Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Camping Again!

Camping time is coming around again. I am so happy, (Happy Camper you
know), that I decided to write posts about camping safety and enjoying
your outdoor activities for this season. They will be coming soon!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter Fishing In The Midwest

Well it is the middle of winter, and if you live in or

are visiting the upper Midwest region, practically

the only option for fishing is to go ice fishing. First

of all the most important thing is to make sure you

are dressed properly. The best way to keep out the

extreme cold and icy wind chills is to layer your

clothing. I start with long underwear, followed by

a regular flannel shirt, a quilted flannel shirt , two

pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, the outer pair

being heavy wool socks, a pair of heavy duty

waterproof boots and a heavy winter coat. If

you are going to be out all day there is such a thing

as a snowmobile suit which is like a very warm

jump suit that covers your entire body. If you

want to go more high tech, there are electric socks

that run on batteries and operate on the same

principle as an electric blanket. Of course a good

hat and heavy duty gloves are a must.

Now we will go into the equipment you will need.

First of all an ice auger. There are hand cranked

augers and power augers. Hand cranked augers

are fine, but if you encounter very thick ice your

arms might end up like an Olympic body builder.

Next a large bucket to haul your fishing gear in

and turn upside down for your seat, and an ice

scooper, which looks like a large spoon with holes

in it, used to scoop ice chips from your fishing

hole. Ice fishing poles are much shorter than

regular fishing poles. The reason they are shorter

is that you are going to want to be sitting right

over your fishing hole so you can see when the

fish comes up. You can find these poles in any

good sporting goods store or tackle shops.

Instead of using regular fish hooks, have an

assortment of ice fishing jigs. Many of these are

brightly colored which will attract the fish in dark

and murky water. The ice fishing baits I find work

best are minnows, spikes (also known as maggots)

and wax worms. Lower your bait down slowly

until you find the bottom, then raise the bait up

6 to 12 inches from the bottom. Jig the bait up and

down. If you are fishing very deep waters, I would

suggest lowering your bait about 20 feet down and

slowly bring it up, jigging all the while. Fish in the

winter are sluggish and move slower, but they are

still hungry. If you are planning to stay out for a

long period of time, I would suggest investing in

an ice fishing tent. These come in many different

shapes and styles and most are very easy to set up.

In the far northern reaches, some people even

build an ice fishing shanty which they just leave

out there until the spring thaw starts to happen.

If you are like me, an avid outdoors man, I just

have to get outdoors no matter what time of year

it is or what the weather conditions are.

Good Luck and Happy Fishing!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Campout Cooking Tips or Camp Cookery

Have you ever heard the saying, "Food cooked outdoors
just tastes better"? Well I totally agree with this concept.
I have been a camper and outdoorsman for over 30 years
and I would like to share with you some tips to help you
enjoy cooking and dining in the great outdoors. There are
three ways I generally cook, my charcoal grill, yes, I do
prefer charcoal because of the flavor it adds to the food,
over a blazing campfire, and on a camping stove.
Which ever way you prefer, here are some tips and ideas
to help you enjoy your outdoor cooking experience.

  • On meats, there are two ways I generally use to trans-

port and keep meats fresh. One way is to freeze your

meats before you load them into your cooler. This way

they will stay fresh much longer and it also helps to

keep the cooler cold longer. The one drawback to this

is if your destination is only a short distance away, there

you are with a lump of frozen meat. So another method

I use is to shop at the local food market close to your

campground. This way you are buying fresh meat that

can be ready to use as soon as you set up camp.

  • Use two coolers, one for your beverages and one

for the food. This way you are not opening the food

cooler too often. You may also wish to freeze non-

carbonated beverages.

  • Many side dishes can be prepared ahead of time.

Cook rice and pastas at home and put them in air tight

containers or zip lock bags. You can also pre-chop

your onions, cucumbers, peppers ect to save time at

the campground.

  • Instead of using stick butter or margerine, you can

use reclosable tubs or squeeze bottles. These store better

in your cooler and are not so messy.

  • To keep your pots and pans from being burnt or

scortched, put a thin coating of dishwashing liquid on

the bottom of the pans before cooking.

  • I always find it handy to have aluminum foil at the

camp. It can be used to cook foods that burn easily, such

as fish, and can be used to store leftovers.

  • On the subject of cooking fish on the grill in

aluminium foil, I find a fast and easy method is to coat

the inside of the foil with butter or margerine and rub

your preferred spices into the spread you are using.

Squeeze some lemon juice over the fish. Wrap the fish

tightly in the foil and turn over often. The fish is done

when it flakes off nicely. Be careful, when you open the

foil hot steam will come out.

  • Bring some good cooking utensils such as tongs for

turning over meats and sausages, a metal spatula, a large

metal fork, a large metal spoon and a BBQ brush for

applying those tasty BBQ sauces. Also bring a wire brush

or a scraper to clean your grill top.

  • Bring along a good supply of garbage bags. Keep a

clean camping area to avoid any unwanted visitors such

as racoons and other night creatures. If you are camping

in a remote area where you have to pack out your refuse,

hang it from a tree at night.

I hope these "Camp Cookery" tips will make your next

camping trip more enjoyable and time saving around

the cook fire. Happy Camping!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lets Talk Fishing

In many places I have pitched my tent,
I have found some great fishing. Since
I am from the Midwest, we are talking
freshwater fishing today. The species
most commonly found here are perch,
(if you are having a good day, "jumbo
perch"), walleye, northern pike, both
smallmouth and largemouth bass,
bluegill, sunfish, crappie and some
of what we call scavenger fish, carp
catfish and bullheads. Not all people
like the scavenger fish. The reason
for this is that they feed on the
bottom which causes mud and debris
to rise up, thus ruining the habitat for
the other fish. This usually happens in
smaller lakes and ponds and also depends
on the area you are fishing. So next time
you set up camp, don't forget to bring
along your fishing pole and fishing tackle.
Different states have different rules and
regulations, so be sure to become familiar
with these. Also don't forget to purchase
a fishing license. I have found these in
bait and tackle shops, department stores,
and I even found a guy selling licenses in
an antique shop! What I am mainly talking
about is this writing are smaller inland lakes
ponds and rivers away from the great lakes,
which I will discuss another time. Which
types of fishing tackle to use will also be
reviewed. Meanwhile....Happy Fishing!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

10 Tips For Successful Tent Camping

1. When you pitch your tent, make sure it is on level

ground. Remove any sticks, rocks, pebbles and clumps

of mud so the floor of the tent is nice and smooth.

2. When making a camp fire, the two best methods for

safety are to either place good size rocks in a circle, or

dig a pit to keep the embers from straying, thus keeping

the fire contained. Keep your tent at least 25 feet from

the fire, and when you are ready to leave, douse your

fire with water and stir it around until you are sure it

is out.

3. Choose a good camping mattress. Inflatable mattresses

are the most popular, and most of them come with

inflators, which can come in hand pumps, foot pumps, or

even electric pumps you can hook up to your automobile

cigarette lighter. Also avaliable are foam matresses which

tend to be less expensive and roll up nicely for storage.

4. On many a camping trip, I have found good trails to

hike. Choose a good pair of hiking boots that are

comfortable for you, and lace up tight to support the ankle.

Regular athletic shoes are O.K. also, if the trail isn't too rough.

5. Insect repellent and sunscreen are essential these days.

I have found the best repellents contain deet, however, if

your skin is sensitive to deet, there are many alternatives.

There are also repellent and sunscreen combinations on

the market today, and very important, kid friendly

sunscreens and repellents.

6.As far as cooking your camp meals is concerned, I like

to bring a grill and a camping stove as well. There are many

good camping stoves on the market, and as far as grilling

goes, I like my 18 inch tabletop charcoal grill. Many

campgrounds supply picnic tables to campers, and I find

this type of grill to be perfect. Even if there are no picnic

tables avaliable, (I realize some camping areas are quite

primitive, and of course sometimes we prefer them that

way), this type of grill is just fine. The legs of the grill are

about 6 inches off the ground, and the 18 inch grill top

can support plenty of food.

7. We all know we can't control the weather. Many tents

these days come with a rain "fly" that can be added over

the tent. If your tent doesn't have this feature, not to

worry. First of all avoid pitching your tent under a big

tree. If a hard rain does fall, this will make sure branches

and sticks won't strike your tent. Also, bring along rain

panchos for everyone. They are light weight and provide

good protection.

8. Let's be comfortable. Bring a good sleeping bag that is

long enough to stick your head in if the night air gets a

little chilly. There are many good sleeping bags to choose

from with different temperature ranges. Choose

appropriatly for the time of year you are to camp.

Also a pillow can make things much more comfortable.

You don't have to bring your big home pillow if you are

trying to save room, there are many camping pillows

such as inflatable ones that fold up very small and take

up very little room.

9. Earlier, I talked about camping areas with picnic

tables. This is very nice, but if you don't have this option,

sitting on the ground can be very uncomfortable. There

are many good camping chairs to choose from, some of

which fold up very small. There are also camping tables

that do the same thing.

10. Keep a neat camping area. If the campground or area

you are in doesn't supply refuse containers, be sure to

bring along some garbage bags. You certainly do not want

creatures of the night invading your space.

Follow these 10 tips and I garauntee your camping trip will

be an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Happy Camper

My family and I just love to go camping. We live in Illinois,
and this state is very fine, but there is very fine camping in
our surrounding states, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and
Iowa, and our location puts us close to all these beautiful