Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Review - Complete Guide to Fresh and Saltwater Fishing

Vin T. Sparano has written another gem and I can't wait to share it with you.  The Complete Guide to Fresh and Saltwater Fishing is just that - thorough and complete, and will be your go-to book for in-depth coverage of spin, bait, and fly fishing techniques, as well as tackle, and profiles of salt and freshwater game fish.

This excellent guide is 368 pages long and filled with 600 beautiful color photographs and detailed illustrations.  It's broken down into 6 sections:

  • Fishing
  • Freshwater Game Fish
  • Saltwater Game Fish
  • Cooking Techniques and Recipes
  • First Aid for Fisherman
  • Boating
 Let's check it out, shall we?  I want to stress that this guide is not just for the inexperienced fisherman.  There is such a wealth of information here that even experienced fishermen will find nuggets that they can use and apply while on the water.

One of my favorite sections was right at the beginning - How to match up spinning tackle. Even though I've been fishing most of my life, I really didn't know the proper way to match a reel, rod, line and lure with the type of fish I was after.   I know what I like and what I generally use.  But the table Vin provides takes the guesswork out of the equation.  See I learned something new and useful already!

Want to learn the proper technique for using baitcasting tackle?  There are 3 pages of colored photographs with narrative outlining the proper way to do so.  Interested in ice fishing?  Look no further - the ice fishing world of tip -ups, jigging rods, lures and baits are thoroughly covered.  "What about line," you may ask....  Well, what kind of line do you want to know about - monofilament, fluorocarbon, dacron, linen, cuttyhunk, silk, lead-core or wire?  The mysteries of line are revealed in a way that is easy to understand and follow.

There is also a nice troubleshooting chart to help you with common fishing problems and what to do about them.  Navigate the world of hooks and lures.  Wait until you see the colored lure photos.  I almost guarantee you will stare at them, spellbound, like my husband does.   What is it about a pretty lure that is so mesmerizing?  This book will tell you everything you need to know about plastic worms and lures, except how to keep your husband from constantly buying new ones.

If fly fishing is more your thing, then you'll enjoy the section on the wide variety of flies - dry, keel, wet, nymphs, streamers, terrestrials, bass bugs.  The list goes on and on.  Learn which ones are the right ones for you and how to tie them.  If you want to find out the five best flies to use for bass, well, you'll need to buy the book....

Did you have any idea you could catch dolphin on fly fishing tackle?  I sure didn't.  The section on freshwater baits is particularly interesting and the accompanying chart breaks it all down for you.  Anyone interested in knots will be in heaven as there are 12 entire pages dedicated to knot tying with illustrations and step by step instructions.

This chapter has 27 pages all about freshwater game fish that includes their name, a colored illustration, a detailed description of the fish, their normal range, habitat, size, food, fishing methods and what baits to generally use.

This chapter covers 30 pages and details the same information as that for the freshwater fish above.  I thought it was interesting to just look at the illustrations and read about the different types of fish that are available, especially since I've never gone saltwater fishing.  It really makes me want to give it a try sometime.

(Author Vin Sparano showing us how to hook the big one)

An important section of this book because once you catch the fish, you have to know what to do with them, right?  Proper field care and dressing of fish is a necessity.  Colored photographs will show you how to fillet a fish and work around those bothersome bones.  Make sure to take a look at the correct knives to use as well.  And then there are the recipes....
  • Striped Bass with lemon and onion
  • Grilled Rainbow Trout
  • Walleye shore lunch
  • Fried Panfish
  • Butter broiled Snapper
Getting hungry?  There's a bunch of recipes here and you'll start fishing outside your comfort zone just so you can try cooking a few. 

No outdoors book is complete without a section on first aid.  My motto is to Be Prepared and it's better to know how to do something and not need it, than to not know something and need it, right?   This section covers internal and external bleeding, mouth to mouth resuscitation, snake and bug bites, poison ivy and oak, sunstroke, sunburn, frostbite, sprains and puncture wounds.  It even covers fish hook removal and since my husband has personally made 2 trips to the emergency room for this particular problem, that grabbed my attention!  His lures are hanging on fishhook boards in ER's in 2 different states.  Not that I hope he repeats that problem anytime soon, but now I know what to do if it happens again. 

I found the chapter on boating to be particularly interesting.  Vin really breaks down the mystery of hull design and what makes them different.  This is important if you're in the market for a boat and don't know exactly what you want or need.  Kayaks, canoes and sailboats are covered as well.  Inboard and outboard motors are discussed in depth and if you want to find out more about depthsounders, this is a good place to read all about them.  Find out why anchors come in different shapes and sizes and if backing up a boat trailer confuses you, the illustrations will help you figure it out.  And finally, there is much discussion on flotation devices and navigation lights.

The Complete Guide to Fresh and Saltwater Fishing is a must have!  It is full of important information, interesting tidbits and hundreds of useful photos.  Fathers Day is just around the corner.  Don't cast around aimlessly looking for the perfect gift - this is it!

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Geocaching and Lambert's Cafe'

We've been hiding out at the lake for the past few days getting some R & R.  Pretty much all I've done is park my butt on our dock and fish for bluegill.  Yesterday Louie asked me if I was up for a little road trip.  Did someone say Road Trip??  I didn't have to be asked twice.

Last fall we had driven to Missouri to go geocaching and stumbled across a restaurant that sounded pretty cool, but it wasn't open when we were there.  We resolved to go back this year and check it out.  So I loaded up the GPS with a few geocaches and off we went.

However, the powers that be decided it would be fun to try to keep us from reaching our destination.  The bridge going over the Mississippi River was closed due to maintenance and there was no other close way across.  Fortunately I had tossed my I pad into my caching bag, so I whipped it out and quickly re-routed us. First we had to drive north up into Illinois, and then we were able to cross the river before swinging southwest and heading into Missouri.  It was a bit of a detour but we were determined.

First we stopped and grabbed 3 geocaches.  One was a cache we had tried to find last fall and ended up blanking on it.  Today we had better luck and made the grab....

 The 3rd cache was really excellent.  Unfortunately I can't show it to you or tell you anything about it because I plan to bring my parents there the next time they're at the lake and I want them to find it themselves.  I'd really hate to spoil the surprise.  But here's a link to the cache page  in case you'd like to just check it out.  If I know my mom, she's already hitting the link as we speak and checking it out.  LOL!

Louie didn't eat any breakfast before we left, so by 11:00 he was starving and we decided to head over to the restaurant.  It's a good thing we did too.  We got there at 11:15 and it was already getting crowded.  We got seated immediately, but by 11:45 the restaurant was full and there was line forming.  The name of the restaurant is Lambert's Cafe' and their claim to fame is that they throw softball sized dinner rolls at you from across the room.  How fun is that?

Server grabbing a roll and winding up....

Once you catch your roll another server comes around with containers of Sorghum molasses or honey butter.  You spread a napkin on your table and she plops it right into the middle of the napkin and you snack on that while you're waiting for your food.  I'd never had Sorghum before and I didn't really know what it was, but I tasted it and decided it tasted like apple butter.  I'd definitely have it again.

Another server comes around with fried Okra that you eat the same way....

There's a lot of stuff to look around at while you're waiting, like license plates from around the United States, and antiques, and trains running around the rafters...

Once you get your meal, they come around with more sides for you like black eyed peas, fried potatoes, and macaroni & tomatoes.  That's all in addition to the 2 sides you get on your plate with your meal.  Believe me, it's a lot of food, and good food at that.  Louie had the chicken and dumplings....

 I had the meatloaf....

And I added the fried potatoes - my dad would LOVE these!

Ok, that was way more food than I could ever eat in even 3 meals, so I had plenty to take home and Louie and I split it for dinner...

So it was a good day - geocaching, a fabulous lunch and I didn't have to cook dinner - it doesn't get much better than that.

I highly recommend Lambert's Cafe and they have 3 locations to choose from.  Mom and Dad, we'll be going there next time you come visit us at the lake.  Bring your geocaching bag too!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bunche Beach Shell Box

A couple of weeks ago we picked up this little green box at an estate sale.  I really had no idea what I was going to do with it, but any time I see a cool little box, of course I have to buy it.  It was in pretty rough shape..

Pretty bad, huh?  I pulled out some light blue paint and gave it a couple of coats.

My friend Cheri from over at the Shelllady Blog  has a house near Sanibel Island.  Cheri recently sent me some jewelry making metal stamps so I wanted to make her something special for her new home.  Cheri loves Bunche Beach, so I decided to stencil shells and Bunche on the box for her.  Then I distressed the whole thing....

I can't wait to see what kind of shells she finds to fill it up.  She is a master sheller.  Go over and check out Cheri's blog for lots of posts about Sanibel Island..  She's a new Grandma too.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day 2015

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, who is more special than she will ever know!

And to all the other moms out there, may you have a happy and blessed day.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Re-Purposed Bread Box

This weeks project was super quick and easy.   I've been searching for a bread box for the Lake House for the longest time.  I can't believe how hard it is to find those suckers.  But I finally spotted one at an estate sale a few weeks ago....

I really didn't have to do much to it.  I cleaned it up and applied 2 coats of aqua blue paint.

Stenciled the word grains across the front....

Filled it with bread and set it on the counter at the lake.

Done!!  What did you make this week?

Linking up with....

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bloggers are the Best!

Bloggers are the best, don't you agree?  I have had the privilege of meeting some of the nicest people through blogging.  Warm, caring and genuine people.  People whom I never would have met otherwise and because of blogging I have formed friendships with people from all corners of the world....

Like Gail, from over at Shedding the Wolf.  She does cool things like target practice, fly fishing, sewing, cooking, quilting, crochet, amateur radio and Morse code.  She's also a minister and works with hospice patients and recently she joined a Search and Rescue Squad.  Oh, and she holds 3 degrees.  Gail has no idea how totally awesome she is.  I want to go blast targets with her.  Last fall she was making infinity scarves for gifts and she kindly sent me one.  I don't know what the material is, but it's the softest, most snugly scarf I've ever seen.  I wore it all winter and I love it....  Thanks Gail!

Another one of my favorite people is Debbie over at Lakehouse.  Go and check out her lake house.  It is gorgeous, and romantic and shabby chic and I love absolutely everything she does.  Her house is like a window dressing.  I want to sit at her table and eat cookies and drink hot tea.  She makes lavender scented drawer pouches out of vintage material and lace.  She sent me a couple and Chablis immediately snatched one up for herself.   They smell heavenly....  Thanks Deb!

A new blogger friend is Donna over at Distressed Donna Down Home.   We share a love of vintage treasures and rust.  I love it when she shares her weekly vintage finds because she sniffs out the good stuff.  She re-purposes a lot of the things she finds and then sells them in her Etsy shop.  I want to go thrifting with her!

Donna recently had a give-away over at her blog.  She was cleaning out her hoard of goodies, named Horror Monster, and I was a runner up.  Donna knew that my nick name is Bird, so she put together an awesome box of birdy goodness for me.  Want to see?

First was a pair of vintage embroidered ovals...

A bird mold and 2 dainty little bird cages....

Bird ornaments and a set of flash cards for crafting....

These are fantastic - postcards from the early 1900's..  I LOVE these and plan to frame them.  The oldest one is from 1906, as well as ones from 1907, 1910 and 1927.

An old music book...

And this is my favorite.  A cute little bird with some vintage material, some of Donna's hand made tags and envelopes, and a frozen Charlotte.  The tags are beautiful and I'm going to use them on some of the bigger items I sell in my Etsy shop.   Do you know the history of frozen Charlotte's?  I didn't and asked Donna about them - this is what she said.... Frozen Charlottes were produced in Thuringia, Germany from 1860 to 1900.  They were mostly used in dollhouses.  The name Frozen Charlotte (Frozen Charlies are rare) derives from the fact they did not have movable parts.  The dolls were made of glazed bisque.  If the doll passed inspection, it was hand-painted. They range in size from ½ inch to 4 ½ inches.  These are factory rejects that were thrown out because of flaws in the glazing or missing parts.  The rejects were thrown into ditches at the backs of the factories. Some years ago collectors were invited to come and dig for the rejected dolls.  These come from a collector in Germany who dug up a massive collection.  They are highly prized by jewelry makers and mixed media artists.  The discolorations and flaws make them desirable for various art projects.

If you get a chance, please stop by and visit Gail, Debbie and Donna.  I think you'll agree that they are all very special ladies and I'm so glad to call all of them my friends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Re-purposed Bird Cage

Over the weekend I picked up a bird cage at a estate sale with plans to re-purpose it.  I just didn't care for the galvanized green/bronze colors...

Honestly, I didn't do much with it except clean it up and then paint it with one coat of white paint using the dry brush method.  I liked the way it looked and didn't even distress it any further....

I think it would be cute filled with a string of lights, used for a wedding centerpiece or to hold wedding cards, or fill it with vintage books or dishes.  What would you use it for?

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