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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

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