Saturday, April 23, 2011

Another One in the Books

So much emphasis is put on a few dates every year.Whether Christmas,July 4th,your birthday,your wedding anniversary,you think about it all year.It finally comes around and before you know it,poof,it's gone.For me few things bring a smile to my face like Man Camp.Sorry to say it but this year was a bit different.Last year I moved an hour south of where I was living,aka the ghetto,into my first house.Unfortunately this meant that our normal Man Camp spot was an hour farther away,making it a two hour drive.The days before this years Man Camp I was upset with a weather forecast that was ever changing.Upset with what seemed to be a low turn out.Upset with the fact that,well I felt like doing my own thing.Thankfully after some pre Man Camp discussions a few details were cleared up and a few "hell yeah I'm in" were promised,only to have a few drop out.This marked the first year in 9 straight years that we would not have a boat for fishing.No worries my buddy Kris was nice enough to let me strap his old town canoe to the Ranger and away we went on a glorious 70 degree southern Virginia day.

Upon showing up at the Chickahominy WMA we noticed that little had changed in a year.We unloaded the truck like it was a normal routine,turned on the radio and put the tents up in silence.Then it was time to do some exploring with ye Old Town canoe.Kris and I put the canoe in the water and headed up the creek I have for years tried to navigate with a motor.Low water and a ditch like drainage kept me from getting very far.We found wood duck boxes,wild violets and turkey hunters.That night around the campfire we were joined by Mattapus the hippy.We dined on fresh flounder,Kris traded at his job for some,and a few cold ones of course.Knowing we had a long day ahead of us we turned in early at 1 am.

The next day brought another blue sky,but with it a stiff wind.Our plan was a nice float/fishing trip in the canoe.The tide was running a few feet above normal and the winds were estimated around 20-30 mph steady.(We only used the most accurate of wind gauges,grass and guessing)So plan B was take a short paddle up the same creek but with more water we made it much farther and had a great time staring into space and not saying much of anything.Back in camp we ate a healthy lunch of roast beef sandwiches and bacon.Not roast beef with bacon,the bacon was a separate dish if you will.I needed to get a line wet so i ventured off for a drive around the WMA.Every access point to the river was either flooded or had white caps and was unfishable.I knew of a place just off the WMA that I have been meaning to fish for years.A little feeder creek bass action never hurt anybody,except maybe the guy who owns the property.So I fished for a few hours,caught a few bass and headed back to camp to await the arrival of the people with normal working hours.

That afternoon my friend Jon,my brother the nutty professor and my friend Mike showed up.We played unofficial horseshoes in the woods,drank cheap whiskey and told lies.Most of all what we did was forget.We all forgot about whatever problems we had,big or small.We forgot about going to work,paying the bills,or whatever else was on our mind.Either if for a minute or for the entire day that's what it's all about.Being an adult is over rated and under paid.The night ended with no serious injuries and an exceptional amount of laughs.So I'm glad I went just like I have every year.Next year will be our tenth annual and we may decide to move venues but who knows.For right now I just want to remember the good times we had and how much my real friends mean to me.

A short side note about the weather.We left out early Saturday knowing the wind and rain were moving in that afternoon.We were all home from Richmond to Suffolk,by noon that day.By 4 that afternoon tornados and horrible thunderstorms had overtaken the entire portion of southeatern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina.I believe I last heard some 72 reported tornados from that front were reported.Some did major damage in and around the area and many lives were lost.Fortunately we all dodged a huge bullet.However many of the people that I work with did not.My thoughts go out to the entire area and I hope they can all rebuild and start over.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Never Give Up

It's been a tough long few days for me and I needed to get out.I spent the last few weeks doing online research for a new truck.I got home late last weekend with a few in mind.I was on the phone and computer literally all day Monday and most of Tuesday.If you know anything about me,that's not how I like to spend my free time.Man Camp 2011 kicks off tomorrow and I'm nowhere near ready,so what did I do today?Maybe I spent the day airing my tent out and getting my things together.Not at all,I went fishing.I saw it as the only real responsible thing to do and I'm glad I went.I'm sure I will forget to pack something or something I should have checked will be broken from last year but oh well.I spent the morning on the same stretch of river that skunked me three times just a few weeks ago.

So what was my plan?Did I switch up lures?Maybe I went at a different time of day.I changed one thing and one thing only.i went back to what I know works for me.Forget all the fancy 10-12 dollar crank baits that I have never ever caught fish on.I went back to using the same lures I used last time home,except this time I stuck with them.The tackle box stayed zipped up the entire morning.My old school technique is easily described as follows.Use a small lure that you know any and all fish will chase at the least.Cover a ton of water,hey why did I buy a trolling motor if I didn't plan on using it.Once you locate small baitfish/panfish switch to your tried and true.Cover lots of water and never lose faith,have patience.So what are my low budget lures?Let's go over them real quick.

First off is my fish finder lure is the beetle spin,yup 1.29 beetle spin.Whatever color you want,they all work on panfish.I'm sure some work better than others though.Once you have found a few shad/panfish switch over to old faithful.The very first lure I ever used was....a rubber worm.Not much of a lure but it's a soft plastic,whatever.Stop trying to get fancy on me people.I have narrowed down my rubber worm selection to bright green zero worms with a red hook and no weight.The worm is heavy enough to get some distance while casting and you can skip it under trees and low hanging shrubs.Guess what else,IT WORKS!That's really all that matters isn't it.This is what works for me,it may or may not work for you.My brother Swamp Thing uses a total different set up and guess what,his lures don't work for me.So just think back before you go out fishing this spring.You have been staring at those magazines for the last few months.All those new,shiny,expensive lures,endorsed by Ass Hat Mcgee who won the Alaska eel tourney in 1972,forget about it.Just use what you have had success with before and I bet you it works.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Black Gold!

Man Camp 2010

No wait,that's oil,this is coal.Well it seems I have been put on the infamous coal run of the Chesapeake Bay.Running from Newport News, Va. to Baltimore has definitely been more of the same.One of the good things is I know where I will be from day to day and I don't have to go offshore and get hammered by all types of weather.It's extremely hard physical work that keeps you up for days without any real sleep schedule.It's a get it when you can kind of run and I like it,for now.I'm sure this Summer when the coal is sandblasting me in the face and sticking to every part of my body I will have a change of heart.Just wanted to give everyone an update that I have not forgotten to post,just been a bit busy.Next week it's go time for Man Camp 2011!

This brings me to a little quick something I wanted to point out about my self.I'm getting old,like using my brain to make decisions instead of the amount of beer I have consumed.Man Camp is next permitting.Yes,I know,my friends will surely haggle me to death if I cancel over a little rain but hear me out.Next week the forecast has gone from sunny and 8- to rainy and 50 and back again.So trying to keep everyone in the loop I let it be known that if it rains the Dude will not be attending.This went over like a turd in the prom punch bowl,not cool.The reality is I have responsibilities,oh crap I said it,I hate that damn word.It's true,I'm ,oh no here it come again,growing up,noooooo!it's just part of life and I'm trying to deal with it,unsuccessfully.Sitting in a tent,with 40 mph wind gusts,rain coming sideways and catching a cold isn't my idea of fun.Neither is getting estimates for gutters,or cleaning out the ditches but they have to be done.I really do hope the weather participates for a few days so i can get out and have some fun with the crew.If it doesn't then a long line of yearly camping trips comes to an end and I will have nobody to blame but mother nature.