The Outdoor Quarterback

Mid Summer, Now What

July 9th, 2010

We are just weeks away from NFL teams going to training camp, which means it is hot and humid, at least it is here in the mid-west!  And from what I hear, it is going to be that way at most training camp sites.  This is about the time you are going to hear about contract negotiations.  Here in Kansas City we haven’t signed a single draft choice, but the time is near for those announcements to start taking place.  This will be one of the most difficult years to sign players because of the pending hold out or strike for the 2011 season.  There will be no collective barging agreement in place after this year.  I have a feeling that will make the agents look for more guaranteed money and up front signing bonuses.  We will know that answer as  soon as contracts begin to get signed.

It has been my opinion that it is critical to get your draft choices signed and in camp as soon as possible.  Even missing one or two days is a huge set back for the young players.  The transition from college to the NFL is must greater than the transition from high school to college.  The game is so much faster and everyone you face was either an All-American in college or he is a All-Pro.  The needs for most teams are revealed in the draft.  Which would translate into, we need you at your position and on the field from day one.  It never fails, most of your high draft selections don’t get signed until after camp begins.  That is a tremendous mistake for both parties, the player and the team.  If you are going to compete for a championship in the NFL, everyone needs to be on the same page, starting the first day of training camp.  It will be interesting to see how quickly we start hearing about draft choices being signed.  Keep a watch out for signing announcements.

For those of you who love top water action, this is the prime time.  All the bugs are hatched and are on the top of the water, easy prey for the fish.  I love fishing this time of the year, early morning and late afternoon.

If you have the ambition to learn to fly fish, there is no better time to learn.  Get with someone who can give you the basics on fly fishing and then get to the nearest farm pond so you can practice your casting and retrieving techniques.  The best part about this is you will catch top water feeding fish while learning how to master your fundamentals.  A little reward will always keep you coming back.  I know this, you will be one step ahead of your fishing partners or buddies.  Ladies, you will love this type of fishing.

The OutdoorQuartberback

Farm Ponds and Training Camp

June 15th, 2010

First I want to thank all of you for your comments regarding my blog.  They have been incredible and have been a motivating factor for me to continue putting information out there that seems to be interesting to most all of you.  I wasn’t much of a English student in high school or college.  Early on I eliminated English teacher from my list of potential career opportunities.  Many of my teachers and professors would be shocked at your comments regarding my writing style.  Thanks again for logging on.

Now for these early days of summer and my favorite kind of fishing, farm ponds.  They come in many different sizes, from a  one acre pond to a 50 acre pond (small lake).  What I like most about fishing them is that I know the fish are there, it’s just how many laps around pond before you start catching them.

Recently I took a trip down to Oklahoma to see my dad and visit with my sister and brother in-law.  My brother in-law is now retired and he has access to several great ponds and loves to fish.  Our first morning we fished on a 18 acre pond and in 3 hours we caught and released 42 fish, yes we kept count, he is charting each summers catch.  It really is a good idea, you can collect some pretty good data about the pond.  Time of the year, water temperature, outside air temperature, wind direction and the type of lure and tackle used.  I think it helps plan your next trip to that pond so you can maximize your opportunity.  That evening we went to a 50 acre sand pit that had some pretty deep water, for a farm pond, 35 feet.  The third fish I caught was a 7.2 pound black bass (large mouth).  No question it was exciting.  That fish pulled our little two man bass boat around in circles several times before we landed him.

Red Shad 7 inch plastic worm was the magic bait.  I love to worm fish, it is what I have the most confidence in and I really believe that has a lot to do with being successful in fishing.  I know a lot of very good and successful pro fishermen who throw nothing but crank baits and swear there is nothing better.  As far as I am concerned it takes a little bit touch and feel to become a good worm fishermen, that includes you ladies as well.  That little tap you feel on the rod and then seeing the line move across the water,  it is awesome.  There is just something about it that is challenging to me.   I just have a hard time forcing myself to pound the water with a crank bait over and over and over!  The other great aspect about fishing farm ponds, when the fish start hitting top water, you can pretty much count on them doing it all around the pond and there isn’t anything more exciting, even us serious plastic worm fishermen would admit to that.

The farm ponds are absolutely the best place to get the young kids excited about fishing, for the mere fact they will catch fish, blue gill, catfish, crappie or bass.  A little success on the farm ponds will get most kids really excited about fishing and the outdoors, so take one if you can.  I promise, you will get as much fun out of it as they will.

NFL training camps are just around the corner.  Most of you are hearing about the mini camps or OTA’s going on around the league.  Being a player in the NFL today is a full time job.  I can remember my rookie year we had no off season training sessions (organized) and only one mini camp before going to training camp.  When I was playing our training camps lasted almost two months before we played our first preseason game.  In those days we played 6 preseason games, so add another 6 weeks to training camp and we were there over 3 months.  Most guys came in out of shape and played their way into shape by the time the season started.  Today there is so much competition at each position that you can’t afford to be in anything but incredible condition.  They have what are called OTA’s (off season training activities), which are supervised workouts with the coaching staff.  They also have unsupervised, all volunteer (ha) work outs that begin shortly after the Super Bowl.  Today’s NFL player only has two weeks of training camp before they start playing preseason games so they have to be ready to play from day one.  The off season programs the players are involved with today are essential for both the players and the organization.  Because of the limited time in camp the team doesn’ have a great deal of time to evaluate the players who are marginal and competing for a job.  Obviously it doesn’t give the players much time to impress the coaching staff either.  The big difference between the players of today compared to the players during my years is that these guys are being evaluated year round.

You are going to start hearing a lot about contracts and the signing of all the draft choices and un-drafted free agents.  It is a critical time for both management and the unsigned players.

My next blog I will talk about the consequences, from both sides, of not signing your top draft selections.

As always I look forward to hearing your comments.

The Outdoor Quarterback!

January, What to Do!

January 14th, 2010

Depending on where you live, January is the month when most outdoor activities slow down with a few exceptions, ice fishing, snowmobiling, late season goose and duck hunting, and in a few states, the last few days of deer hunting.  For all of you football enthusiast, the NFL Playoffs are in full swing!  If your team is still in, congratulations and good for you.  Our beloved Chiefs didn’t make it!!  Things are looking up, the Chiefs just announce the hiring of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, to former offensive and defensive coordinators for the New England Patriots.  Hopefully they will help jump start both the offense and the defense.  I personally believe it is a very good move, they both had tremendous successes with the Patriots and bring a wealth of playoff history.  When reorganizing a team I feel it is critical to have both coaches and players in place who have had playoff experience.  How can you coach about winning in the playoffs if you haven’t been there!  Making the playoffs is the first step in winning the Super Bowl and that is every teams objective.  Now we have coaches in place who have successfully accomplished both.  For the teams still alive in the playoffs, Dallas and their defense look hard to beat.  Being from the AFC, I still like the Charges, who I was originally drafted by, and the Colts.  You can’t rule out the play of Patton Manning.  Back to the outdoors!  This is the time to get all of your fall hunting, camping and fishing gear cleaned up.  Cleaning your firearms before putting them away is extremely important.    The obvious, make sure they are unloaded before working on them and putting them up.  This is a good time to take off all that old fishing line and tune up the reels.  Make sure all of your camping gear is dry before putting them in storage, mold can develop quickly and cause a lot of damage to your equipment.  For you Turkey hunters, this is a great time to work on your calls.  Some seasons are just a few months away!  Normally I can drive everyone out of the house with some yelps and cackles!