Thursday, July 30, 2015

Low Investment Bass Fishing

Every hobby that I enjoy I try to learn from it and figure out how it may best fit into to my life situation. Other than a kayak, I do not own a boat and almost all of my fishing is done from shore. For many years I have enjoyed fishing small streams for trout. In recent years the quality of the trout fishing seems to have diminished in many of the streams that are in my area. The water level appears to keep going down and by summer many of the streams are choked with weeds.

Largemouth Bass Caught in Lake Winona
All Fish are Released

Tiny Bass Caught in Lake Winona

Big Lure Tiny Bass

This year I have been doing some fishing from shore for largemouth bass in a nearby lake and a small pond. My fishing has been done in the evening about sunset when the fish are normally close to shore. In that little travel time is needed I can spend just an hour with most of that time fishing. The lake is close enough to walk to or ride my bike so I get in exercise time also. 

Bass on Rapala Lure Caught in Pond

Bluegill Caught on Lure

Earlier in the season I was using the same Rapala lure that I use for trout fishing. I caught some of the smallest bass imaginable, it was almost comical. After posting on a local forum, I found out the small bass often hang closer to shore. It was suggested that I try a plastic frog lure to go across the weeds without getting snagged. At the smaller pond I did catch some larger bass with the Rapala lure because I could throw half way across the pond. The weeds grew higher in both spots and I switched to the artificial frogs.

Bigger Bass Caught on Artificial Frog

The artificial frog directions say wait two seconds before setting the hook; I am less than proficient with this technique and have lost a fair number of fish. There are times when the bass are jumping completely out of the lake, it does seem like fishing is more productive at those times. Just because a bass has jumped in a particular spot doesn’t mean I will catch one by throwing there. 

Typical Bass Boat

Bass Tournament

Many people invest a large amount of money and time in their bass fishing; although that is mainly for tournament fishing. The boats they use have huge motors so they can get to the hot spots as quick as possible.  For what they are trying to accomplish no doubt that is what is needed.  For me I am having fun, spending almost nothing and seeing a lot of wonderful sunsets across the water.

Bill Kuhl

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Homer Valley Hawk Throwers

I haven’t really thought about a bucket list but there are so many things I would like to try in a life time, last night I threw tomahawks with the Homer Valley Hawk Throwers. Coworker Bob has been urging me for some time that I need to come out to his little slice of heaven to try this with the group. Weather permitting this happens every Tuesday evening and is referred to as “Tomahawk Tuesday”. 

The location for this on private land sandwiched between bluffs on two sides provides for amazing scenery. Bob took for me a tour in his “Dunn Buggy” of some of the property. We crossed a tiny stream of water by driving through it and then up rather steep terrain to see his tiny two-story cabin which is headquarters near the area he deer hunts in the fall.  On the way back he spotted a black squirrel and a rabbit ran right in front of the buggy.  

To start with I watched others throw the tomahawks and took pictures but it wasn’t long and I had a heavy hatchet in my hand to practice throwing. How the tomahawk rotates in flight and almost always connects with the blade area into the log face seems like magic to me. On some of my throws the blade would get sideways when it smacked into the log.  With just a few practice throws I was entered in the contest of getting as close to a playing card stapled to the face of a log. There are two logs next to each other, one person throws on left side and the other person throws on the right. The winner is the one that has the tomahawk closest to the center of the card. I was lucky in first round and won against someone that is really good at throwing.  Continuing in the contest my lack of skill was obvious but I was doing well enough that I wasn’t discouraged.

Some of the throwers were leaving but a number of us played a couple of rounds of a blackjack throwing game. Four cards were stapled to the log and the object was to slice into one of the cards. When you had thrown a slice you could pick out a card from a deck and turn it over. The first one to reach 21 was the winner.  

I had a great time and will have to return again.

Bill Kuhl


Riding in Dunn Buggy

Throwing a Hawk

Monday, July 20, 2015

College for Kids 2015 New This Year

This year I tried reduce the time that I spent getting ready for the Engineering Through Models Class I have taught the last several summers, in the past I had spent a huge amount of time creating my own kits for the projects. This year I purchased the Quest Water Rocket system which is purchased in two parts, the launcher for around $40 and the rocket set which includes the REQUIRED special adapter that screws on the soda bottle which reduces the outlet hole diameter that thrusts the rocket. The rockets accelerate a little slower and do not go quite as high as using the full opening in the bottle. Without the adapter, the bottle will not fit on the launcher. I wanted a little less performance in the small area we had for launching, the system worked pretty well although I found it necessary to lengthen the foam part of the rocket for needed stability.

Instead of creating my own mousetrap car kits, this year I purchased the Doc Fizzix Basic Mousetrap Car kit which saved a huge amount of time for me. This activity was done later in the week on a rainy day; the students had a little experience constructing other simpler projects before tackling the mousetrap car kit. I was happy to see them reading the instructions and trying to figure out the steps on their own. One student glued his car next to a table that had a 90 degree angle so he could check that the parts were aligned as should be.   Cars travelled well down the long hallway.

On the final day which is a shorter class period to allow time for the graduation ceremony, I demonstrated how the rubber foam plane could fly outdoors when a mechanical winder is used to put in more turns in the rubber motor. The wind was relatively calm that day which made for perfect flying conditions. Everyone was amazed as the little airplane circled higher and higher upwards; somehow it missed all trees and buildings. I repeated this a couple more times but then the students wanted to go back in to work on building foam airplanes of their own design. It was good end to a great week with the students.

Bill Kuhl


Testing New Water Rocket System

Doc Fizzix Website

First Two Days College for Kids 2015

Rubber Powered Foam Model Airplanes on My Website

Fantastic Foam Flyer Construction
Foam Flyer Construction Article- Build the Plane that was a hit this year

Rubber Powered Foam Airplane and College for Kids 2015

I have been an instructor for a summer camp at the local university known as College for Kids for several years. For a couple of years I taught a model aviation class and then I took a couple of years off. It was getting increasingly hard to find time in the gyms for indoor flying so I decided to come up with a class that offered more variety in model projects with only a small segment being model airplanes, this class was entitled “Engineering Through Models”. Projects have included; electric motor, model solar car, model wind turbine, syringe hydraulic arm, and mousetrap cars. Every year I have started with the FPG-9 foam plate glider as it is a simple project to get started with, over the years I have tried other model airplanes built mainly from foam.

For a couple of years I let the students design a rubber powered airplane using a balsa fuselage I supplied and they were free to cut the foam as desired. I gave them general parameters but much of my advice was ignored. Some of the airplanes flew but many did not, the students did enjoy the creativity. 

This year I had been experimenting with a new rubber powered airplane with foam plate surfaces that really flies well. I traced out surfaces on the foam plates and built the fuselages, students cut out the foam and glued it together with low temp hot melt glue. In about 20 minutes the airplanes were ready to fly.  It was hot that day so the planes were flown indoors in an atrium. As the students had previously launched their FPG-9 gliders from catwalk, they wanted to launch the rubber powered airplanes there also.  It became apparent that this rubber powered airplane could climb from the floor to the high ceiling above.  For the most part the airplanes were flying well and breakage was really minimal. I have been moving away from building balsa and tissue model airplane construction which I really enjoy to the foam for a few reasons. The cost, only a scissors is needed for constructions and no sharp blades, and less repairs are needed.

Currently I am working on a construction article for my website on the new rubber powered free flight airplane and a video of it to be shown in a 30 Second Film Festival the end of next month.

Bill Kuhl

Fantastic Foam Flyer Construction Article- Build the Plane that was a hit this year

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sledworks Radio Control Aerotow Event

On July 11, 2015 I was an observer for the Sledwork Aerotow event located near Owatonna Minnesota. The MRCSS soaring club uses the Owatonna RC Modelers flying field for several days to hold this event. On the Saturday I was there the skies remained overcast but the temperature was pleasant, if there had been more sunlight photography would have been better. Aerotow with radio control sailplanes is something I have yet to try.

Electric Carbon Z Cub Tow Plane


Emphasis does appears to be on scale sailplanes which really adds to the realism as does the many really large sailplanes with wingspans of a few meters.  Yet I noticed that you can experience aerotow rather inexpensive with an electric powered tow plane such as the Carbon Z Cub and a foam RC glider like the UMX ASK 21 which comes with remote tow hook control. I have one of these gliders but have never tried aerotow.   

I really got caught up in watching the really large scale gliders being towed aloft with tow planes powered by large 2 cylinder gas engines of over 100 cc. In just less than a minute these giant gliders were towed to height and the tow planes were quickly landing to take up the next glider. Watching the giant scale gliders gently touch down on the blacktop runway on a single main wheel was so cool to watch.

Twin Cylinder Towing Power

It was also great connecting with members of the MRCSS club that I had not seen in several years, I have rejoined this great RC soaring club and plan to be more active than I had been the last several years.

Bill Kuhl


Video of Typical Aerotow