Day 2

Day 2 saw me tired after work again.  It was a great day outside so I fired up the grill when I got home for some hamburgers and hot dogs.  After that I played a little basketball with Leo.  As it started getting dark I hauled most of my tackle to start organizing.  I also grabbed my carhart coveralls and coat, my columbia gloves, my frogg toggs and my life vest. 

Somehow, I managed to get a room booked for Friday night.  The rest of the night I decided to start working on getting my boat legal for spring.  I have to have a tax preparer fill out a form so I can pay property tax on the boat by March 15th.  I also had to get my tags renewed on the trailer.  The last thing I have to do is get my boat numbers.  Property tax supposedly is pretty high here.  Dad thinks it will be around 500.00 a year since the boat is a luxury item.  His boat is the same year as mine so it may be.

Yesterday, I got a text from a boater saying he could use a Co-angler link for the rest of the year after the Broken Bow tournament.  I took him up on the offer.   Today, I called FLW to link with him and they said that since I had registered right away for the season I should be fine this first tournament.

I had a chance to look at a map of the area around broken bow.  They have several mountain names around the lake.  That may mean that it has some deeper water. 

Tonight I will research the lake a little better and try to organize some of my tackle. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tournament Preparation Day 1

You have to make your wife happy so that she doesn't resent you being gone fishing.  Last night I did the dishes, wiped cabinets down, swept floors and picked up several rooms.  There was a double motive to some of that.  I needed to clear counter space in the utility room so that I can hook up my microwave and start making worms.  The rest was mainly for her.

Cleaning took a majority of the evening.  It was also cold and very windy outside so I didn't want to be digging around the boat for all of my fishing tackle.

I did get online to try to find a boater link for the season.  So far I have had 2 boaters that I was linked with that are not able to fish this season.  I really want to be able to fish every tournament so I can have a shot at making it to the regionals.

I talked to a couple people that have been to Broken Bow.  They said the lake is really scenic and is very rocky. 

The last thing I did was look at a 10 day weather forecast for the area.  It looks like it will be highs in the 50's with lows in the high 30's with a few 60 -70 degree days thrown in.  That was just an initial check to see if camping would be feasible this time of year.  I don't think I want to chance it.  I will check back on the weather periodically to see what it is doing up to the tournament.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Twelve Days of Tournament Preperations

What can I think of to help my chances with this tournament in 12 days?  So far this year I am yet to catch a bass, or a fish in that matter.  There is very little hope of getting out to fish any more by the time I leave for Broken Bow in Oklahoma. 

Due to this early in the year tournament, I will attempt to prepare my fishing equipment as well as prepare mentally.  Over the next 11 days I will keep track of what I do to prepare and post it on here.

Tonight I will be starting by organizing my tackle.  Over the course of the last year it has been added and taken out of my tournament bag and thrown into my boat.  Once it is organized, I will try to find some information on the lake and information on fishing this time of year in the region.  That will help me to add the tackle I will want to use into my tournament bag.

Studying the lake, tournament, area, weather, etc can take several days so I will not finish with that tonight.  Right now I have no information and have never fished Broken Bow.  The more preparations I make now can only help me out when it comes time for the tournament.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weekly Catch Up 2.15.12

A lot has happened the last few weeks.  My job has gotten crazy busy.  We had 2 snows.  Not much out of either but enough to build a snowman with the boys.

I got to do a little more fishing in Oklahoma City.  This time I went down to look at a boat to buy and keep in Mizike's garage.  The boat was sold already when I got down there so we hung out and fished for a bit.  We tried several areas around one of the lakes and didn't get a bite.  Mizike even used real worms.

On my way home I stopped by to check out Great Salt Plains Lake again.  It was not up any more than last time but they were dumping water out of the lake.  I'm not sure if they will let it fill up enough to be a usable lake.  Such a shame.  I would love to have a lake less than an hour and a half away.

I tried fishing below the spillway and did not have any luck.  Afterwards I drove around and found some pretty awesome looking hiking trails.  We will be using them this spring.

In the last couple weeks I have considered fishing a FLW Tour tournament at Beaver's Lake Arkansas.  I had permission from the wife and work but decided to hold off for now.  For that kind of money I want some more experience in this area.  Maybe next year.

For the BFL's I have now signed with two boater links.  Both have had issues that they cannot fish this season.  Now I'm worried that I may not get to fish all of the tournaments if I cannot get a boater link.  I am driving way to far for these to not have a shot at regionals.  We will see if I can get a boater link at the first tournament.

Last night at the high school basketball game Leo's Kindergarten teacher came up to us to let us know we needed to talk to her about what we will do with Leo next year.  I know he is not motivated to learn.  We try to work with him all of the time and he doesn't want to learn.  It feels like I have failed him.  I know he can learn if I worked with him more.  Maybe I have worked too much the last few years.  I devote a lot of time and energy to my job.  If some of that were devoted to teaching my son he might be more interested to learn.  Maybe he just isn't ready yet.  He learns what he wants to learn at a lightning fast pace, but he doesn't do well with the same things I have always had a problem with.

We scheduled an appointment tomorrow with his teacher.  Hopefully we can make the right decision for Leo's sake.  Whether we need to hold him back or push him hard to get him to catch up with the other kids.  This decision will affect him for the rest of his life.  I'm not qualified to make this decision.  I will not take his teacher's advise lightly.  She is great.  Leo has came so far this year.  I wish they would have told us sooner that he was having issues or needed extra work and what he needed to work on.  From all we've seen he has been doing great.  His report card last month showed all Satisfactory to Excellent marks.

Maybe things are different these days but to me satisfactory is good.  Fail is bad. Unsatisfactory is bad.  Poor is bad.  D's and F's will get you whoopin's and grounded they are so bad.  If he was not to the level he should be don't tell me he's doing good.  If it isn't good enough to get to the next grade that's unsatisfactory bad.

There are a lot of mixed emotions flying around in my head today about the whole deal.  I try to calm them so I can figure out what is best for my son.  Anger and disappointment will not help him.  His birthday is tomorrow.  It feels like that is making things worse.  On a day that should be celebrated we are feeling gloomy and depressed.  We have to kick our funk to the side for that day.

Valentine's Day was a bust, we're not going to let Leo's birthday become a bust.