Monday, February 14, 2011

Still batting 1.000 on meeting great bloggers

I did a couple of really good things this past Sunday - I broke a 2 year drought by going ice fishing, And the person who invited me was a fellow blogger who I've come to "know" through the OBN. Ed Schmitt from Four Season Angler asked me to meet him at a local subdivision pond for a few hours of fishing. When I say "local", I mean it- this particular pond that Ed has access to is about 1 mile from my house! And - the temperature was over freezing. I had forgotten what warm weather felt like. (Warm being a relative term)

I have always enjoyed ice fishing, but really have little experience. When I lived in PA, ice was a rare occurrence. I moved to Syracuse and spent 10 years there. Perfect ice conditions for 4 months of the year. Except - I rarely got out. Winters were among the busiest times in those years, and I just didn't have time. Now, in IL for 10+ years, I'm back in an occasionally good ice area - like this year. the reason for all this background? I ALWAYS have enough gear and equipment to outfit myself and anyone who wants to join in any fish related endeavor. Not this time, though. I showed up with a 5 gallon bucket, some waxies and spikes, a little box of jigs, 2 small ice rod/reel combos, and a 20 year old Schoolie plastic rod/reel. That Schoolie is my favorite panfish rod for the ice. Go figure.

Ed, on the other hand, was set. Frabil sled, electronics, underwater camera, tip-ups - the man knows how to go ice fishing.

Pond bass with my cheapy Schoolie rod - I love it!

I remember now why I like ice fishing - it's a great social sport. There is always some back and forth banter, even when chasing flags. The fishing was OK - flags going off periodically, with a few bass coming up. We jigged up a bunch of panfish, and I got a couple of bass jigging, too. I finally got a perch, giving me the coveted "Pond Trifecta" (I made that up). All in all, a really nice way to spend a morning - meeting new people, and catching some fish.

We already have a follow-up trip or two planned. Should be really interesting.

Finally, a word about Ed's Four Season Angler's Writer's Network. Ed spearheads the group that consists of Ken Gortowski's Waterdog Journal, Cory Yarmouth's Legend Outdoors with Cory Yarmouth, Travis Brasfield's Simply Fishing , and Rob Piorkowski's Outcasting. there is no shortage of good reads from these Illinois writers. Check them out when you get a chance.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bass Contest Winner

Halftime of the Super Bowl was 7 PM CST, so I logged on went to the RNG. There were 25 comments, so everyone had a4% chance to win the package of Bass Gear.

I figured I ought to take a picture of the screen when the RNG drew the Lucky number, so there would be no disputing the results.

This time, the lucky winner was the LAST comment entered!! Congrats go out to Functional Fishaholic. Shoot me an email with your address and I'll get your stuff out to you.

Thanks to all who entered and especially my new followers.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My First Gear review - Glacier Glove Alaskan Pro gloves

A month or so ago, the OBN featured Glacier Gloves Alaskan Pro model gloves. They sent the gloves to me to distribute to our winners. They sent an extra pair, which I've had in my garage for a month. I planned to give these away to a deserving blogger to do a Gear Review on. But - the best laid plans sometimes go awry.

Enter the Great Chicago Blizzard of 2011

Our forecast for last night was ominous - 20" of snow, 40 mph winds, blizzard conditions. It was pretty bad when we went to sleep. And I knew the bad stuff would be waiting for me in the morning. It was.

The fence is 4' high

The snow was drifted over my fence in the back yard - it is a 4' fence. The driveway was buried. I got my snowmobile suit on, a wool hat, and went out to fire up the snow blower, when I saw them - the un-used gloves. Time to put them to the test.

The snow IN the driveway was 6" - 2-1/2' deep. The really bad stuff - the piles they plow into the end of the driveway - was a solid 3' of wet, heavy snow and ice. Due to a timely conversation with a newly divorced couple who used to live down the street from us, I was able to procure a big, powerful 2-stage snow blower at a really good price about a year ago. The good part - it works great in even the worst snows. The bad part (well - not really that bad)- it is the biggest snow blower in the neighborhood, and there is an unspoken understanding that you will help everyone else with their driveways. Which, of course, I did.

In total, I spent 3-1/2 hours outside blowing snow. No matter how hard you try, some of the snow plume ends up blowing back in your face/ on your hands/ covering you in a fine layer of ice and snow. You get wet. And cold. there is no getting around it. My wool hat kept my head warm. The snowmobile suit kept me warm and relatively dry. But the gloves - THE GLOVES - things of beauty!! My hands were completely dry and toasty warm. The outsides were covered in a layer of ice, but my hands were warm and dry. The whole day. I LOVE these gloves.

Now, I realize that this is not what the gloves were designed for. I wasn't hunting or fishing. But I promise you - I would not have been hunting or fishing in these conditions. This was worse than anything I would ever put these gloves through in the field.

I love em, and I'm keeping them!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are you a Bass Fisherman? Flowing Waters Giveaway!!

A few posts back, I made note of the fact that I had passed the 100 Followers threshold. It still amazes me that more than 100 people would find this blog interesting enough to follow, but I digress. I also mentioned that I would probably hold some kind of a Giveaway. Well - the time is now!

I'm sitting at my computer, listening to the howling winds outside as the Chicago area braces for what is forecast to be one of the worst snowstorm / blizzards ever. Up to 20" of snow is forecast tonight into tomorrow, with winds up to 50 mph. It is blowing like hell right now, and I'm glad I'm inside. With a nice glass of red wine. And a little buzz.

So, Joe - tell us about this GIVEAWAY!!

Here's the deal - this one is for you if you are a BASS FISHERMAN. The product shown below is what is being offered to a lucky reader. The rules to enter are incredibly simple and easy:

1) If you don't already FOLLOW this blog - sign up as a Follower
2) Post a comment telling me the size of your biggest bass, and what you caught it on. If you've NEVER caught a bass, but want to - state just that in the post!

It's that simple. Could it be any easier to enter to win this lure pack??

I will use the famous RNG (Random Number Generator) on Sunday, February 6 at 7 PM Central time and announce the winner that night.

And, for you Fly Fishermen out there - don't fret - there is a GIVEAWAY coming for you too!!

(Package includes: Strike King Pro Buzz buzzbait, Strike King Bitsy titanium Elite Spinnerbait, Blue Fox Vibrax #3 spinner, Harrison - Hogue Big Eyed Pro Frog, Rapala Rattling Suspending Shad Rap #5, Rapala CD 7, Rapala Deep Running Minnow Rap 9, Lucky Craft Staysee 90 SP, Eagle Claw Trokar EWG hooks - 4/0, Yamamoto SW 5" Swimbait, Yamamoto 4" Senko, Kalin 5" Lunker Grub, Strike King 4.5" Bleeding Tubes)