Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A chile night at Mon County Ballpark.

While the West Virginia Black Bears were able to squeeze out a close 3-2 victory against the Muckdogs on a cool Tuesday evening, the real stars of the night were Hot Pepper Hank and Jalapeno Hannah.

For the first time ever, all six of the Mrs. T's Pierogies (Potato Pete, Sauerkraut Sal, Cheese Chester, Oliver Onion, Jalapeno Hannah, and Bacon Bert) were present at one of the Pirates minor league affiliate teams. Early in the game, the Pierogies ran their traditional Great Pierogie Race N'at. After the cheating, normal tomfoolery, and inevitable crashes and collisions, Jalapeno Hannah came away the victor, as she twirled across the finish line before performing a "purse drop" move to taunt her conquered counterparts.

Later in the game, the Julia's Pepperoni Roll Race took place. These are the normal racing cartoon food products for the West Virginia Black Bears, and the standard fare for this race includes Double Stuff Dave, Hot Pepper Hank, and Pepperoni Patty. Joining in on this evening's contest was the entire smorgasbord of Pierogies. Fatigue from their earlier race was not a factor for them as it looked like either Potato Pete or Oliver Onion would take the crown, but as they neared the finish line, the perpetual underdog Double Stuff Dave was involved in a scuffle with the leading Pierogies. This allowed Hot Pepper Hank to cruise by the hodge podge of miscreant morsels on his way to the finish line.

So it was that the night belonged to the chiles, with both Hot Pepper Hank and Jalapeno Hannah taking first place in their respective races.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mountaineer Country Fall

Fall will quickly be upon us here in Mountain State. For most, this means the return of WVU football, changing leaves, cooler temps, and the quickly approaching fall hunting seasons.

To me, all of these are a welcome change. The sweltering heat of summer and I do not get along well. 

Who doesn't love college football? 

For many outdoorsmen and women, the thought of a brisk October evening perched high in a tree waiting on a whitetail buck while orange and yellow leaves softly drop to the forest floor below is a special experience for which they long all summer. 

I'm no stranger to the allure of fall. Crunchy leaves, back yard bonfires on cool evening, and that distinct smell of early evenings...

Who, besides me, is ready for fall?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Riverside Men's Retreat 2015

This past weekend, 14 men convened in Randolph/Pocahontas County for food, fishing, games, and general fun for the 5th Annual Riverside Men's Retreat. Its always fun to fellowship with the great group of guys we had in attendance that ranged from 14 to 80. I didn't take many pictures and they were mostly of interesting views, but here are the ones I have. It was a blast and I can't wait for next year already.

View of Elk watershed from Snowshoe Mountain

View of the Greenbrier Valley from the Highland Scenic Highway

Abandoned tracks along the Elk River

The view from our rental house

A morning's haul from Shaver's Fork

Dad's chunky rainbow trout.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Winter's lasting grip

If you look closely at this photo, you can see a handful of snowflakes that were leftover on the deck from the few flurries we had last night. Many higher elevation places had more significant snow showers yesterday. 

Here in the middle Appalachians, we can get spoiled by 70 degree days like we had last week, so when we get cold rains (or even snow) and 30 degree temperatures folks get taken aback. 

The average last frost date for Morgantown is still almost 2 weeks away, and for the high mountains is more like a month away. You can see from the greenery in the photo that spring is certainly here, but spring for Mountaineers doesn't guarantee 60- or even 50-degree weather. Soon enough though, winter will finally lose it's grip...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Outdoor Goals

I've done something similar the past couple years, and while I haven't really done a great job of fulfilling all my goals, I've had fun doing it. So I will make a list again this year. Many of these will be carry-over goals that I didn't meet last year, or that I want to do again.

In the end, I'm not going to kill myself to try to meet all these goals. That should be evident in the fact that there are some pretty easy ones I've yet to accomplish. As I wrote here, I'm really focusing on trying to enjoy the break from the norm while in the outdoors more rather than be so intent on catching fish or harvesting game. I just like putting these goals together for fun and remind myself of some cool things I said I wanted to do.

Fishing Goals

  • Catch a new species of fish (northern pike, hybrid striper, tiger musky) and/or a species I haven't caught in a few years (flathead catfish, musky, freshwater drum, eel, yellow perch).
    • This went unfulfilled last year - I stuck in my pursuit of smallmouth, trout, and the occasional walleye, and don't go after these other species much. Hopefully I can change that this year!
  • Catch a trout over 17" on a fly
    • This was also unfulfilled last year. I tend to gravitate toward small, unpressured streams with smaller, wild brook trout.
Its been too long since I've landed a trout this size
  • Explore some new wild trout streams
    • This was a carry over from last year. I don't think I attained this goal last year, but have some plans to correct that this year.
  • Fish with my wife, dad, mom, and father-in-law.
    • I fished with my dad and mom last year, and hope to fish with more members of my family this year.
Gardening Goals
  • Increase tomato output from the garden.
  • Successfully grow a new crop (I have ordered seeds to grow Tigers Eye beans, which can be harvested early as a snap bean, as a shell bean, or dry bean).
Hunting Goals

Last year my hunting seasons were derailed pretty badly by a broken wrist. I still got to gun hunt, but nearly all of my bow season was squashed. Even with that, I fulfilled a big one last year. I hunted with my Dad during the first couple days of deer rifle season. I was terrifically unsuccessful at seeing deer, let alone harvesting one, but it was great to be back with Dad and the guys for the traditional deer opener. Anyway, here the remaining hunting goals for this year.
  • Go spring gobbler hunting
    • I haven't turkey hunted for many, many years, and I want to change that. Actually calling and harvesting a longbeard would be icing on the cake.
  • Tag a deer with a bow while hunting from the ground.
    • I wasn't able to pursue this last year, going for it again this year.
  • Harvest more does than bucks for the year.
    • This is my personal management goal each year.
  • Fill the freezer.
    • Thanks to those who gave me meat last year since I was unsuccessful and unable to bowhunt.
  • Hunt with dad.

Misc Goals
  • Find and eat some ramps.
  • Find and eat some morels.
  • Harvest and eat some nettle.
  • Hike into a new remote area.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Small Stream Trouting 4/4/15

For our first outing of the year, Roger and I headed to the Savage River in western Maryland. We started on the trophy section below the reservoir, but after fishing methodically for several hours, we decided to jump up above the reservoir to fish a tributary for native brook trout.

The water temps above the lake were slightly warmer, and this, combined with some clear skies and strong spring sun warmed the water enough that the trout were hungry and feeding.

We caught 18 trout in about 3.5 hours, each of us landing 9. All were smaller brook trout (< 8") with the exception of one 11" stocked rainbow that ran up from the river into this small tributary. We both were using double beadhead nymph rigs, and as long as you got a good drift the fish didn't seem to care which exact pattern you were floating past them.

Here are some pictures of the day...


Small but pretty

First brookie of the year



Cannibal - that's a trout tail sticking out of his throat!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Fishing Journal

I've tried several different approaches to keeping journals and logs of my fishing over the years. I enjoy looking back at these logs and they are certainly informative for planning future trips.

So far, I have been unable to really stick with a single logging format for very long. I guess this is my own fault for simply not being devoted to keeping track of things.

The best free, online option I've found is . This website is oriented slightly toward flyfishing, but the framework is flexible enough to use for any type of fishing logs. There is even the option to attach pictures to each individual log entry. The best part is that it is 100% free, all you have to do is create a username to login.

In the past I've also tried creating my own log forms in Excel. The advantage to doing this is that I can customize my log entry fields to precisely what I what, but the interface and ease of use is not quite the same as the online entry options.

I'm not much on paper and pencil, as I tend to lose (or misplace) notebooks, and they are always vulnerable to deterioration. As such, I haven't tried the old school method of writing down details from fishing trips, but perhaps I should.

Do you journal your fishing trips? What format to you use to record your information? Reply in the comments!