Friday, December 27, 2013

2014 Resolution - Get Outdoors

It's time to get serious about my 2014 fishing season.  There's several things that need to start happening.  1st - I need to get out fishing and catch the first fish of 2014.  Dad has the honors the last few years.  I need to get my fishing license now so I can sneak out on the 1st day and bag me a fish before he does.  2nd - I need to get registered for the 2014 Okie BFL as a co-angler.  3rd - I need to start getting my tackle organized and equipment ready for the new year.

I was pretty close to registering for the Everstart Central Division, but the cost of travel and lodging and entry fees is a little more than I can swing right now.  Instead I may try to get in the 1st one at Grand Lake and see what to do from there.  Maybe I'll place and pay for the other 2 events.

This blog may start getting some life back in it in 2014.

This fall and winter I have been outdoors more than I was all summer.  It may have only been a few weekends but I have made it out pheasant hunting with the boys a couple of times.  There are not a lot of birds in Northwest Kansas yet, but they are making a comeback from the last few years of drought and the floods before that.

I have bought a few guns here recently as well.  I have added a 12 gauge pump Remington, a single shot 12 gauge H&R, and a .223 bolt action rifle.  I have also picked up my .22 rifle from my parents.  I took the .223 out to sight it in.  It's a lot of fun.  The .22 is still the most accurate gun I have ever shot.  We were shooting at 200 yards and I centered a target in 3 shots.  I had to aim high due to the distance but once I got the height down it hit right in the center of the target.  I love that gun. 

I just got the 12 gauge single shot for 90.00.  It's in nice condition for that price.  I shot it twice to see how well I liked the modified choke.  I'm going to love it!  I better hit every bird I shoot at though because this thing kicks like a furious mule.  After 2 shots my shoulder is bruised.  I will be looking for a rubber stock bump. 

On New Years Day I am going to hit the lakes around OKC.  I will be down there celebrating the coming of the new year.  There's a few options in the immediate vicinity.  This is going to be my year.  It may hurt that Dad has purchased a gas powered auger and a vexilar for ice fishing.  He may get tricky and go out at sun up New Years Day.  I hope he has to work!

There's a lot to celebrate with the coming of 2014.  My resolution is to make it outdoors a lot more this year.  I took a year off to spend time at home with my baby girl.  I have done that.  Now it's time to get back to my other love.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tournaments On the Roster Again for Next Year!

Fishing has taken a backseat this year as I have taken a year off for my daughter being born.  I have only fished a couple of times throughout the spring and summer.  My boat has only touched the water once this year.

I would like to make it out more, but family obligations, laziness, cost of gas, and lack of water have kept me at bay.  This fall I may make it out once or twice before I have to winterize the boat.

In thinking about next year, I have decided to get back into the tournament action.  I'm not sure, but I may step it up a bit and do the BFL's and try to get into the next higher series with the FLW.

It's nice for me to have the excuse that I have to go fishing.  Otherwise I may be pursuaded to do other things.

My favorite summer was a few years ago when I was fishing club tournaments and the FLW.  I had to go fishing almost every weekend. 

I won't ever have that opportunity again if I continue to live here.  As long as I can make it out of town for a series I will be happy. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

No Fresh Trout For Breakfast

Vacation is over.  I've been back to work for a couple of weeks now.

The mountains were chilly while we were out there.  It rained every day except for Saturday, the day before we left.  Wednesday it rained the entire day.

We would get up in the mornings and go hiking or fishing and be chased off by the rain by early afternoon.  We did drive around some and check out the mountains. 

One of my favorite drives was driving up one of the unmaintained passes in my explorer.  The road was rough and had lots of puddles making it fun to drive on.  The scenery was excellent.  We drove slow and had to pull over for oncoming traffic.  It was something I had never done before.  When we got to the top of the pass at 11500 feet we got out and climbed the mountain beside us so the boys could touch snow in August.  The both threw snowballs at me.

Fishing was great.  I had a Kokane Salmon on the fly at one lake.  It got off at the shoreline and I was dissapointed I didn't get it in since I have never caught one.  I also caught rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout.  The brook trout were the biggest of all.  We found a nice beaver dam on the way up the pass and pulled over to fish it on the way down.  I had several 14 inch plus trout take the fly.  I only landed a couple little 10 inchers though. 

On the 3rd to last day we found a perfect stretch of river to fish that was public access.  As we were wading and fishing it I almost had a River Runs Through It experience.  There was a boulder sticking out of the water.  I watched the current going around the rock and saw a 20+ inch brown trout slowly rise to the surface and suck in an insect as it came floating past. 

I whipped my fly rod back and forth and laid the fly perfectly out in front of where the trout had risen.  All of a sudden my line went tight.  It was coming in awefully easy for such a huge trout.  I thought a 20+ inch trout would put up a much bigger fight.  I was right.  It didn't take long to realize a smaller trout had gotten this fly.

The kids had fun hiking through the mountains and playing around the cabin.  My daughter loved hiking since she could sleep and be carried the whole way.  She did get a little upset when it started raining and sleeting the first day we were out there.

Even with all the rain we had a lot of fun.  The cabin was nice and we played cards to pass the time while we were there. 

Next time I go out there I want to have a cabin or a campsite on the river or on a lake.  It's difficult waiting on everybody to eat breakfast and get ready to head out for the day.  I would rather slip out for an early morning fish and come back to eat fresh trout for breakfast.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Less Than a Month Until Vacation

With less than a month until our vacation, I have done nothing to prepare.  I haven't tied any flies.  I haven't broken out the fly pole and practiced casting.  I haven't written a list of anything we will need. 

I have booked the cabin.

I am getting excited about fly fishing in the Rocky Mountains again.  Last time I went it came back to me pretty easily.  That was about 5 years ago for a short couple hour trip.  I caught a couple rainbow's in that time. 

This time we have a full week in gold medal trout waters.  It's going to be great. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Breaking Out The Fly Rod This Summer

When I was 5, Dad got his first fly rod.  It was stiff and burly and later worked great as a bass rod.  We had went through the Colorado Rockies, Snowy Range, Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons, next to the Snake River in Idaho, all on our way to the state of Washington.  If you make that trip, you'll buy a fly rod too.

I was instantly impressed with fly fishing, even though I was the only one to catch a trout on a regular zebco. 

Five years later we went through Yellowstone again.  This time I got to try fly fishing.  I got my first fly rod and it was a beast like Dad's.  I think we gave 25.00 for it with the reel and the line, and a few colorful flies.  I don't think I caught anything or really learned how to cast it on that trip.

Once I got back home in Kansas, I practiced daily to get the casting down.  Not long after that I was riding my bike to a local pond or the creek to practice my techniques on some innocent bluegill, and bass. 

Eventually I started tying my own flies and got really good at catching fish on the fly.  Somehow, I have stopped tying flies and stopped fly fishing.  Several years ago I was in the Rockies and gave it a try again.  It came back to me quickly and I pulled in a couple rainbow trout.  A guide came up to me and asked me for advice.  My head got big really quick.

Since then I haven't fly fished.  My fly rod has probably been in its case for over 10 years, my wifes has been in her case even longer.

This summer we will be breaking them out!  We are taking a weeks vacation near Lake George, Colorado.  My parents and us will be renting a cabin.  For a few days of the vacation, I hope to get the boys, Dad and myself out for a few hours of trout fishing.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

No Water No Fishing No Camping

Unless I want to pull my boat and camper over 2 hours, there is no lakes around to boat at.  Canton Lake in Oklahoma is still 13 foot low, which is 7 foot lower than it was at this time last year. 

They quit saying that the boat ramps are unusable on the Oklahoma fishing report I get, but the islands all around the lake that were 3 foot below the water will be 4 foot above the water this year.  The fish should be stacked up there if you can get a boat on the lake.

Other than that the next closest lake for me to go to camp and boat is Kaw Lake over 2 hours away.  It gets filled with water funners in the sunners and becomes too dangerous for a weekend fishing trip, unless you want to dodge irresponsible boat drivers all day.

It's getting hot now.  Temps are over 100 degrees.  I will need my camper if I go to the lake to camp to stay somewhat cool during the middle of the day.  With gas prices hovering around 4.00 a gallon I don't want to  make 2 trips over 2 hours to pull both the camper and the boat to the lake.

It's been getting closer and closer each year, but it may be time to sell the boat and the camper, or move somewhere that has water.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Large Crappie at Waconda Lake

Friday Morning:  I have a little bit left to do at work, then it's off to watch my oldest son's track meet.  After that, hook up the camper and get on the road to go camping. 

Halt everything.  Nothing goes right and I'm stuck at work until 8:00 at night.  Not the early departure I was looking forward to.  By the time I got the camper hooked up, and everything else loaded, it was too late to think about driving 4 hours to the lake. 

After a going back and forth in my head on whether it was still worth making the drive, we went to bed early and got up at 5:00 the next morning to head out.

It was windy by the time we arrived at the lake and started setting up camp.  I was uncomfortable being on the downwind side of the camper for fear of it falling over on me.  Camp was set up in short order.  I love the new pop up.  I can set it up by myself in no time.

After lunch we headed out to fish some.  I caught a walleye and Mom caught a crappie, but that's all we could catch.  We saw a lot of people cleaning a lot of fish so we new they were eating, just not sure where. 

Dad and Mom had been fishing deep for crappie and had gotten a few.  From my previous experience I thought they would be shallow if they were spawning.  On Sunday, I got the chance to test my theory as the anchor wouldn't hold us out deep fishing for walleye any longer.  Mom had caught a 22 incher.  We went into a cove that looked perfect.  Sand banks with lots of trees in the water and grass in the water at the shoreline.  If I was a fish, this is where I would be.  I got about 5 casts before Dad decided he needed to find a restroom.

Afterwards he was about to take off to somewhere else but I told him that I had saw a couple crappie caught while I was doing my 5 casts.  That boat was leaving so we pulled into that spot.  He hooked into 1 pretty quickly.  Then another.  We got a couple doubles.  Mom was getting some as well.  We ended up catching 13 crappie between 14-16 inches, before we had to leave to go back to camp.

It seemed like a really fast weekend, but my head feels refreshed after I spent some time at the lake so it was worth driving 4 hours to camp for 1 night.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bachelor Party Weekend is Here!

Time to celebrate.  We take off in the morning for Grand Lake.  By the time I get the best man and another guest picked up it should take about 7 hours to get to the lake.  I will leave at 6:15 in the morning so that we can get there and have a chance to fish Friday afternoon.

We have scored lots of meat as the best man cleaned out his parents freezer when they were getting another beef butchered.  I scored some vegetables to take with us. 

We'll be barbecuing a lot and hopefully have a fish fry while we are there.

Friday, March 22, 2013

First Keeper Walley of the Year Goes to Me

Since Dad always locks in first fish of the year, I'm starting a new catagory this year.  First keeper Walleye of the year.  It probably wouldn't have came to be, but since I caught the first keeper walleye of 2013 it's now the prestigous championship of early fishing.

We got out a little after sun up last Saturday.  Dad had been catching quite a few saugeye and walleye the last few weeks but had not caught a keeper. 

I started fishing for crappie under the dock when he hooked into his first walleye.  It was about 20 inches and rolled off the line right before Dad could get it to the dock.

I instantly tied a jighead and grub on my microlight and cast out reeling in slow lifting the jig off the bottom every few reels.  Dad had a couple more shorts in before I finally hooked into my first fish of 2013.  It was a short.  We caught several more shorts before I hooked into something that felt a little bigger.  It was quite a fight on the microlight with 4lb mono.  She was stripping drag and ran under the dock.  I finally got her to surface to see that she was indeed a keeper. 

It was 34 degrees with 15-25 mph winds so I was hesitant take my gloves off much less to bend over and put my hands in the water.  I should have.  I tried to heave her up onto the dock with my light line.  The line snapped and the jig fell out of her mouth on the dock.  She teetered on the edge half on the dock and half off.  One shake and she was gone.  In an instant Dad was flying onto the floor of the dock to grab her.  I was already on course when he dove in front of me.  Now Dad and the fish were in front of me teetering on the edge of the dock.  Somehow, I diverted the direction I was heading and crashed on the dock right beside them.  Dad had gotten the fish in his grip.  He had almost dove right off the dock himself.  Then about got shoved off by me diving.

The fish was over 20 inches and went on the stringer. 

We caught quite a few more short fish, then I caught another keeper.

The next morning we went out again.  This time it was in freezing fog and 29 degrees with wind.  The fog was getting in my reel and freezing it so I couldn't crank the handle.  I'd have to blow on my reel to thaw it out to reel in. 

We were out in that for several hours but Dad managed to catch his first keeper of 2013.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Finalized Bachelor Party Location and Date

We have finalized our location and date for the bachelor party we have been planning.  We wanted to go with a houseboat but the cost and distance was a little much for everybody to swing, so we decided to rent a house for the weekend instead.

This house sits on 30 acres of private land at Grand Lake of the Cherokee's in Oklahoma.  It has 1/2 a mile of shoreline and a boat dock.  We will be renting it in April and it sounds like most of our closest friends will be there. 

I'm taking off work Friday and taking the boat.  We'll take the soon to be groom out to a nice dinner one night and barbecue the rest of our meals.  We will have some finer details to work out but it will be a great time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

First Fish of 2013 Goes to Dad

It came late this year but Dad has caught the first fish of 2013 for our little family competition, as well as the first walleye of the year.  He caught several crappie and a couple saugeye at Norton lake.  I didn't get a chance to get out and try yet.  With him waiting so long I should have driven South and gave it an effort to beat him this year.;

This weekend is the Grand Lake BFL.  I will not be fishing it this year.  As bad as I want to, it's better that I stay home and save the money it would cost to drive there, enter the tournament and get a hotel room.  With my wife on maternity leave right now we are watching our spending. 

I also stayed home and did not go see the bassmaster classic.  I did watch some weigh in's on the internet.  While I was watching, I was picturing what it would be like to be at the weigh in.  It would have been fun.

This weekend is supposed to in the 60's and we are expecting rain.  It's only a matter of time until I start my fishing season.  The walleye are already spawning at Broken Bow which is about the same time they started last year, which in theory, means that they should be spawning at Canton around the same time they did last year.  I should be on the dam casting for them by the end of the month.

Canton lake is unusable for boating at this point.  They released a lot of water at the beginning of Febuary to fill Hefner Lake in Oklahoma City for drinking water.  Right now Canton is 15 foot low.  At 8 foot low I was hitting rocks with my prop trying to get in and out of the lake on the boat ramp at the dam.  I found a deeper boat ramp last year but they say it is unusable now. 

I kept my boat hoping that since we had some rain last fall that it would still be usable this spring.  Chances are, I may be going on my 3rd year of barely using my boat.  Nobody cares about any of the lakes around here.  We got rain that would have filled The Great Salt Plains Lake so it would be usable again and they opened the gates at the dam and let it flow on through.  I don't think they will let it become usable again.    All of the lakes and ponds around here are really low or dry. 

If I want to take the boat out it's going to have to be 2 hours or more away.  No quick trips to the lake to go boating.  With gas at 4.00 a gallon, I won't be making that trip every weekend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Possibly Attending the Bassmaster Classic

The Bassmaster Classic is probably the closest it will ever be to me this year at Grand Lake, Oklahoma.  I have always wanted to attend an event and this would be the top notch event to attend.

I would already have my bags packed but there are a couple things keeping me from going.  I don't like large crowds.  We were at Chuck E Cheese this weekend and it was too crowded for my liking.  The other thing is that I may be traveling to Grand Lake in 2 more weeks for a tournament.  With a new baby, and my wife not working, I don't know that I could afford 2 trips there in less than a month.

One of my friends has booked a room at the Grand Casino close to the lake.  If he invites me to stay with them, I will go.  I would like to go to the launch ramp and watch them get ready to take off in the mornings.  The take-off is outdoors so the crowds wouldn't seem as bad.  I would probably go to a weigh in too since I would be there. 

If I do go I will not fish the BFL tournament 2 weeks later. 

It's a tough decision.  I would love to see my favorite Pro's in person.  This will be my one chance to fish in a tournament this year.  Either one would be a blast.  My son could go with me to the Classic where he wouldn't be able to go to the tournament. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

More Camping This Year

We are over half way through January and I am still not planning on fishing the BFL next year.  I wish there were a club series around here, or water for that matter. 

The longer I go without fishing, the more I wonder if I can make it a year without fishing the BFL's.  Signing up for that has always given me the excuse that I have to go.  I am going to try to fish the first one at Grand Lake, but that may be it. 

We are really wanting to get out camping quite a bit this spring.  Having a tournament series along with family commitments, and friend commitments, and work around the house ties me up so that I cannot go camping.  Maybe, if I don't fish the tournaments it will free up a little time.

Once the baby gets here, I will have a little better idea of what to expect.  The 2 older boys are starting to get to where they can take care of themselves a little bit.

I was thinking about selling the boat this spring but don't think I will.  It would be a good year to do it.  I could sell it and watch for a newer bass boat for when I get back into tournament fishing. 

I'm hoping that Canton Lake will fill back up this spring.  It's now 9 to 10 foot low and would be impossible to put a boat in.  It may be a little safer as I heard that the islands are now sticking up out of the water so you know where they are at.  It's our one close lake at 1 1/2 hours away that I know I can catch fish at.  We can pull both the boat and the camper there.  A lot of the other lakes I would love to try are 2 to 2 1/2 hours away.  It would be quite a bit more costly to pull both the boat and the camper that far. 

This should be a good year for fishing and camping as the boys are at a perfect age to start learning some new things, like tubing, and maybe the older one can start tying on his own lures.  I'll at least put a snap swivel on for him so he can change them himself.

Maybe I will schedule camping trips like I have booked bass tournaments.  I can pick out weekends that I think will work and book a campground at some lake that weekend.  Then I can try out new lakes and be committed to go camping.  Then when somebody says, "Can you help me with this, this weekend?", I can say, "Sorry Charlie, I've already paid for a camping spot for this weekend."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winchester Shells - Bad

Friday around lunch time Dad called and asked if I still wanted a deer.  I have had a few people ask if I wanted a deer this year but each time they did not get one.  I told him I did.  He said to come up then he could pretty much guarantee me a deer.

I took off work about an hour early and headed North 4 1/2 hours to Mom and Dad's.  It was blowing around 45 mph the whole way.  At one point as I was passing a semi going the opposit direction, a gust helped by the truck hit the explorer hard.  I heard the roof collapse a little then pop back out and a loud snapping sound.

When I got to the next town I pulled over and looked at my roof rack.  The wind burst had busted my roof rack and taken one of the cross bars.  I was dissapointed but still excited to get to go hunting with Dad.

During my drive after dark the whole way I had many deer run out in front of me.  I could have gotten several with the truck on the way to Mom and Dad's.  The deer are thick.

It was late by the time I visited with Mom and Dad for a bit and got to bed.

Saturday morning we got up at sunrise and started driving around looking for a whitetail doe to fill Dad's tag.  We saw a ton of Mule deer on the land we have access to hunt and a ton of Whitetail deer on private, no hunting, no tresspassing, keep out, violators will be prosecuted land.

Finally we checked a piece of land that that had trees and a spring surrounded by corn.  We walked in and saw a large herd of whitetails.  We couldn't get a shot at them and they were on top of the next hill by the time we got out of the trees to see where they were. 

We could see they were wanting to come back in there so we left and made a plan to come back before sunrise on Sunday and sneak in there.

Sunday morning I was awakened by Dad at 6:00 to get ready to go hunting. We were out the door and on the road well before sun up. We made it to our hunting grounds by the time the sun was coming up over the horizon.

The first thing we saw was a bunch of turkeys roosting in the trees near where the deer were. It was going to be tough to walk in there without spooking the turkeys and not spooking the deer.

We waited until we could see then started sneaking down a fence row towards the deer hangout. We started sneaking and about 7 steps out of the 100's more to go the turkey's flew down from the tops of the trees. Our cover had been blown.

We continued as quietly as we could, which was far from silent as our coveralls rustled and frozen plants crumbled with each step.

We reached the trees and saw the deer running out the other side. Well crap. That might have been our one chance at getting a whitetail. The deer then stopped in the middle of a corn field at the edge of a draw. We decided to sneak down the middle of the draw and come up close to where they were hanging out.

This time we were downwind as the wind had finally picked up a little bit to cover our noise, and we found a clean path to follow to stay quiet.

I stayed back so I could only see the top of the deers head and let dad get ahead to get a shot. He stood up and sighted in the deer. Click. No boom. I see Dad eject the shell and bolt in another. Click. No boom. Same thing. This time he messes with the gun for a minute. You can see he's taking a little longer to aim this time. Click. No boom. He bolts in the last bullet and takes aim again. The deer are getting ancy but still haven't moved. Click. No boom.

The deer take off and Dad walks back to me. The gun fired fine the day before when he fired a shot at a piece of trash in the woods. Today nothing.

We get back to the truck after a good hike and Dad looks at the firing pin and other features of the gun. Everything looks o.k. We look at the bullets and all four had strike marks in the rim fire. We decided to try a bullet out of another box of shells. Booom! Put in one of the shells that did not fire and click.

Winchester had made a whole box of bad shells. It cost us a deer, my money getting up there and back and my time spent hunting the last 2 days.
We had planned everything out perfectly to finally get a shot and nothing.

I did have a great time hunting with Dad and am not to concerned about not getting a deer, but I am thoroughly peeved that Winchester makes such a bad product. These were new factory shells. I pulled up a search on the internet and saw that they have had other issues with this.

We will probably never by a box of Winchester shells again.

We had to call it a day after that as I had a 4 1/2 hour drive home today.

Now that the season has closed, I have pretty much decided that this year I am going to get my own tags to hunt.  I may not get a deer either, but it is a lot of fun trying.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Epic Bachelor Party Epic Prank

It looks as if most of the party will have budget constraints so we have narrowed down the scope some.  We will try to stay close.  Pending approval of the Bachelor we are looking at renting a houseboat for the weekend.  With several of us chipping in together it is fairly reasonable. 

We found a place that rents them out during the off season like a hotel.  You are stuck on the dock but that's ok with us.  We can still fish and have fun.  We will be outdoors.  I can take my boat so we can go out on the lake if anyone wants to.

We didn't get much other than that planned as one of us didn't make it down to OKC last time.   Since the bachelor doesn't drink we are thinking of having a nice dinner out one night.  The rest of the weekend, LOOK OUT!  The rest of us are going to drink a little.

I like the idea of the heated dock mentioned in the comments on the last post.  If the bachelor isn't up for something like that, I will probably talk to a couple buddies and see about doing that some other time.

To make things epic, I am thinking we will need an epic prank.  I'm drawing a blank on this one.  If anybody has any ideas for an epic prank that will not scar him mentally or physically I'd love to hear them.  If it will only hurt a little, I guess you can throw those in too.  More than one prank has to be more epic!