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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In the Nick of Time!

2:10 PM 2 Comments
I wrote last week in my blog Through the Lens over at Heartland Outdoors about the wonderful gift from Prois fairies. As I marveled at the fit, construction, and functionality of my new Prois Eliminator Rain Jacket it was in the high 80's, hot and humid. I wished outloud for a rainy day to give my new gear a try.

Much to the consternation of every farmer and flood victim in the state my wish came true Saturday morning when it dawned a chilly 47 degrees with high gusting winds and off and on rain that ranged from drizzle to downpour.

My partner in crime Adam Rutkowski, a guide at Silver Creek Kennels and Hunt Club and I had plans for crappie fishing the club's lake and foraging for asparagus.This was going to be a great way to test out the jacket!

My husband pronounced me a hard core lunatic as I dashed out the door snug in my Prois Eliminator Jacket in hopes of good harvest of both crappie and asparagus.

We are getting towards the end of the season for asparagus here, but I was still able to harvest close to a pound of the delectable fresh green spears. Although the wind was howling, and the rain was beginning to feel like little needles  and my companion kept complaining about how cold and wet he was getting, I was warm and dry. I could certainly tell where my jacket ended and my regular pants started - under my jacket dry as dust, my jeans, cold and wet. I've got to have a pair of  The Eliminator pants next. Wading through the tall weeds to  get to the tiny hiding spears  of asparagus left my pant legs soaked. 

After we'd finished up gathering the aspargus, checking on the gosling population, and nosing around for the fox kits we knew lived close by the Silvercreek Hunt Club Lake, we decided in spite of the howling wind and rain to try our hand at crappie fishing. Despite the nasty weather, that frequently sent my partner running for cover in the truck, I was able to stay lake side and land 11 good sized slab crappie.

The rain made grabbing photos difficult, because I didn't to expose my equipment to all that moisture...frankly I wishing that Prois made camera storm sacks out of the same technologically advanced materials as the Eliminator coat. If had one of those I'd really be in business!

Adam did snap this quick shot of me braving the rain and cold to chase crappie while were out.

Prois - how did I ever live without it? They aren't kidding at Prois when they say it's all about form, fit, and function - I finally had a piece of outdoor wear that fit properly, had a multiple  features, such as the duck tail in the back, adjustable cuffs on the sleeves ( Making it easy to push them up and out of the way while I was standing in the rain cleaning the crappie), and pockets that zipped shut and kept my essentials from tumbling out as I climbed the banks cutting asparagus. The cinch in the hood made it easy to adjust the hood over my hat. Most of all it kept me warm and dry and I was able to fish longer, forage longer and spend a day outdoors that without the Prois Elimnator Rain Jacket I would have spent inside grumbling about the weather! .

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


2:48 PM 0 Comments
Inspiration comes in many forms, but when I recieved the news about my friend and fellow bowfisher's big carp, it actually brought tears to my eyes.

Sharon Trame AKA Mombie and I met stalking the tailwaters and creeks around Rend Lake in Southern Illinois- mostly we caught each others eye from across a creek..not too many women are bowfishing yet..and even fewer of us are the wading and stalking on foot type.

Through her son Glenn - a true hot shot with a sling shot - Sharon and I got to know each other.  a few months back Sharon was diagnosed with several brain aneurysms that required a lengthy and possibly fatal surgery. The road to recovery has not been easy, filled with many neurological battles to fight and skills to relearn, but Sharon vowed she would shoot fish again.

I'm sharing the note and photo from her husband
4 days short of 4 months since her brain surgery, Mombie decided she had had enough. No more waiting and watching other people shoot fish. She got out her bow, and cut the weight down to about 35 pounds, hoping she would be good for 2 maybe 3 shots. Packed up the kid, and headed out to cypress view on Rend. We got to our spot and within minutes saw a school of carp swim by, about 3 foot deep. Shot number 1 and no hit. After clearing the weeds from the barbs, I looked up and saw the wavy fin of a huge grinnel heading our way following the way of the carp. A lot of strain with shot 2 and still no fish. I asked if she had one more shot left in her and the look I got told me to shut up and start looking. So, I did. Nothing, nothing and more nothing. About 15 minutes of nothing, we looked down the bank and saw this HUGE v coming right at us. It got about 30 feet away, and disappeared. Almost immediately this log popped up 10 feet in front of us, but this log had fins and shiny scales. It layed there like it was enjoying the sunshine. After 2 tries, Mombie got the arrow back, and let er rip. At the hit, the buff stayed on the surface, never once going down and beached itself right at our feet. Talk about luck, we had a good dose of it that day. Scales read 33 pounds 15 ozs. Her biggest buff so far and probably for the rest of her life. Again, we owe all of our SILO (Southern Illinois Outdoors)  friends thanks, for without their prayers, Mombie might not have ever been able to shoot another fish. Thanks all.

For me, the thanks goes to Mombie - she inspires me every day  to keep getting out there despite the difficulties that MS gives me, despite the fact that there aren't many women bowfishers yet, despite the fact that we aren't as young as we used to be.

In fact, at a  recent bowfishing tournament we compared canes.. mine has carp on it but hers has the niftiest flashlight in the handle.We SILO gals are tough..and Mombie keeps me on my toes and has been a great mentor for bowfishing, who knew she'd end up being my inspiration for life in general?

If Mombie can do it- so can I!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Take a Kid Fishing!

1:22 PM 0 Comments

There's no better time than spring when the fish are spawning to take a child fishing. Yesterday my little pal "Tater" and I decided that fishing would be way more fun than just "going to the woods" . I have to admit I rather steered him in that direction due to the fact that most of the woods in our area are still either under water or  pretty muddy, soggy, messes. Great fun for a 4 year old yes.. not so much fun for Mom when I take Mr. MudBall home.

So of we went to the neighbors lake to see if, as Tater would say "We can catch some BIIIIG fish" .Some of my favorite outdoor memories as a child involve fishing the "bluegill beds" and being able to pretty much just drop in a hook and pull out a fish. Do you remember theexcitement of a hard fighting bluegill that  felt like you had whale on then end of your line?

I'm hoping that Tater will - he caught crappie, he caught bass, and of course he caught bluegill. Along with that came fiddling with plants, a mole the resident lake dogs unearthed, chasing frogs, and most of all that feeling of satisfaction that comes with " I caught it all by myself".

Trust me when I tell you that you will have far more fun than you could imagine when you take a kid fishing.
Illinois DNR has a great page on their website to help families get started fishing together.  Fear not if you are childless, just look around the neighborhood and you'll have no problem finding some great young person to show you all over again how joyous a good day fishing can be!