May 22, 2014

Fly fisherman gets the perfect birthday present

Mike Vineyard of Lenexa celebrated his 70th birthday by catching the trout of a lifetime.

Catch of the week

Mike Vineyard got what he wanted for his birthday: a trophy trout.

“Best present ever,” he said.

That gift came in the form of a brown trout that measured 28 inches and weighed almost 10 pounds that he caught on the Missouri River above Craig, Mont. The big fish hit in early May while he and his son were on a four-day, guided float trip.

Actually, it was a father-son birthday party. Vineyard organized the trip to celebrate milestone birthdays for him and his son. Dad turned 70 on Jan. 5. His son Matt, who lives in Palmer Lake, Colo., turned 40 on March 20.

They both caught a number of trout on the fly-fishing trip, many in the 17- to 20-inch range. Vineyard’s trophy brown hit a size 14 olive beadhead scud.

“This was the largest trout I’ve caught in more than 40 years of fly-fishing Montana,” said Vineyard, who lives in Lenexa. “But it was well worth the wait.”

Fore! Fish On! Pull!

The legends of the pro golf world will sample the Ozarks outdoors June 2 to 8 when the Legends of Golf Tournament is held at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson.

The featured event, of course, will be the Champions Tour golf tournament June 5-8 at Big Cedar’s par-3 world-class golf courses. Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Fred Couples will be among those teeing off.

But the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf event, sponsored by Bass Pro Shops, won’t be the only competition in the spotlight. On June 3-4, the pro golfers will be paired with fishing guides, including Bill Dance and Kevin VanDam, for a bass tournament. The golfers will also compete in skeet shooting and other outdoors activities.

The format was designed to spotlight Missouri’s outdoors wonders, particularly at Table Rock Lake. Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris helped develop the format, and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was receptive.

Even on the golf courses, golfers will be reminded of the beauty of the Ozarks. Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris worked closely with Nicklaus to design the Top of the Rock course that includes breathtaking views of Table Rock Lake, streams, ponds and waterfalls.

For more information on the tournament, call 800-225-6343 or go to the website bigcedarlegends.com.

Safe boating

Friday is the last day of National Safe Boating Week, but officials hope the message carries over into the summer.

The theme of this year’s special week is “Wear It! Always Wear Your Life Jacket.”

Officials with the National Safe Boating Council were encouraged by what they saw last year. There were 651 fatalities nationally, down from 758 in 2011. The 2011 total was the highest since 1997, when 815 people died in boating accidents.

State and federal officials stress that boaters should wear their life jackets, know the rules of the water when operating a boat, drive sober, take boating safety classes and have periodic inspections of their boats.

Introduction to shooting

Want to learn how to shoot a shotgun? A course offered by the Missouri Department of Conservation would be a good start.

The free class, open to anyone 11 or older, will be offered from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Parma Woods Shooting Range in Parkville. Children ages 11 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult.

The course will start with a lecture on safety, shotgun basics and fundamentals. Later, participants will move to the range for supervised shooting.

Registration is required by the day of the event. Call 816-891-9941 for a spot.

Game called

The umps made a good call when they postponed a Little League game recently in San Luis Obispo County in California.

They called it because a large black bear wandered dangerously close to the field, according to an article in the Santa Maria Times Press Recorder.

The bear was later spotted in the area, and extra patrols were dispatched, especially to monitor children walking to school. Much effort was given to capturing the bear, but the bruin escaped.

Yep. A bad-news bear — as far as the game warden was concerned.

To reach Brent Frazee, The Star’s outdoors editor, call 816-234-4319 or send email to bfrazee@kcstar.com.

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