Monday, February 25, 2013


    I go a lot of places and do a lot of things. I use many different products. Most are as expected. Many are better than expected. A few are less than what I bought into, whether that’s products, places or activities. I recently discovered another category: disappointment.

     Long story shortened, some close friends invited my wife and I to a week at the Avalon Reef Club on Isla Mujeres, a small island off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. We paid our airfare, I set up and paid for fishing excursions and we split expenses for incidentals such as taxi rides and the like.

    I have 1 great thing to say about the Avalon Reef Club. It’s placed on the absolutely best location on the island - actually on it’s own island accessible from Isla Mujeres only by a long wooden bridge. There are a few other bright spots. Unfortunately, there's one huge drawback.

    ARC is likely the most ill-managed resort I’ve ever visited. The management is rude, usually unavailable and completely unyielding. As a result, both workers and guests seemed to go about their days and stays wishing they were elsewhere, like being in a bad mood at a Christmas party.

    Again making a long story short, there was a misunderstanding and dispute on our billing. They understood and though they couldn’t make us understand; in their mind, there was no dispute. Fork over the dough (lots of it) or leave. I voted for leaving.

    The place is clean and no worse for wear than other places I’ve stayed. It’s also empty. Sure there’s a recession but it's not that bad. The hotel was less than 25% occupied. The word is out and there were no repeat customers. We won't be.

    I’d make a return trip to Isla Mujeres tomorrow. Certainly next winter. I wouldn’t go back to ARC if they said it was complimentary. If they charge 10 pesos for the second day’s packet of coffee for the two-cup coffee maker in your room, what would complimentary mean?

Thursday, February 14, 2013


        When the first salmon were stocked in Lake Michigan to control the overabundant alewife population, no one knew what would happen. The alewife, an invasive species that migrated into the lakes from the Atlantic Ocean once the shipping lanes were established, exploded in population.

         Though they only live a few years, once they became established, trillions of them died from natural causes each summer and their little bodies drifted with the ever changing winds fouling beaches all around Lake Michigan.

The solution? Stock cohos. Would it work? Time would tell.

It worked. And the first indication was when commercial fishermen with gill nets set to catch yellow perch in Indiana started catching “funny looking trout” in the spring. The funny fish turned out to be coho salmon.

        What wasn’t known then but is well documented now is that cohos prefer water temperatures around 50 degrees. In a lake like Lake Michigan, which is 300 miles long, the north end cools faster than the south end. As the lake cools in autumn, the baby cohos stocked from hatcheries months earlier migrate south to stay in water temperatures to their liking.

By late November, all the salmon in the lake have pushed to the south end of the lake. Indiana’s end of the lake. The part of the lake where I work.

And when winter ends, they are still here. Millions of them.

When the nearshore waters start to warm in March, they swarm inshore offering the hottest and fastest salmon fishing in the world. That’s why you need to get out there with your own boat or hire me to take you. Where’s the best place to fish?  Where the fish are!

Spring break is the perfect time to hit the water. Most schools schedule their breaks in late March and early April and that’s the peak of the season time to be out for Indiana’s “spring coho” bonanza. My spring break dates are already filling. If you want to sign on, give me a call soon. Don’t wait, don’t be late. I’ll be there with you or some other person. I’d rather be with you.   Go to www. for contact info and prices.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Stories of big bucks are common where ever
deer hunters gather. 

I can only imagine 3 or 4 hundred years ago when Native American hunters sat around the campfires at night they bragged up the “big bucks” they had shot in past hunts. It doesn’t matter that the killing the deer was more for survival than sport. Harvesting a big buck or catching a big fish is something worth remembering.
One thing the Indians didn’t have was the ability to easily compare one deer with another. So the size of some of the bucks probably grew with the story-telling ability of the hunter. That’s not the case with modern day deer hunters.
In 1950 the Boone and Crockett Club introduced specific guidelines anyone can use to measure the antlers of the deer they harvest. The B&C scoring method is used by other clubs, as well and here in Indiana it’s used to rank your deer against other noteworthy deer bagged last year or decades ago.
For many years, the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife kept the records and produced the record books. As the number of deer harvested in Indiana, what was once a nearly insignificant program became very cumbersome with biologists spending a lot of time measuring and compiling. The Indiana Deer Hunters Association took over the project, but continued as a volunteer scorer.
Measuring all the points, circumferences and other
details determines the final score. 
Since leaving the DNR, I don’t interact with as many deer hunters as I once did so I don’t score very many deer heads anymore. A local hunter dropped by last evening with a beautiful mounted deer head, just back from the taxidermist. It had 14 “measurable” points meaning they were at least an inch long. Ten of the points were “good” ones, the other 4 were in odd locations so they actually counted against the final score.
When the tally was done the combined total for all the points was over 175 inches and with 9 inches of deductions from the odd points and minor variations from one side to the other, its final score was over 166. When my friend sits around future campfires with other hunters, he’s got some bragging rights.