Fishing and hunting are lifetime sports

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Dennis Clay


There are many lifetime sports available to each person. This came to my attention many years ago, perhaps 20. A teacher in a Grant County school called and asked me to demonstrate the art of fly tying.

This includes taking a bare hook and adding items to make it look as if the finished product was a bug fish eat. The items include yarn, fur, hair, feathers and a smattering of synthetic substances.

This teacher would expose his students to several sports they could enjoy during the rest of their lives. One was golf and another was fishing. Donít remember any of the others.

Indeed, fishing is a sport to be enjoyed by youngsters. I donít remember what age my fishing career began, but there is a photo in our family with me holding a steelhead longer than I am tall.

A youth can be exposed to fishing as soon as they can hold a fishing rod. But, wait, youth who are not able to hold a rod can be exposed to fishing if the rod is held by the mother or father.

There are fishing rods made for young anglers, which are shorter than a regular rod. Some have themes and come in several colors, including pink. Others are full sized rod and reel combinations costing between $15 and $20.

These are an excellent beginning rod. The angler will learn about taking care of her/his equipment. The price is appropriate in case the rod tip is snapped or if the rod is on the ground when another person steps on it, breaking or bending an eye.

Adults have approached me over the years stating their 8-year-old son wanted to learn to fish, but the parent was never taught how to fish. The solution is to check with a friend who is an angler and ask them to teach you the sport, so you can pass along what you learn to your children.

The message: Start the youngsters early and make fishing a family sport, one which will last a lifetime. Remember, fishing is a common addition to a camping trip. My family would go camping several times a year, usually just a weekend trip, but at least one longer campout each year, a week to nine days.

We would camp near a river, so we could fish the river. We would camp near a lake, so we could fish the lake. This was a part of my life as a youth.


Bill Witt exposed me to rifle reloading 30 years ago. This activity was interesting and we both enjoyed it. However, we were working fulltime and couldnít devote the time required, so stopped his endeavor.

Bill and I are now retired, so we dug out the equipment and are pursuing rifle reloading seriously. Reloading a rifle cartridge is time consuming and requires tedious and detailed work.

Hunters began reloading their own shells, because their finished product would perform better than the store-bought ammunition. Plus, producing your own ammunition was cheaper. At least this was the belief.

Todayís on-the-shelf ammunition is top-notch stuff, but it is a bit expensive. But, because Bill and I have everything needed to reload, we figured it was time to perfect a round for each rifle we own.

The idea today is to find the right powder and bullet for a specific rifle. Try one bullet and a powder to see if it performs as you desire. If not try another bullet and/or powder.

Here are the steps: Take a once-fired rifle casing, this is the part without a bullet or powder, and place it in the resizing tool. A pull of the handle returns the casing to its original size. When a cartridge is fired, the casing expands a bit, so it needs to be resized. This effort also punches out the old primer at the back end of the casing.

Next the cartridge is trimmed. The casing is now longer, because of the expansion. A trimming tool is used to shave the bullet-end to the proper size.

The case is now placed in a vibrator filled with corn cob pieces to be polished. This takes hours, but can easily be accomplished by placing 100 cases in the vibrator and left to work overnight.

The case is next deburred and camphored. This means using a tool to make a slight angle at the neck, bullet end, of the case inside and outside. Next a new primer is inserted into the back end.

There are only two more steps at this point. The powder is weighed and poured into the case and the bullet is seated into the neck. A loaded rifle cartridge is now ready to fire.

This has been a short and incomplete story about fly tying and reloading rifle shells. This is intended to whet your appetite and get you to think about each endeavor. A multipart series about each activity will be written next month in detail.

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