Category: Something Else

Friday Flashback – May 8, 2003

Never got into the hunting aspect of the outdoors for whatever reason. But that don’t mean that I ain’t got some stories. And no better way to share one than “Friday Flashback” as we head back fifteen years ago this week. Below are excerpts from a piece called “Talking Turkey” that I submitted to family and friends on 5/11/2003 detailing a turkey hunt on 5/8/2003.

“I know basically nothing about turkey hunting, so the following tale is based on talking with the man who bagged his first bird in under an hour, Dad. It sounds easy, but from speaking with others who pursue this bird, things don’t always work out so favorably. However, in speaking with Dad and running around outdoors with him a few times over the last, say, twenty-five years, his success was no mistake.

Many times a hunter or fisherman will speak of having “good luck.” In my mind, you make your own “good luck” through four steps: education, dedication, experience and execution. Here’s how these steps led to me getting up at 7:00 a.m. last Thursday to see who in the heck had just left a message at that time of the morning. To my surprise it was Dad wanting to come by and show off his prize. I wasn’t so surprised that he got one; it’s just that Dad’s not a big fan of the telephone or answering machine (must be hereditary as I have the same affliction).

Anyway, here’s the story.

Since Dad recently retired, he figured he’d give turkey hunting a stab. He applied for his permit and prepared for the season. Fortunately, he has a couple turkey hunter contacts to answer his questions and provide knowledgeable advice. Dad is also a fan of outdoor television programs and may have even read a bit on the subject. There was no doubt that he was an educated hunter.

Dad purchased a turkey call and an owl call in plenty of time to practice prior to the season. He then headed to the timber he chose to hunt in order to hone his skills and scout the area for a prime spot to plant his lawn chair (as I mentioned before, I know little about turkey hunting, but I thought the stores sold fancy, expensive seats to accommodate hunter’s rear ends). Dad also purchased a pair of decoys to plant at his site and plenty of shells for his gun. He also made sure to have Mom pick up some camo cloth in order to disguise the white handles of his lawn chair. He was fully stocked with camo to make him invisible in the woods and selected just the right spot near where a cornfield ends and timber begins to get a turkey in his sights. There was no doubt that he was a dedicated hunter.

  

Beard came in at 9″

Things get kind of weird here.

I’m not a hunter so I can’t relate, but I’ll do the best I can. I asked Dad while we were fishing at Gladstone Lake on Wednesday (the day before the season opened) if he had patterned his gun in order to make an accurate shot when the opportunity arose. He told me that he’d shot the gun for so many years that he was entirely comfortable with its range and accuracy. Kind of like being one with his firearm, and I believed him. He would later mention being “a part of the woods” (I think was how he described it); talking about how the Native Americans must have felt when they expressed feelings of being “one with nature.” Between this feeling and his camo, he became invisible. He said that Uncle Dick, Brent and others could relate to this and mentioned times when he hunted with Uncle Dick and Brent when they disappeared also. He knew right where they were, but, until they moved, they were unseen. Cool stuff that I’m sure other hunters could support, and I believe it from the way Dad told the story. There was no doubt that he was an experienced hunter.

The above three steps culminate with putting a bird in your sights, and that’s what happened early Thursday morning.

Spurs measured 1.16″ on this bird

Here’s the rest of the story.

Dad arrived at his chosen spot around 5:30 a.m. to discover that someone had stolen his lawn chair. Undeterred, he found a suitable log and proceeded to hang up his camo cloth to block out his silhouette and then loaded his gun. Next step was to place his decoys. As he pounded in his hen decoy he heard gobbling. He quickly placed his second decoy, a jake, and headed for his log. Barely five minutes into his first turkey hunt, a tom appeared to his left about 150 yards out. Dad gave four clucks on his call, imitating a hen, and the tom stared right in his direction. More mysterious stuff here as Dad slowly dropped his eyes, because “if you’re not looking at the turkey it won’t see you” (not an exact quote but the basic concept). The tom then walked away and disappeared into the timber. Following instructions learned from his advisors, Dad did not call again in order to get the bird to return. The theory here is that the bird knows where the call came from and will return if his mating instinct sees fit.

Ten minutes later, a hen appeared out of the timber and headed towards the decoys. The tom was not far behind and headed in the same direction. Shortly, the hen ducked into some weeds near the edge of the cornfield and disappeared. The tom began to strut, fan his tail and flap his wings in an effort to impress his potential mate. Dad simply sat tight and watched. When the hen spurned the tom’s display, the tom set his sight on Dad’s decoys. As the tom approached, Dad had his gun poised and ready for the bird to walk into a window where he could take a shot. The tom came into his sights at just under twenty-five yards and it was time to make a decision. A few more yards and the branches of a hedge tree would eliminate the possibility for a shot. The range was acceptable; the bird in his sights and with only his eyes exposed over the camo cloth, Dad decided it was time to squeeze off a shot. Dad’s aim was true as the shot found its mark. Dad made his way to his first turkey and looked at his watch, which read 6:19 a.m. Forty-nine minutes into his season, he had his bird.

Dad told me that he just had to laugh at how things all fell into place so quickly as some hunter’s fail to get a shot for an entire season or an entire year or miss the shot when they get their opportunity.”

Weight on the bird was right about 20 pounds

And so goes another Friday Flashback, once again I am glad that I took to documenting these adventures even if some of those old ones got a little longwinded. Talk to you later. Troy

Happy Birthday Blog

So, one year ago today, I kicked off a new chapter in this whole outdoor writing thing I’ve had going since April 30, 2002. This new venture was my own blog and after 365 days, I’m giving myself a pat on the back.

Happy Birthday to troyjacksonoutdoors.com!

With 240 postings, over 1,200 pictures, three dozen video clips, tangents, tunes and the Top 5 it’s been an exciting ride. For better or worse, here’s a brief jaunt down Memory Lane from year one.

  

From my first bass featured on the blog (5/1/17) to bass #475 (4/26/18)

   

From A-rig to Zara Spook

From breakfast burritos to taco in a bowl

  

From Bigfoot to Yeti

   

From a Cardenal to a Hawk

   

From Flashbacks to fishing’s future

   

From an old, small shortstop to an old 3rd baseman with a big largemouth 

   

 From lure smorgasbords to post fishing trip grub smorgasbords

  

From buzzbaits to Buzz Capra

  

From walks to swims

   

From The Top 5 to The Top 10

  

From wacky worms to wacky co-anglers

  

From “the one that got away” to one that didn’t

And according to the original tease on the banner, the site was to offer up…

Fish,

Fur,

   

Family,

     

Friends, 

Fun and…

  

Some Foolishness.

  

Mission accomplished and enthused about whatever hijinks lie in store for year two. Thanks to those who took a look, hope you will continue to stop by and don’t forget to tell all your friends about the most prolific outdoor blog on the web (I just made that up, by the way).  Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – Fungus 2003

With the brief morel mushroom season about to go full bore here in West Central Illinois, today’s Friday Flashback takes us back to some finds from 15 years ago.

I shot this pic of an April 2003  find from Adams County, IL on Easter weekend by some of Julie’s cousins.

Early May 2003, not to be outdone by the Adams County crew I found these at Lake Bracken in Knox County, IL..  Was actually fishing and hopped ashore to use the “facilities” where I spotted these miniature fungi. 

I will never be mistaken for a stellar morel hunter as my forays into the woods over the years rarely resemble what adept fungus hunters would qualify as a good haul. And that’s just fine as I really don’t gauge my success through weight or numbers. I realize that I am lacking in whatever that magical ability (or location) is for covering a picnic table or filling a truck bed. Heck, I can’t even fill the grocery sized mesh bags that I carry with me through the timber. And don’t spread this around, but sometimes it’s so bad that I don’t even have a reason to take the bag out of my pocket.

Nope, for this guy it’s enjoyable just to go for a walk in the fresh air. The thing is, these days I need to invest my outdoor time wisely and I’d have to say that a tackle bag takes precedence over an onion bag.

Number wise, this is actually a pretty good find for me, from early May 2003 on some Knox County, IL strip mine ground.  Found these with my former brother-in-law and the large, bent one is about as big as I have ever seen in the wild.  Obviously this haul pales in comparison to those who know how to get it done but it is what it is.

Early May 2003, if these were bass, would they qualify as “lunkers”?

Good luck to anybody out there with or without the knack for finding these rewards of a springtime treasure hunt. Feel free to drop me a line or some pictures if you want to boast a little. And don’t worry about giving up too many secrets, nobody reads this stuff anyway. But that sure won’t stop me from writing. Talk to you later. Troy

Le Grande Orange

Sure was ready for Opening Day of Major League Baseball last Thursday as it’s been a long off-season without a World Series title to bask in for the first time since 2016. Still feels good to mention World Series as it pertains to the Cubs.

   

Got to dig through the old baseball card collection for these, left to right 1975, 1976 Traded and 1977 Topps

However, during the afternoon of Opening Day my boss informed of the passing of an old ballplayer, Rusty Staub, at age 73. And for this soon to be 51 year old baseball fan, Staub spanned a great deal of my “Golden Age” of baseball. I suppose every fan has such an era and I would have to say mine spans from probably about 1973 when I seem to recall Dad bringing me home my first Topps baseball cards until roughly 1986 when I got “too old” to collect them anymore. Now, I still dig baseball but that time period just seems a bit more special.

And Staub graced the field during nearly that entire time frame (as well as before) with a 23 year career spanning 1963 to 1985. In 1969 he joined the expansion Montreal Expos franchise where he was a fan favorite and was bestowed with the nickname “Le Grande Orange” as he indeed was a big redhead.

       

More from the collection, left to right 1971, 1974 and 1976 (tough to decide 74’s pose or 76’s hair as my favorite Staub card)

So, as a baseball fan and a fisherman I felt it befitting to pay my own tribute to a fellow who was larger than life to this kid from the 70s. As such I set out on my March 31 fishing trip with a starting lineup of lures dedicated to red or orange color schemes. The mission was to fool a bass in honor of Daniel “Rusty” Staub (never actually knew his real name until his passing despite it being right there on the back of all of these baseball cards).

The “Le Grande Orange” lineup

I began casting with my themed arsenal at around 2:15pm running through each and every one in addition to a rusty colored Chatterbait without a single bite for nearly an hour. But at 3:10pm a cast near a downed tree with an old Rapala Fat Rap (crawdad color) provided me with my first hit and busted up the shutout. This particular lure could qualify as an antique as it was purchased in the late 80s and last caught a bass in 1999 according to my logs. So kind of cool in that respect as well that an old-timer came through pinch-hitting in the clutch on a day with less than ideal cold front conditions.

The “Le Grande Orange” catch

Mission accomplished and I resumed my normal habits and color schemes which weren’t really much more productive than the orange/red arsenal. However, I found it to be an interesting project although it arose from unfortunate circumstance.

Along the way it was also interesting to revisit some internet video of Staub as well as getting my stat fix in reviewing his career. One particular stat stuck out, for when my boss informed that Staub had passed away I stated, “Man, he was quite a hitter, had around 2,700 hits or so.” Ballpark guess but turns out I may have shorted him a few if you want to get technical as it was 2,716.

Just another reinforcement of the imprint that baseball left in my childhood and continues to this day. Kind of like fishing. And just as fishing takes on all shapes and sizes so does baseball. Staub epitomized that aspect as his career progressed, he wasn’t fast, not particularly graceful, no flash, just could flat out hit. On top of that, he seemed like a genuinely good man in reading of his accomplishments and hearing friends and teammates share their memories. Why, I almost got to liking Keith Hernandez as he spoke fondly of his friend, Rusty Staub. That says a lot about the man. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 10/8 – Part II

Top 5 gets a little heavier than yesterday’s offering.

5. My Kinda Lover – Billy Squier (1981) – Hey, what do you know, another love song? This one rocks a bit more than any of yesterday’s offerings but love songs come in all shapes and sizes to get your motor racin’.

4. Couldn’t Get It Right – Climax Blues Band (1977) – Contrary to the title, I’d say these guys got it real right with this one. What I couldn’t get was that this wound up being some white dudes from England. At any rate, a standard on the jukebox at Galesburg’s Skate Palace.

3. Magic Man – Heart (1976) – A solid rocker from the Wilson sisters that always brings to mind a bit of trivia offered up by my buddy, John Junk, many years ago. According to John (a bit of a lyricist himself back in the day), this song represents perhaps the first usage of the term “home girl.” Entirely unintended I suspect, but still brings a smile.

2. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne (1980) – Killer rocker that my kids can all identify, perhaps because it appears in the animated film, Megamind, and is sung by the voice of the deer lawn ornament in another animated flick, Gnomeo and Juliet. Hey, I’ll take my kids getting exposure to some classic rock wherever they can get it.

1. Watching The Wheels – John Lennon (1981) – A great tune relating Lennon’s relative absence from the music scene upon his return to the music scene. My favorite Lennon cut ever and probably more than any of my other old tunes, it takes me back to a lot of 80’s places, from carefree days to rough glimpses of mortality. In regards to the latter and Lennon, such a shame we never got to see what more was in store.

Lots more stuff to come in October, hope you’ll stop by again.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 10/8 – Part I

At the risk of beating a dead horse, Top 10 Trip Tunes from my strip mine trip last Sunday.

10. Easy – Commodores (1977) – The very first song I heard as I pulled out of the driveway about an hour before dawn. Thought that was pretty perfect, lyrics matching life on my way to the fishing hole, “Easy like Sunday morning.”

9. Penny Lane – The Beatles (1967) – Think I mentioned this one other time but not enough Beatles on the airwaves so always cool. Fun, classic, a half century old hit (even older than me by about five months).

8. Dance With Me – Orleans (1975) – Harmonies, a love song, lyrics that just beg singing along, a fantastic, mellow 70’s pick me up tune. Man, it don’t get much better than that.

7. With Your Love – Jefferson Starship (1976) – Pretty love song heavy on this batch but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, can’t go wrong with a love song. Great Marty Balin lead vocals and just plain fun musically from start to finish.

6. Long Distance Runaround – Yes (1972) – I readily admit that I know nothing of how composers, lyricists, musicians and singers do their thing. But when they do it like this, it just plain sounds and feels good. And that’s good enough for me.

Top 5 headed your way tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Trip Tunes 9/23

How about another scan of the radio dial? An abbreviated version this time around with a “Top 5 Trip Tunes” as the round trip to my Iowa fishing hole is about half the time of my regular Illinois trips.

5. Didn’t We Almost Have It All – Whitney Houston (1987) – Honesty is the best policy but this one feels a little like admitting that I also dig some MeatLoaf or Air Supply. Over the top sort of Broadway number here, but the lady could flat out sing without the vocal histrionics looming on the horizon from the likes of Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, my departure point from contemporary radio.

4. Shine A Little Love – ELO (1979) – Not being made of money growing up, my vinyl collection was rather limited but the Discovery album containing this cut was worth the investment of some yard mowing money. Just learned an interesting fact about it recently too, as the menacing figure on the back cover is Brad Garrett, later of Everybody Loves Raymond fame, kinda cool.

3. Let’s Go – The Cars (1979) – Ah yes, a junior high summer with this tune playing on cassette over and over, rewind required. And a real high quality version that I recorded by placing my cassette tape player in front of my clock radio and hoping my younger siblings would be quiet or elsewhere for three and a half minutes, right.  (Note: this is the back cover of the Candy O album containing “Let’s Go”, front cover is a classic and more risqué).

2. Brilliant Disguise Bruce Springsteen (1987) – A pretty dark look at relationships from “The Boss”, a real grownup song. However, my love of lyrics combined with an inability to resist some sophomoric humor finds me forever chuckling as “The Boss” uses “wee wee” in the tune. Of course, his line “But come the wee wee hours, well maybe baby the gypsy lied” refers to late night/early morning. But as a lyrical nut, I can’t resist, just adds a little something extra to what is already a favorite cut.

1. Who Are You – The Who (1978) – Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can catch the uncensored version of this one on the radio which I suspect has prompted many a listener who is unfamiliar with the tune to raise an eyebrow and utter, “What did he just say?” Yep, Roger Daltrey just dropped that “bomb” and in another nod towards never growing up, I still get a kick out of the old school songs with bad words that have long been “snuck by” on the airwaves. This one rocks anyway, just an added bonus that keeps me on the edge of my seat every time it comes on the radio.

Dig my tunes and always fun to head off on a tangent that may be a bit of a stretch for an outdoor blog. But the drive has always been an integral part of any outing, whether fishing, trapping, camping or a family day trip. As I frequently fly solo these days, the radio serves as a welcome outdoor traveling companion. And I’m back on the road to the fishing hole this morning, so…Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 9/11 Part II

Finishing off yesterday’s post with the Top 5.

5. Stone In Love – Journey (1981) – “Those crazy nights, I do remember in my youth, I do recall, those were the best times, most of all.” Okay so maybe not so crazy and likely equaled or surpassed for best times over the years but still a sucker for those reminiscing tunes that get better as you get older and good tunes never get old.

4. Turn To Stone – ELO (1977) – Dig how this one fades in from nothingness and keeps driving for about four more minutes. A cool mix of voice and tune with traditional and unique instrumentation as only the Electric Light Orchestra (and Jeff Lynne) could do. The call and response mix of lead vocal with harmony and/or strings is a winner.

3. Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits (1978) – I have no musical ability nor do I know any technical details of guitar hijinks. Nope, I rely directly on how it feels I guess for lack of a better description, kind of hard to put into words, but you know what I mean.  At any rate, Mark Knopfler’s work on this one feels really good. And always found a rock band singing a song about a rock band to be fun (see also Shooting Star, Jukebox Hero, Rock & Roll Band…)

2. The Boys Are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy (1976) – Rock and roll at its finest. Ever remember the old “Name That Tune” show and the daring move of “I can name that tune in one note?” Got this one covered.  And you want lyrics? How about fighting, drinking, a jukebox, some crazy “cats” and one feisty “chick”? Folks, if I ever get around to narrowing down my Top 100 lifetime playlist, this one’s got a spot.

1. Killer Queen – Queen (1974) – First Queen cut I remember hearing on the radio, dug it ever since and can name that tune in one finger snap. Quirky, overblown, unique, distinctive in retrospect with so much more fun to come from this foursome. Still a winner over 40 years later as my six year old, Zac, makes requests for “dynamite with a laser beam.” Classic.

With that, another batch of trip tunes bites the dust. We’ll see what the next six weeks or so holds in store in terms of fishing trips to determine whether I wander off on this tangent again. Top 5 Update headed your way tomorrow and have another fishing report for next week detailing yesterday’s outing across The River. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 9/9 – Part II

And our countdown resumes with the Top 5.

5. Still The Same (1978) – Bob Seger – A great piece about somebody or a collection of somebodies we’ve all met. Maybe you can put your finger on ‘em, maybe it’s just a bunch of bits and pieces of personalities.

4. Hair of the Dog (1975) – Nazareth – Good old rock, lyrics reference “poison ivy” yet avoid the song title entirely, title cut to album with a cool cover, cowbell and yes, still so much fun to hear a bad word on the radio, over and over and over…

3. Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser (1975) – Bob Seger – Dig it when you get two songs for the price of one like the live versions of this pair. Another cool look at personalities and memories including some that you may resemble.

2. You’re So Vain (1972) – Carly Simon – While hip hop popularized the “diss track” to disrespect others, this 70’s bit of spite is one of my all-time faves. And you gotta dig a song that includes the word “gavotte” to go along with yacht and apricot, great stuff.

1. One Night In Bangkok (1984) – Murray Head – Tough to explain here so I won’t but this song actually ranks among my favorite fishing songs. Many years ago, high school in fact. Oh yeah, it was co-written by the guys from ABBA, how cool is that?

Well, that was fun. More fishing stuff headed your way over the next week or so with a look back at a classic catch, some video clips from recent trips, a welcome Top 5 update and hopefully a couple more fishing reports.  That sounds like fun, too.  Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 9/9 – Part I

Another round of jams from a recent round trip to the Knox County strip mines. First half today, Top 5 tomorrow.

10. Rock and Roll Band – Boston (1976) – As I noted in a previous post, Boston is pretty much a given on the list so this story song about the band’s history makes the cut even though it is a bit of musical fiction.

9. Hey Jude – The Beatles (1968) – Just not enough Beatles songs on the airwaves anymore so still kind of a gem when a classic pops up.

8. Life’s Been Good – Joe Walsh (1978) – Do you have a song that left such a mark that you know exactly where you were the first time you heard it? Eleven year-old kid, hanging with Dad and visiting some friends at a Boy Scout campout when I heard this coming from one of the older kid’s radios and thought “What is that?” Sometimes I still do.

7. Cherry Bomb (1987) – John Cougar Mellencamp – “Seventeen has turned thirty –five” and then some these days. Long had a soft spot in my musical heart for a reminiscing sort of song and they seem to mean even more the older I get.

6. In The City (1979) – Joe Walsh/Eagles – Takes me back to the soundtrack of the classic gang flick, The Warriors, viewed many times on those free HBO weekends.

Thanks for playing along as I wade off into the occasional tangent, let’s do it again tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy