Thursday, September 13, 2012

Alaskan Salmon

I don't think there is a fisherman alive that has not dreamed of wading the pristine rivers of Alaska for Salmon. I had always heard of the insane August salmon runs where the Pink, Sockey, Chum and Silver Salmon fight their way in droves, from the ocean to the streams they were born to spawn.

It is said, that in many cases they return to within a few feet of their birthplace to drop and fertilize their eggs. That type of homing instinct blows me away, considering I can barely find my way downtown and back!
Our main goal when we climbed on a plane to Anchorage was to shoot an episode of "Stihl's Reel in the Outdoors" at the Talstar and McDougall Lodges on the Talachulitna and Yetna River drainage. Well, that was was my producer Jim Kramer's main goal anyway. My goal was to fulfill a longtime dream of catching salmon on a Fly!

 The conditions were perfect throughout the week and we boated and released well over 100 Salmon with a few beautiful Rainbow Trout thrown in for as well in our 4 days of fishing. My guide, Josh Bearden, was very knowledgeable and put up with my me while I worked off the rust in my fly-rodding skills. While we didn't encounter any Alaska brown bears, it was evident they were fishing too by the huge tracks we saw in the sand nearly everywhere we went. Needless to say, I packed my 44 magnum Smith & Wesson everywhere I went. It had taken nearly three years to coordinate our schedule to hit the water conditions and the salmon run just right, but it was definitely worth the wait!

Saturday, June 30, 2012


This week, I had the privilege of appearing in a Chevrolet commercial for Outdoor Channel with my eight year old daughter, Gracelyn.

Gracie on camera! Yeah, that's my arm.

Getting all made up for the camera!

It was 106 degrees in Tulsa by the time we finished the shoot, but she was a real trooper and did a great job! It was also her first trip on an airplane and she actually got to sit in the pilots seat after we landed.

I hope everyone will watch for Gracie and me next month when it hits the air!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

West Virginia Bass Festival Tournament.

This past weekend, I was in St. Mary's, West Virginia, just north of Parkersburg on the Ohio River. I was there to MC the West Virginia Bass Festival Tournament. This event is one of the longest running annual Bass Tournaments in the Sport and 2012 marks 28 consecutive years! The Ohio River has never looked better, and I was amazed by the number of Smallmouth Bass being brought to the scales. The leading team after day one had a whopping 14.90 pounds for six fish. I am amazed how successful the efforts to clean up the Ohio River have been over the last 20 year and the fishing has surely responded to it. I enjoyed having the opportunity to hand the winning team a check for $10,000!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Greatest Day

Today, I got to win a few points as a dad and an uncle in one day and had a good time as well! I played a little hooky from office work... literally ..... and took my daughter Gracelyn and nephew, William, fishing for the day.

William looking very cool driving my Ranger Boat.

 It wasn't the best fishing day by any means, with high-blue skies and zero wind. Our lake of choice was a 25 acre reclaimed gravel pit near our home. Gracelyn only made it about 20 minutes casting before jumping into the water with her lifejacket on to cool off and paddle around. William seemed happy to just be casting and winding. I'm not sure if Gracelyn swimming hurt our fishing efforts, but it was pretty slow. In three hours, we only caught 5 small Bass, but the kids were proud and wanted pictures of them all.

William and Gracelyn score!

At the end of the day while pulling the boat I said, "Sorry it wasn't a good day" (speaking of the slow fishing). Gracelyn quickly spoke up and said, "Dad, you are wrong. It was the greatest day ever!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Slam Packed with Muskies!

We shot another great Smallmouth Bass Show for Stihls Reel in the Outdoors on Lake St. Claire near Detroit. Michigan. I hooked up with my good friend and St. Claire guide Gerry Gostinek of Great Lakes Bass Guides. The fish are coming off the spawning beds early and were already out in 12 feet of water. We caught them on a variety of baits, but the best lure was definitely the Lucky Craft Pointer 112 SP. We caught over 20 Smallies between 2 and 4 1/2 pounds.

The most interesting part of the day was the fact that we stumbled on an area of grass about the size of a football field that was slam packed with giant Muskies! We could see those big torpedoes suspended in the clear water everywhere we looked. It was something neither Gerry and I have ever seen. I ended up catching one 15 pound Musky at the end of the day on my Pointer. It took almost 10 minutes to land him on the 10 pound line. It was a very cool end to an already great day!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Black Bear Hunt

I just returned from my spring black bear hunt in British Columbia. I spent a week there with my cameraman, Gerry Addison shooting a show for the 2013 Season of our Outdoor Channel hunting Show, "Scent Lok's High Places".

It was like a homecoming for me, as I was hunting with my old friends, the Hooper's, at Babine Guide Outfitters. It had been nearly 5 years since I had seen them and it was sure great catching up. I have hunted with them several times in the past, taking two beautiful mountain goats (the one with my bow is still my most prized trophy of all time) and a beautiful black bear.

Their lodge and cabins on Babine Lake are top shelf and I always have to go on a diet when I get home, as their cook, Diane, prepares amazing meals! Dave and Marilyn Hooper have now passed their outfitting business on to their sons, Lloyd and Jack.

Lloyd was my Guide for the week. We saw over 60 bears in the six days by glassing timber clear-cut, non-active logging roads and meadows from a boat on Babine Lake. After we would locate them, we would attempt to stalk within bow range which was exciting as well as frustrating. What was more impressive than the number of bears was the incredible scenery around every corner. The snow capped mountains were everywhere you turned! When the dust had finally settled, I had taken two great black bears with my bow and came away with several hours of amazing hunt video. I don't think I'll be waiting five years to get back up there this time...

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Last week, I traveled to Buffalo, New York to shoot an episode of Stihl's Reel in the Outdoors with my good friend and guide, Tim Braun. Now the Buffalo area of Lake Erie holds a special place in my memory, as that is where I won the $100,000 All American Championship early in my career. Yeah, when we still had to paddle our boats and my shorts were way too short (for a guy anyway..)

The fish were just moving up on the beds and we caught over30 bass in four to six feet of water, primarily on a Lucky Craft Slender Pointer 112 SO in. Misty Shad color. That color is nearly dead on the Emerald Shiners. The Smallies feed on that this time of year. We caught several over five pounds, and all beneath the Buffalo skyline. Fishing in Buffalo is without questuon, better than it has ever been!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fabulous New Zealand!

As I write this I am still recovering from the jet lag after my trip to the South Island of New Zealand. I traveled there last week to shoot an episode for Scent Lok's High Places. I have always been fascinated by New Zealand and dreamed of going there someday, and after 50 years, I finally got my opportunity!

 My primary goal was to take a Himalayan Tahr with a bow and arrow and capture it on video for the Show, which was no small order given the extremely mountainous terrain the Tahr live in and their keen senses. I was only about an hour off the valley floor the first morning of the hunt when I realized how tough a hunt this really was!

We climbed over 2500 vertical feet in the first two and a half hours. My stairmaster machine definitely did not prepare me for what was some of the steepest climbing I've ever experienced. The only thing that took away the pain in my lungs and legs was the absolutely incredible views that were more amazing than anything I've ever seen.

 Late in the day, we spotted a big Bull Tahr bedded in the mountain cliffs and after climbing above him and a calculated stalk playing the wind, I got a clean shot inside 20 yards. By the time we reached the truck with heavy packs at dark, my legs were noodles and I began to wonder if the 30 hours on airplanes, planning and physical punishment were really worth it. The answer came to me pretty quickly. I had been given the opportunity to experience something very few people do and felt truly blessed just to be there. You're darn right it was worth it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Live Action with Andy Morgan

Today, I had a chance to view a piece of video we shot last month on Lake Chickamauga for with Andy Morgan for the upcoming season of Stihl's Reel in the Outdoors. It just proves that you never know whats going to happen when you get out of bed in the morning! I hope you enjoy this video clip....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Championship Round on Wilson Lake

For the past several days, the Ultimate Match Fishing Crew and I have been shooting the championship round on Wilson Lake in Florence Alabama. The fishing has been great, and the matches very exciting. I love this area and the people! Unfortunately, I have nearly lost my voice (probably due to the numbers of fish I have had to do commentary on). Guess I will have to rely on my co-host, Fish Fishburne, who is never at a loss for words...

Fish Fushburne and some of the UMF crew prepare for the days shoot

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Scout II

After yesterday's blog, I had some requests for photos of my old 1972 Scout II. Well, it took some searching, but I found the one and only picture I ever had taken with that old truck.

I thought it was very appropriate that I had the hood up in the photo, as that is the way it was most of the time. If you look closely, you can probably see the puddle of oil underneath it from that leaky rear main seal. She wasn't real pretty, but neither were those short gym trunks I had on in the photo. Hey, they were stylish in the day, and still are if you are blond, female and under 17 years old...

That old Scout sure wasn't as flashy or trustworthy as that new Silverado I'm driving now, but it did teach me a thing or two about working on cars and provided me some lasting memories. Even if most of them were bad!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

White Allen Chevrolet

Yesterday was a great day! It made me think back to the days of pulling my boat to tournaments with an old International Scout II.  I had to hold the wheel with both hands when I stopped because the brakes pulled so hard to the right. Every time I got a tank of gas, I had to pour in a quart of oil since the rear main seal leaked so bad and I didn't have the $300 to fix it!

The reason for my flashback to my late teens was the new 2012 Chevy Silverado 4X4 Truck I picked up from White Allen Chevrolet in Dayton, my new vehicle sponsor. Twenty-five years ago, I could never have dreamed of driving such a tow vehicle. Yeah, my job definitely has its perks these days.  I have sure logged a lot of miles since that old Scout II that I cussed so much in my early years, but looking back I probably wouldn't have changed a thing. It was part a of the growing up process...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Benefit for Hospice of San Angelo

Yesterday, I was in San Angelo, Texas to emcee the Suddenlink Open Bass Tournament benefiting San Angelo Hospice. Before the event, I had an opportunity to display my Outdoor Channel truck and boat at the Suddenlink facility while meeting fans who stopped by. The event went very well with some big bass being weighed in on O. H. Ivy Reservoir despite the windy cold conditions. In the end, over $16,000 was raised for Hospice of San Angelo!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


The last couple of days, I had the opportunity to fish with tournament fishing legend and friend, Harold Allen, on his home lake of Toledo Bend, Texas. We caught it all on video for Stihls Reel in the Outdoors.

The fishing was very good, with many of the fish beginning to move up on spawning beds. I had a chance to really give my new Arkie Signature Swim Jig a workout, catching over twenty-five bass on it around the flooded shoreline grass.  
The only thing better than the fishing was listening to Harold stories from his years on the tournament trail and Toledo Bend. Harold is a true icon of the sport and it was an honor to spend a couple days on the water with him!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Safari Club International

Last weekend, Outdoor Channel sent me to the Safari Club International (SCI) Show in Las Vegas to do an autograph signing in their booth each day. Wow! What a show!

I heard for years how incredible it was, and it definately was! I have never seen so many incredible mounts in on place in my life. After my booth time, I was able to walk the show and met with several outfitters with whom I will be shooting shows next year. All in all, a great experience!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Last week, I picked up the pedestal mount of my Woodland Caribou from Hamrick's Wildlife Studios. He did a rush job, finishing it in only four weeks so I could have it in time for the Hart Production's Cincinnati Hunting and Fishing Show. Paul Hamrick did an outstanding job!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back from the Jungle

Yesterday, I got home from a true adventure! My whole life I had dreamed of traveling to Brazil to fish for Peacock Bass on the Amazon. It finally became a reality. Our outfitter for the trip was Billy Chapman of Anglers Inn International. He is famous for his operation on Lake El Salto in Mexico. In 2011, he expanded his operation to the Amazon by building a one of a kind floating mobile lodge. It was incredible to be fishing in the wilds of the Amazon jungle yet come home at night to air conditioned rooms with flush toilets and showers!

The fishing was amazing, and the Peacock Bass lived up to their reputation by providing me with six days of the best topwater fishing I've ever experienced in my life! I averaged over 35 bass per day with many topping the ten pound mark. The best part... it was all caught on video to air on Stihl's Reel in the Outdoors this upcoming season!

As amazing as the fishing was, I was more impressed by our native Brazilian guides, camp staff and their families that met our every need while we were in camp. These hard working people live a very simple life, but seem to enjoy every minute of it. I think we could all learn something from them. I know I did!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Today, I fly from Miami to Brazil through Panama. My final destination is Billy Chapman's Anglers Inn floating lodge on the Amazon. Our goal is to get two great Peacock Bass shows for Stihls Reel in the Outdoors. This is the fishing trip I have always dreamed of doing. My goal is a twenty pound plus Peacock on a topwater! I have beefed up the hooks on all my Lucky Craft baits to handle them... I hope!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hunting Ibex

Ibex on the mountain through our spotting scope.

I just returned from what I have determined to be the toughest archery hunt on the planet! After many attempts, I finally drew an archery tag for free ranging Persian Ibex in New Mexico. Typically they are hunted in places like Mongolia and Pakistan, but after six breeding pairs were transplanted in the 1930's, there is a significant herd now ranging in the rugged Florida Mountains in New Mexico near the Mexico border. 

The success rate for bow hunters on these animals is only 3% to 4%, depending on the year so I knew I had my work cut out for me. I trained very hard for this hunt by doing tons of cardio and climbing work as well as developing my long range shooting. One hundred yard bow shots are very common on these animals. To hunt these animals effectively meant getting above them each morning, so we would leave the vehicles and climb two hours in the dark by headlamp. Much of the climbing was on all fours due to the steepness of the terrain.

After several close calls, I finally got a great opportunity at a large billy Ibex at just under 80 yards, but an unseen cactus branch saved his life and temporarily ruined mine! At that moment, I totally questioned the sanity of what I was doing.. When it was all over, I had survived seven of the most brutal hunting days in my lifetime and came up empty handed. I have total respect for these animals and in spite of my lack of success, would have to rank it among my most memorable hunting experiences!

A blown opportunity!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...