Category: Something Else

Top 10 Trip Tunes 9/2 – Part II

And now, on with the rest of the countdown…

5. “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do” – Led Zeppelin (1970) – “Want to tell you about the girl I love, my she looks so fine…” but it’s all downhill for Robert Plant from there as she’s got some bad habits “all day”, “all the time.”

4. “Anyway You Want It” – Journey (1980) – Always dug the guitar-vocal exchange in this tune, takes me back to the classic movie “Caddyshack” (click for link), lives on in advertisements and still stops me in my tracks when surfing the radio dial.

3. “Don’t Look Back” – Boston (1978) – Just a given, I always stop the dial on any tune by this rock and roll band.

2. “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” – Bachman Turner Overdrive (1974) – Not politically correct but the stutter is killer. And what rocker would pass up a chance to hang with the “devil woman” although a trip to the doctor is also referenced. M-m-m-maybe in the 70’s…

1. “Burnin’ For You – Blue Oyster Cult (1981) – Cool band name, solid rock and roll and a staple from the origins of MTV. A primitive video in retrospect but a great piece of rock from the eclectic days that were the early MTV landscape. This one does what music does best, gets you moving, even singing, and takes you back in time.

So, there have it, another attempt to work tunes into an outdoor blog. Not much of a stretch in my humble opinion. For we all know that with any worthwhile adventure, part of the fun is getting there. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 9/2 – Part I

With many of my fishing holes located about an hour drive from home, the two-hour round trip ride has taken on a more significant role in the fishing adventure. The pre-dawn drives are a further extension of some “me” time as I get control of the radio and don’t have to endure the occasional forays into the tunes of my younger batch of the good old generation gap.

Since I dig music as much as fishing, it’s always fun to combine these two passions. And that’s what I’m gonna do for today’s posting with a rundown of the Top 10 tunes that graced the airwaves on my latest fishing trip. I’ve got half a dozen presets on the dial and a few others upstairs that I can check when I get out of my regular range. I flip through the stations waiting for a tune that makes me stop, listen and, of course, sing along (remember I’m flying solo most of the time). Those are the tunes that make the cut and eventually get whittled down to what I’m calling my “Top 10 Trip Tunes.”

Here’s the first half of the countdown for September 2, 2017 with the important data and my two cents.

10. “Bad Medicine” – Bon Jovi (1988) – Guilty pleasure here, should be ashamed but I’m not, the fun for me is the number of medical references one can work into a set of song lyrics. Count ‘em some time and let me know.

9. “For What It’s Worth” – Buffalo Springfield (1967) – “There’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear.” And the beat goes on. I’m sure there were plenty of fools among the 60’s crowd but some of today’s idiots have taken protest to a whole new level.

8. “Talk Dirty to Me” – Poison (1987) – Me and a couple buddies used to hustle back from the cafeteria at Knox College to catch the evening video request countdown on MTV in hopes that this one made it again. Got made fun of, sure, “but I like it and I know you like it too.”

7. “Moondance” – Van Morrison (1970) – Gotta dig a tune with “fantabulous” in the lyrics, it’s a portmanteau, you know. And, if you listen real close, I don’t think he’s actually singing about dancing.

6. “Goodbye Stranger” – Supertramp (1979) – “And some they will and some they won’t, for some it’s just as well.” I still get a chuckle out of those lines although not sure what I thought of them back in 1979 when I purchased the album pictured here.

(Note: RIP, Walter Becker of Steely Dan (1950-2017), one of my all-time favorites.)

Tune in tomorrow for the Top 5 of the countdown. Talk to you later. Troy

Missed It By That Much

Once upon a time in the 80’s, some friends bestowed upon me the designation of “Stat Boy.”

I was good with that term of affection as it was an accurate moniker at the time. Still is, although these days I believe I may have achieved ‘Stat Man’ status. Neither here nor there I would suppose in the grand scheme of things, but I do have some crazy fishing logs.

Being born a baseball fan, stats are just a part of my makeup. An aspect of that innate allegiance is that I also find milestones pretty cool. So, earlier this year I began to get kind of excited as I approached outdoor posting number 1,000 since taking up writing back on April 30, 2002. Well, it turns out that I got so carried away with the kickoff of this new website and its accompanying social media stuff that I wound up blazing right on by posting #999, just recently realizing that I’d missed out on the planned celebratory posting by a substantial margin.

But since this is my project and I can do whatever I want, including patting myself on the back, we’re gonna take a look at some of what has went down over the last 15 plus years with blog posting #1,054 instead.


4/29/02 The catch that prompted me to write a newsletter to family and friends detailing the “Family Fishing Hall of Fame” record book

By The Numbers

5,596 = Days since my first stab at outdoor writing
1,053 = Total postings prior to this recap.
5.31 = Avg. number of days per blog posting (not bad over a 15+ year period)
69 = Avg. number of postings per year over last 15 years
139 = Number of firsthand fishing reports
7-3 = My largest bass caught since sharing my fish stories
99 = Top 5 weekly updates (project began in 2014)
456 = Total bass submitted to the Top 5 project
26 = Anglers who’ve contributed to the Top 5 project
13 = Bigfoot related postings

Special Guest back in the fall of  2011

40 = Most consecutive days with a blog entry (5/1/17 to 6/9/17)
35 = Emiquon related postings, the most of any fishing hole

Never seen anything quite like The Emiquon Preserve

31 = Trapping postings
2 = Number of Justin Bieber photos to appear on the blog

These new fishing logs were one of my April Fool’s jokes, seriously.

2 = Number of April Fool’s Day jokes
4 = Pop/rock song titles borrowed for blog titles (“Déjà Vu”, “Old Days”, “Like A Rock” and “The Sound of Silence”)
5 = MLB players mentioned in a blog title (Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Ichiro Suzuki)
3 = Textspeak samples used in blog titles (TMI, IMHO, IA LMB PB)
9 = Legendary lure postings

 

Legendary Lures, the good, old Emiquon Special and the Gapen Fishie

Along the way I have somehow managed to reference Snow White, margaritas, Bocephus, roadkill, Freddie Patek and chicken pox in blog postings. I have also paraphrased Navin R. Johnson, created an outdoor version of “The 12 Days of Christmas”, gave my blog to Bigfoot, wrote a fishing tackle editorial utilizing Hall & Oates song titles and have used the words paraskevidekatriaphobia, chalupa, sewage and exposed bottoms in blog titles. Not to mention thousands of pictures and well over a quarter million words.

  

Yep, I’m actually kind of proud of this stuff. Whod’ve thunk that a whim to share some fish stories via email with family and friends back in April of 2002 would wind up getting this out of control? Been a fun ride…

    

I could go on with further stats and nonsense but I will spare you for the time being. After all, I’ve still got a blog in spite of some of that stuff and I certainly look forward to continuing to use it for my amusement and yours if you elect to play along. In fact, I’ve still got close to two hundred postings in various stages of incompletion that have their sights set on eventual public consumption one of these days as time permits.

Anyway, thanks to all who’ve invested a few minutes of your day along the way to read and share your comments. Now go do something productive, like fishing. Talk to you later. Troy

Fishing Lines Revisited

(Note: This is a posting originally submitted on August 1, 2011 while blogging for HeartlandOutdoors.com.  Sentiments still the same, just some more water under the bridge.)

Borrowing a standard rock concert ploy, I’m calling out for a little audience participation.

If you anticipate mulling over the merits of monofilament or brooding about the benefits of braids, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.  No, the lines I’m after are song lyrics.  If anyone is willing to play along feel free to enlighten the rest of us with any fishing related lyrics that you may enjoy.  It’s entirely up to you whether it is an entire fishing song, a couple lines in a non fishing related tune, metaphor, innuendo or whatever.  You see, in addition to fishing, I also truly enjoy music so today provides a reason to combine a pair of passions.  If you are interested in my inspiration feel free to read on as I get kind of lost in the next couple paragraphs.  If not, I’m warning you in advance to either skip to my picks at the end of this posting or simply escape while you can and hopefully come back for something else on another day.

It was thirty years ago today when a fourteen year old music fan (and millions of others) was introduced to something completely different; MTV – Music Television.  August 1, 1981 opened the floodgates to an eclectic mix of rock legends (The Who, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie), legends to be (John Cougar, U2, Tom Petty), lady rockers (Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry), future pop superstars (Madonna, Prince), strange new wave acts (Devo, Adam & The Ants, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Talking Heads) and one hit wonders (The Buggles, Aldo Nova, Taco, Dexy’s Midnight Runners).

Prior to this rock around the clock menagerie of television tunes I’d had to get my weekly fix via programs such as “The Midnight Special”, “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”, “Night Flight”, “Solid Gold’’, “American Bandstand” and an occasional dose of “Soul Train.”  In addition, there were also the brief glimpses of performers on Saturday Night Live.  For a kid raised on these bits and pieces of musical performance and Chicago’s classic WLS 890AM, music television was a revolution.  And, yes, unlike today it was videos all day, every day.  For an impressionable teenaged music lover it was “Just What the Doctor Ordered“(can’t help a bit of an assist from Uncle Ted Nugent).

Forgive me for that bit of introduction concerning my inspiration but I hope you’ll understand that I’m a man who just gets to ramblin’ at times.  Anyway, here’s a few of my favorites.

Second Runner Up – “Fishin’ in the Dark” – The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1987) – This one was popular back when me and my buddies were into fishing, country music and a few beers (once I turned twenty one), thus it is certainly a slam dunk for my list.  However, I’m still not sure this tune is all about fishing.

First Runner Up – “A Country Boy Can Survive” – Hank Williams, Jr. (1982) – Fishing lines such as “I can catch catfish from dusk ‘til dawn” and “we can skin a buck and run a trotline” are classics.  (Note: In the interest of honesty though I don’t know the first thing about processing deer.)  Even without the fishing references, you’ve still got to love a song that also includes “I’d love to spit some Beechnut in that dude’s eyes.”

Winner – “He Went to Paris” – Jimmy Buffett (1973) – I’m no Parrothead but have simply always loved a good story song.  While not entirely a “fishing” song I dig these lines near the end; “Now he lives in the islands, fishes the pilin’s/And drinks his Green Label each day/Writing his memoirs, losin’ his hearin’/But he don’t care what most people say.”  Fishing, booze, writing and a bit of a recluse; there have been occasions when I’ve aspired to be that guy.

Now it’s your turn.  Talk to you later.  Troy

(Note: I could go on and on, maybe next August…)

Thoughts at 50

Today, I get to be 50.

Since taking up writing I have made a tradition out of a birthday posting starting back in 2011 with something entitled “Thoughts at 44.” My blogging gigs dating back to 2011 before starting my own website this year were entitled “Meandering.”  Gave me some leeway I figured, should I wander…Here we go again.

I can still row a boat as good as anybody around, probably could even find my hotspots on a few of my fishing holes while rowing with my eyes closed.

Probably could tie an improved clinch knot with my eyes closed too, which isn’t much of a stretch these days as I’m starting to experience some technical difficulty hitting the eyes on lures.

Baseball still rules, been older than all the players for a while, now older than half a dozen managers.

Still digging introducing our kids to the wonders of the outdoors before they get “too big” to hang out.

Dig being the kid too, getting to fish with Dad and add some more fish stories to an already impressive list.

On July 23, 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was early in a fifteen week run at number one on the album chart.  On July 23, 2017 the spot was held by DJ Khaled, whoever that is.  Nope, further reinforces why I rarely listen to anything on the radio from this century.

I used to view “fishing” solely in terms of “catching” but have come to realize that there’s a lot more to the experience.

An added bonus of taking kids fishing is that they typically make you feel smarter than you really are.

These days I’m glad that nobody has captured Bigfoot.  It would ruin all the fun.

The oldies station is playing stuff I used to watch when MTV played music videos.

Kinda weird but I’m starting to realize that I make involuntary noises like grunts and stuff when performing some rather rudimentary tasks while fishing.  Not positive, or perhaps not ready to admit, but suspect the body is feeling 50 on occasion.

Did you know that if you took away all of Hank Aaron’s home runs he would still have over 3,000 hits?  Simply amazing, one of my all-time favorites and still the home run king in my book.

In a world of glitz, glamour, gimmicks and internet shopping, you still can’t beat a good old baitshop.  Never know what you may find and the best ones just have that smell.

At 50 I don’t think my beard will give the boys from ZZ Top a run for their money.  My eyebrows and ears on occasion, however…

Speaking of that band, anybody know the last name of their mustachioed drummer?  Always found that kind of amusing.

If you don’t fish a Senko wacky rig, you should.

Cubs were World Series champs before I hit 50, pretty impressive, all things considered.

I’ve accepted the fact that our camping cooler contains more juice boxes than Old Mil Lights and that I will also feel much better in the morning because of it.

Why is beef jerky so expensive?  I like Sasquatch and all, but whatever they’re paying him is too much.

Transformers and TMNT inhabit my home decades after their original incarnations.  I’m thinking we also need to bring back Championship Fishing (complete with the aquarium demonstrations and theme song), Solid Gold (with the dancers) and The Midnight Special (with a digitally remastered Wolfman Jack).

 

While grocery shopping for a camping trip last week, our six year old, Zac, randomly says, “Dad, you know, you look like a ‘Papa.’”  Wait ‘til graduation, little buddy, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Saw some swimbaits recently ranging from about $40 up to $120 per bait.  Takes me back to the advent of those fancy (and expensive) basketball shoes that weren’t going to help me dunk.  Nope, I’ll be sticking with the Chuck Taylors of fishing lures.

I imagine I was more excited landing my 2017 Top Bass of 6-2 at 49 than I would have been at 17 and that’s cool. Of course, I say “imagine” because I never could fool one that size back when I was a novice.

Considered going for 50 thoughts but think we’ve all had enough.

Had an early celebration yesterday with my family, my folks, my brother, sister-in-law, sister, two nieces and two nephews, good stuff and thanks to all for hanging out and making it a special day.  Also got a new toy to help make outdoor outings a little more hip and entertaining, maybe…Gonna try it out as I celebrate with some bass this morning before most all of those folks are even out of bed.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Why

In wrapping up the introductory series, today it is my turn to ask the question that a parent gets to answer countless times every single day.

“Why?”

After the long and winding road of who, what, when, where and how, here we are at the big question.

Perhaps you are also pondering this question.

And, hopefully it’s “Why do I fish, hunt, trap, hike, camp, etc…?” rather than “Why am I still reading this stuff?”

I guess the basic answer for me is that nurture made an appreciation of the outdoors second nature.  For that I am grateful to my mentors, primarily my dad and one of my uncles.  Their guidance, attention and instruction built a solid foundation for a guy who somehow finds 50 on the horizon with his own collection of charges in his sphere of outdoors influence.

Such a change of perspective also helps to answer another variation of the “Why” question as in “Why do I write?”

Well, I guess reminiscing is a big part of my passion for this hobby as I hesitate to think of how many times I’ve sat around with family and friends recalling classic tales of success and stupidity.  It’s good stuff when they still bring a smile, a laugh or a shake of the head.  Many times the tales begin with someone mentioning, “I saw this story the other day and I got to thinking about that time when we…”

And the rest is history, literally and figuratively.  Here’s hoping that I can be blamed for starting a few such conversations.  Such is much (I like weird sounding phrases like that) of the appeal for me in what the English language has collectively labeled “fish stories.”

On a personal level I’d also like to think that someday these stories might mean something to my kids.  Perhaps they’ll one day take a look at what was going on during these days that will fade from memory as other more recent events take their place.  Maybe they’ll find amusement in an “ancient” family adventure or discover a bit of why they turned out however they will turn out as some of this stuff is about more than roasting marshmallows, hooking bass or trapping coons.

Along the way I’ve also come to realize that it’s not always the biggest fish that makes for the best fish story.  Instead, I truly enjoy passing on some of the details that would otherwise be lost over time.  For me, in the grand scheme of things, it’s more about quality time than the quality or quantity of the catch no matter flying solo or playing fishing guide for a bunch of kids.  Some of the silliness or lighthearted aspects of the trips go a long way towards providing a further escape from life’s daily challenges.  As an adult with a wife, a family and the accompanying grown up responsibilities there’s always plenty of seriousness and an outdoor getaway sure helps to put it on the back burner for a while.

So, there’s my shot at an answer to the final, and perhaps, ultimate question.  It’s also the toughest one to nail down as I’m sure fellow outdoor enthusiasts can attest.  I like to write, but some stuff just can’t be sufficiently conveyed no matter how much goes down on the page.

Maybe I would have been better off simply referencing the quote, “I fish, therefore I am” as offered up by either Descartes or Dance, or was it Plato or Parker, then again maybe it was Voltaire or VanDam.  Better yet, perhaps I could have saved myself six hundred and twenty six words by getting even more philosophical and simply typing, “Why not?”

But what fun is that?

Talk to you later.  Troy

 

 

How

For a change of pace, this posting will be primarily a visual explanation of the way me and my family enjoy the outdoors.

Still old school (and cheap)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching the way many of us likely learned, gotta love bluegills

Biker Bass

Hiker Bass

I’m better with manpower than horsepower

1987 Tracker as high tech as it gets (small guide negotiable)

Two of our many mini trappers over the years

Logging is an important aspect of my blogging

If these ideas look cluttered, imagine my brain

Okay, one more intro posting to complete the journey, offering up my answer to the ultimate question.  Talk to you later.  Troy

What

Fifteen years ago I launched a project to share fish stories.

Since then, times have changed and the scope of the outdoor tales has expanded as conveyed by the collection of pics that grace the homepage, the About page and today’s post (all of which have been featured in a past blog entry somewhere).

You see, when I began writing I was just a guy with few responsibilities going fishing.  These days as a husband and father of four it’s a whole different world but one that has featured plenty of fodder for outdoor stories on and off the water.

While fishing will still be the primary focus of my blogging, other activities such as camping, hiking and trapping will have their days.  Hey, once upon a time Bigfoot even took over one of my former blogs for a week.

As the saying goes, “Variety is the spice of life.”  I should certainly be able to provide that in an outdoor sense ranging from “serious” wannabe bass fisherman to campfire storyteller to nature photographer to assistant family tour guide to outdoor site interpreter and perhaps even videographer one of these days.

These are the normal sorts of things that one will find detailed on the blog.

 

These types of things are also outdoor related…so that could happen.

And then there was “Herb”, loosely outdoor related though I don’t recall how?  Anyway, expect the occasional unexpected along the way.

Over the years, the “what” aspect of my writing has evolved to reflect an increased appreciation of the little details that make up the big story.  I’ve been accused of rambling, guilty as charged, but there’s a whole lot more to a fishing trip than a half dozen bass caught in a couple hours conveyed by a sentence or two on a fishing forum.  Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places but I just don’t find many fishing reports that provide the combination of stats, details and tangents that I like so I just write ‘em myself.  Granted some may push the contemporary internet attention span but how in the world do you abridge a fish story, just can’t do it.

Sharing the outdoors with a bunch of youngsters also makes for some excellent adventures and blog opportunities.  Watching them experience nature from my grown up perspective takes me back to walking in their shoes (or bare feet) more than a few years ago.  Of course, there’s also plenty of interesting stunts that I would never have imagined witnessing in the days before these smaller versions of me and Julie came along.

These days, a handful of their little bluegill are just as exciting as my somewhat rare five-pound bass.  It’s a treat to supervise some rowing training in the same eight foot johnboat that me, my dad, my brother and some buddies started rowing around local fishing holes back in the early 80’s.  And watching some youngsters actually set aside their devices in favor of taking in the starry, night sky, a roaring campfire or a handful of waxworms gives me hope that nature can still win out over YouTube, Snapchat and the likes.

Admittedly a blog seems to run against that grain, but I can deal.  It’s my getaway to relive getaways when I can’t actually get away.  And I’m old enough that all of this computer age stuff didn’t shape my formative years.  Nature still wins, technology simply enhances.  Besides, I’ve seen this all before having ditched my Walkman, 8-track tapes and VHS movies that once ruled the day.  But until this whole internet, device and social media fad goes the way of the Atari I’ll continue to contribute what I’ve got to promote the great outdoors.  Talk to you later.  Troy