Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's a dog's life (and watching isn't easy)

Jenny Lynn is showing her age. And not only in her fur color change but in the way she wlaks, trots and gets up.

At 12 years old that can be expected though I am reluctant to go mentally accept her unsteadiness and gimpy stride. I cringe nearly every day as I watch her stretch and get up off her dog bed.

She is now semi-retired. Jenny Lynn won't be on any all-day dove hunts nor do I expect that she'll spend time this fall in a cold, damp goose blind.

Oh, I'll take her along for the early goose season. I also will gather her up for a swim, though even here I will have to be careful.

Last Saturday my wife Bev and I took Jenny Lynn and our other Labrador retriever, Berry, to Lake Metroparks' Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park and its east-end dog beach.

Berry ripped through the waves after a tossed training dummy. Poor Jenny had a difficult time swimming and wading about the shallow water.

Bev even thought she'd have to make a rescue at one point, though I knew Jenny Lynn could handle the mild surf. The thing is, she won't for long.

Jenny Lynn is tiring fast and as often as not prefers to rest on her dog bed. Of course she deserves the opportunity to kick up her legs and recline. Jenny's done well over these past years and has proven to be a reliable companion and good hunting buddy.

But watching her age has made me feel older too. I am fast approaching the 60-year-old mark. The way I figure it I have one more puppy left in me.

I just hope she'll (and it will be another female Lab) be half the retriever and hunting buddy that Jenny's been these all-too-few years.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ban the guns! (Opps, ban the knives!?)

You almost have to laugh (or cringe) whenever the government goes a little crazy with regulatory proposals.

Now comes word that the Department of Homeland Security wants to prohibit knives that can be opened with one hand. Yep, knives. Call it the Great Knife Grab.

Such products would be covered under a 50-year-old federal provisions that bars the interstate sale of switchblades.

As any knife-carrying, knife-buying citizen of these here United States knows, one-handed knives are common and used for a whole big world of recreational activities from hunting and fishing to just plain whittling.

So broadly written is this rule that it would impact a big bunch of U.S. knife makers and all-ready existing blades. It could, according to a letter written by 79 U.S. legislators on both sides of the isle and members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, make millions of knife-owning Americans federal felons.

It might even impact makers and owners of Swiss Army knives and those blades bearing the mark of the Boy Scouts.

This totally useless and mind-numbing piece regulatory misstep just shows how far the Obama administration goes in not thinking things through thoroughly enough.

One-hand-opening hunting or general-purpose knives are hardly the stuff that either terrorists, gang-bangers, thugs or criminals are likely to use.

This is just plain stupid. But at least responsible legislators such as Rep. Bob Latta - an Ohio Republican - and Rep. Walt Minnick - an Idaho Democrat - have enough common sense to thwart this ridiculous stuff by amending Homeland Security's budget that would block it from enforcing this terribly misguided piece of drivel.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Man overboard (on riding lawnmower no less)

An 84-year-old man needed U.S. Coast Guard help Monday after he accidentally drove a riding lawnmower off the edge of Rutherford’s Landing in Grand River Village and into the Grand River.

The Coast Guard did decline to release the name of the victim without first filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

Assisting in the rescue was licensed charter captain Don Woodruff, owner of the sport fishing boating, Megabite.

According to the Coast Guard, the incident occurred about 3 p.m. As Woodruff was piloting his vessel past the popular boat launch he saw the victim standing in three-to four-feet of water and next to the partially submerged riding lawnmower.

The victim was unable to lift himself unto the pier, however, said the Coast Guard.

Seeing the man in trouble, Woodruff called the Coast Guard’s Station Fairport Harbor via marine band radio, the Coast Guard said.

The unit then sent its 25-foot small response boat with two station members who rushed upstream and extracted the victim, pulling him up onto the pier, the Coast Guard said.

“He was a little shaken up. Apparently his foot slipped off the clutch when he was cutting the grass,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Adam Lutz.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Federal Outdoors Youth Czar (more Chiefs than Indians)

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the U.S.Department of the Interior, is creating an Office of Youth for the cash-strapped agency.

The purpose of this new office will be to provide "Department-wide leadership for programs to educate, engage and employ youth."

Salazar borrowed on the idea from his days as Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. He held that post before becoming a Washington legislator and now a natural resources policy wonk.

It is hoped that the office will be able to coordinate programing that will help introduce young Americans from all walks of life to the value of the nation's parks, monuments, refuges, as well as public and even tribal lands.

No cost estimates are available as how this new office will function or where it will get the money to operate.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday's outdoors notes (on time, too)

The switch is on from fishing for Lake Erie yellow perch to Lake Erie walleye.

But the seasonal exchange did not come before the Wildwood Marina at Cleveland Lakefront State Park held its 8th Annual "Battle of Lake Erie" perch tournament, June 13 and 14.

Winners, in order, for the adult division were: Bill Franke with five perch measuring 1,659 millimeters ($600), Barry Butera with five perch measuring 1,645 millimeters ($240), Larrt Winton with five perch measuring 1,625 millimeters ($120), Largest perch - Chris Trolli at 357 millimeters ($50 Wildwood Marina gift certificate).

The youth division's winner, in order, were: Carissa Carmichael with three perch measuring 903 millimeters ($42 and fishing tackle), Hunter Just with three perch measuring 900 millimeters ($30 and fishing tackle), Sean Chojnowski with three perch measuring 871 millimeters ($24 and fishing tackle), Largest perch - Carissa Carmichael at 320 millimeters ($25 Wildwood Marina gift certificate.

Budgetary cuts are all ready being felt within the Ohio Division of Wildlife and which impact sportsmen. This, in spite of the fact the economically independent agency has the financial resources to weather the current fiscal storm.

But politicians (foolishly) believe the Wildlife Division must also feel the same fiscal pain as its General Fund-dependent siblings. Thus, programs and opportunities for anglers and hunters will be cut.

Announced is that the public access to the fishing is being shortened at the agency's Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County. It is said this area has the best bluegill/sunfish angling in the Midwest. So much so that angling here is restricted to a reservation system.

Gone are fishing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And hours will be shortened in October as well.

For further information or to make reservations, call 419-636-6189.

The Ashtabula Chamber Foundation and the Ashtabula City Port Authority are co-sponsoring a Wine & walleye Festival on August 22 and 23. It will include a walleye fishing contest in which the largest walleye caught by an amateur will be $2,000 and the $1,000 for the largest walleye taken by a professional angler.

Ashtabula also will conduct a full-fledge festival that will include music and other entertainment at the city's Walnut Beach park area.

For details, visit www.wineandwalleye.net or call 440-998-6998.

What tree is that? Is the title of a booklet produced by the National Arbor Day Foundation with the stated goal of making it easily for the layman to properly identify a tree species found in the eastern United States.

It has a go-to format that is suppose to make it easy to follow a series of steps that lead the reader to the proper tree. I found that was not the case and was frustrated by the book's go-to premise. I believed the instructions were more a maze than a help.

It would have been far, far better had the booklet also contain a complete go-to example that would assist one in figuring out how to use the document's instructions.

Still, the illustrations and short narratives for each tree species can aid in proper tree identification. Just scrap the confusing go-to instructions.

The 71-page pocket-size booklet costs $5 and can be ordered through the Foundation's web site at www.arborday.org.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My, that's a BIG fish (and it was released)

Ohio now has the largest-ever caught new state record fish: A 96 pound blue catfish.

The fish was taken June 11 from the Ohio River across from downtown Cincinnati. The angler was Chris Rolph of Williamsburg who caught the brute while fishing from a boat on the Kentucky side of the river.

It beat the current state record blue catfish by a country mile. The previous record blue catfish weighed "only" 57 pounds, 3.2 ounces. This catfish was caught also from the Ohio River last year by Keith Setty.

The new record was certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and its State Record Fish committee. In Ohio, the state record fish list is maintained by the writers' group, the only such organization in the country to maintain such a list.

Tom Cross, the committee's chairman, says Rolph caught his fish using a skipjack for bait, a baitfish commonly found in the Ohio River and one that is popular with catfish anglers like Rolph.

It took Rolph 30 minutes to land his fish and also required him and his fishing partner Jon Owens to man-handle the catfish into the boat. The fish had a mouth large enough that a basketball could fit into it, Cross said.

Rolph kept the fish alive in an aerated livestock tank and had it weighed on a certified scale at a feed and grain store.

After an examination by an Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist for verification the catfish was released into a large private lake.

However, a fish this size can eat up to 20 pounds of baitfish a day, said one OWO Record Fish Committee member.

Ohio just recently delisted the blue catfish from endangered status to a species of concern, which allowed specimens to be legally caught and also recognized as a legitimate record.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Friday's outdoor notes (one day early)

Anyone with even the most minimal interest in Lake Erie will find the latest edition of the Ohio Sea Grant program's "Twineline" newsletter a fine read. As all edition are, in fact.

Take note of the "Gone Fishing" article and which is about the Lake Erie charter boat industry. Check it out.

The Ohio Division of Watercraft is making available an updated version of the agency's all-Ohio boat launch ramp and marina facility guide. It is available online at www.ohiodnr.com or by calling 877-4BOATER.

This guide shows where to launch and dock a recreational boat with the agency also noting that in Ohio the sport has an economic impact of $3.5 billion annually and supports more than 26,000 full-time jobs.

Talk about going in the wrong direction down a one-way street Pennsylvania is on a collision course.

The state's parks system is one of four finalists in the prestigious National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. This award is presented annually by the American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration as well as the National Recreation and Park Association.

Other contenders for the state park award include those in Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina.

However, at least one version of the state budget has such severe cuts (a loss of $26 million) that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources would be forced to close at least 35 state parks. Among them would be Ole Bull State Park in Potter County which my wife and I intend to visit this week for some fly fishing.

The Ohio Farmers Union is wanting to roll over and play dead with the radical animal rights movement. In a Wednesday press release the left-leaning farmers' group said it wants to "negotiate" with the radical animal rights movement over the latter's threat of introducing a ballot initiative that would ban certain livestock practices.

Indeed, the Farmers Union doesn't even believe that Ohio's agricultural industry - the largest industry in the state, by the way - could win a ballot issue.

Just think what would have happened in 1977 had sportsmen believed the same thing about the anti-trapping issue or a few decades later when the animal rightists tried to torpedo dove hunting in the state. In each of these cases the antis lost.

At least the Ohio Farm Bureau is willing to standing up to radicalism. So should the Ohio Farmers Union.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, June 8, 2009

Friday's notes( Three days late)

Sorry for the delay though I have a good excuse. I went fishing Friday. At a farm pond to be precise.

And I tried that modified version of the drop shot system. I wrote about it June 2. This method includes rigging a standard drop shot rig with a hook tied to the line using a palamor knot. Above the knot about six inches is an inline three-barrel swivel. The swivels are expensive and made by Proline but they are effective.

Anyway, instead of using a 1/8- to 1/4-ounce sinker about 18 inches below the hook ,(which MUST rider up) is tied a jig head of the same weight. This jig head must be so built that it rides upright, which is why flat-based jig heads are best.

To the top hook is placed a 2 1/2- to 3-inch soft plastic minnow imitation. I prefer either a Berkley Gulp or else Powerbait minnow.

To the bottom jig is placed a 3 1/2- to 4-inch soft plastic worm. A Slider worm on a Slider jig head is perfect though any upright jig and either a soft plastic worm or minnow imitation should work.

The rig caught a bunch of large farm pond bluegills along with fat sunfish as well as crappie and largemouth bass. And twice I managed to catch a bass on the top hook as well as the bottom jig.

You'll be seeing me use this system more and more though it can be expensive to replace if the rig gets snagged. But as they say, no pain, no gain.

I hate it when the fishing is good one day and poor the next, or outstanding in one location and then falls apart just a few miles away. But that's what has been happening on Lake Erie from Neff Road to the Grand River.

Perch fishermen have scored good gains off the Wildwood unit of Cleveland Lakefront State Park only to see it go poor the next day. Now the word today (Monday) is that it is good again in 40 feet of water.

And the perch fishing's been similar erratic off the Painesville water intake slip to off Headlands Beach State Park. It's consistently been inconsistent.

Ditto for the walleye fishing. Some anglers have killed the walleyes off the Euclid hospital in 25 feet of water while off Eastlake to off Lost Nation Road the walleye fishing has proven so-so.

I hate the fishing when it's doing that. Which is one good reason why I enjoy farm pond fishing so much.

In any event, I hope to get out Tuesday or Wednesday for either some more yellow perch fishing or even troll close to shore aboard Wildwood Marina's "Popeye" charter boat for walleye.

And I really, really want to go crow hunting in the next couple of weeks. I can't believe that I missed the opener last Friday. Still, I was happy to catch all of those sunfish, crappie and bass and put the drop shot modification through its paces.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

States working together (No hunting license for you)

Ohio's eyes and ears are open to fish and game law violators trying to enter the state to hunt and fish.

So too are those of others states which are likewise participants in a multi-jurisdictional compact that recognizes each other's fish and game law violators.

With the compact the various participating states accept as their own the revocation or suspension of hunting or fishing licenses. That means that a person under license suspension in Ohio cannot buy one in a cooperating and participating state.

Since Ohio became an Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact participant, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has entered 146 violators into the computerized system. It also has agreed to recognize more than 6,500 suspensions entered in the database by 30 other states.

Last June, the first entries in the database by Ohio officials were made. Wisconsin anglers who had taken twice the number of walleye saw their Ohio licenses suspended and which were recognized by the home state. One of the anglers caught fishing while under the suspension saw another year added to his disability.

The system is designed to deter fish and game law violations since it is believed that revocation or suspension of licenses and permits is a powerful tool that helps discourage criminal acts, Ohio Division of Wildlife officials say.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sotomayor no Second Amendment friend (more like an enemy)

As gun owners ponder what an appointment of federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor means to Second Amendment rights, at least one of her decisions points to her being a foe rather than a friend.

In a January ruling, Sotomayor says that the landmark Heller ruling that declared the Second Amendment a personal right applied only to the federal government and not to the states nor local governments

This ruling is in sharp contrast to another circuit ruling declaration that says the Second Amendment applies to the states and local governments as well as the federal government. After all, this logic says, the Heller suit involved Washington D.C. and not the U.S. Justice Department.

It's almost seems as if the federal judge also would imply that the First Amendment rights to a free press and religious beliefs impacts the federal government alone and does not also apply to the states and local governments.

Pro-Second Amendment advocates believes that the contrasting rulings means that the Supreme Court will again likely hear the issue - the same court that will probably have Sotomayor as a resident.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn