All posts by Chris Cocoles

Remember The Alamo; Never Forget Veteran’s Day

 
I just got back from a quick weekend getaway to San Antonio, a quintessential Texas city I never previously visited but enjoyed during the short time I was there. Mostly, my friend and I went for sports fan purposes, taking in an NBA, college football and college basketball game in roughly a 24-hour period. But being the history nerd that I am, there was no way I could go to San Antonio and not see The Alamo. That it was Veteran's Day weekend made it an emotional journey.</p><br /><br />
<p>When you see The Alamo for the first time, located smack dab in the middle of San Antonio's urban jungle, you're first taken back by how much smaller it is than you must have assumed given how much of a symbol this landmark is to Texas pride. But then as you walk through the other tourist hordes and find a rare quiet corner to yourself, it hits you how miserable those 32 volunteers must have been during the 13 days they spent waiting for the Mexican army to overwhelm them. Death was surely preordained and anticipated.</p><br /><br />
<p>During that time, the doomed men were not defending United States soil, but they were all patriots in their own right (As I scanned the list defenders in The Alamo visitor's center, I was taken back the number of Irishmen who were in the fort, nameless individuals lost in the shuffle of The Alamo's "celebrities" David Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and others).<br /><br /><br />
I have no military background, and while my dad is a Navy veteran, I can only get a small sense of what these and other veterans of wars spanning generations went through. I've visited Civil War battlefields, World War II museums, battleships and aircraft carriers. The common theme that's always struck me is how dedicated these men and women - the ones who survived and gave their lives for their country - have been and continue to be during these turbulent times.<br /><br /><br />
Please remember all those who fought for our freedom today.

 

I just got back from a quick weekend getaway to San Antonio, a quintessential Texas city I never previously visited but enjoyed during the short time I was there. Mostly, my friend and I went for sports fan purposes, taking in an NBA, college football and college basketball game in roughly a 24-hour period. But being the history nerd that I am, there was no way I could go to San Antonio and not see The Alamo. That it was Veteran’s Day weekend made it an emotional journey.

When you see The Alamo for the first time, located smack dab in the middle of San Antonio’s urban jungle, you’re first taken back by how much smaller it is than you must have assumed given how much of a symbol this landmark is to Texas pride. But then as you walk through the other tourist hordes and find a rare quiet corner to yourself, it hits you how miserable those 32 volunteers must have been during the 13 days they spent waiting for the Mexican army to overwhelm them. Death was surely preordained and anticipated.

During that time, the doomed men were not defending United States soil, but they were all patriots in their own right (As I scanned the list defenders in The Alamo visitor’s center, I was taken back the number of Irishmen who were in the fort, nameless individuals lost in the shuffle of The Alamo’s “celebrities” like David Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and others who we read about in books or see portrayed in Hollywood by Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric and Patrick Wilson).
I have no military background, and while my dad is a Navy veteran, I can only get a small sense of what these and other veterans of wars spanning generations went through. I’ve visited Civil War battlefields, World War II museums, battleships and aircraft carriers. The common theme that’s always struck me is how dedicated these men and women – the ones who survived and gave their lives for their country – have been and continue to be during these turbulent times.
Please remember all those who fought for our freedom today.

Photo: Remembering The Alamo and Veteran's Green Day</p><br /><br />
<p>I just got back from a quick weekend getaway to San Antonio, a quintessential Texas city I never previously visited but enjoyed during the short time I was there. Mostly, my friend and I went for sports fan purposes, taking in an NBA, college football and college basketball game in roughly a 24-hour period. But being the history nerd that I am, there was no way I could go to San Antonio and not see The Alamo. That it was Veteran's Day weekend made it an emotional journey.</p><br /><br />
<p>When you see The Alamo for the first time, located smack dab in the middle of San Antonio's urban jungle, you're first taken back by how much smaller it is than you must have assumed given how much of a symbol this landmark is to Texas pride. But then as you walk through the other tourist hordes and find a rare quiet corner to yourself, it hits you how miserable those 32 volunteers must have been during the 13 days they spent waiting for the Mexican army to overwhelm them. Death was surely preordained and anticipated.</p><br /><br />
<p>During that time, the doomed men were not defending United States soil, but they were all patriots in their own right (As I scanned the list defenders in The Alamo visitor's center, I was taken back the number of Irishmen who were in the fort, nameless individuals lost in the shuffle of The Alamo's "celebrities" David Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and others).<br /><br /><br />
I have no military background, and while my dad is a Navy veteran, I can only get a small sense of what these and other veterans of wars spanning generations went through. I've visited Civil War battlefields, World War II museums, battleships and aircraft carriers. The common theme that's always struck me is how dedicated these men and women - the ones who survived and gave their lives for their country - have been and continue to be during these turbulent times.<br /><br /><br />
Please remember all those who fought for our freedom today.

 

Irvine Lake Update

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An Irvine Lake limit of trout weighing in at 14 pounds, 10 ounces

 

Friend of the magazine, and regular California Sportsman contributor, Steve Carson, wrote up this report on Irvine Lake. The popular Orange County trout fishery held its fall opener on Nov. 1. (Photos Courtesy of Irvine Lake)

IRVINE LAKE REPORT
By Steve Carson
11/3/13

Irvine Lake west shore sizzles for trout opener, big browns and rainbows highlight catches
Trout season arrived with a bang at Irvine Lake this past weekend, with the lakes west shore area being a particular hotspot. The wide-open action held up for all four days of opening weekend, and even on Sunday afternoon, Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop reported, “It’s [the trout bite] still very good right now. There is some very good action first thing in the morning, but the bite perks up again when the sun hits the water, and late morning from 9 AM to about 10:30 AM has been the best overall time. The majority of the fish have been beautiful Merced River rainbows from Calaveras Trout Farm in the 2 to 3 pound class.”
Getty added, “We stocked over 20,000 pounds of trout for the opener, including several batches of trophy grade brown trout from 8 to 12 pounds, and huge rainbows from 8 to 18 pounds. There are still a lot of those big fish left in the lake, and we will be stocking another 5,000 pounds later this week, and then again every week all winter long!”
Opening day itself saw many anglers limiting out early, and numerous “second limit”, and even some “third limit” passes were sold. Typical of the early-limit catchers was 2012 Masters qualifier Johnny Navarro of Fullerton, who used a chartreuse Power Egg/worm combination, with a 12-inch leader of 2-pound test at the west shore, making relatively short casts of about 20 feet.
Also limiting out before 9 AM with a stringer that included a nice brook trout was 16-year old Chris Pihl of Huntington Beach, who used garlic PowerBait on a 4-pound test leader that was 18 inches long.
The Ana clan of Trabuco brought a spectacular catch to the cleaning tables at 10 AM; double-limits for four anglers- a total 40 nice trout in the 2 to 4-pound range. The group used white Power Trout Worms and garlic Power Bait in Boat Dock Cove for the bulging stringer.
Limiting out at 10:30 AM from his float tube, 13-year old Chris Azpetia of Chino fooled his stringer-full of 2 to 4-pound rainbows with dropshot-rigged orange Power Trout Worms off the west shore. “I’ve been coming to the trout opener here for 3 years; I love catching fish at Irvine Lake”, beamed Chris proudly.
Trollers also did very well, with the west shore outside the buoy lines, along the dam restriction lines, and especially mid-lake being hotspots for trollers. The standout trolling lure was a size 4 Flicker Shad in hot pink, with honorable mention going to the same lure in firetiger. Slow trolling speeds were important, and going too fast kept the otherwise eager fish off the lures.
Expert troller Mike Meredith of Huntington Beach dragged Flicker Shads in pink and clown colors along the Red Clay Cliffs and Rocky Point for an easy limit, and tipped, “Troll slowly; I got all of my fish trolling at just .08 to 1.2 mph.”
John Struckman of Fullerton also trolled up a heavy limit that included a dandy 8-5 rainbow. “I was using size 4 Flicker Shads in rainbow color on 6-pound line”, advised Struckman.
Families with children age 12 and under found good numbers of stocker-size rainbows in the Kids Lagoon using PowerBait. Surface temperature on the main lake was 62-64 degrees, with underwater visibility rated very clear.
Outstanding catches of the week at Irvine Lake included:
Billy Cohill of Fullerton, 11-4 rainbow trout on a nightcrawler at the west shore
Craig Adkinson of Orange, 9-2 rainbow trout on a Power Trout Worm at the west shore
John Struckman of Fullerton, 8-5 rainbow trout on Flicker Shad at mid-lake
Nick Silva of Orange, 8-1 brown trout on a Lip Ripper at the west shore
Jimmy Sheldon of Orange, 8-1 brown trout on a Kastmaster at the west shore
7-year old Blake Thomasen of Westminster, 6-6 brown trout on a Power Trout Worm at the west shore
Tom Lawrence of Lake Havasu, 8-2 steelhead on a homemade lure at the west shore
Chris Pihl of Huntington Beach, 2-8 brook trout on PowerBait at the west shore
14-year old Alexa Kadota of San Pedro, 7-1 channel catfish on PowerBait at the west shore
James Ana of Trabuco, 1-3 bluegill on a mini jig at mid-lake
Follow Irvine Lake on Facebook, on the web at IrvineLake.net or call 714-649-9111

Johnson limit 1113

Another limit of Irvine Lake rainbows

Don’t forget about our fall subscription offers: $10 off a one-year ($19.95), two-year ($29.95) or three-year subscription to California Sportsman. Click here for details.

Lake Del Valle Fishing Report

Sammy Baeza

Sammy Baeza with a 7 1/2-pound rainbow caught at Lake Del Valle

A report from Ashley Lotscher at the Bay Area’s Lake Del Valle (ebparks.org/parks/del_valle):

November 1, 2013

 

The water temperature is 66 degrees at the end of the dock. Fishing has been exceptionally well with the weather and water temperatures winding down.  A lot of trout have been caught and they have all been pretty decent size. With continuous plants happening bi-weekly, Mt. Lassen has been very generous with plants up to 2000 pounds ranging from 1 to 8 pounds per fish! The trout are hitting anything from Mice Tails to PowerBait and even lures such as the broken-back Rapalas like the J-5. The trout have mainly been caught in more shallow waters than deep waters, so cast and retrieve rather than troll.  Striped bass have also been on the bite lately with shad grouping up in the shallows causing the stripers to feed early morning and late afternoons. Try shad-like lures such as crankbaits and jerkbaits in lighter-colored schemes. A lot of stripers have been caught in the Lower Narrows and in Swallow Bay. The smallmouth/largemouth are still nowhere to be seen. Try fishing deep with jigs or deep running crankbaits with a slower presentation. Catfish have still been doing well as usual with a lot of boaters having bites of chicken Livers, sardines, and even anchovies around deep structured areas such as the Narrows.

 Fish Plants:

 

10-21-13 500 pounds of Trout from Mt. Lassen.

 

10-31-13 2000 pounds of Trout from Mt. Lassen.

Ashley Lotscher & Chris Simpson

Ashley Lotscher and Chris Simpson with almost 10 pounds of striped bass, caught on curled-tail jigs in the Narrows area.

 

Don’t forget about an easy holiday gift idea for your outdoors-loving loved ones. Get $10 off a subscription to California Sportsman. Click here for details.

 

Don Pedro Lake: One Of Mother Lode’s Premier Playgrounds

 

Aerial view Fleming & Middle Bay

Aerial view of Fleming and Middle Bay

Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, east of Modesto, California, Don Pedro Lake is the sixth largest man-made lake in California. The reservoir offers 160 miles of shoreline and 13,000 surface acres of water to enjoy when the lake is full. Boating, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing and house boating are just some of the water-oriented activities enjoyed at the Lake.

Benefiting from a Florida-strain largemouth bass stocking program provided by the Don Pedro Recreation Agency and a trout stocking program provided by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, anglers can find a variety of fish to catch including bass and king salmon of double digit weight. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass; rainbow, brook and brown trout; landlocked king, kokanee and silver salmon; catfish, crappie, bluegill and other warm water species are caught at the lake. A brochure about fishing at Don Pedro Lake can be found at the following link: http://www.donpedrolake.com/sites/default/files/docs/dpra-fishing-brochure.pdf

 

17.2 lb bass Nov 08

A 17.2-pound Don Pedro largemouth bass

With the lake surface adjoining Bureau of Land Management lands in many locations, hunting is permitted at Don Pedro Lake in accordance with local and state laws, BLM regulations and Don Pedro Recreation Agency Regulations and Ordinances. More information on hunting at Don Pedro Lake can be found at the following link:

 

http://www.donpedrolake.com/sites/default/files/docs/dpra-hunting-brochure.pdf

 

Summers are busy at the lake with campers and boaters partaking in a wide variety of water oriented sports, in addition to fishing. During fall, winter and spring, activity at the lake is quiet with great opportunity for the fishing and hunting sportsmen to enjoy their sport.

 

Don Pedro Recreation Agency offers campsites year-round at three campgrounds. Fleming Meadows and Blue Oaks are located on the west shore, and Moccasin Point is located on the east shore. The campgrounds offer hook-up sites, tent sites, restrooms, hot showers, boat launch ramps, sewage dump stations, and fish cleaning stations. Two full service marinas are located at Fleming Meadows and Moccasin Point campgrounds. During the summer, Fleming Meadows also features a 2-acre swimming lagoon with filtered/ treated water, complete with a sand beach area, large grass lawn, snack shack and picnic area. Group picnic areas are also available for reservation at Fleming Meadows and Moccasin Point and a group camp area is available at Blue Oaks. Ten miles of hiking trails are located at Blue Oaks (4.5 miles each way, out and back) and Moccasin Point (.5 mile each way) for those who want to get away from the motorized activity of the developed recreation facilities.

 

Camping reservations may be made up to one year in advance but not less than two days in advance and are accepted by mail, phone, in person at the Visitor Center, or on-line. For reservations or more information please look us up at http://www.donpedrolake.com/ and be sure to stay up to date with us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Don-Pedro-Lake-Camping-Boating-and-Fishing/329916833701465# .

 

cropped campsite photo

Don Pedro camping area

 

Happy Halloween

Halloween-everyone

 

Thanks to our Western Shooting editor, Rachel Alexander, for posting this pic of the Media Index Publishing staff (most of us) enjoying an All Hallow’s Eve lunch in the office. If you must know, I am trying to hide in the lower right-hand corner since I barely wore something resembling a costume ( but I do enjoy wearing my court jester beanie I bought at a hockey game in Finland once or twice a year).

 

Happy Halloween: Here Are Some Skulls To Get You Ready

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A beetle-cleaned lingcod skull (TIM HOVEY)

I bought a small bag of candy last night, but I’m not expecting many kids to knock on the door of my apartment complex that is locked from the outside (maybe that’s a good thing in more ways than one). But as we inch a little closer to November and the next issue of California Sportsman, I had to share a little bit of Tim Hovey’s upcoming story on beetle-cleaned skulls for hunters wanting to keep a trophy from their experience. Tim runs his own business, Dermestid Inc. (dermestidbeetlecolonies.com; 661-263-9418) and shared with us the process of using colonies of beetles to clean animal skulls in preparation for drying them into mounts. So in honor of this creepy, crawly holiday, here’s a little bit from Tim’s story that’s available in the November magazine, along with a couple of photos of his work that capture the Halloween spirit:

 

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An alligator skull after being cleaned by Dermestid beetles. (TIM HOVEY)

 

DERMESTIDS COME IN two life forms: the ravenous and hungry larvae and the egg-laying adult beetle. The larvae are the workhorses of a beetle colony and are responsible for a majority of the skull cleaning. The larvae emerge from the egg in two or three days; they are ready to eat and go through roughly a month of growth and development before they wrap themselves up in preparation of changing into an adult beetle. A week after entering metamorphosis, the transformed larva emerges as an adult beetle and almost immediately begins to lay eggs on any food source available, starting the entire process over again.
Despite their almost unimaginable appetite, there is a certain amount of skull processing that is required prior to placing the head in with the colony for cleaning. Dermestid beetles will not eat the skin, fur or feathers of the animal, so the skull needs to be skinned first. After the skull is skinned, I’ll spend some time removing some of the muscle meat, tongue, eyes and brain. The beetles will eventually eat these parts, but if you remove them ahead of time, the skull cleaning process will go a lot quicker. The processed skull is then placed in front of a fan for a few hours to dry out the remainder of the meat. The beetles prefer a drier type of meat and will clean the skull faster and more completely when this step is added.

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Wild pig skulls; male on the left, female on the right. (TIM HOVEY)

 

To read Tim’s story, get a copy of California Sportsman, which should be available soon at many outlets like Safeway, Von’s, 7-11, Stater Brothers, Barnes and Noble and others. To subscribe and get a great fall deal at just $19.95 for a full year of your local fishing and hunting news, click here.

Staying Above The Doves

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Our hunting guru, Tim E. Hovey, provides our readers with an inside look at the upcoming second half of California’s dove season with a great how-to story appearing in our November California Sportsman.

Here’s a sneak preview of what Tim wrote:

The new hunters for this season were all pretty familiar to our hunting group. This year my regular hunting buddies brought their kids along for the opener. Not as observers, but as newly licensed, California hunters. We set them up near the decoys and in open areas where they could test their shooting skills. We let them take longer shots so they could see that chances for success increased dramatically if they waited for the birds to enter their effective range. Each kid, Andrew, Adrian and Alyssa, all shot birds during the opener, and each one had an amazing time. I was impressed with their attention to safety and I made a point of telling each one that I would hunt with them anytime.
On the last day of the September dove season, I took my daughter Alyssa out for a morning hunt. We arrived at a new spot before sunrise and got things ready. I found an open area nearby and set up the decoy spread. Using a few large tumbleweeds, I quickly constructed a makeshift blind around our shooting position. The pending sunrise was at our backs and I could not remember creating a better set up for hunting dove.
As soon as the sun broke the horizon, the birds began to fly. The week before, I had noticed that birds leaving the orchards cut through this open area on their way to feed. Now, almost in a flood, they were flying right over our position. Some broke from their flight to investigate the decoys. I watched one slow slightly on Alyssa’s side. She swung her shotgun, matching the bird’s path. She led it slightly and fired. The dove folded in flight and dropped to the ground. I don’t remember my first dove, but I will forever remember that bird.
Mourning dove are plentiful, challenging and fun to shoot. The effort and gear needed is minimal, and it’s an activity the entire family can enjoy. California offers two seasons, generous bag limits and plenty of opportunity. Despite their challenging speed and aerobatics, in the right areas, new hunters will have numerous opportunities to hone their shooting skills. If you’ve ever thought about giving it a try, please do. Hunting is an activity best experienced with good friends and family. Get a group together and start your own tradition. You won’t be sorry.

 

 

To see Tim Hovey’s full story and others like it, subscribe to California Sportsman today. Click here for details.

 

Dermestid Beetles: Cleaning Your Trophy Mount

Beetle 5 Double

Photos courtesy of Tim Hovey

 

As hunters, we always want to remember our adventures in the field. Sharing our trials and successes of the hunt with others is as old as the activity itself. Whether it’s taking photos of the event or preserving part of the animal to commemorate a milestone, remembering our field adventures is an important part of the hunting tradition.
Most hunters opt for the standard shoulder mount to immortalize a successful trip. They’re stylish, traditional, and the workmanship of many of today’s taxidermists is amazing. However, they can be expensive, bulky and take several months to a year to get back to you depending on how busy your taxidermist is.
Many outdoors enthusiasts may not realize there is a cheaper, and in my opinion, more attractive alternative to the standard shoulder mount to remember a successful hunt. A European mount is simply the skull of an animal cleaned, whitened and suitable for display. Over the years, the techniques used to process an animal head into a European mount have evolved.
For cleaning skulls, taxidermists no longer prefer the old methods of soaking a head in water until the meat falls off (maceration) or boiling the skull. Serious skull cleaners use dermestid beetles.
For close to 15 years now, I’ve maintained several large colonies of dermestid beetles for skull-cleaning purposes. During that time, I’ve learned a great deal on how to culture, care for and utilize the beetles for cleaning bones. What started as an interesting hobby has grown quickly into a thriving Internet business, and my preferred way to remember my adventures in the field.
Probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get regarding the beetles is if they will harm the living. This species has absolutely no desire in anything other than dried-out, dead meat. They don’t bite and are essentially harmless. They do require good ventilation and a working temperature of between 70 to 85 degrees, which makes cultivating this species in California relatively easy.
More adventurous individuals may want to consider starting their own dermestid beetle colony. They’re easy to raise and maintain, and many beetle culturists are available online, providing information on raising and caring for your own colony. Dermestid Inc. (dermestidbeetlecolonies.com), an online dealer in dermestid beetles, offers informative DVDs, beetle starter kits and all the information required to successfully culture beetles.
o contact Tim Hovey’s beetle-cleaning business, Dermestid Inc, call (661) 263-9418, or go to dermestidbeetlecolonies.com.
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QuikCamo: Get Your GameFace Gear On

ABOUT US: Doug Niedrich and Warren “Nick” Nichols, outdoor entrepreneurs from Sun Valley, Idaho, are the co-inventors of several patent pending multifunction headwear designs. Warren “Nick” Nichols… life time world class Sportsman, national caliber Ballroom Dancer, father of 3 beautiful girls.  Doug Niedrich, family man, inventor, entrepreneur, Outdoorsman, put their heads together to create the QuikCamo rear model for bow hunters, and over time have introduced several additional patent pending designs.

QuikCamo provides one hand face concealment so fast it will make your “hat spin” QuikCamo is “ready when you are and there when you need it”
QUIKCAMO JPEG LOGO badge-finalist2[1]

 

QUIKCAMO IS TOP RATED GEAR!

 

Finalist in “THE NEXT BIG THING” Philips innovation fellows competition.

Fabric Features include:

Scent control (Kills bacteria that causes odor)
Anti Microbial/Anti Bacterial
Moisture wicking
Quick Dry
Breathable. (Keeps you cool during warm weather hunts)
Soft hand
Quiet
comfortable

Available in Mossy Oak Realtree, Kings Snow Desert, Mountain Shadow Camo, Mathews lost camo, Blaze orange, Ground blind Black, Camo West and 3-D leafy Kids hats. Perfect for Spring turkey water fowl and big game.

For more information, check out the QuikCamo website (quikcamo.com), or call (208) 720-2088.

 

gamefacegear logo qc-back-2

 

 

Irvine Lake’s Huge Trout

Look for Steve Carson’s annual report on the Irvine Lake Nov. 1 trout opener in the soon-to-be released November California Sportsman. There’s no wonder Steve always seems to get excited about this Orange County staple for anglers. Look at some of the trout that have been pulled from Irvine’s waters:

Photos courtesy of Irvine Lake

Carson Lake 11 Irvine Lake 4 Irvine Lake 9 Irvine Lake 5

 

Get Steve’s full report and more great photos in the November issue of California Sportsman. To subscribe, and get $10 off a one-year subscription ($19.95 for 12 issues of your local fishing and hunting news), click here.