Memories are all I have of Mom on this Mother’s Day.

Some of the fondest are watching her searching intently for morels among the may apples on her designated special day.

Lyme disease was unheard of when my mother walked this big blue marble. Americans have yet to develop “herd immunity” to Lyme. I doubt that we ever will.

Deer ticks, which carry Lyme Disease, are all over the woods now. This plague that was first identified in Lyme, Connecticut, in the early 1970s is more insidious than diabetes and certainly tougher to diagnose.

We will eventually conquer the COVID-19 crisis either through herd immunity after regrettably thinning the herd, or developing an effective vaccine, which is how technology beat back smallpox. The entity that patents an effective COVID-19 vaccine will reap an unbelievable bounty of cash.

Native Americans still bristle when they consider how Europeans brought the smallpox scourge into their world that had functioned quite well for eons, ruled by the wonder and honesty found in nature.

Smallpox is not the only way the white man unfairly thinned the Native American tribal herds.

Speaking as a Medicare card carrying member of those at greatest risk for coronavirus, I choose to take government enforced “guidelines” under advisement. To my mind, there is no safer place than nature, where we can breathe fresh air, also taking in all sorts of microscopic bugs that might make us sick but also help build immunity.

The cold front pushing through southern Wisconsin this weekend will put the kibosh on morel growth until it passes. Peak morel hunting opportunity should be realized about this time next week.

Once today’s cold rain passes, your mom might find greater joy fishing out of the $50,000 bass boat purchased before you became one of the 30 million Americans now out of work. There is no point in waiting a couple days until weather warms up midweek, as most of those 30 million folks in their fancy boats seem to be out there on the water across southern Wisconsin.

Cold front zaps fish metabolism

Last week, a cold front passed through that dropped water temperatures 5 to 8 degrees overnight. That slowed fish metabolism and active feeding in species like bass, which are generally cruising the shallower water now in preparation for spawning about May 20 in this part of the state.

Those folks who have invested $50,000 in a boat tend to abhor use of live bait due to residue left behind on boat carpet and fiberglass gelcoat. When you spend that much on a boat, it is important to give the appearance of fishing like a “pro.”

Most who have made a substantial bass-boat investment know enough to fish shallow now, probing for bass with spinner baits and lipless vibrating crank baits like the Rat-L-Trap. When these “search” lures fail to produce, they try finesse presentations like drop-shotting, shakey heads or Ned rigs.

The thought of one of these wannabe bass pros trying to teach their mothers how to master any of these presentations makes me smile. When fishing with moms, little sisters or kids, it is important that they catch fish.

Given the tough cold-front conditions driving fishing presentation this weekend, the best way to get mom hooked up is a plastic lure invented by Chuck Mercaitis that’s been around since 1972. The lure is commonly called “The Worm.”

The best version of this “no-brainer” lure is offered by B-Fish-N Tackle company. Mercaitis gave me a few of his “Chuck’s worm” after giving me a fishing smackdown with this lure on tiny Lake Le-Aqua-Na in northwest Illinois shortly after he created it.

This pre-rigged, raspberry-scented bait comes in a rainbow of colors. When reeled back to the boat with a slow, steady retrieve, it corkscrews through the water in a presentation that no silly bass can resist.

One of my sweetest memories of my Mom was at the state park that surrounded this lake back on a Mother’s Day in the early 1970s. After finding a respectable sack full of morels, Mom taught me the “proper” way to fish with Chuck’s worm.

I sure miss you, Mom.

Ted Peck, a certified Merchant Marine captain, is an outdoors columnist for The Gazette. Email him at