Tracy K. Lorenz / Outside Chance



The Plane Crash

I just watched a video on Facebook of a small plane making an emergency landing on a busy street in Oklahoma and I had a legal flashback ...

Years ago I was driving back and forth to Grand Rapids every day for work. I was driving home one night on I-96 when I noticed a small plane in the distance and the hood was up. This would not be a big deal if the plane was above the ground but the plane was in the air. I rolled my window down and I could hear the plane sputtering in the distance.

I thought to myself, “Hmmm, I’ve never seen a plane crash before,” so I pulled onto the shoulder of the highway as cars blew past me, oblivious to what was going on overhead.

It took awhile but eventually the plane headed back to earth and, surprisingly, was headed right for my car, like RIGHT FOR IT. I backed up a bit and the plane directly in front of me (south to north), took one big hop in a field, caught a wing tip, cartwheeled once, and ended up upside down.

I got out of my car to see if rescue was in order and I could see the pilot just hanging upside down and not moving.  By that time another driver had appeared so we decided to get to the plane.

The problem was there was a drainage ditch with water in it and a fence between us and the upside down pilot and I was wearing a pretty nice suit, – that I could deal with. The bigger problem was there were three bulls, the kind with the big floppy hump on their shoulders, about twenty yards to the left of the plane. The guy next to me suggested if we walk instead of run maybe the bulls that were staring directly at us wouldn’t notice. That plan seemed solid.

I went back to my car and got the world’s smallest First Aid kit, the kind with a couple of band aids and some gauze, and we were on our way.

As we approached the plane we could 1. hear the pilot moaning and  2. smell fuel, and I gotta say, when you’re heading in for a rescue and you see gas puddling up on the ground you stop and do a little cost-benefit analysis.  We didn’t see any smoke or any sparking wires so we pressed on.

When we finally reached the plane we could see exactly what a piece of crap it was. The seats were lawn chairs and the dashboard was covered in yellow daisy shelf paper. I reached through the side window and released the seat belt and the pilot came down HARD and on his head.

Okay, so now he’s down but the only way to get him out was through the broken windshield. We each grabbed an arm and started dragging him all while keeping one watchful eye on the herd of bulls.

We dragged him a good distance from the plane and looked him over. He had a giant gash on his leg and kept mumbling “my ass hurts, my ass hurts” as he went in and out of consciousness. I didn’t mention to him that his ass hurt because we just dragged him though a broken windshield.

By that time three more people had arrived, one of whom was a nurse who grabbed my ridiculous First Aid kit and started wrapping his leg.  Minutes later the EMT’s arrived and literally threw us out of the way. A cop took my statement and told me to leave.

The next day I couldn’t wait for the paper to come out so I could read the front-page story of my heroics. I wasn’t sure if I would accept the parade offers or just take a generous donation from an adoring public.  

The paper came out and on about page twenty there was the headline “Pilot Walks Away From Single Engine Crash.” There were three sentences in the article, none of which mentioned moi, all I know is that pilot wasn’t walking away from anything.

In the end a life was saved, I wasn’t trampled, and I was given another example of in-depth reporting by our local paper. I guess I could have called the reporter and given her the real story, but I wasn’t in the mood to give anyone any ... flap.

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Last change open water
walleye and pike

November and December are great months to target walleye here in the great state of Michigan. The problem is where to choose to fish – ­ with good fishing happening all over Michigan. You have less forage in lakes in the fall to compete with and migratory fish coming from the Great Lakes into inland lakes staging to run up rivers to spawn. Lakes connected to the Great Lakes offer anglers a chance at catching big fish and plenty of them.

I spoke with Bryan Buist, a friend and a charter captain. The following comments were via our interview and his and my experiences from recent outings. “This time of year while trolling I target deeper water during the day running my baits starting midway down the water column to the bottom,” said Buist. He will run as many lines as possible using Church Tackle TX-12 planer boards to help spread out his lines.

“Running planer boards I can spread out multiple lines allowing me to ‘stack’ the water column running my outside planer boards higher in the water column and my deeper rods closer to the boat to see where the active fish are feeding,” said Buist. He focuses in on that depth and lead length.

Find deep water adjacent to shallow water in depths of 30-50 FOW is also a crucial detail in the fall with colder water temperatures. Walleye in cold water become very lethargic and don’t want to move far from shallow water where they feed at night. He will run deep diving crankbaits such as Berkley Flicker Minnows, Rapala Husky Jerks, and Walleye Bandits with 2 oz. snap weights to help get the baits in the target zone. Snap weights are used to help the baits dive faster to reach the deeper depths with less line.

“Another technique I run is a three way rig with a 1-3 ounce weight in a 18”-30” drop, off that I run a 7’ lead to a shallow diving crankbait,” he said.

When doing this he will hold the rod in hand pumping it to lift the weight off bottom and drop it back slowly to keep constant control of where the bottom is. This is a very fun way to fish giving anglers a one on one fight.

When trolling he uses Okuma Cold Water Low Profile Line Counter Reels spoiled with 10lb Berkley Fireline paired with Okuma 8’6” Dead Eye Trolling Rods. These rods offer you great feeling and enough give to fight these fall monster walleye.

“My favorite bite any season hands down would be pitching glide baits such as the Johnsons Fishing Johnny Darter in the #7 or #9 size”, said Buist.

The Jonny Darter sinks fast allowing anglers to fish deep water maintaining line control at all times. His rod of choice for jigging is the Okuma Dead Eye Custom paired up with the Okuma Ceymar Reel filled with 6lb. Berkley Fire Line tied directly to the bait in most applications.

70% of his bites come on the fall as the walleye pound the bait to the bottom making line control most important. You do not want to drop the bait with slack line. Pitch or cast the Darter 30 yards away, close the bail and watch the line where it meets the water to see when it hits bottom. When the line stops coming at you it’s on bottom. As soon as it hits pick it up working it back to the boat hitting bottom every jig. Don’t be afraid to jig it vertically as many fish will follow the bait and strike directly under the boat.

“I am not sold on color but do believe in shades,” said Buist. Personally, when it comes to jigging or trolling, he feels if you have the baits in the fishes face they will bite it. When he picks bait he looks for high contrasting colors or glow colors to be my number one pick.

I target huge pike a lot this time of the year and we search out very steep breaklines that border green weeds. We cast Husky Jerks, Dardevle spoons, Mepps spinners and the Jigging Raps.

We target much of the same type of structure as Bryan except I use a lot of the jigging raps in place of trolling. I love working these fish with a rod in hand after spending a summer trolling. This is the best time for monster fish.

To reach Bryan call him at 616-293-0256 or or


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