Monthly Archives: October 2014

Camping Out

When you first realize you aren’t tucked in your own bed, your next waking sensation is the smell of canvas. Anyone who has ever camped in their back yard as a kid will never forget that smell. It meant adventure, freedom, fear and many other emotions all rolled into one. From the old army surplus pup tents to fancy Sears tents with floors, I spent many happy nights in them.

Camping out was one of the rites of summer while I was growing up. We organized our overnight stays as well as any expedition to climb Mt. Everest. Each of us had specific things to bring for the group, and each one of us also had their own private treasures. We brought so much stuff we could not have carried it further than our back yards.

Mess kits and matches were all we needed to cook our breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast over an open fire. The bacon was always half burned and half rubbery undercooked, but all delicious. Toast, as soon as it turned a perfect golden brown, was either dropped into the fire or left a little longer to blacken. Eggs stuck to the pan and had to be scraped off as they were eaten.

For supper, we discovered “hobo meals” at church camp. A hamburger patty was placed on a square of tin foil, sliced potatoes, carrots and onion stacked on top of it and all was topped with a hunk of butter. Sealed up and cooked on the campfire coals, it was moist and tender, I was told, if you didn’t stick a hole in the tinfoil while cooking it. I never had one cooked that way. Mine always managed to get stuck.

For desert we always had somemores. They were graham crackers with a Hershey bar and a toasted marshmallow on top. We go more on our hands and face than in our mouth, but they were still great, and you could lick for a long time and make the flavor last.

Sleeping was also an adventure. Each of us boys had our sleeping bags, which we placed directly on the ground for years. We got used to scrounging around until we got comfortable on the rocks and limbs we didn’t remove before spreading the bag out. Then one of us got an air mattress. What a joke. I do not remember even one that was still inflated shortly after blowing it up. We tried every time though.

Once we got the bright idea of sleeping on a lawn lounge chair. That worked if you didn’t mind the bar across your back all night long. And it was tough to roll over in your bag in the chair. We used them often, though. They were still better than the ground.

Something else I will never forget is the way your voice sounded when waking up early in a tent. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it was the tent itself, but we always sounded funny to each other and ourselves. We never camped more than one night during the weekend because we needed the other night to recover!
Sometimes I think I would like to do that kind of camping again. Then I remember how much I ache getting out of a nice soft bed in the morning and realize backyard camping is best left to the young!

How To Find Fish In Transition with Electronics

Finding Fish In Transition
from The Fishing Wire

How experts use Humminbird technologies to put the bead on fall and winter fish

Eufaula, AL – Typically, as fall arrives, many of us head for the tree stand or blind, turning our attention to birds and bucks. Yet, what’s happening on the water this time of the year can be equally as awesome as what’s happening in the field.

Electronics help catch bass

Electronics help catch bass

Vahrenberg verifies the presence of a kicker fish on the tree identified with 360 Imaging.

Here’s how a handful of fishing’s top experts find and pattern bass, walleyes and panfish during the fall and winter – and how you can do the same.

Open-Water Bass: Fall & Winter

Missouri-based tournament pro Doug Vahrenberg says his fall and winter bass game has never been better thanks to the trifecta of Humminbird’s LakeMaster mapping, Side Imaging and 360 Imaging.
“As the water cools and bass school up in the fall, they’ll begin to move from the main lake into creek arms. And you’ve got main lake fish on the flats adjacent to those creek arms. Both have one thing in common: they’re looking for lunch.”

Vahrenberg says it all comes down to surveying a lake quickly because fall bass can be here today, gone tomorrow. With two ONIX units at the dash – one set to full-screen Side Imaging, the other to Humminbird LakeMaster mapping – Vahrenberg is similarly on the prowl for baitfish and bass.

“I typically have my Side Imaging set to look 100 feet right and left. On a new lake I’ll increase that range to 130-150 feet until I find bait and ambush targets like trees, stumps, and submerged cover most anglers can’t see, especially in shallower stained water. Then I mark anything that looks like a good ambush site with a waypoint.”

Hummingbird 360

Hummingbird 360

Humminbird 360 Imaging reveals the submerged tree in shallow, stained water that produced Vahrenberg’s bass (shown), only 25 feet from the boat.

He adds: “Seems like fall bass like flats close to a channel swing. They’ll move up from deeper water and push the bait into two-, three- or four feet of water and feed. With LakeMaster mapping you can find those spots where the channel swings in close to the bank. A lot of times your screen will be absolutely full of bait so I like to concentrate on those areas right before or after the giant wads of bait. Helps make the presence of your bait known.”

Once he’s located a channel swing, good cover, baitfish – even the bass themselves – Vahrenberg will jump from the console to the bow.

“As soon as I start pinging Bow 360 every waypoint will show up on my bow ONIX unit and I can motor right to ’em. Seems like if there’s a lot of cover, the fish tend to be isolated. Where there’s no cover, fish tend to group up in ‘wolf packs’. That’s where 360 Imaging really helps locating the stuff that you can’t see. The beauty is that it does all the work for you. You’re not controlling anything with your foot – all you have to do is look at the screen and think about where to cast next.”

ONIX split-screen

ONIX split-screen

This ONIX split-screen reveals the presence of baitfish in Side Imaging, 2D Sonar and Down Imaging.

From fall through winter, Vahrenberg breaks down his presentations into two preferred categories.

“I always have one stick rigged up with a creature or jig and craw combo to flip the isolated fish on cover. Those fish will position right behind the timber, waiting for lunch to swim by. On lakes with less cover I’m fishing fast search baits to connect with the wolf packs – square bills, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, lipless cranks – and searching out aggression bites. A shad pattern is always good but if there’s an overabundance of forage, I’ll switch over to a bluegill pattern, which is often just different enough to get bit. Look at it this way, if you’re eating a chicken breast every day and somebody offers you pizza …”

During winter, Vahrenberg reverses his fall routine and starts at the back of creek arms, moving outward to the first or second channel swing – or from the edge of the ice back to the main lake. “Even more so in the winter, bass will associate to the channel swings – and deeper water – but look along the edges. Again, LakeMaster mapping and the imaging technologies can really help you find the right stuff.”

Pre-Fishing For Early Ice: Walleyes & Perch

In northern Minnesota, the open water season is typically over by Thanksgiving. Yet, by the time the turkey and cranberry are being passed around the table, ice fishing guide/tournament Brian “Bro” Brosdahl has much of his winter ice fishing strategy already mapped. Many years, he’s already fishing on hardwater by turkey day.

“Sure, I’ll drop waypoints on structures in the fall but what I really do is fast-forward my thinking to winter, knowing that walleyes and jumbo perch will associate to shoreline points, saddles, humps, and weed bed edges on flats during early ice,” says Brosdahl.

Like Vahrenberg’s Missouri bass, Brosdahl says the biggest reason early-ice fish associate to these areas – especially on larger bodies of water like Minnesota’s Mille Lacs, Winnibigoshish and Leech – is the presence of baitfish. “Walleyes and perch both gorge on shiners, although the bigger walleyes seem to prefer whitefish.”

Brosdahl says Humminbird Lakemaster mapping greatly reduces the time it takes him to “pre-fish” a lake in the fall for ice fishing in winter.

Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch

Brosdahl and the big jumbo perch pay-off of scouting with Humminbird LakeMaster and Side Imaging technologies. Photo by Bill Lindner.

“But you can’t just motor around in the fall, mark bait and fish and drop waypoints. Most of the fall fish will have moved by first-ice. So, what I do is highlight depths with Lakemaster’s Depth Highlight feature – typically somewhere between 12 and 14 feet on bigger lakes – and then start dropping waypoints on those areas that will be their next move after fall.”

“You still have to look for inside turns, saddles and especially those steep breaks for walleyes. But remember: If there are walleyes in the area, they’ll push the perch up onto adjacent flats and the gradual breaks.”

Brosdahl was one walleye fishing’s earliest adopters of Side Imaging. “Same time as I’m watching my LakeMaster map, I’m watching Side Imaging for hard- and soft bottom edges. Both walleyes and perch will ride those edges all winter long. With Side Imaging these spots are unmistakable. Plus, as more of your ‘A list’ spots like rock piles and sunken islands get winter fishing traffic, I find myself fishing hard-to-soft bottom transitions in places easily overlooked.”

Once a surveyor for LakeMaster himself, Brosdahl says mapping waters with Humminbird’s new AutoChart Pro software has been a lot of fun. “Of course, this time around I don’t have to share my findings with anyone!”

“Kind of cool that I can go to a lake that doesn’t have HD one-foot contours and really dial in on spots for winter. Plus, AutoChart Pro gives me bottom hardness mapping so I those hard-to-soft spots really jump out. And there are some tiny lakes that have never been mapped. That’s where AutoChart really shines.”

One pass of Humminbird 360 reveals more than 10 manmade crappie cribs in a single pass. Range set to 120 feet in every direction.

manmade crappie cribs

manmade crappie cribs

He adds: “Another thing: Internet connectivity – even phone reception – can be pretty spotty in the areas I fish. Pretty cool that you can create the map on a PC without having to connect to the web. Plus, I know my data’s kept private.”

Tournament Talk: Winter Panfish

Currently, Wisconsin-based Kevin Fassbind and Nick Smyers are in second place as they prepare to fish the NAIFC 2014 Series Ice Fishing Championship on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake, December 20, 2014.

A big part of their ongoing strategy is open-water scouting tournament grounds, like Mille Lacs’ Isle and Waukon bays.

“We’ve found Humminbird Side Imaging helps us identify the best weeds and hard-bottom areas. We’ll idle back and forth through a bay, looking 120 feet off each side of the boat. When we see holes in weed beds, inside turns and good bottom, we simply drop waypoints for winter. The way the system works is pretty easy – just pop the SD card out of the Humminbird 999 on the boat and drop it into the Humminbird 688 ice combo. Then it’s all right there,” says Fassbind.

Beyond marking waypoints on open-water, the duo has also experimented with Side Imaging on the ice. Using a pole-mounted Side Imaging transducer spun manually around in a hole in the ice, Fassbind and Smyers have had some success using the technology in a way it wasn’t intended.

“When we were fishing the NAIFC event on Lake Maxinkuckee, Indiana, we found a 20′ x 20′ patch of weeds with some logs, and Kevin pointed me in the direction and told me to start drilling. Boom, drilled one hole and I was on it,” says Smyers. “But it was difficult to get the image we wanted. Yet, we could see how this kind of technology could give us a huge on-ice advantage for locating manmade structures like cribs, Christmas tree piles, even fish.”

Along those lines, the duo is planning on implementing Humminbird Bow 360 into their tournament arsenal this year.

“What we were trying to do with Side Imaging is something that 360 Imaging already does better. With a little bit of rigging for ice, I really think it’s going to help us locate structure and fish even faster, which could be huge for main-basin crappies and deep-water perch. Punch a waypoint on fish and then go drill it. Instead of drilling hundreds of holes, we’ll be drilling a precise few. Not sure how much grid scouting we’ll be doing any more,” says Smyers.

Kevin Fassbind

Kevin Fassbind

Competitive ice angler Kevin Fassbind and teammate Nick Smyers use a combination of open-water and on-ice scouting with Humminbird technologies to stay on top of the leaderboard.

No matter where in the country you fish, the take-home message is clear: put in some time scouting with today’s technologies and you too can increase your odds for stellar fall and winter fishing.

For more information visit, contact Humminbird, 678 Humminbird Lane, Eufaula, AL 36027, or call 800-633-1468.

About Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc.
Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson Outdoors and consists of the Humminbird®, Minn Kota® and Cannon® brands. Humminbird® is a leading global innovator and manufacturer of marine electronics products including fishfinders, multifunction displays, autopilots, ice flashers, and premium cartography products. Minn Kota® is the world’s leading manufacturer of electric trolling motors, as well as offers a complete line of shallow water anchors, battery chargers and marine accessories. Cannon® is the leader in controlled-depth fishing and includes a full line of downrigger products and accessories.

Is January A Good Time To Scout For Deer and Prepare for Next Season?

Walter Gary called last week from Berry’s Sporting Goods to remind me this is an excellent time to scout for deer and get prepared for next season. That may seem strange since deer season just ended and won’t open again for almost ten months, but preparing now can help you get your deer, and insure it is a quality deer, next year.

The deer have had almost a month to calm down since season ended. They have returned to their normal patterns for this time of year. This weekend would be an excellent time to scout and find fresh signs after the rain in mid-week. If you feel foolish scouting for deer now, carry along a .22 and hunt squirrels while you look for deer signs.

Feeding areas will be different now from what they will be next fall, but bedding areas and travel routes can give you an idea of what the deer will be doing then. They will be eating winter browse like honeysuckle and greenbriar now, and looking for acorns next fall, but they will frequent the same areas. When looking for sign now, think how it will change with the changing seasons.

You can sweeten your chances next year by planting winter food for the deer and keeping it growing as the seasons change. Winter peas should still sprout during warm spells like we had last week, and you can follow up with hot weather peas later in the spring. Keep food growing where you want the deer to be next year when season opens. Insuring they have plenty of food now will help the does as their fawns develop in them, and will also help the bucks recover from the rut. All the deer may need help during a rough winter.

If you put out mineral blocks, now it a good time to get them out and let them be soaking into the ground. Although the deer will not lick them much until later in the spring, you can have them out when they get ready for them.

As a bonus, you might find shed antlers in the woods now. Bucks drop their antlers around the first of February and, if you are lucky, you might find one. Squirrels and other rodents eat the antlers for the calcium in them and they don’t last but a few days after being shed. You have to be in the right place at the right time.

Get out this weekend. You might find the woods hold more interest than the Super Bowl – if you know where to look.

Funds for Gulf of Mexico Restoration

The BP Windfall–Funds for Gulf Restoration

By Frank Sargeant, Editor
The Fishing Wire

In one of the more bizarre turns of events in environmental history, the calamitous BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico may turn out to have been historically a good thing for many portions of the shores of this American sea.

Deep Water Horizon on fire

Deep Water Horizon on fire

While the enormous outpouring of oil, variously estimated at up to 4.7 million barrels (about 200 million gallons over 87 days), was the greatest manmade environmental disaster in history, killing fish, marine mammals, bottom fauna and sea birds in untold numbers as well as fouling hundreds of miles of shoreline and virtually wiping out an entire tourist season in many communities surrounding the Gulf, it now appears that the enormous fines and lawsuit penalties levied against British Petroleum and associates may wind up giving a historic infusion of cash for environmental projects that stood no chance of being funded or even planned without the giant cash cow suddenly available.

Those of us who have spent time around the Gulf oil rigs fishing know that they are not the demonic towers of environmental destruction that some folks seem to think they are: In fact, there are more fish per square foot around these towers than anywhere else in the Gulf, with both reef species like snapper and grouper and pelagics like kingfish and yellowfin tuna swarming around many. On the other hand, the BP disaster shows the potential for great harm that’s inherent in pulling industrial quantities of petroleum out of the sea floor anywhere in the world, and hopefully has taught the entire civilized world a lesson in the need for careful control of this harvest. And the huge fines resulting have hopefully taught a lesson to the companies extracting the oil, as well.

On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed the RESTORE Act into law, establishing a trust fund within the Treasury Department, with 80 percent of the civil penalties to be paid by parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. To date, civil penalties and interest deposited into the trust fund exceed $653 million.

That could be a drop in the bucket. The Justice Department has found “gross negligence” against BP, which means penalties under the Clean Water Act will swell to $4,300 per barrel, making the determination of how many barrels were released critical in settling what the ultimate civil fine will total. The fine reportedly could have been as low as $1,100 a barrel had BP not cut so many corners in regards to the safety of its workers and the health of the Gulf. If BP’s estimate for barrels spilled is accurate, the fine will be about $10 billion for its gross negligence. That total could be in excess of $18 billion if the Justice Department is right. Either way, it’s an enormous amount of money.

A total of 35 percent of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund is divided equally among the five states for ecological and economic restoration. The states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas each receive a share for projects and programs they select. In Florida, the state’s allocation goes to 23 coastal counties for projects they choose. A second Interim Final Rule finalizes an additional allocation for 20 parishes in Louisiana.

Treasury will also provide grants for centers of excellence research programs using 2.5 percent of the trust fund, divided equally among the five Gulf Coast States.

On Sept. 15, Treasury posted the funding opportunity announcement for these grants as well. The centers of excellence will focus on science, technology, and monitoring. In addition to these grant programs, the Interim Final Rule published in August describes requirements for RESTORE Act programs administered by other federal agencies. Treasury is just one of several federal entities working to implement the RESTORE Act.

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, a federal council composed of the five Gulf Coast States and six federal agencies, will use 30 percent of the trust fund for projects selected by the council, and administer grants to the states pursuant to council-approved state expenditure plans using an additional 30 percent.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will use the remaining 2.5 percent of the trust fund for a program focused on advancements in monitoring, observation, and technology. For more information on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, visit

In short, it’s by far the greatest infusion of money into an environmental restoration project in U.S. or world history, an unimaginable windfall that if spent wisely should bring tremendous benefits to the Gulf estuarine and beach areas for decades to come–and some very nice added benefits to the anglers who chase the millions of fish that will be produced in these restored areas.

To be sure, the Gulf is likely to face issues in coming decades if sea level rise continues as many scientists predict–while wetlands, mangroves and marshes like wet feet, too much water can kill out these nursery areas, which are absolutely essential to preserving the chain of life that ultimately results in everything from gamefish to porpoises and whales.

The public has an opportunity for input on projects that need funding from this money. This Wednesday, Oct. 22, a public webinar will run from 6 to 8 p.m. EST.

Advance registration is required. Go here:

To be sure, the road to full recovery of the Gulf from the BP incident is still somewhere in the future, but the restoration projects already underway and those planned for the future may well bring the resource to a level that is even better than before the disaster, for the fish and marine life, for anglers and boaters, and for the general public which enjoys this uniquely American resource.

Global Positioning Systems – GPS – Has Come A Long Way!

This was written about GPS – Global Positioning System – hand held units in early 1997 – these units still do the same job, but they have come a long way since then.

I got an amazing toy for Christmas. It is a small device called a Global Positioning Satellite – GPS for short. My GPS is about the size of a TV remote control. It takes readings from satellites and tells you exactly where you are.

The GPS has a small screen where you can view different functions. You can record the location of different spots and the GPS will show you exactly how to get back to them. For example, you can mark a brush pile in the middle of a lake you don’t fish often. When you want to return, put in the name you gave it and the GPS will show you a direct line to it. It will tell you if you get off course. It will tell you how fast you are moving, how long before you get to it and other information.

If you mark a spot and then leave the GPS on as you go back to the dock or boat ramp, it will mark your exact course. You can then follow that track back, going around obstacles and avoiding problems. Most pro tournament fishermen have one mounted on their boat since they fish unfamiliar lakes often.

A GPS is also useful in the woods. You can mark a deer stand and the GPS will show you how to get back to it. If you have one, it is better than a compass, giving much more information.

New Year’s Day I was playing with my GPS while walking around the deer club. Maybe that is why I didn’t see any deer! I don’t think so since I only looked at it when stopped and after looking for deer. I had marked a deer stand and then walked out of the woods. I planned on following a small creek and then cutting across back to where I had parked.

As I walked down the creek, I saw the deer stand appear on the screen. Sure enough, I was within 50 feet of it. I thought I was at least 200 yards away. I did not realize the creek turned and came back to the stand. There were several other instances where the GPS made me realize what I thought I knew was not exactly right.

The GPS I got costs less than $200. It will record up to 250 different “waypoints,” or spots I mark on it. It is hard to believe what such an inexpensive device can do. Hooked to a depthfinder or computer, you can map your course or make your own maps. The GPS uses the same technology that guides missiles to their targets. Many airplanes have them so the pilots can find their way. They are amazing!

Should My Taxes Pay For Those Trying To Win The Darwin Award?

This Week’s Lead Candidate for the Darwin Award

By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire

You just know this is going to end badly

You just know this is going to end badly

My personal candidate for this week’s Darwin Award, given to those who are kind enough to attempt removing themselves from the gene pool to avoid transmitting their aberrations to offspring, goes to Iranian-born U.S. citizen Reza Baluchi, who tried to “walk” to Bermuda from South Florida in what looked very much like an oversized vinyl beach ball, in an attempt to “spread a message of world unity.”

He made it all of 70 miles offshore of St. Augustine before requiring rescue.

The Coast Guard located him early in his mission, but after he refused to leave his device, the watchstanders monitored his movements until he activated a locator beacon Saturday morning due to fatigue. Coast Guard aircraft out of Clearwater began searching for him.

According to the Coast Guard news service, an aircrew arrived on scene and safely “hoisted Baluchi from his inflatable raft and transported him to Air Station Clearwater where emergency medical services evaluated him.”

Baluchi seems like the sort who might believe he actually could walk on water, but we must point out that the distance from St. Augustine to Bermuda is approximately 990 miles, and he appeared to be making about 1 to 2 mph per hour in his beach ball on the way to making the Arabs love the Israeli’s.

The trip would have taken him 20 to 40 days, if he was able to hold up day and night, which of course he could not have. His supplies were primarily several cans of Red Bull, water and some protein bars, from what we can ascertain.

So we have to conclude either that Baluchi is wacky, or that he knew from the get go he was going to have to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard at the expense of American taxpayers, and with the cameras rolling.

How much might it cost for his rescue? The Coast Guard is not saying, but it used an HC-130 airplane, which costs about $20,000 per operational hour, to locate him, and an MH-60 helicopter, which operates at an economical $14,000 per hour, to rescue him.

You can be sure he would not have tried this stunt off the coast of his native Iran or anywhere else outside the western world and put his faith in the local water patrol, but in our waters, he knew that he was reasonably safe after publicizing the event in advance, thanks to the remarkable capabilities of our life saving services.

This sort of incredibly stupid stuff is becoming epidemic with the wide-spread and immediate publicity available to publicity hounds of all flavors via YouTube, Facebook and other social media outlets, and it is starting to become a real issue in terms of taking away time and money from legitimate search and rescue efforts

It would seem reasonable to require all such stunts to be registered with the Coast Guard, and to require that a bond be posted if rescue is expected. That way, those who actually do want to take a serious run at whatever challenge they can dream up will still have the complete freedom to do so, but at their own risk–no bond, no rescue.

Otherwise, the publicity that Baluchi and others like him get, even when they fail, will continue to inspire more with a very limited understanding of what they are getting into to make these attempts–at our expense.

How Is Shooting Pen Raised Quail Different from Hunting Wild Birds?

A few years ago I did something I had not done for 30 years. And unlike last April when I went horseback riding for the first time in 30 years – and fell off! – this experience did not hurt a bit.

I won a half-day quail hunt at Barksdale Bobwhite Plantation near Cochran. Although I had not shot at a quail since I was 16 years old, many of those old memories of quail hunts with my father are still strong. With great anticipation of the upcoming hunt, I drove to Barksdale Saturday morning. My day was to included a fried quail lunch, shooting my 10 quail limit, guide, trained dogs and field transportation.

When I was growing up my father always kept a couple of pointers. We hunted quail almost every Saturday during season. There were many acres of farms around ours we could hunt. Although I hardly ever killed anything with my .410, I enjoyed following the men around and watching the dogs.

The best hunt I ever had growing up was one afternoon after school. I got the 12 gauge, some shells and the dogs and went by myself. It was one of the first times I had been allowed to use the bigger gun. That afternoon I got up five coveys and killed one bird from each. I did not know what I was doing well enough to find any singles, but five birds was a lot for me!

Last Saturday, I killed 10 quail. I was worried that I would not be able to hit them after such a long time, but I shot only about 15 times. Pen raised quail are a lot easier to hit than wild birds. I should not have missed the four or five I did not hit.

My guide was Tony Taylor, a teacher in Dodge County. He brought his four English Setters along and we drove to a nearby open pine and field area. Soon after letting the dogs out, they locked up in the edge of some broom straw.

I was shocked to see two quail on the ground when we got to the dogs. I don’t ever remember seeing wild birds on the ground in front of dogs. One flushed and I hit it. After it was retrieved, we went back where one dog was still on point on the other bird. When it got up, it flew right in my face, over my head and right toward Linda where she was taking pictures. I could not shoot.

Tony said pen raised birds were unpredictable. Some get up in front of you, others you almost have to kick to make fly. You never know where they will go when they fly. It was very different from my hunts 30 years ago.

Birds had been put out in pairs in the area I was hunting. A couple of times we got up 4 to 6 where they had gotten together between hunts. By the time we found the third group I was into this kind of shooting, accepting it as different from what I remembered, but still very enjoyable.

Hunts like Barksdale are about the only kind of quail hunting left. If you have dogs, they have special prices for you to hunt your dog without a guide. Or, you can be like me and have everything done for you. Barksdale also has chukar and pheasants if you want to hunt them. Sporting clays, skeet and a five stand range are also available.

I really enjoyed my trip. You might want to check it out if you like quail hunting. And the meals were excellent!

Hunting and eating pen raised quail are both a lot different from hunting and eating the wild birds I grew up on. The pen raised birds stay on the ground longer, fly lower, slower and for a shorter distance, and are easier to hit. Their meat is not as white or quite as tasty as what I remember from my youth.

Quail always were white meat much like a chicken breast. Dove were darker, stronger meat. The pen raised quail I have eaten from Barksdale Bobwhite Plantation are not all dark meat but they are not as white and mild as I remember. I still have not turned one down when put on my plate, though!

Shooting quail at a resort is still a lot of fun even if different from the good old days. Although expensive, you should give it a try if you get a chance.

Political Jokes

These political jokes are funny, I don’t care who you are or who you support. Of course the names can be changed on any of them to your suiting!

The best description of Obamacare so far:

Remember when Nancy Pelosi said:
“We have to pass it, to find out what’s in it.”

A physician called into a radio show and said:
“That’s the definition of a stool sample”.

A lesson in irony:

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be

distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S.Department of the Interior,

asks us “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.”

Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent

on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.

This ends today’s lesson.

This email gently explains the difference in thinking between people with opposite outlooks.

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college.

Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be very liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs.

The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she wasdoing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Audrey doing?”

She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.”

Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.”

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That’s a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I’ve worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked mytail off!”

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to theconservative side of the fence.”

If you ever wondered what side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one. If a liberal doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and Jesus silenced.

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest ofus pay for his.

If a conservative reads this, he’ll forward it so his friends can have agood laugh. A liberal will delete it because he’s “offended.”

Well, I forwarded it to you!

Woman Shot in her own Driveway

Linda Burnett, 26, a resident of San Diego, was visiting her in-laws
and, while there, went to a nearby supermarket to pick up some

Later, her husband noticed her sitting in her car in the driveway
with the windows rolled up and her eyes closed, with both hands behindthe back of her head.

He became concerned and walked over to the car. He noticed that
Linda’s eyes were now open and she looked very strange. He asked herif she was okay, and Linda replied that she had been shot in the backof the head and had been holding her brains in for over an hour.

The husband called the paramedics, who broke into the car because
the doors were locked and Linda refused to remove her hands from her

When they finally got in, they found that Linda had a wad of bread
dough on the back of her head.

A Pillsbury biscuit canister had exploded from the heat, making a
loud noise that sounded like a gunshot, and the wad of dough hit her
in the back of her head.

When she reached back to find out what it was, she felt the dough
and thought it was her brains. She initially passed out, but quickly

Linda is a blond, a Democrat, and an Obama supporter, but that
could all be a coincidence.

The defective biscuit canister was analyzed and the expiration date
was from 2008,so it was determined to be Bush’s fault.

So far, published Obamacare regs 8 times longer than the Bible. And they all add up to one commandment: “Thou better not get sick”. Fred Thompson

My Gun

Today I swung my front door wide open and placed my Remington 870 shotgun right in the doorway. I gave it 6 shells, then left it alone and went about my business.

While I was gone, the mailman delivered my mail, the neighbor boy across the street mowed the yard, a girl walked her dog down the street, and quite a few cars stopped at the stop sign right in front of our house.

After about an hour, I checked on the gun. It was still sitting there, right where I had left it. It hadn’t moved itself outside. It certainly hadn’t killed anyone, even with the numerous opportunities it had been presented to do so. In fact, it hadn’t even loaded itself.

Well you can imagine my surprise, with all the media hype about how dangerous guns are and how they kill people. Either the media is wrong, and it’s the misuse of guns by PEOPLE that kills people, or I’m in possession of the laziest gun in the world.

Alright, well I’m off to check on my spoons.
I hear they’re making people fat.


The coach had put together the perfect team for the Chicago Bears. The only thing that was missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges and even the Canadian and European Leagues, but he couldn’t find a ringer who could ensure a Super Bowl win.

Then one night while watching CNN he saw a war-zone scene in the West Bank . In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Israeli soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand-grenade straight into a 15th story window 100 yards away. KABOOM!

He threw another hand-grenade 75 yards away, right into a chimney.


Then he threw another at a passing car going 90 mph.


“I’ve got to get this guy!” Coach said to himself. “He has the perfect arm!”

So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football. And the Bears go on to win the Super Bowl.

The young man is hailed as the great hero of football, and when the coach asks him what he wants, all the young man wants is to call his mother.

“Mom,” he says into the phone, “I just won the Super Bowl!”

“I don’t want to talk to you, the old woman says.”You are not my son!”

“I don’t think you understand, Mother,” the young man pleads. “I’ve won the greatest sporting event in the world. I’m here among thousands of my adoring fans.”

“No! Let me tell you!” his mother retorts. “At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and I have to keep your sister in the house so she doesn’t get raped!” The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says,………

“I will never forgive you for making us move to Chicago !!

Preacher’s Son

An old country preacher had a teenage son, and it was
getting high time the boy gave some thought to choosing a
profession. Like many young men his age, the boy didn’t
really know what he wanted to do, and he didn’t seem too
concerned about it.

One day, while the boy was away at school, his father
decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy’s room
and placed on his study table four objects:

1. A Bible,

2. A silver dollar,

3. A bottle of whiskey,

4. And a Playboy magazine.

“I’ll just hide behind the door,” the old preacher said to
himself, “and when he comes home from school, I’ll see which
object he picks up. If it’s the Bible, he’s going to be a
preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he
picks up the dollar, he’s going to be a business man, and
that would be okay, too. But if he picks up the bottle, he’s
going to be a no-good drunken bum, and Lord, what a shame
that would be. And worst of all, if he picks up that
magazine, he’s going to be a skirt-chasing womanizer.”

The old man waited anxiously and soon heard his son’s
footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for
his room. The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he
turned to leave the room, he spotted the objects on the
table. He walked over to inspect them, looking at each for
several minutes. Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed
it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped
into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big
drink, while he admired this month’s centerfold.

“Lord have mercy!” the old preacher prayed. “He’s going into

Detroit (that is a joke in one word!)

Police in Detroit announced the discovery of an arms cache of 200 semi-automatic rifles with 25,000
rounds of ammunition, 200 pounds of heroin, 5 million in forged US banknotes and 25 trafficked
Latino prostitutes — all in a semi-detached house behind the Public Library on Woodward Ave.

Local residents were stunned, and a community spokesman said:
“We’re all shocked; we never knew we had a library.”

Hospital Waiting Room

In the hospital the relatives gathered in the waiting room, where a family
member lay gravely ill. Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and somber.
“I’m afraid I’m the bearer of bad news, he said as he surveyed the worried
faces. The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain
transplant. It’s an experimental procedure, very risky, but it is the
only hope. Insurance will cover the procedure, but you will have to pay for
the BRAIN.”

The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. After a time,
someone asked, ‘How much will a brain cost?
The doctor quickly responded, “$5,000 for a Democrat’s brain; $500 for a
Republican’s brain.”

The moment turned awkward. Some of the Democrats actually had to ‘try’ to
not smile, avoiding eye contact with the Republicans. A man unable to
control his curiosity, finally blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask, “Why is the Democrat’s brain so much more than a Republican’s brain?”

The doctor smiled at the childish innocence and explained to the entire
group, “It’s just standard pricing procedure. We have to price the
Republicans brains a lot lower because they’ve been USED.”

Will A Spinnerbait Wire Break If I Use It Too Long?

I almost lost the only bass I hooked in my last club tournament when the spinnerbait I was using broke. At weigh-in, Blake Thompson told a sad tale of losing a huge bass – at least 8 pounds – when it broke his line. All fishermen have bad luck like that at times. However, there are things you can do to lower your chances of bad luck.

On Saturday before the tournament two weeks ago, I fished with Jim Stutts and his 16 year old son Jay. I met Jim when we fished together in a tournament in 1986. The first place we stopped Jim asked if I remembered the big fish he lost in that tournament in a treetop when it broke his line. He said I taught him a lesson he would never forget – re-tie your line if you get hung up.

He reminded me I had re-tied my line as we idled across the river in that tournament. We had been dragging spinnerbaits over stumps and getting hung up a lot. He didn’t take the time to re-tie his and broke off the big fish right after we started casting again. He said he always re-tied after getting hung up now, and reminded Jay to do so throughout the day.

Blake had been fishing rocks in the tournament two weeks ago, bumping a spinnerbait on them. He did not re-tie his 12 pound test line, although bumping rocks is the easiest way I know to damage your line. He hooked the big fish, it jumped and then broke off.

I learned my lesson the hard way also. Jim Berry and I were fishing High Falls soon after I moved to Griffin in the early 1970’s. I had not had a strike all day, and had gotten too lazy to re-tie my line. I cast into a treetop and a got my first strike. A five pound bass jumped when I set the hook and then ran under the boat. It broke my line. When I checked the broken end, it was very frayed. You can feel the rough line where it is messed up by rocks, limbs, docks and even fishes’ teeth.

When fishing, check your line and re-tie it regularly. If it feels rough, re-tie. Even if it doesn’t feel rough, I often hold the hook and jerk it much harder than a fish could, just to see if it will break. Sometimes the knot is weakened and you can’t tell until too late unless you stress it like a big fish might.

The lighter your line, the more often you should check it and tie a new knot. Heavy line holds up better but still needs attention. When fishing a Carolina rig with three knots, check all three often. Don’t lose the fish of a lifetime when you have that one chance because you didn’t take the time to tie a knot.

With spinnerbaits, you can not tell when they are going to break. If fishing for fun, I might take a chance on using a $5.00 spinnerbait over and over. In a tournament, when a bass could be worth hundreds of dollars, I will retire a spinnerbait after catching no more than three fish on it. It is just not worth taking a chance that the wire has become weak and might break.Will