This story was published in the Washburn Review. Be sure to check them out!
Echo Lake drummer Matt Mirsch. Photo by Josh Rouse.
For a band named Echo Lake, it's only natural that the founding fathers of the group love to fish.
Drummer Matt Mirsch, senior music education major, and bassist Scott Stormann, who is coming back to Washburn after taking a few years off to work, created the popular Topeka-based funk band while earning their diplomas at Seaman High School in 2006. Several years and a few new band mates later, the band has become a local favorite thanks to various gigs they've done in the area, including the Jayhawk Theatre Revival in 2009.
However, when the pair of North Topekan rockers aren't practicing for an upcoming gig or studying, they spend a good chunk of time at various fishing spots, mainly the Shawnee State Lake just north of Topeka.
"Scott has an addiction," said Mirsch. "I fish because I like to eat, Scott fishes because he's addicted to the adrenaline rush of the catch and he should probably see someone about that. That's all I have to say about that."
The two began fishing together in high school, but said they just recently started fishing frequently again this summer.
"We used to fish every now and again, because Matt's dad was a big fisherman and my dad was," said Stormann. "We've been fishing since we were little, but this summer we really started fishing a lot, like hardcore. I've been going out every weekend and Matt comes along probably once every other weekend with me and we've been going catfishing and bass fishing."
The other members of the band—lead singer Dave Hess, guitarist Michael Spangler and saxophonist T.C. Gomez—are all from Washburn. Hess recently graduated with a degree in vocal performance, while Spangler is working toward a business degree and Gomez is working toward a music education degree. Stormann said they've never managed to get the whole band together for a fishing trip, joking that it was mostly because Gomez never had enough money for a fishing license.
"Dave came out once... he's a better singer than a fisherman," said Mirsch.
On July 24, 2011, I decided to go storm chasing after I heard from my friend Mike Goehring of OriginalPro Films that the lightning coming our way was supposed to be awesome. I headed out with my camera and camcorder and started driving out to North Topeka because the radar showed the storm to be more intense in the northern part of the storm. The result was some great video clips of lightning and some decent photos, although the majority of the lightning I caught on my camera was hidden behind the clouds and didn't show up as well as I would have liked.
John Abbott holds a largemouth he caught at Lake Perry. Photo by Josh Rouse.
When fishing with John Abbott and David Moon, anything can and probably will happen.
I was reminded of this on July 9, 2011, as Brendan Handy and I went on a night fishing trip with them at Lake Perry, just east of Topeka, KS. We first stopped by Walmart to get a few supplies and then headed out to a spot on the lake by a marina. The spot is a notorious crappie hole, but we only had one crappie on this adventure as they were much deeper than we were fishing.
However, we still had a lot of success fishing in this spot, albeit from a variety of different fish than we were expecting to catch. One species of fish that we caught that was particularly interesting was a gar, which is a long, boney fish with a long beak filled with razor sharp teeth. Definitely not your typical fish, and this was in particular was special because of its size.
With all the negatives surrounding the tragic death of Caylee Anthony and the subsequent legal proceedings, one positive that can and should be taken from it is that it has opened America's eyes and put a spotlight on water safety and the very real possibility of drowning, even in a small amount of water. This is not meant as any sort of commentary on the case, but rather a guide to help prevent accidents similar to what has been described during the case from happening.
Drowning can occur in any depth of water, even as little as 30 mm of water if lying face down in it. Parents need to stay alert with children around any sort of water, including bath tubs, sinks, toilets, pools, hot tubs, ponds, creeks, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
While it seems needless to say, even the most attentive and caring parents oftentimes can overlook the dangers of water for children and how easily a day at the pool or a fishing trip or even something as simple as a bath can go bad. Heck, when I was a kid, I even came close to drowning in a pool. However, if parents take the proper precautions, they can do a lot to prevent such events from occurring. Following are some safety tips I've gathered from www.safekids.org regarding children in and around the water. Please take a moment to read over these, even if you aren't a parent, as it may help you save a life.
Sam Shenk holds a five pound bass he caught. Photo by Josh Rouse.
I spent my Fourth of July celebrating America's birthday in the best way I could think of: fishing, eating delicious food and watching fireworks at my uncle's pond in Meriden, KS.
I arrived at the pond at about 6 p.m. and started fishing. This particular day was sort of a special one for me because I was fishing with my Grandpa Rouse's fishing pole, who passed a few years ago. It was a classic Zebco 808, and hadn't been used in quite some time. I was fishing with a firetiger Berkley PowerBait BladeDancer, which is what I used the last time I fished at this pond to catch crappie.
I was joined by Sam Shenk, a friend of the family, who was fishing with a diving lure. I started strong, catching three largemouth bass of the side of the dike. Then, Sam caught his first fish of the day, and what a fish it was!
Saturday was a big day for Country Stampeders. The last time headliner Brad Paisley performed at the largest country music concert in Kansas, he put on an incredible show, and many of those returning for Saturday night's performance were aware of the sort of theatrics he had in store.
However, before he even took stage, there were a few other big name performers in Jerrod Niemann and Blake Shelton. Niemann, who was born in Harper, Kan., but raised in Liberal, Kan., sang a few of his most well-known songs, including "Lover, Lover" and "What Do You Want?" He also sang "Good Ride Cowboy," a tribute song for fallen country singer/rodeo star Chris LeDoux that he co-wrote for Garth Brooks and a few of his funnier, yet lesser-known songs such as "The Buckin' Song" and "For Everclear," a hilarious song about his party days in college. He topped it off with a cover of "Santeria" by Oasis, which was phenomenal.
Brendan Handy gives Rouse Outdoors a thumbs up at the 2011 Country Stampede.
Country Stampede 2011 began on Thursday, June 23, for many country music fans. However, for me it began on Friday.
I made the annual trip to Manhattan, KS, with my best friend from high school Brendan Handy and my mom, who has been taking me to the Stampede each year since my senior year of high school. It's kind of a tradition.
This year's lineup was exciting for me because two musical guests who are well known for their fishing songs (Brad Paisley and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) would be in attendance. Brad Paisley is one of my all-time favorite musicians, but we had to wait until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday to hear him. Instead, we got a chance to listen to a legendary band Friday in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, as well as Lady Antebellum, the headliner, and Joe Nichols. We arrived at the Stampede at just around 5 p.m., grabbed a turkey leg and a drink from the concession stands and went to find our seats near the middle of the crowd on the right side. However, before we even got seated, we heard a familiar voice over the videoboard. In front of the entire park, WIBW meteorologist Jeremy Goodwin proposed to his girlfriend Nichole Pemberton, who is sisters with one of my friends from high school. She said "Yes," and the crowd roared in approval. Then the music kicked off.
One of my favorite activities involving a camera is taking pictures of severe weather, particularly lightning. While it is certainly not the safest subject for photography, it is one of the most fascinating. People are captivated by storms, whether they are afraid of the power they have or intrigued by them, we all are drawn to images of severe weather. If you are interested in taking photos of lightning, as well, I have a few tips for settings.
Brendan Handy enjoys a plate of grilled catfish and tomatoes. Photo by Josh Rouse.
On Friday, June 17, I decided to grill some catfish. I didn't have any leftover catfish fillets in my freezer, so instead I used storebought catfish nuggets.
These nuggets were unbreaded and were basically just fillets of farm catfish cut in half. I put the frozen nuggets in a bowl of hot water to defrost them, also putting some lemon and lime juice in the bowl to get soaked up, then lit up the grill. By the time I was done lighting it up and letting it heat up a bit, the nuggets were ready. For the first batch, I took about six or seven nuggets and covered them in Lawry's Lemon Pepper. I am a big fan of this seasoning on catfish. Usually, I take a couple fillets, cover them in lemon pepper and wrap them in aluminum. This time I decided to try cooking the nuggets without aluminum foil.
I put the nuggets on the grill and quickly found out this wouldn't work well. As I suspected, the fish easily fell through the grill (I lost three nuggets in the coals). However, I cooked the remaining nuggets about 15 minutes over the direct heat and they tasted pretty decent, though they could have been cooked longer.
For the second batch, I brought out the aluminum foil. I took 4-5 pieces, put it on the aluminum foil and, since I ran out of lemon pepper, covered them in Mrs. Dash original blend seasoning.
Several outdoor activities are typically of the summer months - fishing, camping, swimming and of course golfing. However, one activity that is a staple of summer dining is the art of grilling.
However you like to cook your meats and veggies, grilling makes it better. One grilled meat that many people overlook, however, is goose meat. Most of the time, people who hunt waterfowl in the winter have used up their meat supply by the time summer rolls around. Even if they don't use it up, they aren't quite sure how to cook waterfowl on a grill. One of the better ways I have found is by taking your goose meat to a meat processor and having it turned into bratwurst.
I found this out after my uncle Galen took some geese to Farview Farms Meat Company in North Topeka one day and had goose brats made. He gave me a few packages (four brats to a package) and I just recently decided to take them out of the freezer and throw them on the grill. I had previously tried wild game processed through Farview Farms and found them to be delicious, particularly their cheese summer sausage and jerky made from deer, so I knew I would be in for a treat.