Guide-Fishing Secrets to Catch Chautauqua Lake Walleyes

  • Chautauqua Lake Secret: Work the Weedline
  • Keep Fishing Simple To Succeed Often
  • Spinner/Worm Rigs & Snap-Jigging
Jan Adair (left) landed this nice walleye, her first walleye ever, while fishing Chautauqua Lake, then caught five more walleye before the noon hour while fishing with Captain Frank Schoenacker (right).

By Forrest Fisher with guide, Frank Schoenacker (Infinity Charters)

 When great guides and charter captains talk, honest anglers that don’t always catch fish listen.  So I listen very well.  I’m as honest as they come.  One thing I’ve discovered, when anglers share life through the gift of a fishing charter, good things can happen! 

During a recent Chautauqua Lake fishing trip for one client couple, there came lasting memories and lots of fishing fun. 

The client contacted my friend and local guide, Frank Schoenacker, in December, as she had purchased a charter fish trip as a Christmas gift for her boyfriend.  Frank said, “They both fish, but haven’t done much walleye or musky fishing.  So last week, they had a couple of firsts.  She landed her first ever walleye, which was a nice 17-inch fish, then she followed up with 5 more!  That’s not all, her boyfriend caught his first musky while fishing for walleyes.” 

Frank added, “I teach my clients to fish simple.  It all starts with meeting them at a common place.  At Chautauqua Lake, for many guides and for me too, that place is the Bemus Point boat launch.  The next thing is not overcrowding the action and the people aboard. On Chautauqua, I limit clients to two people maximum and I don’t fish when I have clients.   I provide equipment and have it setup before the trip.” 

When Frank talks, he explains juicy details, “On my boat, I use an 8-horse kicker to troll weed edges at slow speed (1 mph or so), mostly using a very simple, old-fashioned, spinner/worm harness.  Small beads, a small spinner blade and small hooks are essential when fishing Chautauqua.  Lots of reasons why, they have to do with catching your targeted species.  Boat control and using electronics to see the weed edge is critical.  My boat is a tiller steer, so I have direct contact with my motor and boat direction.  I tie my harness with small hooks (size one), then use a small copper or fire-tiger blade (size 2) off a clevis, then I usually add small red beads as attractors – or whatever fish think those are!  They work.”

Schoenacker uses a sliding-sinker for weight on his 6 to 8 lb braid as mainline.  He adds, “Pretty much an old school setup. Normally I’m anywhere from 8 to 14 feet of water depth depending on the weed edge where we fish.  Early in the season when water is cool, I’ll use nightcrawlers (sometimes half-worms are better than whole ones) and I start to use a rubber worm soon after, as white perch get pesky and they won’t touch a plastic worm.” He was smiling with a big grin.

“Starting at the tail end of June, I fish a rubber worm instead of a live worm pretty much all the time.  When the bite slows at mid-morning, I have one client go to a live worm.  Sometimes we can get an extra bite or two. “

What if the fish aren’t biting?  Franks says, “I move around and pre-fish before guided trips so I have a plan based on wind and weather for the day.  Generally, during the early season I’m in the lower lake mostly (south of Route 86 bridge).  This year (2017), the channel in Bemus was good early.” 

Even in summer, it pays to bring an extra jacket when the weather send a chilly breeze at sunrise.

“It’s not as simple as I’m making it sound, you need to adapt and you know when that needs to happen after a few decades of fishing, ”Schoenacker says.  “Weed lines off the creek mouths are good, so I look around Prendergast Bay, Dewittville Bay, Goose Creek, etc.  The fish tend to be active at different places and at different times, so this is where the knowledge of the guide comes in.  Add the varying style of fishing we can do and add the potential to change position, “run and gun,” from spot to spot, we find them most every day we try.” 

If you live on or near the lake, that is a bonus.  He adds, “Pre-fishing helps me have several spots planned.  Any angler that fishes today needs to have pretty good electronics so they can see the fish for as many times as they work the weed line.  I have also seen that when walleyes are active, the white perch are less of a problem.  I’m seeing several good year classes of walleyes in the lake now, lots of 13-14 inch throwbacks, then there are numbers of 17 inchers and then a class of 20 inch-plus fish. “

Anglers are pleased that the walleye population is doing well in the lake and folks are also very pleased that the DEC lowered the walleye minimum size limit to 15-inches in 2017.  Schoenacker adds, “I do some musky trolling, but my primary focus is on fishing for walleyes.”

“I’ll fish the weed lines until the water warms and fish move deeper.  At that point I move to open water trolling and snap-jigging.  Snap-jigging works for me right on through the fall.  I like the weedline and jigging programs best because you hold the rod and feel the fish hit.  Hard to beat that for sure,” says Schoenacker 

Schoenacker adds, “I want to help people have more fun finding and catching fish, so I’m sharing some of my program plan with walleye anglers everywhere that plan to fish Chautauqua Lake sometime soon.  This gives you the background on my simple walleye program, but don’t forget, you can always call me for a hands-on trip.”

Lastly, Schoenacker has two boats, he uses the smaller one (Lund ProV Tiller with 60hp Yamaha and 8hp Yamaha) for that up-front experience on Chautauqua Lake, but he is also a licensed Lake Erie Charter Captain and member of the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association and National Association of Charter Boat Operators. He will also share his fishcatching secrets while aboard his Pro-Line 25 (powered by Evinrude 225hp ETEC and 9.9hp Yamaha kicker).  You can reach Capt. Frank Schoenacker by phone at 585-406-5764, email: fcs49@hotmail.com, or on his website at: http://www.infinitycharters.com/

You know, we never stop learning when people that know way more than we do are willing to share.  Hat’s off to Captain Frank!

TOTAL INSECT PROTECTION for Hunters and Everyone Else

  • Total Protection from Mosquitoes, Deer Ticks, Chiggers
  • Total Protection from No-See-Ums, Black Flies, Sand Fleas, Ants, Gnats
  • Prevent Zika, Malaria, West Nile, Dengue, Lyme disease, others
  • Made in the USA
Photo Courtesy of RYNOSKIN® TOTAL

By Forrest Fisher

This article is not an ad, but I suppose it could be.  I just want all of my friends and neighbors of the outdoors to know about this for only one selfish reason that I have, Lyme disease prevention.  In New York State, a recent study shows 1 out of every 2 deer ticks have Lyme disease.  Period.  You must protect yourself from this beast of a disease, and the affected deer tick population is  increasing logarithmically as it spreads across the country. 

For the record, deer ticks get Lyme disease from white-footed mice.  Mice are where Lyme disease comes from, but it is the deer ticks that can give Lyme disease to us humans when they bite us because they are so small, their bite is nearly painless and we simply cannot see them most of the time.

When two of my grandkids came down with Lyme disease last year, we researched so many products to help find protection.  Most of the protections are chemically based and work well, but there was always a concern about the chemicals and possible effects years down the road.  Then one day in our research, we discovered Rynoskin Total. It’s chemical free, is comfortable, does not retain heat (in summer, this is important), and is impervious to Mosquitoes, Deer Ticks, other Ticks, Chiggers, No-See-Ums, Black Flies, Sand Fleas, Ants, Gnats and many other biting insects.  It is a positive measure toward preventing Zika, Malaria, West Nile, Dengue, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and other vector borne illnesses.

Could there be anything better?  Not for me.  At least not yet in our world of technology.  This suit brings total comfort and peace of mind to me as an outdoorsman and to my family. 

My first question was, why didn’t I know about this sooner? I’m a turkey hunter, deer hunter, walk-in-high-grass trout angler, and if you get the picture, I’m outdoors a lot in the places where deer ticks that carry Lyme disease like to be too.

Rynoskin Total is specifically designed to be worn underneath your clothing.  This unique concept provides for comfort, breathability, stealth movement and eliminates snags against brush.  The Rynoskin is stretchable and it fits snuggly and comfortably on your body over your under-garments, but under your exterior clothing.

It provides insect protection in a form that will stretch to accommodate all different body sizes.  Many over-garment insect protection suits are hot, make noise when you move and snag against the brush as you sneak about the woods stalking that next trophy deer. I tried this suit. It does it all.  Rynoskin Total is ultra-lightweight, body-forming, cool, and comfortable.

My entire body suit – which is comprised of socks, bottoms, tops, glove and face mask/hood – weighs under 6 ounces!

For my grandkids, the best part about Rynoskin Total is the chemical free nature of this product.  They have a future to live.  It is completely safe to use and it is effective no matter how many times you wash it over time. The suit protects the user by the unique weave of the fabric and the form fitting elastic cuffs that create the ultimate barrier against biting insects.  This body suit is so comfortable that you forget you have it on.

Photo Courtesy of RYNOSKIN® TOTAL

If it matters to you, the suits come in various colors, but a lighter color will allow you to find ticks on your suit more easily, the whole time knowing that they cannot penetrate your Rynoskin.  That’s comfort.

Here is a video with a hands-on, eyes-on, narrative to see: https://youtu.be/wENkNvNPEKA.

The Rynoskin Total suits are scientifically tested and made in the USA.  I’m sold. A little over $100 for the whole thing. Cheap at 1,000 times the cost if you have been affected by Lyme disease and understand you might be taking 32 pills and one injection every day for years while you moan in pain. That all makes it really affordable for my way of thinking.

Wish they made one for my dog!  How good is it?  It’s guaranteed.  If you are not satisfied with your Rynoskin, just call (866) 934-7546 within thirty (30) days of purchase for a full refund with proof of purchase.

Check it out on line at: http://rynoskin.com/. 

Outdoor Resources for Families – FREE From New York State

  • New York State Conservationist for Kids is FREE
  • Useful Outdoor Discovery Articles
  • Environmental Education Information for All Ages
Kids and Nature work together to promote Conservation. Check out these links!

Many children learn about the outdoors from adults who accompany them as they explore. Plenty of times the kids teach the adults as well as the adults teaching the kids! If you are looking for ideas on how to enjoy the outdoors with the young people in your life visit the web sites listed below.

Outdoor Discovery is an online newsletter from DEC for families. It encourages New Yorkers to explore outdoors and learn about the environment. Each issue introduces subscribers to a a seasonal environmental or nature topic, suggests a related activity and lists family friendly events at DEC’s environmental education centers. DEC Outdoor Discovery is emailed to subscribers every other Wednesday and also appears on DEC’s website.

DEC operates environmental education programs statewide. These include two environmental education centers from Albany to Buffalo, plus regional environmental educators who serve New York City, Long Island and Central NY.

The DEC’s residential environmental education summer camps have be operating for over 60 years. The camps serve boys and girls ages 11-17, who attend a week long program exploring the outdoors and learning about the environment. Campers can even participate in a hunter safety class and receive their hunter safety certificate. The four summer camps are located across the state, two in the Adirondacks, one in the Catskills and one in Western New York.

National Wildlife Federation advocates spending at least one hour each day outdoors in nature. Their web site Be Out There provides ideas for reconnecting kids with the many benefits of the great outdoors. Good for both mental and physical health, spending time outdoors is also fun and helps kids build a connection to nature. Using the “NatureFind” feature visitors can find outdoor activities in their area, and across the country.

Nature Rocks from the Children and Nature Network, The Nature Conservancy and R.E.I. provides ideas for exploring outdoors with children. They also offer a search feature to locate programs, sites and outdoor play groups, known as Nature Rocks Flocks in your area.

For more, just visit: http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/59422.html.

GT meets DT, with a STORM!

  • The 360GT is Simple and Affordable.
  • Toss it out, Retrieve it…that Simple.
  • Learn why it Works Here, see the Video.

By Forrest Fisher

Rapala created a series of lures that allow anglers more understanding about their fish-attracting products just by reading the label.  For example, the new “DT” series of Rapala’s are labelled DT-4, DT-20, etc. and the acronym stands for “Dives-To” 4 feet, 20 feet, and so on.

In similar manner, Storm created a “GT” series searchbait-minnow labelled “360-GT,” intended for use 360 degrees around the angler casting position.  The “GT” stands for “Go-To” lure.  Pretty catchy, pretty simple, and as I discovered, pretty effective.

The supple, soft, durable, plastic body offers a wide swimming tail action that wobbles left to right as it is retrieved.  The wobble from the tail causes the head to roll left and right a bit, emanating a faint, resonant, rattle sound from the jig head as the lure is retrieved.  Depth is controlled by angler speed of retrieve, the selected weight of the jig head and the size of the tail selected in the available assortment of the GT series.

Al Lindner says, “Throw it out, turn the reel handle, that’s it.  Incredibly productive, incredibly effective.”  We all know that when Al Lindner says it that way, I think you gotta try it for yourself.  So I did.  I believe Al.

I fished these in Florida, North Carolina and New York in the last few months to field test their effective attraction.  A faster retrieve caused a gentle internal rattle sound to emanate – an audible frequency sound that seemed to drive fish nuts.  Not sure the fish were attracted to the lure or just wanted to kill the sound source because it bothered them.  Either way, I caught smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike and crappie on these enticing “Go-To” lures.  Do I like them?  Yes!  An understatement.

Why do I like them?  They are affordable priced.  They are packaged with three tails, one tail is pre-mounted to the rattling head, and two tails are spares.  The jig head is molded around a VMC fish hook.  They are a “keep-it-simple bait.”  Right now, this toss and retrieve bait is available in 11 common baitfish color patterns and three sizes, perfect for a tasty predator ambush.  They are inexpensive, priced from $4 to $6.    

See a video about how to use this simple, easy to fish bait.  Al Lindner talks about it in some detail as you watch through this video: https://youtu.be/SXpFV_HBxmk.

Search out more about the size, weight and color options at this link: http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Storm_360_GT_Swimbaits/descpage-360GT.html?gclid=CjwKEAjw4IjKBRDr6p752cCUm3kSJAC-eqRt-ie33kR_cEohLuabI94Q-pqSKYFFhHU-_GUILMo-5RoCBFjw_wcB.

 

Fishing Boom in the Drought-Stricken Everglades

By Forrest Fisher

Mayan chiclid are honest fighters on light gear and they can get quite large, this is 2-1/2 pound fish!  This species and others are feared to be competing with native species in some areas, allowing FWC to issue a no-limit daily bag rule for anglers that enjoy consumption of the fish they catch. Conservation and protection can be delivered in many forms.  Forrest Fisher Photo

While visitors are not normally familiar with catching fish that look like they might be from an aquarium, there are locals and visitors reporting many fantastic panfish catches.  

Exotic panfish, such as oscar and Mayan cichlid, are biting almost as fast as you can cast or bait your hook. Low water levels in the marsh are concentrating fish in the L-67A and other canals of the Everglades Wildlife Management Area, and anglers are frequently reporting catches of multiple fish per hour.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) promotes the consumptive use of exotic fish as a management tool, and anglers are encouraged to take as many oscars and Mayan cichlids as they would like.  There are no size or bag limits on these species.

“As is frequently the case, low water conditions near the end of a dry season have fish stacked up in the canals along the vegetated edges. Anglers are enjoying exceptional catch rates,” said Barron Moody, FWC regional freshwater fisheries administrator.

Concentrate your fishing effort close to shoreline vegetation or along the drop-offs near the banks.  Good fishing can be had from shore or by boat.  Live baits and artificial lures produce good catches in the WCAs.  The preferred live baits are shiners, crickets, and worms.  The top producing artificials are soft plastics rigged weedless, Beetle spins, crankbaits, and topwater poppers or chuggers. 

Even if portions of EWMA are closed due to environmental conditions, the boat ramps and canals remain open for fishing.

So grab your fishing license and get out there while the fishing is hot.

For more information, view the FWC’s Everglades fishing brochure and recent site forecast at MyFWC.com/Fishing. Current fishing forecasts, regulations and directions to boat ramps can also be obtained from FWC at (561) 625-512.

There are consumption advisories for some species. Visit FloridaHealth.gov and search “Seafood Consumption” in the search bar for more information.

“Sunny Day Kids” are HOOKED ON FISHING FUN!

  • Fishing & Learning Adventure on the Buffalo River
  • May 28, 2017; Bison City Rod & Gun Club, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • 141 Kids, 322 Total Attendance; 21 Volunteers; 8-Learning Stations
There is something very special about that first fish!  Kids and parents found adventure and fun while learning about rods, reels, bobbers and fish-catching at Bison City Rod & Gun Club in Buffalo, NY. 

By Forrest Fisher

The forecast for rain and fog was swept aside when bright, sunny skies with a gentle 75 degree breeze surprised families with kids from Buffalo and Western New York.  They came to fish and learn at Bison City Rod & Gun Club for the 13th Annual Jimmy Griffin Memorial Teach-Me-To-Fish event.

Each youth carried a personal registration card with their first name, last initial and age. When the kids achieved learning at each station, the station captain would hole punch the card, when all the stations were completed, the youth was eligible to drop the card into the raffle hopper for one of 76 free rod/reel rigs.

Once a polluted waterway that would burn from the heat of a lighted match, today the Buffalo River waterfront is clean, alive, and hopping with fish, kayaks, canoes and kids with fishing poles.  The Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper Group is a big part of the clean-up progress.

The kids and their families all learned a bit more about the adventure of the outdoors through the fun of fishing, many for the very first time!

While the river was running a bit muddy from recent heavy rains, the steady flow of riverfront kayakers, sailboats, canoes and power boats showed proof that water color is not a deterrent.  Kids fishing from the Bison City fishing pier were busy.  Even single adults without kids came to discover the fun and adventure of “how-to-fish”.  More and more people want to know.

Lynda Kollar, Rose Barus and Linda Cooley energized a positive first-moment connection with folks at the registration welcome station.

Inner city kids and parent, guardians and many others discovered the fun of fishing with the Buffalo city skyline in full view.

Kids and parents learned “How-To-Fish” and what to do from Western New York bass pro, Scott Gauld, who took time to share “easy tips” for everyone in the program.  He explained that catching a fish with a rod and reel (bait or artificial lure) is not only possible, it is fun and not difficult.  Gauld provided that special seal of “sure-fun is right around the corner” that only a professional angler might be able to influence for new onlookers.  Kids went away looking for the fishing pier!

Marine Unit 2 with Erie County Sheriff Tim Dusza and his team, provided tours of their vessel.  Everyone learned about water-safety, kids were allowed to blow the horn and turn on the flashing lights. Big smiles there!

Russ Johnson and Bob Carlson, members of the East Aurora Fish & Game Club, who have perfected the system for educating kids and parents on how to tie a perfect Palomar Knot and Clinch Knot, taught everyone how to tie on a hook in only a few seconds.  

Rigging a weedless plastic bait, a plastic worm or jig tail, was made easy with a hands-on demonstration by junior Bassmasters Alex Gauld and Collin Voss, as they provided each youth with a souvenir plastic creature bait sample from Cabela’s.  The kids could use the bait to fish with or take home.  The girls seemed to pick the pink squiggly-tail crayfish!

Environmental Conservation Officer, Jeff Jondel, and firearm safety instructor, Joe Mills, provided hands-on firearm safety training.  They shared the rules of responsibility for parents and kids, so they could experience the Cabela’s BB-Gun Range, an inflated and fully enclosed, fully safe, “bounce house” style event.  The NRA safety-instructors provided easy 1, 2, 3 steps for responsible use of a firearm, using a BB-gun.  Kids and parents took turns checking their aim using Daisy Red Ryder BB-Guns, shooting at suspended souvenir paper targets.  Happy kids took their targets home with ear-to-ear smiles as souvenirs.

Lifetime youth educator and certified New York State Archery champion, Paul Stoos, worked with Earl Farrel, Sr., to provide first-time how-to lessons for kids at the Cabela’s Archery Booth, using air-suspended floating ball targets.  

Charter Captain Jerry May and walleye master, Ted Malota, taught kids how to cast a spincast fishing rod with hookless casting baits.  The kids were sailing their lines a very long way toward hula-hoop targets in just minutes.  Ted shared, “Wow, some of these kids are really good with so little practice!”  Fun for all!

The kids and adults fished from “George’s Landing,” the legacy honor name for the Bison City fishing pier.  It was a fun and exciting adventure station for kids, even more exciting for some parents who had never touched a live fish before. On-site fishing educator, Dave Solowski, provided eager kids with bait, pre-rigged rods, reels, bobbers, hooks, split-shot and plenty of nightcrawler bait supplied by Weekley’s Worms.  Weekly’s Worms provides more than 50 million redworms and nightcrawlers to anglers every year.  Imagine that!

Dockside outfitter, Donna Kayes, provided solid “pre-fish confidence” while outfitting each youth with a life-preserver before entering the fishing pier area.  Several first-fish catches were recorded, with new adventure and fun had by all. The fish were placed in the aerated “Lunker Pool” and released by the kids after the event.  Kids that did not catch a fish enjoyed seeing the swimming fish that others caught. After the event, the kids helped release all the fish to swim another day, a meaningful lesson in conservation for our youth.

At the newest learning station, “OUTDOOR AWARENESS,” outdoor educator, Sheri Voss, provided hands-on lessons for families with advice on how to stay prepared, protected, informed and proactive, whenever they head outdoors.  There was special focus on deer ticks and the Lyme disease outbreak in northeast USA.

As families completed the learning station tours, a 70-page slide show was shown on the 7-foot screen indoors, allowing for continued fishing and outdoor adventure education.  While observing the screen, the kitchen crew provided world famous Sahlen’s grill-cooked hot dogs, Perry’s Ice Cream, Paula’s Donuts, Gwen Jozwiak’s hand-made “fish cupcakes,” beverages and other munchies.

During the random gear raffle, 76 happy youths won a free rod/reel combo.  Everyone else, adults too, took home fishing maps, tackle, and special prizes from the “Bison City Tackle Treasure Chest.”

The kids and the adults were all BIG WINNERS!

This special youth outreach event was sponsored and coordinated by the Bison City Rod & Gun Club with special thanks to Ted and Doraine Malota, Cabela’s, Erie County Federation of Sportsmen, WNY Safari Club, Sahlen’s Meat Packing, the Norby Antonik Foundation, Weekley’s Bait, Paula’s Donuts and 21 dedicated volunteers who donated their time to help youth and their families learn more about the outdoors through the fun of fishing!  Dave and Rose Barus, Chairpersons

Big Cash for Eastern Lake Erie Walleye Anglers – Southtowns Walleye Association Tournament

  • Hot Walleye Bites, is it YOUR TURN?
  • CHANGE Lures, Speed, Turn Radius, Time of Day You Fish
  • CHECK Colors, Leaders, Hooks – Control Hand Odor Scent
Catching big walleye during tournament time is about making changes to adapt your style to the fishery of the day. Learn from what the lake offers each day.

By Forrest Fisher

Many anglers in the Northeast USA and especially in Western New York, have a preference for Lake Erie walleye fishing.  Many of them are ready for Southtowns Walleye Association (SWA) Tournament action that will begin very soon. 

Walleye fishing is center-stage over the first few weeks of June, especially June 10-18, when many anglers will be entered in the 33rd annual Southtowns Walleye Association Walleye Tournament.  This is a 9-day/1-fish tournament where the single biggest fish wins. That means any lucky angler can win.

BIG CASH PRIZES: SWA offers cash awards for the top 200 places, with the top 10 places winning big money.  The top prize can be as much as $8,000 in cash plus prizes.  Last year, Jim Horbett took 1st place with his 11.63 pound walleye.  See Bob Fessler or Don Mullen for info, or call 716-462-9576, or visit www.southtownswalleye.org to enter, but do it soon, as registration is closed after the tournament begins.    

The Lake Erie eastern basin walleye resource is healthy and getting bigger with local spawning stocks that can also include migratory western basin fish, which may begin to arrive when summertime is imminent.  We’ll have to wait and see if the area will receive some hot weather to make that west to east migration happen before the tournament ends.

Moving around, making changes, searching the shallow water, the mid-depths and deep water – out there, look for suspended fish in the top 25 feet, these changes can be the key to finding an isolated school of walleye whoppers.

POST-SPAWN WALLEYE:  Local walleye anglers already know that the fish are around and are here in good numbers after the last few weeks of spring fishing. The males that have been caught at night are beautiful fish in the 3 to 7 pound range, not prize winners, but freezer fillers, or are perfect for pictures and catch and release fishing fun.  As the season evolves after the area experienced a very rainy May, the larger females will be recovering from their post-spawn doldrum period and will be hungry. 

The fish will be deeper during the day, but at night, will be feeding in the shallow upper water layer offshore, and also, some fish will be very near to shore during the early part of the tournament (at night).  This fishing can be hit or miss, but if you don’t try it, you’ll never know.

EARLY START:  If you have been fishing like many do, early riser at 330AM, trailer hook-up, travel and launch before sunrise, lights on, lines in, great bite and then suddenly, NO BITE.  What happened?  Simple to figure out if you think about it.  Most of the fish have been on the feed all night, especially during full moon or bright moon periods.  They’re done eating! 

Notice I said, “most of the fish.”  So don’t give up, there will be isolated schools that have yet to feed, but think about night fishing once or twice during the tourney.

Spinner-Worm Rigs are often a top choice for local area anglers, but color, blade shape, bead size and boat speed can make a sound (noise) difference that matters. Willow leaf? Colorado? Indiana blade? Copper? Nickel? Brass? Pick on and vary from there.

LURE OFFERINGS:  What about your lure offerings?  Well you never know what will work until you try, but most anglers use shallow running sticks or spinner-worm rigs and weight the lines to reach the fish at whatever their level, usually 15 to 25 feet from the top.

COLOR & LIGHT PENETRATION: Colors matter for some of us, though not sure the fish care much of the time, but the variable with color is light penetration. If the fish are on the feed, wham!  There will be fish on your line no matter what you are using.  If not, check your lure for action, assure your leaders are healthy, hooks too, then get out there.

The rest of the time when the goggle eyes are not on the feed, you may have to provoke them.  By nature, walleye are night predators, but most anglers in SWA fish daytime. Maybe some anglers are getting old?  Nahhhh!  We just like to see the hooks and jawbones we need to avoid burying in our hand with natural light.

Matching bait offerings to forage options can produce instant fish on the line. Color matters in shallow line sets.  Don’t be afraid to change to something nobody else is using! Old lures can work today too.

BIG FISH CONSISTENCY:  Anglers that win the prize for most fish and biggest fish are often the same anglers year after year.  Reasons why may be widely varied, but not for them. Winning anglers are adaptive.  They change lure style, lure size, color, shape, and they consider all their tackle box options.  Get creative, know what you have in your tackle box.  Know to change your boat travel orientation with wind direction.  Turn more, turn less, swing wide and slow, or wide and fast, but change.

AVOID NO-CHANGE: Be careful not to get into that same “catch-no-fish” pigeon hole that happened once or twice last year or that last time that you never told anyone about.  If you are fishing with the same lure and using the same technique at the same speed and wondering what’s going on, you know it’s time to consider CHANGE.  Explore a bit. Get creative. In your heart of hearts, you know when something needs to change, so do it.   

THINK ABOUT CHANGE: Should you change WHEN you go fishing?  Start at 3PM instead of 3AM?  That’s your call, but what you change is up to you when you’re not catching fish.  Fish move, water temperatures swing with wind shifts, eddy currents push forage to new locations, creek outflows can attract or repel forage and predators, take advantage of these things. Talk with others.  After all that, there is one more thing, keep it simple so you can do it again.  Write it down if you have to, add it to your logbook.  Keep a logbook. Update after every trip.  You will not believe what you learn from your own notes a week from today.

The Rainbow Smelt Banana Bait from LiveTarget Lures offers another option for lure selection.  It made some novice anglers feel like old pro’s last year. It has wiggle, wobble and a sound-making shake.  When it’s time to CHANGE, you will know.

MAKE YOUR OWN CHANGE: Look at a lake map, study your sonar map, evolve to get smarter with each trip on the water and rationalize what is going on, or you can call a best friend that seems to be catching fish!  It’s really up to you to discover the new methods that will work for you. 

After each tourney, I’ve always shared what was working for me and my friends in the boat with others.  It’s what every fishing club is all about.  It’s why some friends share their secrets during the tournament.  It’s how many anglers invent their next new change, by combining what they do with others that have shared to create a new approach.

WALLEYE TRACKING STUDY: Lastly, a new research initiative on Lake Erie – east to west and USA to Canada, that started in 2015 uses acoustic telemetry to track walleye movement. Researchers are studying the west-to-east and east-west fish migration that affects the New York walleye fishery.  A $100 reward can be yours if you catch one of the walleye that have a tracking device, just call DEC (716-366-0228) and report each tagged fish along with returning the internal acoustic tag.

Good luck on the water!

 

Gurgle, Babble & Slurp – the Welcome Language of a Reborn Trout Stream

By Forest Fisher

Chuck Swanderski, a member of the Doc Fritchey Trout Unlimited Chapter, volunteers his time to teach youngsters and oldsters about the fun of fly fishing. Forrest Fisher Photo

Fly fishing for trout is a new adventure for fishermen more familiar with trolling for Great Lakes walleye or casting for tournament bass.  That makes it a new adventure for yours truly.

The new unfamiliar tool? A lightweight fly rod about eight-feet in length with a single-action reel that holds a heavy-looking fluorescent color “fly line” with a long, fine, clear leader tied to the end.     

We were fishing Quittapahilla Creek, a small stream in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania (near the candy-making city of Hershey), known locally as the “Quittie,” and my mentor for the day, Chuck Swanderski, a member of the Doc Fritchey Trout Unlimited Chapter, shared some of the history of this waterway. 

For newcomers to fly fishing, the choices are many, including dry flies, wet flies, streamers and nymphs. Forrest Fisher Photo

The creek starts as a clear, clean, upward bubbling spring, just a few miles upstream from where we were standing.  Problem was that it had become an industrial waste discharge outlet for 80 years ending just after WWII.  At that time, the stream was dead with little aquatic life and no fish.  From WWII until about 1990, the area had become a waste dump when concerned citizens started a clean-up with organized angler groups.  They petitioned for grant monies and project funding from state and federal sources, and got them. 

Tying a 2-fly rig is simple with the right instruction, as the first fly is tied normally, the second fly is attached by a short 12-inch leader to the curved shank of the first fly. Forrest Fisher Photo

Trout Unlimited assisted with the hard work and planning efforts, providing manpower for stream improvement that included invasive plant removal, stream clean-up, riparian buffer tree plantings, bank retainer netting, in-stream boulder structure placement and habitat construction, cedar chip trails (anti-deer tick), safety-minded access, parking areas, stream stocking and harvest monitoring.  And more.

The downstream areas of the riffles created from water flow over the in-stream boulder placements become highly oxygenated, providing preferred comfort zones for oxygen-seeking trout.  They are also preferred areas for anglers to ply their skills with fly presentations.

The 2-fly rig is effective when aquatic insects are present in healthy streambeds and are drifting along in the current. Forrest Fisher Photo

For this day, Chuck provided me with an intro to learning on-stream etiquette and made it a fun adventure for yours truly.  He supplied details about the usual “how to do” things with the nearly weightless feathered hooks.  It might have been a sort of day-long ordeal for Chuck, but I think we had some great fun. 

We shared conversations, we laughed, and we joked about modern life, mostly comparing it to ancient life in America five decades ago when we were kids.  Lots to compare with 27 cent gas and Dick Tracy wristwatches from back then.  Beam me up Scotty.  We’re almost there!

It is humbling to watch a skilled fly angler cast a nearly weightless fly with so little effort.  Chuck was VERY good.  With a curious and watchful eye, it is easy to see that there is an artful rhythm to the whisper of the unassuming fly line soaring gently overhead to land so softly in a riffle 40 feet upstream.  No sound, no vigor, just a small feathery sample of barbless food for a hungry trout. 

This home-made streamer from Neshannock Creek Fly Shop caught several fish for us when the 2-fly rig only drew followers.

As I listened to Chuck direct my ability to make unfettered motion with a 50-year old Fenwick “gold series” fiberglass fly rod and fly, I forgot about all of the many issues on my mind.  Paying bills, story deadlines, emails to answer, calls to make and the ever-growing to-do list for around the house back home in East Aurora, New York, five hours north.  They all disappeared during these few hours of on-stream renewal.  I was developing something I had only heard about from other fly rod anglers, a kinship with the natural world of a water flow and feathered, fuzzy hooks.

The author enjoys chemical-free protection from deer ticks, black flies and mosquitoes with a protective skin covering suit made by Rynoskin Total (http://rynoskin.com/) that fits comfortably under his clothing, even on hot days. Note the beige color suit that includes socks, bottoms, tops, gloves and hood (gloves and hood not worn in picture).  Chuck Swanderski Photo

My heart and soul was at peace with nature in this restored stream.  I was feeling quintessential on the Quittie!  The gurgle of the flowing water was such a welcome sound.  It is, perhaps, a sacred signal that these same swish and chinkle sounds occurred hundreds of years before. 

At that moment, I was again stopped in mid-thought, feeling bonded by nature to our forebears.  I thought to myself, again, such peace.  I measured my heartrate, it was 52.  Indeed, heart-found peace!  This fly rod stuff was really good stuff. 

Earlier we tied on a two-fly rig using nymph stage Hare’s Ear flies to imitate aquatic insect larvae in the stream. After an hour of casting skill improvement, we moved from hole to hole and rifle to riffle checking for active fish. The fish were moving toward the fly, but would turn away, perhaps the wrong size or pattern. Maybe my leader was too heavy.  So Chuck switched me to a hand-made streamer fly made by his old fishing buddy at Neshannock Creek Fly Shop from another favorite fishing spot of his near Pittsburgh (visit http://www.ncflyshop.com/).

The retrieve was fairly simple when compared to some bottom big jig bass fishing tactics. This simply was cast out with a roll cast, then retrieved in a pull, pull, and stop manner. Bringing in a few inches of line with each pull.

On the second cast, a 15-inch rainbow trout slammed the fly. Wham!  My arm jolted forward as the fish ran the other way, then leaped high in summersault fashion some four times before coming to our welcome net about 45 seconds later.  My heart rate zipped a bit too, awesome fun that was measurable.  What fun this was!  We carefully released the fish to fight another day, maybe to provide these same moments of fun for some youngster tomorrow or the next day. 

This 15-inch rainbow trout wacked a streamer fly and just made the day so much more special. A beautiful, colorful fish.  Chuck Swanderski Photo

Lastly, Chuck was really happy to share something that might serve as a learning lesson for thousands of other streams in the country, the Quittapahilla Creek Garbage Museum.  Here was a collection of hundreds of various shapes of disposed plastics. Bottles, baby toys, plastic chain, plastics in many forms, most of it tattered, broken, but still identifiable.

The Quittapahilla Creek Garbage Museum creates a mind-sustaining mental picture of what plastics have done to our environment and everything in it.  Forrest Fisher Photo

According to a written message from the Garbage Museum Executive Director, an educator person who placed numerous informational learning signs for others to study and whose name is not known to me, “Most plastics will DECOMPOSE, but never BIODEGRADE.  Breaking into smaller chunks, the plastic molecules will be with us for millions of years, ingested and excreted millions of times by fish, birds and other organisms.”  After reading this I thought to myself…and we wonder where cancer comes from – something we didn’t have much of 50 years before plastics.

Then I recalled the movie named “The Graduate,” where most of us remember the most significant word from that steamy movie made in 1967, “plastics.”  There is goodness and not-so-goodness, perhaps, with every invention.  I wondered if the preceding native ancestors, the Lenape Indians, would continue to use plastics if they understood what we now know about plastics?    

It was getting late, we had walked about 3,000 feet downstream stream from the public parking lot on this 34-acre Quittie Nature Park stream and the temperature was 90.  It was time to recap our trip with friends from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association at the nearby Snitz Creek Brewery, a tasteful beer-making facility not far from the stream.  We took a beer plant tour with co-founder, Patrick Freer, then discovered a few moments later that there is nothing quite like a microbrew they call “Opening Day IPA.”  This is particularly true among fellow fly-rodders that can tell a tale, if you know what I mean.  “No, my fish was bigger.  I caught two. I caught four.” And on and on.  You get the picture.  A fun, thirst-quenching, long-winded, joke-filled lunch.  The best kind.    

When friends and community work together to create a revitalized stream treasure and nature area, the future is brighter for everyone.  On a related note though, while we seem to have saved our second amendment with our current legislators – a good thing, the work of clean streams and waterways may become more challenging due to currently retracting rules of the Clean Water Act.  Be watchful as sportsmen, speak up when we need to.

Hats off to all those volunteers that take the time to reclaim lost parts of nature for the benefit of our common future. 

 

ZIP-LINE FUN, THRILLS for YOUNG & OLD!

  • Extraordinary Speed in Safe Flight from Tower-to-Tower
  • Adventure, Fun and Assured Safety
  • Full Body Harness & Head Helmet Protection is Required
  • My Favorite Place: Peek ‘N Peak, near Findley Lake, New York

By Forrest Fisher

The harness and safety helmet assure your personal safety, the rest is SHEER FUN!  My granddaughter Kelsey went first. “Yeaaahhhhh!”  Unforgettable!

Those zip-lines with strange looking towers on the hills in the distance of places we travel definitely beckon for adventure seekers.  Many have never tried them out.

At Peek ‘N Peak Resort and Conference Center (http://www.pknpk.com/) near the quaint country village of Findley Lake, located in the southwest corner of New York, my grandkids would not allow me to just watch them try out the zip-line.

They said, “C’mon Dziadz (Polish word for grandfather), your time to fly from the towers has come!” I smiled and said, “OK, sounds good.”  Not really sure of what I was getting myself into.

We rode the ski-lift to the top of the hill to start out on the high zip-line.  My granddaughter Kelsey went first.  “Yeaaahhhhh!” Screaming away at 120 decibels or more, as she headed for the next tower station more than one-thousand feet away.

My turn was next.  What a minute.  Was there a giant 12-point buck walking to within 10 yards of my tree stand?  Why was my heart pounding?!   I was a bit nervous and even was trembling a bit.  Here I am, an ex-military Vietnam-era veteran and I was shaky.  After all, we were only about 100 feet off the ground and there was a 20 mph wind blowing.  Not to make light of things, but there was rain in the forecast too, and it was dark and cloudy right about now.  I was not going to wimp out.  Couldn’t do that.

I harnessed in, told myself to “think brave”, got the “all clear” after being checked by the operators and, again, I could sense my wide-open eyeballs.

Excitement is a very cool thing in life!  It can be hard to find when you’re looking at 70 birthday candles just ahead.

Zeeooooow.  I zoomed off and in what seemed like 5-minutes, I landed on the next tower about 30 seconds later.  Standing right next to my granddaughter, she asked, “What’d ya think Dziadz, fun right?!”

I answered, “Yup!” And smiled ear to ear in convincing fashion, double-checking to see if my tongue had been frozen to the roof of my mouth and did a double take to see if I didn’t wet my pants.

Kelsey then said, “OK, this tower is really going to be even more fun.  It’s a dual zip-line and we take off together.  I’ll race you to the bottom of the hill!  Are you ready Dziadz?”

We harnessed up.

Yikes, this was exciting!

My sensory expectations seemed in better control after that first long ride.  Clip, Clack, Clip, we were in.  Standing next to each other, we were ready.  Just then, Gazzzooongg!  Thunder in the distance.  Then suddenly, the dark skies opened up.  It was a near-torrential downpour.  They said, “We are closing the towers, your harnessed in, go down if you like, you’re the last riders.”

I felt like Matt Dillon and was up against the fastest draw in the west.  He always keeps his cool.  That was my mindset.

We smiled to each other and screamed our, “Let’s go!”  We were either brave or not so smart (I was thinking that other word that starts on “s” and ends with a “d”….stupid).

In the middle of our descent as we exceeded 70 mph, flashes of light jumped out left and right in the distance.   There was lightning all around us as we zoomed through some nearby treetops.

Flashbulb Fodder?  I asked the Almighty for some help.  He was with us because I can share this fun tale.

We were wet to the bone.  Mighty thankful too, that we did not complete an electrical storm circuit during the flighty speedy trip down the dual zip-line.  It was an incredible experience.  We were both happy for this extraordinary hair-raising survival encounter with adventure.

We climbed down from the tower.  Both of us kissed the muddy ground.  What a run!

I was ready to leave the zip-line and head over to the bar in the sip-line!  You know, a cold water on the rocks is what I needed.

Everybody met in the facility lobby and hugged. Kelsey said, “Wow!  That was incredible, wasn’t it!?” Literally wet to the bone, we all looked up and in just 5-minutes, the clouds had vanished and the sun popped out.  Life is.

“Wanna do it again Dziadz?” I resorted to that canned ear-to-ear smile that we grandfather’s all carry for emergencies and said, “Maybe tomorrow, ok?”

The Giant Dual Zip-Line adventure at Peek ‘N Peak soars over the trees side-by-side on independent lines next to your partner, allowing both riders to enjoy an exhilarating and majestic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.  It’s a 2,000 foot long glide path!  Photo courtesy of Peek ‘N Peak

The Giant Dual Zip-Line adventure at Peak ‘n Peek allows you to feel sort of like a bird, a hawk or an eagle on a dive.  Imagine, those types of birds do this all the time to survive via their very nature.

There is also an Aerial Adventure Course that features 69 obstacles and includes eight courses of varying difficulty. Participants climb up and down cargo nets and ladders while navigating course elements, including zip lines, in this tree top adventure.  Suited for all ability levels, this course is a 3-hour, self-guided experience that allows you to explore the course at your own pace.  You can try any (or all) of the eight different courses, working your way through the tree tops from platform to platform, encountering obstacles along the way.

I was humble and kindly declined to look for yet another new adventure experience.  Had to use that ear to ear grin trick again.

The zip line adventure was not really on my bucket list, but oh-my-gosh!  It was such unforgettable fun.  We will do that again, but maybe not, if rain and thunder are in the forecast. I’m going to check beforehand!

The lifestyle we have shared in my family includes being active in the outdoors, but is focused on fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and family campfires.

When my younger grandkids heard that there was a pool here that offered a “wave” and had a “long slide”, good old gramps thought it would be a great next stop too.

We have learned to love this special place in the quiet hills.

Check it out: http://www.pknpk.com/packages-deals/overnight/ski-ride-packages/.

New Tru-Fire Release Eliminates Trigger Punch

  • Instant Cure for Target Panic
  • Eliminate Trigger Punch
  • Anti-Punch Trigger Feature is Selectable
The new Tru-Fire Panic-X release is designed to help eliminate an archer’s tendency to activate the trigger before being absolutely ready.

“Punching” the trigger rarely results in an accurate shot in archery.  Tru-Fire, archery’s leading release brand, has introduced the new Panic-X release, designed to help eliminate an archer’s tendency to activate the trigger before being absolutely ready.

Target panic is something that plagues thousands of archers daily.  Punching the trigger is one of the many symptoms. The new Tru-Fire Panic-X is designed to help eliminate trigger punch. The Panic-X counters target panic with its Anti-Trigger-Punch Technology that actively prevents hook release by punching the trigger in a situation where trigger panic takes over. If the archer tries to slap the trigger, the Panic-X’s internal sear will not release the string, allowing a moment for the archer to reset and resume the proper shooting sequence.

On- or off-selectable, the Anti-Trigger-Punch feature can be used for training or in the field. In the off position, the Panic-X works exactly like a standard Tru-Fire release with a cam-sear design that actuates the crisp string-hook release for extremely reliable accuracy. When turned on, this feature will only allow the trigger to release the Panic-X’s capture-style hook following a smooth, constant trigger squeeze. The Panic-X ‘s trigger travel is adjustable, as is the length of the release, itself.

The Tru-Fire Panic-X also features a premium leather buckle strap with heavy-duty yellow stitching. Its patented Tru-Fire Foldback strap allows the release to be folded back 180-degrees. This new release also features the Tru-Fire’s patented TrapTab design that allows the archer to secure the release to their wrist with one hand.

The Tru-Fire Panic-X is available at retailers nationwide or conveniently online at www.trufire.com for suggested retail price of $149.99.

About Tru-Fire

Tru-Fire is the world’s largest manufacturer of bowhunting releases, and all of its products are proudly made in the U.S.A. Every Tru-Fire release is designed to provide years of trouble-free use and dependability. Before any new design can wear the Tru-Fire logo, it is tested extensively on the company’s exclusively designed pneumatic release tester that can automatically load the release to 100 lbs. for 5,000 consecutive pulls, then an additional 100 pulls at a staggering 200 pounds. The release is then live fired 2,000 times to evaluate component fatigue and string loop wear. All of this testing proves that your Tru-Fire release will be absolutely reliable the moment you need it most. For more information on the company or its products, write to: Tru-Fire, 101 Main Street, Superior, WI 54880; call 800-282-4868 or visit www.trufire.com.

Kentucky Lake Hobie Bass Open: June 9-11, 2017

  • Open to Public, All Kayak Name Brands are Welcome
  • Anglers Practice CPR on Hot Bass Fishing Water
  • Key on Shallow, Deep, and Ledge Drop-off Hotspots
  • Angler Skills will Feature Plastic Baits, Top-water and Crankbaits

By Forrest Fisher

Anglers will test the Kentucky Lake waters shallow and deep to find the hot bite.  Forrest Fisher Photo

At last year’s Hobie Bass Open, the camaraderie among competitors and respect for each other was a vital surprise to me, a first-time visitor to the Kentucky Lake event.  Ron Champion and Matthew Scotch punched their tickets to the Hobie Fishing World Championship.  They took on different strategies.  One ran long and the other fished local.  They were both winners.  What will it take to grab a hotly contested qualifying spot this year?

Kayak anglers from all around the country will fish nearby, some will venture long distances to their secret fishing places, all in search of big bass for this catch, photograph and release tournament. Forrest Fisher Photo

We’ll find out soon.  The 2017 Hobie Bass Open qualifier for Hobie Fishing Worlds 7 will be held at Kentucky Lake Dam Village State Resort Park near Calvert, Kentucky, June 9-11, with top tournament sponsor, Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The Kentucky Lake Hobie Bass Open is part of a series of qualifying events to be held in the U.S. and Canada that will produce six Hobie Fishing World Championship spots on the North American team. First and second place winners will be invited to join Brendan Bayard and two-time Hobie Fishing Worlds champion, Steve Lessard, at the next edition of the Hobie Fishing Worlds competition at a site to be announced later.

Camaraderie and hot competition go hand-in-hand at the Hobie Bass Open. The lake offers shallow and deep embayment fishing, but anglers in recent years have scored fishing near something the lake is famous for, ledge drop-offs.  The results have been world-class fish weigh-ins. The water is big and the fishing options seem wide open.

The Hobie event on Kentucky Lake is a catch, photograph and release (CPR) tournament where anglers measure and photograph their top three bass during each of the two days, to be scored by total aggregate length – using a calibrated measurement board.  Eligible species include largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass caught on human-powered kayaks, canoes or SUPs.

The hot bait in 2017 might be a plastic worm?  Special color?   Sky color, sunshine density, wind direction, water temperature and angler skill will spell the result for success or less. Forrest Fisher Photo

One hundred percent of entry fees will be paid out with a ratio of one place for every 10 entrants. The top prize is $4,000 based on a field of 150 kayak anglers. The first-place finisher will have his/her airfare, accommodations and entry fee to the Hobie Fishing Worlds covered, courtesy of Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park and Hobie Worldwide.

There will be raffles and prizes as well as other awards including one for the biggest bass each day. Sponsors include Hobie Polarized, Lowrance, YakAttack, Bassin’ Magazine, RAM Mounts, St. Croix, Daiwa, Power-Pole, Mustad and Gerber.

Anglers will enjoy a BBQ dinner on Saturday and an awards luncheon on Sunday.  To register (or for more information) visit:  https://www.ianglertournament.com/2017-hobie-bass-open-adult-division-fun-festival

The tournament winners circle will feature well-deserved payouts, back slapping conversations of hardships worth the effort and very few tall tales. Forrest Fisher photo

While anglers are vying for big fish all across the long lake, the Hobie Fun Fest is open to the public and will be held simultaneously along the lakeshore in Kentucky Lake State Park Village, near the dam, on Saturday, June 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Hobie invites all competitors to bring their families and friends to join in the festivities.  All will have the opportunity to demo Hobie fishing and recreational kayaks, SUPs and sailboats, as well as Hobie’s Mirage Eclipse stand-up pedalboard.

The 2017 Hobie Fishing World Championship US and Canadian Qualifiers has added two new events this year: the Shasta Bass Kayak Classic and the 2nd Annual IKE Foundation Celebrity Pro Am Tournament Kayak Division hosted by Hobie’s own Micheal “Ike” Iaconelli.  Ike’s event will be special.  It will be a star-studded occasion contested on the non-tidal sections of the Delaware River and includes dinner on the illustrious battleship USS New Jersey.

The full Hobie Fishing Worlds 7 North American qualifying event schedule:

Big fish and small, a 1/4 inch difference can change the standings. Forrest Fisher photo

The Shasta Bass Kayak Classic, March 25-26 – 1 qualifying spot was earned by Naoaki “Uminchu” Ikemiyagi

The Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Classic, May 18-21 – 1 qualifying spot

The Hobie Bass Open, June 9-11 – 2 qualifying spots

The Border City Classic, June 24-25 – 1 qualifying spot

The 2nd Annual IKE Foundation Celebrity Pro Am Tournament Kayak Division, July 7-8 – 1 qualifying spot

Since 1950, Hobie has been in the business of shaping a unique lifestyle based around fun, water, and innovative quality products. From their worldwide headquarters in Oceanside, California, Hobie Cat Company manufactures, distributes, and markets an impressive collection of eco-sensitive watercraft, with subsidiaries; Hobie Cat Australasia, in Huskisson, NSW, Australia and Hobie Cat Europe, in Toulon, France and independent distributors; Hobie Kayak Europe and Hobie Cat Brasil. These products include an ever-expanding line of recreation and racing sailboats, pedal-driven and paddle sit-on-top recreation and fishing kayaks, inflatable kayaks, fishing boats, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards and the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse™ Standup pedalboards, plus a complementary array of parts and accessories. www.hobiecat.com

Eastern Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

Erie, Chautauqua & Cattaraugus County Fish Report thru May 5, 2017 – from NYSDEC

  • Perch: Hot Bite between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point
  • Crappie: Chautauqua Lake open water bite slow, canal action is fair
  • Inland Trout: Look for blue-winged olives, stoneflies, Hendrickson hatches
  • Bass: Dunkirk Harbor, Buffalo Harbor, Chautauqua Lake
Lake Erie giant smallmouth bass fishing gear is the order of the day for many anglers heading to enjoy the bonanza of big bass action starting up in eastern Basin Lake Erie. Forrest Fisher Photo

Eastern Lake Erie & New York State Harbors

Anxious Lake Erie boaters have been launching out of some sites, while others launches remain closed. There is limited boat launching at Buffalo Boat Harbor. Launch docks are in at the ramp near the restaurant, but the newly constructed launch ramps remain fenced off. Sturgeon Point is closed until a dredging project removes the sand bar at harbor mouth. At Cattaraugus Creek, Town of Hanover launch is open and launch docks are in. The State launch is also open, but launch docks are not in place. Dunkirk and Barcelona boat launches are open with launch docks in.

Anglers report a good yellow perch bite between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point in 52-62 feet of water, with some limit catches. The hot spot has been off Evangola State Park. In other areas, there are reportedly smaller roving perch schools, so being mobile helps. Live emerald shiners are the top perch bait and have been available for dipping around the upper Niagara River.

Cooler water temperatures in Dunkirk Harbor have made for modest catches of smallmouth bass so far. Look for the bass bite to pick up with rising water temps. Some bullhead catches have been reported in Dunkirk Harbor. Yellow perch are still biting well in Buffalo Boat Harbor, but most have been small lately.

Eastern Lake Erie Tributaries

Heavy rains have all Lake Erie tributaries running at very high and muddy levels. Chautauqua County received less rain than the Buffalo area, so look for those creeks to drop back first. Steelhead catches were tapering off prior to the storm event. Look for smallmouth bass numbers in the creeks to be on the rise.

Upper Niagara River

Due to muddy creek outflows, waters are turbid along the upper Niagara River’s east shoreline. This may slow the yellow perch bite which was previously good along City of Buffalo shore sites. Perch have also been biting well in many upper river harbors and marinas. Live emerald shiners are the top perch bait and have been available for dipping in many spots.

Chautauqua Lake

The open water crappie bite has been relatively slow lately. Good sized yellow perch and bluegill have been biting well in the shallow zone, especially near weed beds. Anglers are catching good numbers of bullhead along shorelines. Low light periods are typically best, but anglers are catching them during the day as well. Worms, leeches, raw shrimp or chicken livers fished on the bottom work well for bullhead.

Inland Trout Streams

Inland trout fishing is on hold due to high water conditions, with many creeks over their banks. When creeks drop back to fishable levels, look for hatches of blue-winged olives, stoneflies and Hendrickson’s on the streams that have them. Productive offerings for spinning angers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. Western New York anglers have a variety of Wild Trout Streams and Stocked Trout Streams to choose from. In addition, Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many of the region’s best trout streams. Check out the Fishing For Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and fishing techniques.

Spring Trout Stocking

All of Region 9’s trout stocking waters have been stocked with at least one stocking increment. For County lists of stocked waters check the Spring Trout Stocking 2017 page. Hatchery staff are now delivering additional stocking increments for the larger or more popular waters. The following waters are scheduled an additional stocking between 4/24 and 4/28.

Cattaraugus County: Bone Run (South Valley), Harwood Lake (Farmersville).

Genesee River Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for the Genesee River during 2017, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. The diarist program aims to record data for trout and bass fishing trips on the Genesee River from the Pennsylvania line downstream through Letchworth State Park from March 1st through October 31st, 2017. If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to contribute your observations by keeping a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 379-6372 or email fwfish9@dec.ny.gov.

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; michael.todd@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.

Big Spring Bass: Add HOVER-ABILITY to Your Secret Fish-Catching Arsenal

  • Add Spinner Bait: 3/8 oz TERMINATOR Double Gold Bade (#2 & #4.25)
  • Add Tail: Big Bite SUICIDE SHAD, BB-Kicker or Curly Tail
  • Add Stubborn Fish Solution: HOVER-CONTROL
The Terminator Colorado Willow spinnerbaits provide high vibration, their stainless steel wire frames are strong, bending for greater flash and thump, and allowing the lure rip and roll through logs, snags and vegetation. Add a paddle tail and you have HOVER-ABILITY and fish catch power.

By Forrest Fisher

Spinner baits are an incredibly effective fishing bait for black bass.  Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass seem to be bothered by them enough to hammer them when the time to toss these is right and when the action is just perfect at the depth the fish are feeding.   Sounds like a tall prescription right?

The author added a weird color tail to the spinner bait, like this bubblegum color, for a surprise visit attack from Mister Bass.

Some things in fishing are difficult, but this one is easier than it sounds. One of my favorite spinner baits is the 3/8 ounce Terminator with two gold blades: one a Colorado number 2 and the other a willow leaf number 4.25.  Sounds particular because it is.  Spinner baits are largely about the action and flash, but in many cases, you might wonder why one spinner bait is more effective when they both appear to have the same color, size and all that. 

One of the larger secondary factors is the sound from the noise of the blades hitting each other, the wire connector, or the tail.  These baits with the “right sound” can work everywhere you fish.  Fact is, the sound works to attract fish and the fish wack them because, while they may not be hungry, they are irritated.  That’s the reason to cast them 3-4 times in the same relative place.   

Another secondary factor is the speed of your retrieve.  You will note that many recent press release news flash items about reels highlight high speed gear ratio retrieve rates.  Sometimes fast is a winner, usually, it’s not.  Not to say it might not be in some cases, but often, it’s the other way. 

Plastic tail types can be varied, but here are three that offer large difference between them to allow speed control and HOVER-ABILITY.

When the fish are not biting, if the spinner bait slows down, it is provocative and even more irritating. Fish will come out of hiding to slam your lure.  So what about “control the speed” short of slowing down your retrieve?  How can we do that?

Focus on “hover-ability” to get this right.  You add a tail.  Simple.  Many to choose from, here are three of them that I favor.  The size and length of the body are a factor, but even more an element for control is the size of the flapper.   The standard style plastic tail only slows the bait down a little bit, but the hollow paddle tails are like speed brakes.

The Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad swim bait provides a lifelike swimming action that excels on the back of a swim jig, underspin, vibrating jig, umbrella rig or a spinner bait.

Even if you try to retrieve these fast, you’ll think you have a fish on.  They resist and waggle back and forth a ton of vibration, providing substantial drag and added action to the spinner bait.  Add that they also allow the blades to rattle even more!  Amazing addition when the time to try this demands a S-L-O-W action that hovers.  Two of my favorites that I can afford to buy several colors for come from Big Bite Baits at Tackle Warehouse, this place is becoming one of my most visited tackle site sources. (http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Big_Bite_Baits_Suicide_Shad_Swimbait/descpage-BBBSS.html)

The Suicide Shad and the BB-Kicker are paddle tail HOVER CONTROL GIANTS in my book.  They each offer a different action because of their width and length, and maybe a larger factor, the floatation influence of the tail. 

Designed with a thinned-out central body, but with an extra-thick boot tail, the backside of the Big Bite Baits BB Kicker swim bait creates big momentum when it swings, adding a heavy, hard-pounding action with vibration.

Add it to the spinner blade hook by carefully threading it on so it is perfectly centered, toss it out, let it sink to your desired depth, start your retrieve.  Slam!  Wack!  Happens often.   Switch between all three of the tails shown and see how the lure action is altered and how the delivery of these actions can change the rate at which fish inhale these baits or just swash their tail at them.

You will discover an amazing learning experience. 

Rocky Mountain Warhead Broadheads for Compound Bows and Crossbows

  • Deployment System is Durable, Deadly,
  • Stainless Steel Blades
  • Inexpensive: Under $20 for 3-Pack
The Rocky Mountain Warhead features an aluminum ferrule with a 1.75-inch cutting diameter and a cut-on-contact tip blade design that starts working the instant it makes contact.

From Superior, Wisconsin, a well-known name in the archery broadhead market, Rocky Mountain, debuted its new product line at the ATA in Indianapolis this year.  As part of the new line up, Rocky Mountain introduced the new Warhead, a 100-grain 2-blade cut-on-contact mechanical broadhead with wing blades for superior hide penetration and bone breakage. Once inside the animal, the wing blades of the Warhead force open two larger blades providing deep penetration and massive wounds.

The Rocky Mountain Warhead features an aluminum ferrule with a 1.75-inch cutting diameter and a cut-on-contact tip blade design that starts working the instant it makes contact.  The Warhead’s jackknife blade-deployment system will not open until the blades have made full contact with the animal, making broadside and even angled shots more deadly.  With its aluminum ferrule and durable 0.035-inch-thick stainless steel blades, the new Rocky Mountain Warhead slices through hide and soft tissue on contact, yet it has the strength and sharpness to bust through bone.

Available in standard 100-grain, the Warhead is easily identified by its black ferrule.  An anodized orange ferrule identifies the 100-grain WarheadX version for crossbows.  The new Rocky Mountain Warhead and WarheadX are available at retailers nationwide and conveniently online at www.huntrockymountain.com.  Suggested retail price is $19.99 for a three-pack.

The Warhead’s jackknife blade-deployment system will not open until the blades have made full contact with the animal, making broadside and even angled shots more deadly.

Headquartered in Superior, Wis., Rocky Mountain is a wholly owned subsidiary of FeraDyne Outdoors. For more information on Rocky Mountain, visit www.huntrockymountain.com; or write to 101 Main Street, Superior, WI 54880; or call 866-387-9307.

USA First-Ever Ladies Team – Ready for World Match Fishing Competition

  • Six American Lady Anglers Head to Hungary
  • 2017 Ladies World Championships
  • Lady Anglers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida
Qualified USA Lady Anglers, like Kristen Monroe, will represent the United States during the 2017 International Match Fishing contests in Europe.

While “match fishing” is hugely popular throughout Europe, the uniquely foreign sport and its seemingly bizarre tactics can leave even the most experienced American anglers scratching their heads.

Please don’t confuse something merely unfamiliar with a sport that’s in any way simple or unsophisticated, to the contrary, a quick search of the Internet or trip to the library will reveal an entirely new world of highly evolved angling complexity called “match fishing!”

Match fishing competitions find participants confined to small areas, or pegs, along a bank, with the goal of catching the heaviest combined weight of fish during a prescribed time period.  Equipment and tactics are highly advanced and vary depending on the venue and available species.

USA Ladies Team Coach, Attila Agh, explains time-honored match fishing rigs to Kristen Monroe.

Top competitors catch six fish or even more per minute, over a three-hour period – all the while managing delicate tackle, adjusting presentations and continually metering precise quantities of ground bait into the water to attract fish and keep them feeding.  Adding to the apparent madness, competitors often employ tiny size 16-20 hooks to target fish less than four-inches long, but must be ready to battle larger fish like carp on the same gear.

Six accomplished female anglers will represent the United States at the 24th Annual Ladies’ Match Fishing World Championships in Szolnok, Hungary, on August 26 and 27 of this year.  The first-ever USA Ladies Team has been assembled by the United States Angling Confederation (USAC), a non-profit organization granted authority to host and participate in World Championship Sport Fishing events through a varied network of international partnerships.

The team consists of Barb Carey, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson and Kristen Monroe of Wisconsin, Elise De Villiers and Penelope Smit of Florida, and Shelly Holland of Minnesota.  De Villiers and Smit are veteran match anglers, while Carey, Holland, Hudson, and Monroe will be competing in Hungary for the first time.

“Each of these outstanding women were selected for the team on their unique, individual merits,” says USAC’s U.S. Freshwater Fishing Sports Director, Mike McNett.  “These are all skilled anglers and Barb, Hannah, Kristen and Shelly are also established fishing industry professionals, which is a great help when it comes to generating the industry interest and support necessary for a new team. Elise and Penny have a good deal of competition experience and will be a tremendous help to the other ladies in shortening their learning curve and getting them ready to compete.”

“We don’t expect miracles,” says Team Coach, Attila Agh, a lifelong match angler from Hungary who moved to the United States 17 years ago and has since become a U.S. citizen. “Our competition has been fishing in this way for their entire lives, but I am very encouraged by the spirit our ladies are showing, their angling ability and their competitive nature.  They are learning the necessary skills that are new to them, and progressing quickly.” Coach Agh warns the international competition not to count the American ladies out.

The team agrees.

“It’s a real treat and privilege to be learning this new style of fishing with the goal of competing on an international stage,” says Barb Carey, founder of WI Women Fish.  Carry has, herself, been teaching people to fish for many years. “I guess the shoe’s on the other foot now!  We really want to be competitive, so we’re learning and practicing our new skills almost every day.”

De Villiers, who started her match-fishing career in the United States nearly 20 years ago, coached and fished on the South Africa ladies team in the FIPSed World Championships in 2012 and 2013.  “I’m very excited that the U.S.A. will have a team competing in Hungary this summer,” she says. “I’m enjoying getting to know these other wonderful ladies and helping to prepare them however I can. I’m extremely proud to be representing Team USA.”

In addition to maintaining a rigorous training schedule, the USA Ladies’ Match Fishing Team is raising money to offset equipment, training, travel and competition costs leading up to the competition in August.  Individuals and businesses interested in helping the team financially, are invited to make tax-deductible donations of any amount at http://www.gofundme.com/team-usa-ladies-match-fishing.

Bronze ($500), Silver ($1,000) and Gold ($2,000) level sponsorships providing sponsor logo placement and other various forms of recognition are also being offered.  Visit http://www.teamusafishing.org for more information, or join the conversation on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TeamUSALadiesMatchFishing/.

Media Contact: Hannah Hudson, Hannah@stonehousephoto.com

 

Forget the Last Arrow, Focus on the Next One

  • Leo’s Archer’s Dominate Accuracy Competition in NY
  • Michelle Zeller, Victoria Ruda win State Championships
  • Paul Calleri Inducted to NYFAB Hall of Fame

By Forrest Fisher

Humble trainer from Western New York, Bryan Zeller, also enjoys the rigors and self-discipline requirements of statewide competition.

The green light, the red light, the archer draws the bow string, heart pounding a bit, muscles straining a bit, remembering all the fine points to shooting an arrow that has an intended landing point.

Breath in.  Focus. Breath out. Hold.  Release.  THWACK!  

About 60 feet away, the soaring arrow ends flight, fletching’s wiggle in the distance.  It stops on a target spot that has significance for measuring accuracy skill of the shooter. 

The target center dot, the aiming point, is a mere one-inch or so in diameter, centered with a tiny “X”.

A tiny place for an arrow to find when it starts flight from a hand-held bow and arrow, especially in the setting of competition with other archers that share the same passion for shooting an arrow to find that same “X”.  It is a time for courage, a time for sharing and a time for humble thanks, win or lose.

In New York State, the competitive archery season just ended with the New York Field Archers and Bowhunters (NYFAB) State Championships in Oneonta, NY.  For individual archers that hail from Leo’s Archery Club in Western New York, observers might have to wonder what the secret is to training so well, as this group of individuals earned several titles and medals amidst heavy and stiff competition.  The group holds practice sessions at the indoor archery range located at West Falls Conservation Society in West Falls, NY, where members help each other fine tune their skills, and share learning sessions with others in the community that range in age from 5-years to 75 years old.  

A happy group of archers in training and competition, some young and not so young, enjoy the skill development sessions at the West Falls Conservation Society in West Falls, New York. Vicki Ruda Photo

NYFAB State Championships in their particular style were earned by Anthony Berti, Denton Lowe, Kiersten Mucha and Victoria Ruda.  Six other members won medals for placing in their divisions.

Happy Michelle Zeller earns a championship football during New York State NYFAB Competition. 

In the NYFAB Classic, first-place finishes were won by Denton Lowe, Kiersten Mucha, Victoria Ruda, Jon Zurek and Jim Ralston, in their respective categories.  Five other members also won medals with high rankings.

In NYFAB’s Superbowl Shoot (state-wide mail in shoot), some 20 Leo’s members competed.  Michelle Zeller and Victoria Ruda won championship footballs in their divisions.  Four other members brought home medals for placing.

In Western New York Championships held at Doc’s Archery Range, Leo’s Archer members brought home six first-place finishes in various divisions.

Also, there was a most notable lifetime achievement at Oneonta, as white-beard trainer and archery mentor for so many, Paul Calleri was inducted into the NYFAB Hall of Fame.  His friendly style and humble contributions were recognized by fellow archers for his many contributions to the organization of youth and adult archery, rules and regulations, meetings, competitive and fun shoots.  He is pictured with fellow Hall-of-Famer, Mark “doc” Irlbacher.

Bryan Zeller and his team of trainers have mentored kids and adults alike to discover and share in the fun of archery.  Zeller says, “Some of our students just enjoy a once-a-week shoot with us, some continue to want more and step up from simply shooting the bow for fun to try their hand at some of these competitions, a truly significant test of their developing skills.  Win or lose, they are all winners in my eyes.”     

White-beard archery mentor, Paul Calleri, was inducted into the NYFAB Hall of Fame, he is pictured here with fellow Hall-of-Famer, Mark “doc” Irlbacher.  Vicki Ruda Photo

With a warm-hearted training approach like that, maybe the reason for the success of this group under the pressure of competition is not difficult to understand. 

Hats off to all of Leo’s Archery Team from Western New York.  

Firearms Industry Economic Impact is UP 168% since 2008

  • Pittman-Robertson excise taxes for wildlife conservation UP 138%
  • State Business Tax Support UP 107%

The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that the total economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry in the United States increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $51.3 billion in 2016, a 168 percent increase, while the total number of full-time equivalent jobs rose from approximately 166,000 to more than 300,000, an 81 percent increase in that period, according to a report released April 10, 2017, by the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the industry’s trade association.

On a year over year basis, the industry’s economic impact rose from $49.3 billion in 2015 to $51.3 billion in 2016, a nearly 15 percent increase.

“Our industry is proud of its strong contribution to our economy as a growing number of Americans have chosen to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and to safely enjoy the shooting sports,” said Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF President and Chief Executive Officer. “In response to that growing market, we have increased our direct workforce dramatically over the last decade, adding jobs that pay an average of more than $50,000 in wages and benefits.  

In addition, since 2008 we increased federal tax payments by 156 percent, Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that support wildlife conservation by 138 percent and state business taxes by 107 percent.”

The Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report: 2017” provides a state-by-state breakdown of job numbers, wages and output covering direct, supplier and induced employment, as well as federal excise taxes paid.

Check out the data in this report: http://www.nssf.org/share/pdf/2017_Economicimpact.pdf.

 

 

Walleye in Lake Erie – Fishery Movement and Study

  • Fish are Tagged, Electronically Monitored for Movement
  • Angler Reward System ($100)
  • Cooperative Study: Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS)

By Forrest Fisher

Biologists throughout the Great Lakes are using science and technology to help understand the mysteries of Great Lakes fish, their health and their seasonal movements. NYSDEC Photo

Trained biologists and technicians implant acoustic transmitters to understand fish movements and how they relate to fishing effort and harvest. 

Walleye, lake trout and musky in eastern Lake Erie are netted, identified, tagged with a transmitter and released, then monitored to determine preferred spawning areas and habitat. 

The tagged fish are monitored by a network of acoustic receivers throughout Lake Erie.  Orange external loop tags identify fish that contain acoustic transmitters and offer a $100 reward when returned by an angler. 

This is one of 12 programs that the NYSDEC Lake Erie Fisheries Unit is has provided staff and study toward research and management of objectives for Lake Erie, Chautauqua County and Region 9 in New York State.

For many decades, knowledgeable eastern basin anglers (Russell Johnson, Elma, NY) pondered the idea with angler groups that walleye from the western basin might travel long distances and move to the eastern basin during summer weather to feed on plentiful rainbow smelt, emerald shiners and alewife schools of baitfish.   The color and shape of the migrating fish was slightly different in appearance according to some anglers in the late 1970’s.  Today, the 2010s plus, the forage base adds in the vast population of the round goby family.  Every predator fish seems to find this plentiful resource, perhaps an invasive species godsend that was not accepted as a stable forage base upon it’s early discovery a decade or two ago.

Trained biologists and technicians implant acoustic transmitters to understand fish movements and how they relate to fishing effort and harvest.  NYSDEC Photo

Today, we know from early metal fin-tagging studies and angler report data that walleye in the Great Lakes are known to move long distances through multiple fish and wildlife management jurisdictions.  Understanding fish movements and how they relate to fishing effort and harvest is essential when managing a complex, valuable, multijurisdictional fishery such as the Lake Erie walleye fishery.  Today, this can be accomplished in a more dynamic manner and in real time with in-the-water migratory data collection.

Beginning in spring 2015, New York State DEC biologists started to deploy acoustic receivers in the eastern basin of Lake Erie to monitor the timing, magnitude, demographics, and spatial extent of the western basin walleye migrants tagged on western basin spawning areas by Ohio DNR. Additionally, acoustic transmitters were surgically implanted into walleyes from eastern basin spawning aggregations to estimate spawning site fidelity and movement patterns of individual eastern basin spawning stocks.  

Orange external loop tags identify fish that contain acoustic transmitters and offer a $100 reward when returned by an angler.  NYSDEC Photo

The relative contribution of eastern basin walleyes to the mixed-origin fisheries in the eastern basin will be assessed by implanting acoustic tags in walleye captured in the eastern basin summer fishery.  Acoustic receivers are placed on known spawning areas in the spring and deployed in four lines spanning the eastern basin from north to south to monitor summer and fall movement.  Existing acoustic lines in the western and central basins will allow detection of the westward movement of walleye tagged as part of this study.

Participating organizations include New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Great Lakes Fishery Commission and Michigan State University.

Acoustic transmitters were surgically implanted into walleyes from eastern basin spawning aggregations to estimate spawning site fidelity and movement patterns of individual eastern basin spawning stocks. NYSDEC Photo

Project personnel are many, but key investigators include Jason Robinson (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) – jason.robinson@dec.ny.gov; Don Einhouse (New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation); Chuck Murray (Pennsylvania Fish And Boat Commission); Tom Macdougall (Ontario Ministry Of Natural Resources And Forestry); Chris Vandergoot (United States Geological Survey); John Dettmers (Great Lakes Fishery Commission) and Charles Krueger (Michigan State University).

The project is set to run from January 2015 through January 2019, receiving funding from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System. Federal and International tax dollars are at work here for a worthy environmental cause.

The information contained in this article and more information on these and other Great Lakes acoustic projects is available in greater detail at the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS) website.

 

 

Thermal Riflescopes from Pulsar (Part 1of 2)

  • Can Detect Heat Signatures more than 1,000 Yards Away
  • Works Both Day and Night
  • Picture-in-Picture Digital Zoom

By Forrest Fisher

All Apex riflescopes feature proprietary Picture-in-Picture digital zoom, letting shooters maintain a wild FOV while placing precise shots with confidence, 10 electronic reticles and 3 rifle profiles with 3 zeros per profile.

If you attended the SHOT Show earlier this year and you are a long-distance varmit shooter, the popular Apex line of thermal riflescopes from Pulsar was impressive.  Here is the lowdown on this new line of heat-detection zoom scopes.

From Mansfield, Texas, Apex now offers four, all new, upgraded models for 2017: Apex XQ38 (PL76417), Apex LRF XQ38 (PL76419), Apex XQ50 (PL76427) and Apex LRF XQ50 (PL76429).  Featuring improved high-resolution displays and new LRF models, the Apex series continues to deliver quality thermal imaging at down-to-earth pricing for the masses.

Detecting heat signatures up to 1,420 yards away at both day and night, the Apex XQ38 displays thermal images from its 384×288 resolution, 17µm pixel pitch core on a high-quality 640×480 AMOLED display.  Continuous and stepped zoom allow shooters to zoom in on targets at .1x increments or use quick 2x, 3x or 4x stepped zoom.

After listening to feedback from users in the field, a new LRF XQ38 model was added to the Apex lineup, enabling shooters to acquire precise target distances with a built-in laser rangefinder up to over 1,000 yards away.  Both XQ38 models feature variable 2.2-8.8x magnification and 32mm objective lenses.

Perfect for long-distance shooters, new Apex XQ50 2.8-11.2×42 models boast an impressive heat detection range of up to 1,750 yards.  The LRF XQ50 includes the same, accurate built-in laser rangefinder for gauging precise distances.

All Apex riflescopes feature proprietary Picture-in-Picture digital zoom, letting shooters maintain a wild FOV while placing precise shots with confidence, 10 electronic reticles and 3 rifle profiles with 3 zeros per profile.  Two CR123A batteries help the Apex achieve a 4.5 hour battery life (with video out off).  Included with all Apex thermals are: 2x CR123A, video/power cable, wireless remote control, weaver/picatinny mount, cleaning cloth, carrying case and hex wrench.

Visit Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to learn more about Pulsar® products.

About Pulsar : Every Pulsar device is designed, manufactured and tested to ensure demanding professionals receive the most reliable, most advanced thermal and digital night vision performance the industry has to offer. The result of Pulsar’s commitment to industry-leading excellence is consistent world-class quality, precision engineering, seamless device operation and cutting-edge proprietary software. Pulsar produces an array of advanced optical devices designed for law enforcement, security, home defense and hunting applications, including thermal imaging and digital night vision monoculars and riflescopes, night vision binoculars and goggles, rangefinders, IR flashlights and related accessories. To learn more about Pulsar, visit www.pulsarnv.com or call 817-225-0310.

 

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“Big-Bite Bait” Soft Plastics: Effective, Affordable

Part 1 of 3

  • Not Your Ordinary Soft Plastic Bait (Made in the USA)
  • How to Choose, What to Choose, How to Rig, How to Fish
  • Simple Hooks & Simple Jigs CATCH FISH
  • Tackle Warehouse has Sale Prices
Big Bite Baits are Made in the USA, they are affordable and they catch fish.

By Forrest Fisher

No matter where you live, north or south, everybody wants a “Hot Lure”.  If you fish, you never stop searching.

Walk into any bait shop or major tackle store today and you’ll see what no one else ever thought about a few decades ago.  Soft plastics.  There are hundreds of options for soft plastic lure baits and there is an endless assortment of colors, too. 

There is also an endless assortment of soft plastic baits that cost quite a lot – this keeps kids from fishing (my view).  Kids lose a few lures and they’re off to play football or soccer.  They can’t afford it.  Enter modern technology and Big Bait Lures. 

There are 16 color offerings for the Big Bite Baits arsenal for Squirrel-Tail Worms, the tail floats, this is a sort of gismo-worm that is truly a tantalizing fish-catcher in my experience. Forrest Fisher Photo

The state of the art in manufacturing process control has allowed Big Bite Baits to produce their soft plastic lures to sell at a very reasonable and affordable price to fit the pocketbook that even kids can afford.

Big Bite Baits produces soft plastics that are soft, firm, short, long, heavy, light, stiff – or not.  Some are smell fishy and they come in an assortment of affordable forms:

  • Creature bait
  • Worm bait  
  • Craw bait
  • Jerk bait
  • Shimmering tail baits
  • Grubs, Jig Baits and more

With all the choices, there is a lot to think about.  Why?  Well, we all need a standard bait and go-to bait, and it needs to be in the right size and right color for the place we are fishing.  Fishing right is a lot about lure selection.

For best selection, we need to pick the one way we most like to fish plastic baits, because there are a lot of ways.  Depending on the soft plastic bait type selected, there are lots of options.  You can thread the bait onto a jighead, rig it on a weighted or unweighted hook, depending on if we want it to sink fast, sink slow, or if we want to cast it short or far.  Is it windy?  Is it deep?  Are there snags or is it a sandy or gravel bottom? Tree limbs?  All these things count in what we pick to use.

Whatever type soft plastic you choose, it should be selected because it will fit the fishing style you like to fish with. It will be effective where you like to fish for when you fish and it will provide some capability to remain snag free.  And, it fits your budget (why I like Big Bite Baits).

These Big Bite Bait Stand-Up FinTwist Heads are the perfect solution for presenting the Squirrel-Tail Worm.

Let’s take one example.  I went looking on-line for a new sort of plastic worm just to show the fish where I frequently cast a line that there is something different.  I skipped over to Tackle Warehouse (http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/) and there they were, something I had never seen before: Squirrel–Tail Worms for under $3 for a package of 10.  That took care of my pocketbook budget.

These worms caught me with just one look.

Designed by Elite Series Pro, Jeff Kriet, the Big Bite Bait Squirrel Tail Worm first debuted on the television show “Day-On-The-Lake”.  Kriet says, “The Squirrel Tail Worm features a fat head for easy rigging and a buoyant rattlesnake tail, offering tantalizing tail action.  I wanted a worm that had a tail that stands up.  The tail is made to float, just the tail-end of the worm.  When I shake it and pull it, whenever I hit a rock, twig or trash, that is when I’ll throw slack in my line and try to shake it without moving it.  The floating tail has a subtle, tantalizing quiver that fish can’t resist.  They will bite this bait when they won’t bite anything else.  I think this will be the best shaky head bait ever made.”

Then I clicked over to Terminal Tackle (http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/termtack.html) and there they were, hook options: worm hooks, drop-shot hooks, swim bait hooks, slip weights and jigheads of many shapes and functions.  I was looking for a stand-up head jig hook (sort of like a Shakey Head) that would work with these new worms.  There they were, a 4-pack for under $3. Their official name is Big Bite Bait Stand-Up FinTwist Heads.

How to rig the Squirrel Tail: Bend the screw retainer near the head of the worm to be relatively in-line with the hook point, then simply thread the head of the worm onto the screw retainer, adjust the angle of the worm and place the hook into the body so it is straight and in-line, and covers the hook point. Weedless and a Killer-Lure.

A short review right on their web page showed these affordable jigheads come equipped with super-sharp Gamakatsu hooks, the specially shaped head helps them stand up on the bottom and dance with the slightest twitch of the rod.  The convenient screw-lock bait keeper also allows you to rig a finesse worm (like the new squirrel tail worm) perfectly every time, and a horizontal line eye helps resists snags.  They are available in multiple sizes, but the 1/8 ounce size allows you to deliver killer finesse presentations.  The Gamakatsu hooks will deliver solid hooksets, most anglers know that.   

Cast it out, doesn’t have to be far.  Let it go to bottom, wait 5-10 seconds. Lift up slightly on your rod tip and lightly jiggle it for 1-2 seconds or so.  Wait, watch the line.  Is it moving off?  If so, set the hook, if nothing, not a problem, we’re fishing. Move the rod to achieve a tip-jiggle action and reel in about 2-3 feet as you jiggle. Right before you stop, hop the bait with a 1-2 foot rod tip swing.  Let it settle to bottom and give it complete slack line. Watch the line.  The tail is now floating vertically upward as result of your last movement. It’s quivering.  Usually, by now, the line moves off if a fish is interested. WHAM!  Set the hook.  If not, continue until you reach your feet, sometimes they are right at your feet as you fish from shore or boat.

There you have it.  Where to get started, where to get the affordable baits and hooks, how to rig it and now you need to do the rest. Get out there!

Squirrel tail worms catch all sizes, but getting kids started first with small fish and affordable, effective baits is a good idea.

 

 

 

Inshore Canals & Flats for Saltwater Fishing Fun

  • Snook, Redfish & Tarpon Highlight Spring Action
  • New LiveTarget Swimbait Lures are Killer Baits
  • Use Light Line, Strong Leader
  • Incoming Tide = Angler Advantage
The new Swim Bait that has caught fire with guides and everyday anglers that fish saltwater for snook, redfish and other species, is the LiveTarget Scaled Sardine, shown here. Just throw it in and reel it back, it sinks about one foot per second until you start the retrieve.

By Forrest Fisher

Winter has not been the same this year anywhere in the country.  Minnesota lost much of their ice by early March, Tennessee and Kentucky bass and crappie fishing turned on early, and in Florida, the steady rise in water temperatures on both the Gulf and the Ocean has led to non-stop action for many anglers.  Fun fishing!

Fishing with a fishing mentor and local veteran of the Florida saltwater fishing, Jim Hudson, I have learned so much about the nature of fish habits, baitfish preferences, lures that feeding fish prefer, line color, lure color, hook size and little things that make the difference between fish on the line or no fish at all.

The short spring snook season started on March 1 and runs through April, with the size limit in Florida waters regulated by location.  In southwest Florida, the slot limits for snook is not less than 28 inches and not more than 33 inches, with a one-fish daily bag. 

Jim Hudson says, “Slot limits for speckled trout have allowed a resurgence in Florida trout numbers and even the smaller fish will slam a swim bait, making for fast and fun fishing action.”

Hudson took the time to teach me about lines, leaders and lures, using little, lightweight jigs for speckled trout, surface baits for redfish and swim-tail lures for snook.   On my first mid-morning cast toward a dock on the canal system near Ponce de Leon State Park, my LiveTarget lure hit the water and I didn’t even move the lure one-inch when a gutsy snook slammed the bait.  He thrashed all around the dock and I had trouble keeping him out of the pilings there, but the 7-foot St. Croix rod and Daiwa reel held up their end and I was able to bring the fish to the boat where Jim carefully slipped his rubber-coated (no harm) under the spirited fish.  We released the slick fighter to grow a bit bigger for next year.

The hot lure was a LiveTarget scaled-sardine swimbait, new last year, it swims just like a real live fish bait.  It’s soft and lively, is the right color, and offers a snag-free design with an above-body hook point location.  The heavy, strong, Gamakatsu EWG (Extra-Wide Gap) hook makes it perfect for big saltwater fish, but as most saltwater flat anglers know, even smaller saltwater fish will slam a big bait.  I use this rule though, big fish like big baits – they hate to waste energy.   See this video on how a bass fishing pro describes the many features of this exciting new lure:  https://youtu.be/gaNEmPQUF3c.

I picked up the two sizes that come in this color pattern, a 3-1/2 inch model (½ ounce) and the bigger 4-1/2 inch model (1-ounce) that casts into the wind with no problem.  With a unique “oscillator-design” tail, they both swim like the real thing.  I tie the lure direct with a Uni-Knot from a 4-5 foot long length of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader that is fastened to very thin 10-pound test braid with a Double Uni-Knot.

For more about this hot bait, there are two videos and more technical info about product description from our friends at Tackle Warehouse: http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/.  My basic descriptions end with, “They work.”

For more about how to tie the Uni-Knot, visit our knowledgeable fishing friends at Salt Strong in this well-done video: https://youtu.be/MtCKGnZwOb0.  Salt Strong offers many excellent fishing tip videos and a “How-To-Fish” training course that is among the best I have ever viewed.

Some of the “smart-angler” folks use the FG-Knot to tie their braid to the fluorocarbon leader, but I have always used the Uni-Knot because it is easier to tie, though the FG Knot is smaller in physical size.  This might be important if you fish with a Reaper fishing rod, which offers a high-performance rod guide that enables truly long casts and you want to keep the knot friction to an absolute minimum.

Jim Hudson has used the same LiveTarget swimbait lure for fast action along the saltwater front and hooked into other species.   Hudson adds, “Don’t be afraid to add a little red color from a magic marker near the throat section of any lure when action is slow and the water is super-clear, this can make a difference.  Then just rub a little fish-scent over it to hide any offensive odor.”

Local anglers and many guides use a cast net to capture live pilchards and pinfish, then tail-hook the live bait with a circle hook and toss into the incoming tide current with the same line-rod-reel rig.  This set-up will usually fool even the most finicky fish and the circle hook prevents gut hooking so the fish can be released unharmed.

Using the LiveTarget swimbait lures also allows the fish to be released unharmed, since the EWG hook is set around the jawbone of the fish.  Kayak anglers, boat anglers or wading anglers can effectively and successfully throw this bait.  In the salt, you could get a new arm-stretch and rod-bend very soon.

The mullet color in the LiveTarget swimbait lure is especially made as an easy-to-catch forage species for several larger predator species such as Redfish, Snook and Tarpon.

Right now, the redfish are schooling, the snook are moving into shore-fishing canal zones and under the piers at night, and the sheepshead have been schooled and active for about 6-7 weeks now.

Releasing the little ones….fishery conservation measures have allowed the Snook fishery across Florida saltwater zones to regain their predator prominence with slot limit and bag limit regulations. Jim Hudson Photo

The sheepshead prefer live bait shrimp pieces fished off a 2-hook chicken rig or a simple red-head jig hook.

For redfish, switch your swimbait to the new LiveTarget mullet color and hang on.  This is a species-focused bait color that can tear up a tight fish school.  Fish on the feed will race to get the bait first.  On the right day, action like that is in the memory book for all time.

Local tackle shops carry the bait if you need it right now, but sometimes they might not have the favorite colors you want.  When fishing the Gulf of Mexico southwest Florida, I always stop in to Fishing Frank’s Bait & Tackle on Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte, Florida.  The staff submits copy to four different periodicals each week! They also sponsor a radio show and are in the swing on where to go and what to fish each day. 

If you can’t find your “right color”, then hop on-line and head for our friends at Tackle Warehouse: http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/. 

“Big swim baits catch big fish, big fish will not waste energy feeding 20 times when they can feed once and be done,“ says Jim Hudson.  He ought to know, this Georgia native, now Florida resident, catches more fish from the salt than anyone I know.  Anglers in the know, share with others that want to learn.  Hats off to Hudson, since I always want to learn.

Tight lines.  

 

 

Start Early to Learn Blackpowder for 2017 Hunting Season

• Part 2 of 2
• CVA Video – About Blackpowder Bullets
• New Sabots vs. Old Ball Bullets, Details

By Forrest Fisher
While there are many other blackpowder firearm models that cost much more, the Optima™ Pro 209 Magnum Break-Action represented the state-of-the-art blackpowder gun building technology when I got started about a decade ago. They make the same model today with even more improvements.

To simplify blackpowder firearm use, watch this video on how to load and shoot a blackpowder rifle, it’s about 4-minutes in length, from CVA:

The Optima Pro 209 barrel is an impressive 29″ inches in length and is fully fluted at 1:28. This provides plenty of barrel to burn “magnum” charges. At the same time, the overall rifle length and weight remain comfortable and easy to handle. The firearm is furnished in the box with Dura-Bright™ fiber optic sights that are all metal, with fully protected fibers, just in case you choose not to add a scope. The fiber optics are guaranteed for life. The neat thing about the Optima family of rifles is that they offer the option of barrel length (26 – 29 inches) for special game and shooting considerations. The barrel options also include nickel or matte blue color.

Based on the volume of “blackpowder jargon” everywhere we travel, it seems the new blackpowder hunting boom took off for good and it is now accepted as another great way to hunt big game. Local stores can’t keep some popular models in stock during hunting season, which is why I’m sharing this now. Experts at local stores say, “The new break-action designs bring the bore cleaning activity into a more reasonable scheme that a larger population of hunters are now willing to accept. Before models like this, cleaning a blackpowder barrel could take an hour, now it’s only a few minutes. Big difference.”

I checked with local stores where I live in Western New York to learn more about the blackpowder grain and blackpowder pellet options. One counter gentleman was a chemist in a previous life and said, “Blackpowder is really a formula combination of many elements including salt peter, charcoal and Sulphur. It is very dirty when burned and must be cleaned from the barrel the same day it is shot or serious oxidation (rusting) will occur.” That’s why, today, the two new blackpowder substitutes, Pyrodex and Triple Seven, have become the most popular blackpowder fuels. Both made by the Hodgdon Powder Company, the Pyrodex is also available in an easy to use “Pyrodex Pellet”, with 30, 50 and 60 grain pre-formed pellets available.

With two 50 grain pre-formed Triple Seven pellets stacked in series, a 225 grain Powerbelt sabot bullet will deliver about 2000 feet per second from the Optima™ Pro 209. That’s what I use. The end of the pre-formed pellets is coated with an ignition compound for easy start once the primer is ignited by a trigger pull.

Bottom line? Muzzleloading is fun and affordable. The new in-lines will allow older black powder traditionally styled rifles to be recognized in modern focus too, thereby allowing growth of the sport. In my travels to learn as much as possible in the shortest time on this subject, I discovered a very helpful book “SUCCESSFUL MUZZLELOADER HUNTING” written by Pete Schoonmaker. The author covers all the various styles of muzzleloader guns, the different muzzleloader hunting projectiles, various powders, plus safety and proper loading techniques, including older style ignition system and the hot 209 primer ignition in-line system. The book is a 144-page paperback book with 150 color photographs through 20 chapters to include hunting strategy, planning, and identification of the most common muzzleloading problems and issues. Amazon carries the book in used versions for under a dollar. Yep, true.

Even though blackpowder shooting is over 300 years old, it is still growing! Not only is it a thrilling sport, it is fascinating too. According to field representatives at Connecticut Valley Arms, “For some hunters and shooters, blackpowder hunting opens a whole new way of life. “ I can believe that, after watching how these new firearms perform at the target range.
The use of a modern muzzleloader combines a respect for traditional American hunting standards with the technology of today. A good blend for developing and nurturing newcomers to the blackpowder world, and for an appreciation of our pioneering past.

Share the outdoors with someone that would like to know more about the outdoors, but is afraid to ask.
Be safe.

Educational Fly Fishing Conference – It’s About Kids

• Learn Fly-Fishing, 3-Day Session, Low Cost
• For Teachers, Everyday Workers, Friends of the Outdoors
• Schooling for Adult Mentors, Community Outreach Mentors
• Science Educator, Orvis Endorsed Guide Instructor

By Forrest Fisher
The summer of 2012 – it was a good year. A very special, dedicated group of outdoor educators held the first and only national interdisciplinary fly fishing conference, and this bi-annual nationwide community outreach effort continues in June, 2017.

Designed especially for professional educators that teach school-age children, the Children in the Stream extends an invitation to community education and company training instructors alike, through an intensive 3-day conference that will train adults about the outdoors through the fun of fly fishing. The conference will introduce methods for instructors to manage effective sharing and teaching skills necessary to integrate this idea to meet curriculum requirements for community schools, organizations and company training platforms.

The course is comprised of comprehensive workshops that use fly fishing as the foundation for investigating science, math, English language arts, visual arts and community outreach. This truly unique interdisciplinary approach is possible because of the eclectic expertise of participants and the commitment from instructors.

The conference is presented by Dr. Mike Jabot and Alberto Rey. Dr. Jabot is a renowned professor in science education who is a member of NASA’s international educator’s team and who has received many teaching awards. Alberto Rey provides his extensive experience as a humble Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide, as a distinguished university professor in visual arts, and as the founder and director of a successful 18-year old youth fly fishing program.

Children in the Stream provides the instruction, materials and means of acquiring discounted equipment needed to implement the participant’s own customized interdisciplinary fly fishing curriculum or to start a youth fly fishing program in a community protocol. The truly unique programming also meets the needs of school’s that utilize common core learning standards. The instructors address how to realize the participant’s goals while working within limited budgets. The interdisciplinary workshops of the conference promote a holistic integration of conservation and community involvement that will help to nurture future stewards of our natural resources. The ultimate goal is to develop the interest of our youth for the outdoors and provide them with an appreciation and more complete understanding of their environment.

The conference is held at the beautiful Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, New York. Roger Tory Peterson was an ornithologist who developed the “Field Guide to the Birds” and other field guides, and he inspired and “instructed” millions of bird-watchers and helped foster concerns for our environment around the world. In 1984, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History was founded in Peterson’s hometown of Jamestown, New York, as an educational institution charged with preserving Peterson’s lifetime body of work and providing environmental programming.

The conference this year will take place on June 27, 28 and 29. The cost for the three-day conference is $350 which includes instruction in the classroom, instruction in the field, fly rod outfits, fly-tying kits and reference publications. The low conference fee is available because of private grants and donations from the Dreamcatcher Foundation and the Orvis retail company.
For information about the schedule and comments about Children in the Stream by previous participants, please go to http://www.childreninthestream.com/. Please share this with a friend.

Deepwater Amberjack Attack!

• Sanibel Island & Fort Myers – Hot Winter/Spring Fishing
• Yellowtail Fishing – Like Munching Popcorn, Want More!
• Offshore Structure, Forage – Where Fish Giants Grow

By Forrest Fisher
“Good morning! Welcome aboard!” Captain Ryan Kane said in a confident and cheerful voice. “Welcome to Sanibel Marina. It’s going to be a great day, the weather is perfect. Meet my first mate, this is Kasey, he is also a charter captain.”

The morning sunrise provided a splash of orange and yellow color, there were beautiful long shadows, birds were tweeting the way God intended, baitfish were slurping about on the surface everywhere, and an occasional dolphin could be seen just under the surface too. Another great winter day in southwest Florida was awakening. The sweet smell of morning saltwater fog was lifting above the quiet waterfront at Sanibel Marina in Lee County, Florida, near Fort Myers.

As Captain Kane (Southern Instinct Charters, www.southerninstinct.com) turned the ignition key to start his three (yes, three) 250 HP Yamaha 4-stroke engines on the transom, we knew this day would somehow be special. Captain Kane maneuvered the sleek 36-foot center-console Contender from the boat slip to the nearby bait shop dock to pick up his regular order of 10-dozen large live shrimp. The 50-gallon aerated saltwater bait-well was ready.

Just then, a humble voice with a giant sea-experience smile beckoned us to join him for a short talk about fishing details for the day. First mate, Kasey Szereski, had fishing gear in hand as he explained how the rods, reels and lines would be rigged for the fishing day ahead. He kept it simple, “We’re going to use lightweight jigs, simple chicken rigs and our secret chum to attract and catch Yellowtail Snapper,” he said. He voice bolstered confidence.

We were on board with good friends from Western New York, Bill Hilts and his beautiful wife, Sandy, and all of us were really happy that we could finally find some time to get together in the outdoors with a fishing line in the Florida sunshine. The first thing the girls asked was, “Is there a bathroom aboard?” Captain Ryan showed the ladies that there was a secret hold with entry from a door in front of the console that went below decks, and there was actually a walk-in “Johnny”. The girls were relieved.

Kasey continued, “We might also find some Grouper and a few other reef species of fish, including Amberjack, Cobia, Barracuda and others, sometimes sharks are nearby too. We’ll adjust to what we find and there is one thing we can guarantee, you’re going to have a great time!”

It didn’t take long to reach our destination 65 miles offshore, a communications tower rig in 70 feet of water. The water was clear and deep blue in color, and it was so smooth with little wind. Shore was not visible and it also seemed mysterious and sacred all at the same time. It was exciting.

The supporting structure at the base of the tower rested on the bottom of the Gulf, creating a matrix of fish-holding runways, complete with schools of various snapper species, blue runners, forage and all of the villains of the deep sea nearby. That included barracuda, amberjack, sharks and more.

“The fish we’re looking for are in and around the base and legs of the tower structure,” said Captain Ryan, “All we have to do is get them up here to us, so we’re going to anchor and use our secret chum to lure them out. The rest will be lots of fun for all of you.” It sounded like a great plan.

The boat was anchored with 300 feet of line and the chumming process commenced. Baitfish arrived in minutes and the fish that feed on baitfish were following. We flipped out tiny 1/16 ounce jigs with painted yellow-head jigs and live shrimp into the gentle tide current and down into the chum stream using open-face spinning reels. They were light rigs with 20-pound braided line and short fluorocarbon leaders.

It took just a few minutes for the first fish to slam the bait. From then on, it was fish frenzy. We caught fish, including Blue Runners and giant Yellowtail Snapper, most of the day. It was such fun. With either species, it took about 4 to 10 minutes to land them from the deep, they were powerful fighters. About half the time, we would get the fish half way to the boat and then a giant amberjack, cobia, shark or barracuda – some as long as 5-feet, would grab them and take off. The reels were screaming, our sore arms spoke of the rigor.

The Yellowtail were beautiful and big, some were 5 and 6 pounds each, much larger than the usual near-shore catch of the same species. These are fish that are considered among the most tasty for the dinner plate and we confirmed that the next day.

Since we were loosing so many blue runners and Yellowtail to the other predator fish, the crew decided to use one of the blue runners for a test bait trial. Using wire leader and a specially rigged hook set, the bait rig was attached to a level-wind Penn reel loaded with 200-lb test sinking line.

That worked great! We hooked up with 5 or 6 of the amberjack brutes, some of those getting chomped off by sharks. At the end of the day, Rose landed the big fish of the day, a 64 pound Amberjack, one of five or six that we played, but we lost the others, they’re a tough fish to land. She talked to the fish during the 30-minute battle in a lingo I have never heard in our 47 years of wedded bliss, “Get your silly tail in this boat, I’m a grandma, listen to me you big fish!” There might have been one or two other slurred words in there too. Then the drag would scream again, and after an arm-wrenching 30-minute battle, Kasey slipped the gap below the surface to capture the catch.

Above all this fun, we watched at least three other boats that had made the run to this offshore area, none of them had even on single hookup. Our captain knew what he doing and his expertise was plain to realize by all of us on the boat. We kept only the tasty fish, the ice cooler held several good meals.

Yellowtail Snapper fishing at its finest with my old friend, Bill Hilts (right), and two of the many fish we landed on one sunny winter day near Fort Myers, Florida.

It was an incredible fishing day and a day that all of us will never forget. That was about three weeks ago, Rose shared, “You know, I’m still flying so high from that big fish, it was so much fun.” Everlasting adrenalin moments in our memories is what having such fun in the outdoors is all about.

Winter in southwest Florida offers many opportunities and there are direct flights from many major cities to the Fort Myers airport. Just think, you could be here in a few hours just doing what you like to do.

Also nearby, there is much natural park wildlife to see, bring your camera. There is one place of special interest for history buffs, the summer homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. You can learn more about that here: http://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/. Until we came here, I never knew these two American icons were good friends.

Life in winter can be fun if you take the time to get away from the snow. For more about the beaches and other sites to see, visit https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/.

White Deer Foresee Good News for Future

• White Male Deer, White Female Deer, Come Together
• Indians Say this is Sacred and Special Sign

By Forrest Fisher
People everywhere are interested to see distinguished nature in the wilderness, white deer are one of those precious resources that create a sacred and reciprocal bond with nature for many of us. White deer are awe-inspiring with their simple, raw beauty.

In East Aurora, New York, photographer Theresa Meegan has introduced the nature world to the 10-year old Albino deer that has lived in this village and is frequently seen by passers-by that slow their vehicles to take a double look at the beautiful animal. The deer provides a true measure of special life in nature that survive in the wild outdoors and live long lives.

Now imagine hundreds of white deer, wild in nature, that live in deer herds all in the same place. That would be nearly incomprehensible, right? But there is such a place, though the white deer there are not Albino. The white deer found at Seneca Army Depot in central New York are a natural variation of white-tailed deer which normally exhibit brown coloring.

The Seneca White Deer are leucistic, which means they lack all pigmentation of the hair, but have the normal brown-colored eyes. Albino deer, which lack only the pigment melanin, have pink eyes (or blue eyes) and are extremely rare – like the one in East Aurora.

The Seneca White Deer interbreed freely with the brown deer in the former U.S. Army Seneca Depot there and appear to share the habitat equally. The ambassador to save the white herd at the Depot has been an old outdoor friend, Dennis Money. The Depot was a fenced-in area that kept these deer together as a giant family where hunting was usually not permitted, except for management purposes several decades ago way back to the years after World War II.

The Seneca white deer now number about 200 of the approximately 800 whitetail deer within the old Depot fence. The future of the deer, as well as the rest of the wildlife in the former Depot Conservation area had been dependent on how the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) decided to use the 10,000 acre site, previously released for public sale by the Army. Concern by outdoor lovers of the special deer breed was high.

For about a decade or so, the home range of this special white deer herd was at risk of commercial development. The species would have been eliminated over future years, but today, the world’s largest herd of all-white deer has a new champion with Earl Martin, the new owner of the Depot land.

Martin, owner of Seneca Iron Works and Deer Haven Park LLC in Seneca Falls, bought the 7,000-acre site earlier this year, located within the Seneca County towns of Romulus and Varrick. His $900,000 offer included saving the celebrated deer herd and was unanimously approved by the Seneca IDA. That was good news that made all of the laborious and extended extraordinary efforts of Dennis Money worth all the effort. Money and Martin have saved the special deer herd.

Martin has arranged to plant more vegetation to make sure the deer have enough to eat, engaged repairs to the miles and miles of chain-link fence that surround the property, hired an ecologist to survey the land and to come up with an overall plan to ensure the white deer herd’s survival, and he has increased security patrols to keep poachers off the land.

Learn much more about the nature of this special deer herd, including how to visit the area and be charmed and inspired by these deer, visit this link: http://senecawhitedeer.org/.

According to the site, Native Americans have a long history of respect for white deer which are sometimes referred to as the ‘ghost deer.’ The Lenape Indians have a white deer prophesy. Here is an oral translation of that prophesy: “It has long been predicted that there would come a time when a white male and white female deer would be seen together, and that this would be a sign to the people to come together.’

They were way ahead of us. Despite issues that we see as a nation trying to rebuild in many ways, it seems high time for people to come together.

IFA Redfish Tour Opens in Charlotte County, Florida

• Brandon Buckner & Mark Sepe Win $30,000 Top Prize
• Micro-Power Pole was Key for Heavy Wind
• Schooled Fish: In Sandbar/Grassbed Potholes
• Scented Soft-Plastics and Topwater Baits Most Effective

By Forrest Fisher
The weather provided an extra challenge for competitive Redfish anglers as the 2017 Inshore Fish Association kicked off the Redfish powerboat tournament season on Saturday, March 4, 2017, in the surprisingly clear Gulf of Mexico waters near Punta Gorda, Florida.

The surprise factor for the day was the screaming northeast wind at 25 to 40 mph, unusual for this part of Florida, as it caused thunderous waves to crash the famed “West Wall” of Charlotte Harbor and farther south to Pine Island Sound. The breezy airstream forced the hardy redfish anglers to head for shelter and cover, but they had to run the surf to get there. Many took the time to battle the wave crests and power their rigs from Laishley Park in Punta Gorda to quieter Charlotte County waters near the small island paradise and discreet shoreline structure of Turtle Bay and Gasparilla Sound, near Placida.

Brandon Buckner and Mark Sepe took home the big prize with their two top fish tipping the scales at a whopping 14.57 pounds on the troublesome weather day when, unlike practice day, many anglers had trouble finding fish.

The top prize for the winners was impressive, cashing in their fish bag for a brand new RB190 Ranger boat, Mercury 4-Stroke motor, Minn Kota Trolling motor, Hummingbird Helix Sonar, cash and more, for a total purse of $29,530. The top five places also took home a $50 gift certificate from Boca Bearing. Because Buckner and Sepe had a boat equipped with a Power Pole and they won the tournament, they also won an additional $400 check from Power Pole. Both said they would not have been able to catch a fish on this day without it.

Brandon Buckner and Mark Sepe with their two top fish tipping the scales at a whopping 14.57 pounds, took home the top prize that included a brand new Ranger boat package and cash worth nearly $30,000. Forrest Fisher Photo

Buckner and Sepe methodically fished potholes they found on sandy bars and grass flats, using a Micro Power Pole to assure their boat-holding position, attributing a large part of their win to the efficiency of their Power Pole. Buckner said, “My partner was definitely the vacuum cleaner on the front of the boat, I was just the key net man. We used soft plastics and jig heads, casting and retrieving through the potholes and wind.” Mark Sepe added, “We especially want to thank Power Pole, Yamaha, Costa Del Mar and Bossman Boats.”

The Budweiser team of Chris Slattery and Dave Hutchinson took home 2nd Place with 14.23 pounds for a $4755 cash prize, catching nine Redfish through the day on gold color lures. They explained that several boats fished near them through the day, but that they had dry shore on one side and were able to control their fish zone very well that way.

The competitive field was comprised of 89 power boat teams vying for top honors. The weigh-in was exciting with a well-supported local crowd cheering on the hearty anglers, some with sore backs, as they came to the scales. Some fishermen travelled to compete from as far away as Houston, Texas.

Third place went to Matt Tramontana and T.R. Finney with 14.17 pounds good for $2141 cash prize, fourth place to Karl Butigan and Steven Phillips with 13.99 pounds, good for $2141 – and Phillips landed an extra $500 for the biggest redfish of the day; fifth place went to Ryan Rickard and Dustin Tillet with 13.66 pounds good for $2188 that included a payout from the Angler Advantage prize pool.

In all, some $49,134.24 was paid out to the top 17 teams in merchandise and prizes for this Punta Gorda event.

Redfish Tournament Weigh-in
All the redfish entered were checked for legal size prior to weigh-in, with all of the fish maintained alive and returned to the harbor waters to fight another day. Forrest Fisher Photo

Colorful tournament director, Eric Shelby, had the crowd ooh-ing, ah-ing and cheering, holding their attention with details as he introduced each angler team that entered the weigh station. Anglers placed their fish in a special live-fish bag, then into a life-sustaining aerator tank before they went to the length verification station and the official on-stage weighmaster scale. Many of the anglers shared an occasional humble fishing secret with local fishermen and onlookers.

All the fish entered were released back to the Peace River waters of Charlotte Harbor above the Route 41 bridges to live another day. Conservation is alive and well with IFA competitors and it is only proper in this case here, as Punta Gorda leads the state in developing juvenile fisheries habitat with their highly successful Reef Ball Project for public piers, private docks and open water. Proof that the county, the state and the fishermen are conservation-minded and work together to accomplish their goals in Punta Gorda and it’s working.
Fishing techniques and tactics were simple for many of the anglers. Gear was simple too, but the gear was top of the line that typically included 7-foot long fast-tip rods, open-face ball-bearing spinning reels, 12-20 pound test braided main line, fluorocarbon leaders of 10-20 pound test and strong knots.

Kyle Potts and Shane Erhardt Team Tito's
Team Tito powered by expert anglers, Kyle Potts and Shane Erhardt, who received family weigh-in support here, made a 20-mile one-way run to catch 12.90 pounds in waters protected from the nasty wind for a 9th place finish.. Forrest Fisher Photo

Kyle Potts and Shane Earhart, among top fish-catchers for the day, shared fishing day details that were common for many other anglers, as well. Potts says, “We made about a 20-mile run from port in the morning, first fishing the East Wall side before crossing the harbor, the harbor was pretty rough. We fished sandy and grass-bottom potholes in one to three feet of water.” When asked about their fishing gear, Potts added, “We like our Dan James custom rods with Shimano Stradic CI-4/4000FA reels and 10-pound test braid to throw Berkley Gulp 6-inch jerk baits.”

Brandon Spears Eddie Parrot
Brandon Spears and Eddie Parrot caught a large mixed bag of fish that included redfish, speckled trout and snook using Berkley Gulp jerkbaits with lightweight jigheads. Forrest Fisher Photo.

Eddie Parrot and Brandon Spears fished about 20 miles to the north and west, near Placida, weighing in 12.14 pounds for 13th place.  Parrot shared, “We used our Ranger 16-foot Phantom, Berkley Gulp plastics and top-water lures, 12-pound braided line with short one-foot fluorocarbon leaders of 20-pound test to catch fish.  We use a Bimini Twist for attaching the braid to the fluorocarbon, then a Palomar knot to attach the lure.  We caught a nice mixed bag of 6 redfish, 8 speckled trout and a nice snook.  One really important thing here, without our Power Pole, the day would have been lost in this wind.”  Spears added, “The 3-4 inch Berkley soft plastics with 1/8 ounce jig heads were effective, though we also used weighted hooks for some of the soft baits and had a nice day out there.”
Eric Shelby said, “The winning teams did well to score like they did.  This was a tough day for fishing.  During practice day, these guys caught hundreds and hundreds of fish, today the strong northeast winds have moved the water far offshore and has made getting into the backwaters a lot tougher.  Most of the guys ran north toward Gasparilla with the wind.  The boats are launched sequentially in the morning to avoid accidents and the anglers have a 15 minute grace period when they return before penalties are incurred.  It was nice to see the local crowd here to support the event.”

For more in the Inshore Fishing Association (IFA), visit: http://www.ifatours.com/.

Women-On-Ice Have Fun, Catch Fish, Conquer Fear at Mille Lacs

All Photo Credits ©Stonehouse Photo – Hannah Stonehouse Hudson

• Women Fish Group Leads Way in Minnesota
• Ice Fishing is Giant Thrill for Lady 1st Timers
• Clam, McQuoid’s Inn, Vexilar – Key Sponsors

By Forrest Fisher

Let’s face it, walking on water is fun for everybody, especially first-time ice anglers and especially when very special travel gear is required to get there.  Folks with a physical mobility challenge rarely have a chance to consider ice fishing, but with The Women Ice Angler Project (http://theiceangler.com/) on Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota and chief ice-fishing mentor, Barb Carey, at the helm, impossible is not in the dictionary.  Anything is possible with Carey, a humble expert angler and founder of the Wi-Women-Fish Group (Wisconsin Women Fish, http://wiwomenfish.com/) and Barb Carey Media Productions (http://www.barbcarey.com/).

For special guest team member, Ashlee Lundvall, an author, public speaker and people motivator, someone who is challenged every day to move about, there was special thrill and excitement with the thought of ice fishing.  Lundvall used her Action Track All Terrain Wheelchair (http://www.actiontrackchair.com) to get around on the ice surface and through the snow.  While the wheelchair unit can travel up to 10 miles at 3-4 mph and is electrical battery powered, after watching Lundvall, some said that the unit is powered by the Lundvall positive attitude engine.  This incredible lady angler is not deterred by adversity.

Lundvall had never been ice fishing before, so receiving an invitation from Carey was very special.  She admits that there was apprehension in consideration of her first ever ice fishing adventure and shared, “My goal was to learn everything I could.  I wheeled away with so much more than knowledge.  I gained the feeling of teamwork and empowerment, and a desire to help women everywhere (of any ability) experience the thrill of ice fishing.”

Bonnie Timm, Clam pro staff angler and participant in all three Women Ice Angler Project events said, “There were so many things I felt were ‘too big’ for me: Mille Lacs was too big, towing my snowmobile seven hours by
myself, hauling all my own gear, even leading our group across a huge ice heave.  Not long ago it all would have been ‘too big,’ but the confidence I’ve gained with this group has helped me so much.  My motivation grew even more when I met Ashlee and watched her accomplish so many things.  She lives with no fear.”

The lady icer’s with short rods and sharp hooks enjoyed accommodations in comfort at McQuoid’s Inn (www.mcquoidsinn.com), with winter service on the ice from Mac’s Twin Bay (www.macstwinbay.com).

The lady icers put the new Clam Big Foot XL6000T (http://clamoutdoors.com/) shelter to good use.  The Clam Big Foot is a hub-style, pop-up weather shelter they used for Ashlee and her Action-Track Wheelchair that provides 112 square feet of fishable area.  Access is via one side that hinges open, allowing easy entry and exit for anglers and a powered wheelchair. “Ashlee could drive right in without a barrier,” said Carey.

Carey adding, “Mille Lacs is a fish structure wonderland with so many places to fish, it was hard to choose from so many options, but with all of our shacks we had the mobility to get where we wanted to drill more holes. That’s what makes ice fishing a success.”

Mac’s Twin Bay road system built a special bridge for the group to allow the lady ice anglers access across a large crack.  While on the move to another side of the lake, the group discovered their own ice heave with open water; that put a lump in everyone’s throat—but the fear didn’t stop them.  Each was schooled in ice safety and carried picks and a throw rope.  They also carried a life-saving Nebulus, a compact bag that inflates from a CO2 canister.

The Nebulus Emergency Flotation Device (https://nebulusflotation.com) is a compact, portable life-saving tool engineered for ice and water rescue.  The Nebulus is small and light enough on a snowmobile or ATV, it inflates in seconds, helping a rescuer reach the victim quickly and pull them to safety. Fully inflated, it can support up to three adults and a submerged snowmobile or ATV.

With no mishaps, these lady anglers forged ahead using common sense and safe ice skills to carry on—and they caught big, healthy walleyes and northern pike.  Even a Tullibee, to win the dinosaur booby prize.

The goal of the Women Ice Angler Project is to encourage women to try ice fishing as well as to mentor those who already enjoy it and want to improve their skills. “The other side of what we’re doing is to move the industry forward showing more women ice anglers,” said award-winning outdoor photographer, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson.  “We’re living this incredible dream, pursuing a sport we love.  It’s good to have the stories and the photos to go with women ice fishing.”

Sponsors have access to high-quality photos for use in their social media and marketing efforts. “We’ve seen photos from previous years’ #womenonice events on product packaging, in tourism brochures, product catalogs, store banners and definitely in lots of social media,” said Rikki Pardun, Clam pro staff angler and the gal to claim the biggest fish of the weekend, a nice Mille Lacs walleye. “We didn’t measure or weigh it, just snapped a picture and released it back.”

Two Clam and Vexilar pro staffers, Shelly Holland of Oak Grove, Minn. and Shantel Wittstruck of Sioux Falls, S.D. participated.  It was year three for Holland and first year for Wittstruck.  Also new this year was Cabela’s pro staffer Karen McQuoid.  Karen and her husband Kevin own Mac’s Twin Bay out of Isle.  “We have something truly special here in this world-class fishery and I had a great time sharing my hometown lake with the team,” said McQuiod.

Special additional thanks for support from Mille Lacs Tourism (millelacs.com), Mugg’s of Mille Lacs (www.muggsofmillelacs.com), the kind folks at Vexilar Marine Electronics (http://vexilar.com/) and Hannah Stonehouse Hudson at Stonehouse Photo (http://hannahstonehousehudson.com/).

During this unusual year of warm winter, the special “a-ha” moments occur on the ice and frankly, in part because of the ice.

Lundvall may have said it best for all the women, “I can’t wait for my next time on the ice.”

 

Ice Fishing With Spoons – Part 4 of 4

  • How to Fish Winter Spoons

By Forrest Fisher

Minnesota fishing guide Brad Hawthorne, an ICE FORCE pro, offers time-tested, fish-catching advice using several of the new spoon baits for fun fishing on the ice.

Flash Champ Spoon

Constructed of heavy-duty brass, the Flash Champ Spoon is designed to get down to the action quickly. Beveled edges and a tapered design give it an erratic, fluttering fall.

“The reason to switch to that is that it gets down faster,” Hawthorne says. “And when a fish are coming through, they can see it and hear it. It makes a teeny bit of noise from the split-ring hitting against the body, but it’s really noisy when you ting it off the rocks.”

Available in four sizes – 1/32, 1/16, 1/8 and 1/4 oz. – Flash Champs work best in clearer water. “If I was on a stained body of water, I’d stick with the Tingler or the Tumbler usually,” Hawthorne says.

For more on the Flash Champ, visit: http://www.rapala.com/vmc/spoons/spoons/flash-champ-spoon/Flash+Champ+Spoon.html?cgid=vmc-spoons-spoons#start=1&cgid=vmc-spoons-spoons.

Rattle Spoon
Hawthorne often ties on a Rattle Spoon after he’s caught a few fish by bouncing another bait on the bottom, making a racket.

“It might not be the first bait you tie on at the beginning of the day, but you’ll know pretty quickly if you should switch to it,”
he says. “If you’re banging bottom with something else and the fish are coming in and drilling it, they’re keying in on that sound.

“If they’re picking it up on rocks, gravel or sand, go Rattle Spoon all the way,” he continues. “You’re going to beat up your spoon a little bit, but you’re going to catch a ton of fish.”

The Rattle Spoon’s specially designed resonance chamber – made of heavy-duty brass and multiple beads – allows anglers to make a racket with just a subtle jig stroke, while still delivering action to the lure.

“I’m pretty sure that’s the loudest spoon on the market – the rattles on it are huge,” Hawthorne says. “When you slam that thing on the rocks, there’s not a louder spoon you’ll find.”  Rattle Spoons are available in three sizes – 1/16, 1/8, and 1/4 oz.

For more on the Rattle Spoons, visit: http://www.rapala.com/vmc/spoons/spoons/rattle-spoon/Rattle+Spoon.html?cgid=vmc-spoons-spoons#start=1&cgid=vmc-spoons-spoons.

Horton Wins the Big Cash Elite on Okeechobee

  • Lure: 4-inch Klone Crawsome Creature Bait
  • Color: Black/Blue Swirl or Black/Red Copper
  • Rod: 8-foot Duckett Flip Stick, Gary Klein Edition
  • Reel: Lew’s Super Duty with 8.0:1 Retrieve Ratio
  • Line: 50-pound Bass Pro Shops XPS braid
Tim Horton, Elite Series professional bass angler, scored big to take home a $100,000 paycheck on Sunday. Forrest Fisher photo

By Forrest Fisher

At fishing tournament competition events like the Bassmaster Elite Series, ordinary weekend fishing friends can choose to become virtual super-fishermen for a few hours.  They can meet and talk with the best-of-the-best bass fisherman in the world.

They can learn details about fishing rods, reels, lines, lures, boats, sonar and motors, and the why behind the choices that pro anglers make every day.

The field of professional bass anglers for the tournament started with 110 anglers, including Kevin Van Dam, Rick Clunn, Aaron Martens, Alton Jones and lots of other big names in the bass fishing world.  The competition is stiff, many of these top names were not in the final 12, but all of the competitors are so very effective and all of them want to win and perform well.

Their goal is to earn a place to play the game of tournament fishing on Sunday, Day 4, the last day of competition, when the field is reduced from 110 anglers on Day 1 to just 12 anglers on Day 4, these top 12 all set to fish for the big money.

Who fished the final day is based purely on performance, measured by their total tally for their 5-fish bag weight for each competition day.

Lake Okeechobee is big at 730 square miles.  It offers an average depth of 9 feet and is the largest freshwater lake completely inside the borders of the USA.  Grassy, marshy areas are everywhere and at this time of year, they are crowded with bass beginning to spawn in the heavy cover.

King’s Bar was a hotspot fishing area for many anglers in the lake’s north end where a shad spawn was in progress.  Tim Horton, the tournament leader after Day 3 with over 71 pounds of bass, had been running to fish near Clewiston, some 35 miles south.

The Elite Series fishing event at Okeechobee saw thousands of people bring their families and enjoy an outdoor show of large fun and proportion with outdoor example displays that included trucks, boats, motors, lures and many local craft vendors. Forrest Fisher Photo

Heavy fog on the morning of the final day delayed high speed runs for the anglers, as tournament director, Trip Weldon, defined the rules for the 12 top anglers, keeping safety first.  He limited the anglers to a top boating speed of 30 mph as they left the Kissimmee River launch area.

Ott Defoe caught early fish on the final day using a rear-weighted Terminator Walking Frog, a swim jig sort of bait with extra heavy-duty VMC hooks.  The bait allows for long casts near thick cover.  Defoe keeps his rod tip down, jigging the tip quickly and reeling quite fast with his baitcasting outfit.  Ott landed two fish at 8 lbs-6 oz each on day 1.  He said, “These fish were sort of twins, but you know, they’re bigger than when my twin children were born a few years ago.”  The crowd cheered.

Stephen Browning, an affable angler with everyone and a LiveTarget Lure Company fishing pro, often fishing frog lures too, but fishes them slower.  He also likes to fish a bladed jig with a soft-plastic trailer in green-pumpkin or black-blue.

Greg Hackney, alias “Darthvader” as nicknamed during the weigh-in interview session on Day 3, was described by the host announcer to possibly be the most feared of all competitors when it comes to the final day.  He has a habit of winning by coming from behind.

The Day 4 leader at start, Tim Horton, uses a couple of favorite baits.  He likes the ¾ ounce “Hack-Attack” jig, it has a unique head design with a built-in weed guard that works well to flip in and out of heavy cover easily.  This jig uses a Gamakatsu heavy wire hook in black-nickel color with a 30-degree line tie.   He also uses Trokar hooks to present a favorite “Klone Crawsome” creature bait in black/blue swirl or black/red copper (color), taking it to bottom with ¾ to 1-ounce BPS tungsten weights. When fished with 50-pound braid, these were ideal baits for this water because the angler could flip it, pitch it, cast it or swim it through any cover at any depth.

All these top anglers can cast a lure with amazing accuracy, able to place a line toss within an inch of a target spot 25 to 100 feet away, exactly where a suspicious mythical bass beast might be hiding in cover.

At the end of the final day, Tim Horton retained his starting lead to edge out a victory from hard-charging Ott Defoe, 83 lbs-5 oz to 82 lbs-1 oz.  The difference?  $100,000 for 1st place and $25,000 for 2nd place.  Might make you want to take up golf!  Either way, it’s inches or ounces, close call.

Rounding out the Top 12 were: Ott DeFoe (82-1), Cliff Prince (78-3), Fletcher Shryock (77-10), Greg Hackney (73-12), Dave Lefebre (73-0), Bobby Lane (72-10), Jason Williamson (69-10), Dean Rojas (68-14), Andy Montgomery (67-12), Stephen Browning (67-5) and Adrian Avena (63-14).  These top 12 earned from $20,500 to $10,500.  Other anglers that made the day two cut – 51 of them in all, from 13th to 51st place each earned $10,000.  No paycheck for anglers that placed 52nd to 110th.

Horton won a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Okeechobee in 2004. He relied on his previous experience, but kept an open mind as Florida’s Okeechobee big-bass factory has been subjected to change over recent years.

The big lake has encountered hurricanes, droughts, water-level fluctuations and struggling habitat and local population argument about water control management. The vegetation provides big fish potential thanks to healthy vegetation for underwater oxygen generation, good for the forage and the predators.

Tim Horton’s favorite lure of the Okeechobee fishing week was a 4-inch Klone Crawsome made by Profound Outdoors. One of his favorite colors: black/blue swirl.

“Everything I weighed in this week was on a 4-inch Klone Crawsome in two colors: black/blue swirl and a black/red copper,” Horton said. “I rigged the creature-style baits on a heavy-duty flipping hook beneath a 3/4- to 1-ounce weight — depending on how thick the reeds were I was flipping to — on 50-pound Bass Pro Shops XPS braid.”

Horton’s fishing rod was an 8-foot Duckett Flip Stick, Gary Klein Edition, paired with a Lew’s Super Duty Speed Spool baitcaster in an 8.0:1 gear ratio.

Tyler Carriere of Youngsville, La., earned the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award of $1,500 with a 9-5 largemouth.  DeFoe was awarded $1,000 for the leading the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race at the end of the event.  Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.  Horton earned $500 as the recipient of the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader Award.

Several thousand people were on hand in the audience to cheer on all the anglers at the final weigh-in.  It was an amazing time to be a spectator, but even better if your name was Tim Horton.

For more about the anglers and their fishing gear, visit: http://www.bassmaster.com/.

Whoever said it doesn’t pay to fish? Congrats to these guys for the example they provide to all for their conservation ethic and sportsmanship.  Kids around the country look up to them and so do some of us older kids.

The temperature at weigh-in? 86 degrees!  God bless America.

Firearm Cleaning with Otis Ripcord

  • Breech to Muzzle One-Pass Firearm Cleaning
  • Removes Entrapped Fouling Quickly 
  • For Handguns, Rifles and Shotguns

 

By Forrest Fisher

The Otis Ripcord is so effective I had to buy one for every caliber size in my firearm collection – for those many times when I shoot and don’t have enough time. © Copyright Otis Technology. All rights reserved.

When I first used this creative new invention from Otis to clean one of my favorite firearms at a shooting club, I squinted down the fouled barrel to verify my 30-06 needed to be de-fouled.  It was ugly in there.

While my buddies were fiddling with much more complicated cleaning systems, I needed to get this done quickly and assure I could deliver my grandson to his soccer game on time in the next 15 minutes.   Dropping the barrel of the cleaning cord down the rifle, I grabbed the end and pulled the cord through from breech to barrel exit.  Peering down the barrel one more time, I was amazed to find a glistening, shiny, internal bore surface. Wow.

I coiled up my 10-second cleaning kit (literally, 10 seconds), that is, I coiled up my Otis Ripcord and was on my way.  See ‘ya guys!

Easy, fast, effective and inexpensive.  When something like this fits my budget and my timetable for budgeted time, it needs to be in my collection of outdoor tools.  Some of the options offered for caliber sizes are shown below and listed on the Otis website at http://www.otistec.com/.

Ice Fishing With Spoons – Part 3 of 4

  • How to Use Winter Spoons
  • Deadly Trick When Winter Fish get Finicky

By Forrest Fisher

Minnesota fishing guide Brad Hawthorne, an ICE FORCE pro offers his advice on several of the new spoon baits for fun fishing on the ice.

Tumbler Spoon
While the Tingler is a flutter-type spoon, the Tumbler is more of a “drop spoon,” Hawthorne says. “It does the much the same thing on the way down, but it stays a little bit more vertical,” he explains. “It will sit there right in the strike zone doing flips and rolls.”

A small, metallic attractor blade imparts additional flash and sound when it collides with the Tumbler Spoon’s body and hooks. “That kicker blade adds a little bit more for the fish when they’re right in the zone, pretty much coming to you,” Hawthorne says.

Fish Tumbler Spoons in water 25 feet and deeper. In holes where your sonar shows a walleye tight to bottom, drop it on a slack line. As soon as you drop it to the fish, use your rod tip to pop it four to six inches off the bottom and let it fall back on a slack line. “With just a very subtle jigging action, that spoon will do circles and roll around down there,” Hawthorne says.

Tumbler Spoons are available in two sizes, 1/12, 1/8 oz. Hawthorne will start with the smaller model, but will upsize if the fish are biting aggressively. He rigs the treble hook on a Tumbler with a half or full minnow.

The half-minnow presentation will cause the Tumbler to fall and spiral a little bit more erratically, Hawthorne says.  It also provides “a little bit more smell and profile.”

Despite conventional wisdom that dictates downsizing baits when fish are finicky, that’s when Hawthorne will dress a Tumbler Spoon with a full minnow.  “This has caught my clients more fish over the years than anything in a neutral-bite situation,” he says. “When you lay a Tumbler Spoon right on the bottom, the minnow will freak out and the fish explode on it.”

For more on the Tumbler Spoon: http://www.rapala.com/vmc/spoons/spoons/tumbler-spoon/Tumbler+Spoon.html?cgid=vmc-spoons-spoons#start=1&cgid=vmc-spoons-spoons.

Look for Part 4 of 4 on Ice Fishing with Spoons next week.

Ice Fishing With Spoons – Part 2 of 4

  • When to Use Winter Spoons 
  • Which Type Spoons to Use 

By Forrest Fisher

While this year on hard water has been hit or miss in many parts of the North Country, we still have ice in many areas, Minnesota fishing guide Brad Hawthorne, an ICE FORCE pro, shares advice on several of the new spoon baits for fun fishing on the ice.

Tingler Spoon
This is a search bait designed to draw distant fish into the sonar cone below your hole, the Tingler Spoon features a large, thin body that flutters slowly and seductively on the fall. Its mesmerizing, wounded baitfish both attracts attention and triggers strikes.

“That one’s darting all over, grabbing a lot of attention,” Hawthorne says. “It’s the flashiest spoon we have, when it comes to twisting, turning and tumbling.”

While most spoons cover only the small-diameter water column directly under the hole, the Tingler Spoon flutters out far to the sides. Work it back towards your hole with short lifts and hops.

“The Tingler has a wide surface area at the top – as wide as any spoon I’ve used,” Hawthorne explains. “So when that thing’s going down, especially in deep water, a lot of times it’s ending up six to eight feet away from the center of your hole when it hits bottom. So you want to use the Tingler when your fish are a little more spread out.”

To work their best, Tingler Spoons must be dropped on slack line. “That means feeding line off the reel as it falls,” Hawthorne explains. “You want zero resistance on that spoon as it goes down. Because that’s going to give it the best fluttering action.”

Because he’s often in search mode when he’s got a Tingler Spoon tied on, Hawthorne will rip it off the bottom pretty aggressively, hopping it up to two to three feet, and then letting it fall on slack line. “That will make sure it flutters around and flashes,” he says.

Tingler Spoons are available in three sizes: 1/16, 1/8 and 3/16 oz. For walleyes, Hawthorne favors the 1/8th-ounce size, but says he’s “not afraid to go up a size” if the fish are aggressive.

“If the fish are just crushing it, you always upsize,” he says. “If they’re keying in on that flash, you might as well get more flash down there. You’ll know after the first or second fish if they’re going to hit a bigger bait.”

Hawthorne dresses the treble hook on a Tingler Spoon with a minnow head or red larvae.

For more on the Tingler Spoon, visit: http://www.rapala.com/vmc/spoons/spoons/tingler-spoon/Tingler+Spoon.html?cgid=vmc-spoons-spoons#start=1&cgid=vmc-spoons-spoons.

Looking for a Fishy Kayak?

  • How to Choose, Many Makers
  • Things to Consider, Tackle Storage
  •   Peddle or Paddle?  Sit or Stand?
New kayaks can be peddled like a bicycle or paddled like a canoe, but one factor to look for is weight capacity and seat comfort. Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

There is a new wave of fishing access, waterway fun and outdoor adventure that is sweeping our young-minded nation.  The portability and capability of new kayak products are more popular and in greater demand every day.  I searched out many of the kayak lines out there and concluded that when safety and durability are a function of your interest – big water (ocean) or small water (ponds), the Hobie Company has a product that everyone should know more about before purchasing any other kayak product.

There’s never been a better time to take up kayak fishing.  Whatever your game – freshwater bass or trout, saltwater redfish on the flats, or hard-pulling, aggressive fish, like kingfish and yellowtail in the big water offshore – there’s a Hobie kayak built for the job.

Every Hobie kayak comes ready to fish from the factory, but some are more ‘fishy’ than others. The current fleet offers deck plans with space to mount rod holders and electronics, hatches big enough to stash extra tackle, and spacious above-deck cargo areas in the stern, the ideal place for an H-Crate storage system or Hobie Livewell.

The 13- to 16-foot kayak models are at home on the ocean or a large lake, where the length will help glide you safely over swells and tough choppy conditions. Hobie Photo

There are compact boats, deliberately built short. Others are long and slender, or somewhere in between. Hobie’s flagships feature the MirageDrive, an elegantly engineered and time-tested pedal drive that offers numerous advantages.  Hobie also has kayaks to paddle the old-fashioned way.  They also have portable inflatable kayaks and the family-oriented Mirage Islands and trimarans with sails that work together with the MirageDrive.

Variety is good.  There is no one boat that fits everyone or is perfect for each fishery.  Every kayak is a compromise.  The right one for you depends chiefly on two things: your body size and shape and the adventure you plan to put that kayak craft through on the water.

One thing is obvious.  Bigger people need bigger kayaks.  Whether you’re tall or a bit husky, make sure to sit in the cockpit of any kayak you’re considering.  With Hobie, try out the different Vantage seats.  All are comfortable with wide-ranging adjustability.  The ST and XT seats that outfit the Pro Angler series are larger and taller, serious fishermen like these.

Don’t forget to check the capacity of the kayak.  Take your weight, estimate your gear load and add in a few pounds for the fish you’ll catch.  It’ll help you decide whether you need a 400-pound capacity kayak like the Hobie Mirage Outback or a larger 600-pound capacity Mirage Pro Angler 14.  The latter are great for big men who think like boys (like me).

A smaller person will fit in just about any kayak.  A big boat can still be a mismatch and can be too much of a good thing.

Check out the H-Crate storage system from Hobie with the above-board seating on top of this model kayak. The angler is higher for improved visibility when searching out sand bars, shoals and bedding fish. Hobie Photo

The sturdier kayak models are longer, in the 13-16 foot range, and with these, you can feel safe and comfortable on the ocean or a large lake, where the length will help glide you safely over swells and tough choppy conditions.  The Mirage Revolution 16 is one such unit that will fill the bill for safety in tough seas.  The same boat will have a harder time of handling the sharp turns of a narrow, twisting river backwater.  So it’s a good idea to match your kayak to the intended use.

In general, shorter kayaks such as the Hobie Mirage Sport are easier to turn and pivot, but aren’t as efficient for covering long distances.  Longer boats such as the Mirage Revolution 13 hold a straighter course.  Wider boats in the Pro Angler Line feel stable and support more weight, whereas narrower boats glide with less effort.   Here, you need to decide which is best for your intended use.

Every one of the Hobie roto-molded polyethylene models comes with molded-in rod holders.  They are ready to fish straight from the factory, but if you’re a serious angler you’ll love the additional features offered in the Mirage Outback and the Pro Angler series.  There are more places to mount accessories such as rod holders and camera mounts.  The Pro Anglers add horizontal rod holders and long lengths of H-Rail for mounting even more gear.

Kayak fishing has allowed growth of anglers that are bonding to the outdoors with friends and neighbors, fishing in local and regional contests, and enjoying better quality time with their own families. Hobie Photo

If storage space or transportation is an issue, take a look at the Hobie inflatable series.  They feature rugged, PVC-vinyl construction and offer performance that rivals more rigid models.  Set up takes about10-minutes.  Each one comes with an Easy-Load Rolling Travel Bag.  Some are even light enough to bring along as checked airline baggage.

There’s a lot to consider, so put in some research before buying your next kayak,but if you want safety and reliability, my choice would be with a Hobie.  Save your pennies and put them good use for your safe and fun future on the water in your kayak.

To see a Hobie, look for a dealer near you through their on-line Dealer Finder, then drop by any other local kayak hop to take a closer look at their kayaks.  Many offer demos.  Stop by an annual fishing or outdoor show where you’re likely to see kayaks rigged for fishing and can chat with kayak fishing guides for expert advice.  If you want to feel a lot younger, do what I do and get up early to visit a kayak fishing competition – there are numerous events all around the country now.

If you choose your new kayak with some foresight, it will open a thrilling new world of fishing adventure.  Enjoy!

Nosler Bullets for Plinking

  • Slight Cosmetic Imperfections
  • Bullets Meet Standards & Tolerances
  • Midsouth Shooters Supply 

By Forrest Fisher

There is target ammo, self-defense ammo, hunting ammo, plinking ammo, commercial ammo and a few other categories of ammo, but when you understand ammo, the literal meaning of the ammo type is well defined.

If you are a shooter that likes to practice safety and reload your own, you know there are times you just want to go plink and plink and plink with something more than your .22, but the cost is too high.  I love to shoot my 6mm-Remington, but bullets are hard to find, when you find them, they are expensive, but not during this sale we found. They have them, I’m excited.

Thanks to a special we found on-line, there is a sale in progress at Midsouth Shooters Supply where you can buy nearly perfect Nosler bullets with simple cosmetic imperfections for more than half-off the original cost.

Nosler Factory Seconds are now available at Midsouth Shooters Supply.  The bullets are completely functional, with only minor cosmetic blemishes.  You’ll find slight tip discolorations, water spots, and little else.  Nosler’s criteria for their bullets is of the highest standards and tolerances.  When one of their bullets doesn’t meet their nearly impossible standards, it becomes a factory second.  Nearly perfect bullets look pretty great to the supplier folks at Midsouth Shooters Supply and they’re excited to pass the savings on to their valued customers.

Pricing reflects what the 1st quality bullets sell at Midsouth’s everyday low prices, and then the discounted 2nd’s price. Quantities are limited and our blemished or 2nd’s sales always go fast! Check out the selection at this link:

https://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/articles/noslerseconds.aspx

See what your bench needs and load your own. Saving a little money is some of what reloading is about.

Ice Advice for Fishing with Spoons – Part 1 of 4

  • Visit with Brad Hawthorne – ICE FORCE Pro
  • When, How, Why Spoons?
  • What Line for Ice Spoons?

By Forrest Fisher

Some of the new lures on the ice-fishing market don’t exactly shake, rattle and roll, but they do have new names that remind me of that old Elvis song.

“You’ll know in the first hour if they want an eye-catcher spoon like a Tingler or a Tumbler,” says in-demand Minnesota fishing guide Brad Hawthorne, an ICE FORCE pro. “Then if they’re really actively feeding, just crushing your baits, upsize your spoon for a chance at bigger fish or switch up to a Flash Champ Spoon to get down to them faster and catch more coming through.”

Fish the right VMC spoon at the right time and place this winter and chances are good you’ll put more and bigger fish on the ice and if you notice you’re getting bites only after banging one of the above spoons on a hard bottom, tie on a Rattle Spoon.

“That’s the rule of thumb that I’ve used,” says Hawthorne, who guides on the famed walleye fishery of Lake Mille Lacs near Minneapolis, a huge glacial lake with gin-clear water, rock reefs, gravel flats and mud flats.

As popular as spoons are, many anglers still struggle with when and how to use them, and which type to use where.  Following is an in-depth look at Hawthorne’s rules-of-thumb for when, where and how to fish VMC ice spoons. For all the following, he favors gold and silver in clear water and/or daylight hours and pink and orange UV colors in stained water and/or at dawn, dusk or night.

Hawthorne fishes all his VMC ice spoons on a main line of 5-pound-test Sufix Invisiline Ice 100% Fluorocarbon line connected via VMC barrel swivel to an 18- to 20-inch leader, or “tip line” also of 5-pound-test Sufix Ice Fluoro. Adding the swivel, he says, gives the spoons better action.

For more on terminal tackle details, visit: http://www.rapala.com/vmc/terminal-tackle/?id=6.

Saltwater Fishing Secrets for Small Boat Fishing Fun

  • Light Rod, Reel and Line 
  • Lightweight Homemade Jigs with Swim Tails
  •   Bass Tracker Aluminum Boat Modified for Saltwater Fishing
This 16-foot Bass Tracker (Panfish Model) is the perfect backwater and inland seas fishing platform for speckled trout, redfish, snook, sheepshead and other species.

By Forrest Fisher

There’s one!  Fish On!  We all love those unmistakable words of time-tested happiness when we fish. There is appreciation, excitement and the reality of fun too – all at the same time, not knowing for sure just exactly what fish is on the end of the line.   In saltwater, it could be any of 50 species.

Last month when I met savvy veteran angler, Jim Hudson, it was easy to spot his natural look of confidence when he talks about fishing saltwater.  Hudson was returning from a short day trip and dropped off a neighbor friend with a sack full of legal specks (four fish total, 15-20 inches with one over 20 inches, per man).

He had his personally customized 16-foot Bass Tracker (Panfish Model) with a 40HP Mercury 4-Stroke all wet from the events of the day, smelly with saltwater slime, the kind that comes off on the bottom of your boat when you’re too busy trying helping your partner with the net and you need to put the fish on the floor.  We call that “good” slime smell.  It washes off with a hose and Dove dishwashing soap.

The interior of the boat is completely revamped with live wells, storage compartments, non-skid flooring paint, the exterior is protected with anti-fouling paint in black color.  All the modification products came from Bass Pro Shops.  The boat offers an ominous presence to anyone that understands fishing.  One look says, “This guy knows what he’s doing.”  He talks to folks all along the way, on shorelines, on docks, on the beach – he makes a happy day for many folks.

Jim Hudson is all about catching fish and having fun on the water, sharing his home-made jig fishing secrets with many anglers along the way.

His MinnKota bow motor is set up for control by foot pedal from a high-rise bow seat where he stations himself with super-polarized fishing glasses in search of sea grass beds, oyster beds, sunken docks, underwater trees and structure, all the while slowly powering the boat along and casting to the next likely looking spot.

The big question most angler’s all have is, “What’s he using?”  Hudson uses a variety of lures, most of them are home made.  He enjoys learning from his personal experience and takes pride in sharing new discovery with others, especially folks that might be fishing for the first time.  He is a mentor type of man and a humble teacher that understand tidal currents, baitfish, shrimp schools and moon phase in the nearshore fishing areas of harbors near the Gulf of Mexico.  There is a lot in that last sentence.

Having fished the Charlotte Harbor waters from Placida to Gasparilla Island to Captiva Island and around Pine Island Sound, he has narrowed down structure-oriented locations that hold bait at various times of day when tidal currents are on the move.  He moves around through his day on the water, searching those currents, he enjoys every single moment out there.

I asked him if there was a bad time or good time to be out fishing with all the tide action that takes place in and out through two cycles a day, he smiled widely and answered, “When you have time is the best time!”  Hudson is a happy person.  He is also so very focused when he is fishing.  It’s like watching a bobcat search out his final approach for a rabbit dinner in a south Florida wildlife management area.  The bobcat wins every time.  Jim Hudson rarely fails to catch 20 fish or more each trip out.  He is a seeker of fish and wins at the catching game with lightweight tackle and boating gear.

He controls his boat with a unique left-hand motor position lever that rises 2-1/2 feet from the floor and a throttle control from a right-hand lever, one hand on each, as he sits in a deluxe, lounge seat style chair.  The chair supports his back and torso for those 20-mile runs that Jim makes when the wind is right for his 16-foot fishing machine.   He gets there quick at 45-50 mph.  He always wears his kill switch lanyard and affixes that to his belt in the event of an unpredicted consequence.  At that speed on open water there might be a dolphin or shark, giant grouper, gator, Manatee, you never know.  He is watchful and a true conservationist at all times, but he is also careful and is safety-minded.

His tackle is simple.  A high-quality, open-face, spinning reel with 8-pound test monofilament.  He likes the stretch that simple mono line offers as protection from breaking off big fish.  He rigs up with a 7-foot light action rod from St.Croix and carries five or six of these in strap-down position just like in the big $80K bass boats.  He uses all of the rods and they are all rigged separate before he hits the water.  His vital knowledge of fish-catching experience shows during his pre-fishing rigging session.

His favorite lures are his homemade jig heads in 1/16, 1/8 and 3/16 ounce sizes, in a variety of colors, but usually red, white or a specially mixed yellow/chartreuse color.  Each of these finished products has a bumpy, grit-like, finish that is mixed into the paint before he coats the hand-poured jig heads.  I asked about this.  Jim says, “The finish is important because it causes the water to deflect differently when you retrieve the line, causing the jig tails to flutter and weave, dart left or right, as the forage imitations dip and skip along and slightly above the bottom.”

The jigs are dressed with a 3-inch or 4-inch action-tail shad in a variety of colors, but the hottest one in February seems to have some olive color on the top, white on both sides with black dots, and sometimes a hint of magic-marker orange on the bottom.   The secret here is threading the tail on so that it is perfectly centered, allowing the jig head and your retrieve action to control the swimming and direction motions. Some of his baits are more often used for freshwater crappie and bass fishing.

The size jig head (weight) is simply a function of water depth and current while fishing a constantly swimming bait, twitching it once or twice every 2-3-4-5 seconds.  A simple method that represents a host of forage swimming the winter waters of the inner harbor areas near Port Charlotte, Florida.  These include shrimp, pintail minnows and similar bait.

You know you’re fishing where the fish are when the Dolphins join you at your favorite spot (see photo). It’s also when you know it’s time to move to another spot!

The St. Croix rod allows him to cast the lightweight bait quite far, zinging it from the reflex-action of the powerful tip.  The rod also helps to feel when the fish hits the bait and allow him to set the hook and tire the fish to bring it in.  The rod works with the reel drag to protect the stretchable line, though Hudson uses about three feet of 12-16 pound fluorocarbon leader to allow extra protection at the strike zone.

Hudson casts out, let the jig sink slightly and immediately starts the retrieve, slow, fast, quickly lifting the rod every so often in a pattern I have yet to determine.  He revises the sequence and frequency of the retrieve until he finds the action of the day that is on fire.  It is a pleasure to watch this master of the inland sea work his magic.  His results are all good memories.

His advice for the rest of us?  “Fish often, fish hard, develop a passion for fishing that will lead you to have a good understanding of where the fish move, why they move and when the best time to fish is.  The lures I use are simple, they work for me because I talk to them too! ” He was grinning that Georgia smile from ear to ear.

Hudson’s last word for all winter anglers heading to Florida: “Go fish where you have access by shore or boat, but there are a ton of winter fish, big and small, in the canals that lead to the harbor in some way.  Watch for current eddies, work them on incoming or outgoing tide movement, test them with warm fronts and cold fronts, test them under cloudy conditions and sunny conditions, and keep logbook that also records moon phase.”

Hudson adds, “You may not believe what you learn and you’ll also have some tasty fish for dinner or picture-taking fun if you catch and release.”

Born to Hunt Pheasants

  • Well-Trained Bird Dogs
  • Timeless Moments with Old Friends  
  • Tasty, Beautiful, Ringed-neck Pheasants
  • One Surprising Modern-Day Youngster

For STO 02072017, picture 1of5By Joe Forma

The well-trained pointing Lab whirled into the red brush and a gorgeous Ringed-neck Pheasant clawed his way airborne.  The first of some 50 such flushes for my son, Andy Forma, of Penfield, New York, and his four companions on their 4th annual hunt with F&B Upland Birds in Hamlin, New York.

The companion hunters were Safari Club stalwarts Judge Bill Boller, George Cipressi and his grandson Dom, and also Dr. Pat Baranello, owner of the Calibre Shop ammo source, and Ron Bullard of Collins, New York.  Yours truly was the group photographer.

For STO 02072017, picture 2of5The hosts at F&B Upland are Fred Paye and Bill Surridge.  These great guys run a superb hunt in what they maintain as traditional Western New York bird cover.  As we step afield, we are transported back to the 1970’s when Ringed-necks were so prevalent locally.  The 200 plus acres of hunting land features standing corn, soybean fields, hedgerows and acres of natural red brush.

Fred and Bill provide wonderful, well-trained bird dogs, featuring Pointing Labs and Shorthair Pointers.  They are without a doubt the very best bird dogs I have ever hunted over.  They even respond to Fred’s command “get a drink” by immediately jumping into one of the large water tubs sprinkled around the area. Neat to see.

The morning hunt was for 25 randomly released roosters.  This is no walk ’em up and shoot in a 4-inch clover field.  Every bird was a challenge to locate and bag especially in the thick red brush and well grown hedgerows.  The dogs did a great job.  Many of the birds ran like the wily birds of old.  The group all had great shots and needed about 3-4 flushes and misses to settle down and then they rarely missed.

For STO 02072017, picture 3of5A real highlight of this hunt was George’s grandson, Dom, a 12 year-old super hunter.  Andy was really glad to have a youngster along to promote the future of his sport.  Dom couldn’t have been a better sportsman even at his young age.  He always held his cut-down Remington 20 gauge pump at a proper port arms position, as instructed.  He showed no impaired nerves or excitement, but hunted like he had done it a dozen times, not his first time.  He was an excellent shot.  He downed at least six hard-flying pheasants with single shots.  I didn’t see him miss.

After a great morning with about 22 birds brought to bag, we broke for a luxury lunch of roast venison, deep fried Canandaigua Lake yellow perch and Lake Erie walleye.  Fred and Bill fed us well in their spacious and heated tent.

For STO 02072017, picture 5of5The afternoon hunt was for an additional 25 Ringnecks.  The dogs continued their excellent work and showed no signs of fatigue.  They are well trained and well exercised, so they never quit, though some of us older sports slowed down just a bit.  The shooting was right on the mark though and the birds flushed hard with disconcerting cackling.

For STO 02072017, picture 4of5A tribute to all was that not a single bird was lost as a cripple.  Great shooting and great retrieving by the dogs.  By around 3:00 p.m., there five happy hunters and one old photographer, me, who decided one last push thru the soybean field would do it.  It produced our last kill, a long-tailed, beautifully feathered cock bird.

The boys finished with 45 to be delicious pheasants and the feeling of a day well spent.  Andy booked again for a hunt next November.

Florida Scrub-Jays in Festival Spotlight

  • Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Stuart, FL
  • Feb. 18, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Guided Walks, Exhibits, Swamp Band Hay Rides, Kids Activities, Entertainment and Food
The Florida Scrub-Jay is a beautiful coastal bird that lives nowhere else except in Florida, it is a light gray-brown bird with a bright blue head, blue wings and tail.  FWC Photo
The Florida Scrub-Jay is a beautiful coastal bird that lives nowhere else except in Florida, it is a light gray-brown bird with a bright blue head, blue wings and tail. FWC Photo

Posted by Forrest Fisher

Come celebrate this songbird at the 8th annual Florida Scrub-Jay Festival on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, about 12 miles south of Stuart on U.S. Highway 1.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the festival will offer guided walks, exhibits, swamp buggy and hay rides, kids’ activities, entertainment and food.  There will be an opportunity to meet Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff and partners that are helping conserve this threatened species.  The FWC is one of the festival’s organizers.

The Florida scrub-jay is distinctive because of its unusually cooperative family lifestyle.

Craig Faulhaber, the FWC’s avian conservation coordinator said, “The Florida Scrub-Jay lives in family groups composed of a breeding pair that mates for life and its offspring. Young Scrub-Jays often stay with their parents for one or more years and act as helpers to defend the family’s territory and raise young.  Breeding pairs with helpers successfully raise more young than lone pairs.”

“Because Florida Scrub-Jays are very territorial and don’t migrate, people may get the chance to watch events in the life of a Scrub-Jay family throughout the year.  Family members work together to defend territories averaging 25 acres from other Scrub-Jay families, with at least one member always on the lookout for predators,” said Faulhaber.

The Florida Scrub-Jay is one of the many wildlife species you may spot at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  It needs sandy scrub habitat to survive, but its populations have been impacted by habitat loss, agriculture and the lack of natural or prescribed fire to maintain vegetation height and sandy openings on scrub lands.  Scrub-Jay populations are thought to have declined by as much as 90 percent since the late 1800s.

What does the call of this bird sound like? More like a screech than a song, since it is related to species like the crow.  Hear the sound of a Florida scrub-jay by going to AllAboutBirds.org and searching for Florida Scrub-Jay.

People can help Florida Scrub-Jays by:

Find out more about Florida scrub-jays by going to MyFWC.com/Imperiled, clicking on “Listed Species,” “Birds” and then “Florida Scrub-Jay.”

Trophy Catch Florida – Pays Cash

  • Catch, Measure, Release Alive Contest
  • Photo Required, Simple Rules 
  • Bass Pro Card to Each Monthly Winner 

For STO 02022017, Picture 1of1Posted by Forrest Fisher

“TrophyCatch” is introducing BONUS monthly prizes!

The rules and prizes will vary each month and will be announced here on Facebook and on Instagram (@FishReelFlorida).

February’s prize is $50 in Bass Pro Shops gift cards for the participant with the MOST approved LUNKER CLUB catches between February 1 – 28, 2017.

So, get out there and send us those great Lunker Club brag shots!

By participating in any Facebook promotions, the participant agrees that their participation constitutes a complete release of Facebook and that this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

For complete rules, see: (https://www.trophycatchflorida.com/rules.aspx).
#TrophyCatch #FishingCapitalOfTheWorld

FISH ON! NEW TRAPPER TACKLE HOOKS

  • Angler has New Advantage
  • New Shape is Innovative, Patented
  • New Shape Hook Design – Hard to Shake Free

For STO 02022017, FISHING and PRODUCTS, Picture 2of2By Forrest Fisher

Not until now, have I ever considered why fish are able to get off when I’m fishing with a giant hook and plastic worm.  They have the mechanical advantage to leverage the hook point out with a bit of a wriggle and a shake.  Some folks at Trapper Hooks have also made an adjustment to the physics principle involved by creating a new hook design.  Imagine that now, a hook for fishing and catching fish that is brand new.  I think this is an amazing invention.

My first cast with these new hooks proved my point.  I had threaded a 4-1/2 inch “Squirrel Tail” worm (Big Bite Baits) with a Tilapia-color tail onto a size 1/0 Offset Wide-Gap hook (style 20610) from Trapper Tackle and flipped to the edge of weedbed that had grown high near a drop-off.  With just one jiggle of my medium-action St. Croix rod tip, a fish inhaled the bait.  The 3-pounder came right to the top, tail-walked, jumped twice and soon after, I reached under his belly to safely boat the bass for a quick release.  He could fight again tomorrow.

For STO 02022017, FISHING and PRODUCTS, Picture 1of2The hookset felt so solid.  When I saw the hook-up point of interface, I understood why.  It was buried to the sharp-corner bend of the new shank design.  The new hook has good retention.  The sticky-sharp Piercing PointTM provides a nice path for the surgically sharp hook point to bury itself, removing the old advantage that physics and old-style hook shapes have provided to the fish.  Advantage to the angler.

In three trips so far with these new hooks, I have not lost any fish.  Reviewing the catalog, there are several design styles and several sizes, including a drop-shot hook that can be used with live bait.

This hook design changes the world of fishing and after just this simple trial on the water, it is easy to understand why.  Check ‘em out the next time you visit your tackle store or visit their web link to find out where to get ‘em: https://www.trappertackle.com/store-locations.

Fish On! New Trapper BoxTM Hooks

  • Angler has New Advantage
  • New Shape is Innovative, Patented
  • New Shape Hook Design – Hard to Shake Free

For STO 02022017, FISHING and PRODUCTS, Picture 2of2By Forrest Fisher

Not until now, have I ever considered why fish are able to get off when I’m fishing with a giant hook and plastic worm.  They have the mechanical advantage to leverage the hook point out with a bit of a wriggle and a shake.  Some folks at Trapper Hooks have also made an adjustment to the physics principle involved by creating a new hook design.  Imagine that now, a hook for fishing and catching fish that is brand new.  I think this is an amazing invention.

My first cast with these new hooks proved my point.  I had threaded a 4-1/2 inch “Squirrel Tail” worm (Big Bite Baits) with a Tilapia-color tail onto a size 1/0 Offset Wide-Gap hook (style 20610) from Trapper Tackle and flipped to the edge of weedbed that had grown high near a drop-off.  With just one jiggle of my medium-action St. Croix rod tip, a fish inhaled the bait.  The 3-pounder came right to the top, tail-walked, jumped twice and soon after, I reached under his belly to safely boat the bass for a quick release.  He could fight again tomorrow.

For STO 02022017, FISHING and PRODUCTS, Picture 1of2The hookset felt so solid.  When I saw the hook-up point of interface, I understood why.  It was buried to the sharp-corner bend of the new shank design.  The new hook has good retention.  The sticky-sharp Piercing PointTM provides a nice path for the surgically sharp hook point to bury itself, removing the old advantage that physics and old-style hook shapes have provided to the fish.  Advantage to the angler.

In three trips so far with these new hooks, I have not lost any fish.  Reviewing the catalog, there are several design styles and several sizes, including a drop-shot hook that can be used with live bait.

This hook design changes the world of fishing and after just this simple trial on the water, it is easy to understand why.  Check ‘em out the next time you visit your tackle store or visit their web link to find out where to get ‘em: https://www.trappertackle.com/store-locations.

Flies in my Champagne!

  •  Special People Deserve Special Moments
  • New, Unbreakable Outdoor Drinkware
  • Secret Dry Fly Hiding Places!

For STO 02012017, PRODUCTS, picture 1of1By Forrest Fisher

The day of fishing is done, your body tells you it’s time to rest and relax. The sun is setting and there is a perfect orange glow reflecting within those tiny bubbles hatching on the surface of your crystal clear champagne glass.  A special moment!  There you are in the middle of a mountain camping trip.  Champagne glasses in the wilds.  Possible? Yes.  Likely? Not until now.

My wife and I discovered these new unbreakable champagne flutes that stow away as a 2-piece threaded combination. They go anywhere and survive.  They fit in my shirt pocket and I found myself packing my dry flies in them on a recent trip – they were totally protected and perfectly unruffled.  I carry two of them at all times now.  Multiple uses!

The base detaches and then snaps into the rim for travel, reverse for use.  Imagine, unbreakable champagne flutes on the top of a mountain, at your Florida poolside vacation site (where glass is typically not allowed), on the river, at the campsite, on the beach or anywhere you might want to create a special moment.  We have been amazed at the durability of this drinkware and the compact packing size.

If you are an outdoors-minded person, you know that mastering the necessary aspects of having fun in the natural world include survival and once in a while you want to accommodate for a special moment after the day is done.  Special moments for celebration and recollection, such is part of the outdoors lifestyle for special folks.  Check these out for yourself, they are low cost, last a lifetime and are perfect for when you want them. Visit https://www.gsioutdoors.com/.

No worries about broken drinkware.

Here’s a toast from Mother Nature to you! Cheers!

FIRST TIME ICE FISHING with Kids

  • Keep It Simple
  • Don’t Stay Too Long
  • Bring Plenty to Eat and Drink

By Forrest Fisher

There is nothing quite like taking a youngster out to ice fish when the fish cooperate.  Be prepared for big smiles!
There is nothing quite like taking a youngster out to ice fish when the fish cooperate. Be prepared for big smiles!

A few years back, when my 3-1/2 year-old grandson asked me to join him at his pre-school “show and tell”, I didn’t know how much fun that could be.  My little buddy talked about one of his favorite things – fishing.  He brought his 4-foot long Zebco “Tigger” fishing rod with pushbutton casting reel, his little blue/beige colored Plano tackle box, all his bobbers, sinkers and hooks, and one more thing that just touched my soul – a picture of him and me taken by his father when he caught his first sunfish on vacation last year.  A moment to live for!

The size of his ear to ear smile in the picture made everyone else in the classroom smile too.  “Wow, look at that BIG fish,” said another young guy in the class. “This is me and my Dziadzia (Polish word for grandad)”, he said, “And ‘dis is a fish I caught last year on vacation.”  Then, using a rubber casting plug, he went on to give a live demonstration of how he could cast.  He then looked over to me and said, “Me and my Dziadzia are Fish’N Buddies.”  A piece of my soul had just been gold-plated.  It’s been a few days since then, actually it’s been a few years, but I’m still beaming with pride from the memory of that moment.  The outdoors does bond people together for a lifetime.

Even back then, my grandson could probably best be described as a “talker”.  He asks lots of questions and usually offers lots of answers too.  He is a joy.  Anyway, as I drove him home after the show and tell, he asked me about where the fish go in the winter time.  Young minds at work.

I told him the whole story about how water gets cold when winter comes and it eventually freezes on the top.  The ice forms a hard thick layer and there is water below it where the fish live through winter.  I explained that most of the fish live on the bottom in the deepest part of the lake.

Collin asked, “Don’t they get cold?”  I explained that fish are not like people, fish are the same temperature of the water they swim in (they’re cold-blooded).  So when the water gets cold, the fish get cold too, but they don’t freeze, they just slow down.  They eat less, but they do eat in winter.

I should have known what was coming next, but I never even thought about it.  “Well, why don’t we go fish for them in the winter too?” He asked.  I told him that lots of people fish in the winter by drilling a hole through the ice and fishing a little jig and bobber for fish on the bottom.  “Can we go, can we go?” He asked.  How could I say no?

The next day after clearing it with his mom and dad, off we went to a small frozen pond that I knew had crappie, sunfish, yellow perch and black bass in it.  We walked over to an area of the pond that I thought was the deepest and I showed Collin how a clip-on weight could be used to show how deep the water was.  It was about 14 feet.  He wasn’t too thrilled about any of the technical stuff, he just asked, “Can we fish here?”  So we did.

We had about 7 or 8 inches of ice and I showed Collin how to use the ice scoop (hand skimmer) to clear the hole of ice chips and slush from digging the hole.  He took on to that job and OWNED IT.  He liked to “clear the ice” with the little shovel we brought too.

For STO 01312017, FISHING and LOVE OF SPORT, Picture 2of2We had a clear blue sunshine day, no clouds and no snow, air temperature about 25 degrees and a 5 mile per hour from the north.  Not a bad winter day in WNY.  With the sun, it felt more like 35 degrees.

Then we added a bobber stop and slip bobber to the very thin and supple 4-pound test Berkley “ice line”, a tiny ice-jig  and about 1/16 ounce of pinch-on BB-shot a foot above.   We again used the clip-on weight to set the bobber stop so the jig would be about one inch off the bottom.  I didn’t bother to explain this part of the set-up to the youngster.  He wanted to fish!  We added a mousee grub to the hook of the tiny ice-jig and let the line fall into the depths below.

As the line settled out, Collin watched the bobber with total focus.

Of course, most of the time, ice fishermen will concede that it takes two or three stops and digging new holes each time to find fish and get a strike. We lucked out.  The bobber started to quiver and wobble, then it disappeared, Collin yelled, “There it goes!”  I picked up the rod and handed it to him.  He had been practicing how the open-face reel works all day and knew very well how to turn the reel handle to wind in the line.

It was bit of a struggle as his face was straining a little.  He was excited and I bet a little scared at the same time.  I imagine not ever having done this before, he might have been wondering what he might have down there.  The lite-weight, micro-sized ice rod was bent double and a wiggling fish was definitely on the end.  I coached him to keep reeling and he was doing a great job, slowly turning the handle over.  Collin was on the edge of a new moment.

An instant later, a 12-inch perch plopped out of the hole right onto the ice surface.

WOW!! Look at that Dziadza!  “We better take it off the hook Dziadzia, we have to put it back into the water.”  I explained that we could keep this fish and have it for dinner later.  He stopped talking, waited, looked sat me, looked at the fish and then said, “Can we let this one go?”  I smiled at him and said, “Sure we can!”

We both worked to carefully remove the ice jig from the lip of the fish and then we slid the fish across the ice to the hole.  Collin used his boot to help the fish find the hole.  Once there, one flip and the perch swam out of sight, back into the deep.

“Good job,” I told him. “Was that fun?” I asked.  “Yup,” he smiled wide and wider as he answered.  “Can we try that again Dziadzia?”  I began thinking, oh Lordy, I HAVE been born a lucky man.

We caught about 6 more fish in the next hour.  A black bass, another yellow perch, and several bluegills.  It was a great day for first time ice fishing.

Without reaching the point of “Can we go home now,” I told Collin that we had to go back to see Grammy now.  He wanted to stay.  I was happy to discover that after an hour he wasn’t tired of all the excitement, but I wanted to make sure he didn’t get cold and that he still had the desire to return.

Even before we reached the truck, we were already talking about another day on the ice for the next weekend.  I realize now that as I get older, I have less time to get older.  This stuff is fun!!  I suddenly want to eat the right foods, get some exercise, live healthier and make sure that I can stay on this planet for a very good long time.

You see, I know that when his two sisters find out about this, I’m going to need a calendar book for noting the next ice fishing dates.  Ice fishing with children is more than fun.  It is an experience that can open the door to a lifetime of outdoor adventure and also allow for some gold-plated moments in time, if you’re lucky.

Did I mention that fishing with kids will make you younger too?  We are always reminded that life is about attitude, aren’t we?  This was an attitude-changing day for sure.  My life changed that day.

On the last fish we caught, Collin turned to me to ask one small favor.  “Dziadzia, can we keep this one?”  I said, “Well, we don’t have enough to make a meal because we let them all go, why do you want to keep this one?”  He said, “For show and tell next week.”  I grinned.  OK Collin, I have an aerator at home and it will keep the fish alive until then.”  Mr. Bluegill went home with us in a 5-gallon bucket and off we went, bright-eyed and cheery-tailed, looking ahead to the next time we could go ice fishing.

Give yourself the opportunity.

Hey folks, the ice has had a hard time getting here this year in many parts of the country, but it will get here.  Step out there and grab some winter ice-fishing fun.  Take a kid with you!   In many areas of the country, there is no closed season for many species of panfish and they’re easy to catch.

Finding a Florida Fishing Charter

  • You Have 4 hours, You Want to Fish
  • New “Find a Fishing Charter Service”
  • What to Do, Where to Search – www.Itrekkers.com
Small boats, big boats and even kayaks, complete with tackle, are a part of the fishing fleet and staff that is available to you with one call to this new service (1-844-GOT-TREK). Forrest Fisher Photo
Small boats, big boats and even kayaks, complete with tackle, are a part of the fishing fleet and staff that is available to you with one call to this new service (1-844-GOT-TREK).  Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

When you travel to Florida for vacation or business, you realize at some point – especially if you are a fisherman, that the deep blue sea is calling and that there may be some time for you to enjoy a charter fishing trip.  Your eternal obligations for responsibility melt away and the thought of a short fishing trip melts away all of your burdens.  Fishing…..Yes!

Even if you unprepared, the nice thing about Florida charter fishing is that the fishing license is considered part of the charter cost and this policy helps to promote the economic impact for the local economy, guides and visitors.  It makes it easy for you and I to take a fishing trip too.

You open the phone book or click on google for the city you’re in and there you are, yep, somewhat confused.  You find so many charter listings and no time to sort through them to find out about reviews and cost and time of arrival and location.  All those things and even more.

While on a Florida fishing charter, you will always find that nature is all around you wherever you fish. Forrest Fisher Photo
While on a Florida fishing charter, you will always find that nature is all around you wherever you fish.  Forrest Fisher Photo

If you are fishing in Florida, especially if you are within an hour or two of Tampa, you won’t need to worry about all those details.  There is a new fishing charter company that has already vetted the available charters and made a list of the good guys (and gals) who are honest charter fishermen willing to give you their time and best effort to catch fish in short order.  That new company is called “itrekkers” and you can quickly find them at www.itrekkers.com.  Think of them as sort of the Uber Taxi Service of the fishing world in Florida.

Itrekkers allows you to make a simple search for the convenience of booking a fishing charter with nearly no prep time.  You’re decision-making is reduced to deciding upon the length of your trip.  End of story, you can let the fun begin.

Itrekkers offers several types of trips depending on how much time you have, these include 4-Hour Inshore, 6-Hour Nearshore and 8-Hour Offshore trips.  These types of trips are designed for you and your family or small group of 4-6 people.  If you’re fishing alone, they also offer Share-A-Treks that are designed for 1-2 people who are looking for all the benefits of a charter, but not the full cost.  You can book a single seat and share with friends or let others join you for a fun adventure on the water.

The Share-A-Trek fishing trips permit you to enjoy the charter without being responsible for the full charter cost.  I like this option, especially for business travelers, since the cost can be as little as $150 per person to get out on a boat for half a day with all gas, bait, equipment, licenses, and more, included.

Depending on the trip selected, you’ll fish in different types of water from protected bays and inlets to deep sea offshore waters.  The 8-Hour Offshore deep-sea trips will take the angler 20 to 60 miles offshore to catch the fish you’re after.

This service has long been overdue and if you have ever rented a charter and come back disappointed, this business takes care of that problem. Your trip is money-back guaranteed.  Not sure any adventure trip can ever be more assured before you leave.  Check these guys out, they’re worth a call if you happen to be in need of fishing fun and services and you’re in Florida.

Call 1-844-GOT-TREK or link to www.itrekkers.com.  Tight lines everyone!

Bowhunting Woman of South Africa

  • Adventure, Conservation-Oriented, Sacred Moments
  • Full Accommodations, Meals Included, Max Comfort
  • Professional Hunter Guide is Part of Package
  • Exciting, Relatively Low Cost
Anne O’Leary arrives in Thabazimbi Province in South Africa to unpack her Elite Archery bow to assure shot accuracy.
Anne O’Leary arrives in Thabazimbi Province in South Africa to unpack her Elite Archery bow to assure shot accuracy.

By Forrest Fisher

When Jack Coad and Anne O’Leary made a plan to hunt Africa, they planned the hunt of their lifetime.  They discovered that South Africa offered more than 30 species of animals and that some study of which animals to hunt would be needed.   Among the most common animals to hunt are Plains Game animals such as Impala, Wildebeest, Kudu, Gemsbok, Zebra, Eland and many others.

Hunting in South Africa is exciting, an adventure, it is about understanding nature and conservation.  There are wonders in the natural world of Africa that are breathtaking and extraordinary, these elements help hunters to develop a new perception of all things wild when you hunt in Africa. This is especially true for archery hunters.

It is often about observing wild animals that have the power to feast on you and your guide, face to face, while with archery gear in hand.  Animals such as the Cape Buffalo.

The safety of the hunter and the effectiveness of the hunt can depend on the structure and location of the blind such as this one, where Anne harvested her 900 pound Zebra.
The safety of the hunter and the effectiveness of the hunt can depend on the structure and location of the blind such as this one, where Anne harvested her 900 pound Zebra.

Choosing the right place to hunt and the right guide may appear to be complicated, but after conversation with other hunters that have travelled there, decision making is lessened to a manageable numbers of safari facilities.

Jack and Anne chose to hunt with Numzaan Safaris in Thabazimbi, a village in the Limpopo Province South Africa, located about a 3-1/2 hour drive northwest from Johannesburg.  There are multiple airlines that service this area and your travel from the airport is part of the Safari fee.  Upon arrival they met their “PH” or professional hunter (guide), Brent Van As, who advised their every move for safety and effective hunting of several species.

Hunting with a trained guide and effective gear in South Africa hunting may present an opportunity for the reverence of a perfect shot.

The hunter may accept the challenge to make that shot.  It is a sacred moment.  It is awe-inspiring.  It requires mental focus and an understanding with perceptive sense of the role that the hunter takes when hunting in Africa.  It is a role quite different from the role of hunter nearly anywhere else.  It is a role where indigenous natives applaud your success because you will share with them in your bounty, but also a role unpopular to some in the western world.  The locals keenly understand that you part of natural resource management.  They welcome you.

A prerequisite is that hunter skill in the gear of choice is necessary.  Bow, arrows, broadheads, release, sights, counterbalance, and the aim of the hunter in brief duress for the moment of brief encounter.  Your skill must be dominant.

Jack Coad and Anne O’Leary teamed up with Numzaan Safari to harvest this beautiful Zebra about 200 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Jack Coad and Anne O’Leary teamed up with Numzaan Safari to harvest this beautiful Zebra about 200 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Your understanding can be reduced to a simple few things:  arrow flight and distance to target.  You must recognize and understand the limits and boundaries of your shooting skills, like hunters everywhere, but many fail to recognize this transitional crossroad for taking a shot.

Bow hunts in Africa with many outfitters are usually a minimum of 10 days in stay and run during the African winter that occurs from July through September.

In Africa, accepting that you have the right gear, have developed adequate skill and you are healthy enough to embrace the excitement of the hunt and potential sharing of the harvest, know that you will have a trained and skilled guide.  A guide that has meandered the African wilderness and networks of animal trails that identify preferred hunting areas.

One look at the night sky to see tens of thousands of stars in the unspoiled air of Africa is enough, all by itself, to wish for a quick return to Africa.

The night sky tells a tale of purified and simple living.  Hunters in Africa form an important arm of required balance to keep poachers in check.  Hunter funding pays for poacher policing, without hunters that pay for this privilege to share in the harvest, the capacity for nature to support wild animal populations would have already been compromised.

Winter temperatures in Africa vary between the low 40’s to about a high of 70 in mid-afternoon, but it is sunny most of the time, so use of sunscreen is common.

Africa needs hunters.  African villagers and wild game species needs hunters.

As you explore this need, you realize there is a renewed sense of community.  You better understand the vulnerable community of African wild animals and the necessary role of hunters.  Hunters in Africa are a precious commodity subject to maltreatment from others without understanding of the rescue mission that they perform.

When you accept the challenge to hunt in Africa, and then after you have gone on the hunt and you return, it is only then that you realize how important it has been for you to form this new kinship with nature and our Creator.  A kinship that is vulnerable to confrontation.

Therefore it is important to realize that hunting in Africa requires moral courage and a new understanding that, in fact, as a hunter in Africa, you are a gift.  You are bound to respect, bound to scientific management of the species you harvest and share, bound to support the costly licensing procedure, bound to the reciprocity of the timeless bond with nature and the wilds that is shared by all hunters who respect their hunting moments as sacred.

To learn more about hunting and what it costs, what you should pack and how far in advance to plan, visit this website: http://www.numzaan.com/.  One thing that is surprising is that you will learn it is far less costly to hunt Africa than it is the Rocky Mountains in western United States or up north in Alaska.  I was surprised at this, but it accentuates the need for hunters to visit Africa.

If you have additional questions, you might email their guide, Brent Van As, directly, at brent@numzaan.com.  

For it is you that understand there is reciprocal balance and you are part of that delicate scale.

RAGE Arrow Packages Now in KIT FORM

  • Pre-Cut to 29.5 inches
  • SC-2 Blade, 100 Grains
  • Advanced Shock Collar, Non-Fouling Design

For STO 01272017, HUNTING and PRODUCTS, Picture 1of2Posted by Forrest Fisher

Folks don’t need to tell me personally about how effective the Rage broadheads are.  They have proven their value with me the last 7 years.  They are deadly effective.

For STO 01272017, HUNTING and PRODUCTS, Picture 2of2Rage, the number-one-selling mechanical broadhead on the market, now offers two complete arrow packages so archers can spend less time building arrows and more time shooting them.

The new Rage Simply Lethal Arrow package combines a popular Gold Tip pre-fletched carbon arrows with the archer’s choice of either the Rage SC 2-Blade 100-gr. or the Rage SC 2-Blade Chisel Tip 100-gr. broadheads and a set of field points for practice.  Extremely tough and very dependable, these arrows come out of the box pre-cut and fully equipped with nocks, inserts, and 2-inch GT vanes installed.

Designed for draw weights up to 70 lbs., the arrows in the Rage Simply Lethal package are pre-cut to 29.5 inches to fit most archer’s setups.  They have a straightness ±.006-inch and weight tolerance of ±2.0 grain.  The deadly cut-on-contact Rage SC 2-Blade is a proven 2-blade Slip Cam™ design with advanced Shock Collar technology that keeps the blades in place until the moment of contact.  This delivers full kinetic energy to provide extremely large wounds and better blood trails.  The Rage SC 2-Blade Chisel Tip incorporates a bone-crushing chisel-tip design and features the Shock Collar retention system for dependably devastating entry and exit wounds.

Both Rage Simply Lethal packages come with three fletched arrows, three broadheads and three field points. The Rage Simply Lethal arrow packages are now available at retailers nationwide with a suggested retail price of less than $60.  They are easily distinguished apart by the red packaging of the Rage SC 2-Blade and the yellow packaging of the standard 100-grain Rage SC 2-Blade.  Spend your time shooting instead of getting your equipment prepared to shoot.

Rage Broadheads is the world’s number-one manufacturer of expandable broadheads. Rage also manufactures quivers and accessories.  A FeraDyne Outdoors brand, Rage is headquartered at 101 Main Street, Superior, WI 54880; call 866-387-9307; or visit www.ragebroadheads.com.

Florida Saltwater Fishing for Fun

  • Keep It Simple
  • Live Bait Effective, Shrimp Works Everywhere
  •   Be Prepared for Big Fish and Small Fish
One of my lifetime fishing buddies, Jeff Liebler, has shared his Florida fishing bounty with many others, especially parents of younger children.  Liebler says, “Life is about fun in the outdoors and finding some time to learn about that with your family.” Forrest Fisher photo
One of my lifetime fishing buddies, Jeff Liebler, has shared his Florida fishing bounty with many others, especially parents of younger children. Liebler says, “Life is about fun in the outdoors and finding some time to learn about that with your family.” Forrest Fisher photo

By Forrest Fisher

For wintertime saltwater fishing, the fun begins in Florida with cooling waters as multiple species head inshore to spawn and to search for easy forage feeding opportunities.  With hundreds and thousands of northerly bound anglers also heading to the lush green vegetation and sandy beach shores of southern Florida, many travelers do pack a fishing rod.  If you happen to be one of those lucky folks, just be sure the gear is strong enough to handle fish from one to 10 pounds or so, all common catches from shore or pier-fishing hotspots.

If you’re bait fishing, shrimp is always number one. Live shrimp are best, dead shrimp are next, then enter artificials.    Live shrimp are often fished under a bobber, casted from a boat or while wading along the shoreline, then drifted along in search for a redfish, spotted sea trout, snook, flounder and many other species.  There’s lots of ‘em!  And big or small, they all fight harder than you will expect.

The best bait for starting in the fin of fishing Florida in the wintertime is a live shrimp and a bobber.  Cast out and hang on!  Forrest Fisher photo
The best bait for starting in the fin of fishing Florida in the wintertime is a live shrimp and a bobber. Cast out and hang on! Forrest Fisher photo

If dead shrimp bait, that might be best for pier fishing for sheepshead and other species, simple use a small piece of the shrimp tail, shed the shell and thread it on.  These pieces can be fished off a bare hook and sinker rig or directly of a ¼-3/8 ounce jig with extra sharp hooks.   Hang on, you never know what might swim by and choose to chomp on your presentation.

If you are more a caster and not prone to pier-sitting and line watching, the Berkley Gulp shrimp in the 3-inch size is the hottest thing for saltwater fishing since bread and milk for breakfast.  Thread it onto a weighted hook or light jig head with a wide gap hook, you might have to look for that type of jig style – but they exist, and get into some easy fishing on the incoming tide.  You can wade out in shorts of waders, but be aware, these waters also are home to sharks, sting rays and a host of other non-people friendly critters that don’t necessarily mean to hurt you, they’re just part of the package.  Awareness is essential to stay in the fun zone.

Cast out your properly rigged artificial Gulp shrimp and let it sink to bottom in 3 to 6 feet of water, then start a short-hop, swimming retrieve, slow or fast, you’ll figure it out by how the fish react.  Start with slow.  Spend about 1 to 2 hours before taking this bait off for another if you find the fishing slow.  The fish are not always there and need to move through too, so this is a bit about timing when you are fishing.

Bottom line?  Hang in there with any form of shrimp bait and sooner or later, you will catch a few fish.  Visit a bait/tackle shop to insure you have the rules and understanding for legal fishing, and a license, if you need it.  Don’t forget the sunscreen.

Tight lines!

Snook Season Reopens in Florida Atlantic Waters

  • Recreational Snook Season will Re-Open Feb. 1
  • Keeper Slot Limit: 28 – 32 Inches
  •   Anglers Asked to Save Filleted Carcasses for FWC
Starting Feb. 1. 2017, in the Atlantic, Florida anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length.  Photo Courtesy of Hobie Kayak Fishing
Starting Feb. 1. 2017, in the Atlantic, Florida anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length. Photo Courtesy of Hobie Kayak Fishing

Posted by Forrest Fisher

The recreational harvest season for snook reopens on Feb. 1 in Florida’s Atlantic coastal and inland waters (from the Miami-Dade/Monroe county line north), including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. The season will remain open through May 31.

In the Atlantic, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license, unless the angler is exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.

It is illegal to buy or sell snook.

Snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. As a result, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages anglers to use moderation when determining whether or not to take a snook home, even during the open season.

Researchers ask anglers who harvest the fish to save their filleted carcasses and provide them to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store. This program allows anglers to participate in the collection of data, such as the size, age, maturity and sex, of Florida’s premier inshore game fish – snook. For a county-by-county list, go to MyFWC.com/Research and click on “Saltwater,” “Snook” under the heading “Saltwater Fish,” and “Snook Anglers Asked to Help with Research.”

The harvest of snook in all of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state waters, including Everglades National Park and all of Monroe County, remains closed until March 1. Snook harvested from the open waters of the Atlantic may not be transported through closed waters or landed in the closed area. Anglers may catch and release snook during the closed season, but the FWC encourages anglers to handle and release these fish carefully to help ensure their survival upon release. Proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about fish handling, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.”

For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”

Ban on Lead Fishing Tackle Issued

  • New U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Policy 
  • Non-Toxic Tackle Required by 2022
  • ASA Says Fishing Tackle Ban Blindsided Anglers
The American Sportfishing Association is hopeful that new leadership at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will REPEAL this directive and develop public policy in a way that is open, inclusive and based on science.  Forrest Fisher photo
The American Sportfishing Association is hopeful that new leadership at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will REPEAL this directive and develop public policy in a way that is open, inclusive and based on science. Forrest Fisher photo

Posted by Forrest Fisher

On the day before President Obama left office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an edict to phase out the use of traditional fishing tackle on the hundreds of thousands of square miles of public lands under their management.

Director’s Order No. 219 will, “Require the use of non-toxic ammunition and fishing tackle to the fullest extent practicable for all activities on Service lands, waters and facilities by January 2022, except as needed for law enforcement or health and safety uses, as provided for in policy.”

ASA views this unilateral policy to ban lead fishing tackle, which was developed without any input from the industry, other angling organizations or state fish and wildlife agencies, as a complete disregard for the economic and social impact it will have on anglers and the recreational fishing industry.  ASA is hopeful that new leadership at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will repeal this Director’s Order and develop public policy in a way that is open, inclusive and based on science.

Scott Gudes, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association that represents the recreational fishing industry, issued a statement of behalf of the industry.  “The sportfishing industry views this unilateral policy to ban lead fishing tackle, which was developed without any input from the industry, other angling organizations and state fish and wildlife agencies, as a complete disregard for the economic and social impact it will have on anglers and the recreational fishing industry.”

Gudes further said, “In the limited instances where lead fishing tackle is demonstrated to harm local wildlife populations, the sportfishing industry supports actions to minimize or eliminate these impacts.  However, unnecessary and sweeping bans such as this Director’s Order will do nothing to benefit wildlife populations and instead will penalize the nation’s 46 million anglers and hurt recreational fishing-dependent jobs.”

Gudes concluded, “A sound, science-driven and durable policy could’ve been crafted with input from industry and the broader recreational fishing community.  We are hopeful that new leadership at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will repeal this Director’s Order and develop public policy in a way that is open, inclusive and based on science.”

About the ASA:

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.  To learn more, please visit: http://asafishing.org/membership/.

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting Delayed

  • Public Comments Cause Hold
  • 100+ Grizzlies Killed for Human or Livestock Attack 
  • Social Tolerance Levels Reached
  • Goal is to remove 700 Bears
More than 100 Grizzly bears have been killed as a result of increased attacks on humans and livestock, allowing landowners and management groups to consider scientific management is now necessary. Photo courtesy of Sportsmen’s Alliance
More than 100 Grizzly bears have been killed as a result of increased attacks on humans and livestock, allowing landowners and management groups to consider scientific management is now necessary. Photo courtesy of Sportsmen’s Alliance

Posted by Forrest Fisher

The removal of 700 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the protections of the Endangered Species Act has stalled after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife received more than 650,000 comments.  Many comments from American Indian Tribes and animal-rights supporters expressed unwarranted fears that the recovered animals would again face extinction despite successful scientific management of every other game animal on the continent.

Last year, the Sportsmen’s Alliance twice submitted comments in support of delisting the distinct population of grizzly bears and returning them to state management in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  The action would open the possibility of closely monitored hunting for grizzlies, but within guidelines that assure no detrimental impact to the overall population in each state.

The delisting from federal protections and return of grizzlies to state management would apply to a distinct population of recovered grizzly bears found in an area around, but not in, Yellowstone National Park.  The population of grizzly bears has surpassed recovery goals in both population benchmarks and duration of time meeting those goals, proving that the population is not just recovered, but stable and growing.

Moreover, more than 100 grizzly bears have been killed for depredation of livestock or attacks on humans in the last two years – a significant number indicative of the population having reached social tolerance levels within the available habitat.

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance 

The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them.  Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible.  To learn more about membership in this group, please visit: http://www.sportsmensalliance.org/membership/individual-membership/.

Brothers That Hunt Together – A Video Story

  • Lessons for Stalking Pronghorn
  • Learn About Tracking, Harvest
  • Enjoy Field Dressing Tactics, Savory Cooking Details

Pronghorn-3By Forrest Fisher

In this wonderful video from Ramp Media Outdoors, learn about the passion of how and why hunting brings two brothers together.  Despite their extremely busy lives, Matt McMorris and brother, Jeremy, share details about hunting and how it provides them with an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors together.

They both have families with young children and live several hundred miles distant from each other, but in this video, they find a way to get together during hunting seasons in the Texas panhandle to hunt for a pronghorn buck.

Watch as they track a herd of pronghorn, share hunting techniques, scouting tactics and more importantly, perhaps, why hunting is about so much more than about taking a trophy.

Matt says, “Hunting brings people together and has such deep meaning and purpose for true sportsmen.  As brothers, we use our harvest for food to feed our families.  We hunt because it is a part of who we are as humans designed to survive.  Hunting does a lot to bring people together, bonding people to nature and to a more ultimate meaning.”

Effective, Low-Cost Ammo

  • Quality and Price Sets Tula Ammo Apart 
  • Perfect for Training at the Range
  • See Attached Video Link 

By Forrest Fisher

For STO 01232017, SHOOTING, Picture 1of1The Tula Cartridge Works, was founded way back in 1880 by Emperor Alexander II, that makes it one of the oldest and perhaps, most significant, producers of small-arms ammunition in the world today.

Leveraging the production experience of nearly 140 years and applying ever-evolving technologies with research knowledge, Tula Ammo continues to push the envelope on behalf of the American shooter.

The history of the Tula Cartridge Works includes a defining role during World War II, when the facility turned out millions of rounds of small arms ammunition to be used against Nazi Germany.  Since that time, Tula has continued to introduce new products, increase production capacities and open new markets for military and civilian shooters alike.

TulAmmo USA represents the Tula Cartridge Works here in the United States.  We recognize that the American shooting and hunting enthusiast demands a cleaner and more accurate option in economy cartridges against other foreign-produced brands.  We are proud to offer that option in a variety of popular handgun and rifle calibers, as well as a selection of primers for the hand reloader.

For a better, first-hand look from the 2017 SHOT SHOW, visit with Dominic Grasso at the SHOT SHOW:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAqxoKi09Ts&feature=youtu.be

Humminbird® Introduces New SOLIX™ Series

  • Exclusive Fish-Finder Technology Combinations
  • Largest Viewing Screens in Industry
  • Mapping, Imaging, Clarity

 

The SOLIX unit offers new features, including a keypad with a separate joy stick and encoder for precise adjustments and easy access to key features.  Photo courtesy of Humminbird.
The SOLIX unit offers new features, including a keypad with a separate joy stick and encoder for precise adjustments and easy access to key features. Photo courtesy of Humminbird.

Posted by Forrest Fisher

The biggest news in fish-finding sonar for 2017 is, quite literally, “big viewing.”  For decades, Humminbird has led the fishing world by putting new tools and innovations in the hands of anglers to help them find, and catch, fish.  Now, Humminbird has combined its best features and placed them into one fish-finder, the SOLIX™.  The unit offers the biggest display in the brand’s history – up to 15 inches, and the SOLIX combines multiple technologies designed to make locating fish easier.

A truly revolutionary product, SOLIX delivers game-changing sonar, imaging and mapping capabilities in the largest fish finder anglers have ever seen. In true Humminbird fashion, these technologies are packaged in an easy-to-use interface and system that can make any angler better.

Unprecedented Screen Innovation

SOLIX is setting the bar for the angling sonar category in display size with two variations with 12-inch and 15-inch visual monitor options.  Either size unit comes standard with Humminbird’s Cross Touch® Interface, letting anglers operate the unit via touchscreen or keypad, all while customizing the screen with up to four independent viewing panes.

Cross Touch allows anglers to use the SOLIX either as a touchscreen or with the keypad for easier control in rough water conditions.  Individual panes can be zoomed or moved to different screen locations based on angler preference or fishing situation.

According to professional bass angler Gerald Swindle, SOLIX gives him a serious advantage over his competition and the fish he’s after.  “The size is amazing and allows me to see crucial screen information from anywhere in the boat. Plus, I can set up my panes to simultaneously show me MEGA-Side Imaging, MEGA-Down Imaging and how I’m oriented to key structure.  I get all of that in a glance, so I know that every cast is a productive one,” said Swindle.

Never-before-seen image clarity

SOLIX units come in two versions. One is equipped with GPS and CHIRP Digital Sonar, the other adds Humminbird’s game-changing MEGA Imaging.  This is the first Down and Side Imaging technology to enter the megahertz range with performance that’s nearly three times greater than traditional 455 kHz frequencies.  It results in the clearest, sharpest imaging returns ever.

Anglers can choose MEGA-Side Imaging for an incredible view to the left and right of their boat, while MEGA-Down Imaging gives crystal clear pictures of what is beneath the boat. Both carry a range that covers the most popular fishing depths.

Mega-Down Imaging® allows anglers a fish-eye view of below the boat. Photo Courtesy of Humminbird
Mega-Down Imaging® allows anglers a fish-eye view of below the boat. Photo Courtesy of Humminbird

When asked to explain MEGA Imaging, Humminbird’s brand manager Ray Schaffart said, “The screen detail is so defined that in some cases you can literally see each individual fish and make out their head or tail in the sonar shadow.  Natural bottom structures like rocks and stumps almost look like photographs, while man-made structures like shipwrecks, road grades or sunken bridges, offer up imagery down to the individual beam.  After people see it, they just can’t believe it.”

All SOLIX models include CHIRP Digital Sonar, firing more pulses than traditional transducers over a given period of time.  More pulses mean more information, improved image separation and superior image clarity at greater depths.

Includes Next Generation in Mapping

AutoChart Live draws a map of lake depth contours - complete with actual depth labels as you drive your boat. Photo Courtesy of Humminbird
AutoChart Live draws a map of lake depth contours – complete with actual depth labels as you drive your boat. Photo Courtesy of Humminbird

Also standard on all SOLIX models is Humminbird’s expanded AUTOCHART® Live Technology that creates and saves structure maps on any body of water.  AUTOCHART Live identifies and maps depth, bottom hardness and vegetation. Anglers know that fish relate to depth, weed lines and transition points in bottom type – for example where a soft, muddy bottom transitions to firm sand or rock.  By collecting all that data on an AUTOCHART Live map, Humminbird helps anglers keep their boat in the strike zone on productive structure.

Fishing takes another huge step forward when AUTOCHART Live is used in conjunction with i-Pilot® Link™ from Minn Kota®.  With both technologies cooperating, an angler can tell his Minn Kota trolling motor to “follow” a specific AUTCHART Live contour at a set speed, and with the press of a button the boat will precisely follow the exact path.  Now, anglers no longer need to guess where fish-holding structure is located.  They can precisely follow the weedline, bottom hardness or depth contour, and stay within easy casting distance of their target.

Unsurpassed connectivity

Bluetooth is built into every unit, allowing anglers to sync smartphones to the on-board SOLIX.  Text messages, missed calls, signal strength and other notifications appear right on the Humminbird display, so phones can stay safely in pockets where they belong for hands-free fishing.  It creates a flawless on-board network of electronics and connectivity.

For plug-and-fish networking, high-speed Ethernet provides easy connectivity to Humminbird 360 Imaging, Minn Kota i-Pilot Link, Humminbird CHIRP Radar, and additional SOLIX or select HELIX units.  The new units are fully compatible with Humminbird LakeMaster® charts, SmartStrike™ and Navionics® Gold/HotMaps™.

Versatile mounting options

SOLIX owners can mount their large Cross Touch screens inside the boat dash, on the included gimbal or directly to an optional RAM Mount for multi-directional viewing.

Mark Gibson, Humminbird director of R&D, summarized the new Humminbird SOLIX technology by saying “SOLIX is the combination of decades of dedicated development in everything from the transducer to the touchscreen. It’s the best of the best and the most advanced fish locator ever created.”

For more information call Humminbird at 1-800-633-1468 or visit Humminbird.com.

Florida Identifies Imperiled Species

  • Management Plan Rule Changes Are In Effect
  • Florida Wildlife Conservation Charting Essential Course
  •   57 Species Identified with New Status
Pine Barrens Tree Frog
Pine Barrens Tree Frog

Posted by Forrest Fisher, Managing Editor

The Imperiled Species Management Plan rule changes are now in effect, including changes in listing status for many species. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved the groundbreaking plan in an effort to achieve conservation success with dozens of imperiled species throughout the state. The plan outlines the steps to conserve 57 species along with the broader vision of restoring habitats essential to the long-term survival of multiple fish and wildlife species.

“Florida is charting an ambitious new path for wildlife conservation success on a statewide scale,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. “Seeing a roseate spoonbill wading in shallow waters, a black skimmer resting on the beach or a Big Cypress fox squirrel sitting in a pine tree is an essential part of the Florida experience. This innovative plan is designed to keep imperiled species like these around for many generations to come.”

White Ibis in the Florida Ocean Surf
White Ibis in the Florida Ocean Surf

Nine rules were revised in support of the ISMP, focusing on changes to listing status, adding authorizations in a management plan or Commission-approved guidelines, preventing possession of species coming off the list, and accomplishing overall rule cleanup and clarification. Among the nine rules, one rule affecting inactive nests of non-listed birds is still pending.

Under the rule change that updates species’ listing status:

  • Fifteen species will no longer be listed as imperiled species because conservation successes improved their status: eastern chipmunk, Florida mouse, brown pelican, limpkin, snowy egret, white ibis, peninsula ribbon snake (lower Keys population), red rat snake (lower Keys population), striped mud turtle (lower Keys population), Suwannee cooter, gopher frog, Pine Barrens tree frog, Lake Eustis pupfish, mangrove rivulus and Florida tree snail. These species still are included in the plan for guidance in monitoring and conserving them.
  • Twenty-three species are newly listed as state Threatened species, a change from their former status as Species of Special Concern: Sherman’s short-tailed shrew, Sanibel rice rat, little blue heron, tricolored heron, reddish egret, roseate spoonbill, American oystercatcher, black skimmer, Florida burrowing owl, Marian’s marsh wren, Worthington’s marsh wren, For STO 01202017, CONSERVATION, picture 3of3, Florida Pine SnakeScott’s seaside sparrow, Wakulla seaside sparrow, Barbour’s map turtle, Florida Keys mole skink, Florida pine snake, Georgia blind salamander, Florida bog frog, bluenose shiner, saltmarsh top minnow, southern tessellated darter, Santa Fe crayfish and Black Creek crayfish. Threatened species have populations that are declining, have a very limited range or are very small.
  • Fourteen species keep their state Threatened status: Everglades mink, Big Cypress fox squirrel, Florida sandhill crane, snowy plover, least tern, white-crowned pigeon, southeastern American kestrel, Florida brown snake (lower Keys population), Key ringneck snake, short-tailed snake, rim rock crowned snake, Key silverside, blackmouth shiner and crystal darter.
  • Five species remain Species of Special Concern: Homosassa shrew, Sherman’s fox squirrel, osprey (Monroe County population), alligator snapping turtle and harlequin darter.  These species have significant data gaps, and the FWC plans to make a determination on their appropriate listing status in the near future.

Important things to know about the Imperiled Species Management Plan:

  • It includes one-page summaries for each species, including a map of its range in Florida and online links to Species Action Plans. The 49 Species Action Plans contain specific conservation goals, objectives and actions for all 57 species.
  • It also has Integrated Conservation Strategies that benefit multiple species and their habitats, and focus implementation of the plan on areas and issues that yield the greatest conservation benefit for the greatest number of species.

Learn more about the plan at MyFWC.com/Imperiled.

Mister Twister® BUZZ Bug

  • Unique Retrieve Vibration Provides Effective “Victim Action”
  • New Lure Draws Attention from Bass Pro’s

 Posted by Forrest Fisher, Managing Editor

For STO 01202017, FISHING, Picture 1of1There is a new Swim Craw BUZZing with action.

Add the Mister Twister® BUZZ Bug to your bass fishing arsenal.  The new Mister Twister® 4″ BUZZ Bug is a versatile swim craw that provides maximum action and vibration making it an excellent choice for tempting wary bass.

The BUZZ Bug’s tough, thick body makes it ideal for punching and flipping with extra-wide gap hooks.  The lure features extra-long craws that extend beyond skirted lure length to provide a consistent swimming action on a steady retrieve or when fished fast.

It can also be Carolina-rigged and works well Texas-rigged on a weightless Mister Twister® Keeper™ Hook for a free-falling action that imitates a wounded crawfish.

“The BUZZ Bug has quickly become one of my go-to baits,” says Bassmaster Elite Series Pro, Clent Davis.  “Whether it’s swimming it through grass or pulling it behind a jig in 20 feet of water, I know it’s going to get the job done!”

The new 4″ BUZZ Bug from Mister Twister® is available in 19 fish-catching colors, including four laminate colors, selected by Pro Team members.

See more about the new Mister Twister® BUZZ Bug at mistertwister.com/buzz-bug.

Springfield Armory® Introduces Next Generation of Competitive Shooters

  • Young Girls May Dominate in Competition
  • Learning About Quickness and Fun
Jalise (13) and Justine (12) Williams make grand entrance to Team Springfield™ and Action Pistol Shooting
Jalise (13) and Justine (12) Williams make grand entrance to Team Springfield™ and Action Pistol Shooting

Posted by Forrest Fisher, managing editor

What has bright-green, red or blue fingernails and can, on occasion, outdraw Team Springfield™ Captain Rob Leatham? That would be one of the Williams sisters – either Jalise (pronounced jay-lease) or Justine, depending on who’s faster that particular day.

After taking the NRA 2016 Annual Meeting by storm, the newest members of Team Springfield™ sat down for a video interview so the shooting community could learn a bit more about these preteen wonders.

Just 16 months apart in age, Jalise (13) and Justine (12) Williams have been shooting since age three or four, depending on which sister one asks. Under Coach Glenn Wong, they’ve been hitting the competitive circuit, primarily in United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA), since December 2013. Who’s the better competitive shooter? When asked, both immediately replied, “I am! No! I am!”

That about sums up the friendly, family rivalry. 

Demonstrating that respect and discipline go hand in hand with safe and responsible shooting, both girls have already earned black belts in karate, play piano and achieve (mostly) straight A’s in school.

When asked about joining Team Springfield™, Jalise replied, “Our first guns were Springfield Armory® XD(M)®s. I didn’t even think or dream that we would be on Team Springfield™ one day. I am just stoked! I can’t wait to put the shirts on for the next match!”

While Jalise prefers a little more quiet and spends her time reading, writing and shooting paper targets, sister Justine is all about commotion, taking part in motocross sports and dance. She also prefers the ring of steel targets to the calm precision of paper target shooting.

While both girls compete in Three Gun, USPSA and Steel Challenge, they have slightly different preferences for favorite division within the sport. Jalise prefers to shoot single-stack with her Springfield Armory® 1911 Range Officer® 9mm, while Justine chooses Production using her Springfield Armory® XD(M)® 5.25” Competition Model.

Regardless of division, the sisters share the same philosophy when asked about speed versus slow and easy shooting: “Fast!”

While Coach Wong assumes the lead for training and practices, the duo has a comfortable working relationship with Team Springfield™ Captain Rob Leatham, who observed, “The Williams sisters are the next generation of Springfield Armory® shooters. Actually, now that I think about it, I wonder if they’re my replacements. Maybe I should have considered that earlier.”

After meeting anyone and everyone in the shooting industry at the recent 2016 NRA Annual Meeting, the sisters were off to film an episode of GunVenture with Tom Gresham, scheduled to appear on Sportsman Channel in the third quarter of 2016.

Already, the girls have racked up an impressive list of corporate sponsors. In addition to Springfield Armory®, the sisters represent Berry’s Manufacturing, Robinson Armament®, ISCOPE, Tac-Tech-Cal Holsters, TPC, Weapon Shield, Dillon Precision, PK Realty and Mountain River LLC.

What’s in their futures? Both strive to become the youngest female Grand Masters first, then gain acceptance to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit after completing school.

Rob Leatham sums up the corporate relationship noting, “It’s been an enlightening experience to be around them. I wish I could get everyone I trained with to have the same drive, passion and joy that these girls have. They’re the future of our sport.”

About Springfield Armory®
“The First Name in American Firearms,” Springfield Armory® was founded in 1777, when George Washington ordered the creation of an armory to store ammunition and gun carriages during the American Revolution. In 1794, the armory began to manufacture muskets and spent the next 150 years supplying firearms for every major American conflict. The original armory closed in 1968. In 1974, the Reese family took ownership of the Springfield Armory® name and began making the M1A™ rifle. Today, Springfield Armory® develops many products loyal to the company’s heritage, like the 1911 pistol, while ensuring its future with innovative products, including the XD®, XD® Mod.2™ XD(M)® and XD-S® polymer pistols.

Visit www.springfield-armory.com for the very latest from the company.

Jalise (13) and Justine (12) Williams make grand entrance to Team Springfield™ and Action Pistol Shooting
Jalise (13) and Justine (12) Williams make grand entrance to Team Springfield™ and Action Pistol Shooting

Seaguar Expands Technique Specific Lines

  • New Finesse Fluorocarbon is Soft, Strong
  • New Line Also Offers Smaller Diameter with No Memory

For STO 01182017, Picture 1of1By Forrest Fisher

One thing is for sure, technology and the fishing industry work hand in hand to help us anglers be more efficient when we can find the time to get out and fish.  Over the years, new fishing lines that offer upgraded performance have helped transform that sensitive feedback loop from lure to angler – it transfers that fish bite contact to allow for better fish-catching opportunity.

“When conditions change and fish get finicky, we downsize everything – our baits, our rods and our line – to coax more bites,” says Seaguar Pro-Staffer and Elite Series Angler Shaw Grigsby Jr. Grigsby adds, “While we are slowing presentations and downsizing gear, we’re still targeting big fish – that’s where the new Seaguar Finesse Fluorocarbon line can make a big difference.  It’s exceptionally soft yet incredibly strong.”

The old adage, “You can’t fight Mother Nature” is so true.  Inevitably she’s going to throw a cold front or high-pressure system your way that’s going to change the bite.  So before despair sets in and fishing plans are scrapped, you adjust. That’s when you put down that flipping stick and grab your finesse rig to coax more bites. Finesse presentations change the game.

Seaguar Finesse Fluorocarbon is made using an exclusive double-structure process that combines two custom Seaguar fluorocarbon resins to create a line with smaller diameters and exceptional knot and tensile strength.  It’s soft and supple with low memory, making it a great choice for finesse applications.  It’s available on 150 yd. spools and formulated in four sizes for finesse presentations including 5.2 lb., 6.2 lb. 7.3 lb and 8.4 lb and ships to retail stores in the fall of 2016.

Finesse Fluorocarbon also features Level Wind Technology™, a Seaguar® exclusive. This process spools the line by laying it down side by side, never crossing itself.  The final spool is as smooth as a spool of thread, with no cross contact marks, for maximum line strength without any line overstress or twist.  Elite Series Pro Mark Menendez spooled up Finesse for testing and let the rod sit for several weeks. “When I picked up my rod outfitted with the Finesse Fluoro I was amazed.  Zero memory and the best manageability of any line I have ever used. It flows off the spool just like braid!”

Finesse fishing is one of the most popular ways angler’s fish for bass. Seaguar research shows that over 96% of anglers use this technique when bass fishing, and over 8 out of 10 have purchased rods and reels specifically for finesse presentations. The launch of the line will be supported with educational videos and TV, print and electronic media to build awareness and trial for the new Finesse lines.

The Finesse lines follow the successful introduction of Seaguar Flippin’ Braid and Flippin’ Fluoro, the first technique-specific lines introduced by Seaguar last year.  For more information, call 212-867-7040, write Kureha America LLC, 420 Lexington Avenue Suite 2510, New York, NY 10170.

Ice Fishing Lures, Rattle & Hum

  • Proof of Noise Attraction for Trophy Fish
  • Advice from a Biologist

For STO 01172017, Picture 1of2By Gord Pyzer

Sometimes, all it takes is a little desperation to discover an effective new fishing tactic.  An outing last winter with my Saskatchewan buddies Jeff and Jason Matity offers a case in point.  Expert ice anglers, the brothers paid me a visit in northwestern Ontario with their sights set squarely on catching trophy-sized crappies—a sportfish not found in their windswept home province.

Just a few days before the visit, I’d located a large school of 13- to 15-inch plate-shaped beauties, but left them undisturbed in the hope they’d still be there when Jeff and Jason arrived.  Fortunately, they were.  When we hopped off our snow machines, drilled through three feet of ice and snow and dropped our transducers down the holes, the sonar screens lit up like Christmas trees.  I remember excitedly saying, “This shouldn’t take long.”

Boy, was I wrong—the fish just wouldn’t bite, steadfastly snubbing our baits.  Now, what would you have done to fool those finicky fish?  I’m betting that, like us, you would have used ever smaller lures, presenting them ever more slowly.  But the crappies remained obstinate, frustrating us for more than an hour as we watched fish rise up, put their noses on our offerings as if to sniff them, then sink back down to the bottom.  That’s when the guys started experimenting with sound to trigger a bite.

Sound advice

For STO 01172017, Picture 2of2Jason dug deep into his tackle bag and pulled out a Fergie spoon that we intended to use the next day for walleye (above).  He removed the wire holding the brass and glass clacker, and tied the noisemaker to the end of his line.  Then he attached the same minuscule jig he’d been using without success to the rig’s split ring.  After dropping it down the hole, Jason shook the contraption briskly enough that he could feel the brass weight sliding up and down the wire, banging against the glass beads.  In short order, he was icing crappie after crappie after crappie (see the opening picture).

That’s right. The same fish that wouldn’t open their mouths for the smallest, most realistic bite-sized jig suddenly went berserk for the same bait dancing below six inches of thick visible wire, with a half-ounce chunk of brass banging against two red glass beads. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that sound can’t be an attractant. Need more proof?

After we had cleaned up on the crappies, we set out one snowy morning to locate big burbot.  Jeff and Jason may be the best ling anglers in the country, so I took them to a spot where I’d accidentally caught some of these fish in the past.  To catch winter burbot, the Matity brothers’ favorite technique is to use heavy 3/4- and one-ounce Reel Bait Flasher Jigs with the willow leaf blade dangling below the head.  They tip the jigs with thick butterfly fillets fashioned from fresh ciscoes, then hammer the lure so hard onto the bedrock bottom that you can hear it from 20 feet above on top of the ice.

Truth be told, we didn’t catch any burbot—too many big walleye annihilated the baits before they could trigger the beady-eyed burbot.

Click below to continue, go to GOOD VIBRATIONS

http://www.outdoorcanada.ca/Ice-fishing-Friday-How-to-lure-in-more-fish-with-sound

Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission – 75 Years of Success

  • Wildlife Conservation Areas Established 
  • Fish, Wildlife and Public Access Expanded and Managed
  •   Recreational Opportunities for All, Hunters and Anglers too
Butler Island camping, fishing and kayaking fun.  Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)
Butler Island camping, fishing and kayaking fun. Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)

By Forrest Fisher

If you have ever travelled to Florida, it seems everywhere you go there are birds, fish, flowers and wildlife of all sorts.  It’s no accident.  In 2017, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the wildlife management area system, one of the state’s greatest natural treasures.

The FWC oversees the statewide network of remote and scenic lands, managing them for conservation and recreation.  To celebrate the milestone and help people discover the opportunities these public lands offer, the FWC is hosting free events throughout the year.

FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski said, “Florida has one of the largest systems of public lands in the country at nearly 6 million acres, and these lands are the best of the best of what wild Florida has to offer.  These natural communities span a variety of habitats from longleaf pine uplands and pine flatwoods, to the hardwood hammocks and sawgrass savannas of the Everglades.  Not only are these areas beautiful, they are managed to provide habitat for many species of wildlife and access for people to enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and more.”

Florida’s first WMA, Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area, was established in late 1941 in Charlotte and Lee counties.  By the 1960s, there were 28 WMAs.  Today, the FWC is the lead manager or landowner of over 1.4 million acres and works in partnership with other governmental or private landowners on another 4.5 million acres.  These healthy habitats are essential to Florida wildlife – both common and imperiled species.  The FWC uses its scientific expertise and a comprehensive ecological approach to manage a variety of wildlife while balancing public access to these wild lands.

Whitetail Deer abound in several areas of Florida with managed hunting seasons established for WMA areas.  Photo Courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)
Whitetail Deer abound in several areas of Florida with managed hunting seasons established for WMA areas. Photo Courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)

WMAs provide many recreational opportunities including paddling, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, photography, wildlife viewing, and target shooting at areas with a public shooting range.  They also offer a wide range of hunting opportunities including special hunts for families and people with disabilities.

Throughout 2017, the FWC will host a variety of events to celebrate Florida’s WMAs.  Events include a statewide geocaching challenge, volunteer work days, a photo contest, guided hikes, fun opportunities to explore WMAs, and citizen science bio-blitzes, where members of the public help document wildlife species at WMAs.

If you are heading to Florida at any time this year, learn more about upcoming events (or to find a WMA near your destination), visit MyFWC.com/WMA75.  You’ll find access link to parks, beaches, fishing hotspots, advice for safety, fun and places to visit.

FWC says you can help them share the fun of what’s in Florida by sharing your visits to Florida WMAs on social media (#WMAzing).

Fishing from shore at Escribano Point WMA can offer fun and a palatable dinner feast for anglers.  Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)
Fishing from shore at Escribano Point WMA can offer fun and a palatable dinner feast for anglers. Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)

Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission – 75 Years of Success

  • Wildlife Conservation Areas Established 
  • Fish, Wildlife and Public Access Expanded and Managed
  •   Recreational Opportunities for All, Hunters and Anglers too
Butler Island camping, fishing and kayaking fun.  Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)
Butler Island camping, fishing and kayaking fun. Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)

By Forrest Fisher

If you have ever travelled to Florida, it seems everywhere you go there are birds, fish, flowers and wildlife of all sorts.  It’s no accident.  In 2017, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the wildlife management area system, one of the state’s greatest natural treasures.

The FWC oversees the statewide network of remote and scenic lands, managing them for conservation and recreation.  To celebrate the milestone and help people discover the opportunities these public lands offer, the FWC is hosting free events throughout the year.

FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski said, “Florida has one of the largest systems of public lands in the country at nearly 6 million acres, and these lands are the best of the best of what wild Florida has to offer.  These natural communities span a variety of habitats from longleaf pine uplands and pine flatwoods, to the hardwood hammocks and sawgrass savannas of the Everglades.  Not only are these areas beautiful, they are managed to provide habitat for many species of wildlife and access for people to enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and more.”

Florida’s first WMA, Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area, was established in late 1941 in Charlotte and Lee counties.  By the 1960s, there were 28 WMAs.  Today, the FWC is the lead manager or landowner of over 1.4 million acres and works in partnership with other governmental or private landowners on another 4.5 million acres.  These healthy habitats are essential to Florida wildlife – both common and imperiled species.  The FWC uses its scientific expertise and a comprehensive ecological approach to manage a variety of wildlife while balancing public access to these wild lands.

Whitetail Deer abound in several areas of Florida with managed hunting seasons established for WMA areas.  Photo Courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)
Whitetail Deer abound in several areas of Florida with managed hunting seasons established for WMA areas. Photo Courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)

WMAs provide many recreational opportunities including paddling, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, photography, wildlife viewing, and target shooting at areas with a public shooting range.  They also offer a wide range of hunting opportunities including special hunts for families and people with disabilities.

Throughout 2017, the FWC will host a variety of events to celebrate Florida’s WMAs.  Events include a statewide geocaching challenge, volunteer work days, a photo contest, guided hikes, fun opportunities to explore WMAs, and citizen science bio-blitzes, where members of the public help document wildlife species at WMAs.

If you are heading to Florida at any time this year, learn more about upcoming events (or to find a WMA near your destination), visit MyFWC.com/WMA75.  You’ll find access link to parks, beaches, fishing hotspots, advice for safety, fun and places to visit.

FWC says you can help them share the fun of what’s in Florida by sharing your visits to Florida WMAs on social media (#WMAzing).

Fishing from shore at Escribano Point WMA can offer fun and a palatable dinner feast for anglers.  Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)
Fishing from shore at Escribano Point WMA can offer fun and a palatable dinner feast for anglers. Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife (FWC)

It’s Crappie Time on Minnesota Ice!

  • Go Small for Big Fish, Start with 1/100 oz Ratso Jigs
  • Dress Warm, Get Into a Hut to Beat the Weather
  • Talk to Others, Get Scoop Before Fishing When You Can
Stacy Ferrell Hedberg has become a master at catching big crappie for the last several years. Her secret is simple: stay comfortable, fish with your friends and family, keep it simple. Jeff Hedberg Photo
Stacy Ferrell Hedberg has become a master at catching big crappie for the last several years. Her secret is simple: stay comfortable, fish with your friends and family, keep it simple. Jeff Hedberg Photo

By Forrest Fisher

The super soft and ultra-slim finesse plastic body of a tiny Rasto jig, threaded on a precision lightweight jig head is an ice angler’s secret trick extraordinaire.  The tail appears to be alive with jiggles to resemble a tiny minnow, and it can be a killer with or without tipped live bait.  It all depends on the day, the mood of the fish, the barometer and many of us know how that goes.

With or without an underwater camera, the Ratso with a white tail is bright and easy to see with the fish house windows shaded out.  The head is there, then it’s not!

No head? Set the hook, fish on!

That’s how it was for Stacy Ferrell Hedberg with her Size 10 Ratso and her master-angler husband, Jeff, who were ice fishing on a Minnesota-NW lake (near Minneapolis) with many friends and fishing neighbors.  The last cold snap helped bolster the ice thickness and it became strong enough to pull the family fishing hut out to do some warm and comfort work.

The family caught several nice crappie to 16 inches, but friends have taken fish (crappie) in multiple Minnesota-NW lakes and ponds to 18 inches.  The Hedberg’s often fish as a family unit every year.  Stacy adds, “We’ve been hooked on fishing for big winter crappie for quite a while and we’ve been lucky too, pulling quite a few 16 inchers and a handful of 17 inchers each year.”

Stacy continued, “So every year, we are chomping at the bit for the ice to freeze so we can get out there.  We had been out a few times in our portable and caught a handful of nice crappies, sunfish and pike, but not the elusive giants we are after.”

for-sto-01102017-fishing-ice-time-crappie-picture-2of2
Ratso Jigs are tiny and supple, even in cold water.

Jeff added, “The ice was finally thick enough at 13 inches to put out our more comfortable ice-house Friday, as we are in for the winter now.  The temperature was -10 F with a wind chill around -20 F.”

Stacy added, “About 5 minutes into wetting my line, I hooked a nice thick 14″ slab jigging a white Ratso tipped with a small crappie minnow.  It was not a torrid pace that night and we did not catch any real giants.  We tried, stayed out until midnight, but the hunt for the elusive giant crappie continues!”

Braving It: Journey into the Alaskan Wild

  • A Father and Daughter True Story of Adventure
  • Bone-Chilling Cold, Grizzly Bears, Polar Bears, Inner Strength
  • Guidebook for Conquering Fear as a Parent
  • Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Jim Campbell and 15-year old daughter, Aidan, rafting in Alaska on the Hulahula River, August 2014.
Jim Campbell and 15-year old daughter, Aidan, rafting in Alaska on the Hulahula River, August 2014.

By Forrest Fisher

Adventure above the view of our modern Western culture is not traditional.  When James Campbell and his teenage daughter, Aiden, set off to visit Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they discover untouched wilderness, bone-chilling cold, grizzly bears, polar bears, wolves, ubiquitous clouds of mosquitoes, compelling them to define new elements for survival and forming a sacred connection with each other and native peoples there.

In the beauty of the natural world found in the Refuge, they form new levels of heartfelt trust and inner strength.

This true story provides extraordinary insight into the wild outdoors to be found hiking, crossing the Hulahula River, paddling the Arctic Ocean and finally, helping local natives build a cabin for winter survival.  They discover new wisdom and ingenuity in a land dominated by blue skies, howling and growling night animals, flowing rivers of ice-cold water, and harsh climate.  The also discover precious clean air, fertile forests, and a special kind of instinct for survival that all the plants and trees and animals have developed.

Jim Campbell and daughter, Aidan, on the Hulahula River, in front of the cook fire, 3 days south of the Arctic Ocean, August 2014.
Jim Campbell and daughter, Aidan, on the Hulahula River, in front of the cook fire, 3 days south of the Arctic Ocean, August 2014.

The book describes the manner of how they each embrace the wild land and each other to complete their journey, as they are tested with the rigors of unfettered Alaskan nature.  They hunt game animals for meat, largely caribou and moose, despite the chill factors that often exceed 50 degrees below zero.  They learn the tools of the survival trade from native Eskimo peoples that become close friends.

This book is a tribute to a land that offers breeding habitat to caribou, geese, ducks, loons, and many other migratory species from five continents.  The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lies about 125 miles east of the National Petroleum Reserve, an area rich in coal and oil that is largely controlled by the oil and gas industry.  We are still an oil-dependent nation and, for me, this book provides new insight for a better understanding of what we might lose if we do not insure to protect this fundamental and relatively unexplored Alaskan American resource.

Aidan and Jim proudly standing in front of the cabin they helped build.
Aidan and Jim proudly standing in front of the cabin they helped build.

If you can imagine to hear the ancient call of the yellow-billed loons that occupy this land, you may begin to understand the epoch of diversity of life and seasonal survival requirements that are forsto-01052017-travel-and-conservation-picture-4of4met by the birds, the animals and the peoples that interact in this sacred and undisturbed land.

The book will provide a trail for you to see how a father shares this colossal wilderness with his daughter while she is growing toward the Western community of modern adulthood.  To buy the book, click here: http://jamesmcampbell.com/books.

Understanding that, this is a timeless story for all of us who love the wilds of the outdoors.  It is about parenting.  It is about nature.  It is about preserving life, enhancing life, and celebration of life, and something that may be lost for all time without close oversight from educated peoples in the Western world.

Enjoy this story of life and survival.  I sure did.  Check out this video to listen first hand, from Jim Campbell himself:

Parents Talking With Their Kids about Gun Safety

  • What to Say
  • What to Do
Julie Golob offers an excellent video on how to talk with your children, young and old, about safety and firearms.  Photo and Video Courtesy of National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)
Julie Golob offers an excellent video on how to talk with your children, young and old, about safety and firearms. Photo and Video Courtesy of National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)

By Forrest Fisher

Kids are curious.  They are smart too.  They see guns on TV, in stores, at a friend’s house, and maybe at many other places.  How can they know about gun safety if parents never have a conversation about their fundamental well-being if they should see or find a gun?   Even if you as parent do not own a gun, you need to have this conversation with your kids.

They really need to know what to do, but understand that they need a conversation, not a lecture.  The question is, how can parents do this the right way?  There is one way to start, click on this link to join Julie Golob, a U.S. Army Veteran and Shooting Sports Champion, a hunter and a mom: https://youtu.be/M86QxNZF3AE.

Gun safety starts with an understanding of safety.  Repeat the conversation every month or two.

As a parent with young children, you can start with this:

  1. When you see a gun, STOP, don’t touch it.
  2. Leave it alone.
  3. Call an adult.

As a parent with older children, pick a time and place when you can focus on details and have an open conversation about staying safe with firearms.

  1. Don’t touch, pick up, or use a gun without permission from an adult.
  2. Never ever point a gun at anyone.
  3. Always assume a gun is loaded and can fire.

Get on the same page with your adult partner.  Eliminate their confusion.  Set an example with safe gun handling and storage of your own guns.

Reinforce firearm safety with your growing children often.  It’s really up to parents to do all they can to maintain firearm safety and to help educate their children about guns and staying.

Go to PROJECTCHILDSAFE.ORG and learn more about what a parent can do.  Please visit: http://www.projectchildsafe.org/.

for-sto-01032017-shooting-picture-2of2

 

Dogs, Rabbits and Smith & Wesson

  • Labs, Beagles & Bassets 
  •   Secret, Succulent Rabbit Recipe 

for-sto-12212016-hunting-picture-1of2By Jim Low

My friend Dave Urich has hunted rabbits behind beagles since childhood.  He has always loved the music of baying hounds, but he doesn’t enjoy racing to rescue freshly shot bunnies from a pack of crazed canines.  He has never succeeded in teaching his beagles not to tear up rabbits, so he found another solution.

Enter Smith & Wesson*, a pair of Labrador retrievers.  Smith is a black lab, while Wesson is more or less the same shade of yellow as the well-known brand of cooking oil.  Dave keeps Smith & Wesson at heel while his pack of six to eight beagles rousts rabbits.  When he bags a bunny with his .410 over-under, the labs go into action.  They usually beat the beagles to the game and gleefully deliver it to Dave’s waiting hand.

This system works fine, but Dave isn’t one to settle for “good” when a little tinkering might get him to “better” or all the way to “perfect.” In that spirit, Dave added a basset hound named Porterhouse to the mix.  Beagles are an excitable and hasty lot, prone to missing small olfactory clues and being fooled by of cottontail chicanery.  They would mill around in circles for hours if not forcibly redirected.

Dave Urich shows what a pack of beagles can do to a rabbit if you don’t get to it first.
Dave Urich shows what a pack of beagles can do to a rabbit if you don’t get to it first.

Bassets, on the other hand, have keener noses than their longer-legged cousins and are nothing if not deliberate.  Porterhouse normally trails minutes behind the beagle pack, patiently following meandering traces of rabbit spoor as if every molecule were the finest French cologne.  Rabbits that cross a creek or double back and then hide in out-of-the-way nooks watch the howling beagle pack pass by and think they have it made.  Next thing you know, Porterhouse has his nose beneath their backsides and the chase is on again.

This is much more orderly in theory than it is in practice.  Individual beagles go off on tangents that take them to the next county.  Others decide it would be fun to chase deer.  Labs get bored and wander off to roll in raccoon poop when Dave isn’t looking.  “Chaos” is too mild a word for a hunt with Dave’s dogs, but entertainment is never in short supply.  To keep things manageable, Dave fits every member of his pack – except those carrying guns – with shock collars, which he controls individually to correct the behavior of whichever dog might go rogue at a given moment.  How he keeps track of the dogs, let alone the collars, is beyond me, but we haven’t lost a dog yet.

That is more than I can say for rabbits.  We do well enough shooting them, but with so many eager dogs in play, we seldom get through a day without losing at least one rabbit to canine exuberance.  It’s a small price to pay for so much fun.  Eating them can be extremely pleasant, too.  Rabbit meat is a lot like chicken minus the generous helping of fat that goes with chicken skin.  Frying in back grease and then slow-braising in a covered skillet supplies the moisture that rabbit flesh lacks, and that is a perfectly acceptable way to cook it.  My favorite, however, involves heavy cream, white wine and bowtie pasta.  Here’s how I do it.

Meat and Cooking

Remove the meat of two or three quartered rabbits from the bone.  Sear them in olive oil with chopped garlic in a cast-iron Dutch oven.  Cut into half-inch chunks and set aside in a covered container.

Sauce

Sautee 4 green onions in butter in the Dutch oven until they start to soften.  Add 12 ounces of dry white wine and 12 ounces of chicken stock and stir to dissolve browning residue from bottom of oven.  Add four bay leaves, two teaspoons of peppercorns, 12 chopped sprigs of fresh thyme and simmer until reduced by two-thirds.

Add 8 ounces of half-and half to the sauce and simmer until reduced by half.  Remove from heat and strain the sauce into another container.  Discard the seasonings and return strained sauce to the Dutch oven.

Dice a stick of butter and whisk it into sauce.  Add salt and fresh lemon juice to taste.  Stir in the diced meat and keep it warm while preparing the pasta.

Pasta

Slice two bell peppers – one red and one green – into thin strips.  Cut 16 ounces of fresh mushrooms into quarters.  Sautee pepper strips and mushrooms in butter until they begin to soften, but are still firm.  Set aside.

Cook a large package of bowtie pasta or wide egg noodles, drain and pour into a large serving bowl.  Arrange the peppers and mushrooms on top.  Pour on the sauce and serve.

* I asked Dave how his basset hound acquired such an unusual, but undeniably descriptive name.  “None of my dogs answer to their names,” he said, “So I give them names that I like.  For a while I was in the habit of naming them after cuts of meat.” He says that led to “Pork Chop,” “Ribeye,” “Tenderloin” and “T-bone.” If I ever acquire a beagle of my own, I’m calling him “Ground Chuck.” “Chateaubriand” might be a good choice for a classy bird dog.

Wireless Earbuds for Active Outdoorsmen

  •  Sound Connection for Tournament Anglers, Hunters, Outdoorsmen

for-sto-12202016-products-picture-1of1By Forrest Fisher

You’re in your ground blind, you’re up 25 feet in your climbing tree stand, you’re kayaking in south Florida – you’re an active outdoors person.

Wherever you are, you know you might be watching the football game with your buddies, but you realize that your new earbuds will bring the game in just fine and you can still be out where you would rather be.

Certain things are of high importance when open and closed seasons are part of the weekend choice.

What’s more essential is that those earbuds are wireless and have a direct link via Bluetooth® to your smartphone and the sound source of your choosing.  You can put your phone ringer on mute and your phone calls on hold!

These high-performance wireless earbuds from Re-fuel by DigiPower are designed to keep up with you, no matter where you are or what you are doing.  Hunt, fish, hike, camp, take a run, hit the gym, kayak – but stay connected to the audio source of your choice.

Wireless connectivity eliminates those catchy long wires that can trip up with your bowstring or tangle up during other outdoor activity.  The unit is designed with military-grade sweat-resistant materials, securing shark fin ear tips and a long-lasting rechargeable battery – you never need to stop before the end of your activity to recharge, the unit has 120 hours of standby time.  Priced under $50.

Check ‘em out:  https://re-fuel.com/high-performance-sports-wireless-earbuds.html

Crossbow Hunting – Sweeping the Nation

  • What You Need to Know – Which Bow for You?
  • Bolt Selection Factors, Hunting Tactics
  •   Shooting for Fun
Shooting the new Ravin crossbow, this big buck passed by Joe Byers who used a Rage Hypodermic Crossbow Head to take the deer - the buck scored 163.25, the biggest of Joe’s life. Photo from Joe Byers post in Timeline Photos.
Shooting the new Ravin crossbow, this big buck passed by Joe Byers who used a Rage Hypodermic Crossbow Head to take the deer – the buck scored 163.25, the biggest of Joe’s life. Photo from Joe Byers post in Timeline Photos.

By Forrest Fisher

If you like to hit the bullseye on your target, you like to shoot arrows, except you’re getting older and you’re having problems drawing your compound bow, you might be like quite a few baby boomers who are missing the hunting season because they’re developing physical issues. Maybe the trend sweeping the country is for you too.  Indeed, maybe you should get a crossbow, except you don’t know where to start and what to do.

With this new book from Joe Byers, The ULITIMATE GUIDE to CROSSBOW HUNTING, all the questions you might have are satisfied with juicy details for understanding.  This includes how to select a crossbow, the bolts (the term used for the short arrows used with a crossbow), target tips and hunting tips, optical scopes for zeroing-in on your target and much more, including hunting advice for different types of big game and small game on several continents.

Byers shares which bolts he has tested and how they performed.  You’ll be surprised at the details of proper bolt selection to achieve optimum performance.  You’ll learn about crossbow triggers, string stabilizers, trigger options and more.

Details on cocking ropes, rail lubricants, foot stirrups and bolt quivers are explained so that you learn about varying distinction factors that will work best for you and still meet your budget.

for-sto-12162016-hunting-and-people-places-picture-2of2I enjoyed reading how Byers felt about the many myths and misconceptions that have resulted with the increased use crossbows for hunting.   Byers addresses crossbows and game animal populations, hunting season length and the use of crossbows during archery season.  Much more on other myths with explanations will help everyone know more about the issues.  Byers provided answers that made me consider and to understand things about crossbows that I did not realize – like the good news and bad news about using a crossbow for hunting or for simple recreational fun.

Byers shares the experience of his success and failure, the results provide an exciting book that will help generate a complete understanding about the thrill of accurate shooting when combined with the adventure of hunting or shooting for fun.

His new book can help you or a loved one get in on the excitement of using a crossbow and will help answer the questions you have not yet learned to ask about the crossbow.

Lastly, it will make a great gift for the upcoming holidays.

Available on line at www.theultimateguidetoCBH.com.

Hobie Fishing World Championship

  • Mike Iaconelli says, “Kayak fishing takes more Strategy”
  • 17 Countries in Competition
  • Steve Lessard of USA is Winner
  • Fishing Site: Lafourche Parish, Louisiana
Steve Lessard of Team USA is lifted in celebration of his win in the 6th Annual Hobie Fishing World Championship held in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, where competitors from 17 countries vied for the top honor.
Steve Lessard of Team USA is lifted in celebration of his win in the 6th Annual Hobie Fishing World Championship held in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, where competitors from 17 countries vied for the top honor.

By Forrest Fisher

Recreational kayak use and fishing from kayaks has skyrocketed and grown to new heights in the past few years.  Anglers from all over the world now compete in numerous fishing championships, but the biggest of these is the Hobie Fishing World Championship, held this past weekend in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana.

To fish in the sixth annual Hobie Fishing World Championship (HFW6) presented by Rhino-Rack™ and hosted by Hobie Cat® Company, anglers either qualified through regional tournaments or were invited to attend the premier kayak fishing event of the world.  A total of 49 competitors from 17 different countries fished for the chance to be crowned this year’s Hobie Fishing World Champion.  There were 11 North American World Championship Team members from USA and Canada.

The competition was tough enough with the best kayak anglers in the world here facing each other, but the biggest opponent may have been the nasty weather.  Murky water and heavy wind provided an increasing degree of difficulty for anglers paddling their customized Hobie Kayaks in the competition.

The distinguished first-place trophy for the 2016 Hobie Fishing World Competition.
The distinguished first-place trophy for the 2016 Hobie Fishing World Competition.

After three days of hard-fought fishing rivalry, Steve Lessard of the USA earned the top prize.  Richard Somerton representing Australia took home second place and Matthew Vann of the USA rounded out the top three with his third place finish.

The competitors fished for trout, flounder and redfish from identically rigged Hobie Mirage® Pro Angler 14’s, provided by Hobie Cat Company and outfitted with Lowrance® Electronics, Power-Pole® MICRO™ Anchors, Yak-Attack accessories, Ram Mounts and equipment including Daiwa, Lurefacs, Hobie Polarized and AFTCO gear.

Bassmaster Elite pro Michael “Ike” Iaconelli surprised the 49 international competitors when he showed up at the welcome dinner to cheer them on.  “Unlike the competitions that I’m involved in, kayak fishing takes more strategy because it is much different and more difficult pedaling to the fish than racing over in a motorized boat,” commented Ike.  Competitors got a double surprise when he returned to congratulate Steve on his win and participate in the camaraderie that is an integral part of the Hobie Worlds.

for-sto-12122016-fishing-picture-3of3Located in the bayous of Southern Louisiana, 90 minutes from New Orleans, Lafourche Parish is the gateway to Cajun Country and the Gulf of Mexico, offering a distinctly Louisiana “bayou” way of life and memorable experience for both U.S. and international competitors.  And then there is the fishing. According to Hobie’s Keeton Eoff, this could easily be the kayak fishing capital of the world.

“We are very proud that Hobie Fishing Worlds chose to host their international tournament in Leeville this year. One of the best assets of Lafourche Parish is the world-class fishing, and Hobie anglers have been able to experience what makes our area so exceptional.  The visibility of this tournament on a national and international level allows potential visitors to see the recreational value of our destination and why they should experience it firsthand,” said Timothy P. Bush, Executive Director of the Bayou Lafourche Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For more information and images, log onto www.hobiefishingworlds.com, for a recapo the day by day action, check Hobie’s blogs by logging onto http://www.hobiecat.com/xe/en/blog/.

NOTE: Since 1950, Hobie has been in the business of shaping a unique lifestyle based around fun, water, and innovative quality products. From their worldwide headquarters in Oceanside, California, Hobie Cat Company manufactures, distributes, and markets an impressive collection of eco-sensitive watercraft, with subsidiaries; Hobie Cat Australasia, in Huskisson, NSW, Australia and Hobie Cat Europe, in Toulon, France and independent distributors; Hobie Kayak Europe and Hobie Cat Brasil. These products include an ever-expanding line of recreation and racing sailboats, pedal-driven and paddle sit-on-top recreation and fishing kayaks, inflatable kayaks, fishing boats, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards and the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse™ Standup pedalboards, plus a complementary array of parts and accessories.

Jim Zumbo – A Legend for All Time

  • Leadership is Painful
  • Courage That Cannot Be Shared
  • A Personal Story, See His Blog Called Crucifixion
Jim Zumbo shared, “I had a life-changing experience this morning, and I'd like to share it. I'll never forget it. I hope you'll take the time to read it. It might make you think twice about life as well.
Jim Zumbo shared, “I had a life-changing experience this morning, and I’d like to share it. I’ll never forget it. I hope you’ll take the time to read it. It might make you think twice about life as well.

By Forrest Fisher

Sometimes we meet people and we meet new truth, the kind that can change the direction of our lives.  It’s not often, but when we do, there is a stirring among the roots that anchor our mind.  Those immovable links to common things we trust and about how we feel.  There are new questions. There is a mixture of knowledge and reflection that evolve.  We might question ourselves about fate and courage and destiny.  We might pull back from the potential precipice of public communication or we might find a new expression for the bounds of constraint we accept about certain things as right or wrong. When we meet someone that helps us reconsider all of what we thought was honed in place for a lifetime, we have met someone with true leadership.

Jim Zumbo is that kind guy.

On social media the other day, Mr. Zumbo stepped inside the new bounds of his humble view and shared something very close to his soul.  It goes like this:

Most of you know about my blog. I call it my "crucifixion." In 2006 I created what was called the biggest firestorm in the gun industry.
Most of you know about my blog. I call it my “crucifixion.” In 2006 I created what was called the biggest firestorm in the gun industry.

“I had a life-changing experience this morning, and I’d like to share it. I’ll never forget it. I hope you’ll take the time to read it. It might make you think twice about life as well.

Most of you know about my blog. I call it my “crucifixion.” In 2006 I created what was called the biggest firestorm in the gun industry. I parted company with Outdoor Life after almost 30 years, almost all my TV sponsors left me and my show was temporarily suspended. I was written up in editorials around the country, even making the front page of the New York Times. Stephen Colbert did a nasty satire about me on the Comedy Channel, and on and on. Thousands of people hated me. I received death threats, and countless, violent, vulgar comments.

As the years passed, I perceived a black cloud over my head, everywhere I went. Even when gun company CEO’s, industry leaders, and friends and strangers told me it was water under the bridge and I was accepted back in the industry, I didn’t believe it.

Kristine KJ Houtman, a novelist I have a great deal of respect for, suggested she write my biography. I resisted, because I didn’t want to relive the emotions I’d suffered years ago. The black cloud was still there.

Then, three years ago, totally unexpected, I was told I’d be receiving the Grits Gresham Award at the SHOT Show, which is produced by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Not to blow my horn, but this is an important factor in the story here. The award, the highest honor given by the NSSF, is presented at the annual State of the Industry Banquet at SHOT, attended by some 3,000 people. I was thrilled beyond words, but then I began to worry. How would the crowd react? Would they boo, throw things on the stage? I asked Tom Gresham who would present the award, and he honestly didn’t know how the audience would react.

I was admittedly nervous and a little terrified when Tom introduced me. He wound up his intro by saying the only person who sold more guns than me was Obama. The crowd roared, and as I approached the podium I received a standing ovation. I was so overwhelmed I could hardly speak. When I stumbled through with my speech, I again received a standing ovation. Again, this is not ego talking–those ovations to me, as well as the award, were a total vindication. The black cloud was gone.

The next morning I talked to Kristine, who was also attending SHOT, and she asked if I was ready to work on the biography. I grinned ear to ear, and told her to go for it.

The book is now done, and Kristine handled the marketing. Last week she put an ad on my fan page, Jim Zumbo’s Everything Outdoors. There were about a dozen comments, half of them supportive, and the others nasty and vile. I’m fully aware that plenty of people still don’t like me, and I’ve learned to shrug off the comments. But one person commented twice, attacking me with outright lies. That upset me. Well, actually, it really pissed off. It bothered me big time.

I don’t know why, but I was compelled to write him privately. But how do I find him? I went through the slow process of looking at all the names in the Facebook world. He and I weren’t FB friends, and he had a very common name. I felt like a detective looking at hundreds of names and photos. My only hope of finding him was to match up his picture next to his comment on my fan page, with the one on the seemingly endless list. Incredibly, I found the match.

I wrote him a private FB message, politely explaining my position and telling him he had information that wasn’t true. I ended by saying Merry Christmas. Afterward I cussed myself for being so nice and for writing at all. Days went by, and I imagined him laughing his fool head off and telling his shooting buddies what a big jerk I was. I never expected to hear from him again

Photo Credit: Fish On Marketing
Photo Credit: Fish On Marketing

This morning I received a response. To me, it was a bombshell. This man, who obviously was full of hate and despised me, said, “Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and your family.” I was overwhelmed to the point of being emotional.

And that’s my life lesson. If you reach out with an olive branch to your enemies, you may be in for a shock at their positive reaction. I will never, ever forget this.”

From my view, is there any better way to say thank you and Merry Christmas?  We know when honest men meet adversity, their character is in question and one of two things will happen.  We will lose all respect or we will gain all respect for this person and his position.  If you want to read the whole story, Zumbo’s life story, just hop on-line and order a copy of the book you’ll find here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Zumbo- K-J-Houtman/dp/0991111656/).

Modern Ice Lines Help Everyone Catch Fish

  • Sufix Elite and Ice Magic
  • Limber, Ice Free, Small Diameter
  • Multi-color Choices
Even young kids can really enjoy walking on water to catch fish when the fish are biting in winter - fresh line every season can help insure the fun!  Forrest Fisher Photo
Even young kids can really enjoy walking on water to catch fish when the fish are biting in winter – fresh line every season can help insure the fun! Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

For many of us, we’ve been waiting for a very long time to get on the hard water.  With a chilly polar blast in the forecast for next week, that time is near.  Get the gear ready.

Start with the right line.  Lots of folks use regular mono and admit to having some issues to conquer each year, but technology today has developed a better way for ice fishing line.  Enter Suffix Ice Magic and Suffix Elite.

New Line Prevents Ice-Up

The Ice Magic is a high performance ice fishing monofilament line designed to stay limber and manageable even in ice water and above that, there are ingredients in the line that help prevent ice-up!  Is that cool or what? It comes in clear or neon orange colors.

for-sto-12062016-fishing-picture-2of2No Line Coiling  

The diameter of our mini-reels for ice fishing is small and so the extra-limber line is needed to prevent coiling and to maintain functional use.  The new line eliminates the coil memory we hearty ice anglers once fought with to jig ultralight lures.

Change your line every fishing season to keep it fresh and ready to work perfectly with the lightest of lures and baits.  It gets nicked on your bait buckets, the sled and hundred other places while you fish with it or store it through the warmer days.  Change it once a year and be sure to check it when you fish every so often too.

Ice Force pro, Tom Neustrom says, “You don’t have to start from scratch and re-spool mid-season, but you do want to remove sections of line that get a lot of wear and tear,” Neustrom explains.  Simply peel off 25 to 30 yards every three or four outings, and then re-tie your baits.”

What Line to Use and When 

Neustrom adds, “For winter walleye, your best bet is 6- to 8-pound Sufix Elite monofilament line. For pike through the ice, use 8- to 10-pound Sufix Elite mono. Featuring unbeatable strength, easy handling, and superior tensile and knot strength, Sufix Elite line comes in 10 test-strengths and four colors (camo, clear, hi-vis yellow and low-vis green). Spooling up for panfish? Use 2- to 4-pound test Sufix Ice Magic line. Because panfish baits are so much smaller than walleye and pike baits, lighter line is need to make them react correctly to subtle jigging strokes.  Sufix Ice Magic sinks fast for a more natural presentation and it comes in six test-strengths (1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8). “

To check on pricing for this new line or review additional information, check this link: http://www.rapala.com/sufix/monofilament/ice-magic/ice-magic/Ice+Magic.html?brandname=sufix.

What Can Men Learn from Lady Hunters?

  • More Than a Sunrise Greeting!
  • Sacred Skills for Focus 
  • Natural “Learn How”

 

This young lady hunter, Vanessa Toews, downed her first deer using a new firearm and ammo that she reloaded herself because she pursued ALL the details of learning to hunt.  Learn the magic!
This young lady hunter, Vanessa Toews, downed her first deer using a new firearm and ammo that she reloaded herself because she pursued ALL the details of learning to hunt. Learn the magic!

By Forrest Fisher

For learning new things about something that men are typically very good at, like hunting – when the outdoor ladies commit, they are ALL IN.  Especially when they want to be involved in ALL of the sport: aiming, shooting, reloading, hunting, cooking – it’s a long list!

It turns out – social media shows us proof with pictures and videos that women are so very good in the outdoors.  Going out on a limb here, dedicated women may be more logical and a bit more evolutionary to the task at hand than some of the men I know.  I did say “some.” Not trying to throw stones, but there’s lots of proof.

Women adjust, if only where they sit in the woods or how they hold their hunting implement of choice, and they seem to know how to make changes that can form their cornerstone for future activities.  They know about adaptability.  They know what it means to dedicate their efforts and they understand how to be comfortable and happy while exercising obligations to themselves with a vision for success.  They seem happy trying to get there and to stay responsible to achieve their purpose.

Maybe that’s it, they define the challenge and their purpose better than guys.  Maybe they read instructions better than guys – or at least maybe they read them completely.

I for one, admire these traits that I have witnessed when shooting, fishing, cooking or simply looking at new outdoor gear with women.  They ask questions outside of my perspective, especially good questions too, as they seek to validate spending their cash.  They are fundamental to seeking good answers for a solution to their question and their curiosity.  Is this a maternal instinct that men don’t have?  End of story?  Maybe not.

Especially on this item, they understand safety.  Above all, it seems once women learn, they do not forget.

Enter Vanessa Toews, an energetic young lady from postal delivery service life near Winnipeg, Canada.  Last year she set out on a mission to learn all about hunting and then wanted to go try it.

In her own words, “If I wanted to continue eating meat, I needed to see it through – beginning to end.  I needed to appreciate exactly what went into a life being taken in order to sustain mine.  I spent hours in the bush and online reading.  I did turn to experienced friends for advice and help, but I learned about details.  So many times I wanted to give up when hunting. Sitting in the cold, alone with my thoughts.  Which if you know me, can be a scary place (lol)!”

Vanessa continues, “Then last Friday I was finally given the opportunity, and with ammo that I reloaded myself, I took the shot.  Words can’t describe the experience!  I can’t thank friends and family enough for the support and also the ‘holy cow, I just shot a buck and have no idea what to do now’ phone call.”

She adds, “So there I was with my first buck, my first deer, on my first shot at a deer with ammo that I had loaded myself – a bit spooky all by itself, and I was speechless.  Just filling my freezer with organic, healthy meat from nature’s wilds for the first time.  I just felt so vital and sort of reborn in nature.  I now know why people hunt.  Wow.”  Waiting a moment and adding, she says, “You learn appreciation for the animal life cycle and ecology and survival and the heritage of our ancestors.”

For many in our modern society today, this might always be uncharted terrain.  Many may never wish to accept the challenge to learn of the extraordinary details that hunters incur for their own subsistence by choice.

Successful hunters, men and women, learn to understand their own limitations.  They accumulate unmatched insight to overcome weather and comfort, and manage other obstacles that can limit their success.   Their control of the many variables allows those that hunt to understand the age-old heritage of harvest from the woods.

So I asked Vanessa what about tomorrow, next time, next year, try it again?  She answers honestly, “I love what I do and I work hard for it.  I’m the kind of person that enjoys learning the in’s and out’s.  It’s hard to grasp concepts without knowing the fine details of how it all works.  The best part about that is, there is always something more to learn!  I’ve always been that way.”

Vanessa admits to knowing herself, “I’m very hands on and appreciate finishing a task, big or small, on my own doing.  Now some may call me stubborn (she laughed), but there’s something to be said about fully immersing yourself and feeling the rewards of accomplishing the said task.”

Providing more details, “That deer was a perfect example.  There were many times where I thought it would never happen and that maybe I just wasn’t cut out for hunting.  I can’t even count the number of times I shouldered my gun when a doe would walk in, just so that when the time did come it would be second nature.  Hunting is buck only in my hunting area, as deer populations are low.  I actually have my own property that I decided to scout and pattern the deer movements on.  I passed up on an opportunity to take a spiker last year simply for that reason. That it’s my property and I would rather see the populations flourish. “

For more info on H4350, visit: https://www.hodgdon.com/extreme.html
For more info on H4350, visit: https://www.hodgdon.com/extreme.html

She humbly adds, “On reloading, I had worked up a load for a Nosler 180 gr ballistic tip.  CCI primers, with 54.5 grains of Hodgdon 4350.  I found this to shoot the best grouping out of my Savage 30-06.  I currently have a variety of loads for the 150 gr Nosler partition with IMR 4895, but didn’t feel comfortable shooting at a deer with ammo that I haven’t tested yet.  The 180 gr was slight overkill, but reliable.  Even after mentally preparing myself for a buck, when that guy did walk in at around 60 yards and I shouldered that gun, without him even flinching, it hit me.  And I promised myself, if given the opportunity I would take it.  Words can’t begin to explain the emotions you experience in that situation.”

The big question: “Would I do it again?  The answer is yes!  As sad as it is to take a life from the woods by myself, I would much rather do that than buy meat from a store.  It’s the ultimate in cruelty free, in my opinion, and when you work that hard for your food – well, you appreciate eating it that much more!”

On Facebook, when I last checked the posting of the deer that Vanessa Toews took home, over 400 people had liked or provided comments of congratulations or thoughts.  To me, that’s amazing.  That’s progress.

When women who are successful in the outdoors share their secrets, they contribute to the growing new culture of women, and men, who consider joining the ranks of the outdoor hunter next year.  The trails for lessons to success in the woods remain hard work that many have struggled to find.

There is a wealth of wisdom to be found in learning to be a hunter.  The number of lady hunters and shooters is on the rise.  Respect them, learn from them.

Outdoor Pictures – Hunting With a Camera

  • Advice from Tony Bynum
  • Eye Contact, Image and Action
  • Photo Gear

By Forrest Fisher

for-sto-11292016-hunting-picture-1of2

There are those incredible moments in your lifetime when you meet someone and his work, and quickly realize that even after spending a lifetime in the outdoors, there is yet another resource that you need to know so much more about.  Outdoor photography with Tony Bynum is like that.

His photography has amazed many of us in magazines, newspapers, national ad’s, art galleries and many other places.  A scientist and conservationist, Tony provides the unique resource of experience in the wilds interconnecting with educators, legislators, government representatives and many of us hunters and fishermen.

This humble professional outdoor photographer simply wants to share more about the outdoors with everyone so they can enjoy it as much as he has.

Tony Bynum is a professional outdoor photographer, a father, explorer and an unassuming person that shares his findings at conservation and outdoor media events round the country and world.  Tony is vice-president of the Professional Outdoor Media Association of America (POMA – the largest outdoor media association in the United States) for-sto-11292016-hunting-picture-2of2and his input with others there and through the web will allow many to learn more about how to find those great moments for pictures in the outdoors.

His travel experience around the world is shared in his photographs.  To learn more about better outdoor photography for FREE, Tony is providing this link for others to enjoy his new E-book “Wildlife Photography Essentials,” your experience will be unforgettable.

https://www.tonybynum.com/sign-up-for-tony-bynums-content.

Read Tony Bynum’s Free New E-book:

“Wildlife Photography Essentials”

The Great Divine

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By Forrest Fisher

Talented and inspirational author, K.J. Houtman, continues to provide the outdoor world thought-provoking appreciation with a common connection. This heartwarming, outdoors lady identifies ways we see our Creator in nature. On this Thanksgiving Day 2016, enjoy her wonderful poem above.

For more from K. J. Houtman, including an entire chapter book series of adventurous outdoor tales for kids, see Fish On Kids Books at www.fishonkidsbooks.com or at Amazon starting with Book #1 A Whirlwind Opener. There are six books in the series.

Houtman’s newest book (adult non-fiction) is the life story on outdoorsman Jim Zumbo (now available on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Zumbo-K-J-Houtman/dp/0991111656/). Check out this link:  http://www.fishonkidsbooks.com/zumbo.html.

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HOT Panfish Lure for All Seasons

-Effortless Flash and Vibration

-Thin-Wire Hook, Power-Gap (More hookups)

-Sizes: 1/16 oz and 1/8 oz, Pre-Rigged TriggerX® Curl Tail Body 

–Long, Micro-Thin Tail Swims with a Light and Subtle Vibration

-NOT ORDINARY

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By Forrest Fisher

Guys that know me know I don’t mess around with praise for no good reason, so be aware- this lure deserves special praise.

Anglers everywhere are always looking for a new, better bait that works when others just do not seem to produce.  Enter the VMC® Company who continues to produce new, game-changing tackle to help anglers catch fish after fish after fish, especially with this new lure.  With the introduction of the new VMC Curl Tail Spin Jig, the lure to start out your friends who are new to fishing has just arrived. The lure is simply irresistible to fish.  It works for crappies, bass, bluegills, walleye and many other species.  It is a dinner ticket for anything with gills and anglers that try this new lure will agree in short order.

VMC® Curl Tail Spinnerbait

VMC’s new Curl Tail Spinnerbait is NOT just another flashy finesse offering for anglers, it is one of the most effective baits for bass and panfish, and offers the added benefit of being weedless.

The Curl Tail Spinnerbait features a Colorado blade on a paperclip-style arm swinging from the eyelet of a special ball-head-type jig pre-rigged with a Trigger-X Curl Tail grub body.  Featuring a long and curled micro-thin tail, the grub undulates back and forth with very little forward movement, offering a light and subtle vibration as it swims to the speed of the angler retrieve.

The Curl Tail Spinnerbait’s jig is armed with a Power Gap hook, providing a 5 percent wider gap than traditional jig hooks.  The feature allows for a better hookup ratio.  A ball bearing swivel connects the blade to the arm attachment, allowing for maximum rotation and flash.

For shallow and deep fishing, the lure is available in 1/16-ounce and 1/8-ounce sizes.  Curl Tail Spinnerbaits are offered in for-sto-11212016-picture-2of2five color patterns: Black Chartreuse Glow, Crappie Minnow, Green Orange Glow, Pink Chartreuse Glow, Pearl White and Red Pearl Glow.

To watch a video of live, fish-catching action, click on this exciting link with VMC pro-staff angler, Chris Gillman: https://youtu.be/otzCahN3o3Y.

Cost? Under $3. Visit this link to see available colors and other details: http://blog.rapala.com/vmc/vmc-unleashes-the-new-winding-and-curl-tail-spin-jigs/.

Formula for Daily-Double Deer Success

  • Friends, Food Plots, Trail Cams are Key
  • Keep it Simple Archery Strategy 
  • Share Knowledge – Think with Confidence
There are those unforgettable treasures in hunting, such as when friends, Ryan Van Lew and Paul Murray, shared in the fun of a “Daily-Double” buck harvest hunting over food plots they planted.
There are those unforgettable treasures in hunting, such as when friends, Ryan Van Lew and Paul Murray, shared in the fun of a “Daily-Double” buck harvest hunting over food plots they planted.

By Forrest Fisher

Is there anything better that sharing a day in the archery woods with great friends and coming away with two very healthy 8-point bucks?  Tough to beat.

That’s how it was for Ryan Van Lew and Paul Murray on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, two team members with Hunters Creek Outdoors.  Never heard of that group?  They’re making Western New York famous by sharing what they learn and helping to mentor age groups that start with kids at Rushford Conservation Club.  These guys are opening the eyes of local sportsmen about how to attract and grow big bucks wherever you hunt.

This group works together, then they hunt simple and smart. They usually opt to pass on young healthy deer. The key to their hunting area?  Healthy food plots.

They kill their weeds each year, disc or rototill, then plant and nurture their food plots by balancing soil Ph, fertilizing and copiously planting inexpensive Ag Seed varieties.  All that together with some help from Mother Nature for moisture, and they attract and grow local deer herds into healthy giant venison on the hoof like never before.

Add the use of trail cams and strategic placement of safe, elevated, metal hunting stands and in some areas, use of ground blinds, and you have the ingredients necessary for good friends that love to hunt and harvest big deer.

Check out this Hunters Creek Outdoors video that offers a detailed prelude to this passionate group of friends that love the outdoors:  https://youtu.be/keGBY0qjKzE.

They have a Facebook page too. THEY WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND food plots, trail cams, bow gear, arrows, broadheads, scent control, camo and variations, target practice, friendship, fun and advanced learning through their shared knowledge.

When common folks share what they know, they become uncommonly successful.  In a group, they are an unbeatable team.  Feel free to tag along on their daily Facebook adventures as they report progress or adversity right through each hunting season: (https://www.facebook.com/HuntersCreekOutdoorsTeam/?pnref=story).  Follow them all year to learn

Van Lew watched this Ohio deer walk by, grunted him back and took him down with a perfect arrow shot.
Van Lew watched this Ohio deer walk by, grunted him back and took him down with a perfect arrow shot.

more about everything you might like to know in the outdoors.

On the day of the double deer take, the always thoughtful and jovial Van Lew shared, “Saturday’s are for the boys!  What a day it was to be a bow hunter. When the light switch kicks on during the rut.”  How exciting it is when the exposure cycle of the moon, the temperature, time of year and friends all come together in sync with sunrise and sunset where you hunt, and then the deer show up.  You can imagine.

As you follow these folks, you can feel the game-changing moments when they happen, this group has that going on.  Yet every one of these folks is humble and passionate about their success.  What better way to share and help others?

Just one week before, Van Lew made his annual trek to Ohio with some of these same friends.  Success begets successful hunters and Van Lew used his tight-flying arrows with Spitfire broadheads to drop another whitetail giant there too.

About his Ohio buck, Van Lew recollects and shares while his buddy was snapping a photo, “To sit behind this buck is an honor, watching him come up the hillside, to grunting him back to offer me the shot and then watching him fall.  For some of you who don’t hunt, the feeling is surreal.  You can’t talk, you can’t breathe, and your heart is pounding.  It’s a feeling that never gets old. Truly blessed to have had such a great hunt this morning and be able to share the excitement with the best hunting buddies a guy could ask for. Then to see my dad’s big grin on his face when I walked out of the woods today made it that much better.”  Fun?  Unforgettable?  Do it again?  Almighty YES.

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Van Lew prefers to use Remington Scent Shield for his only exterior scent control.  Stuff works. The whole team uses the same.

Lure Fishing Made Simple

  • How-To, Where-To, When-To
  • Size, Color, Action  
  • Develop Target Logic for Success

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By Forrest Fisher

It’s hard to impress me about new fishing products, I’m an old guy who has seen quite a bit and likes to hang on to his wallet.  BUT, I was dutifully impressed by LiveTarget Lures about one year ago when on vacation and fishing in Florida.  I visited a tackle shop in Port Charlotte called “Fishin Frank’s” and was amazed by the array of lures, colors and selection criteria that the storeowner had on display in his store. This was a no-nonsense fishing shop and there was, literally, a wall full of LiveTarget Lures to view.  He went through his dissertation on why and wherefore he had this display, I liked his effort, so I bought one.  I was sold from then on, but for more than one reason.  The lures work and there is help from this lure-maker for the angler.

Of course, every angler just starting out is a bit more perplexed about lures than I was in that small tackle store. How can lures possibly work better than live bait? Can they work at all?  Lots of questions. Maybe, actually, anglers are even more than completely confused after they enter a large fishing warehouse store.  What to buy?  What color?  What size?  How to use it?  Where to use it?  So much to choose from and many more questions too.

The full-wall lure selection of LiveTarget Lures at Fish’n Frank’s in Port Charlotte, Florida, was impressive and I soon began to understand the whole philosophy idea behind the “Target” concept of this lure company that helped me to catch more fish. Forrest Fisher Photo
The full-wall lure selection of LiveTarget Lures at Fish’n Frank’s in Port Charlotte, Florida, was impressive and I soon began to understand the whole philosophy idea behind the “Target” concept of this lure company that helped me to catch more fish. Forrest Fisher Photo

Then the helpful salesman joins you because he can see that honest face and those wide eyes, and since you are agreeable, you listen up and feel better. Ah, yes, you’re going to get out there and be good at this.  Very cool, you’re up for the task and you’re excited too.

A day or two later, there you are with a sack full of new lures with your new rods and reels on your favorite fishing waterway.  All good except for one thing, you are less than encouraged to catch a fish because you’re still not sure about a lot of things.  You lack that one ingredient that all successful fishermen have, you lack confidence.  After all, this fishing is a new thing for you.  Enter LiveTarget Lures.

LiveTarget includes written instructions!  Yep, that salesman was great, but he told you so much in so little time, that not everything sank in.  The written instructions included with every LiveTarget lure are like a short story.  You can S-L-O-W D-O-W-N and read it at your own pace, you can remember it easier now.  If you forget it, you can read it again and again.  Pretty soon, it becomes a habit.  The LiveTarget folks tell us newbies what to do, why it will work, where to use it and what to do after the lure hits the water.  So don’t be scared away.

For advanced anglers who may not admit they need to be reading the instructions from lure companies, they may never find out that with LiveTarget instructions, there are valid tips for newbies and veterans of the fishing ranks that will enhance your success on the fishing front.

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If the written instructions are not enough, or maybe some words are confusing to you, head back to the LiveTarget website and link up the live video that visually illustrates how the lure you are using works in the water. You can pull this in with your smartphone wherever you are.

Simple, straightforward, honest.  It’s hard to beat honest help!  The next question to answer is easy, what fish do you to catch – what do you want to target?  Head for this link and let the website help you figure it out: http://livetargetlures.com/.

New York Big Game Hunting Firearms Season for Southern Zone Begins November 19

-Hunters encouraged to pass on young bucks

for-11152016-picture-1of2By Forrest Fisher

In the highly sportsmen populated southern zone sector of the Empire State, hunters have been waiting all year for the 3-week long big game firearms hunting season. Wait no longer, it will open this Saturday, November 19, at sunrise.

Despite an unusually balmy forecast of 60-degree weather for the 3rd Saturday in November, New York hunters will endure staying warm – especially since the peak of the rut is set to start on about the same day.  It should be a good harvest year for hunters, as the opening day of gun season and the rut rarely coincide.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York’s deer and bear populations are great resources that provide more than nine million pounds of quality, locally grown, organic meat to families across the state and I wish all hunters a safe and successful season.”

DEC is encouraging all hunters across the state to pass up shots at young, small-antlered bucks.  In a multi-year study conducted with Cornell University, more than 7,000 hunters surveyed across the state reported wanting more opportunities for taking mature bucks without mandatory restrictions on antler size.  DEC has been working with several leading sportsmen’s groups across the state to educate hunters on their role in deer management, the impacts of harvest choices, and changes in the deer population, as more and more hunters voluntarily refrain from taking young bucks.

“Many hunters have told DEC that they would like to see older bucks and hunters can make a difference in the future of the sport by passing up young bucks,” added Commissioner Seggos.

Many hunters are already voluntarily passing up young bucks and the proportion of older bucks available in the herd has increased substantially in the past decade.  As more hunters choose to pass young bucks, all hunters will enjoy the opportunity to see and take larger, older bucks.

Regular Firearms Season for Deer and Bear Begins November 19

The 2016 regular deer and bear hunting seasons in New York’s Southern Zone begin at sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 19, and continue through Sunday, Dec. 11. The Southern Zone regular season is New York’s most popular hunting season, with about 85 percent of New York’s 550,000 licensed hunters participating.  Harvests during this season account for nearly 60 percent of the total annual statewide deer take and 30 to 60 percent of the statewide bear harvest.

In several areas of New York, hunters are requested to help control the doe populations, as non-resident hunter, Jeff Liebler did here with his first ever deer from New York.  Forrest Fisher Photo
In several areas of New York, hunters are requested to help control the doe populations, as non-resident hunter, Jeff Liebler did here with his first ever deer from New York. Forrest Fisher Photo

Following the regular firearm deer and bear seasons in the Southern Zone, late bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons will run from Dec. 12 through Dec. 20.  Hunters taking part in these special seasons must possess a hunting license and either bowhunting or muzzleloading privileges.

In the Northern Zone, the regular deer and bear hunting season opened Oct. 22 and will close at sunset on Dec. 4. The Northern Zone includes the Adirondacks, Tug Hill Plateau, Eastern Lake Ontario Plain, and the Champlain and St. Lawrence valleys. A late bowhunting and muzzleloading season for deer will be open in portions of the Northern Zone from Dec. 5 to Dec. 11.

Help Protect NY Deer from Chronic Wasting Disease

Though NO new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) have been found in New York deer since 2005, DEC continues to take the threat of CWD seriously.  Hunters should, too.  CWD is fatal to deer.  If introduced, CWD could spread rapidly and be practically impossible to eliminate from the wild deer herd once established.  Preventing CWD from entering New York is the most effective disease management strategy.  Hunters can help protect New York’s deer herd from CWD by following these tips:

• If hunting outside of New York, debone or quarter deer before bringing it back and follow the law about importing carcasses or carcass parts from out of state. CWD Regulations for Hunters.

• -Do not use deer urine-based lures or attractant scents.

• -Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill.

• -Report deer that appear sick or acting abnormally.

• -Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles.

Report Your Harvest – Be Part of Game Management

Hunter contributions to deer and bear management don’t end when an animal is harvested. Successful hunters are required to report their harvest of deer and bear within seven days. However, DEC data suggest that less than half of successful deer hunters actually report. Failure to report is a violation of the Environmental Conservation Law, and it reduces the data DEC uses to manage deer and bear populations. Hunters may report via DEC’s online game harvest reporting system or by calling the toll-free automated reporting system at 1-866-GAME-RPT (1-866-426-3778).

Other Reminders for the 2016 Southern Zone Regular Hunting Season

Recent legislation allows the use of rifles for big game hunting to continue in Albany County for two years and to continue indefinitely in Livingston County. See the “Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas” web page on DEC’s website for other areas where rifles can be used.

• Crossbows may be used during the regular deer seasons in all parts of New York except Westchester and Suffolk counties, and the bow-only portions of Albany and Monroe counties. Crossbows may also be used during the late muzzleloading season for hunters possessing a muzzleloading privilege. See the Crossbow Hunting web page on DEC’s website for license and training requirements, general rules, and season opportunities.

The Deer Management Focus Area (available on DEC’s website) will continue to assist communities in the Ithaca area with the burden of overabundant deer populations.

• Mandatory antler restrictions (available on DEC’s website) (three points on one side minimum) remain in effect in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, and 4W during all seasons for all hunters 17 years and older.

• Successful bear hunters are asked to submit a tooth from their bear to DEC so the agency can age the bear and monitor bear population dynamics. See the Bear Tooth Collection web page on DEC’s website for instructions.

• Remember, Hunger Has A Cure… The Venison Donation Program is a great way to help those less fortunate while assisting with deer management in New York.

• Remember Firearms Safety:

1. -Point guns in a safe direction.

2. -Treat every gun as if it were loaded.

3. -Be sure of the target and beyond.

4. -Keep the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

5. -Remember to wear Hunter Orange.

For specific descriptions of regulations and open areas, hunters should refer to the 2016-2017 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide available on DEC’s website. Hunters are urged to review all regulations and safety tips contained in the guide. Hunters may also be interested to read DEC’s booklet, Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF, 763 KB), or to review DEC’s unit-by-unit Deer Hunting Forecasts, which are both available online.

Hunting in Florida

-License is Required

-Small Game, Wild Turkey, Boars, Bears, Deer and more

-November is Key Month

By Forrest Fisher

for-sto-11152016-picture-1of1If you’re packing your snowbird bags already and are planning ahead to hunt in Florida this year, November in Florida is an awesome month to head for the woods.  You have the option to hunt small game, wild turkey, boars, bears, deer and more.  Regulations are not complicated, but it’s a good idea to download the syllabus for the sector area you plan to visit.

Hunting opportunities require a hunting license to participate in Florida.  The Florida resident license fee is $17, nonresidents have a choice based on length of term with the 10-day license cost of $46.50 or the year-long license for $151.50.

If you want to hunt on a WMA, you also must purchase a management area permit for $26.50. And don’t forget to obtain the brochure on

To hunt on wildlife management areas (WMAs), you must possess a management area permit ($26.50) and a hunting license, (and often other permits depending on species and season), unless exempt.  Limited entry/quota permits are required on WMAs during certain time periods. They can only be applied for during the scheduled application periods. The worksheets with the hunt choices and hunt dates are usually posted about two weeks before the permit application period opens.  For each WMA, the dates, bag limits and rules differ greatly for each area.

I noticed that there’s an alligator season too, for those looking for a bit more excitement that the quiet woods.

All necessary licenses and permits are available at any tax collector’s office, retail outlets that sell hunting and fishing gear, by calling toll-free 888-HUNT-FLORIDA or by going online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

Bullets To Improve Accuracy

-For Hunters That Reload 

-High Performance by Design

-Free DVD

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By Forrest Fisher

Rifle shooters preparing for opening day of big game firearm seasons all around the country always take the time to verify their firearms are shooting accurately at a gun range.

Shooters using stable firearm platforms test their loads and if the resulting target spread is formidable, they wonder if the dispersal is caused by their own shooting ability (trigger pull, aim, scope problem, etc.), the cartridge, the bullet size, bullet maker, and other factors like the wind and the weather.

Shooters that load their own cartridges accept that most of the variables are precisely controlled since they are loading their own.  They also accept that the bullets (projectiles) are “the same”.  Bullets are usually purchased by custom hand loaders and they are usually close to being exact duplicates of each other, though most bullets are not precisely exact.

There is a relatively new Berger Bullet that intends to eliminate bullet weight, size and shape variation.  According to Walt Berger, “Every bullet Berger makes is match grade.”

Since the key to accuracy is being consistent, each bullet is formed using one set of match grade dies.  They hold their jacket thickness to a concentricity of .0003” or less on every lot of bullets produced.

The Berger hunting bullet designs incorporate a sharp nose and slightly thinner jacket that allows the bullet to penetrate 2” to 3” before it starts to expand. The Berger bullets don’t poke through like an arrow (high weight retention, deep penetration), but instead dump energy where it is most effective, inside the animal. Using the Berger VLD bullet will result in an animal that goes down fast without having to track the wounded animal after the shot.

To order a free 30 minute video that provides more detail on the bullets, cartridge and velocity used to take several animals at a variety of ranges call 714-441-7200.

Check ‘em out on line at http://www.bergerbullets.com/information/why-berger/.

Deer Hunting, the Rut, Common Scents

-Super Moon Last Night: Rut Happens in 6-10 days

-Use an Effective Scent 

-Keep a Grunt Call and Bleat Call Handy

Doe-In-Estrus scent is the “hot scent” during the annual Whitetail Deer rut cycle.
Doe-In-Estrus scent is the “hot scent” during the annual Whitetail Deer rut cycle.

By Forrest Fisher

All year long, hunters talk with each other about their great experiences in the woods, especially with observing whitetail deer. During the peak of the rut, observing deer is the most fun, as deer ignore almost everything else except the opposite sex.

Bucks will fight each other for does that have come into estrus, bucks will follow does step-for-step all day long, bucks will usually ignore anything else going on in the woods – or on the roadways – at this time.

For hunters, some of the best outdoor experiences occur during the rutting period, the hot deer hunting time that is set to begin this week in the northeast, or about a week after the super-moon that occurred last night (11/13/2016).

The bucks have been ready to mate for several weeks, but biologists tell us that the majority of female deer (does) are usually not ready to mate until 6 to 10 days after the full moon in November.  That puts prime time rutting activity to begin this coming weekend and it should last for about a two weeks.  Get ready for action!!

Hunters can help themselves at this time by using attraction scents, since deer have a very keen sense of smell.  If you’re new to the scent for deer world, note that deer can detect human presence very easily too.  That is one reason why it is not a good idea to use scented fragrance soap for your morning shower on the days you go hunting.  Use scent-free soap, there are plenty of brands in the outdoor stores.

To enhance the potential for attracting deer to your stand location, add a scent bottle placed at eye level to a tree near your stand.  There are various scent wick dispersant containers on the market, whatever type you choose, fill it with a scent that is likely to attract a lovesick buck.  For this next week or so, that “hot” scent will be “Doe-In-Heat” or “Doe-In-Estrus” fragrance.  There are dozens of manufacturers, I have used Kishel’s, Tink’s 69, Code Blue and many others.  Kishel’s works well for me (http://store.kishelscents.com/products/deer-urine-plus/doe-in-estrus-plus-deer-urine/).

Ideally, your pre-season scouting trips should have helped you locate a ground scrape where mister big buck is announcing his daily presence to a following harem of does.  If your stand is nearby, the scent wick container should be in a position that will allow wind drift to spread the desired smell over the area.  That will convince any passing bucks also checking the scrape that a hot doe is nearby and your hunting adventure could be about to begin.

Many hunters also drag a scent rag for their trips into and out of the woods, and right across an active deer trail.  This is a very simple piece of braided string about six-feet long with a small rag tied to one end and flavored with – you guessed it – “Doe-in-Heat” scent.  The other end is looped around your boot.

The Quaker Boy Brawler Call offers big buck or small buck call tones and is durable. Quaker Boy Photo
The Quaker Boy Brawler Call offers big buck or small buck call tones and is durable. Quaker Boy Photo

If you are in a tree stand, you will be able to see much more than from a ground location.  Use care if you are well above the forest floor.  I have watched deer with their nose to the ground walk right to my tree stand and never look up, thanks to the drag rag.  It’s not always that easy, but it has happened exactly that way more than once.  A drag rag adds to good hunting strategy, but don’t apply too much scent.  Just lightly wet the rag.   When you reach your stand, remove the rag 20 feet from your stand and hang it in a small tree or bush.

The doe-in-heat scent will help attract bucks that are in a search for a hot doe.  It is a great experience to see.  When you see the big guy and it appears he will not come your way by his own nature, use a grunt call and bleat call to lure him closer to your position.  I like the Quaker Boy Brawler call (https://www.quakerboy.com/product/brawler-buck-call/) first, it has a deep tone and is adjustable, wait 3-4 seconds and then flip over the Quaker Boy Bleat.

Remain as motionless as possible.  Big bucks seem to notice everything, even hunters in trees.  Use a face cover, as many hunters agree it is the hunters face with blinking eyes and breathe vapor trail on cold mornings that can spook a buck.

When all the sounds and scents worked for you in the manner intended, that’s where a well placed stand and good shooter accuracy now comes in handy.  As that big buck enters your range, your heart may seem to beat like a drum and if you didn’t know better, you might think the deer can hear it.  If possible, talk yourself into a state of calm, it is easier to shoot more accurately that way.  Experience helps with this, but even veteran hunters have to wrestle with their emotions, the shakes and cold sweats too, when a big buck approaches.  Especially during archery season.

The rest of the adventure and the storytelling that will remain in your mind for all time begins at that moment.

Get out there this season and enjoy our free America and the great outdoors we support with our hunting license fees.  Effective wildlife conservation in the outdoors begins with hunting.  Thanks for understanding that and for continuing to be an effective member of the hunter participation audience.

Remember, not everybody can be a hunter!

Crossbow for Big Game

Easy, Fun, Less Training Time

Beverly Ruhland of Wales, New York, enjoys hunting with her brand new crossbow, and she has enjoyed several big deer experiences during the last two weeks of early archery season – that’s when crossbow season opens in New York.  Forrest Fisher Photo
Beverly Ruhland of Wales, New York, enjoys hunting with her brand new crossbow, and she has enjoyed several big deer experiences during the last two weeks of early archery season – that’s when crossbow season opens in New York. Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

It took 30 years of haggling with legislators and blocked laws in a confused legal system that New York is famous for, not to mention high taxes, but the good usually does win over time, and so it is in New York today.  Crossbow hunting is legal.

The New York State crossbow season (last two weeks of early archery season: Nov. 5 – 18, 2016) has brought many happy elderly hunters back to the woods and started new interest in hunting for many young others.  I recently received a note from a hunter in Wales, Beverly Ruhland, who shared the excitement of her first day with her new Barnett crossbow in the woods last weekend.

Watch Your Fingers

Ruhland says, “I went hunting today and it was so exciting! I was literally face to face with a big buck that had to be least an 8- or 10-pointer. I was too scared to count his points, but he was so big! I was walking the woods and saw him a short distance away.”

Continuing, Ruhland said, “I did take a shot with my new crossbow, but being so excited I didn’t pay much attention to the proper placement of my left hand. I pulled the trigger and the exiting string caught my thumb, sending the bolt awry. That stung my thumb! The big buck looked at me as I stood still and actually walked right toward me. I couldn’t believe it. He stopped about 5 yards away, stayed about 60 seconds staring right at me. I closed my eyes and thought maybe he was going to spear me with his antlers. Then, thank God, I opened my eyes and he turned to slowly walk away. I was scared and shaking so bad!”

Being a brave hunter, Ruhland admits, “My thumb was throbbing and still is.  I really thought the deer was going to attack me. My husband, Bob, a retired Lake Ontario charter captain and avid deer hunter, is still laughing at my story. Even though I missed, I saw 11 different deer that day while sitting in my ground blind. There was another smaller buck, but not close enough to get a shot at him or at any of the others.”

Ruhland is a daily church goer and says, “I’m hoping I can go out again tomorrow after morning mass. Maybe I’ll do better then.”  By the way, Bob Ruhland used his crossbow to harvest a big-body buck a few days before Beverly’s sore-thumb, big-deer encounter.

Strong Hunter Groups in New York

The New York deer and bear populations are a great recreational wildlife resource, economic resource too, for Empire State hunters.  The nearly 700,000 strong hunter group suggests that big game hunting is an important part of the American outdoor heritage for many folks.  The general population is thankful to hunters who provide a valuable public service by maintaining wildlife populations at levels that are compatible with public interest and natural resources, providing for safer travel on our roadways.

While hunting camps in New York State southern tier areas were only alive during the opening day of firearm season, coming in two weeks, now archery hunting with long bows, compound bows and crossbows has enticed hunters to camp weeks ahead of the historical gun season schedule.  Hunters now check their stands and assure safe shooting lanes in late summer, how times have changed, all for the good too.

Hunting Camp – Excitement is Ordinary

With every week-ending Friday night, there is extra excitement in the air.  Young archers and newcomers to the sport usually do not sleep well on the nights before the hunt, there are dreams of a deer opportunity after daylight. Wind-up alarm clocks begin to sound off around 5 a.m. as lights turn on across hilltops.

Hunters hop out of toasty sleeping bags, scurry across chilly cabin floors to a welcome pot of old-fashioned, percolated coffee – real coffee.  Light switches are flicked on and gas lanterns brighten.  Flashlights and candles too, offer pre-dawn light, depending on your hunting camp situation.

The grumbling low-frequency voice tones of elderly hunters sort of sound like those of a buck grunting his way through the morning woods in search of a doe.  This is the week predicted week of pre-rut in New York.  The recurring “thump” heard across the cabin usually means a new log has just been tossed into the wood stove.  The sounds of “camp flavor” are welcome and special, because somehow you feel assured that all is well here among your hunting family.

The wood stove and the extra dry air, the sound of humble morning chatter between coffee sipping, cabin laughter and jokes, side bets for biggest deer and the same bull-tales that smelly old men retell every year about this time, are all somehow a special deal for the many who have been there and will never miss an opportunity for a day at deer camp.  Deer camp offers those kinds of special times.  Hunting and deer camp is an unforgettable experience!

Toilet Tissue Advice

One thing to remember is that most folks usually eat too well when in deer camp, so when you head into the hunting forest, wood-side restrooms are easy to find, but comfortable dry leaves are not. Take a small roll of tissue or toilet paper with you in a re-sealable plastic bag. It’s good to be prepared! I keep my gutting knife in the same bag, that way all is dry too and I can’t forget the really important stuff!

Deer camp fun is still alive even 80-year-old hunters that seem to turn into youngsters.  Getting dressed often looks like a group wrestling match, with all hands on deck at once.  Everyone is working to reach their hunting stand by a half-hour before sunrise – in the dark, not everyone will make it there in time, but 30 minutes after sunrise works too.

Even during the firearm season, if you are hunting in close quarters to heavy brush and timber, the crossbow is a great way to consider hunting.  Crossbows during gun season, something to think about.

Destination for Fishing Adventure – the Lower Niagara River

– Monster Salmon, Steelhead and Trout all year long

– Hang on to your Hat!

Chronicles in History is written by Timothy M. Powers and published by Tate Publishing - an exciting book about the reality of American government today from an expert, just in time for the 2016 Presidential election. Visit: http://tmpowers.tateauthor.com/. (Photo by Jack Savoy)
Photo by Jack Savoy

By Forrest Fisher

If you have ever had the “itch to fish” a world class fishery in a hotspot fishing adventure wonderland, you gotta try dropping a line in the Lower Niagara River at Devil’s Hole from a boat.

The sheer sound of the gurgling water flowing past will bring a pleasant surprise to your hearing senses.  It is so relaxing at first, but only until you hook into a monster salmon or steelhead or brown trout or lake trout, or maybe even a sturgeon, and your drag begins to sing a song that you’ve never heard before.  You know, that pleasing, whining, sound of a continuous rip-off of your fishing line with a fish that you have not seen yet, but you know that fish is heading off somewhere into the horizon.  You want him!  Anglers scream when this happens, some holler, some cheer, some find a new combination of letters that describe a brand new word.  Yes, it’s mystifying and these are among the ultimate moments that sportsmen can call “Incredible Fun!”

The best part? You can fish the Lower Niagara River all year long – summer and winter, as the flowing water changes level and never freezes due to reservoir fill and release cycles from the electric power generation plants located on both shores of the river. There is one in New York, USA, and one in Ontario, Canada.

Photo by Jack Lavoy
Photo by Jack Lavoy

Different fish species become available at different times of the year, but there are always fish to be caught in the lower river.  One of my favorite fishing charter captain friends is Captain Jeff Draper.  He says, “Starting in September, giant King Salmon that get in the 30 lb range move up river to spawn. This great fishery lasts until the end of October. Then in November, some of the finest steelhead angling in North America begins with fish that average 8-10 lbs and get up to 20 lbs.  The Steelhead are followed by Lake Trout and Brown Trout that can get even bigger, 20 lb Lake Trout are not uncommon.  Many of these fish stack up at the mouth of the river and Lake Ontario in an area called the Niagara Bar. This season peaks in spring, in April, with Coho Salmon, Lakers and Browns everywhere feeding on bait.  We drift for all these fish with light tackle using eggs, minnows and lures for bait.”

To say this kind of big fish fishing is simply fun would be a simple understatement.  It is an unforgettable adventure!  The rushing water, the power plants, the boat ride itself is exciting and fun, but the fish straining the rod and line is the best part that will forever etch a location in your memory for all time.

Watch this video and see for yourself, how a 4-hour fishing trip on the Lower Niagara River with Captain Jeff Draper unfolds from start to finish, in this excellent and informative video provided to created by Jack Lavoy: https://vimeo.com/188567458.

Most of all, it is hard to believe how all this fishing is so affordable. Check it out: http://niagaraguides.com/index.html.  A whole day on the water for less than the cost of an overnight stay in a nice hotel.  Not sure how Captain Jeff can do it, but you’ll need to call ahead for reservations as his schedule is usually very well booked.

Photo by Jack Lavoy
Photo by Jack Lavoy

Successful Deer Hunting-How to Hunt

-Learn Science and Skills to Hunt

-New 267 Page e-Book

-Written by QDMA Field Experts

By Forrest Fisher

Learn tips, where and when to hunt, selecting a firearm or bow, scouting deer, looking for sign, predicting deer behavior, understanding deer biology, choosing stand sites, processing your venison, preparing venison meals, learn the science and the skills with this new QDMA book.
Learn tips, where and when to hunt, selecting a firearm or bow, scouting deer, looking for sign, predicting deer behavior, understanding deer biology, choosing stand sites, processing your venison, preparing venison meals, learn the science and the skills with this new QDMA book.

There may not be an organization in the outdoors that has done more to allow hunter folks to learn about how they behave and what to do about becoming a more effective hunter than the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA).  They have recently provided to the public a well-written learning guide in their newest book, QDMA’s Guide to Successful Deer Hunting.  It is available as an e-book for purchase or as a free graduation gift to all who complete their hunting safety course at Hunter-Ed.com, providers of Internet hunting safety courses for more than 45 states.

“Many of the students from Hunter-Ed.com were asking for more information on how to hunt deer, and we were asked to contribute materials that could help them,” said QDMA Director of Communications Lindsay Thomas Jr.  “Our staff responded by producing an entirely new and complete guide to deer hunting that will be provided free to all Hunter-Ed.com graduates across the country. They’re certified safe hunters now, and our e-book is designed to help get them into the woods and on a path toward a lifetime of successful deer hunting.”

“When it comes to the ‘what’s next’ beyond basic hunter education, Kalkomey relies heavily on partners such as QDMA,” said Mitch Strobl, Vice President of Business Development for Kalkomey, the parent company of Hunter-Ed.com. “We want our students to have access to the best resources out there, and this new e-book is a prime example of just that. Through strategic partnerships, we’re able to help our students along from initial interest to total participation, thus helping achieve our recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) goals.”

QDMA’s Guide to Successful Deer Hunting is 267 pages long and includes 15 chapters written by eight different contributors, all QDMA staff members. Major subjects are expanded upon in 18 embedded videos produced exclusively for the project by Primos Hunting. Dozens of full color photos also help illustrate the chapters, and links to external resources and articles allow readers to explore every topic in greater depth as desired.

“Will Primos and his team produced a fantastic series of supporting videos for the e-book,” said Hank Forester, QDMA’s Hunting Heritage Programs Manager. “The videos cover some of the more complex subjects, like choosing a rifle or using deer calls, and they really round out the usefulness and interactivity of the project. For those readers who don’t have someone to teach them how to hunt or take them to the woods, our e-book will be a terrific help.”

QDMA’s Guide to Successful Deer Hunting is also available for purchase on Amazon, and you can download and read it on any device using the free Kindle app. Gifting the e-book to new or aspiring hunters is easy through Amazon. All you need is the e-mail address of the gift recipient.

QDMA’s Guide to Successful Deer Hunting is the first e-book in QDMA’s library. Previously, QDMA published Deer Cameras: The Science of Scouting and also Quality Food Plots, the highest selling book on wildlife food plots ever published, in addition to other educational booklets, maps and posters. Visit QDMA’s online store for more information on these other titles.

Inspiring Musky Wisdom

-Niagara Musky Association – Catch & Release

-Musky Lures, Secret Musky Logic

-One Musky Champion: Captain Larry Jones

By Forrest Fisher

Chris Kempf landed this 46.25” musky while trolling Lake Erie aboard Mostly Musky Charters with Captain Larry Jones of Buffalo, New York.
Chris Kempf landed this 46.25” musky while trolling Lake Erie aboard Mostly Musky Charters with Captain Larry Jones of Buffalo, New York.

When I was just a little boy in the 1950’s, I would read the Breem’s Forrest outdoor column in the Buffalo Courier Express (New York), noting that “musky fishermen from Chet Bowman’s livery at the foot of Sheridan Drive would score on big muskies off Strawberry Island.”  I was always fascinated by the size of the fish shown in the newspaper pictures – some 50 pounders, so these big fish have always had my personal attention (and fear).

In those days, anglers would brag about the great taste of musky – which was really not all that good, but they were actually bragging more about their big fish catch.  It’s a guy thing, especially post-era WWII, success was hard to find at times.

Anglers did eat many of the musky’s caught back then, many of those anglers were elderly post-depression era fisherman and they knew what it meant to have zero food.  They would not waste anything, especially a big fish that might provide many meals.  It was a different time.

Today, modern-era anglers are educated and know much more about conservation, they understand the fishery for giant fish is limited to preserving and maintaining the smaller fish.  One organization, the Niagara Musky Association (NMA), has many dedicated members and is passing on the master plan of catch and release to everyone when it comes to musky.

As a result, members of this fishing and conservation organization have proven with catch data and record keeping that their view of catch and release is working. They catch a musky monster, handle it carefully, take a photo if possible and release the fish back to nature.  Wall mounts today only need a length, birth and picture to recreate your catch and allow life in the musky world to flourish.

With this program in effect for many years now, decades, big musky are caught all year long, but musky are especially on the mega-feed as we enter November.  Upper Niagara River and Buffalo Harbor currents attract baitfish in large schools as fall weather turns toward winter months and the muskies know it.  The savvy anglers know it too, anglers like Captain Larry Jones, who is literally booked for every day from October through the end of November.  Why?  Because Jones catches fish and he catches them all the time.  He knows the strategy of baitfish location change and that means big fish for his clients.

Just yesterday, Captain Larry Jones was fishing some of his secret water trolling areas with a client, Chris Kempf from Cheektowaga, New York, and the musky were cooperating despite the 34 degree air temperature.  Kempf reeled in two musky over the few hours of night preceding sunrise, one of them measuring nearly 47 inches.

Jones set up his client trolling a Legend Plow crankbait, a modified $100 lure, with the lure running feet down over 41 feet of water out in lower Lake Erie in front of Buffalo.   Jones says, “We were marking schools of emerald shiners 25 feet down, lots of walleye hooks and a couple bigger muskie hooks. Using lead core line to acquire extra depth, we set our crankbaits at 25 feet and trolled through the baitfish from different directions of approach.  On the 4th pass at 5:30 am we got a hook up and after a short fight into the net went an extra fat 46.25” muskie.  We managed to catch a 2nd fish too, a 38″ muskie closer to the Buffalo Harbor South Gap in 34 feet of water.”

Catching two fish normally defined by anglers as “the fish of a thousand casts” in less than two hours is an incredible feat in itself, but Captain Jones does this all the time largely because he understands the fishery.

Jones adds, “Yes, a lot of the conditions that allow you to catch big muskies before the water temperature drops cool enough to bring in bait fish from deeper waters of Lake Erie are short lived.  The wind-induced water temperature changes with wind direction change and everything is either there or gone just like that.”

While late fall is the best time to hook a real giant, Jones says, “The only other chance you have before the water temp in Buffalo Harbor gets warmer then the deep waters of Lake Erie is strong winds with big waves turning Lake Erie silty grey and water behind the walls is green tint, everything moves to cleaner water, baitfish and predators. Get a North or NW winds and it blows up the Harbor behind the walls replacing warm water with equal lake temperature water and everything disappears again.  So timing to conditions is everything.”  Jones is sharing his secret tactics with words from the wisdom of experience.

I will personally admit to the joy and surprise of landing 12 or 13 of these monsters while fishing for walleye and bass over the years.  Each time I have noticed the eyes of the hooked musky are actually focused and turning to observe the angler with the rod or the net in the boat.  As the fish moves around the boat during the landing process, the eyeballs and pupils of the fish turn with every fish change of movement.

Yes, it is fascinating, but a bit spooky too, especially on Halloween night!  Exciting to be sure!  We have always carefully released them because we value our fingers and because they are such a magnificent, handsome, fish!  They are freshwater sharks, lots of teeth!

Captain Larry Jones has been trophy musky hunting the Niagara River and Lake Erie for nearly three decades and catches many fish near the 50 pound mark on frequent occasions. He also fished the Upper Niagara River and Chautauqua Lake.   In 1996, Jones caught and released 112 muskies of his own to win the Muskies Inc. – Masters Division Championship.  Add that his clients that year caught another 79 muskies from his boat. Wow, this guy is spooky good at musky fishing!

Captain Larry holds a U.S. Coast Guard Masters License and his boat rig is U.S. Coast Guard inspected each year, he is fully insured and well equipped.  His contact info is (716) 833-6739, or on the web, visit: http://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/businesses/mostly-muskies-charters/.

Respect these magnificent fish if you hook one, release them quickly, and be careful not to damage their gills or fins.

Share life with others, make new friends in the outdoors, lead by example.

False Rut – Always between Fridays & Mondays!

-Early Season Deer Hunting 

-Scent and Scrape Control

-Understanding Moon Phase 

The eyes of every good hunter are optimistic with a conscious perception of nature and an uncanny calmness that can understand the daily dialogue of the woods and whitetail deer.  Photo by Bella Gulino
The eyes of every good hunter are optimistic with a conscious perception of nature and an uncanny calmness that can understand the daily dialogue of the woods and whitetail deer. Photo by Bella Gulino

By Forrest Fisher

At this time of year, sportsmen that live to hunt deer with a bow crave the sweet dreams of active outdoor weekends.  For archery hunters, every weekend is a hopeful time for finding the deer in their reproductive rut and in full disregard for hunters and hunter mistakes.  If only it could be!

In the archery woods, the deer-watching action is at full throttle way ahead of the season or the rut.  In New York, the early archery season opens for six weeks starting October 1st, this year that’s 6-7 weeks ahead of the predicted fall rut cycle.

While the bucks always seem ready to mate, experts teach us that the doe’s need the recipe of shorter daylight hours, the changing low angle of the sun and the full moon plus seven to 10 days (after), to allow their hormone system to reach fertile.  After that, they become more commonly know as “hot doe’s” or the deer that bucks are looking for.

From opening day until about one week after the full rutting moon, the deer often appear unaware that their survival-oriented mating season is coming up.

The deer meet in local open field food plots, oak tree groves and apple orchards each afternoon just before sunset and seem to have a sacred conversation of sorts.  It is their habitual social ritual and they are perhaps discussing the sweet delight of sugary apples.  It’s fun to watch them, it’s a time that hunters often learn quickly that too much calling will usually cause the deer to flee. The deer gather like that in groups until they break up just before the full rut.

“The Grim Reaper broadheads did the job for me this year,” says Alessio Gulino of Clarence, New York, who downed this heavy mature buck with a perfect 30 yard arrow shot.
“The Grim Reaper broadheads did the job for me this year,” says Alessio Gulino of Clarence, New York, who downed this heavy mature buck with a perfect 30 yard arrow shot.

The formula for when the full rut should happen is complicated, but most folks that hunt with arrows believe in the Alsheimer theory and this year, that means the rut will peak after the full moon in November, so the full rut will occur in the middle of November.  False rut occurs in the moon prior to the rutting moon when bucks think they should be mating, but the doe’s are not ready.  Scrapes, rubs, lots of deer action can occur in the woods and it’s a good time to get out there if you can.

Peak rut is the time when rutting bucks chase doe’s that are actually ready to mate, with some doe’s literally screaming for their buck to find them using their high-pitched bleat call.  Indeed, their gesture to signify immediate need to mate.

During this October, a month before peak rut this year, the bucks can become frustrated, providing vulnerability for the deer and adding to hunter advantage with the proper use of downwind location and use of scent attractants. It’s a hot time to be in the hunting woods if you can accurately place an arrow on the mark of your aim.  That’s what young hunter, Alessio Gulino, 23 years old from Clarence, New York, did last weekend.

Using a Grim Reaper broadhead and Diamond compound bow set up for a 65-pound draw, Gulino dropped the buck at 30 yards with a clean heart shot.  Gulino says, “The deer did not even take one step, he simply crashed on the spot.”

Gulino adds, “Since October 14th, I have seen signs of false rut.  I have had a few smaller bucks come around my food plot leaving their scent behind.  Making rubs and scrapes, it been a joy watching the little ones.  On the day I got my buck, I switched to a stand in a more wooded area.  When this buck came out his behavior was different.  More of a strut as he walked, neck was swollen and nose to the ground. That was my false rut experience, I have also been monitoring the moon phases, as well as the weather.  To me, the biggest things that matter about the rut, false or full rut, are moon phase and temperature.”

Many experts will say, “Yes, very true.”

Mid-day scouting and a quiet walk around your hunting terrain in search of tree rubs and ground scrapes can help identify active buck locales.  The bucks that made those rubs and scrapes are not far away and they usually return to check for tell-tale signs of a hot doe at least twice a day, just before sunset and again in the morning sunrise hours just before they head to their bedding area for a daytime snooze.

Once an active buck zone is located with the rubs and scrapes, there are a number of things to take advantage of the location.  Savvy hunters set up in a tree stand downwind and wait for the buck to check his area, though in the meantime, you may have to willingly pass on multiple doe’s traveling the area because of scrape and rub marks, and the smell scent left by the buck.

This is where use of scent lines can offer honest advantage to bring the deer right to the hunter.  There are two ways to think about using scent, one is to attract a buck by use of hot doe scent, also known as “doe-in-heat” or “doe-in-estrus” scent, and the other is to upset the buck and trigger him into a more aggressive mode with the use of “buck scent”.

The use of buck scent is working when you see the buck come back to his scrape and then start a violent surge of attacking the ground all around his scrape.  He is upset.  When that happens, you know this buck is upset and considers this area “his area” and thinks he is the dominant buck there.  On the other hand, if he knows he is not the dominant buck, the buck scent may cause him to bolt away and never return, so you gotta be careful with buck scent if you are willing to settle for an ordinary six-point buck.

 

Alessio Gulino was “thumbs up” after realizing that his arrow placement and shot distance estimate were right on.
Alessio Gulino was “thumbs up” after realizing that his arrow placement and shot distance estimate were right on.

With “doe-in-heat” scent, you will attract whatever buck is making the scrape and by dragging a scent line from the scrape to your stand location, can win the prize of a possible perfect shot at a range of your choosing.  Sounds easy right?

It can be at the right time of year, like now, when bucks are in heavy search for estrus doe’s and not finding many. It’s a nice time to drag a scent line tied from to your boot from the scrape area to your stand area, with the scent line loaded up with “doe-in-heat” liquid lure.  Use a small piece of rag tied to a 6-foot string line for the scent line (drag line).

So which “doe-in-heat” scent lure to use?  Some hunters will say they are all good, that may be true.  In Western New York we have at least one source of natural “doe-in-heat” lure that is bottled from local deer herd stock specifically for hunters at Pines & Tines Whitetail Farm. This is a deer farm with over 60 live deer animals located at 7852 Lewis Road in Colden, about six miles south of East Aurora.

While commercial store versions of “doe-in-heat” are sold in one or two ounce bottles at $12-$14, most of these are chemical equivalents of the real thing.  Pines & Tines sells an eight-ounce bottle for $10.  Yes, that is a buy. This real nature local product has worked for me and many hunting friends for the last several years and we just never told anyone where we bought our hunting attractant scent. Well now the secret is out!  Call Eric and Cheryl Lafferty at 716-655-5007, or stop in, there is a sign on the door that will direct you to the refrigerator stock of “doe-in-heat” and “buck lure”.  Use this stuff sparingly to help you set the stage for deer hunting success.

One of the other well-proven local scent formulas made in East Aurora, New York, is Kishel Scents. Their mock scrape kit is among the most effective ever made.  Born from the experience of a young boy as a trapper, several of my close friends have used the Kishel Mock Scrape Kit to harvest trophy deer in the past few years.  There are other companies that make similar products, but for some secret reason, the Kishel Product Kit lasts for weeks and deer keep coming back.

Not saying other products are ineffective, we have all tried many of them – they do not all work, but this local Kishel Mock Scrape Product Kit is quite amazing.  To visually see how a mock scrape is made, go visit this link on You-Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8irLbm7kCs.  Without the kit, get out there, find a scrape line, set up your fixed or climbing tree stand down-wind and drag the scent line from the scrape area to your preferred tree stand location.

Gulino was hunting on his own land and using a safe, metal, fixed ladder stand with a full body harness for fall protection and safety.  He put on his patience hat, sat down and relaxed until the deer of his choice showed up, took his time and made a very clean kill shot.

Prime time is at sunrise and sunset, most hunters know that.  Don’t forget your full body harness to stay safe when you go vertical, anything less than a full body harness is asking for trouble. The most exciting fun of the year is between Friday’s and Mondays if you can settle your honey-do chores before hitting the outdoors.

Gulino’s 10-Point buck was the victim of good hunting by a good hunter who set up his stand in the travel corridor between the bedding area and the feeding area.
Gulino’s 10-Point buck was the victim of good hunting by a good hunter who set up his stand in the travel corridor between the bedding area and the feeding area.

Good luck to everyone on the water or in the woods!

False Rut – Always between Fridays & Mondays!

-Early Season Deer Hunting 

-Scent and Scrape Control

-Understanding Moon Phase 

The eyes of every good hunter are optimistic with a conscious perception of nature and an uncanny calmness that can understand the daily dialogue of the woods and whitetail deer.  Photo by Bella Gulino
The eyes of every good hunter are optimistic with a conscious perception of nature and an uncanny calmness that can understand the daily dialogue of the woods and whitetail deer. Photo by Bella Gulino

By Forrest Fisher

At this time of year, sportsmen that live to hunt deer with a bow crave the sweet dreams of active outdoor weekends.  For archery hunters, every weekend is a hopeful time for finding the deer in their reproductive rut and in full disregard for hunters and hunter mistakes.  If only it could be!

In the archery woods, the deer-watching action is at full throttle way ahead of the season or the rut.  In New York, the early archery season opens for six weeks starting October 1st, this year that’s 6-7 weeks ahead of the predicted fall rut cycle.

While the bucks always seem ready to mate, experts teach us that the doe’s need the recipe of shorter daylight hours, the changing low angle of the sun and the full moon plus seven to 10 days (after), to allow their hormone system to reach fertile.  After that, they become more commonly know as “hot doe’s” or the deer that bucks are looking for.

From opening day until about one week after the full rutting moon, the deer often appear unaware that their survival-oriented mating season is coming up.

The deer meet in local open field food plots, oak tree groves and apple orchards each afternoon just before sunset and seem to have a sacred conversation of sorts.  It is their habitual social ritual and they are perhaps discussing the sweet delight of sugary apples.  It’s fun to watch them, it’s a time that hunters often learn quickly that too much calling will usually cause the deer to flee. The deer gather like that in groups until they break up just before the full rut.

“The Grim Reaper broadheads did the job for me this year,” says Alessio Gulino of Clarence, New York, who downed this heavy mature buck with a perfect 30 yard arrow shot.
“The Grim Reaper broadheads did the job for me this year,” says Alessio Gulino of Clarence, New York, who downed this heavy mature buck with a perfect 30 yard arrow shot.

The formula for when the full rut should happen is complicated, but most folks that hunt with arrows believe in the Alsheimer theory and this year, that means the rut will peak after the full moon in November, so the full rut will occur in the middle of November.  False rut occurs in the moon prior to the rutting moon when bucks think they should be mating, but the doe’s are not ready.  Scrapes, rubs, lots of deer action can occur in the woods and it’s a good time to get out there if you can.

Peak rut is the time when rutting bucks chase doe’s that are actually ready to mate, with some doe’s literally screaming for their buck to find them using their high-pitched bleat call.  Indeed, their gesture to signify immediate need to mate.

During this October, a month before peak rut this year, the bucks can become frustrated, providing vulnerability for the deer and adding to hunter advantage with the proper use of downwind location and use of scent attractants. It’s a hot time to be in the hunting woods if you can accurately place an arrow on the mark of your aim.  That’s what young hunter, Alessio Gulino, 23 years old from Clarence, New York, did last weekend.

Using a Grim Reaper broadhead and Diamond compound bow set up for a 65-pound draw, Gulino dropped the buck at 30 yards with a clean heart shot.  Gulino says, “The deer did not even take one step, he simply crashed on the spot.”

Gulino adds, “Since October 14th, I have seen signs of false rut.  I have had a few smaller bucks come around my food plot leaving their scent behind.  Making rubs and scrapes, it been a joy watching the little ones.  On the day I got my buck, I switched to a stand in a more wooded area.  When this buck came out his behavior was different.  More of a strut as he walked, neck was swollen and nose to the ground. That was my false rut experience, I have also been monitoring the moon phases, as well as the weather.  To me, the biggest things that matter about the rut, false or full rut, are moon phase and temperature.”

Many experts will say, “Yes, very true.”

Mid-day scouting and a quiet walk around your hunting terrain in search of tree rubs and ground scrapes can help identify active buck locales.  The bucks that made those rubs and scrapes are not far away and they usually return to check for tell-tale signs of a hot doe at least twice a day, just before sunset and again in the morning sunrise hours just before they head to their bedding area for a daytime snooze.

Once an active buck zone is located with the rubs and scrapes, there are a number of things to take advantage of the location.  Savvy hunters set up in a tree stand downwind and wait for the buck to check his area, though in the meantime, you may have to willingly pass on multiple doe’s traveling the area because of scrape and rub marks, and the smell scent left by the buck.

This is where use of scent lines can offer honest advantage to bring the deer right to the hunter.  There are two ways to think about using scent, one is to attract a buck by use of hot doe scent, also known as “doe-in-heat” or “doe-in-estrus” scent, and the other is to upset the buck and trigger him into a more aggressive mode with the use of “buck scent”.

The use of buck scent is working when you see the buck come back to his scrape and then start a violent surge of attacking the ground all around his scrape.  He is upset.  When that happens, you know this buck is upset and considers this area “his area” and thinks he is the dominant buck there.  On the other hand, if he knows he is not the dominant buck, the buck scent may cause him to bolt away and never return, so you gotta be careful with buck scent if you are willing to settle for an ordinary six-point buck.

 

Alessio Gulino was “thumbs up” after realizing that his arrow placement and shot distance estimate were right on.
Alessio Gulino was “thumbs up” after realizing that his arrow placement and shot distance estimate were right on.

With “doe-in-heat” scent, you will attract whatever buck is making the scrape and by dragging a scent line from the scrape to your stand location, can win the prize of a possible perfect shot at a range of your choosing.  Sounds easy right?

It can be at the right time of year, like now, when bucks are in heavy search for estrus doe’s and not finding many. It’s a nice time to drag a scent line tied from to your boot from the scrape area to your stand area, with the scent line loaded up with “doe-in-heat” liquid lure.  Use a small piece of rag tied to a 6-foot string line for the scent line (drag line).

So which “doe-in-heat” scent lure to use?  Some hunters will say they are all good, that may be true.  In Western New York we have at least one source of natural “doe-in-heat” lure that is bottled from local deer herd stock specifically for hunters at Pines & Tines Whitetail Farm. This is a deer farm with over 60 live deer animals located at 7852 Lewis Road in Colden, about six miles south of East Aurora.

While commercial store versions of “doe-in-heat” are sold in one or two ounce bottles at $12-$14, most of these are chemical equivalents of the real thing.  Pines & Tines sells an eight-ounce bottle for $10.  Yes, that is a buy. This real nature local product has worked for me and many hunting friends for the last several years and we just never told anyone where we bought our hunting attractant scent. Well now the secret is out!  Call Eric and Cheryl Lafferty at 716-655-5007, or stop in, there is a sign on the door that will direct you to the refrigerator stock of “doe-in-heat” and “buck lure”.  Use this stuff sparingly to help you set the stage for deer hunting success.

One of the other well-proven local scent formulas made in East Aurora, New York, is Kishel Scents. Their mock scrape kit is among the most effective ever made.  Born from the experience of a young boy as a trapper, several of my close friends have used the Kishel Mock Scrape Kit to harvest trophy deer in the past few years.  There are other companies that make similar products, but for some secret reason, the Kishel Product Kit lasts for weeks and deer keep coming back.

Not saying other products are ineffective, we have all tried many of them – they do not all work, but this local Kishel Mock Scrape Product Kit is quite amazing.  To visually see how a mock scrape is made, go visit this link on You-Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8irLbm7kCs.  Without the kit, get out there, find a scrape line, set up your fixed or climbing tree stand down-wind and drag the scent line from the scrape area to your preferred tree stand location.

Gulino was hunting on his own land and using a safe, metal, fixed ladder stand with a full body harness for fall protection and safety.  He put on his patience hat, sat down and relaxed until the deer of his choice showed up, took his time and made a very clean kill shot.

Prime time is at sunrise and sunset, most hunters know that.  Don’t forget your full body harness to stay safe when you go vertical, anything less than a full body harness is asking for trouble. The most exciting fun of the year is between Friday’s and Mondays if you can settle your honey-do chores before hitting the outdoors.

Gulino’s 10-Point buck was the victim of good hunting by a good hunter who set up his stand in the travel corridor between the bedding area and the feeding area.
Gulino’s 10-Point buck was the victim of good hunting by a good hunter who set up his stand in the travel corridor between the bedding area and the feeding area.

Good luck to everyone on the water or in the woods!

Screen Tent for Winter Beach Protection

-CLAM 1660 Mag Screen Tent

-Big, Safe, Light, Portable, Inexpensive

-SPF-50 and UV Protection

The CLAM 1660 Mag Tent Screen is big, safe, light, portable, inexpensive and it provide SPF-50 sun protection and UV protection too.
The CLAM 1660 Mag Tent Screen is big, safe, light, portable, inexpensive and it provide SPF-50 sun protection and UV protection too.

By Forrest Fisher

Ever noticed that it seems to take an outdoorsman or an outdoor group to come up with the best of the best ideas for outdoor use?  It’s so true.

That’s why one of the Screen Tents (Quick-Set Escape Shelters) by CLAM seems to hit the nail on the head for protection from flying bug critters all year long.  No matter where you live, there are pesky insects of some kind.  With winter coming up and the snow birds heading south to Florida, there is an especially useful place to share one of these shelters, ON THE BEACH.  Florida beaches in winter are famous for the “no see-ums,” those tiny bugs that bite, and one of these units is great for protection from the bugs and the sun on either watery sunshine coast in Florida.

There are convenient grommet locations for stake hold downs with the CLAM 1660 Mag Tent Screen.
There are convenient grommet locations for stake hold downs with the CLAM 1660 Mag Tent Screen.

My wife and I spread out two nice cozy (big) blankets on the sand and then pop up our 1660 Mag Tent Screen right on top of them.  We’re finished in under a minute, literally, and both of us are pushing 70 years of totem pole marking.  It’s that easy and maybe the best thing when you have grandkids and family along, these units are big and they’re tall too.  Room and protection for everyone.

Our unit is 12 feet by 12 feet wide and is 7-1/2 feet high!  It has the no-see-um screen windows all the way around and the roof and fabric are SPF-50 for sun protection.  The side and roof panels also provide UV protection, something many of us have become more aware of these days.  With the 6 stakes and tie-down ropes that come with the unit, you will enjoy a wonderful day in the sun free from bugs and flying sand.

The whole thing comes in a convenient carry bag that is light (34 pounds).  We use a 2-wheel carry cart to move our shelter, chairs and our carefully stocked Yeti cooler to the beach and back from the vehicle.  The same vehicle we use to beat the snow back during the memory of our brutal New York winters.

Hence, we drive down to Florida and love our stay there during the winter time, you can too, with one of these Mag Tent Screen units from CLAM.  Fun times, no bugs, no sand, no sunburn, and also important – no snow!  Love those Florida beaches in winter!

For more info, check on-line at the CLAM website (http://www.clamoutdoors.com/pages/quickset ) or through Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Clam-Corporation-9281-Quick-Set-140-Inch/dp/B00E3LF7FK), where you can also find free shipping with PRIME.

Asian Carp Blitz in Kentucky

-November 8-10, 2016

-Goal: Asian Carp Population Survey

-Benefit: Collected Fish Sold to Fish Processors

Invasive Asian Carp are big, plentiful and are a slimy mess in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, especially once they are aboard your boat, KFW is testing the waters for data collection. Photo is courtesy of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Invasive Asian Carp are big, plentiful and are a slimy mess in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, especially once they are aboard your boat, KFW is testing the waters for data collection. Photo is courtesy of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife

By Forrest Fisher

If you have ever fished Kentucky Lake or Barkley Lake for bass or crappie, especially in a tournament, you might have some idea about the size of the Asian Carp population there, but it’s just an idea.  There are lots of ‘em!  Anglers can catch them occasionally when fishing for game fish species.  They fight incredibly hard and are fun to land until you get them into the boat.  Their outer layer is sheer slime, it very slick and almost pasty. They are not native in the lakes and are an invasive species that the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is trying to understand more about.

Kentucky is working with federal agencies, in cooperation with volunteers, commercial anglers and fish processors, and is launching a “Carp Blitz” on November 8-10 to help gauge the population of invasive Asian Carp in Kentucky and Barkley lakes.  At least a dozen sampling crews will be netting, electrofishing and working with licensed commercial anglers to collect as many Asian carp as possible during this three-day period.

“This very large effort is primarily a sampling or data collection exercise which, if deemed successful, will be repeated annually in order to provide relative abundance and population demographics of Asian carp in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes,” said Ron Brooks, fisheries director for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.  Other participating agencies will include the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kentucky Lake at sunrise from Kentucky Lake State Park and Marina is a beautiful way to start the day!  Hotel accommodations are reasonable at the State Park.  Forrest Fisher Photo
Kentucky Lake at sunrise from Kentucky Lake State Park and Marina is a beautiful way to start the day! Hotel accommodations are reasonable at the State Park. Forrest Fisher Photo

In 2013, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife sponsored Carp Madness, a first of its kind tournament for commercial anglers whose primarily goal was the thin the Asian carp population in the two western Kentucky lakes.  It proved successful, as a handful of participants collected more than 83,000 pounds of Asian carp during the two-day tournament.

Brooks believes if weather conditions are good, the Carp Blitz effort will easily eclipse the Carp Madness tournament.  State and federal fisheries crew will use electrofishing equipment to drive the wary Asian carp into the waiting nets of the commercial anglers.

“All Asian carp harvested will be donated to the commercial anglers assisting with this effort,” Brooks said.  “Kentucky’s fish processing businesses will purchase all fish harvested.”

As part of the effort, researchers with Murray State University are working with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to tag fish with telemetry markers.  This will allow researchers to discover the movement patterns and habitat use of Asian carp in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes.

We’ll pass on what we learn of this effort as results are communicated.  Kentucky Lake is an incredible fishery and recreational resource for all to enjoy.

Hunting is an Extraordinary Experience

-Real-Life Close Encounters 

-Tradition and Wisdom = Proven Advice

-Building Steady Nerves

Dieter Voss says “Hunting heavy cover on small tract private lands or on state forest public lands can yield big deer harvest results, patience and waiting it out thru the cold is the key.” Forrest Fisher Photo
Dieter Voss says “Hunting heavy cover on small tract private lands or on state forest public lands can yield big deer harvest results, patience and waiting it out thru the cold is the key.” Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

Big bucks and big doe’s too, are at home in thick mature forests.  On very windy days where gusts are creeping up to 35-40 mph and more, look for sunken creek beds in gorged out valleys to find the larger whitetail deer, even groups of larger deer, which many of us are looking for.

It only took me 50 years to find that out on my own, but then I have not been able to afford to hunt on game farms and fenced private hunting camps with massive food plots.  Of course, I honestly respect those who can do that, but for many the truth is – besides not being part of their budget, they simply say, “That’s just not real hunting.”  Game farm hunting is more a test of your shooting skill for bragging rights, many say.  You know the deer are there, you know you will get a shot at some point, the only question you have is simple, ”Is a 4-1/2 year old buck old enough to harvest?”

That’s not really a question for me and the tens of thousands of hunters like me who rarely even see a two or three year-old deer with all the hunting pressure we have in New York State.  In the end, while I have passed on many two-year olds, I take the deer of my choice when I feel that the time for hunting season is running out and I need some venison in the freezer.

In my family, venison is the only essential red meat subsistence we eat.  Venison is healthy, nearly fat free, high in protein and high in organic electrolytes and staples from the vegetarian diet without fertilizer and pest control products that deer consume as found in the natural wild.  That’s the kind of meat we seek. So eventually, even if the deer is not a four-year old, I need to take one or two.

For most ordinary hunter guys (like me), hunting is usually done on small private tracts of 50-100 acres or less, and on public lands in New York State known as state forests.  There are many state forests in New York, some as large as 5,000 acres and many in rugged and unforgiving terrain locations where only the “very fit” might consider the possibility for access and hunting.  Many other state forest tracts are common with hills and grasslands, mixed with conifers and deciduous tree variations, good for young hunters and slow-moving oldsters alike.

Hunting camps on private land tracts of 50-100 acres or less is more common than hunting on game farms, and hunters like Jeff Liebler say, “It is a character builder.” Forrest Fisher Photo
Hunting camps on private land tracts of 50-100 acres or less is more common than hunting on game farms, and hunters like Jeff Liebler say, “It is a character builder.” Forrest Fisher Photo

For folks with little time for hunting and an adequate supply of funding, game farms are one way to go.  For other folks with little time and a limited supply of funding, welcome to my world.

Pre-season weekends are used for exploring new hunting lands and setting trail cameras.  We use the Wildgame Innovations CLOAK™ 6 LightsOut™ cameras that capture 6-megapixel images and daytime or nighttime videos, these have a stealthy 36-unit high-intensity black LED infrared flash that is invisible – all for well under $100.  My budget can afford these.

I use the trail cam’s where I can see visible sign, but no deer, then try to identify what deer and how much deer herd activity is in that neighborhood before and during the season.  It helps my hunting family to better manage where we focus our hunting efforts.

Wherever we go, we do know that we will likely have to work hard to succeed.  There are fewer farmers with corn fields, an increasing supply of housing developments and fewer areas to hunt than ever before, but the bottom line is that we know we will enjoy the preparation for the hunt, researching the new brands of archery gear, firearms, optics and accessories, and we will enjoy the adventure of the hunt because we hunt together as a family and a team.  On certain days, we may spend hours in quiet conversation with the great wind from the north, but that is just part of the nature community and our non-game farm hunting community.  It is the reality of the natural world.

We work together to improve our hunting trip efficiency – staying safe as possible, but we know we always can be better.

Hunting camps on private land tracts of 50-100 acres or less is more common than hunting on game farms, and hunters like Jeff Liebler say, “It is a character builder.” Forrest Fisher Photo
Dinner in hunting camp is very special when someone else does the cooking! Rick Stephens serves up the home cooked viddles near Friendship, New York. Forrest Fisher Photo.

We work toward fulfillment at the next level – seeing more deer and harvesting bigger deer.  Hunting with our hunting family is a win-win for everyone across the board.  Hunting season dates and plans are exciting times because while we never talk about it, we know that the bonds we form with nature and each other are powerful, satisfying and timeless.

We share our thoughts and questions often.  We sense too, there is that magical link to our ancestral past – hunting is sacred to us in that sense.  For hunters everywhere, many of us are irrepressibly drawn to the woods to ponder the challenge and vulnerability of the whitetail deer we seek.  Without spoken words, there is love and affection for the species, and there is dilemma there too – all at the same time.  Simultaneous satisfaction of this sort seems hard to define, yet it is real.

Entering the woods together, it is easy to affiliate with the spirit of the hunt as we develop a renewed sense of kinship and reverence with all the life we find in the deer woods.  Hunting in the wilds of a non-fenced natural area is an extraordinary experience in these modern times and it will become even more extraordinary as time goes on.

Share life with others, make new friends in the outdoors, lead by example.

New Charlotte Harbor Oyster Reef is Flourishing

-Nature Conservancy of Florida

-Conservation Restoration Efforts Working

Oyster Reefs provide critical, life-sustaining habitat that allows water quality to improve, fishes, birds and underwater life to grow and survive and procreate.  Thanks to the Nature Conservancy of Florida, efforts are working in Charlotte Harbor near Punta Gorda. NCF Photo
Oyster Reefs provide critical, life-sustaining habitat that allows water quality to improve, fishes, birds and underwater life to grow and survive and procreate. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy of Florida, efforts are working in Charlotte Harbor near Punta Gorda. NCF Photo

By Forrest Fisher / Nature Conservancy of Florida

Oyster Reefs provide life-sustaining habitat for fish and wildlife, and improve water quality.  The Nature Conservancy in Florida is committed to restoring oyster reef habitat in coastal areas throughout the Gulf of Mexico, the Charlotte Harbor Estuary located in Punta Gorda was a priority location.

The Trabue Harborwalk project is a first step in reestablishing the oyster populations that previously flourished throughout this estuary, but have declined to just a fraction of their historical extent.  Oysters, birds, and other wildlife signal successful habitat restoration along Trabue Harborwalk, near Punta Gorda, Florida.

This pilot project, the first in the northern portion of the Charlotte Harbor estuary, includes the creation of 9 oyster reefs using 3 different restoration methods – oyster mats, oyster bags, and loose shell. These methods are being tested to better understand which method works the best in building new reefs. The results of this science-based experiment will inform future planned restoration of oyster habitat in the estuary.  NCF Photo
This pilot project, the first in the northern portion of the Charlotte Harbor estuary, includes the creation of 9 oyster reefs using 3 different restoration methods – oyster mats, oyster bags, and loose shell. These methods are being tested to better understand which method works the best in building new reefs. The results of this science-based experiment will inform future planned restoration of oyster habitat in the estuary. NCF Photo

Nature itself is one of the largest pieces of the climate solution puzzle. “Oysters are the quiet unsung heroes of our estuaries, working hard every day to protect our coasts, clean our waters, feed and shelter fish, birds, crabs, shrimp and other wildlife,” says Anne Birch, Marine Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy in Florida.  She further asserts, “When we help to restore and conserve oysters back to their once thriving populations we’re also helping our estuaries and our coastal communities flourish.”

A healthy one-acre reef filters approximately 24 million gallons of water daily, supporting underwater grasses and other plants that need light to survive underwater. These plants, in turn, yield additional benefits, like fish production and carbon storage, completing something of a virtuous cycle.

The Nature Conservancy Florida, City of Punta Gorda, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves, and a number of community volunteers completed the installation of reef habitat to attract and support new oysters.  Once abundant throughout Charlotte Harbor, oyster reefs provide habitat for important fish and shellfish such as mullet and blue crabs.  Oysters also improve water quality, and may help to stabilize shorelines by reducing erosion from wave and tide action.  One goal of the project is to determine which of three reef building techniques is the most productive and effective for increasing oyster populations and attracting additional species to the area — information critical to the broader goal of expanding oyster restoration throughout Charlotte Harbor to support communities and fisheries.

Partners in the creation of new oyster reef habitat in the shallow waters along Trabue Harborwalk in Charlotte Harbor, Florida, have accomplished great success.  Up to 1,400 oysters per square meter have taken up new residence on sections of the reef.  In just nine months following the creation of the habitat along the coastline of Punta Gorda, a community of diverse wildlife has appeared, anchored by arrival of the new oysters.

Oysters require specific water conditions to flourish and hard surfaces on which to settle.  The nine newly created oyster reefs are spread over nearly four acres and include three reefs composed of oyster shells affixed to mats, three reefs of fossilized loose shell, and three reefs built from mesh bags containing fossilized shell.  Approximately 50 tons of shell were used to build the reefs. Monitoring results indicate that oyster recruitment was excellent for each method.  A success criterion for a recent oyster reef restoration project in the Chesapeake Bay area was greater than 50 oyster recruits per square meter –- the Punta Gorda reefs far exceeded this benchmark.

Click here to see a poster about the life cycle, habitat and restoration of the Eastern oyster.

This project is funded by the generous support of The Mosaic Company Foundation, Sally Mead Hands Foundation, and individual donors. “We are tremendously pleased to see the oyster reef restoration project thriving,” said Mark Kaplan, Mosaic’s Vice President – Phosphate Services and President of The Mosaic Company Foundation. “We value our partnership with The Nature Conservancy and are proud to support their commitment to improving coastal habitat and water quality in Charlotte Harbor.”

The Nature Conservancy continues its commitment to restoring oysters in coastal areas throughout Florida and will use data collected here in the planning of additional habitat restoration in the Gulf of Mexico, including a future project in the Pensacola region.  The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.  Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at www.nature.org. To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit www.nature.org/global.  To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Fishing Report: Orleans County, New York

Lake Ontario, Lake Alice, Erie Canal

Lake Ontario King Salmon fishing has been great from Oak Orchard Creek to the Niagara Bar this year.  Photo by Wet Net Charters
Lake Ontario King Salmon fishing has been great from Oak Orchard Creek to the Niagara Bar this year. Photo by Wet Net Charters

Today is Wednesday, October 19, 2016.

I thought that this was supposed to be fall, but with the temperatures in the 70’s, I guess Mother Nature is up to one of her tricks again.  The rain that we received last night wasn’t enough to make any big change to the water flows within the tributaries within Orleans County.

Cooler temperatures and more precipitation are in the forecast for later this week, but how much rain is yet to be seen.  Right now improved water flow would go a long way to greatly improve the fishing on all of the waters of Orleans County.

The good news is that there are Chinook, Coho and Atlantic salmon scattered throughout all of our tributaries as well as Brown trout and Steelhead.  The problem is that they are not there yet in the numbers due to the warm water conditions.  Hopefully this will change with the next cool down which should occur later this week.

Today is the start of the St. Mary’s Archer’s Club Catch and Release Derby.  For all of you who missed out on the opportunity to sign up, there is always next year to join the fun, and have great fishing, food, friends and prizes.

On Lake Alice they are still catching Bluegills off the Waterport Bridge but fewer than last week.  Bass are still fairly active throughout the lake especially in the upstream areas.

Perch fishing is starting to become more active on the lower stretches of the “Oak,” but there are a lot of smaller ones in the mix, which is a good sign for future populations.

From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County.  We try to make everyday a great fishing day in Orleans County.

Email: sportfishing@orleansny.com

Conserving Wetlands & Waterfowl

Ducks Unlimited: Science, Research, Biology

for-sto-10192016-conservation-picture-1of1-credit-to-joe-forma
Thanks to the many conservation programs of Ducks Unlimited chapters across this great nation, waterfowl and other species too, are able to survive and thrive. Joe Forma photo

By Forrest Fisher

Ducks Unlimited is a dedicated group that may be underappreciated by all the rest of us outdoor folks.  The work that this group performs for others will provide fundamental and ecological improvements for many waterfowl species.  Their work will help waterfowl and other species overcome unforgiving vulnerabilities due to loss of habitat and will add to the dynamic transformation of the natural world to remain reciprocal and productive.

The Ducks Unlimited conservation programs have always had a strong biological foundation.  Science and research tradition continues today with hundreds of studies to address the habitat needs of waterfowl.  Although a great deal of work has been done and many important questions answered, there is still much to learn about how the birds respond to landscape, habitat and environmental changes.

DU has embraced an approach of constant monitoring and evaluation which allows for continual refinement of its habitat programs.  In the end, such an approach ensures that each and every dollar invested in conservation programs is used as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Below is a summary of the methods DU uses to conserve wetlands and valuable habitat in priority areas for North American waterfowl.

How DU Conserves:

  • Restoring grasslands
  • Replanting forests
  • Restoring watersheds
  • Working with landowners
  • Working with partners
  • Acquiring land
  • Conservation easements
  • Management agreements
  • Geographic Information Systems

Restoring Grasslands

Ducks such as mallards, pintails and teal build nests in dense, grassy areas near wetlands. Grassland cover helps hens conceal their nests and increases their chances of successfully hatching a clutch.  Once hatched, the hen leads the ducklings over land to a nearby wetland, where they grow into adults.  DU and its partners help to secure and restore these grasslands to reduce predation rates and improve nest success.

Replanting Forests

Forests that flood regularly due to overflowing riverbanks, such as the bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV), make for ideal wintering habitat for ducks, and provide essential breeding and foraging habitat for other wildlife species.  However, 80 percent of these forests have been cleared for agriculture and other purposes, and rivers have been tamed with dams and levees.  To date, DU has reforested more than 178,000 acres in the MAV and worked to restore backwater to these forests to mimic historical flooding.

Restoring Watersheds

A watershed is the area surrounding a wetland, and therefore has a great effect on the water quality and general health of a wetland.  When watersheds are disturbed, silt, nutrients and contaminants can be washed into downstream wetlands, impacting the flora and fauna that inhabit these systems.  For example, in the Chesapeake Bay, most of the aquatic vegetation has been lost and fisheries have been contaminated due to degradation of the watershed.  DU restores drained wetlands, protects stream corridors and establishes buffer strips that filter nutrients and silt.

Working With Landowners

Nearly three-fourths of America’s remaining wetlands are on private lands.  All over North America, DU works with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to improve the agricultural and recreational value of their land, making it more wildlife-friendly.  Additionally, a new market is developing where landowners can become suppliers of environmental credits that can be sold in a voluntary trading market by adopting certain types of conservation practices on their land.

Working With Partners

No single group could perform the work necessary to meet the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and DU’s International Conservation Plan.  Virtually all of DU’s projects are done in cooperation with a number of partners, including state and federal agencies, private corporations and foundations, and individuals.

Acquiring Land

In special cases, DU will purchase property then restore it to improve its value to wildlife.  Once the habitat work is complete, DU will then sell or donate the property, usually to a government agency that will manage it for wildlife.

Conservation Easements

Some of the most valuable wildlife habitat is threatened by development.  DU’s Conservation Easement Program is designed to protect habitats forever through agreements with landowners.

Management Agreements

DU offers financial incentives to landowners that manage their land for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife.  The landowner receives a number of benefits under this type of agreement, and hundreds of wildlife species are insured quality habitat.

Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology enables DU to determine where our habitat work will be most effective as well as monitor the results of our work. Combining satellite images with other information, such as wetland inventories, land-use practices, soil type, wildlife use and more; DU’s GIS specialists produce models that help identify the best places to restore or protect habitat on the landscape.

For more detailed information about waterfowl habitat conservation in an area near you, please visit our Priority Areas.

Get Involved

Do yourself a favor and opt to learn more about all this goodness!  Visit the DU link and read on about the details of DU conservation efforts: http://www.ducks.org/.

Conserving Wetlands & Waterfowl

Ducks Unlimited: Science, Research, Biology

for-sto-10192016-conservation-picture-1of1-credit-to-joe-forma
Thanks to the many conservation programs of Ducks Unlimited chapters across this great nation, waterfowl and other species too, are able to survive and thrive. Joe Forma photo

By Forrest Fisher

Ducks Unlimited is a dedicated group that may be underappreciated by all the rest of us outdoor folks.  The work that this group performs for others will provide fundamental and ecological improvements for many waterfowl species.  Their work will help waterfowl and other species overcome unforgiving vulnerabilities due to loss of habitat and will add to the dynamic transformation of the natural world to remain reciprocal and productive.

The Ducks Unlimited conservation programs have always had a strong biological foundation.  Science and research tradition continues today with hundreds of studies to address the habitat needs of waterfowl.  Although a great deal of work has been done and many important questions answered, there is still much to learn about how the birds respond to landscape, habitat and environmental changes.

DU has embraced an approach of constant monitoring and evaluation which allows for continual refinement of its habitat programs.  In the end, such an approach ensures that each and every dollar invested in conservation programs is used as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Below is a summary of the methods DU uses to conserve wetlands and valuable habitat in priority areas for North American waterfowl.

How DU Conserves:

  • Restoring grasslands
  • Replanting forests
  • Restoring watersheds
  • Working with landowners
  • Working with partners
  • Acquiring land
  • Conservation easements
  • Management agreements
  • Geographic Information Systems

Restoring Grasslands

Ducks such as mallards, pintails and teal build nests in dense, grassy areas near wetlands. Grassland cover helps hens conceal their nests and increases their chances of successfully hatching a clutch.  Once hatched, the hen leads the ducklings over land to a nearby wetland, where they grow into adults.  DU and its partners help to secure and restore these grasslands to reduce predation rates and improve nest success.

Replanting Forests

Forests that flood regularly due to overflowing riverbanks, such as the bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV), make for ideal wintering habitat for ducks, and provide essential breeding and foraging habitat for other wildlife species.  However, 80 percent of these forests have been cleared for agriculture and other purposes, and rivers have been tamed with dams and levees.  To date, DU has reforested more than 178,000 acres in the MAV and worked to restore backwater to these forests to mimic historical flooding.

Restoring Watersheds

A watershed is the area surrounding a wetland, and therefore has a great effect on the water quality and general health of a wetland.  When watersheds are disturbed, silt, nutrients and contaminants can be washed into downstream wetlands, impacting the flora and fauna that inhabit these systems.  For example, in the Chesapeake Bay, most of the aquatic vegetation has been lost and fisheries have been contaminated due to degradation of the watershed.  DU restores drained wetlands, protects stream corridors and establishes buffer strips that filter nutrients and silt.

Working With Landowners

Nearly three-fourths of America’s remaining wetlands are on private lands.  All over North America, DU works with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to improve the agricultural and recreational value of their land, making it more wildlife-friendly.  Additionally, a new market is developing where landowners can become suppliers of environmental credits that can be sold in a voluntary trading market by adopting certain types of conservation practices on their land.

Working With Partners

No single group could perform the work necessary to meet the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and DU’s International Conservation Plan.  Virtually all of DU’s projects are done in cooperation with a number of partners, including state and federal agencies, private corporations and foundations, and individuals.

Acquiring Land

In special cases, DU will purchase property then restore it to improve its value to wildlife.  Once the habitat work is complete, DU will then sell or donate the property, usually to a government agency that will manage it for wildlife.

Conservation Easements

Some of the most valuable wildlife habitat is threatened by development.  DU’s Conservation Easement Program is designed to protect habitats forever through agreements with landowners.

Management Agreements

DU offers financial incentives to landowners that manage their land for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife.  The landowner receives a number of benefits under this type of agreement, and hundreds of wildlife species are insured quality habitat.

Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology enables DU to determine where our habitat work will be most effective as well as monitor the results of our work. Combining satellite images with other information, such as wetland inventories, land-use practices, soil type, wildlife use and more; DU’s GIS specialists produce models that help identify the best places to restore or protect habitat on the landscape.

For more detailed information about waterfowl habitat conservation in an area near you, please visit our Priority Areas.

Get Involved

Do yourself a favor and opt to learn more about all this goodness!  Visit the DU link and read on about the details of DU conservation efforts: http://www.ducks.org/.

Bright Moon, Night-Bite Walleye!

-Lake Erie, Buffalo Harbor: 3 KEYS

-Controlled drift/troll

-Short lines

-Floating/Diving Rapala stickbaits

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By Forrest Fisher

Autumn walleye anglers throughout the Northeast and Midwest are tuned into the moon phase at this time of year, especially when it is nearly full and bright.  It’s feeding time for walleye and other predator fishes.  Night clouds can affect the moonbeam light intensity and fish-frenzy feeding rate, but under a bright moon, the walleye are usually unmistakable about their devouring behavior and timely habits to gorge feed on available forage.  For them, it time to survive and prosper.

Walleye fishing will take center-stage for many sportsmen over the next few weeks, as predominant mature walleye key in on unsuspecting and vulnerable forage.  In the eastern basin of Lake Erie near Buffalo, the angler catch logbooks will show that the feeding fish average three to six pounds, with an occasional lunker brought aboard.

Savvy night trollers need to have confidence in their boating equipment and their tackle in the dark of night.  To catch fish right now, I asked an old friend from the East Aurora Fish and Game Club, John Murray, how he is so successful, so often, catching walleye during the fall months.  His answer, “I fish with friends that know what they’re doing!”  Yes, he is a funny guy.  His friends, like Lou Budick, do know how to catch ‘em and the best thing is, they share what they know and help others learn as they go.

One night last weekend, Lou Budick positioned his perfectly rigged Lund boat in an area of slightly flowing current at the head of the Niagara River, but still in the outer Buffalo Harbor.  There are upwelling residual and eddy current areas there that are forage-attracting locations and are, for anglers, good walleye catching hotspots.

As wind levels permit access for anglers to fish in fall, such hotspots are where schools of autumn walleye gather to enjoy an evening smorgasbord of emerald shiners, smelt fry and young of the year perch.  With water temperatures descending to the low-60’s this week, the metabolism of the fish has entered the “let’s feed now – winter is coming” phase.

According to the humble Murray, “We were not challenged by the fall of darkness, but we still worked hard to make perfect presentations and the fish appeared to enjoy our gourmet of Rapala’s as we hooked up with walleye 16 times in less than three hours of fishing time.”  Fishing with Lou Budick and one other friend – three in the boat, that’s not a bad measure of how to have fun in nearly no-time.

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The Rapala Husky Jerk is a unique lure invention that is perfect for fall walleye fishing, as the lure runs straight and true right out of the box, it is a suspending (neutral buoyancy) lure, and has premium VMC® Black Nickel treble hooks.

The Rapala Husky Jerk is a unique lure invention that is perfect for fall walleye fishing, as the lure runs straight and true right out of the box, it is a suspending (neutral buoyancy) lure, and has premium VMC® Black Nickel treble hooks.

Multiple fish catches and occasional limit catches for savvy anglers have been the order of the day for intent night anglers off Buffalo Harbor.  Especially true for anglers with the know-how to work nighttime planer boards and slip-troll in areas at the start of the Niagara River current.  With the colorful laser lights of the Peace Bridge in easy view, the trio landed fish, nearly one after another, keenly aware that the food chain relationship was working for them at the moment.  These fish were definitely on the feed.

Other hot fishing areas include the Buffalo water intake, North Gap, South Gap, West Breakwater, the hump behind the windmills near the old steel plant and Donnelly’s Wall.  The lures of choice?  Floating Rapala stickbaits, F11 and F13 sizes and #11 Rapala Husky Jerks in fire-tiger color.  For a copy of a printed map that identifies these areas, visit http://www2.erie.gov/hotspot/index.php?q=buffalo-harbor-amp-seneca-shoal.

At this time of year, the tiny areas that would hold the most fish in spring and brought scores of boats together for interesting conversations, still hold feeding schools of fish, but the boats are not present in any numbers.  Many folks are deer hunting and getting ready for those lake effect snowstorms we know are not that far away.

The method is not difficult.  Trolling, short lines, 60 feet or less to a 6-foot fluorocarbon leader with ball-bearing swivels and snap attachment hardware for the lure.  Add lure-action inducing slow speed, deploy the boards, wait for a hook-up.  Consider adding a Halloween style, neon glow-stick to the board for best viewing above the potential intimidation of darkness over the distance to the boards, then hang on.

Keep quiet in the boat, keep a big net handy and accept that it is possible to easily spook the light-shy walleye with a big bright light beam, as the good fishing can end in a hurry that way.

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The delayed onset of fall has the fish and fishermen a little confused too.  The sun angle calendar is telling them to feed now and so they are moving to shallows at night to gorge.  The delay will likely hold true for a few more weeks and it seems we have plenty of walleye here to support angler demand.

For walleye anglers on Lake Erie, it’s time to enjoy some great fall fishing right now.  Get out there soon!!  If you want to learn additional details about these fall walleye fishing tricks on Lake Erie near Buffalo Harbor, consider stopping in to see John Murray at Murray Brothers Nurseries in Orchard Park, New York (http://www.murray-bros.com/).  He might even share a few suggestions for your garden fertilizer!

New Hobie Kayak’s: No Paddles, but Have Forward and Reverse!

-Mechanism is Lightweight, Innovative

-Paddling with Legs: Good for Healthy Body Circulation

-Perfect for the Weekend Fisherman or Recreational Boater

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By Forrest Fisher

My first introduction to Hobie Kayak’s was five years ago and resulted in just one simple word of expression – that word was “WOW!”  In our first use, my granddaughter and I could reach more than 10 miles per hour in a kayak!  That was without trying very hard, we were both thrilled and feeling “strong.”

Of course, with a little effort and a little wax, I think a much higher speed can be attained, but kayak paddling is not about speed.  It is more about joining nature on the waterways, communicating with fishable water where no other types of boats might be able to go, it is about developing unimaginable capacity understanding nature, about exploring, finding new adventure and all the while, keeping safe on board a very durable watercraft.  Safe, even when lakes and rivers and seas can turn voraciously mean!

The paddling with your legs idea is distinctly innovative.  I like the whole idea because it is easier than paddling with a hand-held paddle.  The Hobie Kayak units have steering too.  Since I’m a fisherman, this allows me to waste less time getting there and it also means getting there with more energy than other kayakers in other brand kayak craft.  Of course, the Hobie Kayaks are still provided with a conventional paddle too, so if you are a workout buff, you can have the best of both worlds.

The one issue I had when I initially propelled a Hobie was position control.  If I was in a southern creek or river, a big fish might pull me under an overhanging tree or two – a place where I did not want to go.

Me and cottonmouth friends have distinctly different viewpoints on symbiotic embrace.  With a reverse gear now, we can back out under MirageDrive reverse propulsion using feet for power and hands on the rod and net for landing the fish without any potential greeting from an overhanging contradiction to my simple fun of catching fish.for-sto-10182016-new-products-picture-2of3

The Hobie bio-engineered MirageDrive propulsion system for kayaks was revolutionary when first introduced in 1997
and the company has been evolving improvements ever since.  Now comes the biggest evolution – so far, the patent-pending Hobie MirageDrive 180 forward-reverse propulsion system that will be integrated into all 2017 model year Mirage kayaks.  All Hobie users are excited about this.

Weighing in at under eight pounds, the MirageDrive 180 produces full power in both directions and offers unprecedented maneuverability. The user can pull one of two shift cables to direct propulsion 180 degrees almost instantly from forward to reverse and back again.

Imagine the possibilities: backing fish out of cover; safely fishing closer to obstructions; or fishing downstream while holding in current. Hands-free propulsion in any direction means better control to cast, present baits and to concentrate on landing bigger fish. And then pictures can be snapped or cold beverage enjoyed on the way back in without ever stopping.

There are two shifters, one marked in green for forward and a longer one in red for reverse, making them easy to identify.  Pulling the appropriate cable pivots both MirageDrive fins 180 degrees, reversing the direction of the power output.

Although the forward-reverse capability is the most noticeable improvement to this new generation of the time-tested MirageDrive, it’s not the only significant advancement.  The new fins are even more durable, with high strength nylon on the leading and trailing edges.  Adjusting fin resistance has also been improved via an easy-access knob.  The fin shape, altered to allow the fins to rotate from forward to reverse, provides the same efficient power as past models of ST Fins and ST Turbo fins respectively.

Can the MirageDrive 180 go shallow? Absolutely. Use partial pedal strokes to “flutter” the fins or push one crank arm forward so that both fins automatically fold up flat against the bottom of the hull.  This same wing-like action excels for dodging obstacles, shedding weeds and gliding through the water with minimal resistance. It also facilitates landing on the beach or at the boat ramp.  The MirageDrive 180 installs in seconds thanks to the Click and Go Mounting System, which also makes removing a snap.

The MirageDrive 180’s cranks adjust to comfortably fit the user’s height, from tall to child-size. Cleaning and maintenance is simple.  A quick rinse at the end of the day and an occasional spray with Hobie Multi-Lube is all it takes.

I recently fished with Hobie Fishing Product Manager, Morgan Promnitz, and can add that this hard worker is more than just a factory fixture, he knows how to catch big fish wherever he goes, and he goes to many places educating users and store owners, insuring the outreach efforts of Hobie are best utilized around the world.

Promnitz took the MirageDrive 180 to the remotely located, an area of dangerous ocean currents and demanding kayak skills near Cedros Island in Baja, Mexico.  He managed a crew that performed intensive testing on the new drive.  “The shifters really shine. I found myself using them constantly,” Promnitz says.

Promnitz fished nose-in to a breakwall for powerful grouper.  Every time he hooked up, he’d throw the MirageDrive 180 into reverse and back the fish out of the rocks.  He also used the shifters while taking photos of friends connected with big fish, to get just close enough, backing away if the fish ran.  Another functional new use for anglers was trolling in reverse with live bait in front of him, where he could watch every potential deflection of his rod tip.

“A bonito school came up chasing the live mackerel I had on for bait. I subtly guided it towards them to entice a bite. It was cool watching the action go down,” he says.

The uses of the shifters are endless.  The two shift cables are composed of braided Spectra line connected to high strength, snag-free nylon handles. They tuck into a Bungee® retainer when not needed.

The MirageDrive 180 will be standard with all 2017 model year Mirage kayaks, including the legendary Outback and award-winning Pro Anglers. 2017 model year kayaks are slated to begin shipping in October 2016.

The MirageDrive 180 is retrofitable to existing MirageDrive kayaks and is expected to be available as a stand-alone accessory by mid-year 2017.  The Hobie’s are lightweight, functional, safe, durable, handsome, and are backed up by a terrific warranty.  These are among just a few reasons why I like ‘em.

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New Ruger Rimfire, 1-Button Takedown

– Innovative Idea for Simplicity
– Ruger Mark IV Offers Enhanced Safety

Ruger

My wife loves her Ruger .22 caliber rimfire handgun, she was excited to hear about the new Mark IV improvements becaue she has a Ruger Mark III right now. She says, “The Mark Series of Ruger handguns are real firearms. Made from solid metal, my Ruger is durable, it shoots where you aim and it is not costly to have hours of fun at the practice range.”
Just a few weeks ago, Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR) announced the latest development in the Mark Series line of pistols – the Ruger® Mark IV™. Ruger has long set the standard for reliable, affordable and accurate .22 LR handguns, beginning with the introduction of the Standard Pistol in 1949. Since then, the Standard Pistol has undergone a series of enhancements with the development of the Mark I, Mark II™ and then the Mark III™ in 2005.

While the heavily redesigned Mark IV maintains the same classic outward appearance as the Mark III, it incorporates a significant improvement customers will love – a simple, one-button take-down for quick and easy field-stripping. RugerA recessed button in the back of the frame allows the upper receiver to tilt up and off of the grip frame without the use of tools. The bolt simply slides out of the receiver and the barrel can be properly cleaned from chamber to muzzle.

“We are thrilled to be introducing what we consider to be a monumental improvement to this iconic pistol that has been with Ruger from the start,” said Ruger President and COO Chris Killoy. “This one-button takedown alleviates the headache that our Mark III owners are all too familiar with and we anticipate the Mark IV pistols being some of the cleanest rimfire’s at the range,” Killoy concluded.

Other significant improvements include a one-piece grip frame that is precision CNC-machined from a solid piece of stainless steel or aluminum; an ambidextrous manual safety and a redesigned bolt stop for more ergonomic operation. The magazine drops free on release for faster reloads and a redesigned magazine disconnect safety prevents discharge when the magazine has been removed. Internal improvements include changes to the hammer, sear, bolt and firing pin for smoother, more reliable feeding.

Specific features vary by model, but the legendary, one-piece barreled receiver and internal cylindrical bolt construction remain the same. The robust design ensures permanent sight-to-barrel alignment and higher accuracy potential than conventional moving-slide designs. The Mark IV is compatible with a variety of Mark III aftermarket accessories including sights, scope bases and magazines.

The American-made Mark IV pistol ships with two 10-round magazines.

For more information on the Ruger Mark IV or to learn more about the extensive line of award-winning Ruger firearms, visit Ruger.com or Facebook.com/Ruger. To find accessories for the Ruger Mark IV, visit ShopRuger.com or your local independent retailer of Ruger firearms.

Lake Erie Perch Bite “is on!”

2-Hook Rigs
4-Anglers Help Keep Active Fish Under the Boat

Master angler and Western New York fishing legend from Blasdell, New York, Herb Schultz, is usually catching 12-14 inch perch not far from Sturgeon Point marina. Shultz says, “The fish are usually biting at mid-morning!” Forrest Fisher Photo

While many in the outdoor world right now are chasing King Salmon, archery hunting for deer and bear, or hunting for various forms waterfowl, a good number of outdoor folks are looking to fill their freezer with some of the best tasting fish fillets in the world. These can be found in the eastern Lake Erie deep – Yellow Perch fillets.

The Lake Erie perch bite was delayed this year due to the extended hot summer weather, but the last few mornings of 30-degree weather have convinced the fish that winter is right around the corner and it’s time to start their annual binge feed!

Emerald shiners are the hot minnow bait, with ample supplies of these in frozen/salted minnow form and limited supplies of live minnows at local bait shops. Both work well. Some anglers are dipping their own at the foot of West Ferry Street in Buffalo, New York, but minnows have been in and out on days there.

From Buffalo, anglers accessing the lake at Buffalo Small Boat Harbor State Park start their search for perch off the windmills (southeast) near the old steel plant in 45 feet of water with 2-hook rigs fished right on the bottom. Similar rigs work at Sturgeon Point in 45 to 50 feet right straight out from the boat launch in 51 to 60 feet, three to four miles west of the launch. Likewise off the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek 35 miles south, where anglers fish off Evangola State Park in 56 to 72 feet of water.

The hotspots are easy to find. Look for a tell-tale circle of boats to find the huge moving schools of these tasty perch, but try not to crowd anglers already on site. Boat noise from above can spook an entire school of fish to move to another area. You’ll know if you get too close, as it is common for a friendly verbal greeting to accompany such a neophyte boat movement error. Of course, the greeting might not be as friendly as you might imagine.

Schultz may be fishing with perch leaders made from 50-pound test, but his perch rods and reels are ultra-sensitive models – he is a rod builder too! Note the rod-balance rigs – one of many Herb Schultz perch catching secrets.

During these fall perch fishing trips, I have occasionally been privileged to enjoy a fun trip to Sturgeon Point waters at the invitation of master perch angler, Herb Shultz. We generally fish together with friends and it makes for a day filled with laughs and great conversation on all the outdoor issues you might imagine. Johnny Held (“Chugger”) and Lenny Ingoldsby (“Gunner”) are among usual participants with Schultz, though I’m not sure if the day-long conversation about the upcoming hunting season, the Lake Erie water quality, 2nd Amendment, the upcoming Presidential election or the great fishing was more fun.

On one trip while fishing only ¾ mile out from the boat launch in 48 feet of water, we were alone for the first 30 minutes or so. As other anglers saw Schultz’s high-profile 22-foot Starcraft fishing boat as they left the marina, not many passed and he seemed to draw a crowd. In fact, in less than an hour, there were at least 20 boats within rock-throwing distance, sparking some occasional boat-to-boat angler greetings, as active fish down below turned right off for our group of expert minnow dunkers.

The water was slightly stained from a combination of strong west winds and cooler air temperatures that provided the contributing momentum for lake physics to initiate the annual cool-weather lake turnover, which causes the bottom and top water layers to mix and turn stained or cloudy green.

While this phenomenon occurs three or four times before winter gets here, when it happens, the fish usually become disinterested in chow, but recent fish-catching activity shows this is not so with the yellow perch in our eastern end of Lake Erie for right now.

Shultz asked regular fishing partner, Len Ingoldsby, to weigh anchor in the big boat rig and this process is something to see and is another reason why, if you are in another boat – you really do not want to get too close to others, especially Schultz, before dropping your anchor.

Using a large, 15-inch orange ball float attached to a 3-foot long slip line and sliding hook rig, Shultz starts up and moves the boat forward in a 100 yard wide circle around the dropped anchor as the floating ball works its way down the anchor line to effortlessly dislodge the anchor and float it upward toward surface to allow for an easy anchor pull into the boat.

Shultz learned this trick from professional Alaska anglers when he visited his daughter in military service while she was stationed there about a decade or so ago. Schultz says, “I am always careful about not disturbing other anglers, but if they anchor too close to me, I can’t get my anchor out using this special “old man” anchor rig. I hope I don’t upset too many of them as we leave one area to head in or try another spot.” He was serious, but had a sort of grin. His usual facial profile.

We moved about two miles west to 50 feet of water where no other boaters were anchored and using his dash-mounted 4-inch Lowrance color screen sonar, Schultz grinned and said, “the fish are here guys, let’s drop anchor”. Ingoldsby quietly slid the anchor into the water and using the special bow-slip knot arrangement, was able to anchor off the bow without leaving the back of the boat. I constantly learn “new things” when my 60-years of fishing experience is in the midst of these savvy veteran Lake Erie anglers!

A few minutes later we all had our lines in the water and the fish seemed to have a case of lockjaw. “Chugger” switched to a Ted Malota 2-spinner perch rig with minnows, “Gunner” switched to a custom in-line spinner, a two-hook crappie-style rig with colorful beads, and “Unc” switched to an all-monofilament 2-hook dropper loop rig. Over the next 30 minutes, only Schultz with his all mono-rig was catching any fish and the rest of us were solidly eyeing up the details of his “hot rig” quite closely, especially with every fish he pulled up, which occurred every minute or two.

Being the gentleman that he is, Schultz offered each of us a custom rig like his from a well-stocked perch fishing box and only minutes later, we were all catching perch that had been spooked by wire rigs and spinner blades. “One more thing”, Schultz added, “I am tail hooking the minnows in one place, not two, like we usually do when fishing for perch”. This was an amazing discovery for some of us, that the fish would turn on and off with such a rig and minnow hook-up change, but that was the case.

Fishing with Herb Schultz is a seminar onto itself and can put you into a successful good-memory state of mind. Herb’s special advice? “You gotta keep it simple”. Herb says, “For perch, don’t get crazy with really light line and fancy rigs, you’ll just break them off and spook other fish, like you guys did.” He said that with a grin and there were teeth showing. That’s a big grin. He added, “Perch are fish that feed when they are hungry. They don’t care about anything else except where that minnow is coming from, just get it down there!” “Remember that!”

On the right day, angler hotspots and secret rigs that work can be shared at the marina.

To prove his point, Schultz told us he uses 50-pound leaders to make the rigs, then 20-pound test to tie the hook leaders on because he says, “I don’t like to lose multiple big perch when my line snaps off as I hoist them into the boat. It doesn’t happen anymore with the heavier leader line!” Schultz uses gold-plated Mustad hooks on a two-hook rig he ties himself with a sliding-loop bottom hook.

If you wanna know more about that trick “slider bottom hook”, look Schultz up at the next Southtowns Walleye meeting every third Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m., 5895 Southwestern Boulevard in Hamburg.

We all cleaned our fish for about an hour apiece later that day and the winter freezer is looking good. Get out there and follow some of Herb’s simple advice and keep your hooks sharp.

Tight lines to all!

Chronicles in History

  • Freedom, Patriotism, America
  • The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, Your Family
  • American Government Today
Chronicles in History is written by Timothy M. Powers and published by Tate Publishing – an exciting book about the reality of American government today from an expert, just in time for the 2016 Presidential election. Visit: http://tmpowers.tateauthor.com/.

If you are a liberal, conservative, socialite, republican, tea party or a simple free spirit, left –center or right, this great country of America has allowed all of us to administer our personal objectives without taking tally from our hide, our job or our bank account. The Constitution and Bill of Rights provide for that freedom.

A new book author, Tim Powers, has documented his thoughts for the people of America to read and ask themselves a few responsible questions about today. Powers offers a common sense look at what has been happening in America and how it compares to different points in history.

Through the writings of Tim Powers, you will discover not only what true patriotism is, but just how deep the corruption of our government really runs. You will discover things that you thought were unimaginable and only possible in a blockbuster spy movie. Tim’s familiarity and knowledge of the absolute corruption that has gripped our nation is unmistakable, and after reading this book, you’ll find out that it is undeniable.

In a recent message to public viewers, Tim Powers provided a written slant on his own Patriot Thoughts:

“As I sit here after a long day at work, having just arrived home to look into the eyes of three of my precious little granddaughters, I can’t help but wonder what kind of life and choices they will have in their future to come based on the choices that I make today.

I ask myself if they will be as free as I am today, which is less free than my grandfather was.

Will they be imprisoned because they are Americans, become sex slaves to Muslim transplants, or even be killed? Will they pick up the mantle of Liberty and Freedom that I have tried to promote through my adult life and speak their minds for the cause? Or will they become indoctrinated SLAVES of the elite establishment and remain in their SAFE spaces? Will they have the courage to act against un-righteousness? The will to fight for what is just? Have the drive and intestinal fortitude that our Founders had? Will they sacrifice EVERYTHING to be free?

I have come to the conclusion that it is up to ME and those like me to make these things possible for them. Not unless these little children have experienced Freedom and know the meaning of it, can they keep America’s torch lit.

Our children and grandchildren are the future.

We the People have short-changed them long enough through our apathy. In this upcoming election, we MUST take a stand to preserve what makes America great! Our choices may not be very good, but they are very clear!

It is time to take the elitist establishment down once and for all and re-start America as she was founded. A government by the people and for the people. As for me, I want my granddaughters to one day be able to say that their grampy did everything that he could to restore the Constitutional Republic. How about you?

As always, stay safe and be aware of your surroundings!

Feel free to repost.” Check out the book also available in audio form, please visit http://tmpowers.tateauthor.com/.

Connecting Conservation, Families, and the Outdoors

Ringneck Pheasants in the wild are scarce in many states, but conservation programs to raise them and return them to country farm fields are active in many regions of the United States. Joe Forma Photo

By Forrest Fisher, with excerpts from NYSDEC

No matter what state you live in, children typically learn about conservation and the outdoors from adults who accompany them as they explore. Plenty of times the kids teach the adults as well as the adults teaching the kids! If you are looking for ideas on how to enjoy the outdoors with the young people in your life visit the web sites listed below.

New York State has provided a wonderful guideline for all other states to follow. Outdoor Discovery (http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/84455.html) is an online newsletter from the New York State Department of Environment Conservation (NYSDEC) for families. It encourages New Yorkers to explore outdoors and learn about the environment. Each issue introduces subscribers to a seasonal environmental topic or nature topic, suggests a related activity and lists family friendly events at DEC’s environmental education centers. DEC Outdoor Discovery is free and emailed to subscribers every other Wednesday, it also appears on DEC’s website.

DEC operates environmental education programs (http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/74.html) statewide. These include two environmental education centers from Albany to Buffalo, plus regional environmental educators who serve New York City, Long Island and Central NY.

The DEC’s residential environmental education summer camps (http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html) have be operating for over 60 years. The camps serve boys and girls ages 11-17, who attend a week long program exploring the outdoors and learning about the environment. Campers can even participate in a hunter safety class and receive their hunter safety certificate. The four summer camps are located across the state, two in the Adirondacks, one in the Catskills and one in Western New York.

National Wildlife Federation advocates spending at least one hour each day outdoors in nature. Their web site Be Out There (http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Kids-and-Nature.aspx) provides ideas for reconnecting kids with the many benefits of the great outdoors. Good for both mental and physical health, spending time outdoors is also fun and helps kids build a connection to nature. Using the “NatureFind” feature visitors can find outdoor activities in their area, and across the country.

Nature Rocks (https://www.natureworkseverywhere.org/home/) from the Children and Nature Network, The Nature Conservancy and R.E.I. provides ideas for exploring outdoors with children. They also offer a search feature to locate programs, sites and outdoor play groups, known as Nature Rocks Flocks in your area.

Youth Ready for Big Game Hunt in New York

– 3-Day Columbus Weekend Special Firearm Season (Oct. 8-10, 2016)
– For Properly Licensed Youth – 14 and 15 years Old

Anticipation and excitement are among reasons why NYS holds a special, early youth firearms season. NOTE: Since this hunt occurs during the second full week of the 6-week regular archery season in NYS, all hunters are encouraged to wear some form of orange for safety/visibility while accessing the woods. Forrest Fisher Photo

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reminds us that this weekend brings a new opportunity for junior hunters, as New York’s annual Youth Big Game Hunt on Columbus Day weekend has expanded to include Black Bear as well as Whitetail Deer.

From October 8 through October 10, properly licensed 14- and 15-year-old youth may use a firearm to hunt big game while accompanied by an experienced, NYS licensed adult hunter.

Each eligible junior hunter is allowed to take one deer (either sex) and one bear. During the youth hunt, antlerless deer taken with a firearm may be tagged with a regular season tag, Deer Management Permit, or Deer Management Assistance Program tags; antlered deer may only be tagged with the regular season tag.

Though junior hunters may have multiple deer tags, they may only take 1 deer with a firearm during the Youth Big Game Hunt.

This special hunting opportunity takes place throughout New York State, except in Suffolk County and specially designated bowhunting-only areas.

Additional rules that apply to junior hunters and their adult mentors can be found in the NYS Hunting & Trapping Guide (pages 36-37) or on the DEC website.

The Youth Big Game Hunt is a great way for experienced, adult hunters to help the young people in their life have an enjoyable and successful hunt. Get out and enjoy the nice weather and beautiful foliage this weekend while you teach young family members and friends the fine points of big game hunting.

Create memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Hunters! It’s Deer Tick Protection Time

deerticks2There is this nasty pest of a disease called Lyme. This is becoming a breakout year for deer tick numbers in the northeast, especially New York, and the infested percentage of deer ticks with Lyme is increasing rapidly. Be cautious, here is more about what to know and what to do.

Beautiful and majestic deer are a joy to watch, though any size deer could be a deer tick infested Lyme disease carrier. Forrest Fisher Photo

Hunters, hikers, campers, bird watchers, dog walkers and everyone else, please listen up and heed this friendly outdoor notice of information to be safe while you are outdoors.

For most hunters, it would be unusual to say you have never been bitten by a tick – many of us don’t even know we have. If you have hunted long hours in the last few decades, you have probably been bit or have picked off a blood-sucking tick that was burrowing into your body somewhere and without prior knowledge, thought it was a pesky, tiny, black fly because you had blood there when you finished. It was possibly a tick.

Ticks can carry Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis, all related sorts of really nasty long word disease stuff, and even dog ticks (these are much larger than deer ticks) can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted fever and other disease.

Yes, it’s scary. We all go outdoors, but if we are educated and aware, we do at least know more about things. That’s the key, to be aware. So read on and please be sure to go protected from deer ticks. It’s not advice, this is simply a request to intelligent outdoor folks, especially deer hunters – archery season is open in many parts of the USA, to coat their camo, outerwear and gear with a spray coat of Permethrin (Sawyer Products) the day before heading out, then let it dry (https://sawyer.com). This applies to everyone who may go outdoors anywhere in WNY, not just hunters. The coating on your clothes will last for about six or seven washings.

This coating will help protect you from the nearly invisible (very tiny) crawling anthropods (like a spider) and reduce the likelihood of you becoming bit – it is a painless bite, you may never know you were bit. The protective clothing spray will potentially prevent you from being stricken with serious Lyme disease and never finding out you have it until after the disease is imbedded in your system. This simple spray product is only about $12-$14 in most local stores. Do it and be safe.

The deer ticks are spread by mice, but the mice also drop them off on deer when they bed, so deer can have them too – hence the name, deer ticks. Dogs, cats, squirrels, chipmunks, birds – all warm blooded creatures can carry the ticks too.  So can your wood pile! You might find nests of deer ticks from mice in your wood pile, be observant, you can see them visually.

Dogs and cats are the number one carrier of ticks from the outdoors to inside your home and to you, so extra caution is required if you have a pet. Pets (mostly dogs) are the number one reason for people bitten by deer ticks inside their home (and never finding out until years later).

deerticks3If you are a lucky hunter, maybe you don’t believe me and want to see how many ticks your harvested deer is carrying. Drop a patch of dry ice on the floor after you hang your deer. The ticks will fall out like ball bearings. You’ll be impressed and hopefully encouraged to protect yourself.

The ticks find us humans by detecting our carbon dioxide output when we breathe, since they cannot see or hear. The dry ice is made of carbon dioxide, as it evaporates, they sense it and seek it. Be sure to shower thoroughly after field dressing your fresh deer. Lyme disease is a killer when it is not noticed because these are really small bugs and “they can’t hurt me” thoughts are common among us big, small and husky hunters.

Adult deer ticks are most prevalent from October through December seeking a final blood meal before hibernating for the winter. Hunters beware.

If you’re out at hunting camp and there are no showers, strip down and inspect yourself for ticks. You must do this to be sure. Look very carefully at your armpits, groin, the nape of your neck and back of your knees. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers and save it for your doctor. Then see your doctor, pronto.

deerticks4If you are bit and can see the burrowed, blood-sucking tick in you, or see a circular rash that can result for every one of three folks that are bitten, get to a doctor and demand 30 days of Doxycycline antibiotic (the same treatment used to treat Bubonic Plague). Do not wait for the blood test results, if you do, it’ll likely be too late to kill it and, once established, Lyme disease is a life-long affliction that you can only hope to put into remission later. That can be tough. That is, if you survive the unending flu symptoms, brain fog, arthritis symptoms, paralyzing fibromyalgia, organ and bone pain, testicular pain and dozens of other possible Lyme disease effects that doctors in New York and elsewhere admit they do not understand well. Most insurance plans pay for only 8 days of “doxy”, you may have to pay for the rest.

Early diagnosis and immediate treatment are key to controlling this disease. Depending on your type of system, we are all unique in many ways, even late treatments of “doxy” can cure the affliction, but most folks that learn about the disease they have contracted weeks and months and years later, can only hope for remission.

Trust me when I share with you that these insidious little bugs can bring all of us to our knees and our end of life as we know it. Be cautious, go protected. Get the Permethrin for your clothes and another product, Picaridin, for your exposed skin. These products not only repel the ticks, they kill them upon contact. This applies to just sitting in your tree stand, hiking the field trails or woods, and the rest of things we and friends all do outside too, that includes fishing from a boat.

Take it from someone who has learned the best about surviving this affliction from the worst form of experience. Be aware, be protected and be safe. It’s a start to staying healthy because most of us love the outdoors, play and sleep in the outdoors and want to do it for all time.

The Permethrin clothing spray is odorless for concerns from archery hunters (not all tick protection spray is odorless). If you are going outdoors hunting or just going outdoors, just do the spray your clothes thing. Just do it and rest easy.

Deer tick sign notices with Lyme disease warnings are posted in many areas these days. The signs are there for good reason, to help you be aware and help you understand that you need to protect yourself from this invasive little critter we now know as the deer tick. Now you know how!

Lastly, during autumn each year, mosquitoes and black flies can be plentiful too, and they are a distracting bother if you hunt much. To prevent flying critter disturbance, clip on a Thermacell unit to your backpack or camo layer (https://www.thermacell.com/). The scent emitted from this device is from a flower that is also an attractant to deer (chrysanthemums), but flying insects hate it and won’t come near it. Go figure. Cost is only about $20 and these units last for many years.

Share life with others, make new friends in the outdoors, lead by example. Please email me with any questions at dbarus35@yahoo.com.