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Indiana’s Choice for Outdoor News & Information • Since 1994

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VOL. 2013 • NO. 7




HUNT APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE ONLINE Hunters can apply for a reserved hunt online by visiting and clicking on the "Register for a Reserved Hunt" link. The online method is the only way to apply. All applicants must possess a valid hunting license for the hunt for which they apply. All applications must be completed by the application deadline to be eligible for the drawing. Hunters will be selected through a random drawing. All drawing results will be posted at within a week after application deadlines.


IDNR/Outdoor Indiana Magazine photo.

Military/Refuge Firearm and Archery Deer Hunt Draw: Application deadline is Aug. 25. Hunts on Military/Refuge properties may be cancelled at any time. Youth Firearm Deer Hunt at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge: Application deadline is Aug. 25.


AUGUST, 2013

Pheasant Hunt Draw: Application deadline is Sept. 29. Adults should not apply for the Nov. 25 hunt, which is reserved for youth (17 and younger) only. Deer Creek Deer Hunt: Application deadline is Aug. 15. Deer Creek Rabbit and Quail Hunt: Application deadline is Aug. 15. Applications for waterfowl draw hunts begin later this month. Pheasant put-and-take registration will be available Sept. 1. More information is available at

Applications are also available online for Hoosiers wanting to participate in special deer reduction hunts at designated Indiana state parks this fall. The first round of state park deer hunting will be Nov. 18 and 19. The second round will be Dec. 2 and 3. Parks participating this year are Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, Turkey Run, Versailles and Whitewater Memorial, which will hold reduction hunts using firearms, and Fort Harrison and Clifty Falls, which will hold reduction hunts using archery. Applications are available at The application deadline is Aug. 25. Applicants must be Indiana residents and be 18 years old by Nov. 18, 2013, and possess at least one valid Indiana deer license. Apprentice and private preserve licenses are not applicable. Each person may apply only once for each state park deer reduction effort, regardless of primary or buddy status. All applications sharing duplicate names will be disqualified.




Squirrel Hunting Season Opens Aug. 15

DOES NOT INCLUDE EXTRA DEER SEASONS DNR Report -The Indiana Natural Resources Commission gave its final approval on July 13 to a number of revisions to rules governing fish and wildlife resources, but did not authorize the extension of the archery season or the addition of a primitive muzzleloader season for deer hunting. The archery season will remain the same as last year (Oct. 1 through Jan. 5, 2014) and there will continue to be only one muzzleloader season, which runs from Dec. 7-22 this year. The Commission went along with the majority of public comments received and the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s request to remove the two deer season proposals from the rule package because the Division felt they are not needed to manage the deer population, have the potential to create confusion among hunters, and make it more difficult to evaluate the impact of new deer hunting rules that went into effect last year. Rule changes that were approved will: • Remove the peregrine falcon from the state endangered species list.

Among other changes, the latest NRC approved rule package establishes a statewide rabbit hunting season from Nov. 1 Feb. 28. • Add the round hickorynut mussel to the state endangered species list. • Change the rabbit hunting season to one statewide season on public and private land to begin Nov. 1 and end Feb. 28. • Change the pheasant hunting season dates to begin Nov. 1 and end Dec. 15. • Modify the north/south boundary of bobwhite quail hunting zones to make Interstate 74 the dividing line. • Modify the bobwhite quail hunting season by subtracting two

days from the south zone (Nov. 1 to Jan. 10) and reducing the bag limit in the north to four birds. • Change the limits on taking black bass on several Indiana lakes. • Add a 16-inch minimum size and two-fish limit for walleye on Wall Lake (LaGrange County). • Limit the number of lakewhitefish that can be taken to 12 per day. • Modify the start date squirrel hunters are required to wear hunter orange to Nov. 1. • Require hunter orange on

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Indiana’s squirrel hunting season opens the 15th of this month and continues through January 31, 2014. Our relatively cool, wet summer bodes well for healthy acorn, beechnut and hickory nut crops -- great news for squirrels and squirrel hunters!


POSTMASTER: Please deliver by August 9

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August, 2013

River smallies: Summertime’s hot ticket to angling fun

off -- even though the water may still be fairly clear. Stable conditions are the key to the best river smallmouth fishing action.

JOSHLANTZ River smallies don't care if it's hot. Find them, show them an appealing bait and they'll give you as much summertime angling action as you want. The Hoosier state is blessed with a relative abundance of these hard-fighting gamefish, and it is difficult to beat our underutilized rivers for catching smallies during the dog days of summer. Even as river temperatures creep towards 80-degrees, smallies stay on the hunt for crayfish and minnows in areas with sufficient current and dissolved oxygen. How hard do they fight? Hook one and see for yourself. Their power and will are remarkable. When to fish 'em Fish for river smallies anytime the water is clear enough for the bass to see your bait. Forget about fishing after heavy rains and runoff periods that muddy the water. Overcast days are best - especially for a topwater bite. Clouds and a few sprinkles are usually good for fishing while also providing anglers with a little relief from the summertime sun. Dramatic fluctuations in flow can also turn the fish

Where to fish 'em Almost any river or creek can contain smallmouth bass. I key in on medium sized rivers with healthy bank vegetation, boulders and sufficient depth and gradient to provide healthy oxygen levels, shade and forage. Smallmouth bass love crayfish, and the best smallmouth streams provide healthy populations of these tasty crustaceans. Smallies can be found at various locations throughout the river, but typically favor four distinct areas in late summer: river channel edges, riffle tailouts, shaded banks and defined current seams. The best spots combine two or more of these key features. Fish may be well dispersed in deeper rivers, but are often highly concentrated in shallower streams with relatively low flows. How to fish 'em Crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners, soft plastics and topwater baits will all take summertime river smallies, as will a variety of flies. Of course, the best baits offer an approximation of what the fish are eating -- and one thing they are almost sure to be eating is crayfish. Crayfish can be imitated with a variety of crankbaits. Be sure to fish them so they plow into the bottom and bounce off the rocks and gravel.

Fly fishing with poppers, streamers or crayfish imitations is a great way to catch summertime river bass. Photo by author.

A lot of anglers fish river bass with 3-4” tube jigs - another great presentation that mimics their favorite food item. Any soft plastic in the 2-4” range hopped or dragged along the bottom is likely to be thumped by a hungry bronzeback. My personal favorite is the 3.25” YUM Wooly Bug. This versatile, little bait can be rigged a number of ways, but I prefer to rig it weedless on a size 1 or 1/0 offset bass hook. I rig it Texas style with a 1/4-oz. bullet weight and a small glass or plastic bead between the weight and the knot. When fished on 8-lb. spinning gear, this rig can be accurately pitched to deep pockets under the trees along shaded banks, or hopped along the bottom against the channel edge. The bait's profile mimics a crayfish, and the weight and bead click together and give bass another stimulus to zero in on. Another nice thing about this rig is that the bass typically hold onto the Wooly Bug for a long time, giving the angler plenty of time to set the hook. I prefer to use braided or fused superlines when fishing soft plastics. Smallies can be surprisingly sneaky and often pick up the bait without much to-do. Unlike monofilament, these lines don't stretch, so they telegraph subtle strikes much better than mono. Most superlines come in colors that are more visible than mono as well. I like this because it allows anglers to see their lines and provides another way to detect alight bite. I always use a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader when fishing superlines. Topwater presentations can also be highly productive and are always exciting to fish. Almost any popping bait will draw strikes when the fish are looking up. Fish them with an aggressive pop or two, then let the bait lie still. Most strikes will occur while the lure is motionless. Prop-style baits are also good choices. The Heddon Tiny Torpedo is one of my favorites. Fish these baits the same way you'd fish a popper. Chug it once or twice, and then let it sit for a few seconds. Strikes range from a casual “sip” to an all-out, explo-


P.O. Box 40, Knox, Indiana 46534

sive assault. Anglers are often startled when a bass hits a topwater lure. The resulting adrenaline rush is why these baits are so fun to fish. But don't jump the gun by setting the hook too soon. Wait a second or two to ensure the fish hasn't missed the bait. I always instruct my anglers to say their favorite exclamation after the fish eats the bait, and then set the hook. It's a fun game and works well. Midwestern river smallies vary in size from 6-inches and a few ounces to trophy fish over 20inches weighing several pounds. While big bass can show up any-

where, rivers with the best trophy potential are often subject to progressive regulations like minimal bag limits, slot limits or even strict catch and release. Some of Indiana’s more popular smallmouth streams having good trophy potential include the St. Joseph River, Big Blue River, White River and Sugar Creek. Of course, there are many others. The next time you think it's too hot to fish, plan a float down a nearby river with a fishing buddy. Hop in the canoe and enjoy a day or afternoon catching one of our greatest and most widely available gamefish.

Doug Shrieve of Carmel caught this beautiful smallie in Elkhart County on the St. Joseph River. Photo by author.

® Volume 2013 • Number 7 Publisher: Brian E. Smith Assistant Publisher: Mark C. Smith Editor-in-Chief: Joshua D. Lantz Sportsmen’s Rights Editor: Rick Story Field Editor: John Martino, Central Indiana Field Photographer: Bill Konway, Graphic Design: Advertising Sales: (877) 251-2112 Distribution Manager: D.Lori Smith Editorial Submissions: Subscription Info: Web Site: Business & Publication Office: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 40, Knox, Indiana 46534 Phone: (877) 251-2112 • Fax: (800) 496-8075 INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS® is the official publication of Raghorn Incorporated, and is published monthly at the address listed above. For home delivery and subscription rates, look for the subscription card in this publication. Editorial contributions may be submitted to the above address. No material can be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Photographs are accepted and greatly appreciated. All materials submitted become the property of Raghorn Incorporated and are subject to editing to meet the objectives of this publication. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual authors, not the editors, staff or any other representative of RAGHORN’S INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS or Raghorn, Inc. “Raghorn’s Indiana Outdoor News” is a registered Trademark of Raghorn Incorporated. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be used or copied without prior written consent of Raghorn Inc. Violation of copyright laws will be prosecuted. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to RAGHORN’S INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS, P.O. Box 40, Knox, Indiana 46534.

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August, 2013


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“GUN GEO MARKER” APP OUTRAGES GUN OWNERS Report -A new Android app that allows users to mark the homes of gun owners is receiving heavy criticism from firearms enthusiasts. A new app for Android users on Google’s Play Store is causing controversy mere days after its release. Called Gun Geo Marker, the app aspires to create a crowdsourced database of “dangerous guns and gun owners” that allows users of the app to locate “risks” in their neighborhood. “The Gun Geo Marker operates very simply, letting parents and community members mark, or geolocate, sites associated with potentially unsafe guns and gun owners,” says the app’s product description on Google Play. “These locations are typically the homes or businesses of suspected unsafe gun owners, but might also be public lands or other locations where guns are not handled safely, or situations where proper rights to own or use any particular type of firearm may not exist.” Users who download the app could potentially list any location or home as unsafe, a feature that has many gun owners worried that they may be the target of crime or persecution. “Users can anonymously mark addresses and the owner can’t update or refute the allegation,” commented one of the app’s users in a review. “This is a direct invasion of privacy,” wrote another reviewer. Since the app first appeared in the Google Play Store on July 7, it has garnered well over 1,000 downloads and an equal amount of user comments. Of the roughly 1,200 reviews of the app, 1,170 gave it a one-star rating out of five possible stars. Many of the comments call for the app to be removed entirely from the Store. Gun Geo Marker is the brainchild of developer Brett Stalbaum, who created the app to “address a social problem that is specific to his own country, political culture and constitution.” According to Gun Geo Marker’s website, the app is not designed for discrimination against law-abiding, safe gun owners, or for personal grudges. Users are guided to list only carelessly stored weapons, dangerous and untrained gun owners, and gun owners who violate the law. However, the site also warns that “there is no way for anyone to check the veracity of marked sites beyond living in and understanding your own neighborhood, and using your experience there to determine if a mark makes sense or not.” Earlier this year, New York newspaper the Journal News caused a similar uproar when the paper published the names and addresses of thousands of gun owners. Using an interactive map not unlike the one utilized by Gun Geo Marker, the details of permit holders in New York’s Westchester and Rockland Counties were released online. The resulting flood of negative comments caused a stir in the state’s legislature. When the NY SAFE Act was passed into law, it included a provision which allows the state’s pistol permit holders to keep their information private. Previously, this information was available to the public under certain limitations. As for the Gun Geo Marker, it is still available for download on Google Play for Android users at time of publication.

CABELA’S KING KAT TOURNAMENT TRAIL VEVAY, IN AUG. 9 & 10 The Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail will hit the waters of the Ohio River at Vevay, Indiana for the Cabela's King Kat $10,000.00 Super Event August 9th & 10th, 2013. This is the opportunity for local catfish anglers to compete for $10,000.00 in cash, prizes and a chance to advance to the Cabela’s King Kat Classic. This year's Cabela's King Kat Classic will be held September 26-28, 2013 on Kentucky Lake at Camden, Tennessee. Late registration will be held the day before competition at Best Western-Ogle Hause Inn, 1013 W. Main St. in Vevay from 5-7 pm. Captains Meeting/Seminar will follow at 7pm. Competitors must be a member of the King Kat Association to fish this event. A one year membership is $25.00. To preregister go on line to or call 270-395-6774. Legal waters for the event: From the Meldahl Lock & Dam to the McAlpine Lock & Dam. The tournament weigh-in will be held at the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park in Vevay each day. Tournament hours are 6:30 AM until 3:00 PM each day. All anglers must be in weigh-in line by 4:00 PM with a 5


fish limit per team. To help preserve the sport only live fish will be weighed in and all fish will be released after the tournament. The Switzerland County Tourism would like to welcome all Cabela’s King Kat anglers and their guest to the area and hope they take the opportunity to enjoy the many attractions in the area. For more information on the area call: 1-(800)-435-5688 or visit their website at: Host lodging for the event will be the Best Western-Ogle Hause Inn, 1013 W. Main St. in Vevay. For reservations call: (812) 427-2020.

AN EASY WAY TO FIND THE DEER LICENSE YOU NEED DNR Report Deer season begins Sept. 15, with the opening of hunting in designated urban zones. Determining which deer license(s) you need for the coming season should be easier thanks to improvements to the DNR’s online sport license finder. The website,, has been improved to include all deer license types. “Changes to the deer rules in the 2012 season confused some hunters about which deer license types to use,” says Michelle Cain, wildlife information specialist with the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “Most hunters know they need a deer license, but it can sometimes be hard to determine which license you need,” Cain continues. “The new system allows hunters to choose their equipment type and then gives them a list of licenses for that equipment type and what can be legally harvested.” In addition to equipment, the new system allows users to identify the type of deer license they need based on whether the hunter is an adult, and whether the hunter is an Indiana resident. Deer licensing options are numerous and range from a simple $7 youth hunt/trap license for deer hunters age 17 and younger to a $65 license bundle that covers all hunting equipment and allows for the harvest of one antlered and two antlerless deer. The license finder also helps hunters and anglers determine what license they need to legally hunt or fish for all Indiana game species.

August, 2013



Beginning Saturday, Aug. 3 at noon EDT until Oct. 31, or until the license quota is met, 1,200 licenses will be available for purchase . Please remember that a spot in line before noon on Aug. 3 does not guarantee a license. All wolf license purchases are first-come, first-served. Wolf licenses cost $100 for Michigan residents and $500 for nonresidents. Licenses will be available online at, at any authorized license agent, and at the following DNR offices: Baraga Customer Service Center, Bay City Customer Service Center, Cadillac Customer Service Center, Crystal Falls Field Office, Escanaba Field Office, Gaylord Customer Service Center, Marquette Customer Service Center, Naubinway Field Office, Newberry Customer Service Center, Norway Field Office, Plainwell Customer Service Center, Roscommon Customer Service Center, Rose Lake Field Office, Sault Ste. Marie Field Office, Southfield Customer Service Center and Traverse City Field Office. DNR offices will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT), but they may close earlier if wolf licenses sell out. Also on Aug. 3, DNR wildlife staff members will be available to answer wolf hunting questions at the offices listed above. For more information regarding hunting dates, regulations and the required wolf call-in system, please check the 2013 Wolf Hunting Digest. All digests can be found online at Paper copies of the digest are available at any location where DNR licenses are sold.



A Lake Michigan angler caught more than he bargained for last month when he reeled in an 8-pound, exotic Amazonian catfish commonly known as a redtail catfish. The redtail catfish was caught at Portage Lakefront Park by Mike Durfee. It’s native to South America’s Amazon River system and is a popular aquarium fish in the United States. The fish would not have survived the cold water of Lake Michigan during Indiana’s winter. Like many other aquarium species, the redtail catfish can grow large. The International Game Fish Association world record was caught in 2010 on the Amazon River and weighed over 123 pounds. The fish Durfee caught likely was purchased when it was 2 to 4 inches long and raised in an aquarium until it outgrew the aquarium, according to Eric Fischer, aquatic invasive species coordinator in the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “The first response of some owners may be to release unwanted fish into the closest natural water body thinking they are helping their pets out by setting them free,” Fischer said. It is illegal in Indiana to release not only aquarium fish but also all other fish into public waters without a fish stocking permit. “Some aquarium fish, exotic snails, and aquarium plants can permanently disrupt the natural environment,” Fischer said. “Exotic species impact our native wildlife by increasing competition for aquatic resources and introducing diseases.” A person who has an unwanted aquarium pet should pursue an alternative to illegally releasing it into the wild. Many retailers will allow you to return unwanted aquarium pets or will put you in contact with another aquarium enthusiast or local aquarium society that is capable of caring for them. Sightings and reports of exotic species should be reported to the DNR through the online reporting system or by calling 1-866-NO EXOTIC (1-866-663-9684).

Rule Changes - Continued from Cover ground blinds used during the day when hunting any species for which the hunter is required to wear hunter orange. • Allow the use of a draw-loc device for archery equipment when deer hunting. The proposed changes are subject to review and approval by the Attorney General and Governor, a process that can take as long as 75 days, after which they are published in the Indiana Register. Rules become effective 30 days after publication, unless a later effective date is specified in the rule.

August, 2013

JIMBIDDLE August I recently told you about my old tackle box full of lures. I think the highest priced lure I own cost around $5. I was shocked when I read an article in an outdoor magazine about a designer lure -- a Roman Made Mother swim bait that sells for $410. The designer of this lure is Toshinori Takeyama. As the article says, it takes some guts to cast a car payment into the water to catch a bass. It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of snagging your lure on a submerged log. The article did mention a few other designer lures, but they only cost $25. I guess the next big item marketed for the angler will be a theft proof tackle box. I don’t think I will buy one until the price comes down and they are available at my local baitshop. Hey, here’s your free fishing report for August. Lake Michigan Glen at Mik-Lurch Tackle in Hammond tells me you can catch perch in the Calumet Park area near the Indiana-Illinois line with


minnows and soft shells. Chinook and coho salmon are concentrated in the Illinois and Michigan waters right now. If you take a run out there, Glen says you can take them with meat rigs, Hey Baby spoons or Spin Doctors and flies. Glen says you can take bass nearly everywhere with top water lures right now. The smallmouth bass action is especially good on the big lake around Pastrick and Hammond marinas. Take some jumbo leeches and head to Wolf Lake for good walleye action. I hear they are catching some nice ones. Willow Slough is producing some big redear, but the place is very weedy right now.

and other local waters.

Saint Joseph River Dick Parker at Parker’s Central Bait & Tackle in Mishawaka says the big action on the river is walleye. He says leeches and small crank baits will do the job for marble eyes up and down the river. Expect to catch some smallmouth too.

East Central Indiana Ed Gipson at Peacepipe Bait & Tackle at Andrews says the catfish action is great, but most other fishing on Salamonie and Mississinewa is rather slow. Crappie and bluegill fishing should most likely pick up with the recent weather change. Ed says there are still a few walleye being taken and hopefully that too will pick up.

Central Indiana Dave McCalla at The Bait Barn in Indianapolis reports great bluegill action on Geist Reservoir, especially around the marina. Dave says largemouth bass are providing a lot of action in the area too. Most of the folks after bass are using Kelly’s worms, touchdowns or other rubber worms. Dave says your best bet is to use bright colors. hey are also taking a lot of blue cats out of the White River

West Central Indiana Terry Rains from Twin Lakes Fish & Game in Monticello tells me that nearly everything is hitting in his neck of the woods. White bass are really active on lakes Shafer and Freeman. The “silvers” are taking crankbaits and Little Cleos. You can still take some walleye this month, but you’ll have to work at it. Terry says trolling with Shad Raps may be your best bet. Surprisingly, crappie action is still going like gangbusters Sounds to me like you’d better get down to Monticello to let Terry fill you bait bucket and head out on the water.

Northwest Indiana Penny Boisvert at Greenwood Bait Shop in English Lake says the water level in the Kankakee River has dropped considerably, making fishing much better. Anglers are taking some nice catfish around Dunn’s Bridge and at the Point in English Lake. Go-to baits for taking some nice cats would include night crawlers, cut bait and golden

Special bass rule helping two Noble County lakes A temporary fishing regulation imposed by the DNR at two Noble County lakes has restored balance to largemouth bass populations – at least for now. The rule allowed anglers during summer 2011 to catch and keep bass that were 10to 14-inches long. At most northern Indiana lakes, all bass less than 14 inches must be released. Dubbed a “harvest slot limit,” the rule was designed to reduce the number of small bass in hopes of producing larger ones. Based on surveys by the DNR, anglers harvested 1,900 bass from Big Lake and reduced the number of 10- to 14-inch bass by 41 percent. They removed 611 from Crane Lake and reduced the number by 71 percent. The special rule was in effect from June through August. The standard 14-inch minimum size was re-imposed in September 2011 and remains in effect. The DNR will monitor bass populations at both lakes in coming years to assess whether the rule produces a long-term increase in bass size. The DNR’s goal in thinning out small bass is to enable those that remain to have more food and grow larger. “We’re happy with the results of the slot limit so far,” said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist. “It showed us fishermen are willing to remove surplus bass and take advantage of opportunities to harvest them.” Fishermen apparently liked the slot limit. Some even asked Pearson to apply the limit at other lakes where small bass are plentiful. “That’s a possibility,” he said. “There are several lakes that have the same problem. The slot limit gives us an option and gets anglers involved in fish management.” Pearson said sampling last month at Bear Lake, also in Noble County, showed it has a problem similar to Big and Crane lakes. Pearson captured 246 adult bass in one hour at Bear Lake using an electroshock boat. Only five were larger than 14 inches and none was larger than 15 inches. Meanwhile, the cause of the problem remains a mystery. “We don’t know why some lakes develop over-populations of bass,” said Pearson. “More research is needed to answer that question.”

roaches. A lot of folks are cat fishing with limb lines. There’s some good crappie fishing to be had along the Tenn Mile road in the Kankakee FWA. Take some red wigglers or bee moths and head to Horseshoe Bend just south of LaCrosse if you want to catch some nice ‘gills. Southeast Indiana Tag Nobbe of Brookville Lake Guide Services in Brookville says the fishing is good. White bass are hitting in line spinners. Look for shad schools on your electronics, as that’s where the silvers will be. The walleye are still hitting jigs. Go for crappie on the main lake at about eighteen feet with a tube jig. Black bass are after the shad along the shorelines, so cast a surface lure there and enjoy the action. The catfishing is good with chicken livers. If you want a great fishing experience, give Tag a call at 765-2653238 and tell him Ol’ JB sent you.

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should get better too. With the cool down and less boat traffic after school starts, the fishing should really take off. If you head to Monroe, stop in and check with Dedra, she’ll give you the lowdown on the up-to-the-minute hotspots. Somehow I don’t believe designer lures are the wave of the future for folks who like fishing. I think I will just stick with my old tried and true beat up lures with nice sharp hooks. If that doesn’t work, I’ll grab an old night crawler designed by nature. Hey, good fishing to you and remember what Ol’ JB always says, “keep your hooks sharp if you want to catch a fish.” Good luck and I’ll see you next month.

Southwest Indiana Dedra Hawkins at The Fishin Shedd in Bloomington tells me that the fishing has been slow on and around Lake Monroe, but with the recent cool down everything should pick up. Dedra says you can take crappie around submerged timbers, but they are quite scattered around the lake. Walleye action is picking up and should only get better. Bluegill action has been good and

August bass fishing is always a good bet along outside weedlines.

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August, 2013

The underutilized crayfish

ALANGARBERS To play upon Shakespeare’s words I ask, “Would lobster by any other name taste as sweet?” To that I say yes, for we here in Indiana are blessed with the lobster’s smaller but equally tasty brother, the crayfish. Crawfish, crayfish, crawdads, mud bug, it doesn’t matter what you call them. They are an underutilized resource. Now before you turn up your nose and claim fish-bait will never cross your lips, read this article to the end. Crayfish are found everywhere but are most associated with Louisiana. Crayfish production in Louisiana is the second largest aquacultural industry in the United States, and in Creole cooking crayfish are elevated to a fantastic delicacy! There are about 350 species of crayfish here in the US. They are crustaceans and related to crabs, shrimp, and especially lobster. Indiana is prime crayfish country and I’m sure most of you have seen crayfish in our many waterways, and many have seen the mud chimneys that seem to grow in damp fields and yards. To find out more about them I went to IDNR Aquatic Biologist Brant Fisher. One of my questions was, where’s the best places to find crayfish? “They can literally be found anywhere in the state,” Brant said. “Some of our species are considered 'primary burrowers' - they live the majority of their lives in an elaborate system of burrows that they excavate - in yards, farm fields, or other places that don't seem to be near obvious water sources.” “These burrowing crayfish follow the water table vertically, digging deeper as groundwater sinks lower during drier periods. You can often notice areas where these species are found by the occurrence of 'chimneys', piles of excavated dirt these crayfish build while digging their burrows. These primary burrowers aren't normally seen, as they spend most of their time underground. However, they will often emerge on warmer, wet spring (or fall) days or nights or humid nights in the summer to look for food or mates.” “Besides primary burrowers, we also have secondary burrowers that spend a significant time in burrows, but also frequent creeks and ponds throughout the year. Lastly, we have tertiary crayfish that will build a burrow during times of drought.” Crayfish usually mate in the fall and the females carry the sperm overwinter, producing eggs in the spring which attach to the sticky underside of the female’s abdomen. While carrying the eggs the female is said to be “in berry” and can carry up to seven-hundred eggs.

In a few weeks the eggs hatch into miniature crayfish, but they still stay attached to the mother, long enough for two molts. When the young are about a quarter of an inch long, they are developed enough to fend for themselves. As the crayfish grow they molt or shed their hard outer shell. According to Brant, “Growth is most rapid the first summer of life. They can molt more than ten times in the initial rapid growth, but normally only molt twice per year, in the spring and again in the fall as they mature.” Fully mature Indiana crayfish can reach eight inches in length! Catching crayfish can be very easy, which is good because it takes dozens to make a small meal. Everyone can get involved in the

sport of catching crayfish, including children. The most fun-filled but least productive way is with a baited line on a fishing pole. By dipping bait such as raw bacon, pieces of fish, and related foods into shallow water near rocks and weeds it doesn’t take long for crayfish to latch onto the bait, where they can quickly be lifted out of the water and into a waiting bucket, much like crab fishermen do along the sea coast. In clear water anglers can even spot and stalk crayfish with their baited lines. A more productive way is to build or buy wire-mesh crayfish traps that can be baited with fish heads and guts. By leaving the submerged traps in likely areas in streams and lakes overnight, dozens can be had the following

morning. Do not fall for the inexpensive cloth netting traps found on-line. Turtles can quickly rip them to shreds to get to the bait. A more productive but less predictable method is to find isolated pools in flooded farm fields. Friend and fellow crawfish connoisseur Chuck Brenner found such a pool in early June. By

using a net he and a few friends were able to capture an estimated six-hundred crayfish from just one pool! Their bounty soon became a southern-style crawfish boil the likes of which Indiana rarely sees. Watch for Chuck’s adventure on an upcoming episode on www.indi-

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August , 2013



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5 Photo Information, clockwise from left. . .


1) Quentin Marsh of Bartholomew County captured a great shot of these two young coons. 2) Ryan Edwards of Logansport with a nice largemouth bass. 3) Legendary Lake Ouachita fishing guide, Jerry Bean with a nice striper. 4) Bill Hamilton of Indianapolis submitted this photo of a moose he encountered on a recent trip to Alaska. 5) Geremy caught this nice LaPorte County bass on a Zara Spook.

This month’s answers for Puzzle on Page 17

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Send your photos to: E-mail submissions to: Mail submissions to: Gone Afield P.O. Box 40 Knox, IN 46534 If mailing photos, please include a SASE if you’d like us to return them to you.

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August, 2013

Good lakes for panfishermen

LOUIESTOUT Panfishermen who haven't spent much time on Pleasant and Riddles lakes in southern St. Joseph County, or Bass Lake in Starke County, might want to put them on their radar. District fisheries biologist Tom Bacula spent much of June conducting surveys of those lakes and says they're looking good for bluegills and crappies. Pleasant Lake (29 acres) lies in Lakeville along U.S. 31 and Riddles Lake (77 acres) is connected to it via a channel on the south east end of the lake. “We saw a lot of nice bluegills in both of those lakes and some nice redear,” said Bacula. “We actually saw more bluegills than we've seen in previous surveys at Riddles and we saw some pretty nice pumpkinseeds, too.” Riddles is especially noted for its crappie, and while the DNR crew found quite a few there, nearly half of its catch with shocking gear and gill nets was comprised of bluegill. They didn't get many bass, but Bacula says that could be due to the time of year. “We were out there this spring doing some work and saw some quality bass,” he added. “Our survey showed more legal bass in the lake, but not as many bass as far as total numbers.” The biologist said that one drawback to the lake is that it has a lot of big shad that were put there illegally. Shad compete with native fish and have no value as table fare. “The good news is we didn't

see as many as we have in years' past,” he added. Bass Lake is a misnomer, since bass fishing in the 1,345-acre lake near Knox, Ind. really isn't a good largemouth bass lake. However, it's producing good crappie, white bass and catfish and the walleye fishing isn't bad, either. “We had a creel survey going there and anglers had an incredible spring for crappie fishing,” said Bacula. “The lake has a good year class of 9 to 10 inchers.” Crappie fishing was so good, in fact, that conservation officers wrote several violations to people who exceeded the daily bag limit of 25 fish. The channel catfishing also is exceptional at Bass Lake. Bacula turned up several, including fish in the 5- to 6-pound class. “There appears to be more 'cats than we saw in a 2010 survey,” he offered. Walleye fishing is fair on the lake. It wasn't stocked in 2012 but remnants of a 2011 stocking were apparent. Bacula said those walleyes stocked two years ago measured from 13 to 14.5 inches long. Bass Lake also has an abundance of white bass that measure 11 to 12.5 inches. Bass, Indiana's fourth largest natural lake, is relatively shallow with large shallow flats and very little weed growth or habitat for fish like largemouth bass. Subhead: 'Pattern' key to more fish Avid fishermen like to use a term that some anglers don't quite understand: The pattern. A “pattern” is proven methodology used to find and catch fish on a specific day. It can be a type of lure, how the lure is worked, depth, or any number of environmental factors. The best pattern is one in which you figure out all of those elements.

Banner year for peregrine falcon banding DNR wildlife biologists recently completed banding efforts with a record number of peregrine falcon chicks that were hatched this spring at 15 successful nesting sites across Indiana. “As a species that is dependIDNR/Outdoor Indiana Magazine photo. ent on man-made structures in the lower Midwest, peregrine falcon numbers are at unprecedented levels due to the efforts of many agencies, organizations, companies, and individuals,” said John Castrale, nongame bird biologist with the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “In return, these spectacular birds give wildlife watchers unique viewing opportunities as they hunt and raise their young in urban and industrial areas.” DNR biologists monitor peregrine falcon nesting every year, and most young falcons are banded with leg identification tags to help monitor their movements and survival. The 44 falcon chicks that were banded this year topped the previous high mark of 38 set in 2012. Two additional chicks left their nests this year before biologists could get to them to attach bands. Nesting sites in East Chicago, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Madison, Michigan City and Whiting had the most banded chicks with four each. Three chicks were banded at two sites in Gary and at single nests in Indianapolis, New Albany and Porter County. Once threatened with extinction in North America, peregrine falcons represent one of the most successful restoration stories in the 40 years of the Endangered Species Act. A half century ago, habitat loss and decreased reproduction resulting from use of pesticides, such as DDT, put peregrine falcons in peril of surviving as a species. By 1965, no peregrine falcons nested east of the Mississippi River, and western populations had declined by 90 percent. Indiana started its peregrine falcon reintroduction project in 1991, and by 1994 the DNR had released 60 young falcons in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and South Bend. The number of nesting pairs in the state has slowly increased. Nests are located on buildings, under bridges, and on smokestacks along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and in major urban areas.

It's like putting together a puzzle. The sooner you get all the pieces in place, the better your success will be on a given day. It's a system bass fishermen use but it also can be applied to just about any other kind of fish that lives in our natural lakes. Although all fish can be difficult to catch, they are predictable in some of their movements and habits, especially after they spawn. This time of year, they are motivated by food and comfort, the latter of which can include safety. They often school by size; there can be multiple patterns ongoing throughout a lake, but there's usually one or two that produce the bigger fish. While bass and bluegill patterns can differ considerably, it's important to be cognizant of the conditions where you catch quality fish - regardless of what you're targeting - and the environment in which they were holding. Bait type and color can be important, but only if they best mimics the type of forage the fish are eating in that area.

Pumpkinseed sunfish this size forage almost exclusively on baitfish and are an underutilized resource for anglers. This lucky angler caught and released a dandy on a Roadrunner in LaPorte County. Josh Lantz photo.

Crayfish - Continued from Page 6 It takes three to five pounds of crawfish per person for a good meal and Indiana’s regulations allow each Indiana fishing license holder to possess fivehundred crayfish. It may take a few days to gather enough crayfish for a boil so they need to be retained alive. One mistake many first-timers make is to keep their crayfish in a bucket of water, only to watch them quickly die. Crayfish have gills that breathe underwater and also breathe out of water. When crayfish are placed in a container of non-aerated water, they quickly use up all the oxygen in the water, and since they can’t get out of the water to breathe air, they suffocate and die. It is better to keep crayfish in a container with a bed of damp sawdust in a cool area. Just as a warning, crayfish will kill and eat each other. In preparation for consumption the crayfish should be cleaned and purged. The best way to do this is with fresh, non-chlorinated water. The idea is to clean them inside and out. Not doing so can leave them with a strong objectionable taste. Some recommend leaving the crawfish in cool, clean, aerated water for twenty-four hours which is supposed to allow the crayfish time to flush their insides and wash the outsides. Change the water when is becomes dirty. A quicker way is the gently hose down the crayfish with fresh water to remove mud, algae, and other dirt, then submerge the crayfish in saltwater. The shock of going into saltwater brine causes the crawfish to expel anything inside which can then be washed away. Don’t leave the crawfish in the salt brine too long or it can kill them. After the salt bath, flush the crayfish tank with fresh water until it runs clean. Throw out any dead crawfish. The crayfish are now ready to be boiled. Like lobsters and crabs, lobsters are plunged into boiling water while still alive. Most grocery stores sell traditional crab and crayfish boil spices already packaged with instructions on how to cook them. The traditional Cajun method is to add corn-on-the-cob and potatoes to the crawfish boil, but since the crawfish cook quickly, it is best to cook the corn and potatoes almost done before adding the crawfish. With the pot rapidly boiling with the vegetables and crab boil spices, add the crawfish and bring back to a boil. It doesn’t take long to cook the crayfish. The instructions on the spice mix specify how long to boil the crayfish and generally it’s just a few minutes before the pot is pulled from the burner. Let the pot sit for another ten to fifteen minutes, then drain. Experts recommend picking out any crayfish whose tail didn’t curl under as that indicates that they were already dead before cooking. As soon as the crayfish are cool enough to handle, it’s time to eat! Traditionally the way to eat crawfish is to twist the head off and then suck the “fat” out of the exposed insides. Next, pinch the base of the tail, which releases the meat and shoves it forward so that it can be grabbed with the teeth and eaten. That’s it! You just took your first big step to being a real Cajun! Don’t throw away the larger claws. Crack them open because like crabs and lobsters the claws have pure-white meat that is very tasty. If the idea of sucking crawfish heads is too much for you, you’re not alone. You can still enjoy the great taste of crayfish. As before, twist off the head and set aside. Pinch the tail and pull the meat free. With the tail meat sitting top-side up, a tab of meat will be hanging out from where is separated from the head. Gently pull the tab up and back, taking the mud vein with it. Throw the tab/mud vein section away so all that remains is pure, white meat. Dip it in melted butter and you will be living like a king. If you want to explore Cajun cooking, many crawfish recipes, such as crawfish etouffee, use the fat taken from the head for flavoring. (Watch Once you get over the squeamishness of crawfish, a world of incredible flavor awaits. Crawfish tails cooked in garlic butter is better than any shrimp scampi. Breaded crawfish po-boys are hard to beat. The list goes on and on and crayfish are plentiful. How about a surf and turf dinner of venison tenderloin and crawfish tail drenched with butter? Can life get any better? For more information on making traps, cleaning, and cooking crawfish check out the wealth of videos on

August, 2013

Halibut & Humpbacks D.L.SMITH Curves in Camo TM Large stands of pine covered the mountainous landscape as we traveled out to the deep waters of Kachemak Bay's prime fishing area. Humpback whales breached in the deep, cool waters and the backdrop of three volcanoes reminded us that we were visiting the northern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Alaska is like entering a dream. It is beautiful beyond imagining. For someone who loves the out of doors, Alaska is the magic kingdom of the wilderness. “Wait, wait, wait,” Captain Dave of Seldovia Fishing Adventures coached, as my rod dipped with the tugs of a large bottom dwelling fish. I braced my legs against the gunwale, digging the large, deep-sea fishing rod into my hip. “Now!” Captain Dave directed me to set the hook and I began reeling. Swells rocked the 30-foot sportfishing vessel, "Peggy 'N' Me". Finding a rhythm that didn't force me to fight with the rolling of the big waters, I began the battle. Ten minutes into reeling, I had new

How to Become a Field/Pro Staff and What Does That Mean? STACYYOUNG Curves in Camo TM You are a Pro Staff? That must mean that you're a professional. As much as many would really like for that statement to be true, it just isn't. When you are on a pro staff for a company, you promote that company and whatever product or service they offer. I see it all too often when someone becomes a promotional staff person, they let it get to their head and next thing you know, they think that the company owes them something and they owe the company nothing. It is important to remember that you are working for that company and they are paying you in either product or money to promote them. If you cannot do this, there are many others lined up who would gladly


appreciation for the electric reels we were using. I played the fish, pulling back on the rod and reeling as it dipped back toward the water. Fighting and reeling 200 feet of line was a workout, but eventually, a bright orange fish crested the water. We had a yelloweye rockfish on board. It looked unreal. The bright, clownish color made it look like a plastic fantasy fish. Nonetheless, it would definitely not taste like plastic, and would be a tasty addition to our day’s catch. After baiting with fresh herring, I reset the line at a little over 200 feet. We were slowly drifting in the heavy wind toward a natural deep-water shelf. As we hit the new depth, I let out more line to keep the bait at the level that would hold halibut. Homer and Seldovia, Alaska are the halibut capitals of the world. It is not uncommon to see barn door slab halibut topping out at over 200 pounds hanging along the docks. Choosing to stay and enjoy the less touristy side of Kachemak Bay, we booked our stay and fishing charter in Seldovia. Seldovia has a year round population of around 255 people. It is a true representation of what Alaska

is all a b o u t . World-class fishing and hunting is right out the door, and friendly, open people with a deep appreciation of the natural resources are the bonuses that seal the deal in this quaint bay town. Dating to before the settlement of Russian fur traders in the late 1700's, Seldovia is a rich fishing

take your place. Now, being on a field staff is similar to pro staff except they are the ones who are primarily in the field testing out the new products and passing it on to friends and others they run into. I have never been the kind of person to be on staff with a lot of companies. I want to try out a product and then if I like it and believe in it, then I may consider the next step of becoming a pro/field staff for them to help further their company while I receive some perks in the process. There is not much that frustrates me more than seeing someone with 30 or 40 companies behind their name, yet they cannot even tell you why they like a certain product on their shirt or why it is better than a competitor’s product. If I ask you what makes this stabilizer better than that one, I expect an honest answer including experiences you have had with each product. If you cannot answer these questions, then it may not be your time to be on staff with them. Now, how do you become a pro/field staff person for a company? Well, the first thing you need to do is show that you are valid. Show pictures of you in the field doing what you love, whether it is duck hunting or deer hunting. The size of the animal doesn't matter to most companies as much as the amount of time you are out and how many people know about what you are doing. If all you do is stay to yourself, hunt your own property and nobody knows it but you, then a company may not be interested. What do you have to offer that

company? It works both ways. They help you, and you help them. Be outgoing and remember it is not all about what free products you can get. You need to want to promote that company because you believe in their products and look at the products they give you as a bonus. You will need a resume as if you are applying for a job. In this resume, you want to describe anything that is pertinent to an outdoor job. List any organization you volunteer for, any competitions such as archery or clay shooting you have done, outdoor shows you attend or work, and successful hunts that you have been on. You can put anything in it you think would help your chances as long as it is factual and honest. If there is one thing I have learned in the years I have been around the outdoor industry, it is that everyone knows everyone and it is small. Your claims had better be true, because you risk someone calling you out if they are not. In addition to the resume, it is nice to throw in some extras like a flyer or a video resume. The flyer is just a short, quick reference piece you can pass out. You can give the company your resume at a later date when they ask for it. The video resume is pretty cool because it actually puts pictures to the products and is another creative way to document your passion for the outdoors. Submit your resume to as


The author bears down on a Kachemak Bay halibut. Mark Smith photo.

location. The small town offers a peaceful, laid back option to the hustle and bustle of the often tourist-crowded areas on the Kenai Peninsula. Seldovia, while on the mainland of the Kenai Peninsula, is cut off by a glacier, which makes land travel from the rest of the peninsula impossible. The isolation has left this area less exploited, which offers an untarnished Alaskan experience. Otters float in the harbor, cracking delicious shellfish on their bellies. Eagles soar over the recreational and commercial fishing boats in the harbor, while ravens keep watch over the fishing scraps from successful trips to the deep, pristine waters. It is unrushed, friendly and unassuming. My partner in outdoor adventures, Mark Smith, watched out over the waters on the overcast day. His rod dipped, signaling another fish on. Mark removed his rod from the holder and began reeling in. Mark made it look easy. I felt like a complete wuss. While I struggled with muscling these fish through the deep water, he was zinging his through like nothing. He could at least make me feel better and look like it was a chore to fight the fish. The reason for the ease in reeling become clear as what crested on the end of his line came into view. It was not a fish. It was an Octopus. The orange skin and white tentacles smacked onto the decking. That was a first for us, but hey, we like it in sushi right? More for us to eat! My rod dipped again. Removing the heavy rod from the holder, I again nestled it into my hip and prepared for another fight. I waited for the fish to take the bait. The rod dipped heavily and I set the hook. It felt different than the last fish. I had to muscle the rod to get any slack so I could reel in line. The rocking waters added a little extra challenge to the fight. I had to be constantly aware to avoid line slack. My arms were aching. It felt like I was reeling a door through the water. Pausing, I caught my breath

many companies as you would like, just remember that you are there to work for them, so do not take on more than you can handle. And last but not least, always conduct yourself in a professional manner no matter where you are. Do not post things on webpages or social media that you would not want the CEO of the company to read. Such actions make people not take you seriously and raise questions about whether they can trust you as a hunter/promoter. To the ladies out there, please be a good role model for young women and to the other ladies who look up to us lady hunters by not wearing clothes that are to revealing. I cannot take a woman seriously as a hunter or true outdoor girl when they are in a bikini shooting a bow in their yard with 3-feet of snow on the ground. There is a time and a place for a bikini, but shooting a bow is not that time or place. We need men and other women in the industry to look at us and know we are here because we deserve to be here, not because we are just another pretty face.

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The author with her Halibut in Seldovia Harbor. Mark Smith photo. and allowed my arms to regain feeling. The rod was pulled back toward the water. I fought it back and reeled the rod top back down towards the water. Every muscle was screaming. Why hadn't I worked out more? Fighting for over a half-hour, I finally had the fish to the back of the boat. Captain Dave peered into the water to see if he would need the gaff or the small caliber gun to bring the fish on board. Large halibut can be dangerous if brought on board a boat while still alive. In order to bring a large halibut on board safely, it needs to be immobilized and the preferred method for many long time halibut guides is a small caliber rifle. While the halibut was large it wasn't so big that it needed to be dispatched prior to coming on board. Captain Dave boated my first halibut. It was a generous sized flat fish. I could almost taste the firm, white meat that has earned the halibut the nickname of chicken of the sea. We added the halibut to the day’s catch. Mist settled in, making me thankful for my bright yellow raingear. By the end of the day we landed our limit of both halibut and rockfish. The waters were choppy, but the wildlife made up for it with abundant diversity. We saw more whales, and two pods of dolphins chased our boat along the way. As we neared the calmer shores around Seldovia, large sea otters slept amid tangles of kelp. Once we docked, Captain Dave and his wife Peggy cleaned and wrapped our day's catch, sending it overnight back to Indiana. We didn't have to make any special arrangements or worry about getting our catch home, we could just relax and enjoy Seldovia. It had been a long day. The calm, quiet of a dinner over looking the harbor topped off our worldclass day of fishing. The Linwood Bar and Grill's view included at least a half dozen eagles soaring over the harbor and a lone sea otter enjoying his dinner among the boats. It was the perfect end to the day. Seldovia is the very essence of Alaska, rural yet comfortable; remote yet accessible; modern but not commercial. The only thing I need to know now is, when can I go back?

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Outdoor Success Stories:

August, 2013

Only the Shad

Southern Michigan Idea Man

Shadow Hunter Octagon Blinds in Combo (L) and Archery (R) configurations.

Jim Bainbridge of Marcellus, Michigan is an idea man. Perhaps it comes from the longstanding tradition of practical ingenuity that cuts deeply through southern Michigan. Maybe its in his DNA. Experts say a key difference between highly successful people and everyone else is that highly successful people don’t just have great ideas -- they act on them. Well, Jim Bainbridge certainly falls into the category of the latter, and one of the ideas he endeavored to move forward with was Shadow Hunter Blinds.

The Shadow Hunter Story

The view from inside a Shadow Hunter Octagon Archery model.

A lifelong, avid outdoorsman, Bainbridge made an initial foray into the business side of the outdoors when he began building custom, aluminum dog boxes in the early 90’s. His products were locally popular and he gained a reputation for treating people fairly and making a quality product -- two characteristics that would serve him well in his next endeavor. Permanent ground blinds started to become popular with Midwestern deer hunters in the mid-90’s -- especially in cold and

snowy Michigan. “All of the blinds on the market at that time were wooden,” Bainbridge recalls. “The mice and especially the porcupines would literally chew them to pieces,” he says. Due to his dog box business, Jim was already set-up for aluminum fabrication, so he began experimenting with a few prototype, aluminum exterior box blinds for his own personal use in 1996. Jim’s blinds proved to be not only rodent-proof, but strong, comfortable and practical as well. Anyone who saw one wanted one. Whenever Bainbridge has what he thinks is a good idea, he likes to show it to other folks to get ideas on how to improve it. That’s Jim’s way. “I showed the blinds to my neighbors and they all asked if I’d build a couple for them,” he says. “We came up with different designs and sizes for the different ways people like to hunt,” he continues. Jim needed to name his new company. The name Shadow Hunter comes from the company’s innovative window systems, which consist of an exterior shield and an inner glass track system. The Silent Shadow Window System

consists of interior windows which are smooth and silent when opened and closed, with exterior shields that protect the windows and cut glare from the outside. Hunters can “shadow themselves out” to game by closing the windows and shields behind them. “You can’t hunt effectively in most blinds in low light,” says Bainbridge, referring to the fact that if you open all the windows to let available light in and afford yourself a 360-degree view, you are also letting your scent escape. “Shadow Hunter Blinds allow hunters to keep as many windows closed as they want in order to totally contain their scent. They can easily and silently open any window they choose once they are ready to shoot,” he says. In 1999, Shadow Hunter Blinds shipped its first order to a dealer, and the network of Shadow Hunter dealers has grown each year since. By 2002, Shadow Hunter Blinds were being sold and used by hunters across the country. Jim’s marketing plan included attending a lot of outdoor shows to keep in touch with the needs of hunters and would-be customers. At one particular show, Jim met some existing customers who asked about the

August, 2013


dow Hunter Knows

n Helps Thousands Enjoy the Hunt best way to get the blinds up in the air. He thought about the idea and quickly realized that while folks could build their own custom platforms for the blinds, there had to be a way that he could help them make the job easier and safer. Jim came home and designed what are known and sold today as Elevator Brackets. Shadow Hunter’s Elevators consist of a variety of heavy duty, welded steel brackets formed at precise angles that help do-it yourselfers to easily construct sturdy and safe elevated platforms for their Shadow Hunter Blinds. As it so often happens with any good idea in business, the market found other uses for Jim’s Elevators too. They work great for playhouses, treehouses, swings and play sets. Shadow Hunter sells over 15,000 sets of Elevators every year. Word about Shadow Hunter’s innovative designs, quality construction and functionality in the field spread, and by 2004, demand for Shadow Hunter Blinds and Elevators had grown to the point where Jim’s production facility in Marcellus couldn’t keep up. A second manufacturing facility was brought online in nearby White Pigeon, Michigan.

The Shadow Hunter Series Today, Shadow Hunter offers16 different models in five standard sizes and a variety of configurations for any hunter. They offer models specifically for archery, firearms and crossbow use, as well as versatile combo and wheelchair accessible models. They also offer neat, portable models for ice fishing. All Shadow Hunter Blinds have peaked roofs and are fully insulated and carpeted for comfort and sound deadening. Of course, Shadow Hunter Blinds are weather proof and still rodent proof. Exteriors are available in the original Shadow Hunter camo, as well as two optional Wild Vinyl camouflage patterns. What started 17-years ago as a simple idea to make Jim’s own, personal hunting more successful and enjoyable has grown today into every idea-man’s dream -- that with hard work, determination and additional input from others, the same good idea can grow and be useful to thousands of other people. “Our goal, as it has been from the start,” says Bainbridge, “is to provide people with quality products that make their own hunting

By Lance Davidson experiences more successful and enjoyable.” We say, “mission accomplished, Jim,” but Bainbridge isn’t sitting back on his laurels. He’s hard at work every day incorporating new ideas into his already highly successful products. Stay tuned for more information on Jim’s latest invention. It’s a line of products that makes a

common task in the outdoors much aster and simpler, whether you are camping, boating, hunting or just out for some quality time in the backyard. You’re going to want a few dozen of them. For more information on Shadow Hunter’s complete line of quality, innovative products, go to

Shadow Hunter owner and founder, Jim Brainbridge, with his 2012 bucks from Iowa and Canada.

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August, 2013

Ode to the baldpate

BABEWINKELMAN Of all ducks, my favorite species might be the American Widgeon, otherwise known as the "Baldpate" or "Robber." Baldpate derives from the drake's distinctive white crown atop his head (pate). He gets the Robber name from his propensity to hang with coots and other divers; and when they surface with weeds in their bills, old Mr. Widgeon is there to snatch the morsels away. Hey, it's a duck-eatduck world out there. Reflecting upon the beautiful, aero-agile Baldpate, my mind casts back to a cold November morning from my youth. A friend and I hit the slough in the pre-dawn darkness to find the trusty Alumacraft frozen quite solidly in. Some heavy kicks broke it free, and more ice-breaking was required through the shallows just to get to skim ice out in the middle of the wetland. We paddled around in that just to break it up, and I'll never forget the sound of all those clinking ice shards against the aluminum hull painted dead-grass and in dire need of a fresh coat. After liquifying about 40-square yards of water, we threw out a dozen or so mallard decoys. Some old handmade cork dekes that had duped their fair share of greenheads over the years. The decoys wouldn't be doing much swimming that morning, as there wasn't a stitch of wind to move them. Oh well, that's duck hunting. Satisfied with our meager spread, we push-poled the boat into the cattails and poured some hot coffee from a battered thermos. Dawn dawned. And the sky filled with... nothing. Neither a duck in sight, nor a whistling wing to be heard. Dejectedly we sat with our coffee, gradually accepting what we had feared - that every feathery fowl had taken the southbound express to beat the freeze. Then, suddenly, it began to snow. Light, small flakes at first, gradually building to giant flakes by the billions - all falling straight down. It was lovely. And in such heavy volume that we could scarcely see our closest decoy just 15 yards away. Beaten, we made ready to collect our corks and head home for bacon and dry clothes. That's when we heard it. The Wheep-WheepWheep whistle of drake Baldpates. Like 30 phantoms they materialized from the flakes in a low pass over the decoys and disappeared just as quickly and magically, restoring the air to silence. We were dumbfounded and frozen in befuddlement, until... the whistles returned just before the phantoms did - and we were ready for them this time. Pow! Pow! One round apiece is all we could manage in the eye-blink of clarity through the heavy snowfall. Within the ringing echo of the shots, two plump Baldpates floated belly-up amidst the blocks. My pal and I traded smiles for

the unexpected and sudden gift of ducks, and then we heard the whistles again. Who knows if it was the same flock coming back undeterred. Or maybe they were fresh birds. It didn't matter, because they came back - rocketing through the calm blizzard like kamikaze Zeros on a mission. Pow! Pow! Two more snap shots and another Widgeon joined his brothers in the great beyond. And so the morning went. Every few minutes the squadron would return, hell bent on getting into that water before a two-shot volley sent them rising, save for the fallen. It was the most thrilling and challenging wing shooting either of us had ever had. And when the barrels cooled, ten drake Baldpates lay lined up across the center bench of the old Alumacraft. We were con-

vinced that the entire flock was drakes, sent to us as a gift from some kind angel in duck hunting heaven. Boy, if there was a day I would love to re-live, that November Baldpate bonanza would rank right up there. But I can replay it in my mind whenever I choose, as I have done today. I hope you liked hearing the tale as much as I enjoyed telling it. Good Hunting. Babe Winkelman hosts "Good Fishing" and "Outdoor Secrets," the most-watched fishing and hunting programs on television. Tune in on NBC Sports Network, Destination America, Velocity, Time Warner Sports Texas & New York and many local broadcast channels. Visit for air times and more information.

ION Editor, Josh Lantz, with a pair of American widgeon he doubled on during a hunt at Kankakee FWA last fall. Photo by Chris Jennings.

August, 2013


NEW Shimano Chronarch C14+ Baitcast Reel

NEW Gadwall Approach




Final Approach, a reputable leader in the waterfowl industry since 1993, has introduced a new Gadwall floating duck decoy six-pack set. Each Gadwall six-pack includes three drakes and three hens, with several head positions in each pack. Final Approach decoys are custom-designed to provide outstanding definition and realism in the field. Custom-quality, highly visible paint schemes and highly realistic texture and feather detail set Final Approach decoys apart from other products on the market. With an anatomically correct one-piece construction that incorporates the head and weighted keel, the Gadwall is a simple, durable decoy designed to perform season after season. Available this month, the Final Approach Gadwall decoy six-pack set will have an MSRP of $94.95. To learn more about Final Approach and its complete line of waterfowl blinds, high-definition decoys and accessories, visit

Built to last, engineered to perform, the newest version of the legendary Shimano Chronarch baitcasting reel takes performance to even higher levels. The SVS Infinity Braking System exerts gentle braking force in two directions: centrifugal outward force from adjustable inner pins, and internal friction force in the concave raceway housing the external pins. With the addition of X-Ship for incredibly precise gear engagement and a positively rigid retrieve, plus an advanced a CI4+ frame that's lighter than and stronger than aluminum, you've got a super-powered low-profile baitcaster unlike any other you've ever palmed. They match up perfectly to Shimano's Crucial rods, just in case you're looking for a perfect pairing. Other benefits that come standard are High Efficiency Gearing (HEG); Super Free bearing supported pinion gear system; A7075 aluminum Magnumlite™ spool; Dartainium® 2 drag washer; 8 bearing system (7SARB bearings + 1 ARB roller bearing); Super Stopper® II anti-reverse with Assist Stopper; Septon PV power grips; titanium IP line guides; double-anodized spool and handle; Disengaging Levelwind System; and QuickFire II® clutch bar. The Chronarch C14+ Baitcast Reel retails for around $270. For more information, go to

Winchester Blind Side Waterfowl Ammunition

NEW Frabill Crankbait Series Net The wait is over… and so is your net-tangling frustration. After two years of development Frabill is introducing its all-new Crankbait Net. Designed specifically to keep crankbaits, stickbaits and other multi-hook lures from becoming entangled in the netting, this remarkable new product is improving how anglers land large fish species. The netting is constructed with a proprietary hexagonal knotless mesh that has been double-dipped in a durable vinyl coating. This thin, lightweight and sealed mesh surface is easy to maneuver and resists hook snags and snares. Lures simply "pop out" without catching on net fibers. The net's fish-friendly design also provides a deep flatbottom basket that allows your catch to lay flat, protecting fish gills and gill covers from being damaged. The Frabill Crankbait Net is available in 3 sizes and a variety of hoop and handle options. For more information, go to

NEW DeSantis Springfield XDS




DeSantis Gunhide®, a division of HELGEN Industries Inc., introduces its latest holster availability for the Springfield XDs .45, 9mm. The Intruder® is designed for both concealment and comfort. It is tuckable and adjustable for both height and cant. The holster back consists of top grain premium steer-hide and the leather front component is finished with a supremely durable polyurethane film for lasting beauty. Each Intruder® is molded from genuine Kydex® sheet to exact specifications. Available in black. DeSantis Gunhide® is a leading holster manufacturer for city, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the U.S. armed forces, as well as hunting/sport shooting organizations around the world. DeSantis delivers a full range of holster products and accessories designed to meet or exceed the needs of its customers. Retail is around $63. For more information, please visit

Haven’t tried Blind Side yet? With 250% more trauma-causing power and 15% more pellets per shell, ducks and geese won’t know what hit them. Game-changing hexahedron-shaped pellets crumple waterfowl with a six-sided punch that cuts through feathers and keeps going. Unlike round shot, Hex shot focuses energy transfer and concentrates bluntforce trauma with sharp corners and flat sides for massive wound channels and flight-stopping shock. Space-optimizing Hex™ shot also provides superior packing density by stacking gap-free in the shot cup. These tight-fitting stacks create room for 15% more pellets in every shell and save space for bigger powder charges, providing more velocity. The exclusive Diamond-Cut Wad manages pattern density and uniformity with diamond-shaped air-brake petals for improved downrange performance, stretching the instant kill-zone up to 25%. The hinged wad column also increases velocity while reducing peak pressure and perceived recoil. Reengineered Drylok Super Steel® system for water-resistant durability. Per 25. Made in USA. Retail price is between $20 and $27 per box.

Toolio Bow Tuner by Real Avid Throw away those clunky Allen wrenches. Overbuilt to bow tuning torque demands, this smart new ergonomic design takes advantage of the working angle and shape of your hand to make bow tuning fast and easy. Comes with 10 hex wrenches that seat in one of 3 hex drivers. The Allen style bits come with a ball-end so that the 3-way driver can be used 10 degrees off square without loss of grip in ultra tight areas. The 1/4" driver will fit any standard hex bit, so adaptability to other jobs is virtually limitless. Bits are made of ultra tough 50CRV-A tooled steel for long life. The Toolio Bow Tuner sells for $24.99 at

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NEW Cabela’s Stalker Extreme™ Carbon Arrows Cabela’s started with their customer-favorite Stalker Extreme shafts, improved the straightness factor to ± .003'', and then outfitted each with Blazer vanes to come up with an arrow you can count on for consistent, reliable performance with broadheads and field points alike. The high-strength carbon-composite fibers and unidirectional, carbon-filled core contribute to each arrow's light weight and professional-grade performance. This arrow is loaded with features for the discriminating bowhunter. The microsmooth finish provides a quieter, smoother draw and is easier on arrow rests and targets. Added mass means you get better kinetic energy, quieter bows, more stable flight and superb shaft-to-shaft weight consistency. The 2" Blazer vanes weigh just 5 gr. each but use a combination of super-strong material and a precise, leading-edge angle to stabilize even the largest fixed-blade broadheads, while maximizing speed potential. In independent testing comparing field points and broadheads, the groups were nearly identical at 30 yds. Arrows are full length and equipped with Easton Super Nocks and RPS inserts. Per 6. Made in USA. On sale now at for $34.99. Sizes: 55/70 Ibs. (8.4 gpi); 65/80 lbs. (9.3 gpi). Length: 31” (55/70), 31.5” (65/80). Weight tolerance: ± 2 gr. Diameter: .294” (55/70), .298” (65/80).

Hooker Deer Drag The Hooker Deer Drag is an innovative answer to the chore of moving your deer through the woods, and even loading it into a pickup or trailer. A set of two long hooks (rated at 1000 lbs. each) are constructed from solid 3/8-inch diameter steel, powder-coated in blaze orange or neon pink, and are made in the USA. Each hook has a large, comfortable handle with a thick foam grip that accommodates bare hands or even thick gloves, and a heavy-duty 1-inch wide nylon web looped strap. The straps can be attached to a buck’s rack, or the hook ends can be easily attached to the hind legs of an antlerless deer. These hooks enable a single hunter to move a deer through the woods, across fields, and even lift the deer into a vehicle – and it’s all the easier if you have a buddy to help with the second hook. A set of Hooker Deer Drags are $49.99, and can be ordered from the website

Tink’s Hot Shot Technology Tink's® new Hot Shot™ technology delivers a brilliant lure dispersal system that only dispenses 100% pure lure from the convenience of a pressurized spray can. Unlike the traditional spray can, this bag-in-a-can system is designed with an internal bag that separates the lure from the pressurizing agent preventing contamination. Only 100% pure lure is dispensed as the lure is not diluted with propellant. The can's convenient size allows for easy transport, while giving you the advantage of a powerful lure at the push of a button. When depressed, the tip emits a super-fine mist that drifts wider and farther for extreme scent dispersal and coverage. In fact, the can will consistently spray at any angle, even upside down, without spitting. The system ensures every drop of the product will be dispensed. Hot Shot technology disperses the lure quietly so as not to disturb wildlife. The powerful fine mist provides long-range attraction for any game animal you pursue. Tink's Hot Shot spray cans contain a variety of the most attractive whitetail scent formulas including Tink's #69 Doe-In-Rut®, Tink's #1 Doe-P®, Trophy Buck, Power Moose, Glazed Donuts (for bear), Predator Mist and Sweet Weed , a food-attractant version for deer. For more information on Hot Shot Technology or other Tink's products, visit

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August, 2013

Dry practice: Better without the bang

The Straight Shooter BRENTWHEAT Would you like to be able to shoot any time, nearly anywhere, and for free? Believe it or not, such a fantasy world can be yours. The secret: dry practice. Dry practice, or practicing without ammunition, is one of the best, most efficient methods of shooting practice. It is also the most underutilized. “Shooting” a gun without ammunition removes recoil and noise, which are essentially a major distraction to the entire firing process. Once you have properly mounted the firearm, aligned your sights and made a proper trigger pull, the violent explosion of gunpowder blots out everything, making it tough to diagnose shooter problems, especially your own. With dry practice, you can focus on the mechanics of shooting without being bothered by recoil, noise or smoke. Moreover, it costs nothing and can be done nearly anywhere. So why don’t more shooters use this fantastic training technique to improve their marksmanship?

There are a myriad of reasons, starting with the fact that most shooters think they are far better than their scores indicate. However, misinformation plays a big part as many shooters think that dry firing is harmful to firearms. Like most urban legends, this belief has a small basis in fact. Rim fire guns should not be dryfired as the firing pin will peen the chamber shoulder, eventually causing malfunctions. Some older firearms might also be damaged by dry-firing but most guns built in the last 20-30 years should not be affected. If in doubt, consult the firearms owners’ manual, a qualified gunsmith or simply buy inexpensive inert “snap caps” that take the place of live cartridges. On the subject of snap caps, don’t buy the variety that uses a brass body with a plastic bullet. The problem arises when you check the chamber of the firearm prior to practice. You will see the gleam of brass and have no idea if the cartridge is live or not. If you guess wrong, the results can be devastating. Safety is the primary consideration when conducting dry practice. As most dry practice takes place at home, it is absolutely critical that no gunfire occurs. A negligent discharge of any kind is dangerous but those that happen in your bedroom or den are especially scary. To conduct safe, effective dry practice you need several things in addition to a firearm: a time limit, a

quiet place away from distraction, no live ammunition in the area and a safe direction to aim. Set a time limit for your practice. Ten to fifteen minutes is good; going longer tends to reach a point of diminishing returns and greatly increases the chance of a distraction that could lead to an accident. A quiet place to practice cannot be over-emphasized. Many accidents occur when shooters are interrupted during dry practice, then resume after absent-mindedly reloading the weapon. It seems impossibly stupid or careless but such incidents occur all the time. Get rid of the cell phone, order the kids out of the room and put up the “do not disturb” sign for 10 minutes. If you get interrupted, stop and restart your safety checks all over again from the beginning. Live ammunition should be physically removed to another room. Locking it up in a gun safe wouldn’t be overkill. Then, the gun is checked visually and physically to verify there is no ammunition. I do this several times at minimum. You then need to determine a safe direction to aim in case there is a negligent discharge. Consider the potential path of a surprise bullet while realizing that a shot from your deer rifle might travel through many sets of walls before coming to rest. If your practice area is literally surrounded by residences, try aiming in the direction of your

foundation. There are also various types of bullet traps that would make a good backstop. Once everything is in place, begin your practice. Regardless of your weapon, the foundation of marksmanship is built on a proper trigger pull and follow-through. Work on pulling the trigger until you can drop the hammer on your weapon without the sights moving off target even a millimeter. It is best to aim at a “real” target such as a paper bull’s-eye or pictures of game animals. Mirrors and televisions are common dry practice targets but present problems. If you stand in front of a mirror, you will end up looking at yourself and not practicing. A television tends to suck in your attention, taking it away from the task at hand. Stick with a bonifide target. During dry practice, work on things like proper mounting of the gun, magazine manipulations, malfunction clearance and other things we tend to give short shift while at the live-fire range. With a defensive handgun, it is critical to repeatedly

practice your draw stroke using the clothing, weapon and holster you actually wear day-to-day. A common time for a negligent discharge to occur is at the conclusion of practice. After finishing then loading the gun, a distracted shooter thinks “just one more” and pulls the trigger. Again, it seems dumb and careless but happens all the time. When you are done, you are finished. If you load the gun, say out loud “The gun is loaded” three times. Dry practice, safely performed, is one of the best methods for improving your shooting prowess. Take a few minutes today to unload your weapon, pick a safe target and get better without the bang.

Safety first: before dry practice, you must visually then physically check the chamber of your firearm. Do this several times before pulling the trigger.. Photo by Brent T. Wheat.

August, 2013


Trust your gear, not your luck You’ve practiced shooting and maintained your equipment during the off-season. You’ve committed the time to scouting. You’ve done everything possible to stack the odds in our favor during the precious few days you’ll be able to take to the field come hunting season. Or have you? We’ve all been there. Despite thorough and mighty preparations, some overlooked or unexpected wildcard gets played during our hunt and creates negative impacts. As hunters, we should know and understand that we can’t control everything. But it amazes me how often even experienced hunters who should know better skimp or make poor decisions regarding their hunting gear. I’m not talking about spending $1,000 for a bow when a $400 package will do the job just fine. I’m talking about things like having to leave the blind early because you wore cotton socks underneath your awesome, 1,200 gram Thinsulate hunting boots. Mother Nature is a relentless source of unpredictable chaos, and can spoil a hunt faster than a spooked pronghorn antelope. Don’t allow poor decisions regarding your clothing or your hunting gear to trump your hand this hunting season. Those of us who live in the ice belt know Clam Outdoors™ for their IceArmor™ Suits and portable ice fishing shelters. It’s what they’ve always done and done well. But those in the know trust this established outdoor brand and their innovative products for all manner of outdoor activities. Comfort, durability and versatility defined Whether you hunt turkey or deer, ground blinds have become a critical still hunting tool. How do you feel about the last one you sat in? Was it quiet? Were the windows where you needed them for your style of hunting and setup? Was it big enough? Did it allow you to hunt comfortably, or did it cut your hunt short? Large enough for two people to hunt, but low enough to blend in successfully with its surroundings, Clam’s Elite Hunter Thermal Hunting Blind combines all the great features found in a premium hunting blind, plus Thermal Trap Technology™, which retains more heat in cold weather than other standard fabrics -- up to 30 additional degrees when a portable heater is used. This blind allows anyone to remain comfortable and to stay out longer. Stay out longer and you’ll see more game. You can’t fill your tag if you’re back at home on the couch or sitting in the cafe. Heavy fabric and quality structural components create a durable blind. Let’s face it. How many times have you left

Page 15

By Lance Davidson

your other portable blind in the field and returned to find it laid to waste by snow, rain or wind? The Clam Elite Hunter Thermal Blind is as tough as they come and won’t be beaten by Mother Nature. So go ahead. Set it out and leave it out. It’ll be just as you left it when you return for your next hunt. Sound attenuation is critical no matter where, what or how you hunt. Innovative magnet and zipper window closures on the Clam Elite Hunter Thermal Hunting Blind are built for stealth and allow for silent adjustments in the field. 12 window openings provide extreme versatility for the bow, gun or muzzle loader hunter pursuing any species of game. The Clam Elite Hunter Thermal Hunting Blind is not a cheap product, but is worth every penny when you consider the limited life span of most portable hunting blinds. When you rely on your equipment as much as we hunters do, most of us understand the value that comes from purchasing something that will both last and perform. Take a cue from those who know Clam Outdoors™ knows cold weather. Ask ice fishing pioneer, Dave Genz, or anyone else who makes their living or spends their free time out on frozen, windblown lakes. Clam’s Ice Armor™ outerwear and base layer clothing have been -- and continue to be -- the choice of cold weather professionals. As hunters, we should all be paying attention. The best outerwear in the world won’t perform to its capability if what you are wearing underneath isn’t up to snuff. Whether you choose the Poly/Brushed Fleece option or their Merino Wool Blend line, Clam’s base layering garments provide exceptional moisture wicking capability and antimicrobial control for any cold-weather outdoor activity. Of course, this includes your feet. Dave Genz gave me a pair of his Clam, Merino Wool Ice Armor Socks™ a few years ago. There are a ton of great socks on the market today, but I still haven’t found anything better. Needless to say, I’ve purchased about eight pairs since my enlightenment. Its amazing how happy you can

Clam Outdoors’ Director of Marketing, Nick Chiodo, beat the windswept prairies of South Dakota and the keen senses of this stunning Merriam’s tom with the help of the Clam Elite Hunter Thermal Hunting Blind. Photo by Jason Mitchell stay in the cold when you take care of your feet. Fix your gaze across any frozen lake where gamefish swim and you’ll see blue for a reason. Clam’s legendary “Blue Suit” has become an iconic fixture in cold weather realms around the world. Ice Armor™ bibs and parkas are now offered in blaze orange and Realtree® Max4 camo for cold weather hunters. Perfect for late season waterfowl or muzzleloader seasons, Ice Armor™Outerwear holds all the cards against Mother Nature. Taming snow, ice, wind and rain is what Clam Outdoors™, and Ice Armor™ are all about, and they’ve done it longer than anyone else. Hunters do as much as we can to avoid mistakes in the field. Don’t make them before you even get there. Don’t skimp on your clothing or your hunting gear. Go with the experts on cold weather and start trusting your gear instead of your luck. Mother Nature holds a good hand, but you can beat her. For more information on Clam Outdoors™and their proven line of high-performance products that allow you to hunt better longer, go to

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BASS FISHING Like a lot of anglers, I grew up fishing bass jigs traditionally, pounding cover with an endless drop-lift-drop-lift routine. And while I caught fish, I didn’t fully grasp how truly versatile jigs are— and how they can be fished in ways that can crack conditioned bass when everything else fails. My “Eureka” moment came on a trip with a saltwater guide who’d throw his jig out as far as he could and rip it back to the boat. Watching him catch fish taught me that we all have preconceived ideas about how we’re supposed to fish jigs. During a TV shoot in Texas a few years back the producers asked me to burn the bait back to boat so they could get a shot of the reel handle rotating. So I start drag racing a jig through two feet of water and all of sudden an 8-pound bass grabs the bait. Here again, I never would have fished a jig that fast, but it produced a solid fish and once again opened my eyes to the efficacy of breaking conventions. And why is that? Bass are typically released after they are caught, which means a percentage of any bass population has been "conditioned." Larger fish have seen it all. That's why fishing new bait designs, colors and techniques are essential to staying ahead of the curve -- like modifying your jig routine to offer bass something different. We’ve been taught to fish the three main jig styles according to head design. For example, traditional round-head designs are usually flipped to cover on heavy braid, while a football head is typically dragged over bottom. The keel head (swim jig) is designed to slither through grass and other cover, usually higher in the water column or even bulging the surface on a steady retrieve. But a round-head jig can also be used as a punch bait to penetrate thick vegetation. Likewise, a football head can be fished on a steady retrieve, even burned back to the boat. The heavy weight typically keeps it down, and in situations like riprap, a football head will bounce from rock to rock like a crankbait. I've also used footballs in shallow water, burning them over weed tops like a silent spinnerbait—definitely not the norm. Roller Coaster Swimming Yet, of all three major jig head designs, the keel head (or swim jig) is probably the most versatile. Case


Rethinking jigs for roller coaster bass in point, I don’t often fish them with the rod tip close to the water using a slow, steady retrieve. I like to activate the trailer tail by swimming it three or four feet and letting it glide back to the bottom on a semi-taut line, then repeating until the bait is back to the boat. I call it “roller coaster” swimming. The bait spends very little time on the bottom, and this retrieve offers multiple triggering points on every cast—there’s strike potential during the sweep, the drop and the pause. The technique works in channel areas, flats, around stumps, and open areas off emergent vegetation like cattails— and a lot of other areas, too. When you watch what happens underwater, the sweep makes a trailer like a 4-inch PowerBait grub or Havoc Beat Shad paddletail go crazy, then come to an abrupt stop on the pause, then beat again like crazy again on the glide. Get the cadence right it and the presentation seems almost magical. And it’s a lot more fun than the standard jig retrieve.

takes in 28 inches of line for every turn of the reel handle; about the same as other reels geared 6.4:1.

Fall Rate The most crucial component of the ‘roller coaster’ system is fall rate. Head weight, skirt bulk and trailer all factor in. My go-to swim jig head size for shallow water is 3/8-ounce. Go too light and the bait doesn't fall fast enough; go too heavy and you drag bottom at typical retrieval speeds. However, as bass orient in and around deep weedlines later in the summer you may want to go with a heavier swim jig fished with a slower ‘roller coaster’ retrieve to achieve maximum depth. Another essential component of the ‘roller coaster’ program is the use of fluorocarbon line. I’ll typically fish 12- or 15-pound test, sometimes moving up to 20 if I’m on a body of water with big fish and lots of cover. Fluoro’s slow stretch means excellent sensitivity, solid hooksets and the line's sinking tendency gives the bait a natural appearance on the retrieve. Fluoro’s near-invisibility under water can be key in shallow, clear waters. Most importantly, fluorocarbon helps keeps jigs near the bottom even at faster retrieves. Next, a properly matched rod and reel can be a huge plus. I fish swim jigs on a fast-action medium heavy seven-foot and a mediumspeed, low-profile 7.1:1 ratio baitcaster like the ultra-lightweight Abu Garcia Revo MGX. The reel

Award-winning fisherman/journalist, creator of Knot Wars, formerly with the North American Fishing Club, Steve Pennaz has launched Lake Commandos, a new brand that includes Lake Commando television/social media series on Pursuit Network and TuffTV.

August, 2013

By Steve Pannaz

More Tips Besides using a soft plastic trailer that matches the color of the skirt/jig head and produces a gentle wobble, I’m a big fan of modifying stock weed guards. I like to remove about a third of the bristles to improve my strike-to-hook-up ratio. The addition of rattles is also a good idea at times, especially in more turbid waters. Another thing: A lot of guys will immediately start reeling and let the rod load, letting the fish set the hook. When I get a hit I drop the rod tip and set the hook. Final Word My challenge to anglers fishing jigs is to think about how other anglers aren’t fishing them—then experiment with those methods. The ‘roller coaster’ swim jig routine is but one example of the myriad ways you can modify your jig game to catch more fish.

New products named “Best of Show” at 2013 ICAST show The world’s largest sportfishing trade show, the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST, was help last month at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the industry’s trade association, ICAST - in its 56th year as the industry’s trade show - is the catalyst that drives the global recreational fishing industry year-round. More than 9,000 thousand industry representatives from the global sportfishing industry are in Las Vegas to see the latest innovations in tackle, gear, accessories and apparel. 2013 ICAST New Product Showcase Award Winners ICAST 2013 Overall Best of Show JL Marine Systems, Inc. / Power-Pole Micro Anchor

Best of Show – Apparel Shimano American Corp. / Dryfender Insulated Raingear Best of Show - Boating Accessory JL Marine Systems, Inc. / Power-Pole Mirco Anchor Best of Show – Boats Johnson Outdoors Watercraft, Inc. / Predator 13 Best of Show – Combo 13 Fishing / White Out Best of Show – Electronics Johnson Outdoors / Humminbird Bow Mount 360 Imaging Best of Show - Eyewear Costa / Tuna Alley Best of Show - Fishing Accessory American Tackle Company / Tidal Wave-Micro Wave

System Best of Show - Fishsmart Tackle Foreverlast, Inc. / G2 Floating Wading Net Best of Show - Fly Fishing Accessory Columbia Sportswear / Henry's Fork V Vest Best of Show - Fly Fishing Reel Beam Outdoors / Elite 21 Reel Best of Show - Fly Fishing Rod G. Loomis, Inc./ PRO4x Best of Show - Freshwater Reel Shimano American Corporation / CHRONARCH C14+ Best of Show - Freshwater Rod G. Loomis, Inc. / NRX Umbrella Rig Best of Show – Giftware Rapala / Original Floating Bottle Opener Best of Show - Kids’ Tackle Pure Fishing, Inc. / Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Youth Combo Best of Show – Line PowerPro / PowerPro Zero-Impact Best of Show - Hard Lure Koppers Fishing & Tackle Corporation / LIVETARGET Baitball Best of Show - Soft Lure Lunkerhunt / Lunker Frog Best of Show - Saltwater Reel Shimano American Corporation / Stella SW 30000 Best of Show - Saltwater Rod St. Croix Rods / Legend Xtreme Inshore Best of Show - Tackle Management Plano Molding Company / 3700 Guide Series Tackle Bag Best of Show - Terminal Tackle Mustad / Grip-Pin Swim

August, 2013


This Month’s Best Fishing Times... 2013 August 01 Thu 02 Fri 03 Sat 04 Sun 05 Mon 06 Tue 07 Wed 08 Thu 09 Fri 10 Sat 11 Sun 12 Mon 13 Tue 14 Wed 15 Thu 16 Fri 17 Sat 18 Sun 19 Mon 20 Tue 21 Wed 22 Thu 23 Fri 24 Sat 25 Sun 26 Mon 27 Tue 28 Wed 29 Thu 30 Fri 31 Sat

A.M. Minor 1:20 2:06 2:55 3:48 4:43 5:39 7:58 7:36 8:37 9:37 10:39 11:43 --------12:05 1:00 2:01 3:09 4:20 5:31 6:43 7:52 9:00 10:05 11:07 ------------12:02 12:50 1:41

A.M Major 8:43 9:30 10:16 11:02 11:48 12:16 1:02 1:47 2:32 3:17 4:03 4:52 5:43 6:35 7:31 8:28 9:27 10:25 11:23 ----12:54 1:46 2:37 3:27 4:14 5:02 6:02 6:37 7:25 8:11 8:58

P. M. Minor 4:06 4:54 5:37 6:17 6:54 5:39 6:38 8:28 8:58 9:28 10:01 10:38 12:48 1:53 2:57 3:57 4:53 5:42 6:26 7:05 7:41 8:15 8:49 9:22 9:58 10:36 1:04 1:58 2:48 3:33 4:15

P.M. Major 9:06 9:54 10:42 --------12:33 1:18 2:02 2:47 3:32 4:20 5:10 6:03 6:59 7:58 8:59 10:01 --------12:18 1:12 2:03 2:54 3:43 4:32 5:21 6:10 7:00 7:49 8:37 9:25

Sunrise 6:44 6:45 6:46 6:46 6:47 6:48 6:49 6:50 6:51 6:52 6:53 6:54 6:55 6:56 6:57 6:58 6:59 7:00 7:01 7:02 7:03 7:04 7:05 7:05 7:06 7:07 7:08 7:09 7:10 7:11 7:12

Sunset 8:58 8:56 8:56 8:54 8:53 8:52 8:51 8:49 8:48 8:47 8:46 8:44 8:43 8:42 8:40 8:39 8:38 8:36 8:35 8:33 8:32 8:30 8:29 8:27 8:26 8:24 8:23 8:21 8:20 8:18 8:17

Fishing Quality / Notes Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Good Good / New Moon Good Good Fair Fair Fair Poor Poor / Waxing Half Moon Fair Fair Poor Poor Fair Poor Fair / Full Moon Fair Fair Fair Fair Poor Poor Fair / Waning Half Moon Fair Fair Fair

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Indiana Outdoor Calendar - August Frog Hunting Season Open All Month. Aug 2-18: Fall Hunting Classic at Clarksville and Portage Bass Pro Shops Stores. Go to for more information. Aug 3-4: Hunter Education Course at the Hammond Cabela’s Store. Registration must be completed online at or Aug 15: Squirrel Hunting Season Opens. Aug 15: Last Day of Early Crow Hunting Season Aug 15-18: Cabela’s Fall Great Outdoor Days. See ad on Page 3 for more information. Aug 17, 24 & 31: Concealed Carry Classes at Hammond Cabela’s store. Contact Shaun at 630-696-1515 or go to Aug 24: Patoka Lake Triathalon. Visit for more information. Sept 1: Early Migratory Bird Hunting Season Opens • For information on Indiana Bass Federation Tournaments throughout the state this month, go to • A variety of Hunter Education courses are offered around the state this month. For details, visit • For a listing of Ducks Unlimited events throughout Indiana this month, go to

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1 Game, wildfowl having young 4 Old one is termed a "loner" 8 A field area 9 Electronic device on a hunting dog 10 A bait used for brown trout 11 Appendages on a turkey's feet 13 A species of goose 14 A large grouping of animals 15 Term for a certain casting method 21 To analyze the age of a track 22 A breed of gundog 23 To hunt with arrows 25 Name for a certain bass species 26 The jungle tree swinger 27 The male turkey 28 Very large on the muley 29 The quail or bob_____ 32 The camp shelter 35 Valuable to the fur seeker 37 A female bear 40 A game bird 41 Name for the Hawaiian goose 42 A lake bird 43 Failure of a firearm to function

1 A part on a bow 2 Chinook or king 3 Woodie is a whitetail of the _____ 4 Term used in a shoot contest 5 Term for a casting method 6 A sound made by wild turkeys 7 Animal resting places 12 Lab name for fish eggs 15 A family of small fish 16 Another name for turkey sounds 17 An edible saltwater fish 18 A habit a game trends to follow 19 Deer are classed as this 20 Area favored by certain animals 22 A type of lure 24 They are getting more into shooting sports 26 A good bear scent lure 29 A type of fishing lure 30 A need for packing the day's catch 31 A brand of bow 33 Find quail in this field area 34 A type of gunsight 35 A good trap bait 36 A species of duck 38 A very good catfish bait 39 A handy item to have in hunting kit

Answers on page 7!


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August, 2013

Are you ready for a breakdown?

The Last Thought MIKESCHOONVELD Launching a boat from a trailer isn’t supposed to be an exciting task. Getting in the boat, heading out to the lake, catching some fish, now that’s fun and exciting. But just backing down the ramp and floating ol’ Wave-Whacker off the bunks is a rather mundane chore. Unless the brakes on the tow vehicle decide it’s time to malfunction! All of a sudden the slow descent down the ramp, the boat floating free and the rest of the procedure turns into a power launch. That’s what happened to me recently. I suppose I was lucky. A few minutes earlier I was speeding down a busy highway filled with other cars and trucks. Had the brakes failed then, I would have been in a bigger pickle than just shooting my boat off the trailer. Actually, when the boat floated free, the last ounce of brake fluid left in the system actuated just

enough pressure to slow and stop the truck to keep from power launching the tow vehicle itself. So now what? The boat was floating nicely. The truck and trailer were safe in the parking lot. There was a little puddle of brake fluid dripping from the ruptured brake line and I was 50 miles from home. What would you do in this situation? Here’s what I did. I pulled out my cell phone, scrolled through the apps showing on the screen until I found the icon with the BoatUS logo and touched it. In a few seconds, I was connected with a person ready and able to help. I told her the problem, I told her what marina I was located at and I told her there was no hurry. I’d traveled to the lake to go fishing, the boat was floating, my fishing partners were due any minute and the truck wouldn’t be anymore broken in early afternoon than it was right now at dawn. A bit of information was relayed back and forth and she went to work. Fifteen minutes later, my phone rang and Terry, from a local towing company, was on the line. “I’m sure this is a bit strange,” I told him. “I imagine most of the time when you get a call it’s because someone needs your help and needs it as soon as possible.” I explained what happened and then

asked, “Can you meet me at the marina at 1PM?” The meeting scheduled, all I had to do was concentrate on picking the best place to fish and the best lures to use. We had a great fishing trip and I was back at the dock in plenty of time to meet up with Terry and the tow truck. I’d already moved the truck and trailer to a deserted spot in the parking lot and disconnected the trailer. When Terry arrived, we quickly hooked up the trailer to his flat-bed and he backed the trailer down the ramp. Soon the boat was loaded, the gear stowed and roadready. We temporarily disconnected

the boat and trailer, winched the truck up onto the flatbed and chained it secure. Then we reattached the boat and trailer and I was on my way home. I’d called the garage where I take most of my vehicles with mechanical issues and made an appointment. So we dropped the boat off at my house, and then hauled the broken-brake truck to the mechanic. Once done, I asked Terry what the procedure was to pay him. “All taken care of,” he said. “The boat place paid me with a credit card.” “Just curious,” I asked. “What’s the bill?” “Hook-up fee, mileage, truck

and trailer at five bucks per mile, comes to $600,” Terry said. I buy a BoatUS membership each year for the same reason I belong to the National Rifle Association, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and other groups. I believe in their mission. I add $14 to my annual dues check to get the “Trailer Assist” option from BoatUS. (The smartphone app is free.) I trailer my boat thousands of miles each year and there are a myriad of things that could go wrong: tires, wheel bearings or blown brake lines on the tow vehicle. Is it worth it? You do the math. Go to for details.

No one hopes to go home from a fishing trip this way. Photo by author.

August, 2013


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Indiana Outdoor News August 2013 Issue