Most of us have jobs. Most of us have a family to provide for and need attention. Many of us still need to Get out and Get Lost. I watch and read certain blogs, youtube channels and Netflix for my adventure fix at home. It’s not enough. But it cost money and time, time is money. I have spoke at a few events about winter and summer overnight Bikepacking. One thing I really try to get across is that anyone is capable of this with a family or on a budget. Most of my trips are small, one overnight. Kiss my girlfriend goodnight and head out for 6-10 miles on my bike and find a spot to sleep. I usually have a campfire and eat a snack then get in my sleeping bag. I wake up start cooking breakfast or coffee and pack at the same time. I roll out and head home. You don’t have to do this major 2-3night trip to have fun and get a little adventure. I pack the same gear for a quick local overnight as I would pack for a week trip. Less food obviously. Gives you a great chance to get acquainted with your gear. If something fails to were you have to leave then you are not far from home or a vehicle. With doing small trips you get the confidence of a animal and feel you are capable of bigger trips.
I use this same approach with hunting and fishing. Living in Michigan I have a body of water not far. Pack your bike with some fishing gear and go for a few hours fishing. You don’t need a guide to get fish. Ask a buddy where would be a good spot to get your feet wet? A good chance a buddy will not give you the spot. That pisses me off majorly! I do have a river across the street from where I live (The Flat River). I did some research on what is in that river. I saw fishermen down there, and worked the fishing hard for 2 years. I would come home from work and have dinner with my girlfriend. Then head out for a 2 hour fishing adventure. I have a tough time deciding to go up north fishing because I have a river so close that I can do quick fishing trips. It’s tough to swallow catching no fish after spending a bunch of money for the trip. I still catch no fish sometimes but I just walk across the street and hang dry my waders for the next day. So don’t limit yourself to big expensive trips. Take all chances you can get to clear the mind with a mini adventure.
Don’t go out and get a job as a lumberjack. Go out and help clear a local trail. It is easy to find a local club that loves new volunteers for help maintaining a trail. Take your time and you might get to use a saw. Take a class and become certified as a chain saw guy. People will call you just for your skills to help clear trail. I have a local Trail here in town called The North Country Trail. So on Sundays I takes little walks along the trail and sometimes bring a axe and hand saw. It’s a great workout and lets you play with some fun adult toys. But remember to be safe and contact the local chapter of the trail for info on helping.
So what I am getting at is we all need some nature. We all need to get back to what our ancestors went thru before the city life. Everyone has a piece of nature close that we can use frequently. So Go Out and Get Lost!
This pick is from today. It was a quick fishing for steelhead on a cold day. Getting my feet wet with using a spin rod and egg sacks. Now I am on to picking the kids up at school.
I really don’t like saying it. I usually frown at people that say it. It’s to early to think it. I want Spring to come around. We have plenty of winter left and I have many hobbies that use winter. I haven’t even pulled my skis out to ski or wax. I’ve taken some beautiful Fatbike rides with friends and by myself.
I have taken some hikes to clear the North Country Trail. I really enjoy clearing downed trees. Been doing it for some time up at my uncles. I have been refurbishing some axes, getting ready for the hunting season.
You can say I really like to play in the wilderness. I am not ashamed for it, I truly love being outdoors. Do I think I am cool doing it? Yes! I don’t care who sees me, I am just down with it.
So I love the winter, actually prefer the cooler weather because of no bugs, air is cleaner. But I want Springtime to come fast. Fast enough for me to get prepared. Prepared for, you ask? I have finally applied for my first Michigan Spring Turkey hunt. Last fall I looked into it for thanksgiving. I found a few private lands that I had permission to hunt but wasn’t ready or didn’t know enough. I have seen plenty of turkeys in the woods while hunting. I’ve played with them in my neighborhood. Never went after them. I have contacted a friend that I believe has years of experience hunting for turkey and other flying birds. The area I applied for doesn’t offer many tags. I am not sure why because I see turkey all the time up there. If I don’t get one I am sure I can hook up with a local land owner and grab a left over tag for a turkey hunt around Lowell. My fingers are crossed and I am so excited.
Last week I had learned that my uncle is selling the property and it was a hard blow to my heart. I don’t bring enough home to purchase it. It is most likely going to a friend of his and he said most likely I will be able to still hunt there. Thats all fine and dandy but I had some cool plans for the property in these following years. I had been drawing cabins, sharpening axes, and gathering hand tools for the possibility of building a small cabin for some good ol fashion living.
As my father was telling me my uncle is selling the property I nearly started to tear up. My past time that created some great memories was coming to a end. My mind was creating new future memories for I and my children. I was even thinking of my kids having kids go up there and passing the Bentley way of nature. You could say I failed on securing it for those thoughts because my uncle was not going to live for ever. It was up to me to be able to provide enough for that chunk of land to be in the Bentley hands for future Bentley’s. All I have to do now is get every inch of that land used up until it is sold. My goal is to hunt for everything that I can and make it the best time left. Make it count!
February I will be heading to the property and gathering a old SD card and locating all cameras to the spot that I will put some work into it and make it a great spot. My goal is to create natural feeding spots, I’ve hunted feed spots to many times and want it more natural. This season will be fantastic!
A side note, I never think I write properly. I write to slow for my mind, so if you read this blog and think I am a dumbass? You are right in the English department! I failed English all of the time but love getting my thoughts on paper.
Quick note, I switched my thoughts on fishing for Steelhead. I broke down and bought a spinning reel. I have been fly fishing for years and love it. I want more steelhead in my freezer. Drifting or float style gives more chances than my usual swinging for steelies. It’s learning process and thats what I enjoy. So springtime has me itching and can’t come any faster.
Today I had my usual day off and really needed some outdoors time. So last night I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do? The 2 things that I have been thinking about was small game hunting and fishing. Bow season is happening so I hate the idea of messing up other hunters, public land. The weather has turned kind of into fall. We had some rain last weekend and the river was up. I saw some pics on Instagram of steelhead near Lansing. So things were pointing towards fishing. The night before is probably one of my favorite happenings. You set a goal or activity and get ready for it. I haven’t needed to tie any flies because I got a good stock pile of them. I gather all my stuff set it aside and mentally prepare. The one thing that I forgot was my Bripe. We just got them in at GRBC
I have been dying to go out fishing and spark up my Bripe. But where I spent most of my time was assembling my fly boxes. I have a few and always reorganize them before a outing. Its the fun part of guessing what might work and what I will not use. everything in my fly box I have made or purchased and then tied myself. I try not to buy many flies, usually 1 or 2 to see if I like it or I catch some fish. Pretty sure everyone else does the same, I heard the saying is to buy 3 or more for loss to nature. I never have, usually 1. I have a carp ton of tying supplies and get a bunch of fur, hair, and feathers from friends. When I find a fly to tie and go to the fly shop for materials they almost always don’t have the exact materials I am looking for. They usually say well this material will work just as good. So they have taught me to not go there as often, smart. I use what I have! Lately I have been thinking most of my boxes are to natural. Not enough blacks or flashy stuff. I like the more natural stuff to catch fish on, it gives me a sense of greater satisfaction. So I unload all of my fly boxes and look for anything that I wanna eat. Think of the past years and check my notebook to see what worked around this time.
I felt good about these flies. I never use everything but these boxes might not get changed until the next year. I usually carry 3 boxes but wanted to downsize to 2. 1 box for my tube flies and the other for normal. I was all done going thru the boxes and this is where I keep thinking and thinking, oh the sleepless night of hooking that sliver chrome. I watched a little more TV but kept thinking of the morning hunt for chrome. The Flat River doesn’t see a ton of Steelhead but they are there. It’s shallow with not a ton of cover, some for sure spots when they are in the river. I generally fish 1 location but cover a bunch of ground. I use a Cabalas switch TLR 7wt rod, Lamson G3.5 reel and rio short scandi, it does the job well. I do wish I just had a 2 hander 13ft rod, don’t care for the switch characteristics. I decided to not take a net, most of my steelies are landed by beaching. I hop in the river at a good location of not spooking to many fish. I use to hop in at another spot and walked all the way across and around to start. This entry spot gives me some quiet time to sit and get ready. choose which fly I am gonna start with and maybe think about when I do change again. Able to sit and just take in the beauty of the flowing river. Its a urban spot next to a dam but I fish facing south so all I see is woods and river. Second cast I got hooked up in a tree right above my head, wasn’t spot on with my spey cast. I started to get in the groove and take a few steps after 1 or 2 cast. First felt tug of the morning wasn’t strong but wasn’t tiny.
I just couldn’t tell exactly what it was but then it had no major jolt of a tug. It was wishful thinking. It put up a real nice fight on the 7wt and just kept shaking its head. I snapped a quick pic and released the smallmouth back in the water. I couldn’t tell if it followed my fly from the faster water or was sitting in the calmer water. It hit my line at the end of the swing. A few more cast and steps down stream I hooked into another one. This one put up a bigger fight but it was slightly smaller. Just a riot on the swing. I text my fishing buddy with a pic to have a celebration with someone. I had to tell him I started to tie my flies to my line the way he does, give a fist bump. Non slip mono loop I have always watched him use it or he would share a fly with me. They would always have a tag still on, it’s a good way to attach a fly to your line if you are looking for a active fly. So after 2 runs along the spot and using 2 different flies I went to check out the Honey hole. That side of the river had less flow and the Honey hole doesn’t work well with little flow. Actually the biggest problem is me. When I use my switch rod the head on it is a little to long for stripping. I always wish I had brought my other rod for those moments but truly love swinging with that switch. Yes I could run across the street and grab it but it was time for lunch and get ready for the day. A wonderful day on the water, sun was out. Fish were biting and just Pure Michigan.
I am still putting together my hunt for out west. I have found some different locations for research. Im close to just giving up on trying to find the perfect location and go for a spot that I see as the perfect location. I feel with some time and walking I can find deer where ever I choose. The spots I am drawn to are hard to reach spots. Lots of elevation and steep canyon walls. Its what I picture is sitting with my binos and just glassing for hours. Growing up in Michigan you don’t have that. Viewing this open country and taking it all in. Not just for a giant trophy deer but a lifetime of memories in one swoop. I do feel I need to find a hunting buddy. I have a few that are open to the idea but no true takers yet. I usually do all of my activities by myself and enjoy it but love the chatter about the experience with someone else. I just keep thinking about Idaho. Anytime I google somewhere else I am right back to Idaho and checking another unit. It’s my calling to see Idaho for the first time in all its beauty!
A little rant. So I have been listening to a podcast called The Meat Eater and the last podcast of this week really pissed me off. I have read 3 books by Steven Rinella and met him at a dinner about his book American Buffalo, one of my favorite all time reads. The dinner was in Grand Rapids, MI with some of his ideas of cooking and recipes. We tasted the buffalo that he killed and prepared in a way that was, ok. It was like dried ground beef that he handed around the room for everyone to try. I left the dinner thinking he was a dick! Still really enjoy his writings and thoughts on conservation and hunting. I lost some interest in him after the dinner.
I was notified about the Meat Eater show, podcast etc from my fishing buddy. I have read the American Buffalo and The Scavengers Guide To Haute Cuisine before of hearing about Meat Eaters. I recently picked up The Complete Guide to hunting, butchering and cooking wild game volume 1, its more of a reference book than a read. So I have been enjoying the podcast and on Netflix and would recommend any of his writings, podcast, and shows to anyone who hunts or just loves the outdoors. It’s close to a nature show with sometimes a dead animal being butchered.
So the latest podcast ended in a way that Steven was so honest and direct that he would punch a guy if he did this to him. But he does it anyway. I don’t get if you believe in something deeply but still do it? Im leaving it really blank and unfinished but you should listen to the podcast just to see what he does.