Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bud Bash the "Jobbie Nooner" of the North

Love it or hate it here comes
 Bud Bash 2011

Bud Bash, Houghton Lake
Bud Bash in Houghton Lake, MI has been thought of by many as the "Jobbie Nooner" of the north. While the Jobbie Nooner (held on Gull Island, Lake St Clair), is in the early part of summer when the temperatures are milder, Bud Bash is held in August, during the hottest days of summer. A time when tourism seems to slow in Houghton Lake as people go on vacation to other parts.

So it was that the owner of the Limberlost bar and grill decided to hold a "party" that would increase business during this down time. And Bud Bash was born.

Some of the locals are not as enthusiastic about the celebration as the others who come here looking for a good time in the sun and water. Drunkenness and public nudity are often sited by local authorities although the number of incidents have fallen the last few years. Possibly due to the extra law enforcement   officers patrolling during the festivities.  

Jobbie Nooner at Gull Island, Lake St Clair
The partying was somewhat subdued at Gull Island on Lake St Clair this year as thousands braved the 70 degree temperatures and constant drizzle to attended the annual Jobbie Nooner. Estimates of 7000 to 10,000 people braved the chilly temperatures and the all day drizzle.

This years Bud Bash is August 6th. Though many celebrate over the whole weekend. Motel accommodations fill up fast so reserve early.

Stay safe and have fun,

Ken S

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fishing the Cut River Part 2: Rock Bass


Scenic Cut River North of Lansing Rd Bridge
Most of the time I fish alone, primarily because I fish almost everyday. I enjoy the solitude it helps me to forget my cares for awhile. I'm not on a quest to capture the great white whale or the big green walleye or monster bass (although I am happy to catch one occasionally). I just like to relax.

Sometimes I have the pleasure of fishing with a friend or family member and this weekend was one such occasion. My nephew and his family were dropping off my brothers motor home after spending the week camping over near Oscoda. Since they were spending the night we all went to dinner at a very crowded Freds of Roscommon and with about 2 hours of daylight left we thought we'd try to catch a few.

My brother Bill stayed home (he prefers to fish from a boat) with my nephews oldest daughter Sarah (she wanted to Facebook with her friends) but my sister-in-law Cheryl came with us. So we were Dan, Jess, Katie and Ryan, Cheryl (just an observer) and myself. Five of us fishing on the Cut River off the Lansing road bridge.

We turned east on scenic Lansing Road. As we left the asphalt I slowed for a doe and her two spotted fawns that were slowly crossing the road. These were the first fawns I have seen this year and they were already getting big. Unfortunately they scampered into the woods before I could get my camera out for a picture.
Katie catches Rock Bass...Priceless

There was another fisherman there when we arrived. After about 10 minutes he left and we had the bridge to ourselves. I started fishing off the north side but soon decided that 5 of us on the same side was at least one too many so I switched. Now I know there are fish on each side of the bridge that's why I brought them there. Still by the time I had caught my fourth fish everyone was on the south side. So I switched back to the north side.

Ryan catches the biggest Rock Bass
Fishing the north side is a little more tedious because your casting into the current coming at you. You have to keep your line tight or you'll try to set the hook and get nothing but air (believe me I'm a pro at catching air) and you recast often. If you like casting this is the way to go.

After awhile everyone caught at least a couple, mostly Rock bass, a few Perch and one we don't know what type of fish it was. I believe Ryan caught the biggest but Katie had the biggest "one that got away". We saw a doe with two fawns, another deer, a rabbit, a snake and a chipmunk (that was probably running from the snake). A bat flew over head but I think I'm the only one who saw it.
Dan & Cheryl looking for
the bobber in the tree

Cheryl (my sister-in-law) at Katies insistence had try at least one cast. It was a magnificent looping cast that went right into a tree. The bobber will be hanging like a red and white Christmas ornament for generations to come. Eventually darkness and the mosquitoes won out and we packed up and I came home.

Although I enjoy the solitude of fishing alone in a secluded spot nothing can replace putting a worm on the hook for a young angler or taking the fish off for them. Watching them reel in a few even if they're small. I believe in keeping the experience as fun as possible if we're going to keep the tradition alive and passed down to the next generation. One thing I know for sure is that the next generation will be able to look up into the tree by the river and know that my sister-in-law had been there and needed to work on her aim when casting.

All in all it was a great experience and a lot of fun. So take a family member or a friend fishing and don't forget the FUN

Until next time,

Ken S

PS Pictures were taken by Jess and as you can see it was light out still when we started and dusk when we started catching the fish.

(Rock Bass)
"Thank You Houghton Lake...We Love You"

Friday, July 15, 2011

He stole my bait!

That's him officer. The one on the left. He stole from me repeatedly. Every spot I tried, he was there. Sometimes taunting me by popping his head up next to my bobber just defying me to try again. HE STOLE MY BAIT!

Children find turtles to be cute and fun to catch but I beg to differ. At least on the second part. Catching a turtle can be a real pain in the hook. Usually they just get the bait and then wait for more. Sometimes I get the hook in them and get them to the shore. Once there I slacken the line and the turtle can use its front feet to dislodge the hook, then go back and wait for more bait. But once in awhile the hook goes all the way through then the trouble begins.

A midst the cursing of my bad luck and fishing through my tackle box for my needle nose pliers, I prepare myself for the difficult task of removing the hook from a mouth pulled inside a shell. I feel sorry for the turtle as this is unfair punishment for something as petty as stealing a piece of night crawler. Yet I believe that leaving the hook in would be a death sentence for the turtle. So a few seconds of prying and the perpetrator goes free albeit with a sore mouth. And I end up with an unusable jighead. Just another day of pond fishing.

Brand new jighead after removed from turtle
So the next time your sitting by the shore of your favorite fishing hole and your bobber is bouncing up and down and swimming around and you can't seem to set the hook. It may be a turtle. You need to ask yourself, "Do you feel lucky?" If not maybe you should try another fishing spot or get the pliers ready. Either way you could be in for a frustrating day. Unless you like turtle soup.

Good luck and be safe,

Ken S

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ausable River Canoe Marathon Race 2011-Grayling Michigan

64th Annual Ausable River 
Canoe Marathon
July 26-31, 2011

The longest professional canoe marathon race in the world. A grueling 120 miles from Grayling to Oscoda. There are several days with various events leading up to the race. The actual race begins at 9pm on Friday, July 29. The racers pick up their canoe and sprint 3 blocks to the river and jockey to get their canoe in the water for the 14-15 hour marathon race to Oscoda. A true test of endurance. 

Start of Race
Then there's the Mio Dam where racers carry their canoe up and down a hill, 1/4 mile to the other side of the dam. The first racers will reach the dam at 1am, others, not until dawn. 

Mio Dam
Some spectators follow the racers watching them at certain points where they are visible (the Mio Dam is a favorite). There's even a spectator guide available at the Ausable River Canoe Marathon website.

New this year is the Dash for Cash on Tuesday the 26th. Starting at 3pm teams can make a dash along a 1/4 mile stretch for a $5000 cash pool. The first place prize is $400.

Andy Triebold will try for his fifth straight 1st place finish and fourth in a row with current partner Steve Lajoie. Go team.

For more information go to the Ausable River Canoe Marathon website.

If you have ever wanted to try canoeing or kayaking, Grayling is the place. Whether you want to take a leisurely ride or an over-niter, there are numerous rental places that can accomodate you.

So if your in the Houghton Lake area at the end of the month and you want to see something different, check out the Ausable Canoe Race Marathon in Grayling.

See you there,

Ken S

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Firemens Memorial Festival 2011 Roscommon Michigan

31st Annual Michigan Firemens Festival
at The Fire Training Grounds 
September 15-18, 2010

Wow, this is such a fabulous festival dedicated to our firemen. With courage and special training they pit themselves against one of the most dangerous and destructive forces. They come from all over Michigan and across the nation to remember those who have given so much, at this annual festival. The public is welcome to come and join the celebration and have some fun while learning fire safety. Admission and parking are free.

Thursday night is Family Night. There will be craft projects and a fire safety trailer for the kids with free hot dogs and pop at 5pm and a magician at 7pm.

 Friday, Saturday and Sunday are full of activities, demonstrations and displays for adults and kids. Adult beverage tent will be open starting at 2pm on Friday. A badge is required for the bar.

On Saturday at 9am there will be a service and a placement of wreaths to remember the fallen heroes. At 11pm is the parade through Roscommon. At 12:30 the Waterball Contest begins.

There are free carnival and pony rides and a Sawdust Pile Penny Hunt, a BBQ Chicken lunch, and a vehicle extraction competition. Thus is just a few of the fun and educational events planned for the weekend. For schedule and times and just a whole lot more information about whats happening click the link below. And I hope to see you there.

The festival is held at the Fire Training Grounds formerly known as Roscommon Fairgrounds.

 For more info go to Michigan Firemens Memorial Festival website.

Thanks for stopping by,

Ken S

Friday, July 8, 2011

Alpenfest 2011 Gaylord MI

Click for larger view
Alpenfest Badge from 2010

Welcome to Alpenfest. A celebration of food and music in downtown Gaylord from July 12-16. Starting with the Queens Pageant on Tuesday, July 12 in the evening.

With a Grand Parade on Saturday, July 16

 The Alpine Village Main Street is closed to traffic and magically becomes an Alpenstrasse where you will find 60+ artists and craftsmen from around the country selling their wares.

There will be carnival rides for the kids and a week long Megapass will be available giving access to all rides for the week. Passes cost $60. To order passes click here. 

For the adults there is live music:

Wednesday, July 13

12:00 noon The Young Americans make their annual visit to the Alpine Villiage.
8:00 pm Restless Heart, straight from Nashville, don't miss this one

Thursday, July 14

8:00 pm Alan Turner the The Steel Horse Band,

Friday, July 15

8:00 pm Jonny Diaz, a little upbeat Christian Music

Saturday, July 16

7:00 pm The Elders,  Celtic and Irish in one setting!

The Alpine Village Main Street is closed to traffic and magically becomes an Alpenstrasse where you will find 60+ artists and craftsmen from around the country selling their wares.

This festival is a favorite of many vacationers in the area and as such gets many people. So wear comfortable clothes and shoes and enjoy a day of fun, food, music, crafts and rides.

For more info on this and other festivals in the Houghton Lake area click here.

See Ya There,

Ken S

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bluegill Festival July 7-10, 2011

62nd Annual Bluegill Festival

The 62nd Annual Bluegill Festival starts this thursday for four days (July 7-10) in St Helen. Starting with a kids parade, The Kick-Off Ceremony, a live band from 8pm to midnight, a Sloppy Joe dinner and carnival rides.

There's a fishing contest and golf, softball and horseshoe tournaments. There's a talent show and craft show.

A kids day with games and free hot dogs for lunch. There will be carnival rides and a petting zoo and pony rides. For the grown ups there's the mechanical bull ride. Yee-haw.

Did I mention the medallion hunt, the car show and the Grand Parade? And, of course, the Bingo.

So if your in Houghton Lake or plan to come up for the weekend save some time for the St Helen Bluegill Festival 2011.

For much more info on the 2011 Bluegill Festival click here.

Hope to see you there,

Ken S

Friday, July 1, 2011

Houghton Lake Fishing: Snakehead Or Bowfin? Similar But Not The Same

Yesterday I was fishing with my nephew Dan and his son Ryan, from the shore at Marl Lake, where I hooked into a Bowfin (aka Dogfish). Dan immediately categorized it as a Snakehead, the other Asian transplant that's frustrating anglers fishing US waterways and lakes. Due to the similarity in shape many people mistake one for the other. But their markings are distinctly different. For more info on Snakeheads and Bowfins click here.

The truth is Bowfin are native to Michigan waters and can be released. Although I have never tried them, they can be eaten (see link below for recipes).

Snakeheads are an invasive species and are not to be returned to the water (if you catch a Snakehead you should call the nearest DNR to report it). I have never caught a Snakehead in any of the waters around Houghton Lake or Higgins lake. Nor have I ever heard of anyone catching one.

The Bowfin can reach 32 inches in length, the Snakehead reaches about 15 inches. Both put up quite a fight and both feed on small panfish.

Although they prefer panfish, I have caught Bowfin with a piece of Nightcrawler on a small (1/16 oz) jighead. This is my usual setup for catching Sunfish, Bluegills, Perch and sometimes Bass, when fishing from the shoreline or boat.  Look for them in shallow water areas of vegetation (reeds, Lilly pads, Cattails, etc). When one or more Bowfin show up, all other species of fish seems to disappear, so this could be a sign they're around.

For more information on fishing for Bowfin and some recipes check out Bowfins Angler Group.

Did you know you can purchase your fishing and hunting licenses ONLINE? I didn't until my nephews wife told me. Talk about teaching an old dog new tricks. For more info on Michigan E License click here.

Have a Happy 4th,

Ken S