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Learning from Past Experiences! By Gary Howey

  I remember while growing up in Watertown, SD, about all the things there were to do and how I wanted to try to do all of them!

  I also remember that several of these things weren’t what I really should have been doing.  My folks were always there to set me straight and would give me that old line, “you don’t need to do that, you could get hurt” and so on and so forth!

  Well after many years of contemplating their statements and many years of wondering how they knew so much about this subject.  I’ve finally concluded that they knew because when they were young, they probably tried it or had a friend that tried it and “got hurt!”

  We all learn from past-experiences and as an outdoorsmen or women, we really should rely on those past-experiences to give us insight on what’s going on around us in the outdoors.

  Take for instance a guide trip that I had a few years back, I had two of the toughest clients that I can ever remember taking out.

  It was late October, a warm October, but none the less October and in my neck of the woods; it’s that time of the year when water is about as close to becoming ice as it gets.

  Well these guys insisted that I take them out as they wanted to take advantage of the warm day, it didn’t make any difference that the water temps were in the 40’s, it was a nice day and they wanted to fish.

  Well as anyone who’s ever been on the water knows that at 40 degrees, fish aren’t exactly bouncing off the wall, heck, they’re hardly moving. [Read more…]

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The Grand Lady of the Rangeley streamer flies By Larry Myhre


As a student of fishing my entire life, it has not escaped me that so many of the pivotal aspects of this sport can be credited to women.

For instance, the first-ever published work on fly fishing was included in a 1496 edition of the “Book of St. Albans.” It is entitled Treatise of Fishing with an Angle and was written by Dame Juliana Berners, a noblewoman and prioress of the Sopwell Nunnery near St. Albans, England.

She preceded by 150 years what may just be the most popular of all fishing books, “The Complete Angler” by Izaak Walton.

          Her writings were detailed and visionary. Perhaps I will delve into that in a future column, but for now my attention is captivated by another woman.

That would be Carrie G. Stevens, originator of the Rangeley Favorite trout and salmon flies. Her fly tying career spanned more than 30 years beginning in the 1920s. Her most famous streamer pattern is the Gray Ghost, an imitation of the smelt that swims in the Rangeley Lakes region of Maine.

I first tied the Gray Ghost back in the early 1970s. I included it in a framed set of my flies, which included wets, nymphs, dries and streamers. It hangs on the wall of my fly tying den to this day.

        Although I tied many versions of the early Maine streamers in those days, the unique methods that Carrie used to construct her flies escaped me. Yet,        the beauty of her streamers, most tied on 8x- and 10x-long hooks, has haunted me over the years.

For the past several months, I have researched, through books and online sources, the story of Carrie Stevens and her special streamers. It has been an interesting and educational trip fueled by the desire to tie many of those patterns myself, not for fishing but for personal challenge, display and photography.

        That desire is realistically tempered by my fly tying skill. I have tied a lot of these patterns lately, in the hopes I could attain at least a modicum of success. Fly tying is something you never really master, but you attain success by degrees.

In this day of Google and the internet, one might be tempted to think that books are relics of the past with little to enlighten us sophisticates today.

        Wrong.

        It wasn’t until I read a book written by Graydon R. Hilyard and his son Leslie K. Hilyard entitled “Carrie G. Stevens Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies” that I felt I had really begun to know the story of these famous streamers. Although first published in 2000 by Stackpole Books, it is still available through Amazon.com and other sources. [Read more…]

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Learning from the Outdoors By Gary Howey

  I’ve been serious outdoorsmen for over 40 years, each time I go out, I learn a lot from my trips to the field as well as those on the water.

  When I first got into the outdoors, I did it because I thought it would be a great way to get away from it all, those little problems, molehills that I’d blown way out of proportion, making them seem like huge mountains.

  I’m sure that some people just think that hunters and anglers do what they do because they enjoy eating what they harvest.

  To a certain extent that’s true, but too many, like myself, it’s more than that!

  It’s the experience as a whole, an opportunity to spend time in the outdoors.  Where we can enjoy all that Mother Nature has put together and have an opportunity to spend time with individuals who have the same interest that you have.

  I’ve learned from spending time in the outdoors is that there are some people I truly enjoy hunting and fishing with.

  While others, I’d never want to spend time with because of some of the things they do and their complete disrespect for the game & fish they’re after.

  It seems that some people don’t understand why we have limits, while others are down right dangerous when you put a gun in their hand or put them behind the steering wheel in a boat.

  One question that continually comes up at my seminars and personal appearances is why we release so many fish on our television show.  I’m sure that some people believe it’s because we’re fishing all the time and our freezers are probably full of fish.

  Nothing could be further from the truth; we release them because we’ve learned in order to have fish to catch on the next trip, we need to release some of them today.

  If we release some of the fish, especially the larger ones, it will allow those fish, the breeders to reproduce another year and there will be more down the road for us to catch.

  Perhaps that fish we release today will be an even bigger trophy the next time we catch it. [Read more…]

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Drifting for Cats on the Missouri River By Gary Howey

  The Blue catfish, one of the largest catfish in North America aren’t often caught on rod and reel, but one Midwesterner, from South Dakota has it figured out.

  Pat Carter of Elk Point, South Dakota, director of the Cat Attack tournaments has been catching these elusive Blue catfish on the Missouri River on a regular basis.

  During his Sioux City tournaments, contestants from Kansas and other states had used the drifting or slipping method to take some big Blues and he had perfected the presentation to be able to catch these big catfish on most of his trips on the river.

  Team Outdoorsmen Adventures Member Larry Myhre and I had an opportunity to spend some time on the river with him a few weeks ago and the method he uses isn’t what we would call a traditional method for catching catfish.

  Fishing in the current associated with the Missouri River is different from fishing in the smaller rivers catfish are known to haunt. Some anglers anchor above the deeper holes using sliding sinkers with hooks baited with live or cutbait, waiting for the catfish to come to them.

  Not Carter as he drifts for them, keeping his boat at the right angle, allowing his partners and him slowly drift or slip along with the current, keeping their baits running right along the bottom.

  His rigs consist of 60# braided line with a three-way swivel, a 20# dropper line with a 2 ounce sinker, a 4′ leader with an 8/O Kahle hook baited with Creek Chubs or Shad cutbait.

  As the boat drifts with the current, he slowly bounces the sinker on the dropper line on the bottom, win anticipation of the bite.

  Before meeting Larry and I at the boat dock near Sloan, Pat had gotten fresh shad and some Creek Chubs, allowing us to get our baits into the water shortly after launching the boat.

  Larry and I were both using circle hooks while Pat would use his Kahle hooks, as we they allowed us to pack a lot of cut bait and had good success hooking catfish on previous trips.

  Pat removed the bait, smelly Shad and Creek Chubs from his cooler, dicing them up into strips that we worked onto our hooks, packing the pieces on so tightly that the point of the hook verily protruded from the bait.

  The trip didn’t start out quickly as we drifted quite a ways south before Pat had his first bite, it wasn’t the bone jarring bite I’d expect from a big catfish, more like a pecking bite a smaller fish might do as it tried to pull pieces from the large hook.

  Whatever was doing it escaped without harm as when pat reared back to set the hook, the fish was gone.

  A half-hour after the first bite, Pat again had something pecking at his bait, he patiently waited for the fish to grab onto the bait and then set the hook hard.

  Immediately the fish took off, peeling his 60-pound line from the reel, charging hard towards the bottom and away from the boat.

 Pat, in no hurry, let the fish run, fighting it with his heavy rod, first on one side of the boat and then to the other. As his three way swivel came to the surface, I thought the fight was about over, the fish did not as it tore off more line, once again testing the drag on Pat’s reel. [Read more…]

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You will never forget your first boat By Larry MYHRE

 As you go through life, you will experience many firsts.

Most of them you will forget as time goes on, but many of them will stay with you forever.

For instance, who can forget their first car? Who can forget your first date? Who can forget your first wife? (Well, my first wife and I

will celebrate 52 years this year.)

But there is one first which may overshadow all others. This is true especially if your passion is fishing.

That would be your first boat. Sorry, Fran.

It seems like only yesterday that I, a 15-year-old farm kid, sat at the dinner table with my mom and dad. I had given dad a brochure which explained the process of buying a class ring.

He studied it, brows furrowed. Then he looked up, leaned across the table and said, “What do you want, a class ring or a boat? You can’t have both.”

That was, as they say today, a no-brainer.

“I want the boat.”

The next day was Saturday and we headed to Sioux Falls to look for a boat.

It seemed everything we looked at was far beyond our simple budget. There was not lot of money in farming in the 1950s.

Then we found an old, 12-foot wooden boat in the back lot of one dealership. It needed painting, but it was all there, complete with oars, and sound. It was $50 and we bought it.

We later hauled it home in the back of one of our grain wagons, put it on sawhorses under a big elm shade tree where I would paint it red and white on the outside and gray on the inside. It had three bench seats and removable slats for a floor which would keep your feet out of the water because wooden boats all leak, at least for a while.

But we needed a trailer to haul the boat to area lakes. [Read more…]

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It is Time to Re-clean, Re-spool and Re-place By Gary Howey

It is those dark months of the year, January and February, where nighttime seems long and daylight hours are short. This is the time of the year when I have ice fishing or predator calling on my mind, not so much this year.

The ice fishing has been slow, partly because of the warmer weather had not made thick enough ice and then the freezing temperatures and gusty wind keep me in my office as well as out of the field where I could be calling predators.

When things slow, it is time of the year when I Re-Clean Re-Spool and Re-Place things in my tackle bags.

Once winter set in, and before ice fishing took off, I pulled all of my ice fishing gear out of storage, cleaned out my sled, buckets and tackle bags. I started by throwing away the empty wax worm containers, old line and Styrofoam cups which had collected in my sled. Once these things were discarded, I changed the line on my reels and added some new lures, added new lures, then replaced worn out and rusted hooks on other lures. One thing I have noticed over the years when ice fishing that seems to help me to hook more fish is to replace the treble hooks on lures with single hooks. When a cold-water fish clamps down on a single hook, he does not feel the three hard hooks and spits out your bait. With a single hook the fish will grab your bait, put pressure on your minnow or grub and hold onto it longer, giving you extra time to hook them.

After I finished with that chore, it was time for me to pull out my open water tackle and get it ready for spring fishing.

This week, I started replacing the line on my open water gear, my bottom bouncer, livebait rigging and jigging reels.

Tomorrow, I will tear all the old line off my catfishing rigs, replacing it with the heavier test line required for the size of the cats we hope to catch and the snag-infested waters these big bruisers call home. [Read more…]

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It may happen, And when it does-Fishhook Removal By Gary Howey

Nothing will spoil a great day of fishing quicker than having a hook embedded in your finger or other part of your anatomy.

If you do much fishing, as many of us do, the day may come when it happens to you or your fishing partner.

It can happen quickly, when you pull on your line to free a hung up lure or when you are trying to remove a lure or hook from a fish that is flopping around.

My tournament partner, fishing partners and I had it happen, when a hook embeds in an ear, nose, leg or other parts of the body.

When it happens, a person’s first reaction is to simply yank it out, well believe me, that is not going to work and will be painful, even if the hook is stuck just below the skin.

I hate to say it, but I have had to remove hooks from my fishing partners and had them remove a fishhook from my thumb.

But, as my partner and I found out, if it is a treble hook, when more than one of the hooks embedded, a trip to the emergency room may be the your only alternative!. [Read more…]

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Latest Outdoorsmen Adventures Shows Available On MYoutdoorTV.com

MYOUTDOORTV logoLooking for some your favorite Outdoorsmen Adventures television shows or one you might have missed, there available on the Outdoor Channels video web site.

Twenty-one of our latest Outdooorsmen Adventures shows “2012-2015” can now be seen on the Outdoor Channels www.MyOutdoorTV.com web site.