In the spring, the old folks say, a young man’s
fancy – older fellows, too – lightly turns to thoughts . . . of fishing.
Unfortunately, the young men . . . and the older anglers . . . continue
to unfurl their angling talents by flouting (on television and just plain
angling) their manliness by breaking many of the storied safety rules.
Last week, for example – and at many other times
in the past – I have watched television fishing productions in which the
“professional” anglers caught fish after fish (this is no doubt rigged
in many ways) when there was not a PFD (personal floatation device) even
obvious in the boat, and certainly not on the angler.
It should be said, however, that this is not a
breach of the law. It is a classic example of the fact we should “do as
they say, not as they do.” The law only requires that those less than 13
years old WEAR a PFD (personal floatation device) on lake Michigan and
the Ohio River.
I don’t think this is the kind of image we/they
should be teaching young anglers, all the more so when the Indiana Division
of Enforcement is putting fourth a tremendous effort to curb boating accidents.
That phase of flaunting boat safety concepts is
bad enough, but there are other breaches of the unwritten rules of safe
boating that the young people are unconsciously sopping up from watching
Worst of the lot, of course, is the bravado angler
who stands on a flat deck at gunnel level to fish, breaking the old standard
of “never standing in a boat,” especially when the most solid object the
angler is touching is the handle of a fishing rod.
The manufacturers of bass boats must shoulder
part of the responsibility because they manufacture boats that are to be
used in this manner.
Maybe Rocky Hauck and I (as a kid) turned the
first fishing boat I ever saw into such a contraption. If so, I regret
it. But with a wooden kitchen chair rigged as a front-seat (Conning Tower)
for bassin’, we may have started a fad that has turned into several million-dollar
businesses that teach our youth the basics of accidents waiting to happen.
Some brave anglers circumvent this measure by
parking their posteriors on a three-foot high seat when a sudden side-way
movement of a boat could put a kid into a shallow orbit.
This department does not spend a lot of time passing
out kudos for DNR personnel. I figure they are doing what we pay them to
do. But Col. Mike Crider’s Division of Enforcement is doing a great job
of fighting boating accidents. We should help them more by adopting the
practice of WEARING a PFD any time we are in a boat on the water.
– I am getting a few reports of squirrels feeding on maple buds and the
buds of some other trees. This is caused by a scarcity of hickory nuts,
black walnuts and acorns from various species of oak. The seeds of most
other trees and shrubs are gone for the most part and will not be available
until summer or early fall. Tree buds seem to be the earliest forms of
food. As the buds develop, they will be less desirable as a food source
and squirrels will turn to the bark of beech and some other species of