by Mark Daul
Outdoors in Niagara
New Year's resolutions for many people are hardly ever given a second thought as to how hard they are to keep. You might resolve to yourself, "I'm going to eat healthy and wise this year," or, "I'm going to walk, run, exercise, and get in the outdoors more."
A lot of goals you set for yourself are sometimes forgotten as the new year wears on, but, yes, many people do stick to the resolutions they make, so keep your goals realistic. Way back when, I smoked like a chimney and one fall day I was out on a friend's boat, and I got the proverbial "wrong end of the boat" for catching perch. I was being out fished probably, three to one when my fishing partner said, "Mark, the reason you aren't 'catching' is because you stink."
I thought, gee, of all days, I did take a shower, and even used fresh Lifebuoy soap to do the job. Then I thought, he must be talking about me not catching many fish and I'm not as good a fisherman as him. Silence, then about another three to one fish catching bout, Jimmy said, "Y'know, Mark, you are smoking, and the fish can smell that stink from your hands on the bait and they will avoid it."
Naw, I thought to myself, hearsay. That bugged me for a long time, and when New Year's resolutions started to fly around that Christmas, I thought, well, I'm going to quit smoking. I know it isn't good for me; maybe Jimmy won't out fish me if I do, so when the new year comes, I'll quit then. When it came I did quit, but for about a tough 30 days. I couldn't keep that promise to myself, even though I kept remembering what Jimmy was preaching on the boat only a few short months ago, and I didn't want to suffer another defeat like that. When I started smoking again, Jimmy was right, it "stinks," a stink only a smoker can't smell.
Through the years, I would make that same resolution, only to break it time after time. I didn't quit until I had to. At the end of my story today, I'll tell you why, but let me tell you about "stink" and fishing first.
For many years, fishermen, especially those that fish salt waters, have scented their baits believing that gave them an advantage over others that didn't. It got to be popular, and the scent they used was menhaden oil, oil from a menhaden fish that is found in estuary waters along coastal shores. Some tournament fishermen wouldn't fish without it on their lures. They even use it for chumming the waters with it.
When the freshwater fishermen started scenting their lures, probably in the late '70s or early '80s, all kinds of scent products hit the market. Fishing lure innovator, TV and radio personality, among many other things, Al Lindner had a seminar in Buffalo once. He was asked about the "new" fishing lure scents on the market, and if they really worked. He said, "When I'm fishing, I use everything that I think will help me catch fish. Yes, I use it." He never said, "Yes, it works." In time, fishermen did find it works.
The Berkley Company, under the umbrella of Pure Fishing, a huge worldwide conglomerate of major fishing tackle brands, developed plastic lures with the scent built into the plastic. Some names that fishermen reading this will recognize include Berkley Gulp!, Powerbaits and Bio-Dip, an attractant that is dipped on any lure. One of these Berkley products that I have seen actually work really good in the river is the Berkley Gulp! baitfish minnow, impregnated with their secret formula.
Here is my short story and why I don't smoke anymore. And on top of that, I am wondering if my fishing has noticeably improved because I still fish out of the wrong end of the boat sometimes.
Back in 1998, I noticed I constantly had a sore throat. After checking with doctors and two biopsy procedures, it was determined that I had cancer on my vocal cords. I had to quit smoking because of the pain. The doc said, "Mark you have to have your voice box (larynx) removed right away. It is too far gone to repair, and you are not breathing right. You could suffocate yourself and die."
This was at Christmas 2000. Sudden trauma set in. I asked the doc if I could prolong it until after the holidays. He said, "Aren't you listening? I said right away." Two days later I was speechless!
I am now one of two known "larys" in Youngstown. Sometimes the kids look at me and think I am a robot, but I kid with them and let them think whatever their imagination will let them think. So if you are going to make a resolution, it doesn't matter what it is, if it is healthy and good for you, keep that promise to yourself. You deserve it, and so does your family and friends. I didn't keep my promise.
Happy new year to everyone, and be sure to make a New Year's resolution to take that kid fishing this year (and don't forget your elderly friend or neighbor. They would love to go - all you have to do is ask). Questions, suggestions: email [email protected] and check out www.OutdoorsNiagara.com for the latest local fishing info. I'm sure the Sentinel would like to hear from you too, at [email protected] to the attention of my "boss," Terry Duffy.
Mark Daul is pictured.