Saturday, May 24, 2014


 I have lots of experience in taking fish photos. They are called “hero shots” where the lucky angler who has caught a photo-worthy fish stands, gripping and grinning, fish in hand and the photo is snapped.

   Most hero shots look, well they look contrived. Sure it’s a lasting tribute to both fish and angler of the size of the fish and the smiling face of the fisher-person. On the other hand, it’s a picture of a mope with a dead fish-or nearly dead.

   Professional photographers leave little to luck. They understand what’s going on. They prepare the scene, adjust the lighting and leave little to chance. Amateurs rely on luck.

    I’m somewhere in-between. I don’t rely on my photography skills to earn much money each year, but plenty of my photos end up in print. Sometimes a bit of luck helps out even us “semi-pros.”

   This was one of those times.

   Liz caught a nice lake trout on my boat and she handed her dad the camera to do the classic “grip and grin” photo. Since we were in the “photo” mood, I grabbed my own camera to take a happy-snappy of my own.

   The first time I pressed the button, the fish, still lively, waggled a wiggle. In the tiny view screen on the digital, I could see the fish wasn’t properly displayed. So I told Liz to hold it up once more for another shot. She complied.
Back at home, downloading the photos from the camera to the computer and able to see the photos in large size instead of a tiny LCR on the back of the camera, I realized Lady Luck had given me a blessing.

   The second photo showed a bored young lady with an apparently dead fish and an apparently fake smile staring at the lens.  The first photo, however, showed a beautiful young lady with a real smile coping with a lively fish.  A million times better in my book! Don’t you think so, as well?

Monday, May 12, 2014


I got a Facebook post this morning from a longtime friend who now lives in Alaska. She had experienced her first earthquake.
   I’ve been to California many times, Alaska a couple times and have spent time in other areas that are earthquake prone. I’ve never been in one of these areas when an EQ occurred, but I’m not an EQ virgin. I’ve felt and lived through many of them right here in Indiana, not exactly a region many regard as a hotbed of EQ activity.
   The first one I remember occurred while I was in college at Purdue. I walked into the room of one of my fraternity brothers and sat down on his sofa. Once I was comfortable, I noticed the water in my friend’s large aquarium was sloshing back and forth. Apparently, I’d bumped it when I entered. Except it was swishing back and forth heavily enough that I should have noticed bumping into it. I didn’t.
   In less than a minute fellow frat-bros started coming down from the upper floors saying, “Did you feel that?”  It was a 5.7 earthquake. Okay, I didn’t feel it, but the fish in the tank certainly did.
Thankfully, my earthquake experiences, though frequent, have all been minor.
   Fast forward a few years. I was running Bass Lake State Beach near Knox, IN. I was to go to a two-day meeting the following day so I hopped on my 100cc Kawasaki motorcycle to put-put down to the bank to get some folding money for the journey. Halfway to the bank on S.R. 10 circling the south edge of Bass Lake, the bike almost slid out from under me. Wowser!
    I slowed through that stretch of road on the return trip but saw no oily spots or other reasons for the near-crash.  That evening on the news the talking heads revealed we’d had a five point five at the time of my incident. I was nearly a statistic!
   These were, apparently, single jolts where the substrate deep below the surface adjusted to the pressure put upon them in one snap of the finger movement. The next one was different.
   I was sitting in a friend’s house in southwest Indiana when the whole house started shaking. It lasted long enough for me to ask him, “Does your house shake like this often?”  “No,”  he said, “only when they are blasting in the coal mines.”
   A blast would be a one-time shake. This one went on long enough for us to have a conversation! Five point six was the official report.
   To give you an idea of how earthquakes work, I have one more experience to relate. The rocky substrate deep below the surface shifts and the energy released radiates out like waves created by tossing a rock into a pond.
   I didn’t feel this one, but my wife did. She was on the phone, talking to one of my sisters living  100 miles away.  In the midst of the conversation, my sister interrupted the flow of the conversation saying, “Oh, I think we are having an earthquake.”  They talked for a few seconds and then my wife started feeling the vibrations underfoot as the waves moved out from the epicenter. I was driving at the time and felt nothing. Another five point something had occurred.
   These were all “minor” quakes and I’m not belittling those who have suffered major quakes. It’s a tough world out there with storms, quakes and other natural disasters awaiting us foolish humans who think we are above or immune to nature’s fury.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


        As of mid-February, all five of the Great Lakes are “officially” frozen over.  In actuality, they were 90% ice covered, but when they hit that level, the people in charge of observing Great Lakes ice conditions proclaim them to be totally frozen. The last time the lakes were frozen completely was in 1994. 

        Few lakes in the upper Midwest completely freeze in the winter. Springs, muskrats, wildfowl, stream inflows, pressure ridges and other factors often produce areas with thin ice or even open water. 

          In the Great Lakes, unfrozen areas can be the result of currents as in the Straights of Mackinaw, St. Mary's River, Detroit River, Niagara River and a few others. Industries and lake shore power plants discharge heated water in other areas. There can be wind-driven openings in the ice similar to pressure ridges that occur on inland lakes.

      The U.S. Coast Guard operates a fleet of ice-breaker vessels on the Great Lakes. There's our tax dollars at work!  In some areas tug boats and other vessels do ice breaker duty to keep industrial harbors in action. 

        There are two silver linings to the frozen Great Lakes. Winter evaporation from unfrozen surface water in mild winters is one factor creating what’s become chronic, even record low lake levels. Related to the evaporation from the unfrozen lakes is, once the lakes are frozen, the lake effect snow machine is shut down. The upper Midwest is getting enough snow to satisfy most people without the lake snow this winter. 

       Will this have an affect on the fishing next season?  Maybe a late start to the action.... Maybe it will drive more fish down to MY end of the lake.... Hope so! There's only one way to find out. The fun way.  Let's go fishing ! 


Monday, February 3, 2014

I love to eat fish. When I go out to a restaurant, the first thing I check out is the fish listed on the menu. Usually, my order is for the fish.

I’ll fly to the far reaches of Canada so I can have a shore lunch featuring the fish I caught during the morning action. I’ll always make sure on the way home the fish I caught arrive fresh, still frozen or otherwise ready to heat and eat.

But fish for breakfast?

My mother-in-law introduced me to the concept on the shores of Leech Lake, Minnesota. We were there for a family vacation that included hauling dozens upon dozens of jumbo perch from the lake’s waters. On the second or third day, Grandma Huber fired up the stove and fried up a batch of perch filets, coupled them with some eggs over easy and I was hooked.

Who knew fish for breakfast was such a culinary delight?

We just returned from Captiva Island, Florida, much of the time sharing adventures with Bill and Rita Keaton.  Bill and I fished the first day and caught a couple of “keeper” sized sea trout, aka spotted weakfish. We kept them.

“What should we do with the fish?” asked Bill.

“Fish and eggs for breakfast,” I replied.

Our rooms at South Seas Island Resort included a kitchen, pots, pans so all we needed was a few extra ingredients.  We were set after a quick stop at an island shop to pick up eggs, bread and butter.

Bill put several slices of bread in the oven at 200 degrees to dry them out, the first step of making breadcrumbs.  Once I arrived with the fish I preheated the oven to 500 degrees. Then I cracked an egg into a bowl, added a half eggshell of water to the egg and vigorously whisked it. Each filet got a quick dunk into the egg wash, then a roll in the breadcrumbs and into a baking dish.

While they were baking, Bill cooked the eggs in a bit of butter, we toasted a few slices of bread and set out glasses of orange juice.


If you think bacon, ham or sausage are the only meats that go great for breakfast, think again. Fish, light and flaky, is a perfect compliment to your breakfast menu. They taste even better, if you've caught them yourself.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Have you ever seen the Green Flash? Millions of people swear they have. Thousands of people look for it every evening. I watched for it just last night at Sunset Beach at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, Florida.

What's the Green Flash? It only occurs in a location where the sun sets into the ocean in the evening. Supposedly, the water conditions, especially the height of the waves or calmness of the sea has to be perfect. Of course, it can't be a cloudy since the setting sun is a partner to the creation of the Green Flash.

Some say imbibing a wee bit (or more) of adult beverage prior the the evening show is also a partner to the creation of the flash. It certainly is in Key West where, I'm told, hundreds gather each evening to watch nature's spectacle. I'm told people line the rails on cruise ships, drinks in hand, waiting to toast the Green Flash.

I don't know. I've not been to Key West or on a cruise ship, but I've watched for the Green Flash on beaches in California, from fishing boats in the Pacific Ocean and other locations, including the above mentioned, Captiva Island veiwing spot. There's even a great restaurant on Captiva Island named the Green Flash.

What is it?  Supposedly, it happens as the setting sun slides into the sea and the sky dims from its absence. It only shows a split second after the last bit of sun disappears under the horizon so don't blink or use that instant to take another sip of your adult beverage. The science behind the flash holds that when the light of the now unseen sun shines through the upper strata of the ocean the sun rays now filtered green through the sea water produces a momentary green flash bursting forth just above where the sun disappeared.

Some say they've watched for it and never seen it. Me? I see it every time, at least in my mind's eye. And that makes watching for it, when I have the chance, something I'll never pass on doing.