Elk. Bacon. Cream Cheese. Jalapeno.
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Butterfly elk. Stuff with cream cheese and jalapenos. Wrap with bacon. Grill to perfection.

Say no more.

Coke Roast
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This is a family favorite that one of my elk hunting buddies introduced us to. I’ll just screen shot our scribbled recipe. Insert game meat of choice.


More Spring Crappie Fishing
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The fishing was so good on Raelyn’s first ever fishing trip that we took a quick second trip on the same weekend. This time we headed one cove south and found a hungry school of black and white crappie. They are definitely progressing through the spawn as only 2 of the females were still gravid with eggs. We turned 36 minnows into 30 keepers – a mix of 26 crappie supplemented with 4 nice bluegills. We tossed back probably 8-10 undersized crappie that came mostly on a green curly tail grub & jighead setup.

I think I officially have a fishing buddy!

The freezer is full with 10 Ziploc bags of fillets, so we’ll probably lay off the crappie now and turn our attention to floating some local creeks for some good smallmouths. Maybe do a little bowfishing to augment my garden’s soil, and I have my eye on a couple deep holes in the local creeks that are begging for a little catfishing with live bait. Been a while since I’ve tied into a flathead catfish!

Raelyn’s First Fish!!!
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We’ve been working up to a fishing outing with Raelyn for a month or so. It started off with the purchase of a her Minnie Mouse fishing pole with a Zebco reel attached. Once we got home, I tied on an old house key and we practiced 5 or 6 nights casting in the sunroom. Hold the button down, pull the rod back, swing forward, and release the button. For a 3 year old, she caught on really fast and within the first couple training sessions most of the casts were going in some direction of forward.

I’ve been watching the fishing reports on Ohio Game Fishing’s forums for a while now, and people have really been talking up the crappie spawn this spring. What better fish to introduce her with?!?! Doesn’t fight very hard, minnows under a cork, and plenty of action…hopefully!!!

Quite certain we won the “cutest fisherman in the bait shop” award, and with little drama, I was rowing us north on Alum Creek Lake to get under the bridge and find a quiet cove full of hungry fish. The first fish on was at our second spot, but it was a catfish that pulled so hard, Raelyn was freaking out and begging me to reel it in…so I did. Nice cat, probably 3 pounds. Where you at crappie?

Third and fourth spot, we struck out again, but finally we found a magic crappie tree.

First fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The smile says it all…

…and daddy’s smiling too.

She wasn’t into holding the fish, but she was very willing to touch them and worked really hard catching our minnows out of the bucket that morning. The crappie started coming in rapid succession and we weeded through about 25 to bring home 12 keepers. We had a bonus white bass to supplement the 1 cat too.

All told she probably reeled in 5 or 6 fish, and she was really into it up until our leave time right before noon. She’s spent her past 3 days telling everyone with ears about the “cattail fish that daddy caught”, “catching the little fish in the bucket to catch the big fish in the lake”, “daddy caught a tree fish”, “we caught TONS!”, and “I caught a fish all by myself!”.

As for daddy, he’s just been smiling. Couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to fishing than Saturday morning, and I’ve been beaming with pride! I know my dad started me out on bluegills in the local pond, and the smile in my “first fish” picture has been going strong 26 years now…hoping Raelyn will do the same!

May 2nd Big Walnut Float
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Floated a smidge over 6 miles on Saturday down the Big Walnut with a buddy. Fish weren’t real active and we didn’t find any smallmouth in the prototypical spots – runs, riffles, boulder fields. Seemed like the fish were hanging in the slack water in deeper holes. We managed 5 in the boat with a 6th shaking loose.

Thankfully this big smallie salvaged the day from a fish catching perspective…18″ on a split-shot rigged tube.

Lots of other wildlife to keep us intrigued – mix of waterfowl species, osprey, bald eagle, barred owl, northern flickers nesting in a sycamore, lots of little shorebirds that I can’t identify, a raccoon, and a couple beavers swimming by…the creek was quite alive!

Infolinks 2013