Gone Fishing

This is the time of year when I try to stay ahead of the everyday chores around the house and get out to my favorite fishing holes as often as possible.  Sometimes the fish are biting like there's no tomorrow, sometimes they aren't biting at all.  Either way I enjoy every minute I get in the outdoors and realize that I am truly blessed with the experiences of each adventure. Whether sitting on a dock or trolling along in a boat, fishing is a great way to build relationships and enjoy the company of those who are near and dear to you. 

Fishing shouldn't always be about bringing home the biggest or the most fish.  Instead, it should be a time to relax and let the worries of the everyday world slip away for a while.  Fishing is about making memories that will last a lifetime.  The memories made may be those of catching that trophy bass or the biggest catfish you will ever lay your hands on, but when your luck seems to be running on empty there's nothing wrong with kicking back with your friends and just having a good time.

If you seem to think I'm missing,
You can bet that I've gone fishing.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing Journal Entry 9


I had the opportunity to hang out with a buddy of mine who I hadn't been fishing with in a long time. We had a great time even though the fish were biting slow.  Today's temperature made it up to about 80 degrees with mostly sunny skies.

Blue Catfish, Catfishing, Catfish
Not A Bad Blue Catfish
The barometric pressure was again around 30.12 and falling slowly to about 30.05 during the two hours we were out.  The wind was blowing from the south/southeast at a mere two miles per hour.

Channel Cat, Catfish, Catfishing
A Smaller Channel Catfish
Both fish were caught on minnows.  Jason attempted using multiple lures to no avail as the fish just weren't interested in his offerings.  Having talked to a few other friends via Facebook I found out that catching fish was a rare event today.  

Even though the fishing has been slow lately every outing has been a blast!  I know that sooner or later I will hit the water at that perfect moment when the fish just can't resist the bait at the end of my line.  Until then I'll just keep enjoying the outdoors while I wait on these slow biting swimmers.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

A Day With The Family

As an average outdoorsman, I know that I can't spend every waking moment fishing, hiking, hunting and taking in nature.  I can only dream of making a living by doing the activities I enjoy the most.  There are always other responsibilities such as working a full time job, taking care of the animals, working around the house and spending time with my wife and two children doing other things they enjoy.    Yes they like the outdoors and spending time with me there, but there are times when they have other things they want to experience.

Royals Baseball, MLB, Kansas City Royals
Royals Stadium KC MO

This has been one of those days.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  Today my wife and I took our kids to a Royals Baseball game.  Throughout the game it seemed as though it would be a loss for the Boys In Blue.  Starting the bottom of the ninth inning with the White Sox in the lead seven to one, there seemed to be no way our hometown heroes could win.  However, we found out that when you don't give up, there is always a chance to come out on top.

Royals Stadium, Royals, Royals Baseball
Spending Time With My Kiddos

During the final at bat for the Royals, we watched as they brought in one run after another and went on to gain the lead for the first time winning the game eight to seven.

This game provided me with the opportunity to explain to my children that "in life there will be times when things seem impossible, but with persistence you can win in the end."  I believe this is a life lesson that should be taught to every child.  Obviously you will not be able to come in first at everything you attempt every time you try, but if you don't give it your best you will definitely lose.

KC Royals, MLB, MLB Baseball
Being Silly With Emilee
This lesson can help in the area of teaching our children about hunting and fishing as well.  You will not always get the animal you are hunting.  You will not always bring home a boat load of fish.  Sometimes your camping trips may get rained out.  However, with patience you can increase your odds of pulling off a successful adventure.

MLB, MLB Baseball, At The Ball Game
Emilee & Dakota Enjoying The Game
-Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Beaver Dam State Park Illinois

The Beaver Dam State Park is located seven miles to the south and west of Carlinville in Macoupin County in west-central Illinois and offers an abundance of recreational activities.  Named for the beaver dam that actually created the parks lake, The Beaver Dam State Park encompasses 750 acres and offers camping, fishing, hiking and numerous other exciting activities.

There is an archery range located inside the campground allowing individuals to brush up on their hunting skills while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.  This archery range does not allow the use of broad heads so be sure to bring your field tips.

The Beaver Dam State Park offers both camper and tent camping sites.  Most of the campsites offered here are first come first served, however there are 40 pads which may be reserved by visiting the Reserve America website.

The Beaver Dam State park offers fishing in its 59 acre lake.  With 1.7 miles of shoreline, a free public boat launch and dock there is plenty of space for visitors to sprawl out and catch some fish.    This lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, channel catfish, sunfish and blue gill.  Boats powered by gasoline motors are not permitted; however, you may use a trolling motor.  This would be an excellent place to do some kayaking for fish!

There are nearly eight miles of hiking trails circling the lake and sprawling throughout the vast wooded areas within the park.  Be sure to avoid dehydration while hiking with your Sawyer water treatment bottle.

The Beaver Dam State Park offers spring turkey, squirrel and archery deer hunting as well as furbearer trapping during the allotted seasons.  For more information on the west-central hunting and trapping seasons check out the Illinois DNR website. 

Winter Activities:
Weather permitting, the Beaver Dam State Park offers the opportunity for ice fishing, ice skating cross country skiing and sledding.

Whatever you preferred outdoor activity, you are sure to find the Beaver Dam State Park suitable for your next adventure.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Truman State Park Missouri.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

The Advantages Of Kayak Fishing

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The popularity of kayaks continues to grow as anglers learn about the benefits of fishing from them.  These canoe cousins make excellent fishing vessels and can be decked out with a lot of useful equipment.  Kayaks offer many advantages over fishing from a motor powered boat.

Kayaking For Fish, Kayak Fishing, Kayak
Ascend FS12 Sit In Angler Kayak

Some of the advantages kayaks offer include:

  • Kayaks do not require fuel.  The power that moves these watercraft around is the angler using an oar or paddle.
  • In many states a kayak doesn't have to be registered before hitting the water as long as the sole method of propelling it is an oar or a paddle.
  • Kayaks allow anglers to get into places that boats can't go.  Shallow water can be a real challenge or even impossible to explore in a boat with a motor hanging off the back.
  • When care is taken in propelling the kayak, it can allow the fisherman/woman to sneak into their desired fishing location without scaring the fish.
  • A kayak can be transported atop a car or SUV thus eliminating the need for a trailer.
  • When using a kayak you can position yourself right at the edge of the moss in the shallow water and cast your lure in any number of directions.
  • A kayak allows you to gain access to ponds and streams that would be impossible to get a boat into.
  • A kayak doesn't have to be insured.
  • A kayak can be launched from virtually anywhere there is a shoreline eliminating the need for a boat ramp.  (No more waiting in line to launch or trailer your boat!)
  • By using a kayak you will not have to pay a rental fee for a boat slip at the marina.
  • Operating a kayak will provide you with exercise while you enjoy one of your favorite sports.
From saving money to near silent navigation, a kayak offers benefits that no motor powered boat can provide.  Who knows the act of simply navigating the water in a kayak may become one of your favorite pastimes.  

If you liked this post, check out Kayaking For Fish.

-Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Campfire Cooking Tips & Tricks

Many people love to go camping and cooking over a campfire should be a fun part of the camping experience.

Here are a few tips to help you with your campfire cooking adventures:

  • Use cast iron skillets for the best results
  • Use the hot coals for your heat source to achieve a consistent temperature
  • The same tongs and spatulas used for barbecuing work great for campfire cooking
  • Cut a square piece of aluminum foil, place a potato cut into cubed pieces inside with a generous amount of butter, fold the foil around completely sealing up the potato & place directly on the hot coals. Let this sit for ten minutes or so and you have a campfire version of fried potatoes.
  • In a pinch you can use a piece of aluminum foil to cook on.  Lay the piece of aluminum foil over the grate, spray it with cooking spray and cook vegetables and other items that would fall through right on top of it. (Even pancakes and eggs can be cooked this way.)
  • Try starting your fire off to the side of the cook area and moving the coals directly under the cooking surface (with a long stick to keep you from getting burned).
  • Use wood that is completely dry in order to get your fire started quickly
  • Save some money on matches by using fire starters.
  • Save money on fire starters by making your own
    • Dryer lint is an excellent fire starter.  Save some in a gallon baggie for your camping trips.
    • Cotton balls with petroleum jelly squished into them make good fire starters.
    • Flat cotton swabs dipped in melted wax and dried also make great fire starters.
  • As with any fire, make sure your campfire is never left unattended.  Put it out before leaving your campsite.
Using these tips can help make your campfire cooking experiences more enjoyable for everyone involved.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing With Limb Lines

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Fishing with limb lines is one of many techniques that can bring excellent results.  This is a good way to put some fish in the freezer without the need to constantly monitor your line.  Limb lines open up the opportunity to do other important things while you are fishing (like hunting - nothing like killing two birds with one stone).

When making my limb lines I prefer to use a high strength braided nylon twine in combination with circle hooks.  The heavy duty twine will give your limb line the strength it needs to hold up to the biggest fish while the circle hook will help ensure the fish gets hooked.

To use a limb line, find a stout tree limb that overhangs the water in the area you want to fish.  Because a dead limb may break under pressure, be sure to select one that is alive and has some flexibility.  Attach your line so that the bait you select sits just below the surface of the water.

Limb lines work particularly well when live bait is used.  This is because the baitfish will make a lot of commotion near the surface of the water as it attempts to escape from your hook.  I prefer shad or goldfish for limb lines, but you can use any live bait that will splash around in the water.

Check with your state for the local requirements.  Typically you must include your name, address and phone number on a tag attached to the line, and most states also require that your lines be checked at least once every 24 hours.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Starting A Fire With Steel Wool

We never know when a fire will come in handy.  Perhaps it will be on a hike or a camping trip, or it could be on a hunting or fishing adventure that doesn't go as planned. No matter what the situation, it is always a good idea to have at least a couple of fire starting methods in your pack.  Because some methods are better suited for different situations, I try to have three different ways to start a fire whenever I hit the field. 

The obvious choice would be matches or a permanent waterproof match, but what if you forgot to fill the lighter fluid reservoir on your waterproof match and it's pouring down rain.  Your typical matches might light, but they will quickly be extinguished by the weather conditions.  In this situation it would be very helpful to have an alternative method to get your heat source going.

One of my favorite methods is steel wool and a 9 volt battery.  For best results use super fine steel wool.  Take one piece of steel wool and pull it apart so that you end up with a puffy ball.  Next take the 9 volt battery and touch both terminals to the ball you just made.  Be sure that you get a good connection between the terminals and the steel wool.  Once a good connection is made, the steel wool will catch on fire!

You will want to be sure to have your tinder and kindling close by so that your fire can be quickly transferred from the steel wool to the tinder.  It would also be useful in wet conditions to have a method of protecting your initial fire as much as possible from the moisture.

Make sure that if you plan on making this one of your back-up fire starting methods that you keep your battery and steel wool stored separately.  It wouldn't be good to have your pack go up in flames while you were carrying it. 

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing Journal Entry 8


Sunday ended up being another rain free day so I decided to take the wife and kids to a different place to  try our luck.  We started out at Lake Jacomo which resulted in no fish being caught.  After about an hour and a half we decided to head over to James A. Reed where our son beat all of us on the fish count.

Small crappie, crappie fishing, catching crappie
Dakota's First Crappie Of The Day
 Today's weather was much like yesterday.  The temperature was in the low 70's with sunny skies.  The barometric pressure was again at 30.00 and the wind was blowing from the south/south east at about seven miles per hour.

Small crappie, crappie fishing, catching crappie
Dakota With His Second Crappie
Cody was very proud of every fish he caught.

Small crappie, crappie fishing, catching crappie
Dakota With Another Small Crappie
We used minnows for bait and each of the crappie measured about six and a half to seven inches long.

Small crappie, crappie fishing, catching crappie
Emilee With Her Crappie
After another hour and a half at James A. Reed our son had reeled in four tiny crappie, our daughter had managed to bring in one and my wife pulled one in on my pole while I was helping Emilee with her line.  I guess my wife and I each get credit for half a fish.

The rain is supposed to begin again by morning and the weather man says this whole next week will be wet.  At least I was able to squeeze in a couple of days worth of fishing this weekend....It could be a while before the opportunity presents itself again.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing Journal Entry 7


Finding a day without rain that hasn't required working late has been a real challenge lately.  However, I finally managed to squeeze one in.  I decided to take my wife and children along on this trip for some family time.  I also invited my dad to join us (the kids love their time with grandpa).

Clouds in the sky, Cloudy skies, Clouds
The sky turned from sunny to cloudy.
The temperature was 73 degrees with skies that changed from sunny to cloudy.  The barometric pressure was 30.12 and falling.  We fished at a local pond (one of our favorite fishing holes).

Dad's Largemouth, Largemouth bass, Largemouth
Here's dad with the big fish of the day.
The picture above shows dad holding his only catch of the day.  A largemouth bass that measured just shy of sixteen inches long.  Watching him reel that one in was a load of fun!

Smallmouth, A Smallmouth Bass, Catching Smallmouth Bass
My Smallmouth Bass
Once again we all fished with minnows.  I also used many different crappie lures in several color combinations (all of which netted nothing).  I caught one smallmouth bass, and one largemouth.

Largemouth Bass Fishing, A Largemouth Bass, Largemouth
My Largemouth Bass
On this outing I managed to out-fish my wife as she and the kids were unable to bring in any fish.  Days like this help us teach our children that you can still have fun outdoors even when success eludes you.

By the way...It began raining this evening just as we were packing up to head back home.  I sure am glad we were able to squeeze this fishing trip in.  It is supposed to rain on us again this whole next week.  Perhaps summer will intervene in this weather pattern and allow more family fishing days  sometime soon.

If you enjoy the fishing journal posts please share them with your friends.  If there is other information you would like to see included in these posts feel free to leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Preparing Your Compound Bow For Storage

After archery season ends, many hunters simply hang their bows up and forget about them until it's time to head back into the woods the next year.  If you are planning to store your compound bow for a long period of time it is very important to prepare the bow properly.  Getting your bow ready for storage is a simple task and can literally be done in a matter of a few minutes.

The first thing to do before tucking that bow away is to wax the strings.  You can either purchase , or if you want to make your own you can use a mixture of bow rosin, bees wax and olive oil.  To make your own use approximately one part bees wax to two parts bow rosin.  Melt these together in a small pan and add in a few drops of olive oil.  Allow the mixture to cool and check to make sure the consistency is suitable for your needs.  Be sure to liberally apply the wax while working it into every part of your bow string.

Next, lube all of the moving parts on your bow.  Don't neglect your bow cams.  Without properly working cams your bow is useless.  Use a teflon or silicone based lube designed for use on bow cams/wheels and apply a light amount.  Work it in by drawing your bow a few times.

Finally release the tension from the limbs.  Adjust the tension screws on your bow limbs to take the draw weight down as much as possible.  It is crucial that you don't loosen the screws more than their maximum number of turns.  The maximum number of turns allowed varies from bow to bow.  To find the maximum turns for your bow, refer to the owners manual.

Your bow is now ready to store until you want to start using it again.  By taking a few minutes of your time to care for your bow before tucking it away you will help extend its life and prevent a lot of problems in the future.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Missouri Opens Archery Season To Crossbow Hunters

Ask a hunter what they think about states allowing crossbows as a legal method for taking deer  during archery season, and you will get a vast array of responses.  Many of them will express a concern that it will result in deer numbers taking a sharp decline. Many of us would prefer that only those who are disabled be able to use a crossbow. Allowing any and all hunters to enter the woods with a crossbow seems to be a surefire way to put those of us with compound an recurve bows at a disadvantage.  Crossbow hunting takes the challenge out of archery hunting, and from my research the states that do allow this method for deer hunting typically end up paying for it in the long run.

Although there has been a growing number of outdoorsmen in the state who are interested in it, Missouri has held off on allowing the use of crossbows in the pursuit of deer for quite some time.    Over the last few years Missouri has hinted at the possibility of opening up this option.  After holding several open houses in 2015 as well as taking comments from hunters online, they have decided to allow their archery hunters to begin using crossbows during the archery season starting in 2016. 

I can only hope that this decision by the Missouri Department of Conservation doesn't come back to haunt us all.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Bear Hunting Opportunities In The Midwest

Bear, Black Bear, Bear Hunting
Photo Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

The midwest offers some of the best hunting in America.  From small game to large game there's something here for everyone no matter what their skill level is.  One of the exciting species available to hunt in some of the midwest states is the  black bear.  

The black bear can range in color from black to brown and have a sense of smell that is better than that of a dog.  This would explain why they are sometimes caught rummaging through garbage cans that aren't secured well.  The female black bear weighs around 150 to 200 pounds, and the males can weigh in at up to 500 pounds.  Black bears typically inhabit wooded areas, but will venture into open places when searching for food.  Although bears are a large animal, they generally avoid human contact; however, a bear may attack if it feels threatened.

There are three states in the midwest which presently allow black bear hunting.  Those states are Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Missouri plans to begin allowing bear hunting at some point in the future.   

Anyone including nonresidents may apply for the drawing; however, no more than 2 percent of licenses in any hunt period will be issued to nonresidents.

Bear hunting in the state of Minnesota is open to both residents and non-residents.  The state is divided into several areas with and without quotas.  As I understand the information, the non-quota areas do not require a lottery entry in order to obtain a permit; however, most of the land in the no quota area is private property so it is important to make sure you have a place to hunt before purchasing a permit for this area.

The lottery for bear hunting is open to residents and non-residents alike.  Wisconsin uses a preference points system which ensures that the sportsmen who get the opportunity to bear hunt are not the same people year after year.  Preference points add up over time but are reset to zero if you do not either purchase a preference point or apply for the lottery at least once every three years.

Missouri has stated that they intend to open a bear hunting season at some point in the future.  The state is currently working to boost the population to numbers that will support this activity.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Truman State Park Missouri

With Memorial day fast approaching I thought I would write a post about one of my favorite state parks in Missouri.  Nestled on the banks of Truman Lake, the Harry S. Truman State Park offers an abundance of opportunities for outdoor activities.  Whether you enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, camping, swimming, metal detecting (with permit), canoeing or are just looking for a place to enjoy the outdoors the Truman State Park has it all!

Truman Lake offers 55,600 acres of fishing excitement.  The Truman State Park is also close to the Truman Dam which feeds into the Lake of the Ozarks.  Located below the Truman Dam are several public fishing docks that offer excellent fishing.

There are two paved boat launching ramps.  One is inside the park and reserved for the use of those camping there.  The other is located near the state park marina.  There are plenty of parking spaces to ensure that many people can enjoy the lake access.

The Truman State Park also offers boat rentals at their marina.

The Bluff Ridge Trail offers a two mile long hiking opportunity.  Along the way you may see all types of wildlife.  While hiking this trail, take a few moments to stop along the way and enjoy a breathtaking view of Truman Lake.

With six interconnected campgrounds to choose from, you are sure to find one that suits your camping style.  Whether you want electrical hookups for an R.V. or you prefer a more primitive camping style the Harry S. Truman State Park has it all.

There are two opportunities for swimming.  One of the swimming beaches is reserved for those camping in the park.  The other is open to the public and is located near the marina outside of the campground.  Both areas offer restrooms and changing facilities.

Metal Detecting:
Certain areas of the Harry S. Truman State Park offer access to metal detecting.  In order to take advantage of this opportunity, you must have a permit which is offered free of charge by simply emailing your request to  moparks@dnr.mo.gov.

Besides boating, the entire Truman lake is open to those who wish to enjoy canoeing and kayaking.  Set off into the water from one of the two marinas and let the fun begin!

No matter what outdoor activity you enjoy, you are sure to find it at the Harry S. Truman State Park.  Show up for some fun - Leave with a lifetime of memories!

Note:  Be sure to book you campsite early as this place fills up fast.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more posts on the state parks throughout the midwest, please leave a comment below and let me know.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Get In Shape Now For Easier Hunting This Fall

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How many times have you been out in the field wondering how in the world you will be able to hunt all day?  You can improve your hunting experiences by simply starting a workout routine now.  

If you don't feel that you are able to take on a full blown exercise routine, start out small and build yourself up to a more strenuous workout.  You can start by walking half a mile to a mile per day for a week or two and then move up to two miles per day for a couple of weeks.  If walking isn't your style, bicycling is an excellent way to improve your stamina.  You can build up your bicycling program over time as you become more accustomed to the workout.  Be sure to take water with you while exercising to prevent dehydration.  The Sawyer water filtration bottle is an excellent choice that will enable you to always have fresh water no matter where you go.  Check out the Sawyer Water Treatment Bottle Review for more information about this essential item.

After you have a couple of weeks of exercise under your belt, build your routine up a bit. Start taking longer walks and make sure to include some good sized inclines during your outings.  Once you get comfortable with this raise the bar a little more and add some jogging into your walks.  If you choose bicycling, be sure to add in some time when you pick up the pace.  As time goes on, continue building up your workouts.  

Give it a couple more weeks and begin carrying your hunting pack with you on your exercise adventures.  Place a few items in your backpack and continue your daily exercise routine.  As each new week arrives, add more weight to your pack until you are toting as much or more weight than you will be hauling with you into the woods.  Be sure to continue working on climbing and descending those inclines.  You may even want to begin adding some inclines that are quite a bit steeper.  If the area where you exercise allows it, you may want to begin carrying your bow or gun with you on your outings as well.

You can also begin eating a bit less at each of your meals.  This will help you lose a little weight which will also improve your ability to remain in the woods for longer hunts and improve your odds for a successful outing.

As with any exercise regimen it is important to start out slowly and build yourself up to peak performance in order to avoid any injuries.  It is important to build yourself up slowly because an injury will only hinder your progression.  Keep up the workouts throughout the spring and summer months and you will be more prepared than most to hit the woods this fall.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

The Sawyer Water Treatment Bottle Review

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When exploring the outdoors it is important to be prepared for any emergency situations that may arise. The Sawyer water treatment bottle allows you to do just that. This five ounce personal water treatment bottle makes it easy to know that you will have clean fresh water no matter where you are. Simply fill the bottle directly from a creek, lake or stream and you can drink it instantly through the built in water filtration straw. 

Sawyer Water Treatment Bottle with Internal Filter, Water Treatment Bottle, Sawyer Water Bottle
Sawyer Water Treatment Bottle

  • Lightweight
  • Hollow Fiber Membrane filter physically removes particles
    • Removes 99.9% of Bacteria
    • Removes 99.9% of Protozoa down to .1 micron absolute in size including Cryptosporidia, Giardia, and Salmonella
  • Bottle Capacity:  32 ounces
  • Purifies your water without the residual chemical tastes
  • BPA free
Whether you are camping, bicycling, fishing, hiking, hunting or however you choose to explore the outdoors, you can't afford to go without having a method of obtaining safe drinking water.  With the Sawyer water treatment bottle you will always be prepared.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

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Why You Need Fishing Lures In An Assortment Of Colors

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

Growing up in the midwest my brother and I spent a lot of our time fishing the ponds that provided our small town with its drinking water.  I couldn't begin to tell you how many hours we spent fishing or the number of fish we brought to shore.  However, of all the times we were out there trying new lures and learning from our experiences there is one day that stands apart from the rest.

We had been fishing along the east dam of the smaller pond for an hour or so and just slaying the crappie when the city mayor and police chief decided to come down and fish with us for a while.  It seemed as though my brother and I couldn't cast our crappie jigs into the water without reeling in another fish.  The mayor and chief of police stood there watching in amazement for a couple of minutes before finally casting their own lines in.  Cast after cast they would retrieve their lures without so much as a bite.  My brother and I would cast our lines and reel in another fish.  This pattern continued on for at least a half an hour before the mayor broke down and decided he wanted to have a look at the bait we were using.

Johnson Beetle Bou Marabou Crappie Jigs - Yellow/Black/Yellow - 1/16 oz.
Having A lure with the right color
combination can be the difference
between catching a lot of fish and
being skunked.

After looking our jigs over and deciding he had nothing that resembled it he asked if he could purchase one of ours.  Of course we said "sure you can," and made a little money while participating in one of our favorite sports.  Who can beat making money while doing what you love?  Upon the two of them replacing their lures with the crappie jigs they had received from us things really heated up.  By now there were several people down at our end of the pond trying everything they could to get in on the action, but only four of us had the magic bait!  If you weren't using the exact lure we had, you weren't catching anything.

That day I learned a lesson I would never forget, and if you read my blog regularly you may already know what that lesson was as I tend to repeat it in many of my fishing posts.  Always make sure you keep a vast array of lures in as many colors and color combinations as you can.  This one simple act can make the difference between catching a lot of fish and going home empty handed.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing With Jug Lines

Fishing for catfish with jug lines is a great way to spend a day on the water  This method of fishing allows you to fish a vast area on the lake.  You simply set your baited jugs out and watch them for any sign of unnatural movement.  You can use pretty much any jug as long as it doesn't have any holes in it and you have the lid.

Add a drop line to each jug by using a piece of high strength twisted or braided nylon line.  I will typically use a piece between four and six feet long.  After cutting it, fold the piece of line in half and tie the two loose ends together.  Next you will run one end through the handle of your jug as shown below.

Adding a drop line to a jug, jug line, fishing
Adding the drop line to your jug
Next you  will run one end of the drop line through the opposite end and pull it tight in order to fasten it to the jug.

fishing with a jug line, fishing, drop line for jugs
Pull one end of the line through the
opposite end and pull it tight
To attach a swivel, slide the doubled up line through the eye of the swivel leaving a loop below it.

How To Make A Jug Line, Jug Fishing, Jug Line Fishing
Slide the line through the swivel eye
 Next you will pull the swivel through the loop and pull it tightly to attach it to your drop line.

Jug Line Fishing, Attaching A Swivel To A Jug Line, Fishing Techniques
Pull the swivel through the loop.
 Be sure to pull the line tight so that the swivel is secure.

Jug Fishing, Jug Line Fishing, Fishing Techniques
Pull the line tight to secure your swivel
After completing the above steps, you now have a complete jug line that is ready for fishing.

The Completed Jug Line

The drop line can be stored by wrapping it around the jug and clipping the swivel to the twine to keep it in place.  The hooks can be stored by pushing them into a piece of styrofoam until you are ready to use them the next time.

When you are ready to fish set your jugs out and watch them closely for any movement that isn't being caused by the water.  If you haven't caught any fish within about a half an hour collect them and move to a new location.

When using jugs for fishing make sure you get the lid on tight in order to keep it from taking on water as this will cause it to lose buoyancy  making it harder to notice when a fish has taken the bait.  Any bait that would be used on a trotline will work for jug line fishing.

As with other forms of fishing, be sure you check your local laws to make sure this is a legal method in your area and what the requirements are if it is legal.

If you like this post you may enjoy Trotline Fishing For Catfish.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Gun Safety In The Home

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

Everywhere you turn there seems to be some sort of news about a shooting or some type of shooting accident. After telling gun owners that they are bad people, they proceed to tell you to keep your guns in a safe until they are going to be used. However, if you are like me, you keep at least one firearm in your home for personal protection and for the protection of your family.  Following the advice of those who tell you to keep every gun locked up really defeats the purpose.  Imagine attempting to open your gun safe in the middle of the night, and find the one you have for protection as some thug is in the process of breaking into your home.  I don't think your chances of defending yourself would be real good.  So what can you do?  

  1. Teach your children all about the guns that are in your home.   They should learn how to load, unload, shoot, clean and handle a gun safely.  This is not to say that firearms should be laying around all over the house where children can get ahold of them at any time.  They should also have the understanding that a gun should never be handled without a parent around.  
  2. In addition to teaching your children gun safety, you can purchase a gun safe specifically for your handgun such as the VelocityVault 5000 for your personal protection firearm.  These fast access safes are designed with your ability to retrieve your firearm quickly and easily during an emergency situation while keeping them out of the hands of children.

The Velocity Vault has a high strength locking mechanism with a fast activation drop-down drawer.  It also features a patented "No-Eyes" Keypad making it easy to access your handgun in the dark.  With over 12 million user-selectable access codes and a built in computer that blocks access after repeated entry failures, you can rest assured that your firearm won't get into the wrong hands.  The exterior is built out of heavy gauge steel while the inside features a soft foam to protect your valuables.  The VelocityVault 500 also has a silent mode in order to prevent you from alerting any burglar to the fact that you know they are there.  In addition to all this, it features an interior light that illuminates your handgun.  There is no reason to worry about power failure because this safe operates on one 9volt battery and has a low battery indicator.

By combining gun safety education for your children along with an easy access handgun safe you can practically eliminate the chances of having a firearm accident in your home.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Trotline Fishing For Catfish

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

One of the fishing methods many anglers use when fishing for catfish is a trotline.
Before I go any farther, I will answer the question....  What is a trotline?

A trotline is a length of high strength line called the mainline with multiple lines submerged below it.  The lines that hang below the mainline are called drop lines. Each drop line has a heavy duty swivel and a hook attached to the end.  The trotline is stretched out over the water, secured at each end and marked so that it can easily be found when it is time to check for fish.

The mainline and drop lines are typically made from twisted nylon twine or braided nylon twine.  I suggest using a line with a strength of at least 150 pound test.  This will ensure that your trophy catfish is not able to break the drop line and escape.

High Strength Nylon Twine, Nylon Twine, Heavy Nylon Twine
High Strength Twisted Nylon Twine

When adding drop lines you can either attach swivels and individual lines to the mainline, or you can use the method I prefer which is to construct your drop lines right into the main line.  I like to double up the mainline and tie a simple knot leaving two to three feet hanging below the mainline.  This method can be seen in the picture below.  Be sure that your drop lines are spaced far enough apart that they can't become tangled by the fish that you catch.

Simple Knot Used To Construct Drop Lines, Drop Line, How To Make A Drop Line
Simple Knot Used To Construct The Drop lines

Once you have prepared your drop lines, it is time to attach a heavy duty swivel to the bottom end.  The first step for attaching your swivels is to pinch both sides of the drop line together and slide the eye at the top of the swivel over the drop line as pictured below.

Attaching A Swivel To A Drop Line, Swivel, Drop Line Swivel
Run The Drop Line Through The Swivel Eye

The next step is to slip the swivel through the loop that is below it and pull it tight as pictured below.

How To Attach A Swivel To A Drop Line, Putting Swivels On Drop Lines, Swivel
Slip The Swivel Through The Loop

Now, make sure the bottom of the loop is pulled over the top of the swivel ring as seen in the next picture.  Your swivel is now connected securely to the drop line.

Swivel Attached To A Drop Line, Attaching A Swivel To A Drop Line, Drop Line Swivel
Make Sure The End Of The Loop Is On Top And Pulled Tight

When fishing with trotlines, I prefer to use circle hooks like the one in the next picture.  

Catfish Hook, Catfishing Hooks, Circle Hooks
Circle Hook

There are several trotline techniques that work really well, but the two methods I prefer are as follows.
  1. Attach one end of the mainline to a tree or stationary object on the shore and run it out into the water securing the opposite end with a weight that will keep it in place such as a cinder block.  With this method, begin by attaching your mainline to the anchor point on shore and work your way to the end attaching your hooks and baiting as you go. 
  2. The other method is to attach a weight to each end of the mainline and a flotation device such as a buoy in the center leaving each end in the water.     This method can be done by attaching the float to the middle of the mainline and working your way to either end attaching your hooks and baiting as you go.
When you arrive at the end of your mainline, attach the weight and carefully lower it into the water as far as you can before gently letting it go.  You do not want to just throw the weight into the water as this can cause a lot of bait to tear off of your hooks.  Be sure that your mainline is taught before allowing the anchor to slip gently into the water.

Trotline fishing can get a little dangerous especially when "running" the line (checking the line for fish).  While checking the line, be extremely careful that you do not end up with a hood embedded in your flesh as a result of a slipping line or a frisky catfish.  Ending the fishing adventure early because of an injury would not be the ideal situation.

As far as bait is concerned, the best trotline bait I have found to make that catfish connection is either small live bluegill or cut bait.  However crawdads (crayfish), goldfish or large shiners seem to work pretty good too.  I do not add weight to the drop lines as this allows cut bait to hang and move with the motion of the water.  This also allows live bait to swim around freely causing a commotion in the water which has a tendency to attract more fish.

Catfishing with trotlines can be a lot of fun, even addictive; however, regulations vary from state to state, be sure to check the rules for your local area.  

The next time someone asks you how to catch catfish just tell them a trotline works great and have them check out this post!

If you like this post, you may also enjoy Catfishing In Lakes.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Bumping Crank Baits For Bass

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Most every angler knows what a crank bait is; however, for those who don't know, a crank bait is a fishing lure with a bill to which the fishing line is attached.  Various lures will have differing sized bills.  The depth to which the crank bait will dive is determined by the length of the bill.  When preformed properly, using crank baits can produce excellent results.

Bass Pro Shops XTS Mini Minnow Crank Bait, Crank bait, XTS Mini Minnow
Bass Pro Shops XTS Mini Minnow

A crank bait should be fished in and around sources of cover such as sunken trees, brush piles, rocky bottoms and even dock pilings.  Cast your lure out and retrieve it in such a manner that it will come into contact with the cover debris.  When the lure contacts an obstacle the bill on the front is designed to deflect it off of whatever it hits.  As this happens, it will appear to be making an evasive move attempting to avoid being eaten.  It is possible to catch fish while simply reeling your line in, but this action that will usually initiate a strike by triggering the predator instinct of a bass.

Rapala Ultra Light Crank, Rapala, Rapala crank bait
Rapala Ultra Light Crank Bait

fishing can be fast and exciting when you are fishing at the correct depth. You will find that the line weight will affect the depth to which your lure will travel.  As a general rule your bait will dive deeper with a lighter weight line and will run more shallow with a heavier weight line.  You should also consider the type of rod that will be in use.

Using a medium action fishing rod will assist you in casting and setting the hook.  The starting point for bending on a medium action rod is typically near the half way point between the handle and the tip.  This will help launch your fishing lure much farther than a heavy action rod as you will get more "whip" out of it.  It will also enable you to set the hook on that next monster much better than you would be able to with a light action rod. 

As with any other lure, you will want to be sure you have numerous color and size combinations to ensure that you are able to find one that will entice the bass into biting in a variety of water conditions on any given day.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

It's Almost Time For Squirrel Hunting As Midwest Squirrel Seasons Begin Opening

Throughout the midwest squirrel season is fast approaching.  Outlined below are the squirrel season dates that have been provided by each state.  There are some states that haven't updated their sites; however, each is listed with the information available at this time.


The only information listed for Illinois is the dates for last year.  They were as follows:

Aug. 1, 2015 - Feb. 15, 2016 (Statewide) Closed Nov. 20 - 22 and Dec. 3 - 6 in counties open for firearm deer hunting

Continue checking back with the Illinois DNR for more information.


Squirrel (Fox & Gray) Sept. 3-Jan. 31, 2017

I was unable to find the daily and possession limits for Iowa.  To find the limits for the 2016 Iowa squirrel hunting season check with the Iowa DNR.


Kansas is another state that is slow to update their regulations online.
Last years season and limits were as follows:

Date: 06/01/2015 - 02/28/2016
Location: Statewide

  • Area Open: Statewide
  • Daily bag limit: 5
  • Possession limit: 20
Check with the KDWPT for updated information.


Sept 15 - Mar 1

Bag Limit: 5 (daily), 10 (possession)

This is all of the information provided by Michigan.  Please check with the Michigan DNR for more information and to be sure this is correct for 2016.


Minnesota is another state in the midwest that is slow to update their site with new regulations.
At this time they do not have the new 2016 squirrel season regulations posted.

Check with the Minnesota DNR for updates.


Missouri does an excellent job keeping their site up to date with all of their hunting regulations, seasons and limits.  The squirrel season and limits in Missouri are as follows:

May 28, 2016 - Feb. 15, 2017

Daily limit:  10
Possession limit:  20


Although Nebraska has their squirrel season dates posted, they do not list the daily or possession limits.  The Nebraska squirrel season dates are as follows:

Aug. 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2017

Check with the Nebraska Game & Parks for more information.

North Dakota:

The only information provided on North Dakota's Game & Fish site is as follows:

Opens:  September 10th

Please check the above link for more information.


The season and limits for Ohio's 2016 squirrel season are not listed on their site.
Last years season was from September , 2015 to January 31, 2016 with a limit of 6.

Please check with the Ohio DNR for updates.

South Dakota:

The squirrel season dates listed on the South Dakota DNR site are for 2015.
The daily limit was 5 with a possession limit of 15.  This is subject to change.
Continue to check back with them at the link provided above for updates.


Wisconsin squirrel season is from September 17, 2016 to January 31, 2017.
The daily and possession limits were not found on their site.
Check with the Wisconsin DNR for updates.

As I searched out the information for the squirrel season dates in the midwest states, I was highly disappointed to find out that many of them are slow to update their information.  Of all the midwest states, Missouri has the most liberal squirrel hunting season dates and limits.  Missouri also seems to do the best job of keeping their information up to date.  

I hope the information I have been able to provide has helped as many people as possible.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day