Deer Hunting and Fishing Tips

 
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Clubs can help Anglers Learn

Watching the Masters golf tournament on television last weekend, I thought that it must be nice to enjoy a pastime that’s relatively simple, like golf, rather than incredibly complex, like fishing.


In golf, with each stroke you’re simply trying to replicate your best swing ever with that club under those conditions of distance, terrain and weather. You don’t have to figure out where the course is and where the hole is on the green, or even if it’s there. Your bag of 14-15 clubs is similar to the number of rods many dedicated anglers use, but you’re going to make a choice from two or three balls, not the 300 lures many top anglers carry in their boats or fly vests.

Standing at the tee, you don’t have to decide whether to play the ball in the air, bounce it along the ground or make it run under the surface. You don’t have to decide whether the ball should change speed. Not that I’m arguing that golf is for dumb people. I played through my teens (and was pretty good), and I learned that golf is a mental game. But the mental part isn’t as much developing a knowledge base as developing the ability to concentrate at a level that few people can achieve. The best anglers also have an ability to concentrate that’s far beyond simpler mortals like me.

Just spend a day with X-time BASS Angler of the Year Kevin Van Dam of Kalamazoo or Sault Ste. Marie steelhead guide John Giuliani or Florida bonefish guide Bob Branham, and you’ll realize that they are seeing the water — and the critters in it — through far different eyes than you. I have always thought that going fishing a few times a year doesn’t make you a fisherman, any more than playing golf three or four times a year makes you a golfer. Both pursuits require dedication, concentration and, perhaps most important, passion. And that best way to develop those attributes is to hang out with people who feel as you do.

Join the Steelheaders club
That’s one reason it was good to see 50 or so people gathered in Huroc Park in Flat Rock recently for an outing of the Metro West Steelheaders, a club where both longtime anglers and newcomers can find kindred souls with whom to explore the wonderful world of angling.

“The name is a little deceiving. We mostly like to fish for salmonids (steelhead, salmon and lake trout), but we also fish for walleyes and perch pretty regularly,” said Phil Bustos, a former board member and club booster.

“There are 18 chapters statewide, and our chapter has people from Lansing to Bloomfield Hills and from Livonia to Taylor.”


Newcomers can learn a great deal in a short time with the Metro West Steelheaders. The group holds more than 20 outings each year, and it has a program to put boat owners in contact with would-be crew members who will split the costs of a fishing trip.

Henry Nabors of Birmingham is an old hand at it now; however, he said that when he retired from Ford Motor Co. in 1997 and bought a 22-foot boat, he realized that while he had fished all his life for bass and other inland species, he knew next to nothing about the big predators that had made Great Lakes salmon fishing the envy of the country.

“I decided that if I’m going to live this close to that much water, I should learn to do this,” Nabors said. “I’d never done any fishing for kings or cohos, but once I tried it I just loved it.” His wife, Nancy, wasn’t all that thrilled. On their initial trips, she’d read a book while he caught salmon. But eventually she was talked into taking a rod and playing a fish, “and now she catches them in her rotation, and if she misses her turn she lets you know,” he said.

The club also holds and participates in several salmon and walleye tournaments each year, along with outings to fishing hot spots (most of them one-tank drives). But Bustos said that the competition isn’t like you see in those bass tournaments. “We’re fishing for fun,” he said. “The idea is to enjoy playing the fish, not get it into the boat in 10 seconds. “We’re not expensive, either. The chapters charge dues of anywhere from $30-$40 a year, and that lets you become an (associate) member of other chapters for $5 or 10.”