Tracy K. Lorenz / Outside Chance


The Fish

On Tuesday of this week I was asked to speak at the Fremont Rotary Club luncheon. I prattled on for a half hour or so until it came to question and answer time and then, for the first time ever, I was stumped, I kinda froze. I’m usualy pretty fast on my feet but this question absolutely stopped me in my tracks because it’s never been asked before..
“What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your writing career?”

Nobody ever wants to know that, they mostly want to hear about when things went wrong (Being Furious Fred for ten minutes, almost dying while walking  through a Central American jungle alone, etc.), nobody ever wants to hear about the good stuff.

The answer I gave was the time we were playing basketball with Shaquiile O’Neal in Indianapolis and we had Shaq text our friends and mock them.

So, naturally, on the way home when it didn't count I thought of a couple more.

Back during the Summer Celebration days I was talking to Alan Parsons, the one they named the Project after, and we were way in the back of the venue, back by where the food trucks were.  It was late, like midnight late, and there were no other people there, it was stone empty, Alan’s band was partying in the tour bus and everyone else had left except one overnight security guard.

I’m standing there talking and I see the guard, who was near the stage 100 yards away, start walking towards us. The place was dark, only lit by moonlight and a few sad lamps, so all I could really see was a silhouette heading towards us. I wasn’t sure if he was coming over to chat or murder us but with the speed he was traveling I knew I could outrun him if things took a turn.

After about ten minutes he finally gets up to us and he says, “Can you get off the grass and stand on the sidewalk please?”  and then he turned around and walked back to the stage. The sidewalk was maybe eight inches away.

Funny thing two happened at of all places, Pet Smart.

I used to be kind of a big deal and for reasons I never quite understood people used to follow me around in stores. It wasn’t overt but once you noticed it you noticed it. It got to where I wouldn’t even go to the mall anymore (trendsetter) because people would either follow me or come up and ask for selfies and I am very unphotogenic.

I was at Pet-Smart one night, late, getting some feeder fish for my moray eel. I bought a dozen of them. As I was checking out I noticed a car outside parked near the curb and this couple was looking in at me. As I left they both hopped out of the car and ran towards me for what I assumed was a mugging. Instead the lady says to me, “We just have to see what you bought!” I opened the bag and showed them the goldfish and the couple looked rather disappointed. They turned around and walked back to their car without saying a word.

I don’t know what they were expecting, did they think I was buying a rhinoceros or a poison dart frog? but whatever they were expecting they weren’t expecting goldfish.

So there ya go, in twenty years of writing, those are the only three funny things I can come up with and they aren’t

all that funny.  It’s not that I haven’t had fun doing it, I have, and I can say that without ... question.

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Ice Floats in detail

Ice floats come in many shapes and patterns. You have the spring bobbers and you have the foam style floats. Some of the foam floats come slotted, some are pegged and others are used much like the traditional slip floats.

Some anglers swear that one style is better than the rest. Anglers that are jigging lean towards the spring bobbers. Anglers dangling some type of live bait lean heavily on the pegged style floats.

Bill Ferris loves his spring bobber and uses it most often.

Bill prefers the spring bobber with the pink tip from K & E Tackle.

It is much easier to see with aging eyes.

Anglers on Devils Lake and on Lake of the Woods this season use a pegged or slotted foam float when using minnows. They trim the float so that it just barely floats! The key with any type of float device is simply, light is best. A float in the water should be nearly half submerged. Less resistance results in more caught fish. A spring bobber must be sensitive enough to transmit a hit.

A spring float that is extremely light works great with very tiny baits. A slightly heavier spring float is better when jigging slightly heavier teardrops.

The Dot Snap-On spring bobber by Stopper Lures is a very simple and effective design, which may explain why it has been around for decades. To use the Dot Snap-On, simply snap the bobber directly to your rod blank, feed your line through the eyelet, and tie on your favorite jig! This is a very versatile spring bobber that can be easily added to your fishing rod while on the ice.

The Coil Spring bobber by Stopper Lures utilizes a light coil spring to create an ultra-sensitive solution for light-biting panfish! To use the Coil Spring bobber, slide the included heat shrink tubing over the tip of your fishing rod, position the spring bobber inside of the heat shrink tubing, and heat the tubing with a blow dryer or another heat source. Be careful not to damage your fishing rod! 

The Flat Steel spring bobber by Stopper Lures functions exactly like the Dot Snap-On, except that it is attached via the included shrink tubing. To attach follow the example above.

The Hair Wire spring bobber by Stopper Lures offers the utmost in sensitivity for detecting light bites! Use the included heat shrink tubing to attach the spring bobber directly to your rod blank. The Hair Wire spring bobber is an excellent choice for perch, crappies, bluegills and smelt.

The Shock Spring bobber by Stopper Lures is an advanced, easy-to-use option for fishermen who insist on seeing all the bites! This bobber uses an actual coil spring to provide extreme sensitivity and longevity. The Shock Spring bobber uses a snap on design, allowing for easy attachment on or off the ice.

In addition to these spring floats we have the foam style floats. Most of the Carlisle foam floats are made with Dylite foam. Some are striped, some are designed to be pegged onto your line and others have a slot where you feed your line.

Foam floats are great on your second rod or the dead rod as some call them. I like the slotted style best when targeting deep water panfish. These style floats are easy to see when using a second rod. Hold a rod in hand and a second rod on a pail with a foam float.

The pegged float works great on suspended fish such as crappie that often will roam within feet of the surface. They are also great when fish are holding at a set depth. You can drop back down to the exact depth each time. Of course that would require you to hand line your fish in.

Anglers really need at least two types of strike indicators – some type of spring steel on a hand held rod and a foam float on the dead rod. Both are inexpensive and easy to use.