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Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Fishing Nets A Monster Fish

I’m hearing from a few reservoirs around the state that the fall pattern is starting to show itself. Slabs and blade baits are producing some fish once in a while, and it’ll only improve. Big Mac remains slow from what I’ve heard from numerous friends. A blade bait did produce a 63 pound flathead for my friends at Sherman Reservoir last week, though. What a blast that had to be!

The Big Flathead Fish.
Elwood is still a bit behind, it seems. We looked for fish on the graph for a little while, and tried some of our go-to spots, and the hardest part was trying to differentiate between all the bait on the screen and active fish. Almost everywhere we went, there was bait. A few places looked promising next to drop offs, so we anchored up and put some fresh shad down in 45 feet of water. It wasn’t long before we had a few bites, and my friend set the hook on one. Turned out to be a nice three pound channel cat. They were being real tentative and not committing to the bait at all. We lost several others as they were holding onto the shad long enough for you to feel it, but would then let go. We decided with a slow bite that we’d try something else.

My friend Grant and I loaded the boat and headed over to the Tri County Canal where I often fish. We tried some trolling and picked up another channel cat, and things slowed down again. Until….that one bite. The leadcore tightened up, then slack, then tight again. As Grant grabbed the rod, the fish finally realized he was hooked, and then the fight was on. I don’t know how long it took us to get him in, but I would wager a guess on about 15 minutes or so.

Grant just moved back here from Hawaii, so this was a pretty new experience for him, and entertaining for me. I told him what to expect as I was certain it was a big flathead. Not until the fish surfaced did he believe me, which made things more interesting. After helping Grant with some drag settings on the reel, I finally netted the fish, if that’s what you want to call it. The fish did not fit real well, and I was trying not to let him flip back in and snap the line. Grant grabbed one side of the net and we finally wrestled him into the boat. The monster fish (pictured above with Grant) went 45” long with a girth of 27.”

My scale turned out to be less than reliable, so using a few charts found on the internet puts the fish at about 44 pounds, which I feel comfortable with. The body was full and it was a very healthy fish, so who knows, it may have hit 45 or 46. After smiling for some pictures, we watched as it flipped water at us with its monstrous tail. The crankbait was not very deep in his mouth and just ahead of his gills, so it was a nice clean release. Of course we hope to see that fish again next year when it’ll be over 50 pounds.

Of course, the next day we headed back out and tried for more, only to strike out. We did lose a real nice sauger close to the boat, as well as a nice crappie. Managing a few channel cats and white bass on cranks was enough to keep it interesting on an otherwise slow day.

The temps look stable for the immediate future, which I believe will keep things slow to average on the water. Once we get that cold snap, look out. I still say chances are good that we’ll have an outstanding fall bite, but we need to have that cold snap for things to really go crazy. Enjoy the weather while you can--we all know what’s coming.

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Robinson
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, September 22, 2014

pop-we Reviews Dr. Carla Hannaford's Smart Moves Why Learning is Not All In Your Head

When it comes to readiness for reading, writing, and arithmetic, we need to remember recess, recreation and the arts. We must not forget to add plenty of rough and tumble play to prepare young minds for learning. Dr. Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., shares the science behind why physical movement, music, art, and play are so important for healthy development in her 2nd edition of "Smart Moves Why Learning is Not All In Your Head".

Hannaford relates how physical movement is important for our body’s sense of self in space or proprioception. I never thought about how knowing where we are in space is important to reading as we need to know such things as whether or head is level. Movement that strengthens our core as well as movements that help us balance is all important to our developing our sense of self in the environment. She emphasizes that so much learning is sensory and that schools often emphasize too much verbal education compared to hands on learning in the environment.

The development of the proprioception and the vestibular system are intimately connected according to Hannaford. It was actually my quest to learn more about vestibular stimulation that ultimately lead me to Smart Moves. I first read the word vestibular stimulation in a catalog describing a toy. It said that vestibular stimulation was important for reading readiness.

I posted a thread on a professional social networking website on the subject of vestibular stimulation and someone suggested this book. Finally, I was able to read in depth what vestibular stimulation is and why it is so important. When we consider that balance, locomotion, the ability to discriminate speech and language, and our vision being coordinated with our movement all rely on a well-functioning vestibular system, we can see how imperative it is for education according to Hannaford. She cites ways that the system can be damaged even before birth.

A common problem of inner-ear infections during the formative years is believed to damage the vestibular system. Poor vestibular development is related to learning and behavioral problems such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) it is also related to other learning problems such as dyslexia. As someone who has at least a dozen credit hours at the University in Special Education, I was interested in her explanation of ADD in terms that seemed new to me. She talks about how movement helps the children with consciousness and is very compassionate about how expecting these children to sit still prior to repair work being done to their systems is so unrealistic and ineffective.

Activities that stimulate the inner ear and require balance are among the activities that stimulate the vestibular system. Cross Lateral movements that cross the body’s midline such as slowly touching your right elbow to your left knee and alternating with your left elbow and your right knee are very important to brain development. Activities that improve balance or cross lateral movements can help repair damage done to the vestibular system.

I was very interested an anecdotal account in the book about a dyslexic student who did the cross-lateral elbow and knee exercise. All other methods had thus far failed until he did this exercise and improved his reading ability.

The book has diagrams and pictures of movements that stimulate the brain. When I searched for Smart Moves at a well-known online book distributor, it suggested Brain Gym®. After reading how Hannaford used this book and shared it internationally, I bought my own copy of his book with diagrams of movements with minimal descriptions. Smart Moves and Paul Dennison’s Brain Gym® do complement each other. Having taken a coursework in the many theories about teaching methods and education, I was interested to read the areas that Hannaford emphasizes as important in and out of the classroom. However, she does not just speak of fantasy children and the ideal education and untested hypotheses, but rather practices she has seen work in classrooms including her own.

She gives empirical data and scientific information to show why certain educational practices are better. I enjoyed her firsthand experience of gains gained after using her methods that defied what I thought possible given the age of the child and the amount of severe deficits of the child. It was her curiosity about the success that she witnessed using physical movement, art, and music that was the impetus for her to complete her doctorate in Biology. She has been a professor of Biology for twenty years.

Although Smart Moves is not Hannaford’s most recent work, I find it to be very relevant today. It is very rich in content. In addition to very detailed information on physical development and brain development, there are sections on the importance of art, music, play physical touch and emotions for learning. It also explains how knowing whether you are left or right eye dominant or left or right ear dominant can be important for learning strategies. It is an important resource for parents and teachers. It is also a valuable resource regarding autism and learning disabilities. The school environment that Hannaford proposes is a safe and low stress environment where teachers respect the opinions of children even when they disagree with their own. There is emphasis on hands on learning. The senses are fully engaged. There is time to play. As Hannaford points out, play is important to music, science, math, and writing. Opportunities for physical movement are abundant as this is so important for the intellect.

-population-we™ blog post by Barb Bohan
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, September 15, 2014

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Blair's Driftwood Inn Restaurant & Lounge

If you want to sit along the Missouri River to watch boats, birds or anything head up to the Driftwood Inn Restaurant & Lounge. The Driftwood located at 10740 Serenity Lane in Blair, NE is a good location for site seeing. They serve American food in this little building along the river.

The Driftwood in Blair Nebraska.
When you arrive through the front door you come into their lounge. Along the east wall which is comprised of windows, they have a few pairs of binoculars hanging. There is a door that you can step through, which will take you to deck that sits above the river. The left wall is the bar, one beer on tap, Bud Light of course; they do however have several bottle choices. Up a couple stairs is the main dining area not very big but they can handle parties of 12 like ours.

The menu is comprised of chicken, steak and fish. A few in our group order some appetizers, which they kindly shared with everyone. I tried the portabella mushrooms, which are breaded then fried. What I liked about this appetizer--is that they were not that greasy and had a great spice mixture. I would recommend giving these a try. Next, I tried a couple onion rings. Again not very greasy and had nice flavor. I thought I would try this evening the country steak, which comes covered in a mushroom gravy. The steak was cooked to a nice pink medium--just the way I like it. The steak was tender and the mushroom gravy was tasty. Severed with hashbrowns and green beans to round out the entrée.

After compiling the surveys from the other population-we™  (pop-we) Dinner Club foodies scores the Driftwood a 4.04 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor – 3.83

Cleanliness – 3.5

Wait Staff – 4

Menu – 3.92

Food Presentation – 4.17

Food Portions – 4.5

Food Taste – 4.67

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 3.83

Noise Level – 3.83

Overall Experience – 4.17

Driftwood Inn Restaurant & Lounge does not have an official website or Facebook page. So, for menu items you just have this blog post to go off of and as far as directions--most of our dinner club party successfully found our way there by using Google Maps. If you're looking for adventure and down home cooking, we recommend the Driftwood in Blair Nebraska.

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you've been to the Driftwood leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

Want to do this yourself? To review How To Start Your Own Dinner Club, visit our January post about doing just that. Remember it is a template; tweak it to fit you and your friends' tastes. pop-we Dinner Club: good food…good friends…good times.

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, September 8, 2014

I Heart Celebrity Causes Highlights Derek Jeter's Turn 2

As a society we like our celebrities and tend to support the causes they endorse with this status. Our celebrities are those that entertain and inspire us such as those that act in the movies, on television and the stage, our favorite musicians, athletes from our favorite teams or provide national pride representing at the Olympics, the authors of our favorite literary works and those that provide contributions in the world of art. Each month in this new population-we™ (pop-we) series, I Heart Celebrity Causes, a celebrity will be chosen and the cause that they promote will be looked at.
I Heart Celebrity Causes!

This month in the third installment of I Heart Celebrity Causes the focus is on starting shortstop and team captain of the New York Yankees Derek Jeter and his Turn 2 Foundation. Jeter established the Foundation during his rookie season in 1996 to promote healthy lifestyles among youth. Another tenant of the organization is to provide guidance to help youth avoid drugs and alcohol.

The name Turn 2 is borrowed from the baseball term when middle infielders start off a double play by getting the first out at second base. Jeter decided to start the foundation on a road trip to Detroit while eating pizza in his hotel room. Nearly 20 years later the foundation has deep roots in Western Michigan, Tampa, FL and New York City, which are all areas Jeter has close ties. Since its beginning the Turn 2 Foundation has helped thousands of youths by awarding more than $19 million in grants.

Jeter was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1996 and after a career that has seen him be a 12-time All-Star he announced he will retire from playing after the 2014 season. That will cap a long baseball journey that starting with playing T-ball at age 5 in Kalamazoo, MI. The Yankees later drafted Jeter with the sixth pick of the first round in 1992 out of Central High School in Kalamazoo.

The stated mission of Turn 2: "is to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and 'Turn 2' healthy lifestyles". Those programs include the Jackie Robinson Recreation Center in Harlem in New York City, the St. John's Recreation Center in Brooklyn, NY, the St James Recreation Center in Bronx, NY and the Sorrentino Recreation Center in Queens, NY. Other signature programs include the Jeter Meter in New York City, Jeter's Leaders in both 
New York City and West Michigan and the Derek Jeter Center at Phoenix House in Tampa.

Jeter also uses his position in the public eye to raise awareness in children that good choices must be practiced daily. Each year he hosts the Turn 2 Foundation Dinner and the 18th Annual Dinner on June 1, 2014 raised over $1 million. The Jeter's Leaders of New York and Kalamazoo travel to Washington D.C for a biannual service project and Jeter stresses the importance of their making an annual visit to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) for educational purposes.

If you would like to make a donation to the Turn 2 Foundation you can visit their Donate to Turn 2 Foundation page.

Most importantly, Bravo to pop-we I Heart Celebrity Causes--Derek Jeter--for his Turn 2 Foundation!

-population-we™ blog post by John Bohan
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, September 1, 2014

The Dog Days of Fishing in Nebraska

A flathead caught with crankbait.
Every year I hear and read accounts of anglers who think that August is a slow time for fishing. It’s hot, the dog days of summer are upon us, and in most cases, there are more than enough groceries for fish to help themselves too. Fish can be lethargic, seem to disappear, and not be interested in being caught at all. While part of that is true, not all of it is.

It’s true, in lots of cases this year, that fish have all the food they need heading into fall. We are still seeing lots and lots of shad in the Tri County Canal, Johnson Lake, Sherman Reservoir and many others. This can make catching fish difficult at times, no doubt about it. This in turn, leads to the August slowdown. But not always. I try to look at the positive things about having excess shad in the water you’re fishing.

The first, and most obvious, aspect of having lots of shad, is that they provide a great bait source for us anglers. I’ve been throwing the cast net for a few weeks now, and am still learning the best spots to find fish in certain bodies of water. I’m usually looking in backs of coves and near boat docks in water 6 to 8’ deep, or shallower. Some days I’m only throwing the net once or twice because I have more than enough bait. Other days, it takes a bit more effort. Don’t give up until you find the bait, because when you do, you’ll have all you need.

After netting our shad, we often go back to a spring time tactic of live bait rigging these shad, or Lindy Rigging as it’s commonly known. Concentrating on sunken islands, main lake points, and drop offs are always good places to start. The shad are still behind this year, so they’re easy to rig right now due to their smaller size. My cousin tells me he lost an 8-9 lb walleye last week rigging a shad in about 20 feet of water. Tough break.

Another reason abundant shad is a good thing is because sometimes they help you find the fish. This is especially true for finding schooling white bass on the surface. Follow the seagulls that are filling their bellies, and you’ll find white bass, and in some cases wipers, nearby. Walleye and catfishing can also be good in these areas.

If you’re not finding them on top, look for them on your sonar. When you find ‘bait balls’ on your screen, the predators are often seen right next to them. Trolling these areas can be great, as it has been lately at Lake McConaughy. Numerous wipers and walleyes have been caught on crankbaits the past couple of weeks.

Not to be forgotten is a tactic that I love to employ when August rolls around, and that’s trolling cranks specifically for flatheads. I’m under the assumption that I’m one of very few who do this, but let me tell you, it’s a blast. Having a 10 lb walleye hit a crankbait is one thing; having a 20 lb flathead do it is quite different! Of course you’ll want to make obvious upgrades to line and leaders, and sometimes hooks (depending on your baits that you’re using). I have a few crankbaits that I favor over others, but I also believe there are times when as long as you get a wobbling crank near a flathead, they’ll hunt it down. This past weekend I managed to get a 17 pounder in the boat, but had a possibly much larger one snap off a crank with little to no effort. That sure was disheartening. Almost as disappointing as the large wiper I lost trolling cranks the prior week at Jeffrey Reservoir. I haven’t had leadcore strip off a reel that fast in 3 years. Sure was fun to watch.

So don’t let anyone tell you that August is a month to take off from fishing. It simply isn’t true. You can pull cranks, you can drag shad, heck, you can even start using slab spoons when you find bait on your finder. August is a versatile month when lots – and big – fish can be caught. Beat the heat and get your camera ready.

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Robinson
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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