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Mrs Boilerman

Article about FM

13 posts in this topic

Here's the article that ran in the Worthington Daily Globe's fishing tab...thanks again to all of you who reponded to my post about it. It was a great response and gave me tons of information to work with. I used as much of your posts as I could fit in, so if I left yours out, I apologize. The article was getting pretty long, and many of the comments reiterated what others were saying.

For some reason I don't have time to try to figure out, when I cut and paste the paragraph indents don't work right, so sorry if it looks funny.

Just for fun, I'll include the article Boilerguy wrote. He did a good job, I think, and it really kind of sums up his personality also. wink.gif

I hope to meet everyone at the Prairie Polebender in June....Thanks again!

Mrs. Boilerguy (aka Justine Wettschreck)

Fishing Web site grows by leaps and bounds

Site gives sportsmen and women a chance to exchange information and meet new people

BY JUSTINE WETTSCHRECK DAILY GLOBE

WORTHINGTON — If life was a Norman Rockwell painting, little boys and old men would still sit along the shore of the local fishing hole with a cane pole and a bucket, chatting about the weather and swapping fish tales.

These days, although they are still swapping fish tales, fishermen and women are more likely to be found carrying a nice rod and reel while sitting in a boat or hanging out in a fish house. They have a GPS, keep a Vexilar by their side, spend more than they will admit on tackle — and are having the time of their lives doing it. In some ways, fishing has gone high-tech.

One place the computer-savvy fishermen (and women) can swap fish tales, fishing advice and fishing hot spot tips is on the forums at www.fishingminnesota.com,aWeb site dedicated to fishing, hunting and all things outdoors.

Need to know a good recipe for pheasant? Check the forums on fishingminnesota (FM). What kind of bait are the crappies hungry for on Lake Sarah? Someone on the forum was probably there yesterday. Having trouble getting the brake light on your boat trailer to work? An FM member had the same problem once, and he will tell you how he fixed it.

From bird watching to outdoor photography to home improvement to hunting dogs, it is all on FM. There are separate categories for areas of the state, so anyone interested in fishing Lake Winnibigoshish can find out what’s biting. If a guy is thinking about taking his family camping, he can check with fellow FMers to see if the fishing is going well at Lake Shetek, because if he is going on vacation, he might as well drop a line while he’s there.

FM actually evolved from another Web site, hotspotoutdoors.com, a hobby site set up by businessman Rick Paquin, who said he developed the site because anything outdoors was his passion. When he started being asked how much it would cost to advertise on his site, his passion started to pay off and the new site was born.

Launched in 1997, FM has grown to include more than 30,000 members in 10 years and has 1,800 to 1,900 people browsing its forums at any given time. It is free to register, easy to use and full of information.

So why do people flock to the site and what keeps them coming back? When asked that very question, most FMers talked about the wealth of information and the camaraderie.

“Where else can you talk local fishing, hunting and dirt track racing in addition to gaining invaluable technical advice for boats, snowmobiles, ATVs, landscaping and home improvement?” asked Lawdog (a screen name) from Luverne. “And that’s before we even get to football, dog training, cooking and looking at outdoor photography, too!”

Youngie22, of Hastings, said he has learned many things on the site from wellinformed people.

“I try to find information on anything I can, from Red Lake to Red Wing … how to cook wild game or fix my pickup,” he added.

Chad Cummings of Brewster, screen name muc33, said before purchasing a fishing product, he checks in with other FM members to get their opinion.

“Nothing better than hearing it from a user’s aspect (instead of) a salesman’s pitch who maybe doesn’t even fish,” he said, adding that he checks FM daily.

Fishook, from Iowa, admits his reason for visiting the site may be different than some of the others. He said he enjoys reading posts about other FMers’ hunting and fishing experiences.

“I like to sit back and pretend I was part of the big event,” he said. “The stories are so realistic it is the next best thing to being there.”

“There are always those times when you just can’t be out there,” said Tim Anderson of Big Fish Hunt Guide Services. “At least you have the consolation of being able to be on FM talking about it.”

Anderson makes a living in the fishing industry and is a sponsor of the site. FM has helped him book guide trips, he said, as well as meet new people and make worthwhile connections with others in the fishing industry.

Sachem Longrifle called FM a bond that hunters and anglers have.

“We all come from different backgrounds and have our own separate life stories to tell, but the love of fishing, hunting and general outdoor lore is the common bond,” he explained.

Family and teaching youngsters to fish and hunt seem to be an important aspect of many of the threads on the forum, and on a recent FM pod cast, Paquin said a purpose of the site is to educate people about the outdoors.

“I would say I get more out of seeing a young fisherman smile …” pro staff member Harvey Lee said. “As a staff member, I have had the opportunity to meet many members and also do what I can to help others in outdoor activities.”

Several members mentioned they rely on FM for safety’s sake, using the information about ice thickness and low water issues to plan fishing trips.

Fishinchicks, from southwest Minnesota, said she even used the forums to ask about road conditions when a family member needed to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

“I received some very kind replies with great reports,” she said. “This is the first place I check every morning. I am pretty much a self-taught angler since I did not grow up in a sporting household. I have found tips from how to correctly tie a knot in my line to hook removal when your catch is bigger than you expected — your fishing partner.”

Walleyejon of Greenbush appreciates the wealth of information in the site, but considers it just the tip if the iceberg.

“As we get older and settle into our life’s routine, we have a tendency not to add many people to our core group of friends … until FM,” he explained, adding he has met people through the site that have become lifelong friends. “I didn’t start posting on FM with the intention of meeting these people, but it couldn’t have worked out any better.”

“One thing that makes me so loyal to this site is being part of a family or brotherhood made up of all the great people here,” Delmuts, a pro staffer from Sumner, Iowa, said. “From losing a great hunting dog to losing a family member or needing prayers, the support is unbelievable.”

After talking back and forth on the forums, many of the FM members make plans to meet for an outdoors trip, visiting each other’s areas and getting a chance to experience the variety of fishing and hunting the state has to offer.

Throughout the year, FM staff plans get-togethers in various locations around the state, giving members a chance to meet in person and fish together. Slabfest on Upper Red Lake and the Sturgeon Excursion on Lake of the Woods are just two examples of the fishing trips FMers try to hit each year. The Prairie Polebender will be the first FM trip in southwest Minnesota, and takes place June 9 at Lake Shetek.

“I am looking forward to attending the first SW MN FM get-together and putting some faces to the fellow posters on the forum,” said Idratherbefishing of Worthington. “I found this Web site a few years ago while looking for fishing reports … and have been hooked ever since.”

Seasons for a fisherman

BY ERIC WETTSCHRECK GUEST COLUMNIST

AVOCA — Bless the hearts of all the teachers that had to put up with me from kindergarten through high school. They all tried, and failed, to convince me there are four seasons in a year.

They gave the seasons funny names like spring, summer, winter and fall, and used funny words like equinox and solstice. I didn’t agree with them as a child with hair, and as a middle-aged bald man, I still don’t agree.

There are not four seasons in Minnesota, there are three.

The seasons aren’t about equinox and solstice — the three seasons are open-water fishing, ice fishing, and mud. Mud may not actually be a season. It may be just a transition period between two seasons. That is for the scientists to decide.

There are not dates on the calendar to tell us when each season starts, but on May 12 this year open-water season will get a lot better, if such a thing is possible. May 12 is the walleye opener.

Ice fishing starts when open water is done, and is a precursor to mud. Mud starts when ice fishing is thinking about being over and open-water fishing may actually have started, but not always. Open-water fishing starts towards the tail end of ice fishing and can actually be at the midway point of mud. If the ice fishing season is shorter, the mud season may be longer. If the open-water season is longer, the mud season and the ice fishing season may be shorter.

Open-water season is in full swing when you hear people talk about Jig and Pig combos, beetle spins, bottom bouncers, and daredevils. There will be Yee-Haw hook sets that could pull a submarine from the bottom of the lake.

Somewhere out there a boat will be filling with water because the guy that said, “Get out of the way, I know what I’m doing” forgot to put the plug in. Most importantly, there will be boats on the water, and people wading in the water or sitting on the shoreline, pole in one hand, Pabst Blue Ribbon in the other. People will have sunburns, and the stores will be out of Noxzema.

Ice fishing gets under way once a few thrill seekers take a walk on two inches of frozen water. It is in full swing when the ice looks like a parking lot filled with pick-ups.

Conversation switches to teardrops, glow demons, waxies, ice thickness and sunflower heaters. You don’t actually see as many people, but there are a lot of tiny little buildings peppering the lake. Every now and then a human will be spotted running from one building to another with a really mad, slime-covered fish in one hand and a tasty Pabst Blue Ribbon in the other. Instead of sunburn, people now have frostbite and the stores all seem to be out of propane and cribbage boards.

Mud is in full swing when everything in the northern hemisphere is covered in, well, mud, and lots of it.

Everyone is dirty, the stores are fully stocked and nobody cares. Conversation is about income tax, property tax, gas prices and government.

Mud is a bad season that tests even the best of characters. Ice fishing gear gets put away during mud season, which is a sad time for some. The tears, however, are tears of joy, because during the mud season is when we get the boats ready for open water fishing, gas can in one hand and a Pabst Blue Ribbon in the other.

It’s a three-season cycle that no matter how much we try to resist, we cannot change, so we might as well get out and enjoy.

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Boy Eric, what a wife, she lets you do it all and then also writes about it.

You are a lucky cat. smile.gif

Nice job Mrs Boilerguy. cool.gifcool.gif

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Awsome article, a good read!

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Airjer enjoyed reading both articles, mouse in one hand - Fresca in the other! grin.gif

Talking about school, Eric, made me realize something. I hate reading! Yet day after day I read page after page of info and advice on FM/HSO and don't think twice about it. When do you think they'll make the movie? grin.gif

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Great articles!

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Quote:

Fresca in the other!


They still make that stuff???? grin.gif

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very good article! del

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I think we should give mrs boilerman a big hand. Very nice article about the best site around. cool.gif

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Awesome article; that should get some new people registered. Thanx for the qoute too. You guys did an awesome job. By the way, how many pbr's did the article take?

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On my part or Boilerbuy's? I wrote mine at work, so had a harder time sneaking them out of the cooler under my desk, ha ha. grin.gif

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By the way, thanks for the kudos, people. It was a nice change from writing about crime and meth, or this past few days of hepatitis and meth and cheese heroin and old murders. Not that I don't enjoy those things....but fishing is definately more fun, especially when I use my happy face bobbers.

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mrs. boilerman !

i was just curious what kind of feed back you got from your paper in reguards to the FM article! we were impressed ! del

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Well, I guess that depends on if you mean from my bosses or from readers.

My news editor was glad that I had an interesting idea (not the same old from every year) and that I had such a nice response from you guys. The sports editor, who is in charge of the tab, was pleased for pretty much the same reasons. We all just wished I had a photo to go with it, which I didn't think about asking FM for until it was too late. Because I write mostly about crime and courts, I'm used to just getting mug shots. grin.gif

As far as readers go, I got an email from a guy that is trying to start a similar type of site at his college, and had a few people say they were glad to learn of the site. I got very nice emails from a few FMers, all of whom appreciated the article. And I ran into a guy at Walmart on Friday that said he had just read about the site and would check it out, but he didn't know who I was and I didn't tell him I had written the article he had just read. Actually, I ran into two guys at Walmart that day that were buying bait and both said they had just read about FM.

I'm just glad the article turned out okay. Life got a little crazy that week, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to give it the time it deserved.

I hope to meet a lot of you at the Prairie Polebender or some other FM thing in the future. I don't especially take my fishing very seriously, but Boilerguy did get me my own tackle box to fill with fun stuff I probably use incorrectly. To be honest, my job on fishing trips is to supply good snacks and hand him minnows and stuff. Other than that, I soak up sun and ocassionally check my bait. Sometimes I don't even replace it when its gone. Both in the boat and in the fish house I bring a book. wink.gif

But its all fun!

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