Outdoors extras: This year's best freshwater hard lure
Lure of the week
Lure name: Freddy the Frog
Company: Westin Lures (http://www.westin-fishing.com/en/)
Lure type: Topwater
Sizes and colors: Available in a 7 ¼-inch model (roughly half of that body, half legs). Specifics on color haven't yet been released, but the company promises "a range of realistic and detailed colorings and patterns."
Target species: Largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, northern pike, muskies.
Technique: Freddy the Frog is a wake bait, one meant to run on the surface and cause all kinds of commotion. Its calling card is its segmented legs, which – on a simple, steady retrieve – wiggle back and forth. The lure also has a glass rattle stick with internal steel balls to make noise enough to announce its presence. You can see it in action at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=924MKGlbp2g.
Sugg. retail price: To be announced.
Notable: Word of Freddy the Frog first came out in mid-May, but it's really been getting lots of attention in the last week or so. That's because it was just named the "best freshwater hard lure" of the year at ICAST, the fishing industry's annual trade show in Orlando.
Tip of the week
Fishing artificial lures is fun, but sometimes live bait – collected yourself – is best. And one particularly good bait are crayfish. Find a slow-moving creek with lots of rocks, or even pools in a faster moving one, and you're in bait-gathering business. To fish them, remove the pincers – that makes them more attractive to bass – and run a bait holder hook through the tail. Add an egg sinker to your line to get them down, then cast out around cover. Reel your line in a foot or so every few seconds to keep them from hiding and get ready for strikes.
Recipe of the week
½ pound butter
2 cups (firmly packed) light brown sugar
3 cups flour
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon soda
½ cup nuts, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup candied fruit
Heading into the woods or onto the water for a long day of outdoor fun, be it hiking, hunting, paddling, fishing or whatever? These fruit bars make great snacks, as they're easy to make at home, store well and are high in energy.
Mix the sugar and melted butter together, then adds the eggs, beating it all well. Blend in the vanilla.
Sift the dry ingredients together and add it to the butter mixture a bit at a time, alternating with the milk. Finally, add in the fruit and nuts.
Spread the resulting mix on a baking sheet – something like a jelly roll pan with higher sides – lined with wax paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, turning once half way through it needed to get even cooking.
When it's done, allow the dessert to cool. Then, remove it from the wax paper and cut into four squares. Those can be wrapped in aluminum foil and frozen until ready to hit the trail.