Category: Something Else

Shaping Up

As noted to conclude yesterday’s post, I recently wrapped up a fitness/weight loss challenge at work. Via a substantial amount of roadwork, healthier food choices and some willpower at mealtime and beyond, I managed to finish in the top spot.

Took some work and dedication but got it done and came out on top

Weighing in for the finale a week ago Friday, I wound up posting a 24.5 pound weight loss in the span of six weeks (197 to 172.5, May 17 to June 28). I was pretty steady on the drop from week to week but I must say that I had quite the finish in shedding 7.5 pounds over the last eight days.

And before anybody argues “it’s not healthy to lose that many pounds in just over a week”, I beg to differ. I did it the right way with a high quality/modest portion intake of fruits, veggies and fish while logging close to 25 miles running among the nearly 17,000 steps per day average. Invest as one may in diet plans and supplements it’s all just a waste of time and money when it truly boils down to willpower and effort (disclaimer on heredity in some instances).

Part of the plan is eating better and dialing in the portions

Eating better on fishing trips was part of the dedication and a little dirt don’t hurt as seen in one photo

I’ve long thought of writing a book, perhaps I should start with a weight loss composition. Probably wouldn’t sell though at one page as it would consist of my “3 Es.”

Eat better, eat less, exercise. End of story (I guess that may be “4 Es” but you get the point). Put all of those diet and fitness gurus right out of business and pay for my kids’ college expenses right there if only folks were buying into what I’m selling.

A significant uptick in exercise was also key and yes, a few of those miles were fishing

Anyway, I am currently back in the weight range of that 20 something kid reeling in bass at Lake Storey from yesterday’s Friday Flashback post. However, I likely won’t be repeating the photo op as a 50 year old body doesn’t quite look like a 20 year old body.

Four mile run on a near 90 degree Fourth of July evening will burn a few calories 

Looking in the mirror these days I can’t help but think that I’ve got what I call the “Philo Beddoe body” going. You know, Clint Eastwood in the “Every Which Way But Loose” movie and sequel? Pretty lean and fit but still kind of rough around the edges in a fifty something body.

What other outdoor blog would give you the great Philo Beddoe for comparison? 

Nope, I’ll not be fishing topless anytime soon if ever again but I did have an idea to try out if I ever got back in shape. We’ll see if this fitness thing sticks and I can put that concept into motion.

Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy


Today’s post marks post #500 since kicking off my own website back on May 1, 2017.

Perhaps you’ve caught a few of those posts over the last 790 days (that equates to a rather prolific rate of content creation, by the way).

Well, whether you have or whether you haven’t, here’s a look at some of what has graced the internet in that batch of stuff.

Fishing Reports = over 75 posts
These are definitely my favorite posts to put together as the first step in creating them is actually getting out there on the water to chase some fish. From there, anything can happen. And even if hardly anything happens in terms of the bite, I can always find something to write.

Top 5 Updates = over 50 posts plus monthly and year-end stat updates
A close second to the firsthand fishing reports are the contributions from fellow anglers. These posts pretty much write themselves thanks to your submissions. Basically, I have a template and your reports fill in the blanks. Whether I’m catching them or not, it is always good to get some fish stories. And since every fish has a story, thus far we’ve had a look at nearly 250 of them along the way.

Flashbacks = over 60 posts
Between the Friday Flashback feature and something I called “Trapping Tuesdays” we’ve taken a lot of weekly trips back through the last 40 plus years. Outdoor tales are meant to be retold and relived and a blog is a wonderful forum to do just that.

Tunes = over 150 songs
The “Trip Tunes” feature as well as a few other scattered posts have allowed me to work my fondness for the radio and it’s musical offerings into an outdoor website. Not much of a stretch in my book as the drive is just another part of the adventure and as a guy with a soundtrack in his head there’s always an apt lyric for every situation. Besides, I love music and I write the blogs.


Of course, there’s also been a fair representation of sports figures, particularly baseball players, that have managed to work their way into a purported outdoor post. Just a few are featured below and a search on the website for “Around the Horn”, “Le Grande Orange” or “MLB” will take you all the way if you need some late night reading.


Beginning in March of 2018, I also introduced some homemade video into the blog offerings courtesy of the GoPro and iPhone. And did you know that you can do a Category search on the website for “Video” or several other categories to find just what you’re looking for?

Then there was a Bigfoot series, some Emiquon posts (more to come), wish lists, resolutions, park reviews, 12 Days of Christmas, Blog Banner recaps and more.

And, oh yeah, there’s the monthly “Lyric of the Week” feature that is tucked away at the bottom of the homepage. In fact, tune in tomorrow for the yet another timely selection. Some make more sense than others but they all make sense to me. If that makes any sense.

Been a wild ride. And it doesn’t stop here! On to post #501 and beyond with a Top 5 Update tomorrow along with a fishing report, a Trip Tunes batch and the weekly Friday Flashback to come. Talk to you later. Troy

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Who doesn’t like a birthday party?

To celebrate two years of I’m unveiling a new blog banner with a “two” theme.

Two people, two fish, sometimes both in the same picture.

The thirty photos cover over 40 years of enjoying the outdoors spanning from 1971 to just a few years ago. Of course, each of the pics have a story, perhaps a blog series idea for 2020…

Of course, what would a milestone date be without a few of my good, old stats?

730 days

466 posts

Over 1,500 pictures

More than 60 firsthand fishing reports

Nearly 250 fish from almost 60 Top 5 Updates

Dozens of video clips

And how about Bigfoot, Rusty Staub, hot sauce, Leo Sayer, Bombo Rivera, Neil Sedaka, Buzz Capra, Super Sonic Burritos, The Meg, Yosh Kawano, Dick Butkus, OSO Lures, Dr. Hook, Shoe Goo and so much more.

If all that wasn’t bad enough, we now enter the “Terrible Twos” for this rambling project.

Who knows what’s in store? Not even me to a certain extent but that’s all part of the fun.

As Joe Walsh aptly sang, “They say I’m crazy but I have a good time.” Hey, that guy has made a few appearances on the blog too!

Talk to you later. Troy

And Away We Go…

Here we go again with the 2019 fishing year about to get underway.

While I did get on the water on January 5, I couldn’t raise any lethargic bass during that longshot outing. Winter then came on with a fury so while the January trip counts in the log and data, March 23 will be the “official” kickoff.

Of course, before you hit the open water for a new year there are a few tasks that need to be completed as detailed below.

Get your new fishing license, pictured here with my latest Little John Conservation Club membership card and my cool, nostalgic license holder from an old Galesburg shop

Check your tackle to see what needs replaced. Relatively cheap this year thanks to a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card from Christmas and credit card points from Amazon


Strip, clean and respool your reels (pics above, video below)


Of course, all of that stuff comprises the easy part. Now to put it all together with a little something called experience to see if anything shows up on the end of the line. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Bassmaster Classic Musings

The Bassmaster Classic has long been my favorite fishing event to follow but this year’s tournament featured the added weight of many of the competitors possibly making their final appearance. Indeed, 20 of the 25 anglers who made the cut to fish on Sunday have taken their show on the road to the Major League Fishing circuit (including all of the Top 5 in the snip above).

As a result, this year’s event packed a few emotional farewells as longtime Bass competitors said their piece. In addition, animated angler Mike Iaconelli took the opportunity to defy some longtime marching orders from the Bass brass. His antics included tossing his tourney jersey into the crowd before making a successful “stage dive” onto the arms of the fans at stage side (yes, they caught him). A good show all the way around for the record breaking crowd.

A multitude of ways to enjoy the Classic are available as the event unfolds

Now this thing is always an emotional event as it is a life changer for the angler who takes the title. The pressure is palpable as the three biggest days in bass fishing unfold and it is even cooler with today’s technology. The live coverage gives the armchair angler a close up view from anywhere there is internet access. Initially, I kind of thought that the concept would ruin all of the fun and spoil the edge of your seat excitement of the final weigh-in. Not so much, as I took in live on the water coverage, up to the minute blogs, weight updates and webcast weigh ins from the living room, van and even the garage as I did some fishing gear cleanup in preparation for my own 2019 kickoff.

The Basstrakk feature provides unofficial on the water data but still leaves plenty of room for suspense at the weigh-in 

All of this coverage has been a welcome addition for a guy who used to be content with reading about the results a month later when the latest issue of Bassmaster magazine hit the mailbox. Of particular interest is watching the live on the water talks with the anglers and eventually getting the scoop on what, where and how they do their thing.

Now this is pretty cool as the live feed tracks and talks with several anglers as they fish

And 2019 was cool as the techniques featured a very high percentage of power fishing with the likes of crankbaits, spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and chatterbaits getting it done. So much more my speed than flipping and pitching and great to see that one of my favorites, the spinnerbait, hasn’t been completely lost among some of the pros after all.

Perhaps I invested a bit too much of my weekend in following the Classic but it’s just too hard for this old angler to resist the new types of access.

Finally, I wondered, is it weird to get goosebumps when watching fishing?

Probably not, if you’ve been doing it and watching it since you were a kid.

Probably not, if you’ve had a Bassmaster magazine subscription since 1983.

Probably not, if you pulled the trigger on the Bassmaster lifetime membership in the early 90s once you got a decent job and had a little extra money.

Probably not, if you still appreciate every bite you get and also realize that sometimes you (and even the pros) don’t get bit at all.

I guess that sums it up for this near 52 year-old fisherman who is older than all of the 52 angler field in this year’s Classic (yep, got Kevin Van Dam by just about three months).

Talk to you later. Troy

Bassmaster Classic Results

The 2019 Bassmaster Classic held on the Tennessee River out of Knoxville, TN is in the books with local angler Ott DeFoe claiming the title. DeFoe was easily the odds on favorite as he was essentially fishing in his backyard and he made good on living up to the lofty expectations. Easier said than done regardless of experience on a body of water when you are up against the best in the business.

I also thought that it was cool how DeFoe handled the pressure of being the favorite after a rough day two knocked him out of his day one first place perch (top bag of 20-0 on day one). He took a rough second day bag of 10-5 in stride although he commented that it made him “mad” as he slipped to fourth place. However, a final day weight of 18-14 pushed him to the title with a winning margin just shy of four pounds.

It was a tournament of ups and downs as each of the anglers in the Top 10 had at least one tough day. DeFoe was able to sandwich his with a pair of top bags and that made all the difference.

So, you’re probably wondering (or not), how did my picks turn out?

Ott DeFoe (picked for first place, finished in first place) – I picked him to win and he did. Really not a surprise but no matter what sort of “home lake advantage” is attributed to an angler, a lot of stuff still has to go right. And it did, on the biggest stage in the sport. I enjoyed a comment by Bassmaster tourney emcee, Dave Mercer, regarding the pressure that DeFoe faced as the favorite. Mercer noted that the pressure didn’t just start this past week, it truly began last April when Bass announced that DeFoe’s hometown would host the big one.

Chris Zaldain (picked for second place, finished in twelfth place) – Things were looking good for Zaldain as he sat in third place entering Championship Sunday on the heels of a 21-12 day two that was the biggest bag of the tourney. However, conditions changed on Sunday and he only managed two bass for 3-4 with both caught as the day wound down.

Jesse Wiggins (picked for third place, finished in third place) – Wiggins’ down day was a day one bag of 10-11 and while he jumped each of the next two days with 15-15 and 17-4, the climb was just too steep without a “big bite.” There was a lot of talk of a pivotal six-pounder being a game changer for anglers but only a few came aboard and not for the right guy at the right time.

Bradley Roy – (picked for fourth place, finished in fiftieth place) – A four fish day of 6-15 to start put Roy in a spot where I suspect he had to shift gears and gamble. Whatever the case, on day two he would end up blanking. I felt bad for the guy but it makes my rough days a little easier to take knowing it happens to the best in the game as well.

Not too bad for an amateur bass fishing handicapper in landing three of four in the Top 25 who qualified to fish on Championship Sunday. Also kind of cool to get my pair who made the Top 3 in the right spots. Makes it fun even if there is no potential financial windfall, only pride or shame in offering up picks for public consumption.

Another exciting Bassmaster Classic is history with an interesting field, the likes of which we will not see again. The sport continues to evolve and I’ve got some thoughts on that aspect and more regarding the Classic coming your way later this week. Talk to you later. Troy

BM Classic Thoughts & Picks

The Tennessee River out of Knoxville, TN serves as the launch site for the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, March 15-17

Friday kicks off the 49th Bassmaster Classic, no doubt the traditional top dog of bass fishing championships. It’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl or Daytona 500 when it comes to the pinnacle of the pursuit.

But the landscape of professional bass fishing is in the midst of some significant changes with a load of anglers parting ways with the Bassmaster Elite Series and moving on to Major League Fishing. As a result, this year’s Bassmaster Classic is an interesting mix of competitors. While there are various means of punching your ticket to the tourney, for many of the anglers, it may be their last time claiming one of those spots.

I won’t get into the specifics on the exodus but it seems to be a blend of cash and control resulting in a number of longtime Elite Series anglers potentially fishing their final Classic. And I’m talking some legitimate legends of the sport. Names like Kevin VanDam (28th Classic appearance and four-time champ), Mike Iaconelli (20th Classic and 2003 champ), Edwin Evers (18th Classic and 2016 champ), Aaron Martens (20th Classic and four-time runner-up), Skeet Reese (19th Classic and 2009 champ) and Jordan Lee (only his 5th Classic but as the two-time defending champ he is looking for an unprecedented three-peat).

Folks, those are some pretty heavy hitters who are launching on Friday in pursuit of a Classic title via their 2018 Elite Series qualifications while having bid the 2019 Elite Series season farewell. An interesting dynamic in the field of professional bass fishing. Kind of weird for a fishing fan who first started following the Classic back in 1982 when Paul Elias took the title thanks to a crankbait fishing technique called “kneel and reel.”

Lots of Classic memories for me in between so kind of bittersweet seeing a bunch of familiar faces take their show on the road with another organization. It has indeed been a bit odd following the first two events on the Bassmaster Elite Series. I must admit having a few Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid moments in asking “Who are those guys?”

But time marches on and the business of fishing continues to evolve.

For old time’s sake though I’m going to revisit an old bit that I first rolled out while blogging about the 2012 Classic. Here are my picks for the Top 4 finishers in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, a tourney that will leave a memorable footprint in the history of bass fishing for many reasons.

Fourth Place = Bradley Royfinishing the 2018 Elite Series in third-place for the Angler of the Year title has this young angler riding high as the Classic comes nearly nine years to the date of his first Elite Series event fished when he was only 19 years old.

Third Place = Jesse Wiggins – just a good guy with a lot of qualities that the regular angler can relate to, a darn good young fisherman who remains humble, hasn’t forgotten his roots and I like to pull for good things to happen to good people.

Second Place = Chris Zaldain – the lone angler among my pics who stuck with the Bassmaster Elite Series, Zaldain is coming off a strong runner-up finish in last month’s Elite event and I look for him to keep rolling in the Classic.

Classic Champion = Ott DeFoe – not really going out on a limb here as the hometown angler is a popular pick and he has proven his mettle with four top 10 Classic finishes in his seven previous appearances.

Come Sunday we’ll see how good of a prognosticator I am and I invite anyone out there to pitch in with your own selections. The Classic field can be found on the Bassmaster website by clicking here.

Good luck and back on Friday with a flashback that features a lake record. Talk to you later. Troy

Twelfth Day of Christmas

Twelve pounds of Trilene,
eleven months of bassing,
ten miles of walking,
nine holes of fishing,
eight nights of camping,
seven hours of sleeping,
six months of burning,
five pounds of bass,
four kids all fishing,
three weeks of winter,
two Northerner boots,
and one transistor radio.

Life is full of choices.

And when it comes to consumer goods these days, there are way too many for a guy who grew up with one kind of Coca-Cola. I also remember a time when you ordered an “iced tea” and it didn’t take an entire conversation. You just got a glass of tea (no sugar, no lemon, no raspberry, no peach, no green…).

So, anytime I can keep it simple, I’m all in.

That’s why, when it comes to fishing line, I’m a monofilament man. After all, it mirrors my lifestyle; old school, cheap and a creature of habit.

Sure, the myriad collection of braids, fluorocarbons and superlines that span the aisles of department store fishing sections or grace the pages of catalogs or advertise on websites all have their merits. I don’t doubt their effectiveness and have dabbled in their likes over the years but it’s just all too much. Too much decision and too much cash.

For my money, good old Trilene mono in 12-pound test does the job (also use 10-pound on spinning reels). I’ve been doing this for a long time and generally speaking, when you lose a fish it has more to do with the person holding the reel than the line the reel is holding. My Trilene is always up to the task and I’ll take the heat for the ones that get away.

Reels wind up lacking on line by the end of the year so time to ask Santa to restock my stocking.

There you have it, the finale of my latest, mostly outdoor version of the 12 Days of Christmas. May try to squeeze in a few more posts before the year ends and then move on to a batch of wrap-up posts in the New Year.

Happy Holidays to all and talk to you later. Troy

Eleventh Day of Christmas

…eleven months of bassing
ten miles of walking
nine holes of fishing
eight nights of camping,
seven hours of sleeping,
six months of burning,
five pounds of bass,
four kids all fishing,
three weeks of winter,
two Northerner boots,
and one transistor radio.


2019 calendar featuring a few potentially important dates in a new fishing year…stay tuned

I have often mentioned my annual bass fishing goal of a March catch to kick off the year and a November catch to end it. Traditional bookends to another year of fishing no matter the results in between.

Got it done in 2018 and then some with a bonus bass before the shortest month of the year gave way to the much anticipated month that harbors the official beginning of spring. Yep, I managed to sneak in a February 27 trip to post my first bass and called it a year right about nine months later with my final catches coming on November 24. I did miss out on an August trip so in the interest of accuracy and honesty I really only caught a bass in nine months of the year.

For 2019 I’m looking to correct that and if the weather cooperates kick it up one more notch with a December bass to end the year. Time and Mother Nature will tell if I can get it done as you never know what the weather holds in store around West Central Illinois. In fact, this year we’d already had over a foot of snow before we even hit this final month.

Of course, there’s also January as a possibility though I am not much for icefishing. However, I do have a youngster, Jayce, who has expressed interest in that potentially frigid pursuit. We even went out and got the needed gear this past February but an earlier than normal thaw left it all sitting in the garage.

We’ll see how it all shakes out as the next year progresses. But first we’ve still got another week of 2018 to go and one more day of Christmas to put a wrap on this series. Talk to you later. Troy

Tenth Day of Christmas

…ten miles of walking
nine holes of fishing
eight nights of camping,
seven hours of sleeping,
six months of burning,
five pounds of bass,
four kids all fishing,
three weeks of winter,
two Northerner boots,
and one transistor radio.

A rundown of some of the 2018 walk arounds at the good old strip mines

We’re staying in the same locale as yesterday’s “nine holes of fishing” and just like walking a golf course, the walk-in strip mines will give you a little exercise as you pursue your hobby. A look at a couple of the local links shows the walking distance around the neatly manicured courses at right around 6,000 yards. A little conversion work translates that yardage into about 3.4 miles. A nice little workout if you’re walking the course along the well-trimmed fairways, paved cart paths and maybe adding a few more yards to the total as you wander the rough in search wayward shots.

In contrast, there is nothing that resembles manicured when you venture out into strip mine habitat to get to the “good spots.” Granted there are a few interior roads that connect the peripheral parking areas but once you stray from those one lane pathways, it all qualifies as rough. And we’re not talking “first cut” type rough to borrow a golfing term. Nope, we’re talking flat out “uncut.”

Note: In the above video I am about a half mile walk from my truck through this same sort of jungle

But it can sure be worth the effort and that’s why I am once again committed to giving it another go in 2019 and racking up a few more miles. Whether the ten miles are registered all at once remains to be seen. However, I am considering a handful of what I have referred to as “stupid stunts” that have been racing around in my brain for more than a few years so time will tell.

Of course, it’s easy to talk tough while pecking away on a keyboard and lurking behind a monitor in the comfort of home on a December night. It’s a whole different ballgame when you decide to walk the walk, stepping off the beaten path into Mother Nature’s version of fescue on steroids. And don’t forget that just like golf, once you walk “out”, you’ve got to walk back “in.”

Time to hit the treadmill.

Talk to you later. Troy