Friday, September 7, 2012

September Travels

I must say we live an interesting life. A very crazy, but nonetheless very interesting and yet bizarre. Probably borderline weird, and definitely nowhere near normal. I recently spent 14 hrs in the truck driving alone and listened to comedy satellite radio most of the time to stay awake so I am feeling very funny right now (family friendly comedy I might add). Problem is I can't remember one single joke I had on my list to tell Brook when I got home and explaining the jokes apparently just isnt funny....

Ok so we have been on the road alot the last month and I sure hope we are making enough money to pay our fuel bill at the end of the month. I literally filled up at a gas station 20 times over the last 30 days and it takes stinkin 23-26 gallons to fuel up! Thats just me- Justin, Allen, and Jared have too been running around like chickens with their heads cut off pulling trailers and boats and skid steers all over the midwest. Here are some of the places we have been that I can remember-

Dr. Hoffman had a major fish kill at his lake a few years back and he went and stocked a bunch of smallmouth and largemouth from an out of state hatchery with a fancy catalog and wanted us to come and check on their progress. He also wanted us to check the bottom of his lake for dead bodies, toxic waste, and anything else that shouldnt be there, so I sent Justin down to scour the bottom with scuba gear.

Was an interesting find....nothing cool on the toxic waste side, but interesting with the fish population.... The smallies and largemouth havent really grown a bit since being stocked.

We did find tons of fully mature crappie and bluegill that were only 4 inches long!!! FULLY MATURE adult fish probably 5-7 years old. Nothing smaller and nothing bigger. His 6-8 inch bass dont got what they need to eat and get over the hump needed to eat the overstocked and stunted bluegills and crappie. (if he would of stocked bass 8-10 inches they would be monsters right now, with all the food they would have available to gobble up.

Keep this in mind when thinking about your specific fishing hole. Predator fish need their preferred size of forage to GROW! By simply stocking bass in the lake big enough to eat the 4 inch midgets the whole lake will get back into better balance. If a good majority of your bass are stacked up at a certain size, it means they dont have what is needed to keep growing. Odds are if you stocked a few bass bigger than your average size they would grow rapidly......

Ok moving on, Mr. Elders property up near Savanna we are transforming into a whitetail deer paradise! Jared, Allen, and I worked up there for a few days recently planting more food plots, installing new trail cameras, and positioning the hunting towers and tree stands. Here is a pic of putting in some brassicas next to a sorghum patch, tucked into a little honey hole.

They like to ride horses all over the large property so that is a limiting factor, but you know me- We identify the limiting factors for any situation and we manage right around them. Fish or Deer, it dont matter. Limiting Factor- check. Identify them all and address them somehow, thats the key to successful management of probably anything.

Justin killed a limit opening day of dove season. The girls loved watching us clean em.

Then on sunday afternoon of labor day weekend, me and my bros went out dove hunting for a couple hours. While we were gone, Noah caught this big striper all by himself (with grandpa's help) and couldnt wait for me to get back to take the picture!!

We joined up with a fairly local seed company this fall and are excited to test out the results and comparisons. Once they perform like we predict we will definitely be announcing our partnership and will be ready to rock and roll for next spring and fall! So far we have been getting good rains so the plots are looking NICE. Jared has been planting food plots sunup to sundown all over the place from Victoria to Henry to Savanna to Peoria to Hanna City, Canton, and a few places in between. Lots of winter wheat, austrian peas, oats, rape, turnips, etc etc.

So the boys have been tied up locally so I headed out Solo on Wednesday. Over near Champaign, Casey is building a new pond. Casey dug a pond about 4 years ago in his backyard and told me to make his pond a 10 out of 10 for fishing....Which we did, instantly- big rainbow trout, bluegills, smallmouth, hybrid stripers, walleye, etc etc. When he sold his house this spring he made sure to retain fishing rights.

Anyhow he bought a new place and is in the process of building a much bigger pond. He moves fast, concept in June when I stopped by to go over design, and just about full here in September when I stopped by to design aeration and fish stocking plan. He is running a well 24/7 and a huge pump from the crick to fill this baby up! He's on the cutting edge kinda like a build a lake and catch trophy fish instantly fast food shop.....He will be catching bigger fish this ice fishing season than most will ever catch in their lives.

I cant remember any of the jokes from the road trip, but his quote sticks vividly in my mind- "Nate, on my last pond you ruined everyone who came and fished for life. They can't go fishing anywhere anymore cause all they think about is fishing in my pond!" On this pond he plans on blowing the last one out of the water, and I am up for the challenge. (although I have been tossing and turning thinking of the exact plan of attack on how to not only pull this off for the short term, but nail them both- instant gratification and long term successs). His plan actually involves crappies believe it or not as opposed to regular bluegills, that makes the task even that much more complex, but we'll pull it off!

Then from Champaign off through Indianapolis and Cinncinati to a Baymont Inn for the night. First I had to hit up Long John Silvers for dinner since Brook and the guys never will let me eat there. Dairy Queen was on the way back to the hotel- since I already climbed over the edge a bit with that last baja fish taco I might as well put down a blizzard before bed eh.... Great rational thinking, some folks call me a genius....

So anyhow I traveled on to Mason, Ohio and met up with a pharmaceutical company who wanted me to teach their staff how to maintain their ponds on their property. This place was very cool. Normally you would think pharmaceutical company equals boring offices and dirty retention ponds out front....not this place.

They actually have more of a private recreational estate than they do an office complex, and here is the kicker- they are actually good people! (not that any of my other clients who happen to be reading this arent good people either, but these guys just had their heads screwed on straight all the way around).

They are using their business and property as an outreach to the community. They regularly host outreach events like family movie nights on the big outdoor theatre screen, baseball tournaments of all levels on the first class baseball diamonds, and use the gardens onsite to grow food for people! Amazing, now I just got to talk em into using their ponds for a fishing derby or two!

So those guys are set up with all the proper equipment, formulas, ratios, etc etc for maintaining those awesome ponds. I get back from Ohio and Brook makes me go straight to the house to work on the siding outside with the last couple hours of remaining daylight. She wants to be in by Thanksgiving, so my life consists of working on house or work every waking moment.

So anyhow my brother Chad calls me up last night and says that there is an auction tomorrow for some tillable land that will go expensive, but also for some hunting ground mixed in that potentially could go very reasonable. He couldnt make the auction, so Jared and I neglected all of our responsibilities for the day and headed out to check the land real early and then hit the auction.

The sun, moon, and stars all lined up today and we picked up 50 acres of spoon river frontage hunting land for a very reasonable price! We are excited, we have always had friends and family with hunting ground for us to experiment with and hunt on, but here we are today with a farm with our own names on it, free to do whatever we want.....(except on the CRP portion)

You will definitely be hearing about and seeing pics of this farm in the months ahead! I can't wait to get my kids out to play in the sand bottom creek that leads into the spoon river. I cant wait to get the deer towers and food plots in. Oh yeah, build the wetland, maybe a hatchery pond, put in the shooting range, the 4 wheeler trail, install the fence and gates, prune the good trees, plant a garden....harvest the first deer, run some bank poles, catch a big catfish handfishin, call in a turkey, pick some mushrooms, put in a couple miles up and end up at our very own river front property, make a big bonfire, and roast some marshmellows while camping with my kids under the stars. All this on our very own piece of ground whenever and however we want.

It will be transformed into the ultimate family outdoor paradise.....but enough daydreaming (or am I really dreaming this late at night) Anyhow, being in the business we are in, the property will probably someday be owned by someone else wanting to raise their family up with these outdoor experiences; but if we have to end up selling for whatever reason, we will make for sure that she is paired up with the exact right family! Until then though, this knox county property that has been neglected for so many years will be loved and utilized by the entire Herman Bros clan and clanlits.

So anyhow tomorrow (Saturday) I will be working at my house (come on over) and then Sunday Bethany Baptist Church is coming to our lake after church for a cookout. Last year at this event I managed to blow up a propane tank while cooking the burgers and melted the skin off of Jareds arms who was cooking next to me. Hey, your the guy who just about blew up the place last year.....Maybe I'll just stay inside and watch the Bears game for this event.....

Next week we will be up near Chicago and the following week on a road trip to Cedar Rapids to shock some ponds! Then a bunch of local electrofishing surveys and then we start stocking fish baby! Stocking fish days are 20 hour nonstop marathons getting all the fish to their homes safely...

Then its time for the Pond Boss Conference in Branson on Oct. 12-13th. If you want to learn more about your pond or lake or fish or property or wildlife, and you dont want to hire me for an onsite consultation, GO TO THE POND BOSS CONFERENCE! These are the people who took me under their wing and gave me a 30 year headstart on my career of squeezing fish.

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