Well another year has passed by and we are about to finish the first month of 2019. I hope everyone had a successful 2018 and looking for to an even better 2019. Pretty much most of the hunting seasons have come to a close and now we all prepare and wait for the fall. This is a great time to get out there and see what the deer moments are and use this information for future stand locations. Over the last few years this has really helped with my success rate. For years I just went to the same old stand and repeated the process day after day. Now I use the technologies provided to us to stay scent free and always try to use the wind to your advantage. It doesn’t take much for a smart old buck to catch your scent and be gone before you even laid eyes on him. Sure, the smaller does and bucks usually don’t seem to mind it as long as you are not moving around to much. That doesn’t happen with an old ghost. There have probably been many times in my life that I had a buck close to me and never even had a clue. They probably got within 50 yard in a thicket took one smell of the air and turned the cheeks and off he went. I encourage everyone to get out and stay active in the winter months and it will help to lead to success in the fall.
Well January kicks off the sport show season the first one that we attend each year is the Let’s Go Fishing Show in Collinsville, IL the first weekend of the month. If you love fishing especially for Crappie, this is a show you must attend. They have many great seminar speakers and the top Crappie fishermen in the nation. There have guides from all over the State of Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri and many more. They have a great selection of Canada Resorts and other great destination like Norfork Lake, Lake of the Ozarks, Bull Shoals, Truman Lake, Rend Lake the list just goes on and on. As most of you know I was a show promoter for 17 years and I loved to produce outdoors shows. Unfortunately, in the late 90’s and early 2000’s the market decided to change. Many lure manufactures started their online business and all of the sudden you could buy their products on line and not have to go to a show and pick them up. I remember one vendor very well. The company was Bob Folder Lures and Bob and Mary had been doing sports shows for over 50 years and understood the business better than anyone. I would watch people come in for his famous Crappie Tinsel Jig and buy them by the cards. That was the only place you could get the lures at the time and boy did they sell a lot of merchandise. I really hope everyone takes the time to go and support your local outdoor show. Without our support they won’t be around for long. We have several more that we will be attending over the next few months. We will be at The Fish and Feather Expo in Bloomington, IL on January 25-27 at the Interstate Center in Bloomington. We will be attending the Central Illinois Outdoor Expo in Arthur, IL on February 8th and 9th. We will also be taking our magazine to the 22nd Annual Indiana Deer, Turkey & Waterfowl Exposition on February 21-24 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Exposition Hall. We will also have vendors that will have our magazine available at several of the shows throughout Illinois. You can see the sports show schedule on page 39 of this issue. There are several great shows out there so help keep these events for years to come by showing your support and by attending the show.
There another subject I would like to talk about the that is guides. How often do you use a guide? Do you use a guide when you fish local or just when you travel? In the past I have used a guide both locally and when I travel. After being with several guides over the years there is one thing I have learned. They know where the fish are all the time. The spend countless hours on the water and pretty much can tell you day to day how the fishing will. The only way you get this is by experience on the water. We have been going to Wisconsin for nine years now on vacation and each time we have spent a week and everyday is on the water. What I have learned is I actually know the water better there than any lake I fish locally. Why is that? Strictly the hours I have put on the water. When I am home, I go whenever I get a chance and that doesn’t always mean full live wells. Once you get to the lake you start assessing the situation. What color is the water? is it dirty? what’s the temp?, etc. Usually after a few failed attempts we find something. Now the trick is, did it take us 3 hours to find the fish and the technique or did we get lucky and find it right off the bat. Usually, it takes me a little while to figure out the bite. I started thinking to myself.. why not use a guide most times you go fishing? Let’s face it they know where the fish are and what they are biting on. So it just seems to make sense that all of us should probably use local guides to our advantages. Most of the local guides are very reasonable and many of them write for the magazine. I just think this is an underutilized resource for the outdoorsman. I know one reason many of us should do this is to just make sure we spend some time fishing and enjoying life. The guide picks you up at the dock, usually provides the gear, you bring some drinks and snacks and sit back and wait for him or her to do the work. We have guides in our area that fish Clinton Lake, Lake Shelbyville, Lake Springfield, Rend Lake, Caryle Lake, Illinois River, Mississippi and so many more. So, in my eyes why not spend quality time on the water fishing rather than getting frustrated trying to find the fish. Give that some thought and find the right guide for you and plan a trip. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. There is a guide out there for everyone whether you want to fish for Crappie, Muskie, Bass, Bluegill, Smallmouth, Catfish or anything else you will find an expert to help you with your desire. Here are some of the guides who write for the magazine. Colby Simms, All Species, 618-521-0526, see article on page 26 & 27, Dan Vinovich, Muskie 309-347-1728, see article on page 42 &43, Matt England, Crappie/Sauger/Walleye 217-520-3653, see article on page 86 & 97, Reagan Smith, Crappie/White Bass,309-642-8106, see article on page 88 & 89, Sean & Tom Reynolds, Stripers/Walleye, 877-246-4869, see article on page 94 & 95.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any stories of the monster buck I harvested during the cold snap in December, but I did try something out of my comfort zone. I usually stick within my comfort zone but as I am getting older, I am trying to do new things that the young me would have never considered. Harry and Cathy, the previous owners of Adventure Sports Outdoors Magazine, invited me to visit them in Florida. Florida has never really been a thought of mine, but I thought I can go down there, and Harry and I can work on some sales for the magazine and maybe I would get to catch a fish or two. So, I decided you only live once and let’s see why everyone loves Florida. Well it didn’t take long after I got off my plane to realize that 65 degrees and sunny was a beautiful combination. As Harry drove us back to their house, I was able to see how beautiful and different Florida was. Beautiful palm trees, lemon trees and brush so thick you can’t even see into the woods. It was a completely different world. Almost everyone I met was from another state. We visited with many great people from all over. We met a retired cop from Minnesota, an electrician from Chicago, retired Caterpillar worker from Pekin, County Sheriff in Ohio, Real Estate Agent in Connecticut and so many more. I am not sure I met one Floridian. Yea that was the slang I picked up when I was there. I had a great time and got to go fishing a couple of times, but I never was able to catch dinner. I am pretty sure I may try this trip again just to try and catch a few fish. I couldn’t thank Harry and Cathy enough for their hospitality. The worst part of the trip is when we landed in Peoria on Monday and they said “It’s a balmy 7 degrees in Peoria” the whole plain groaned and at one point I thought someone was going to turn the plane around and take us back. So, get out of your comfort zone and try something new. We only live once and why wait until your too old to do.
May your sunrises and sunsets be magical!