Category: Something Else

Bummer, So Long Summer

As this post hits the blog, the family is nestled all snug in our beds awaiting the annual household wakeup call that signifies the end of summer. Much too early as summer still has six weeks remaining but for all intents and purposes, once school starts, it’s over. Sure, there are still plenty of summer type events to go but they just take on a different feel with the activities, planning and logistics that accompany “back to school.”

As usual, we’re left with that customary “where did the summer go” sentiment.

Well, looking back I guess these are some of the answers. Talk to you later. Troy

Mossi and The Boss

During a recent session of internet wanderings I happened to see that an old Major League pitcher had passed away.

Don Mossi was age 90 (I think, more on that below) and played from 1954-1965 for the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Athletics, making the American League All-Star Team in 1957.

While he did receive considerable consideration as the southpaw for my “MLB Fishing All-Star Team” project last summer (click here), he was out voted in favor of Steve Trout. But with his surname representing an item that is both a boon and a bane to anglers, when I learned of his passing, I thought “there’s a blog post tribute here.”

Tell me who you’re gonna believe, Topps 1955 or Wikipedia 2019?

Somehow or another I have a 1955 Topps Don Mossi card in my collection. While this series hit the stores well before my time as a collector, I have long been a fan of the landscape design represented in this set. The orientation resurfaced in the Topps sets from 1971 through 1974 for individual player cards and with that timeframe being right in my wheelhouse I am certain that those sets are responsible for my fondness for such a cool variation.

I must add that the backs of ball cards have long held a fascination for a fellow once referred to as “stat boy” by some “friends.” In addition to the numbers, there’s also a wealth of info (useful and otherwise) in the form of cartoons, highlights and trivia that adorn the flipsides and still bring a grin. In fact, I learned a little something new from Mossi’s card as I failed the “You’re the Ump” quiz.

My original Moss Boss from the 80s (top) and a more recent purchase (bottom)

On the fishing front, I couldn’t help but recall a lure known as the Moss Boss that first entered my tackle collection in the mid-80s. This topwater spoon creation from Heddon Lures was a must have for a kid back in the days when the baitshop offerings weren’t quite so overwhelming. Actually, when there used to be a fair amount of what were called “baitshops.” Interestingly, my logs show only a lone record of a bass landed on the old Moss Boss although I’m pretty certain it achieved a bit more success along the way. However, like many other must haves, the original Moss Boss from the 80s currently finds itself relegated to the “Misfit” section of my substantially larger tackle collection along with a more recent purchase from several years ago. A purchase with good intentions as a blog project that has yet to come to fruition…maybe someday while today’s post will have to suffice for now.

This June 19, 1988 log entry is the only documented success I can find with a Moss Boss during my extensive research for today’s post

Anyway, RIP to Mr. Mossi and I appreciate anyone who elected to bear with me in my stroll down Memory Lane, always a great place to visit as you put a few more years behind.

And speaking of years, did any other card collectors in my age range marvel at how old some of these guys looked on cards back in the day? Mossi would have been 24-25 years old when this card was created. Holy cow! I guess it shows that while the 50s have been portrayed as a carefree sort of decade, life was still indeed tough, likely not near as glamorous as the old TV shows and nowhere near as technologically reliant and distracted as present day. Folks worked hard and ballplayers had off season jobs to make ends meet, a whole different ballgame.

Now, I don’t know the going rate for an online purchase of an old Don Mossi Topps card but I challenge you to invest a few bucks in a Moss Boss from the internet or sporting goods store fishing aisle and send me those Top 5 submissions that result from crawling that hunk of plastic over those mossy spots on your stomping grounds. Get the catches for this week in by tonight though as the latest Top 5 Update hits the blog tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Thoughts at 52

Back in 2011 I posted something called “Thoughts at 44” and the concept continues to be an annual birthday blog tradition.

So, here in 2019 it is on to “Thoughts at 52”, a birthday that I have been eager to reach. For as I leave 51 behind, in playing card parlance, I am no longer that “one card shy of a full deck.” Figuratively, however, the jury is still out pending how today’s post goes over.

#52 Robert Brazile
The Houston Oiler linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer, also known as “Dr.Doom”, was a fixture for a decade on some successful and entertaining teams. His prowess was often overshadowed by a collection of Oiler personalities. There was the colorful, cowboy hat wearing coach “Bum” Phillips, the end zone dancing Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and the epic, punishing running back, Earl Campbell. Good times for a young football fan.

#52 Mike Webster
As a Dallas Cowboy fan, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the ultimate nemesis coming out on top in a pair of heartbreaking 1970’s Super Bowl matchups. “Iron Mike” was the anchor in the middle of the offensive line for those victories and many more during his 15 seasons over the ball with Pittsburgh. The game appeared to take a heavy toll as Webster died at age 50 amidst a series of mental and physical problems.

#52 Mike Boddicker
Finding that 80’s Baltimore Oriole hurler, Mike Boddicker, sported #52 was kind of fun as it brought back memories of American Legion baseball and a road trip to take on Cedar Rapids during the 1984 season. A pair of the games were actually played in nearby Norway, Iowa, Boddicker’s home town. I recall it being kind of a cool bit of current trivia but it sure didn’t hold up to the Post 285 claim of our own hometown hero, Jim Sundberg.

#52 All-Time greatest song per Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500
“When Doves Cry” – Prince (1984)
How in the world do you make such a list? I have trouble selecting a Top 10 Trip Tunes post although I must admit considering compiling my own Top 100 someday. While this one takes me on a nostalgic ride back to high school and I do enjoy a number of Prince cuts, if I had to choose pop/rock royalty, I’m taking Queen, hands down.

#52 All-Time movie per IMDB
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)
Gotta love a buddy film and this one certainly ranks among the best. No better 1-2 punch of starpower than Newman and Redford and lines galore that stick with you forever. Always interesting when you find yourself rooting for the “bad guys”.

#52 Personal Top Bass
One from the Knox County public strip mines while fishing with my brother, Brent, back in 2013. Actually caught another one about 10 minutes later that was even a little bigger (it’s #39 on my All-Time List). Boy, I miss those days when I knew how to fool a few big ones, been a tough couple years since turning 50.

52 Weeks
I’ve long had an outdoor blog project in the works to cover each and every week. Maybe a January 2021 kickoff on that one after I have turned 53 as I always like to include an introductory post to start a series.

#52 Finale – Happy Hairston
What better way to finish a “Happy Birthday” post than with a guy who actually went by the name of “Happy.” And I learned something as I put this post together, his given first name was Harold, still alliterative but just not the same flair.

So, here’s to “52” and thanks for hanging in there for a bit of a ramble. But, hey, my birthday and my blog so here’s hoping you’ll cut me a little slack even if just for today. Talk to you later. Troy

Outdoors on the Road

Roving reporter selfie perched atop an observation area with Lake Erie as a backdrop (used the stairs not the elevator)

Spent four days on the road for work this week starting with a 3:30am alarm to head to the airport on Tuesday July 16 and ending on Saturday July 20 at, oddly enough, 3:30am when I pulled into the driveway in a rental car. Amidst 32 hours doing IT stuff at two locations and slightly over 1,000 miles of diving I did manage to observe some outdoor stuff along the way. And since I bill this thing as an outdoor blog, well, here we go.

For a lifelong “flatlander” from Illinois, the Appalachian Mountains of Central/Western New York were pretty cool including the Catskill and Allegheny ranges. Nary a corn or soy bean field to be found.

I particularly liked this spot that featured a sort of reverse Mohawk, now that took some work.

Interesting sign observed in Pennsylvania, made me think twice about an off road run.

Pre-work day morning walk at Mead Park in Corry, PA. Embarrassed to say that I did not know this plant and had to cheat with a field guide. Wild Bergamot is one of my summer favorites and this bee balm is essentially the same thing.

Did see some fish, Mead Park in Corry, PA (left) and Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA (right)

Some less than alive real ones too, Rock Bass at Lake Erie on Presque Isle, PA (left) and a sample of Lake Erie species at Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA (right)

Got in a brief walk on Lake Erie’s Presque Isle and a visit to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA while waiting to check in for an evening flight home.

 

Before heading to the airport I had a short, hot stroll along an extra full Lake Erie (bet I was the only guy in long pants and steel toed boots) where I picked up a few “shark teeth” for the kids

Wish list
A closer look at the Hudson River as I was in close proximity but too tired and too late after a long day, poor excuses
En route to Corry, PA I drove through Jamestown, NY, birthplace of naturalist legend, Roger Tory Peterson, and home of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Unfortunately, work hours and institute hours did not work out for the 25 mile return trip. Kind of bummed as his field guide series has meant a great deal to me over the last 30 plus years. 

Return home was marked by flight delays due to bad weather in Detroit. By 5:30pm the continued delay had me cancelling flights in favor of a rental car to drive home instead. My flight that was originally slated to leave Erie, PA at 6:11pm apparently wound up with 12:24 am departure. I’d long abandoned flight plans and by that time was halfway across Indiana in a rental car. A long drive when leaving Erie. PA at 7:09pm Friday evening and hitting my driveway at 3:30am Saturday morning but worth it as my original flight to Moline didn’t land until 9:00pm Saturday night.

Oh yeah, saw this guy again in Western Pennsylvania, strangely in the same place I spotted him last time…

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

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

500

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 troyjacksonoutdoors.com 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