The Prespawn Bass Breakfast Bash

When the bass head for the shallows, it’s time for you to get up off the couch.
 
Like many of us, big bass get awful lazy during the winter. Unlike most of us, they have enough sense to stop eating a lot when they’re pretty much immobile and not getting very much exercise. But when it’s time to get up and move about again in early spring, those bass sure are hungry. For most of the bass I’ve run across, that early spring wake up comes just before the spawn, and as the bass start moving toward shallower water, they suddenly realize it’s been a really long time since they’ve had a good meal. It’s the perfect opportunity for some great fishing, and most anglers call it the prespawn. As a bass fisherman, it’s your job to help those bass find something that appears to be a good meal and then get them in the boat before they have a chance to digest it.
 
Finding the Fish
 
But first you have to figure out when the fish are going to leave the deep water where they’ve been waiting out the winter and where you might be able to intercept them as they travel back and forth to the shallows to feed. In most lakes the prespawn begins when the water temperature rises above 50°F or so. In terms of where you might find them, the key lies in locating the path the bass follow when moving from the deep to the shallows. There will be stopping off points along the way, frequently at the edge of a drop off and often where there are structures or debris on the bottom. Tree stumps, rock piles and even old fence posts seem to spell dinner for prespawn bass.
 
Gather up Your Gear
 
You’re going to want a good durable rod and reel, and Dunham’s offers a large selection. The Ugly Stik GX2 combo is always a good choice as are the Abu Garcia Max series bait cast combos and reels. I like to wind some tough-as-nails Spider wire line.
 
What kind of dinner entrée should you offer to the hungry bass? Dunham’s has a lot of choices on the menu. A slow-moving worm or jig is just fine for just about any half awake and slow-moving bass. If you’re using artificial worms, treat them with some scent. A slow retrieve on a good spinner like the Strike King Mini-King or Mepps Aglia Spinner works really well for many bass fishermen. But I wouldn’t hesitate to tie on a crank bait either, although I’d fish it slower than I would in warm weather. Many fishermen report excellent success with Rapala Husky Jerk and Shad Rap crank baits. Shad Rap closely resembles baitfish found nearly everywhere. The KVD Square Bill crank baits from Strike King are another good choice. Crank baits can run deep in those drop offs you’ll find right before the shallows. Slowly bounce them off some underwater structures, and the bass will move in for a meal.
 
If you don’t get any strikes in 20 minutes or so, move on to another good-looking spot. The fish are going to be schooled somewhere between the deep and the shallows but likely more toward the shallows. Your job is to find them. They most definitely aren’t out looking for you.
 
Try to Stay Warm
 
Fishermen in the Midwest and North Central states will probably be fishing for prespawn bass long before it’s pleasant outside. In fact, it might be pretty darn cold, even after the water temperature has reached 50°F. And once you’re out on the lake, it’s going to be too late to put on another layer of clothes. You can always take something off.
 
A snowmobile suit is a good hedge against old man winter’s last gasp. Ski outfits are pretty darn warm as well. If you don’t want to spend that much of your gear money on clothes, do like some of us did back in the day: wear two pairs of pants and two shirts, plus that winter jacket or parka. Don’t forget some good flexible gloves and a warm hat as well.
 
While some anglers are going to wait for warm weather to get out on the lake, those folks are going to miss some of the best fishing of the season. Get up out of that winter easy chair, head out on the lake and treat a lunker bass to breakfast.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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Greg Kelser’s 32 Tips to Improved Basketball

[Written by Greg Kelser].

 

The following are Greg Kelser’s 32 tips to improved basketball:

 

1. First and foremost, you must decide that you want to improve and then commit yourself to doing all that is required. You must realize that this is a process and results are not immediate.

 

2. Since the game of basketball involves many different facets, decide which areas require your most immediate attention. These are the areas you will want to devote most of your concentration in the beginning.

 

3. Determine the progress you hope to achieve and set your goals to meet those expectations. Remember to be realistic but challenge yourself.

 

4. Roadwork should be part of your basketball regimen. On days that you are not playing on the court you should run on a track or treadmill. Doing it at a brisk pace helps build stamina and endurance which is essential on the basketball court.

 

5. A customized weight training program should also be implemented to increase strength and help limit the potential for certain nagging injuries.

 

6. Stretching is a key element that should proceed your workout program. Stretching will increase your flexibility and also decreases the risk of pulled muscles and other muscle strains.

 

7. Get used to playing the game of basketball from a flexed knee or bent knee position. Everything you do in the game of basketball begins from this position. Whether you are dribbling, rebounding, shooting, passing, or defending, all will be accomplished from this stance.

 

8. Become a better ballhandler. Do this by understanding the importance of keeping the ball on the finger tips of your hands and not in the palms of your hands. Start with the basketball in your right hand and dribble 25 times with your head up and ball on your finger tips times. Switch to left hand and do the same. Repeat 4 times with each hand.

 

9. Once you’re comfortable with the above steps, alternate the basketball from one hand to the other (crossover style) remembering to keep it on the fingertips. Keep your head and eyes up as this will allow you to become comfortable with the basketball when its time to dribble on the move. Do 4 reps of 25 dribbles.

 

10. Now you’re ready to advance to the two ball drill which now places a basketball in each hand. Once again with your head up and your knees flexed, dribble the ball 25 times simultaneously remembering to keep it on your fingertips and out of your palms. Dribble as deliberately as necessary to maintain control.

 

11. When you become comfortable and efficient with the aforementioned exercises, now it’s time to do each on the move. Same amount of dribbles, same amount of reps but start each with a slow walk. Increase your speed as you become more adjusted understanding that it is more important to move slowly and control the ball as opposed to going fast and mishandling the basketball.

 

Much of success for rebounding involves desire, determination, & a consistent effort to go to the glass. After that, leverage, blocking out, and quickness to the basketball are all key elements.

 

12. Basic rebounding should always be done by using two hands. The use of two hands ensures control of the basketball even with your opponents slapping at the ball in the attempt to strip it away. To become comfortable with two handed rebounding simply take a basketball and toss it against the backboard. As it carroms off the glass jump from your flexed knee position and grab the ball with two hands. Do this on either side of the basket 20 times each then repeat. While this will encourage two-handed rebounding it will also increase stamina and strength in your legs.

 

13. Now that you’re comfortable snaring your rebounds with 2 hands, let’s work on offensive rebounding. You will do the same drill of tossing the ball against the backboard and jumping from your flex position to rebound it. This time however, you will take the ball back up immediately and score the basket. Do this exercise 10 times on each side of the basket. If you have a partner working with you feel free to have him stand next to you as you’re rebounding to bump you as you’re attempting your put back. This will allow you to get used to the contact thats common under the rim.

 

14. The best rebounders are not necessarily the highest jumpers. As I stated earlier, determination and desire often wins this battle but staying active on the glass is very important. The ability to be able to do multiple jumps as if you were on a pogo stick will help increase your rebound total. Jumping rope will improve your multiple jumping capacity. So get out your jump rope in give me 50. Once done, drop the rope and continuing jumping with both arms extended above your head. Four sets of 10 should do the job nicely in terms of increasing your multiple jumping ability.

 

Repetition is a very important factor in becoming a good shooter. Knowing your range and where you can be most effective in the offensive area is the key to becoming a high percentage shooter. You will want to be able to achieve success has both a spot up shooter and and off the dribble shooter.

 

15.The George Mikan drill is almost as old is the game itself but it is a perfect tool for beginning your shooting practice. It will also help build confidence in shooting with your off-hand. Simply start by shooting the ball with your strong hand from underneath the basket and as it comes out of the net swing to the opposite side of the basket and use your other hand. Continue this back and forth routine until you have completed 15 shots per hand. Try not to let the basketball hit the floor. Repeat this exercise and once completed you are now ready to move into other shooting areas.

 

16. As a spot up shooter you choose 5 spots around the basket, usually 15 to 18 feet away. Shoot and advance to the next spot but only after making two in a row at each position. If you have a partner, he can rebound and feed the ball to you from each spot but you must catch and shoot without the dribble. Chart your progress to see how many shots it takes before making a total of 10 consecutive baskets, 2 from each spot.

 

17. Now you will do the exact same thing but this time you’ll shoot from each spot coming off the dribble. For this exercise, stand far enough away from your spot so that you can apply 2 hard dribbles to your spot where you will now elevate and shoot a jump shot. This exercise will help you to become comfortable freeing your own self for a shot. You will work up a good sweat with this drill on your way to making 10 consecutive baskets but it also builds leg strength and increases stamina.

 

18.To become a complete offensive threat shooting the basketball you also need to be able to move without the basketball and work of screens. You can use chairs or cones placing them at various spots in the offensive area. Now with your practice partner , imagine coming off of those objects as if they were screens ready to shoot the basketball. Remember, your movement is for the purpose of getting open to receive the basketball . Therefore make your cuts with precision and energy. First to 20 made shots wins this phase of the exercise.

 

19. Now you will look to make your same moves without the basketball, coming around your screens to catch and drive. Remember your flexed knee position. This is how you will receive the basketball. This will put you in an immediate “triple threat position” whereby on the catch you are now able to either drive, pass, or shoot the basketball. Practice catching and driving hard to the hoop finishing with your right hand. Make 10 layups and repeat making 10 drives to the basket for10 left handed layups.

 

20. Don’t forget your series of post moves. This will be where you position yourself on the low box on both sides of the lane and work from me back to the basket position. From this low position you will practice the turnaround jumper, baby hook shot and drop step. With your hook shot, practice using both hands. It is very important especially close to the basket to be able to use your off-hand to convert baskets and possibly get to the free throw line if fouled.

 

21. Now comes the part of shooting the basketball that is the most fun. This is where you get to engage your practice partner in games of one on one. I used to play a lot of one on one because I felt it really increased my ability to create my own shots. Playing one on one teaches you the ability to counter the defensive strategy being played on you almost subconsciously. It forces you to react instinctively and on the move. If you have enough stamina left, play 5 baskets in a best of 7 series

 

22. Before you’re done shooting for the day you must spend time at the free throw line. Making free throws is one of the forgotten fundamentals at all levels of basketball. Challenge yourself to shoot at least 100 free throws before you conclude your shooting program. Your overall goal is to increase your shooting percentage.

 

Catching and passing the basketball are critical fundamentals to offensive basketball. Many of the shooting drills that involves two people will provide many opportunities to work on both passing and catching.

 

23. Regardless of one”s experience in the game of basketball it is always important to see the ball into your hands and catch it securely. Practice this with a partner or toss the basketball off the backboard . As it is coming back to you make sure to see it onto your fingertips and secure the ball safely. Just as 2 baseball players warm up their arms by simply tossing the ball back and forth to each other, this is a valuable exercise in basketball because it conditions the hand eye coordination helpful in preventing bobbled passes.

 

24. Now go through the series of passes back and forth with your partner. Start with the chest pass, followed by the bounce pass. Make sure that your passes are easy to handle. Usually passes are better and easily handled if they are between the numbers on the uniform and the waist area. Now increase the distance between you and your passing partner for the last two series of passes. First, the overhead pass whereby you will extend the basketball over your head and pass it from that position to your partner. This is key in making outlet passes after rebounds or cross-court passes in a half court offensive set. Finally, you will practice the baseball pass. This past is executed the same way you would toss a baseball. This pass is useful in making long passes up to court during the fast break.

 

26. Let’s now get on the move again. With your partner stand on one baseline separated by 15 to 20 feet. Now sprint to the other in of the court using the chest past back and forth and finish with the layup. Since you are using the chest pass, the ball should not touch the floor. Now come back in the opposite direction with the same spacing and use the bounce pass. Finish with the layup . Do this until you have made a total of 10 lay layups without a single mishandling of the basketball.

 

27. Time now to take your overhead and baseball passes the length of the court. Execute this part of the program by standing on the baseline while your partner is at midcourt. First, past the basketball to him using the overhead pass. Now sprint to the far end of the court while he returns an overhead pass to you for the layup. Now do the exact same thing utilizing the baseball pass. Switch up and continue this exercise until 10 layups have been completed without a single mishandling of the basketball.

 

Becoming a solid defensive player takes tremendous effort and discipline. Is one of the hardest phases of the game because it is done as a reaction to some other cause. Good defense can also be difficult to measure. Imagine holding your opponent to 30 points. You may not consider that to be a very good defensive job but if that player is Michael Jordan, your effort gets applauded.

 

28. To work on your defensive footwork and speed, begin by getting into your flexed knee position with your feet spaced just outside of your hips. While standing in place begin to shuffle your feet. Be sure to keep your hands active by waving them around as if flicking at the ball in your opponent’s hands. Do this in five 30 second intervals. It builds stamina and endurance along with increased foot speed.

 

29. Once you have collected your breath, return to your defensive stance with your flexed knees. It’s time now to get on the move again. Starting on one side of the key , move laterally from side to side across the lane using your defensive shuffle . Continue this procedure for five 30 seconds intervals.

 

30. Now with your practice partner on offense you will play defense . The offensive player will begin on one baseline and dribble in a diagonal pattern to the other baseline crossing over every 4 to 5 dribbles. Your job as the defender is to use your defensive shuffles to stay on the ball side. You’re not trying to steal the ball but your hands will remain active. While you are defending, your partner is working on his ball handling skills therefore a dual-purpose is being accomplished. Switch and continue this drill until each of you have completed 10 reps as a defender. This exercise will help to increase your effectiveness as an on the ball defender.

 

31. You may end your practice with another game of one on one to 11 baskets. In this game try to incorporate all the fundamentals that you have worked on previously including ball handling, shooting, rebounding, and defending. When the chance comes to play in a game with 10 players on the floor , you will want to remember that everything you’re doing on the court is for the purpose of improving your fundamentals. It is crucial that you play hard, play with energy, and play with purpose.

 

32. If you are truly going to be serious in maintaining your practice regimen, you will need substantial nutrition and rest. Make sure both are part of your everyday routine. Try to eat well and avoid unhealthy fast foods as much as possible. Getting your proper amount of sleep will help assure the stamina and energy necessary to accomplish your routine each and every time. Becoming a better basketball player does not happen by chance or accident. No matter how talented, hard work is often the difference between average and very good players. You control how determined you are, how hard you work, and the amount of sacrifice you’re willing to endure in the pursuit of your goals.

 

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Dr. Dunham’s Cabin Fever Cure

 
“I’ve got cabin fever, it’s burning in my brain. I’ve got cabin fever, it’s driving me insane,” sang the Muppets in their 1996 blockbuster, “Muppet Treasure Island.”
 
Well, in truth the movie may not have achieved blockbuster status, but most of us won’t soon forget the “Cabin Fever” song. Perhaps because it hits close to home.
 
Cabin fever has been recognized as a very real affliction for almost 100 years. It results from being confined to one place for an extended period of time. It’s exacerbated by inactivity. The usual result is extreme irritability and feelings of anxiety. It often strikes in winter when many of us shun the cold and curl up on the couch for the duration.
 
The most obvious cure is getting outside and interacting with the rest of the world. For those of us whose favorite activities include things like gardening, swimming or hanging out at the beach, the winter world may seem foreign and forbidding. But winter sports can be invigorating and entertaining. And there’s no better cure for the ills of cabin fever than the crisp air of a January day.
 
Did we hear someone say it’s too cold to play outside? Well, that’s only true if you’re not dressed for outdoors. Today’s winter clothing is light yet warm, so there’s no need to fear the frigid air, and bundling up need not cramp your style.
 
Winter Games, Out and In
 
Once you’re dressed for the occasion, the possibilities for winter entertainment are almost unlimited. Those who appreciate a good workout might try cross-country skiing or snowshoe hiking. Snowboarding and downhill skiing can provide a good amount of exercise as well, and few thrills compare to that of racing down the side of a ski slope at speed.
 
Ice-skating and sledding are a bit less taxing than skiing but can be just as much fun, particularly for the younger set. Most towns have a good sledding hill or two, and winter afternoons will likely find a happy group of kids enjoying the ride downhill. Ditto ice skating rinks or frozen ponds. You can find them everywhere, and there’s always something special about tracing lines on the ice as gentle flakes fall from a moonlit sky.
 
Of course you can invent your own winter games. When I was a kid, a zillion years ago, we would play football in the snow – on our knees. That required only a small parcel of land, which was all that was available in the urban area where I was raised. But while the playing field was small, the games were big.
 
For those who hanker to get out and do something but would prefer to minimize the strenuous part, there’s always ice fishing.If you’d prefer to fish on open water, some fast-moving streams in Colorado, like the South Platte River, offer winter fly-fishing.
 
On days when it’s just too cold to go out, try changing your indoor routine to relieve symptoms of cabin fever. Table tennis, a popular indoor sport, is a great way to stay active. There’s also billiards, air-hockey and Wii games that are played in front of the television. Some games, like Wii Grand Slam Tennis, mimic outdoor summer sports and can provide a pretty good workout. Or for a top-notch workout do some cardio and resistance training to get ready for swimsuit season.
 
Getting Away From It All
 
If you really have to get out of town to cure that cabin fever, then get out of town. There’s a winter resort in the U.S.A. for any winter sport you can think of, and accommodations range in price from very affordable to lavish and expensive.
 
Looking for something novel? Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado offers ski biking. Another Colorado attraction, Ouray Ice Park, offers ice climbing in the Uncompahgre Gorge. In Alaska you can try dogsledding. Skijoring, which is popular in Minnesota, is a melding of dog sledding and skiing.
 
What’s that you say? You want to get away from the cold? Then head south or west to Florida, Arizona or California. Caribbean and Mexican vacations can be very affordable. There’s always somewhere where one can find a bit of summer in the throes of winter.
 
A Cure That’s Sure To Work
 
But you don’t have to leave home to defeat the winter doldrums. Why not organize a winter Olympics for the neighborhood? And your event doesn’t have to focus on winter sports. Playing softball in the snow is a hoot, as is Frisbee golf. Picnic games like a three-legged race are even more fun in the snow.
 
Plan a post-Olympics tailgate with plenty of hot chocolate, some hot dogs or pizza, a blazing fire pit and some marshmallows to roast.
 
That’s a sure cure for even the worst case of cabin fever.
 
-Fun For All Ages
 
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Jigging Your Way to a New Way to Fish

 
As fall turns to winter and the lakes begin to freeze, that doesn’t quite mean fishing season is over. With some slightly different equipment—as well as your winter clothing—you can keep fishing all the way until spring. In case you’re new to the sport, have no worries. With just a few additions to your tackle box, you can be jigging your way to a whole new way to fish.
 
In order to get the proper setup for ice fishing for the first time, it’s recommended by Jim Burrows of Pure Fishing that fishermen get an ice fishing rod and reel, an ice auger, which drills through the ice, a skimmer to remove ice shavings and a depth finder. It’s also helpful if you can go out with someone who’s experienced in the sport for some extra guidance.
 
“If you know someone who does go ice fishing, I would suggest talking to them for guidance and possibly an invitation to join them,” said Burrows.
 
When searching for a great brand for your new rod and reel combo, Burrows also has some recommendations that are all available at Dunham’s.
 
“My preferences with regards to my ice combo include combos from Shakespeare, Berkley and Abu Garcia or rods from Fenwick paired up with reels from Shakespeare, Pflueger and or Abu Garcia,” explained Burrows.
 
In addition to the tools required to actually catch the fish, John Vander Sloot of Shappell and Eagle Claw also recommends that fishermen get a 5-gallon bucket for carrying everything as well as a sled, like the Shappell Jet Sled, for effortlessly getting everything from one end of the lake to the other. Also, while a shanty can be a very helpful (and warm!) tool, they aren’t required.
 
“A person can stand over their fishing hole or sit on a bucket,” explained Vander Sloot. “But a shanty is nice, especially if one is going to fish for an extended amount of time. They block the wind, making the day of fishing more enjoyable.”
 
With ice fishing and walking around on a lake, fishermen, especially those who are inexperienced, need to take a little extra precaution. If you’re worried about thin ice, Vander Sloot recommends the Ice Spud, which is a pole used for testing thin ice. However, as Burrows describes, it’s best to avoid areas that may look like thin ice altogether.
 
“I would recommend staying away from black ice, which is usually an indication it is very thin,” he said.
 
With some slightly different equipment, awareness of one’s surroundings, and a friend with some experience, fishing can be in season every month of the year.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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