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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Muskie Magazine Chapter News and Views Sept/Oct 2014

August 31st, the last day of the month. To me, this day brings with it
the end, as well as the beginning, of so many things, rivaled only by the
last day in December. Some are good, some are bad. It brings an end to
summer vacation and the last of three day holiday weekends. Gone are
those annoying “Back to School” commercials and finally, thank
goodness, an end to Preseason Football. I mean, somebody please tell me
the reason for four preseason football games. It brings the beginning of
a new school year, a new (real) NFL season, shorter days and crisper
nights. As much as we don’t like to see summer coming to an end, us
muskie guys/gals embrace the cooler weather and lower water temps.
Best of all, it brings the beginning of the second part of our 2014
campaign, the fall trophy muskie pursuit.
The first part of the 2014 fishing year has been pretty good, relatively
speaking. The 9th Annual Terry Anderson Ironman Tournament went
rather well. Four muskies were caught as 15 members vied for 1st place.
Adam Wallace bested Bill Kopp and John Dobry by catching a 23rd hour
muskie that hit the tape at 42.75 inches. It was Adam’s second fish of the
contest, the other measured 43 inches. Bill came in second with the
largest of the four at 43.75 inches. John finished third landing a 37 inch.
Thanks for all who participated and special thanks to Renee Dolsen for
rounding up all the goodies for the dinner afterwards.
Our 2014 league nights have been going well with the final meet of the
year, scheduled for September 20th. As most of you know, we changed
the format for the 2014 season, going to a once a month meet, versus a
once a week schedule. I personally like the schedule, fishing early and
finishing up at noon leaves the rest of the day for other activities. One
month, I think it was the June outing on Barbee, we all got together and
had a little tailgate/weenie roast after fishing. Camaraderie is a big part of
any club and I think it’s great when we can get together and talk a little
muskie fishing. Remember, the first liar doesn’t stand a chance. Portion
of the proceeds from leagues throughout the year goes to a party
scheduled for after fishing on the September 20th. Check our website or
Facebook for any changes or updated information on the time of the party.
It seems a lot more fish are being caught this year than in the past,
although not all members are being prompt at logging their catches with
the Lunge Log. So, take a little time out of your busy schedule and log
those catches.
September 27th is the date for our fall Guide for a Day Outing (GFAD).
Please help the club to promote this event as all the proceeds go into our
muskie restocking program. Based on the results of our Spring GFAD,
this event should be a well-attended one. Anyone interested in booking a
trip this year can call our President Bill Bennett at (574) 457-3879. The
fee is $100 per person or $60 per child for a full guided day on the water,
including lunch. Last Spring’s GFAD produced many fish with a couple
over 49 inches.
The fourth annual “WLMC Turkey Brawl” is scheduled for November
22nd with fishing on any lake beginning at 8 am until 4 pm. This event is
open to all members and friends of members of WLMC. Fried turkeys as
well as other fare will be served at Curt and Lisa Lindsey’s house
afterwards. Please bring a dish as well as the drink of your choice. A “Big
Fish” pot with 100 percent payout is optional at $10 per person payable
after 6:30 a.m. at Renee and Chae’s house.
I would like to welcome seven new members to our chapter beginning
with the addition of family members, Sue Caldwell, Kendra Kemp
Lindsey and Trevor Tampir Lindsey. The family membership option
offered by MI is an affordable way to have the whole family join you in
your love of muskie fishing. I also like to welcome new members Jacob
Neubauer, Justin Hysong, Andy Renolds, and Scott Reust. I am looking
forward to meeting you all at one of our next events.
Don’t stop Believer in’, Jim Welsh

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Show your girl some love

If you are familiar with Muskie fishing and the tenets of Muskies Inc. then you know the importance of handling your fish properly to enable a successful release. Proper release tools as well as a conscious effort to not stress your fish and protect the slime coating is imperative. As you may have seen in the MI magazine there are recommended ways to hold your fish for photos.

However, there is an aspect of muskie catch and release that is not mentioned as often but can be equally important to the healthy release of your fish. It is the psychological state of your fish. Once that big girl ends up in your net she begins to realize she has been duped. And if she's been around for a while it's probably not the first time. This event can play havoc on a fish's self esteem. Embarrassed to face her counterparts she may swim off in shame, head hanging low with chagrin.

This is where you can help. You see it inferred in the second picture above but it is a subject not often talked about.

The Muskie Hug

Here you can almost feel that big joyous smile on this fish's face as Jeanine imparts a big loving Muskie Hug on her:

Jim's hugs include a soothing song before returning to the water. This big girl can't seem to get enough of Jim's rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart. On the figure 8 you can hear Jim begin, "Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming round..."

Some like to partake in a little playful exchange. As Curt queries, "Who's a big girl? Who's a big girl? Yes you are."

So the next time that big girl visits your boat, show her some love. Sent her back healthy AND smiling.

- Bill Kopp

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jim’s empty corner

You may have noticed that Jim’s corner has been devoid of any newly crafted witticisms and yarns. I have heard that he may in fact be on a Summer hiatus. I hope not, as his cockeyed canards and anecdotal accounts are always a jovial jaunt into Jim’s psyche. Jim’s corner has stood empty recently. Like that corner of the garage where he used to keep the croquet set before the big clean up.

It has also been rumored that Jim’s lack of celtic concocted compositions may be caused by Jim forsaking his muse. You see Jim’s muse at times comes to him cloaked in an elegant purple garb befitting royalty. Crowned in perfection with the upmost taste and refinement. But again, this is only speculation. Jim’s muse may appear in other more malty forms as well.

Whatever the cause of this creative holiday, I for one am ready for another one of Jim’s creations.

 - Bill Kopp

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beam me up, Scotty!

Captain's log.. Star date, day 30. It's been a month since ice out and it finally looks like things are starting to happen. It's about time because the season didn't start out with much of a "big bang". The Iceout Challunge fell victim to the timing of the spawn as over 25 anglers competed and were unable to boat a single fish. A week later, during our first League Outing, one fish was caught, but they were still moving very slowly. A few days later, in the middle of the week, the usual suspects rounded up a few unusually large Muskies. Things were starting to pick up, maybe the stars were becoming aligned. The weather wasn't heating up all that fast, but the fishing sure was, just in the nick of time.

 Last weekend was the first of our two Guide for a Day fundraisers and by the end of the day the Muskies were moving at warp speed. At the lunch break, which was delicious btw, it looked like it was going to be a special day. The clients in the big black tiller boat had a real good morning, landing a 50 inch Muskie on a crankbait. But wait, that's not all! Jake, flying Han Solo, caught and landed a 49 1/4 on a Kickin' Minnow, by himself! Here's the count..... a 50"er, a 49 1/4"er, a 46"er, a 43.5"er, 40 1/4"er, a 39"er, a 36"er and finally a 32"er. All total, we put the Vulcan grip on eight muskies, 6 caught by clients! Now how much will you pay? It was like we became one with the Universe. GFAD was a big success!  Most of the clients showed interest in reserving  a spot for the fall session. Congratulations to all of the guys who caught fish as well as the members who participated in guiding them. This was my second GFAD and I got to say, it's pretty cool putting people on fish, especially their first Musky. If you haven't  been the G in GFAD  before, I think you should try it. It's a good time, you meet some really nice people and based on the success of this Spring session, this is your chance, as the club will be looking for a bunch more boats, come fall.

This week has proved that the bite is still on. Maybe this year the fishing around here will return to the way it was back in the "Glory Days". That might be a little optimistic but hey, we are on the right trek. Already it looks like it'll be better than the past few years. Hopefully, you are reading this and decide to dust off  the "Ye Olde" (ding) tackle box and get out on the water this weekend. Catch a few musky and get ready for the May 31st. League Outing. One would say now's the time.
After all, it is logical, Captain.

Live long and prosper,
Captain James T. Welsh

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”
Joseph Campbell

Friday, April 4, 2014

"You nincompoop, it's a major award!"

 I love sharing our sport. It's pretty cool to see the surprised look on people's faces when they first get a look at the  pictures of the fish we catch.  It's that expression, all at once, when they realize the grandeur of a big Musky. The size of the fish's massive head, its girth or the fact that it's longer than their leg, usually makes their jaw drop. It happens every time and it doesn't  matter whether the viewer is a fisherman or not. Actually, I think the average "Big Time" fishermen are more in awe over the intimidating profiles of these  magnificent fish than the "Laker" who wets a line every now and then and doesn't know the difference between a sunfish or a sunburn.
On those rare days, after a club outing, when you get to share your catch pictures with the group, the rush you get can be almost as rewarding as catching the fish in the first place. The reassuring acknowledgement from your buds that you done good helps you to get  past those lulls and lean times. I mean, you just caught a species that most angler won't catch their whole lives. Although, this is Musky fishing, and sharing those good times doesn't happen all that often and when they do, it is a  big deal, a real big deal.
As we all know, as members of Muskies Inc., we get to share our catches in the 'Lunge Log which keeps an annual running total of  all of the Muskies their members caught throughout the year. At the end of the year, Jim Bunch tallies the results of eight different international categories, from men's stats, women's stats, juniors stats as well as Lunker of the Month an Hybrid. Last year, two members of WLMC Chap. 49  accomplished something that may never be done again! They finished in first place, internationally, in their respected categories, Le crème de la crème, , et pour moi, je crois que,  it's a big deal! *
Congratulations to Jeffrey Iden and Nikki Swain for proudly representing the 'MC, internationally in 2013, by finishing out on top of the Hybrid division and the Women's Division.
Jeff caught a monster  Hybrid in July of last year while fishing on Lake St. Clair which was big enough to put him right to the top of the table. Many other Hybrids in the high forties were caught later in the year, but none long enough to best Jeff's 49 incher which proved to be the largest caught in the world in 2013! I will speak for the majority of the Club and say that many of our P.B's aren't even 49",  let alone a Hybrid. Way to go, Jeff! Looking forward to meeting you this year at Leagues.
Then there was  Ms. Swain. How can you have a discussion about the Women's Division Title race of M.I. and not bring Nikki's name up right out of the gate? A perennial leader in the division, year in and year out, and  not just by catching numbers but she has been known to hoist in some big girls, too! A few years ago, she caught an Indiana fish that was measured damn near at that  magic mark, but came up a bit  short at 49" and change. We all knew it was just a matter of time, and in 2013 she used all of the time that was available to her. Trailing by a handful points in late October, Nikki was able to catch and release two fish in November, giving her a total of 275 points and  securing her  the Women's Division Title! It was the first time a member of Chapter 49 topped a division at the end of the year. Great job, sister and best of luck this year!
Next week, I think it is time we all share our sport in the proudest of ways. At the behest of our MOFC Director, Brian Rothbauer, as well as the rest of the WLMC B.O.D. I would like to invite both of you, Jeff and Nikki, as well as all Chapter 49 members, to attend the after dinner festivities of next week's Ice Out Challenge so Chapter 49 can properly present you both with your International Awards. Any members that plan on attending the party but don't plan on fishing are more than welcome, but please RSVP to me at so we can assure we have enough food for everyone.

Jim Welsh

 * Note. Just trying to give it  an international feel. After all, Muskellunge is a French word, isn't it?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The road to the Indiana Derby.

         With less than three weeks till the first  MOFC League outing, it is time to get your bets down on who will be crowned champion while the odds are at their greatest for the bettor. Our Tournament Director, Curt Lindsay, known for his backwood brewing techniques, has cooked up a new League Day format for 2014. Leagues will held once a month, being  spread throughout the year. Check the website for 2014 schedule or call Curt at 574-529-2098. Let's hope the Leagues go down a little smoother than his moonshine. Here is the '14 future pool betting line. 
Each bettor will have 20 points to wager. Wagers can be placed on any one entry or spread out across the board with a minimum bet of 2 points to be placed on any one entry. Wagers can be placed via my email at no later than April 15th. Tie breakers will be your prediction of total of fish caught during Leagues. Bettors with the most points will be declared the winner. Prizes TBD. All wagers are for entertainment purposes only. No wagers will be made or paid in monetary form. Good luck!

   4-1  Curt Lindsey.
 Last year's dead heat co runner ran more events than any other entry. Clockers predict going the distance should be no problem based on recent workouts. Slow out of the gate but is known to rally late down the stretch. Likes the whip.

   5-1  Bill Kopp.      
After stewards inquiry, officially declared '13 money winner. If returns to the same form of May/June '13, it may be over before it starts. Has been known to come up short (29") when  money is on the line.  Some question if trainer C. Baxter's workout schedule may be too intense.

   6-1  Chae Dolsen
Perennial odds on favorite fell out of favor with book makers due to lack of participation in graded races last year. Could easily end up in the winner's circle if entered in at least half of the events on this years meet. Can rally between horses to best foes by 10 lengths or more  if shook at the quarter pole.

   7-1  Nikki Swain
 "Filly of The Year" winner in '13 is showing no sign of fatigue after grueling schedule  saw her compete all the way into November last year. Past performances proves she is easily favored over stable mate R. Swain. Look for her to be the morning line favorite at the LSC meet.

   8 -1  Isaac Mobley
Has the breeding to stay up with the front runners. Needs to compete more in '14 to be a serious threat. The Tippy track fits his running style the best so look for a strong finish there. Finished in the money  at Webster and Upper Long also.

   9-1  David Cates
With the scales of justice in one hand and a St. Croix in the other, it's silly not to think this local entry won't be somewhere near the lead in the end. Competing in other races, specifically the primary and general campaigns, probably will interfere with this season's title hunt. If returns to past form, this veteran should be an overlay at 9-1.

  9-1  John Dobry
Experience, stamina, pace and good instinct should've placed him higher up the board, but too many scratches last year has this entry right in the middle of the betting field. Will have a good showing on home track and Tippy. Needs to partner up well on LSC if planning on finishing in the money there.

  10-1  Garrett Graham
Lake county bred colt has a lot of pace. Goes well on Sawmill and Sechrist surfaces. Past performances on Tippy will alone makes him a good bet.

  11-1  Adam Wallace
Opened '14 campaign early with trips to out of state events. Constant fly-ins and jet lag drags this entry down in to the  double digit odds. New equipment should favor him over foes late as the long season takes its toll. Another LSC favorite.

  11-1  Jim Welsh
Finished in the money in '13. Seems to favor The Chain over others. With lack of experience, don't look for strong outings on smaller tracks. Being a shipper from the Illinois based stable may cause this gelding problems.

  12-1  Bill Bennett
Possible quarter crack injury after Indiana Musky Classic could've been the reason he wasn't entered again in '13. Look for him to make a full return in '14. Webster, Tippy favor his style. When in form this local competitor can run with the best. Sometimes a late scratch.

  12-1  Eric Fleming
Very good out of the gate. Look for him to start out strong early in the meet. Runs well on Webster and The Chain in Spring and Summer. As good a runner as any other local foes. Needs a better outcome down the Fall stretch if planning on winning it all. Easily can finish in the money, but best play is a Show bet.

  12-1  JR Cates
Young stud has the bloodline to win here. Broken equipment forced multiple scratches in '13. Sold off a lot of lures last month and may not have many left, but still should be a good bet. If used in an exacta bet with his father the payout could be monumental.

   12-1  Rick Swain
Over shadowed by his celebrated stable mate in '13. Managed to rally, completing a few impressive trips. Should've finished  higher in if wasn't under wraps. Look for this entry to fight back in '14.

  15-1  Jeff Iden
Impressed in '13 winning M.I. division title. Started slow last year but rallied big. LSC,  Webster fit his trolling style.

  2-1  Field or All Other
Field runners consist of all WLMC members not listed above due to not meeting the minimum required entries based on past performance records. Participation in 2 or more outings this year will make you eligible for the  2015 Future Pool. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Coiled and no where to strike.

 I woke up rather late last Saturday morning, much later than I normally would for a Saturday in late March. The chill in the room reminded me that I had no plans for the day which made me feel less guilty about my decision to just light a fire, put on a pot of coffee and lazily waste away the morning. Knowing that my neighbor, Jim Neubauer, was on vacation in Hawaii and being the tree hugger that I am I couldn't sit still while there was a perfectly good Chicago Tribune just lying in his driveway going to waste. I slipped on some shoes and headed to the garage to make my way outside to steal his paper when I hit the button for the overhead door. All I heard was a big thump and the door slammed shut as fast as it opened. "What the Hell, now what?" After closer inspection I realized where the problem lied . It was a broken spring. Doesn't that just sum it all up, a broken spring. It was like a sign, an omen maybe. As if it wasn't enough that we had to endure an arctic vortex that was clinically diagnosed as bi polar, Spring is officially here and it's broken. Last week, Pick-A-Tool Rentals (ding), the company I work for, rented our largest blower heaters, not to heat a warehouse like usual, but to blow heat under a tarp at U.S. Cellular Field so they can thaw the infield. This weekend, MLB teams will be breaking camp and coming north. To me, that is as sure of a sign of Spring as any. Monday, the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox play Baltimore and there won't be an oriole in sight. The only thing heating up around here Baby, is March Madness, Baby! For the first time ever, the highly awaited Ice Out Challunge had to be pushed back from March 22nd. to April 5th. and if the overnight temps don't start to go up a bit there is a chance it may be cancelled all together. If that was to happen it would be a terrible thing. I really enjoy the Ice Out. There's something about the first outing of the year that makes it special, maybe it's all the anticipation, cabin fever or  the rush of finally being out fishing that I like so much. Maybe its because I won in 2010  and my name is on the trophy. Yeah, I bet that's it.
So, lets all hope and pray for some warmer temperatures this week. In the meantime, I'll give Neubauer a call and hopefully he can bring some of that Polynesian weather back with him or possibly one of those wooden Tiki Idol God figures that Bobby Brady had so we can cast a curse on this broken Spring. It this point I'll try anything. Let's hope our prayers are answered, and if not, I can always bring up a bunch of heaters, unfortunately, I don't think Pick-A-Tool has a tarp big enough to cover the lake.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Erin go Bah!

"Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's day!" Growing up in Chicago I heard plenty a bartender boast that statement plenty of  times, and you know what, they were probably right. At least the people partying in the bars and the parades were, even if it was the thinnest of thin slice from the genetical Shepard's Pie, it was enough to qualify them as an official card carrying Irishman. On March 17th, you were Irish.

In 1857, my great, great Grandfather, Matthew James Welsh and his young wife Ann Kelly left Tipperary to start their family in Chicago. I think it is safe to say that their children were going to be Irish. Eight kids later, my great Grandfather, James Welsh was born. He married my Great Grandmother, an Italian immigrant Angela Navigato. Five years later, my half Irish/half Italian Grandpa Matthew James Welsh was born. He married my Grandmother, a Swedish girl, Evelyn Mulbach. They had six Irish, Italian, Swedish and English children, one of them who was named, you guessed it, James Matthew Welsh went on and married my mother Mary Anne Briski. Now my Mother's family was about as diluted as my Dad's which makes me one part all of the above, plus a second part of English, Polish, French and Italian.

This past weekend my son, wearing a kelly green sweater and a plastic leprechaun hat, headed out for the night to meet some friends. Rhetorically, I said "Hey Jimmy, where are you going?" Not picking up on my sarcasm he said "We're going out, Dad, you got 20 bucks I can borrow?" "Twenty Bucks, you're gonna need more than that to go out for St. Paddy's." He replied "No, I won't. I'm Irish, people will be buying me drinks all night. I am mostly Irish, right Dad, except for Mom's half, right?" I assured him he came from a long line of Welshes and should think of himself as a true Irishman. As I handed him the $20, I reminded him to stay safe, drinks responsibly and try not to spend all his money. He turned, cocked his head and gave me  a confused look. I guess he forgot Wednesday was St Joseph's Day and we're having dinner with his Italian cousin's on Taylor street.

The older I get the less important my heritage becomes. It seems silly to hold onto a nationality or "old country" family traditions. Someday, maybe we will lose our European heritage all together and just become Americans. In my family's case anyway, it's got to happen pretty soon. I can only imagine what my answer will be when Jimmy's son comes to me and says, "Grampa, what nationality are we?" I guess I would sit him down and say, "well Fred, where do you want me to start?"

James Matthew Welsh IV?

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Cave gave us a Run for our money.

With reports of 25" of ice on Webster and no open water in site, the reality of Musky fishing in Indiana anytime soon may only be wishful thinking. Is this winter ever going to end?  I think I went thru more 2 cycle oil this year running my snowblower than I did all of last year running my boat. My patience was running thin. Then last week, while online googling the definition of  polar vortex, I received a I.M. from fellow Chap #49 member, Adam Wallace. His message was short and to the point. It read "this weather stinks... road trip?" Road trip! Yeah, that's what I need, a road trip. Nothing like an impromptu road trip to cure cabin fever. I typed back "Hells yeah! Where to?" Adam had it all figured out. Cave Run, a quick little trip to Kentucky and back, piece of cake. "It's like going to Wisconsin." Leave Friday after work, drive all night, fish all day. Come home Sunday. Man, did that sound good, just like the old days. When we would just jump in the car and go. But wait, I probably should've cleared it with the Gestapo first. Thank goodness I am married to a woman who loves fishing as much as I do and understands the wintertime Jones one goes through when one is a Musky junkie. As well as understanding the concept of "the road trip." Thanks, Jeanine, I promise you can go with us next time.

So off we went, in pursuit of Ky. Muskys. We left Kosciusko County by 7:00pm and arrived  by about 2:00am. We got a little shut eye for a few hours and then headed to the lake. With  time to spare, we decided to stop in at Crash's Landing, the local pro shop. It turns out they just opened for the year and we were their first customers of the season. The store was damp and musty and had that just opened for the first time smell to it. But it provided us with all the hot lure's we absolutely had to have for sucess on the Cave.  A C-note later and we were on our way, toting our new weapons and a parking pass while wearing our Crash's Landing fishing hats! We launched the boat and set out in search of warmer water and baitfish. A quick ride to a sunny wind blown cove and we were in business. We found the warmer water and the bait, but finding the Musky was a little harder. A few more coves and a few more hours turned up the same results. The Muskys were about as hard to find as a (insert tastless and insensitive airplane joke here). The water, at 42 deg., was up four feet from summer pool and was really muddy. Clarity was only about a foot. At least the weather was good, maybe too good. With temps in the high 50's and sunny skies, it made for a wonderful day to be out on the water. We even got a little sunburned. What a difference a few hundred miles can make.

It was nice to have a change of scenery, a new lake with new challenges. Different baits, unordinary presentations and  strange water conditions may have caught us out a bit, but it was still Musky fishing. That doesn't change much.

Although, what seems to have changed is the "road trip." Long gone are the days of the full cooler in the back seat, next to the briefcase of cassette tapes. No one was hanging out the window screaming "Whoo, Cave Run." We slept in a motel, with warm beds, not in a pickup truck with a cold, rusty bed. Nowadays, Red Bull replaces the Red Label. Heck, we even had gas money to get home. But, it's all good, we  had a great time. Drinking and driving is for Richards, and no one wants to be a Richard.

So next time you get a case of cabin fever, send somebody a text, post a request for a "road trip" on Facebook or start a thread on the Club's forum. Road trips are a blast, I can't wait for the next one. What's even cooler, now, I can actually remember what happened during the weekend! Well, most of it, anyway.
Jim "Muskieless in Morehead" Welsh

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The news from Circle City.

Hello, from the 2014 Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show, where again WLMC will be manning the club booth throughout the 10 day event. Attendance this year has been pretty good. Things were a little slow Friday after the city received about 5 new inches of snow, but it was cleaned up in time for Saturday.
We spoke to a lot of nice people the last few days, many who had shown interest in attending this years GFAD program. Let's hope Old Man Winter will start thinking about taking his foot of our balls pretty soon, at least for rest of the Indy Show.
 Big Thanks to Chae and Renee Dolsen from "Webster Lake Guide Service" (ding!) for dragging down and setting up the 'MC's booth. Also to my lovely wife, Jeanine, who let us spend Valentine's Day weekend together at an Outdoors show. Nothing says "I Love You" more than 650,000 sq. ft. of pure outdoor goodness. That and a pound of Smokin' Oak venison jerky.
Mike Castor will be watching over the booth during the mid week till Bill and Connie Kopp take over on Saturday for the remainder of the show. So, come on down and say Hi. Its a great show and well worth the drive.
Thanks to all who helped!
Jim "couple of acres" Welsh

Friday, January 31, 2014

Peyton's Place

          As the whole world anticipates the kickoff to Sunday's Super Bowl, I have to ask myself if my Indiana fishing buddies, the majority of them fans of the Indianapolis Colts,  feel the same way.  Super Sunday is the biggest gambling day of the year. The office pool, strip cards, and that phone call to the brother in law who "knows a guy"  will give them reasons not to miss the game, but do they really  want to watch? Do they really want to witness their ex quarterback, a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer, show off his talents on what is arguably the biggest stage in the world? Their guy, the one who should be leading their Colts to their second World Championship, not the Denver Broncos. In March, 2012, the Indianapolis Colts, not feeling lucky, took a gamble and released Peyton Manning on speculation he would never play at a championship level ever again. Well, they lost.

          It's kind of like a boat I owned. I bought it brand new and it was everything I hoped it to be. I caught my first Musky and my biggest Musky in that boat. It gave me many years of flawless service. The one problem I had with the boat is that it was great for day in and day out fishing , but it couldn't compete with the bigger boats, in the big tournaments. Sure, I won a few outings  and even one big  tourney with it but most of the time it came up short. Then one summer evening, after fishing all day, my luck ran out. I fired up the engine and  went to shift it in reverse and got nothing. Put it back in forward and also nothing. A gear box full of neutral. After tearing it down, an inspection proved it needed a new output shaft and gears. The good news was the parts were still available, the bad news was the cost exceeded $1000.00. I opted to weld up  the old parts and have them machined. I did a really good job and I with a little luck it  would work just fine, but for how long? Long story short, I sold the boat at a discounted price, with full discloser of the "possible problems." I didn't want to let it go, but I did. I had mixed feelings about its future. I wanted the boat to go on and continue to service the new owner for years. On the other hand, since I let it go for next to nothing,  a part of me wanted it to blow up on the first trip out. One thing is for sure, it will always have a place in my heart.

          So, how do you guys/gals feel? Is there a place for Peyton in your heart? Do you want him to go out and win a tourney for his new owner or do you want to see him blow up?  The competition will be  tough and he may or may not win but I doubt he will implode. People say he has something to prove but I don't see it that way. I think he already has. The fact that in a time span of little over two and a half years he has rehabbed from not one but two neck surgeries and led a  new team with a new offense to the Super Bowl is more impressive than anything any other athlete has ever done. To my Indiana friends, I leave you with my condolences. I hope you can remember the good times and let go of all the things you think you have lost. Who knows, on Sunday, maybe you'll  have a little luck. Maybe you'll win a square or two, beat the bookie out of a few bucks, or  have the winning number in the "How many times he yells Omaha" pool. Then, if the Broncos win and Manning is named MVP, at least the money might help to soften the blow. They say it's better to be lucky than good, and if I were you guys, I wouldn't worry, you have Luck on your side. At least for now, until he is eligible for free agency.

Signed, Class of '79 D.D. Eisenhower H.S. "Fighting Cardinals" official tackling dummy,
Jim Welsh.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

They say we're young and we don't know..

          It's almost  here, the day we've all been waiting for. Soon we will know how many more miserable weeks of winter we will be subjected to.  On February 2nd it will be Groundhog's Day. The story goes, a couple hundred years ago in Pennsylvania, a bunch of drunken American- Germans stayed up all night drinking  beer and come morning, decided they could predict the weather by observing the behavior of  a marmot. If the rodent popped out of his hole and saw his shadow, he would crawl back in and there would be 6 more weeks of winter. I never understood this, it always seemed backwards to me. One would think that if he saw his shadow, it was sunny out and spring was just around the corner. But who am I to judge. I'm  glad my Irish Heritage doesn't have any silly traditions that involve staying up all night.

          And then there was the movie. You know the one where Bill Murray, an arrogant and egotistical weatherman, wakes up every morning and it's the same day, Groundhog's Day. Over and over, woken by  the same Sonny and Cher song on the radio, every day, the same thing. Musky fishing can be a lot like that movie. At times when I'm fishing I feel like I'm living the same day, over and over, with the same dismal results. Cast after cast, spot after spot, day in and day out.  I mean it's not always  the same. I change lures every now and then. Sometimes I even fish spots where  I've never caught fish before. In the movie, self centered Murray, stuck in a rut with no end in sight,  decides to change. He eventually  achieves self-improvement  by educating himself on a daily basis. Then one morning he wakes up and sure enough it's the next day, Feb 3rd. Huh, maybe there is a lesson to be learned here. I don't know.

          One thing we do know is Spring will eventually come. Maybe it'll come early or late, but it will come. With it brings the Ice Out Challunge. It might be held on Mar. 22nd. or Mar. 29th. We will just have to wait for that woodchuck to let us know. Either way, we will embrace the 2014 Musky season with open arms. Some of us may also embrace it with open minds. I know I will ...if I 'm not too hung over from St. Patrick's Day.

I got you, Babe,

Jim Welsh

Monday, January 27, 2014

Social media musky

The one thing that may be as hard to do as catching a Musky, is keeping those darn New Years resolutions. Here we are, four weeks into 2014, and I broke all of the one's I've made.Well it's not too late to make a 2014 resolution that will keep longer than your Grandmother's fruitcake. Resolve to fish more.  You have hundreds of dollars tied up in rods, reels and lures not to mention money spent on fishing shows, magazine subscriptions and club memberships. Let's make good use of all of it in '14. Sometimes I wonder why we don't get more members to participate in our fishing outingand tournaments. I know it's not always as easy as hooking up the boat and heading out to the lake. Work schedules, family issues and financial stress can all play a part in it. Sometimes the hang up can be the fact that you can't find a partner to fish with or someone to help launch the boat. Or maybe your boat is in the shop. A lot of times, many of us  end up fishing our outings alone, when a partner would be very helpful. This year, more so than any otherit is going to be easier to fish much more. Our website is now mobile friendly with links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Photobucket. Finding a partner with or without a boat is just a Tweet away. Facebook your friend or relative and invite them out to catch a Musky. You can follow other members posts and keep up on when the fish are biting. Social media helps us keep a finger on the pulse of our favorite pastime and hopefully inspire us to become more active in the sport we love. Participating in Club activities directly  raises money for stocking and improving "your" fisheries. Starting out with the Ice Out Challunge. Make plans to attend this year and help us get back the Trophy. If you need a partner or are looking for one, post it on our site. Who knows, you might make a great team. At worse you're out doing something you love, which beats sitting at home eating fruitcake.
Never say diet.
Jim Welsh    

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Welcome to Jim's Corner !!

Here it is !! A place to go to get inside the head of your pal Jim Welsh. 
Jim's well read sensibility shows in his writing savoir faire. He once wrote: “The writer’s job is not to judge, but to seek to understand.” That was either Welsh or Hemingway, I often get the two confused. 

So grab your Grandma and get ready,
Here's Jimmy !

- Bill Kopp

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