Scott Stormann holds a 3 lb. bass he caught at Shawnee State Lake. Photo by Josh Rouse.
The largemouth bass is one of the most commonly sought-after game fish in the United States.
It is a symbollic fish for freshwater anglers, with everyone from Bass Pro Shops to the Bassmasters using its name and image to promote themselves. It is a member of the black bass family and is cousins with the smallmouth bass, which is native to the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes and the Hudson Bay area. The largemouth bass is the state fish of five states: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee.
While bass fishing is indeed a science and an art, it also is caught on a larger variety of lures than most other fish, including topwater poppers, spinners, plastic worms, crankbaits, jigs, flys... basically most lures you will find at a store. You can also catch them using live baits such as worms, leeches, grubs, grasshoppers, crawdads, minnows, shad, frogs, etc. Heck, I've even caught a bass or two on chicken liver while fishing for catfish. The point is that largemouth bass are not particularly picky eaters, and they rely heavily on their eyesight to decide what forage is safe to consume. They are very aggressive, and if anything swims into its area it will probably attack it. They do also rely on keen senses of smell, taste, hearing, touch and a sixth sense, their lateral line, which is a series of nerve endings that stretches from gill to tail.
John Abbott holds a 3.5 lb. wiper he caught at Lake Shawnee. Photo by Josh Rouse.
It's no secret that the intense heat we've seen this summer has taken its toll on Kansas farms and livestock, but one area of concern for many anglers has been its affect underwater.
With temperatures reaching as high as 115 degrees Farhenheit in some areas of the state this summer, many ponds and lakes have suffered with the combination stagnant water, low oxygen and deadly algae. The result has been reports of fish kills in several areas, including Cheney, where one angler reported seeing 22 dead fish floating in the lake, mostly wipers and walleye.
While this is certainly a concern for anglers, the good news is he reported that the fish that survived were biting and he caught several mid-sized wipers during the morning hours, before the sun blasted him out. This fall could bring a nice haul for wipers in certain areas, but more than likely in areas that have some shade over them in the form of trees, bridges, buildings, docks or other areas.
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!
When I first started grilling, I began using ground deer to make hamburgers and cheeseburgers. However, there's a new way to enjoy the same great meat.
My uncle Galen Swader recently introduced me to a new way of grilling deer burgers that tastes great and is quite easy to cook. He took ground deer, which was processed at Farview Farms Meat Company, and mixed it with grated cheese (storebought cheese works just fine) and seasoning (I believe he used Boss Hawg seasoning) and then pressed the three ingredients together to make his patties. The resulting burgers were great, and he gave me a few of his deer patties to try out on my grill.
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.