Archive for September, 2009

Greetings …

Back in July during a trip to Port Mansfield and Get-A-Way Adventures Lodge, I had the pleasure to meet and fish with Joe Cermele of Field & Stream.

Cermele shoots and produces the “Hook Shots” videos at FieldandStream.com, which like the OutdoorLife.com site is chock full of photo galleries, news, stories, blogs, videos and other things to consume your time. If you like solid hunting and fishing info or how to make fire from underwear and condoms, you can find it on the sites. If you want to see hot chicks with fish or big snakes or photos about hunting iguanas, you can find those, too.

Cermele’s videos are just flat-out cool. He’s young, wild about fishing and apparently is as comfortable with a video camera in his hands as a fishing rod. His videos are interesting, have good info such as how to rig a bait – but without being dry or boring — and some ass-kicking music appropriate to the different segments.

Some links to check:

Fishing down in Port Mansfield at Get-A-Way Adventures Lodge

Blues and stripers in New York City

No tuna? No big whoop with a giant Jersey marlin

Great stuff. Old-timers and purists may not care for the music or all the different scenes, but so be it. There are a lot of people on the outdoor television networks who could learn a thing or two from Cermele’s videos, including beefing up their whispery boring shows and toning down some of the more amped-up ones that come across as too much.

There is a happy medium and Cermele’s nailed it like a gaff through a 40-pound amberjack.

Coolest fish cooker in the world

If you enjoy fried fish and want to check out what I believe is the coolest fish ‘n chicken cooking fryer in the world,  you need to learn more about the Cajun Fryer from R&V works in Louisiana.

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend some writer’s workshops where this ingenious cooker has been used and it’s one of those things you say, “Damn, I wish I had one of those at home.” The best way I can describe it is the Cajun Fryer is clean, efficient, cost-effective because you don’t have to use new oil every time and large enough with the bigger models to cook for a bunch of friends.

Jump over to The Fishing Wire, where I wrote about the Cajun Fryer today, and then check out their home page for the different models and other information.

While you’re on the Cajun Fryer site,  pop into the Coating Buddy site as well to see how cool their system is for chicken, fish or other things. It may make you forget about the paper sack full of meal when you see how easy it is to use.

When you’re at The Fishing Wire, click on this link to sign up for free and receive The Fishing Wire in your in-box every morning for industry news, regulations, new products, opinions and more.

Still in that “Think Pink” mode

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we’re trying to raise $5,000 by Oct. 31 … resulting in some pink hair.

Check out my entry about the little project and help out if you can. Every dollar counts in research against this terrible disease.

Also, The Huntsville Times is about to begin a month-long promotional-type project with stories about breast cancer survivors, research and other timely topics. If you still are among those who happen to read the actual printed newspaper, even on occasion, and notice the stories or any changes, that’s what’s going on with them.


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While poking around Facebook I ran across the post from Kay Smallwood, a good friend who works at the Alabama Mountain Lakes Association and simply loves fishing.

Kay plans to dye a portion of her hair pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Two-tone hair, I guess. Blonde and pink should be quite a look!

Anyhoo, I figured I’ll join her with the hued coif.

Here’s the deal: Help raise $5,000 for the Susan. G. Komen for the Cure foundation by Oct. 31 and I’ll dye my hair pink for a couple of days.

See? That’s simple. That’s about a grand a week. I know it can be done and it’s for a good cause.

If you have not personally been impacted by the devastation, anguish, pain and uncertainty of cancer, chances are you have a friend or co-worker who has. I have several times with our families. There are success stories, too, and we revel in those. But the more help research groups can get, the better.

So there’s the challenge — raise $5,000 by Oct. 31 and I’ll dye my hair pink.

Make your checks payable to the “Susan G Komen North Central Alabama Affiliate”

Then mail them to: Kay Smallwood, 2710 Lexington Ave SW, Decatur, AL 35603

C’mon, help us put a butt-kicking on breast cancer.

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MONTGOMERY — The State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has opened the new Wood Duck Trail and Overlook Loop for hiking at the Coon Creek Forever Wild Tract.

The trails are near Yates Reservoir in Tallapoosa County.

The Wood Duck Trail is an easy 4-mile round-trip that begins near the Coon Creek Forever Wild Tract parking lot. The trail heads east hugging the slough of Coon Creek to a picnic area and loops back to the parking lot.

The Overlook Loop also begins near the parking lot and heads west, creating a 1-mile loop along the slough to the highest point on the property and back to the trailhead. Overlook Loop is relatively steep in one area, but its short length makes it an easy trek.

Both trails are free to use by the public and provide ample opportunity to observe wildlife including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, wood ducks and several other bird species. The trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset.

The Coon Creek Tract can be accessed by taking Tallapoosa 6 north (Macedonia Rd) for three miles off of Alabama 14. From Tallapoosa 6, turn left onto Hicks Store Road.  Follow Hicks Store Road for one mile and turn right onto Gravel Pit Road. Take an immediate right onto Coon Creek Landing Road, which leads to the boat ramp and parking lot.

The 320-acre Coon Creek Tract was purchased by the Forever Wild Land Trust in February 1995 to provide recreational opportunities in the form of hunting, fishing, and ecological education.

For more information visit the Web site.

— Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources press release

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The Southern Wildlife Festival attracts some of America’s premier wildlife artists and photographers for the annual juried art show and sale of wildlife and nature-related original sculptures, paintings, photographs, jewelry, and apparel.

This year’s event is set for Oct. 16-18 at the Carlton B. Kelley Gymnasium at Calhoun Community College located on Highway 31 North in Decatur.

Artwork categories on display include waterfowl, upland game birds, wildlife and birds of prey. Along with a public showing and sale of the participating artists’ work, the festival also features ongoing seminars and a “Kids Gone Wild” section where children can make bird feeders and wildlife art.

Festival hours are Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults (good both days), $2 for students and senior citizens (65 years and older), and children under 6 years old are free. A private VIP reception by invitation only will be held on Friday evening.

Rated as one of the top shows in the United States, the Southern Wildlife Festival attracts artists, carvers, exhibitors and vendors from across the United States. For a complete list of artists exhibiting, visit the festival’s website at www.sowildfestart.com

— Decatur Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

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Barber shops typically are bastions of men, with the old-timey shops featuring manly things like outdoors and automotive magazines, naugahyde chairs with uncomfortable springs, maybe a deer head or bass mounted on the wall and maybe a little Vitalis tucked away for old time’s sake.

Enter a barber shop and chances are you can discuss the weather or politics without much effort.

“Sure have had a lot of rain lately.”

<snip, snip, snipsnip snip>


See? That was a complete man-discussion that covered all the bases. No need for any extra fluff. If you’re waiting on your shot in the big chair, you nod in agreement and wait for the next thing.

“Whew, that Obama …”

<snip sni …“>

The cessation of snipping is a sign of great import and usually includes the snipper stepping away from the chair to make his point more clearly. It’s not necessarily a demonstration but obviously is something significant enough to warrant stoppage of trimming those wiry hairs in your ear lobe.

So when I heard about the barber shop in Okolona, Ky., holding a drawing for an AK-47, well, that’s just the coolest thing going.

Customers get one ticket, National Rifle Association members get two and if you join the NRA you get six tickets. The shop owner, Bruce Gooden, is an NRA Life Member, concealed carry instructor and says he’s merely trying to raise awareness of the Second Amendment.

Bully for him. If I was anywhere near Okolona, which is south of Louisville and just northeast of the I-265 loop, I’d stop in for a haircut.

Gooden’s ad in the newspaper says: “God, Guns, Guts and REAL GOOD Haircuts!” The second- and third-place winners in the drawing will receive gun permits.

Champion of social justice dies

Horace Carter, a Pulitizer-prize winning editor in tiny Tabor City, N.C., died last week after a series of heart attacks. He was 88.

Carter championed for social justice and civil rights during the 1950s despite threats to himself and family, and financial loss from scared (or mad) advertisers. Repeated columns and stories about KKK activities helped spark federal investigations and arrests.

Few newspaper publishers and editors would have the guts to stand up to such threats in today’s time, especially in small- and medium-sized towns. The intermingling of publishers, editors and even reporters in the business and social arenas often help water down or even prevent coverage for fear of stepping on toes or losing business.

During a time when social unrest threatened to tear apart the country, and racism still resonates despite strides that have been made, Carter stood tall in the face of injustice.

Fishing News

Congratulations to Tom Mann Jr. of Georgia for winning the FLW Series BP Eastern points title and most recent tournament on Clarks Hill Reservoir. That cinches a berth in the Forrest Wood Cup championship next summer on Lake Lanier, Mann’s home waters, where he’ll try to bag a couple of million with a win.

Much as Mann will enjoy being on his home lake, the expectations for him to win that tournament will be incredibly high. I suspect he’ll get a good case of tunnel vision and bull ahead through the hoopla during tournament week.

Kudos also to Kevin VanDam of Michigan for claiming his fifth Bassmaster Angler of the Year title last Friday on the Alabama River. Here’s another story about his thoughts right after winning the title. VanDam also won an FLW Tour points title.

Crappiemasters is about to hold its national championship on Grenada Lake, and we’ll have more on that later in the week.

Need a hug?

Everyone likes to win, but getting the support from home to pursue your dreams is as important or maybe even more important.

Check out my column at TheFishingWire.com today and then hit “subscribe” to sign up for free for daily updates of industry news, tournaments, regulations along with some news and opinion.

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Howdy …

A little housekeeping of sorts today: It was announced last Friday that I’ve joined The Fishing Wire as editor and will be contributing to that site as we try to help it grow.

(I know, I know … y’all are about as sick of hearing “grow the sport” as you are of Jon and Kate. We do not plan to “grow the sport” or “grow the site” or “grow” anything other than some tomatoes, peppers and maybe a little okra out beside our rose bushes and canna lilies. But we will work to build The Fishing Wire as best we can and hope you’ll visit.)

The Fishing Wire, part of the Outdoor Wire Digital Network, is a daily email service that sends press releases, news and opinion, tips and other fishing items right into your inbox every weekday morning. Chances are unless you get up before the chickens fluff their tailfeathers, TFW’s latest edition will be waiting on you and that first cuppa hot joe.

Where do we get the “stuff” for TFW? Companies who are paid Corporate Members send their releases to us. We also pick some other items of interest. Wires founder Jim Shepherd offers a little latitude in the selection process, sort of like whether to use the toe wedge from the edge of the cart path or man up and break your wrist on the swing. (We like the 38-degree loft toe wedge, thank you).

To clarify just a bit, TFW is not a “Berkley” site in the sense of being owned by Pure Fishing or Berkley. They’re one of TFW’s fine advertisers and, as any business, that’s one area we hope to expand. As Crazy Eddie might say on the toob, “We have opportunities! Operators are standing by! Call now!”

Thanks for taking a look at my blog, and I hope to get back in the swing of more regular posting. The last few weeks have been a blur. Until then, I hope you’ll visit The Fishing Wire today and poke around, check my column and then click on “Subscribe” to get the morning feed for free. We may even throw out a special edition from time to time.

You also can check out Shepherd’s column from last Friday (thanks, Jim … the cash is coming soon) along with other prior threads in the Archives section.

Championship week

We’re down to the final two tournaments of the Bassmaster Elite Series season with the Toyota Trucks Championship Week, which begins with a two-day event Saturday and Sunday on Lake Jordan.

The top 12 pros from the Elite Series season standings are competing. After the first tournament, they’ll take a day for media-sponsor events, then practice two days before fishing Sept. 17-18 on the Alabama River in Montgomery. Those days are Thursday-Friday, so don’t get your schedule out of whack.

Skeet Reese of California led the points standings after the final Elite Series tournament at Oneida Lake. But BASS “readjusted” the points as planned for the postseason events and that put Kevin Van Dam on top by a slim margin.

I’ve thought about the tournaments, the postseason and all the hubbub of this NASCAR- and PGA-style setup to determine the champ. At first, I didn’t care for it a lick. It’s designed for television and exposure.

But the anglers always say “Let’s just fish” and don’t care if it’s a farm pond or massive reservoir. OK, this does that. They’re always saying “Let’s have more exposure” and this does that, via ESPN and other media, focusing more intently on 12 guys. Having 12 pros instead of 100 also gives them more chance to spread out on the lakes and offers fans the chance — respectfully, we hope — to follow, watch and enjoy the action.

If these two tournaments were in the regular season and Reese or Van Dam zeroed, plummeting in the final standings, it would be no different with 100 pros or 12 pros in the field. If Cliff Pace of Missisippi or Gerald Swindle of Alabama happened to win both tournaments and zoom up in the standings, bully for them.

At least BASS is trying something different and sparking some discussion. We’ll see this weekend, and next, whether it’s a good thing or needs tinkering.

FLW changes Tour tourney date

FLW Outdoors moved the fourth tournament of its 2010 season by one week and also switched venues to Knoxville to avoid a conflict that month with the Bassmaster Elite Series .

Hurrah … someone finally gets it. Moving the dates frees up some guys to more easily fish both circuits in 2010, which provides the anglers with more opportunities and the tours with more exposure through better competition.

The tournament switches from Lake Chickamauga in Chattanooga to April 22-25 on the Fort Loudon-Tellico lakes in Knoxville, which has hosted several events the last few years. The stop in Chattanooga was to have been a first for the FLW Tour, and I hope they’ll get back there sometime. It’s a cool city.

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In a third vote by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, the “best and final” contract offered by Mercury Marine was approved Friday afternoon in Wisconsin and will keep the company from moving production to Oklahoma.

The union rejected the offer two weeks ago and then attempted to have a second vote last weekend after Mercury announced it would shift production to its plant in Stillwater, Okla. At stake were about 850 jobs in Wisconsin along with the possibility of about 900 more administrative positions being moved from Fond du Lac, the small town where Mercury has been based almost 70 years.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a full report on the vote and response from Mercury officials, who say they will now begin transitioning jobs from Oklahoma.

What a turnaround in two weeks for two cities, one with almost 2,000 jobs at stake and another with fewer jobs but the prospect of more growth and revenue.

In the Journal-Sentinel report, an interesting tidbit near the bottom says about 500 union workers who have been laid off were not allowed by union rules to cast a vote on the concessions. If those workers are recalled, their salaries will be cut by 30 percent as per the agreed-upon concessions.

That would be tough to still be part of the union but not be able to cast a vote. I suspect despite the cuts, many of the Fond du Lac employees are grateful for a chance to reverse the first vote and keep their job.

Oklahoma state Rep. Cory Williams called Mercury “shakedown artists” and didn’t mince words expressing his disappointment about Stillwater losing jobs due to the agreement.

“Mercury Marine clearly has no intent of relocating in Stillwater; its only real intent is to squeeze the union at its Wisconsin plant,” the Journal-Sentinel reported Williams as saying. “I am especially upset with how the company’s Stillwater employees are being treated in this process. They have worked hard for a company that is now refusing to respect that service. We want good corporate citizens in Oklahoma, not shakedown artists. Mercury Marine is dangerously close to becoming the latter.”

The Stillwater NewsPress also has a report about the decision.

Wisconsin crayfish get pinched!

While I was looking at the Journal-Sentinel site, a giant photo of crayfish caught my eye.

Seems the Wisconsin DNR has discovered some unusual crustaceans in the land of cheese and beer, and discovered exotic Louisiana crayfish in a pond. The critters reproduce heartily and can disrupt native species. Officials don’t know how they were introduced.

One cool thing in the story was that two teenagers were using slingshots and nets to dispatch the crayfish. Since some of them can grow to 8 inches long, a slingshot definitely would be a fun way to get in a little target practice.

Alabama’s dove season opens

The annual kickoff to autumn hunting seasons begins Saturday in Alabama when dove season opens at noon, marking 70 days in three splits for hunters to pursue the zippy migratory birds.

If you’re going, be sure you have your valid Alabama hunting license, a free federal Harvest Information Permit (available at most license dealers) and any other WMA permits or private land permission.

The limit is 15 per person and shooting hours end at sunset. The rest of the season in the North Zone, shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.

Keep your eye on the bird’s head, be patient, be still and shoot straight.

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