26 02 2012

Outdoorama, at one time the biggest outdoor show of the year.  Back when this show was at the Michigan State Fairgrounds it was the premier hunting and fishing show in Michigan.  The last time I attended the show at the State Fairgrounds was probably one of the best ones I had ever been too.  I got to see “Da Yoopers” perform and I got the opportunity to get up and close to a Gray Wolf.  You have no idea how big a wolf is until he stands up on his hind legs and puts his front paws on your shoulders.

Now the show has the same name but is run by Show Span, the same group that runs The Ultimate Fishing Show.  The DWF has a booth at Outdoorama as well so I was once again helping out Friday night.  Things were kind of slow this year so I had more of an opportunity to check out some of the attractions.  One even I watched this year was Ultimate Air Dogs hosted by former Detroit Tiger pitcher Milt Wilcox.  This event is a competition for dogs to see how far they can jump into a pool.  All the dogs would run down a dock and then jump into the pool after their personal toy.  Some dogs could jump over 20 feet, others…..not so much.  One dog went charging down the dock only to put on the brakes as he hit the edge of the pool.  He had a little too much momentum and ended up sliding off the end and into the water.  I wash they would have had this when my lab Sherman was still around.  He would have loved the opportunity to show off.

Super Sherman

After that I went back to wandering around the showplace checking out all the vendors, outfitters, boats, products and anything else fishing and hunting related.  Of course I had to buy some more lures; I had to get my weekly fix in.  It’s just so hard for me to pass up an opportunity to buy custom painted Rapala’s for less money than a brand new factory one.

Weekly Fix

That was about it for this year.  I wanted to try and get back up there but other responsibilities kept me home.  It still helped to relieve a little cabin fever until Spring gets here.

Next Week…The Quiet Water Symposium

Gun Shows

19 02 2012

Spent the weekend running the admission table at my friends Dean & Barry’s gun show. They call it a Sporting Collectables show but for all intent and purpose it is a gun and knife show.  These shows used to be very popular but for awhile the ones in my area were turning into Militia/ Government Conspiracy shows.  My friends have been hosting these shows for a few years now and have been building up quite a following.  This last show had 130 tables of vendors and over 850 people through the door.  It can be a lot of fun for me because I get to talk to a lot of people and some of them have some pretty interesting stories.  Of course there are a few that I wish would never come but you can’t have everything.  Since I am helping out I get first crack at a lot of items.  Not too many guys selling fishing stuff at this one but I have really cleaned up on some good deals at past shows.  There is another show next month and that will be the last one until August.  That works for me because walleye fishing will be starting up pretty soon and I won’t have time to sit and collect money.

Set up for another weekend

Next week…..Outdoorama

Fishing Show/DIY Day

12 02 2012

Yep, looks like a good day to stay inside.

15 degrees outside, wind chill around zero and 4 inches of new fallen snow on the ground.  Looks like a good day for some do-it-yourself fishing projects.  First things first though, need to go to the MI – OH Sport fishing Expo in Monroe Michigan.  This is the first of 5 shows in a row for me.  Next week is my friends Sporting Collectables (Gun/Fishing) show.  After that it is Outdoorama, then it’s The Michigan Quiet Water Symposium and then the Mid-West Fly Fishing Expo.  It’s going to be a busy month for me.  No time to think about that, I had to meet my friends for breakfast first and then off to Monroe.

This show is put on by the Huron Valley Sport Fishing Club.  This is a show that is geared towards fishing the Western Basin of Lake Erie.  That means 3 things, Walleye, Steelhead and Smallmouth Bass with a heavy emphasis on Walleye.  There are lots of vendors selling crawler harnesses, blades, spoons and crank baits.  If you fish Lake Erie a lot this is the kind of show you need to visit.  You could probably purchase everything thing you would need for the upcoming season at this one show.  The only thing I bought was a hook sharpener (made in Ohio).  I don’t have a boat to fish Erie so whenever I go it is because I was invited by someone who has a big enough boat.  Since I am a guest on that boat I am going to use his stuff and do everything he tells me too (something to remember people, a boat only needs one captain).  I do have a few blades , spoons and harnesses just in case but for the most part I am using someone else’s equipment.  It’s still a good way to spend the morning, talking fishing with people I know and making new friends while I am there.

After the show was done my friend Jerry and I set up shop in his heated garage to get started on weights and shanks for the upcoming walleye season.  Normally I wait until March and warmer weather to do this in my garage.  This winter has been very mild and if it continues we could be fishing in March.  I’ve already been out once this month so no sense waiting until the last minute.   I had already poured a few weights a couple of weeks ago but Jerry needed a few as well.  You can purchase weights for handlining but a few of us prefer to use a homemade weight of copper tubing filled with lead.  It bounces off the rocks and doesn’t get hung up as much as the soft lead weights.  Today we were making 1 ¼ pound weights from an 11 inch piece of ½ inch copper pipe.  Both Jerry and I have a lot of scrap lead lying around so we melted it down in my electric lead ladle and carefully poured it in the tube.  We stand the copper tube into a piece of 2×4 with a ½ in hole drilled to hold the tube.  It has to fit tight or the hot lead will leak out from the bottom.  The tube also has to be pre heated some to insure there are no air pockets during the pouring process.  It is really quite easy to do but you need the right tools and a steady hand.

After a short Canada Dry break it was on to the next phase, shank production.  I need about a dozen to make it through an entire a year.  I replace them every 2 or 3 weeks just because of the abuse they take.  If a shank is kept in good working order you won’t lose as many lures.  Again you can buy these but I have so much #60 stainless steel wire lying around it is easier for me to make my own.  I can also customize special ones for friends and family who don’t like to run 3 leaders like I do.   The main thing is to remain consistent.  An inch or two difference on where a clevice is no big deal but if the 1st one is off it compounds all the way to the last one.  Just remember this rule of thumb 1 inch equals 1 foot (measured from the top of the weight) .  This isn’t an exact science but it is a start.  Once you get a shank set up and working for you keep making or buying the same ones.  I was the only one making shanks today, Jerry spent his time organizing and sorting through stuff.  Like me he has so much stuff he forgets what he has and where he has it.  It’s all time well spent.

Weights and Shanks, ready to go.

1st Fishing Report for the year 2/5/12

5 02 2012

Location: Trenton Channel
Date/Time: 9:15 am to 11:00 am
Water Temp: 34.8 Degrees
Water Clarity: Clear
Weather: Clear and Sunny
Wind: N and calm
Water Depth: 13 feet
Presentation: Handlining, 3 Leads 40,20,6
Lures: F 11 Clown

Notes: Had to take advantage of the warm weather so I went out today. Picked up one 20 inch male NW of the Catamaran. I have now caught a walleye in every month of the year in the Trenton Channel. Fair amount of floating weeds and no debris. Lots of geese still around and a few ducks. Did see what appeared to be an immature Bald Eagle down by Humbug Marsh.