Enjoying Summer 2013

Well summer 2013 has come to an end. My blogging also came to an end this summer so am showing you folks what I’ve been up to.

Summer was filled with shore fishing new areas, learning to longboard goofy foot and finding a new campsite.

Summer 2013 by hookjsboard

Enjoyed the weather by fishing and longboarding .

H o o k e d
To most, it’s no surprise I incorporate fishing into my lifestyle, after all, I’m a sportsman! So of course, I had to fish on the way to visiting my girlfriend in Appleton.

There’s a bridge that crosses over Lake Butte Des Morts; while driving up to Appleton on highway 41. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to fish. “There’s gotta be fish in there,” thinking to myself while looking at the lake each time I drove over the bridge.

View Larger Map

This summer I made a decision to finally fish Lake Butte Des Morts. Going in with the mindset I might not catch anything didn’t stop me.

I decided to turn this into a camping trip after finding Hickory Oaks Campground near Oshkosh.


My campsite at Hickory Oaks Campground, close to highway 41 and Lake Butte Des Morts.



Fishing Lake Butte Des Morts, I was expecting bass since there are overhanging trees, weed patches and lily pads to cast towards. Ended up with a northern pike:



Mepps Spinner

Pike fought hard and nailed the mepps so viciously it bit off one of the hooks! Fish story! That kinda happened.

– Although the pike attacked the spinner, one hook was previously cut off to free it from a backpack. –



B o a r d i n g
Besides fishing, long boarding has become another way to enjoy free time this summer. At the beginning of summer I set a goal to learn goofy foot. In longboarding,(and other board sports), you have two stances: regular and goofy. Goofy is with your right foot forward on the board. Regular is with your left foot forward on the board.

Your shoes are the brake pads when longboarding. You drag your heel on the ground to stop. Seeing as I hate shoe shopping, I decided to learn goofy foot so I can wear my shoes evenly, making them last longer. (Plus, the less I have to buy shoes the more $ I can put towards fishing. fishing > long boarding).

Normal foot

Regular is my natural stance for long boarding and snowboarding. Regular is with your left foot forward.

Learning goofy has been a success though more practice wouldn’t hurt! More fishing wouldn’t hurt either…

After writing this post am realizing that summer has, once again, went too fast.

Any of you got fishing stories from summer 2013? Any longboarders out there with goofy foot tips? You try anything new for summer 2013?

After The Catch

After the catch, from the lake to the plate.

Do you fish? Do feel the fishing and cooking connection? Patience and persistence are mentioned the most when it comes to fishing. Something that happens after the catch should be caught as well, cooking.

after the catch

Bluegills grilling with green peppers and onions.

There are few more rewarding things than eating the fish you catch. While eating my catch, I remember a few things: being on the lake baiting my hook -or- casting a lure, and feeling anxious for when your bobber will go under -or- strike will occur.

Now, you’re eating the fish that took your bobber under. It’s why preparing your catch brings the fishing trip full circle.

Cleaning fish has always been part of my fishing experiences, thanks to my Dad who taught me ways to clean and prepare our catch. After cleaning the next step is cooking, therefore, the work begins when we decide to keep the fish for dinner, and was finished when we did the dishes after enjoying our catch.

Life Lessons
Cleaning fish teaches responsibility because if you wait too long to clean fish, they’ll spoil. This responsibility leads to being a steward of the land and to make sure you wisely use what you take from the water.

Thus, this connects fishing to cooking. I need to learn how to cook so I can eat my catch. Fishing prepared me for when I’d be living on my own.

When I fish I see an opportunity to catch a meal, and because I am on my own I need to be able to cook on my own. This is why I come to the conclusion that fishing is my bridge to cooking.

By Josh Schwartz 2013. This is the second part of how fishing’s a bridge to cooking. Fishing is Josh’s favorite activity in the outdoors. Catch and release and a responsible harvest are practiced.

Fishing’s A Bridge To Cooking

Fishing’s A Bridge To Cooking

The reason why fishing’s a bridge to cooking is because I’ve picked up on certain aspects of cooking from eating the fish I catch. The lessons below are what I have learned from making fish and can be applied to other game dishes. Read on!

Fishing's A Bridge To Cooking

Crappie are some of the best eating fish. Sometimes I just just use olive oil and a little lemon pepper.

How Not to Overcook
You can tell when fish is done when the flesh is flakey and white. Use this as a measuring stick whether you’re grilling, baking or pan-frying. It’s good to know when fish/meat is done so you know the warning signs of when it’s starting to overcook.

Simply, keep an eye on your food and check it often. You’ll have better success grilling if you don’t “grill it and forget it.”

For deep-frying, when the breading is a light brown it’s done. If it’s a dark brown it’s going to be over cooked. Watch the fish as it’s in the fryer so you can see the different color phases.

Cleaning Fish
Learning to fillet fish comes in handy when cleaning other game since the concept of following along the bone to remove as much meat as possible still applies.

You can scale and gut your catch. Simply scale the fish. Cut off head. Gut it. When cooking, you can stuff the fish with vegetables and seasoning of your choice.

Variety Of Techniques
I’ve used a stove, deep fryer, grill, and oven to make fish. It taught me what to use to make fish, and how to use appliances. I’ve use the these skills to make other food.

Grilling fish introduced me to using tinfoil and oil for cooking.

Learn As You Cook

  • Cutting up vegetables is something I learned when preparing fish.
    Cook your fish with green peppers and onions for great flavor. The flavor is not too strong since you can still taste the fish itself.
  • Side dishes complete meals, and rice goes great with fish.
  • Lemon Pepper seasoning is great with fish. Less seasoning is better while cooking. This allows people to season as they desire while eating fish. You can’t remove excess seasoning from cooked food.
Fishing's a bridge to cooking

Fish seasoned lightly with lemon pepper, in a tin foil boat ready for the grill.

Ask questions and experiment with different spices, methods, and species of fish; it’s the only way to expand your cooking ability, and understand the flavor of each fish. Some stomach meat on fish is good, others not so much.

A great resource for fish cooking ideas is Sporting Chef Scott Layeth; check out his list of fish recipes.

Try the spices and ingredients you have in your pantry and garden to use them in new ways. This is why fishing is a bridge to cooking. Once you cross the bridge to cooking you’ll start knowing what methods you prefer and can share with other fisherman.

Tight lines and good eatin’!

By Josh Schwartz 2013. This is the first of a two part series on how fishing’s a bridge for cooking. Read the second post on Connecting Fishing To Cooking. Fishing is Josh’s favorite activity in the outdoors. Catch and release and a responsible harvest are practiced.

Favorite Bass Lures

bass lures

Favorite bass lures.

Do you have any favorite lures? Recently, I put a list together of favorite bass lures for Sportsman Channel’s blog.

These lures are the ones I tie on frequently and have had the most strikes on.

From these lures the buzzbait and jig & twister tail have also proven effective for northern pike. I have landed many northern pike on the jig & twister combo. The cool thing about the twister tail is that it appeals to rock bass, perch, bluegill, crappie and walleye.

With the Wisconsin fishing opener around the corner, I plan to tie on the lures as well.

What are your favorite bass lures? Good luck to all this fishing season!

Budgeting for Fishing and Life

How much do you hunt and fish? If you’re like me, you look forward to trying out new gear, anxiously drive to your hunting or fishing spot, yet realize you must still pay the bills and save. Budgeting’s a skill that will help you save money on what you love to do while managing your finances. How you spend your money will help determine if you can hunt, fish, or both.

No matter what your age, budgeting is something that’s good practice. It teaches you how to manage, how to plan, and how to have will power. You see, budgeting gives you wisdom; wisdom to say yes, wisdom to say no.

Throughout my life I’ve been on a budget. Since college ended I’ve been on a tighter budget, yet budgeting is not just for college students or those who’ve recently graduated. Continue budgeting throughout your life, control your money or it will control you.


1. Budgeting allows you to save.
2. Budgeting allows you to see exactly where your money goes. (you may find you can put aside more money for your sportsman lifestyle, and know when to scale back.)
3. Budgeting allows you to give back to God. Know that it’s God’s first.

Feel Your Money 


I’ve learned to still withdrawal cash at the bank. Physical money. When you can feel money, you don’t spend as much. It also helps you stick to the dollar amount in your pocket and not go over budget. This helps to set limits, thus, eliminating the feeling to spend more.

Example, I allow $60 a week on groceries. If I get to the checkout and my total is $62.90, I’ll put something back so that I am only spending $60.  If I had a debit card it’d be pretty easy to just hand over a plastic card to the cashier, accept $62.90, and be on my way out the store.


Money’s Invisible When Using Plastic

You don’t see cash when you use plastic. In fact, how many of you carry around your register with you when using your debit card? It’s pretty easy to lose track of your balance when you are not looking at it. This is the danger of credit cards/debit cards. Since you don’t see your balance you will be more likely to charge something you don’t need and spend money you don’t have. You may think, well I can pay that off in a month, but how can you know for sure the money will be there if you don’t know your current balance? Impulse buying can be eliminated by knowing your balance.

Therefore, if you do use debit cards realize your balance, use your register, track your purchases. Be aware of your balance and set limitations for how much you spend. Budgeting produces discipline which will guide your spending. Impulse buying can be eliminated by knowing your balance because you’ll be using your head, not your heart.

Always think about unexpected car repairs, and budget more than what you actually plan to spend. Doing this means any left over money you have can go into the savings.
                  Saving money means you can: 
                  1. Take control of your finances; have your money work as hard as you do to make it.
                  3. Save for unexpected expenses.
                  2. Set goals on future fishing/hunting gear.

How To Budget

One method I use and recommend is this: The day you get paid write on the back of your pay check where your money will go (write the bills you’ll be paying, gas money, groceries, savings, church, county fair, etc). This allows you to see how much your bills cost, your balance after bills, what you can save, and what is too much money for you to spend in a month.

This also allows you to incorporate spending-money and realize you’ll be able to either save more than you thought, or buy that one item you’ve had your eyes on.

Think Fishing & Hunting

It takes patience to fish and hunt as it takes patience to save. If something’s on sale don’t buy it right away. If it’s on sale now, who’s to say it won’t be on sale again? It’s okay to wait. You may find the item on sale is not something you need. You may also realize that you really could use that item, so it makes sense to buy it. Always think through your purchases.

As my dad mentioned to me once, “it’s your money until you spend it.” Remember, once you spend it, the money’s gone. Which is another good reason to use cash. You actually see that money go out of your hands and into the cash register. You can feel the change you get back.

change, coins,

Common Sense & Discipline (If you don’t have it, don’t spend it. )
You don’t need a degree in accounting, finance, or be a mathematician to effectively manage your money. Set priorities of where your money will go. Start budgeting to save and enjoy your passions!

Share Budgeting Tips
What tips do you use for budgeting? Let’s hear ’em in the comments!

By Josh Schwartz 2013. Author’s note: Fishing can represent the lifestyle you live or your own favorite hobbies. Fishing’s my fav so it’s picked for this post!

Your Hobbies Lead To Adventure

I believe my hobbies allow me to look at everything as an adventure. To me adventure is fun, curious, refreshing, freedom, and a way to get outside. Hobbies are a way to break up the normal routine(make the everyday life fun and exciting), gain experience, and can help you enjoy the different seasons throughout the year.


Biking and fishing go together. You can save gas and go where a car cannot.

Overlap Hobbies:

You see, you can bike to a fishing spot, may find a new fishing spot while scouting for a hunt, or biking/long-boarding around, and find a new hunting spot by fishing, and vice-versa. Doing multiple hobbies opens up the door for exploration exponentially.

Snowboarding, ice-fishing and hunting require ways to keep warm. Therefore, you may find yourself using your clothing layers and technology from snowboarding to stay warm ice-fishing. This also allows you to kill two birds with one stone since you can wear the same clothes for ice-fishing as you do snowboarding.

Each hobby also has there own tools to adjust gear specific to that hobby. Because of this, you can learn about how to use tools and may find that tools from one hobby will work for a different one. Again, this is a way to overlap your hobbies, and learn things from different hobbies.

Your homework:
Write down your hobbies (the things you like to do, and the things you spend money on for enjoyment). After you’ve written them down, keep that list handy and check back here for a new post on finding adventure through your hobbies.

Opening Day Fishing 2012 (2 of 4)

This is the second post in a 4 part series on my 2012 opening day of fishing in Wisconsin.

In Southeast WI, it was raining on opening day. Seeing as there was no lightning, I threw on a rain suit, hooked up the boat, and headed out.

While anxiously launching the canoe into the water I was imagining a bass hitting my topwater bait. My rods were rigged with lures appropriate for the spots I wanted to try first.

After starting the motor and heading to the first spot I had planned to go to, I noticed the wind picked up since I left from home. Because of the increased wind, the water was too rough to use a buzzbait. (Buzzbaits and other topwaters work best when the water’s calm or when there’s a slight chop.) I ruled out my original plan and began to feel unsure of where to go.

At this point in fishing, you have to adapt to the weather conditions. As a fisherman and hunter you’re at the mercy of what nature throws at you; your success depends on how you overcome adversity.

Because I was already heading towards the far end of the lake, and since the wind was blowing in a direction that I could drift back towards where I launched from, I kept going. Besides, since there was a no wake until 9am and I was already half way towards the far end of the lake, I just wanted to get there.

First fish of opening day hit hard! Snapped this pic and released

Finally, I got to the far end of the lake. I started the drift and realized there more weeds than normal, and the wind was drifting me faster than expected.

During the initial drift I wound up in an unfamiliar location of the lake, but it  did look promising so I went with it. It was by a patch of reeds. Nobody else was fishing here.

Reaching for my spin cast rod rigged with a Kalin Grub and pink jig head I took a cast. Moments later I felt my first strike!

(Stay tuned for part 3 next week!)


Opening Day Fishing 2012 (1 of 4)


For the next few weeks I’ll be doing blog posts on my 2012 opening day of fishing in WI.
This opening day was different from the others. 

Usually, my dad and I share opening day, and because he had to work this year, I went out alone. 
They say don’t fish alone, or hunt alone, but you can learn a lot on how you process events and your decision making process. 
Fishing and hunting are great for teaching lessons as the next few posts will show. I’ll go over my decisions that morning on the water during the 2012 WI fishing opener.
How often do you fish alone? Do you have a fishing/hunting buddy? Is that person family, friends, or both?  

A Night Before A Fishing Trip

On the night before a fishing trip I’m anxious. Anxious about everything for the trip, even breakfast. Even if it’s a local fishing trip. The feelings are: how baits will work, what baits will work, and the first cast of the trip. Preparing is just as fun as the trip, although often not done as well as I could since my mind is racing about how the trip will be, and how the weather will be.

I’ve often thought I’ll catch a stringer full of the fish I’m after before the fishing trip; I’m doing so right now about tomorrows. Then, I wonder if thinking I’ll catch a bunch will jinx a successful day on the water. Superstitions are silly and I don’t by into them too much, so, I block this silly idea.

At the fishing spot if i’m not catching fish shortly after I arrive, I often find my self praying to just catch one fish and then I’ll be satisfied. And usually after catching that first fish, it’s not long before I’m praying and hoping to catch more. After all, I want a fish fry, or want to tell friends and my dad I was successful catching fish.

Successful catching fish, what determines a successful fishing trip? To be clear, it can mean different things to different anglers. For me catching one fish is successful. And I feel more successful if I do with lures than with live bait. But lures vs live bait is another blog post.

This post is about the feeling of a fishing trip the day before, more specifically the night before. As written earlier, this is the night before early morning Saturday fishing. I’m anxious, and as mentioned above about preparation, I should doing just that, now.

Well, I’m itching to fish now. And more anxious for tomorrow a.m. than when I started this post.

Do you feel anxious before a fishing trip? What do you prepare? Do you get your rods rigged before heading to the lake and buy bait beforehand? Or do you wait till you arrive at the spot to see how the weather conditions are? How do you do breakfast?

Being An American Sportsman

Being An American Sportsman

The smell of the lake as I’m getting into the boat is one of the things that causes me to come back for more. The scent of the air after a fresh rain/snow fall is another.

I’m feeling the early morning dew penetrating my shoes as I walk to a shore fishing spot beside a river or beside a lake. What a gift to chose where my next fishing trip will be. And I can fish by boat; backing your trailer into the lake of your choice is a great freedom as an American Sportsman.

American Sportsman Hooking Up

The freedom of hooking your boat up to the vehicle of your choice and heading to the lake you chose is a great freedom as an American sportsman. And so is the freedom to ride or walk to your fishing spot.

It’s a blessing to get away from the normal daily routine to feel free and adventurous. Discovering something new. The ability to make, and even mark your own path as you leave your driveway. Yes, God has blessed our country; you and I experience those blessings of His hand each time we venture to the outdoors.

These are some of the feelings that come to my mind, being an American sportsman. (If I were to go on I suppose there wouldn’t be enough words to describe the richness of how it feels to be in the great outdoors, to be an American sportsman.)

Let us always remember why can enjoy the freedoms we do as American sportsmen. God has blessed and soldiers have served our country.