Steelhead are among the beautiful fish to catch, most anglers catch and release these fast and sleek fighting fish, as they have a typical life span of over 20 years and can spawn thru most of those years. Andrew Steele Nesbit Photo
-Story Focus is on New York Streams
-Hot Flies Patterns that Work
-Fun for All Anglers
By Forrest Fisher
The warm summer and warm autumn have helped keep trout and steelhead anglers off the famed Great Lakes tributary streams this year, but the heavy sequence of monsoon style rains the northeast received late last week has made all the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario tributaries more normal. Two days later, thanks to the drought, these streams were generally running clear again – a measure of just how dry the water table was.
With the high number of steelhead anglers that abound in Western New York and northern Pennsylvania, and many others that travel to the Lake Erie tributaries from West Virginia, Ohio and from farther origins, they were all waiting for that first prolonged cold rainstorm to get the Lake Erie Steelhead and Pink Salmon into the many tributary creeks and to start their journey upstream.
The fish are in the creeks now and the chillier weather forecast for the northeast this week and next will keep the fish upstream. Even the smaller creeks have fish right now, allowing local anglers to access them before or after work, if they know where to drop a line. The steelhead like to swim as far upstream as they can go before resting and feeding (they stay thru the winter), so look for them at a man-made dam or natural waterfalls in the creek’s you fish.
Here are some BEST PLACES: The Como Park Lake dam on Cayuga Creek, the Blossom dam on Buffalo Creek, the Legion dam on the east branch of Cazenovia Creek, the high waterfalls on 18-Mile Creek in Hamburg, the riffles of the Cattaraugus Creek below the Route 5 bridge in Irving, the Springville dam on the Cattaraugus located 17 miles upstream from the mouth (Scobie Hill Rd.), the short series of waterfalls and riffles on Silver Creek in downtown Silver Creek, the big pool on Canadaway Creek below under the Route 5 bridge, the many holes and waterfalls of Chautauqua Creek near the mouth in Westfield and also upstream, are a few of the usual great fishing spots for anglers to try to fool a whopper steelhead.
While I fess up to not knowing that much about how to properly fish for steelhead, my fear about “not knowing or not doing the right thing” was quickly laid to rest when I fished with two top notch guides last year: Drew Nisbet and Alberto Rey.
Nisbet will always provide humble suggestions that work with shared conversation that makes four or five hours in waders seem like five or ten minutes – you can meet him at the Orvis Store in Clarence, New York, where you can also learn from him directly about the right lines, leaders and hook sizes.
Alberto Rey is internationally famous as a wildlife artist and nationally recognized as a stream fishing outdoor guide who has provided leadership for helping many people all over the world with regard to understanding clean water, improving fish populations and conservation.
Both are Orvis-certified fishing guides – that means they are among the best of the best. I asked them why they prefer Orvis fly rod tackle and they simply shared that there is so much cheap, nasty tackle out there to frustrate anglers, that new anglers especially need to think about Orvis because their tackle is durable and top quality, why risk the annoyance? I agree that you usually get what you pay for.
One-egg or two-egg fly pattern rigs work well on the steelies right now. The two-egg rigs are tied about 10 inches apart, they’re tiny, are hand-tied using #14 and #16 scud hooks (from Orvis) that have a heavy bead head for weight. An indicator float is typically placed above the egg flies to help the angler see when a fish grabs the enticing fly lures. Other flies work too, larger flies, including streamers and wooly bugger patterns.
While a large assortment of fishing tackle options is open to steelhead anglers, my all-day use of a 2-3/4 ounce, 9-foot, Orvis Access 6-weight fly rod and matching single-action fly reel is proof that good equipment will not tire you out. The use of flies is very effective and preferred by anglers that will catch and release the fish, as steelhead can live for more than 20 years and spawn in the tributaries for most of those years.
Lake Erie steelhead will also commonly hit natural baits, including real hand-tied egg sacs or live worms, though spinning rod anglers also use minnow-type stickbaits, in-line spinners and small spoons. Those who are brand new to steelhead fishing, see the www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/60290.html for information on steelhead fishing equipment, locations and hot links to stream maps.
Our WNY salmonid and steelhead fishery is world class, to visit with these top fishing guides that usually fish Chautauqua County, contact Alberto Rey at 716-410-7003 or visit www.albertorey.com.
The extended, relatively nice, weather and the colorful leaves offer a unique and beautiful time right now to discover the WNY steelhead resource.
Share life with others, make new friends in the outdoors, lead by example.
More than 350 Outdoor Business Leaders are Unified in Letter
Keep Outdoor Industry Healthy and Jobs Growing
$887B Recreation Economy Driver
BOULDER, Colo. — Aug 17, 2017: Executives from more than 350 outdoor businesses representing the $887 billion recreation economy—that has emerged as one of our nation’s largest economic drivers—have jointly submitted a letter to United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke asking him to protect national monuments and public lands that are critical infrastructure for their businesses and used by their customers for activities ranging from hiking to hunting and camping to off-roading.
The letter is an unprecedented display of unity among a diverse set of business executives in the outdoor gear, apparel, footwear, equipment, retail and services industries. The letter calls on Secretary Zinke to maintain the national treasures that past presidents of both parties have protected, to defend the integrity of the monument-making process and to provide certainty that these places remain accessible for all Americans—sustaining healthy communities, a healthy economy and good-paying, American jobs.
“Hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses from communities all across America have appealed to Secretary Zinke to maintain protections for our national monuments. It’s an unmistakable signal from a vibrant industry that keeps Americans happier and healthier and employs millions,” said Jerry Stritzke, CEO of REI. “REI and our 16 million members are proud defenders of the American right to roam our public lands. We urge the secretary to listen to his instincts and do the right thing in his recommendation next week.”
“Protection of our public lands allows U.S. outdoor businesses to thrive and provide the foundation for millions of jobs across our industry,” said Arne Arens, president of The North Face. “The experiences we all have in these monuments, parks and other public lands simply cannot be exported or commoditized. We want these monument designations protected for generations.”
The health of the outdoor industry and outdoor pursuits could face uncertainty if Secretary Zinke recommends removing or altering existing national monuments. This potential action and the risks associated with it compelled these companies to stand together to protect access to public lands and waters and maintain the outdoor industry’s economic strength.
These 350-plus businesses are diverse in size and location, ranging from Main Street retailers to Fortune 500 companies. Signatories include REI, The North Face, Adidas Outdoors, Burton, L. L. Bean, Orvis and YETI, all of which represent the $887 billion outdoor industry that supports 7.6 million American jobs and that relies on iconic outdoor places and experiences that our national monuments and public lands provide. If national monuments are removed or altered under Secretary Zinke’s recommendations, these businesses could face significant impacts in jobs in the immediate and long-term future, and a new precedent will be set for future presidents to revisit past national monument declarations, potentially impacting rural and urban communities.
To see the letter and signatories click here. About Outdoor Industry Association: Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. Outdoor Industry Association unites and serves over 1,200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org. About REI: REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 16 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 147 stores in 36 states. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI.com/REI-Garage or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 170 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI’s Outdoor School is run by professionally trained, expert instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to–and steward–the outdoor places that inspire us. About The North Face®: The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1966 with the goal of preparing outdoor athletes for the rigors of their next adventure. Today we are the world’s leading outdoor brand, creating athlete-tested, expedition-proven products that help people explore and test the limits of human potential. We protect our outdoor playgrounds and minimize our impact on the planet through programs that encourage sustainability. The North Face products are available at premium and specialty retail sporting goods stores globally and we are headquartered in California on a LEED Platinum-certified campus. For more information, please visit www.thenorthface.com. By Jennifer Pringle, Outdoor Industry Association; VP, Marketing Communications and Research; email@example.com
Fishing sunrise to noon, we caught 8 species of saltwater fish, and well over 150 fish total, as a 3-man group.
Captain Terry Heller, Fish-On Sportfishing Charters, was savvy, funny, and deadly serious about having fun – we laughed a lot out there! So good for our pandemic souls!
We experimented with Circle-hooks vs. J-hooks. The circle-hooks hooked and landed fish 80% more effectively…a lesson for all.
By Forrest Fisher
It was dark when I left the house in Port Charlotte, Florida. The stars were spectacular, gleaming brightly above, but there was a warm orange glow on the eastern horizon, the sun was about to rise, suggesting a nice, warm February day – a sunscreen day. A great winter day.
About 30 minutes later – it was 6:25 a.m., I joined the right-hand turn signal line to enter the Placida Boat Launch area, a state park-like zone with a boat launch, ice-filling station, and restroom facilities that can accommodate about 100 cars and boat trailers. There is a frozen bait and live bait tackle shop (Eldred’s Marina) right next door, wonderfully convenient for boaters and anglers heading for Gasparilla Island shore fishing spots.
Not long later, I met my fishing guide for the day, Captain Terry Heller of Fish-On Charter Sport Fishing, an ever-friendly source of fishing knowledge. He made catching fish easy and fun and seemingly transparent – like you’ve had the necessary skills all along, even with newbies and veteran anglers alike – young and old, no matter. Onboard, I met 70-years-young Randy Baugus from Burlington, Kentucky, a minister and Vietnam veteran, and his brother-in-law, 78-year-old Gary Barnes, originally from Columbus, Ohio, but now a happy southwest Florida native who is enjoying his retirement years in the Sunshine State.
Captain Terry started up his nearly silent 225Hp Yamaha as the wide, spacious and sturdy 24-ft Polar (fiberglass boat) gently idled away from the dock. As we moved into Lemon Bay toward the Boca Grande Causeway Bridge, a bald eagle showed her head on one of the nearby island treetop nests. The tide was at a complete low as we came up to plane in the channel in Gasparilla Pass.
With Captain Terry using the navigational GPS map technology onboard, he marked safe passage for us. It wasn’t long before we were at 35 mph cruising speed on the way to secret offshore spots that Heller has identified over his years of local fishing here. About 20 minutes later, we slowed, shore was no longer visible, and after making a few circles into an area seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Heller dropped a marker buoy for boat position reference. Settling his electric motor into the water (with a 7-foot long shaft), he used blue-tooth technology to move away from the buoy toward one of three spots that we would eventually fish. All of them were within 200 yards of the brightly colored marker. “The marker is for letting others know that this is our fishing area for the moment. Other guys usually honor the courtesy of staying away from your fishing zone,” he said that with a half-smile.
Heller opened up two of his three live bait wells to show us that if we wanted to keep any fish, they could go in there and that he would let us know what fish was legal and what was not. “Now for the fun, guys!” He passed out a fully-rigged rod for each of us with a small bucket of cut-bait ready to rig. The rods were 7-ft long and were equipped with open-face Penn fishing reels. The 30-pound test braid mainline was attached to a 2-ounce egg sinker, then an 18-inch long leader of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader, and a size 3/0 or 4/0 circle hook.
Heller is a happy sort of guy as he quipped, “Now guys, listen, you’re gonna catch a lot of fish out here, so if you get tired of reeling ’em in, don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of beverages onboard, and you can rest up.” We all looked at each other and sort of rolled our eyes a bit. Randy said, “Sounds like your pretty confident Captain!” Gary said, “I wanna drop my line.” A moment later, Heller showed us how to slide the cut baits onto the hook. He rigged all the lines for us.
“The water is 48-feet deep here, guys, so it won’t take too long for your baits to reach the bottom. When they do, reel up two turns or so and watch closely for a bite. When you get one, start reeling to set the hook. One more thing, there is one rule on board here, for good luck, you gotta yell, FISH-ON! You all know that’s the name of my charter. It’s for a good reason. Our adrenalin flow talks to the fish!”
About 10 seconds later, Randy hollered,” FISH-ON!” His rod enjoyed a healthy bend toward the water. A few moments later, Gary shouted, “FISH-ON!” Before both lines were not yet in the boat when I, too, shouted out the same. A 3-Fer! Half-giggling and laughing a bit, Captain Terry said, “Are we having fun yet?!” We all agreed.
We moved around to a few other fishing zones on the bottom. They were configured sort of like the moon surface with craters and high points, next to cavernous hollows a few feet deeper around the crater edges. “The fish come out of those little holes down there to test your baits. They’re always hungry out here in this secret place.”
We moved to other spots a few times, and in each location, we caught at least 50 fish among the three of us.
The live wells were getting crowded with good-eating reef fish. These included Porgy, Squirrel Perch, and some Key West Grunts., some were nearly 2-pounds each. We also caught Blowfish, Remora, Gag Grouper, Red Grouper, and Spottail Snapper. My shoulders and arms were getting sore as Heller said, “C’mon guys, let’s reel up and go try one more spot where there might be some bigger snapper and grouper.
About 10-minutes later, we motored northward, we arrived about 1/2 mile from the 9-mile reef. The electric motor came down, and we were fishing. Wham! “FISH-ON! Randy hollered. A few seconds later, Gary screamed out too, then me. Four hours into our trip, it had been a fantastic day on the water. The sea was smooth, the water so clear, and the fish were definitely biting.
Our cut baits consisted of octopus, shrimp, squid, and sardines. All of these worked. One of the cool things about fishing with Heller, his charter – Fish-On Sport Fishing, provides all the licenses, all the gear, and all the bait you need. Plus, you are welcome to keep your catch, and Heller will clean and fillet it for you. Maybe the most significant part not mentioned with “things provided” is Heller’s precision savvy about where to drop your line. That part is priceless!
As we motored back to the Placida boat launch, it was 1:30 p.m., and the air temp was 87 degrees. A slight sunburn on all of our faces, I joked to Gary, “Pinch me, I think I miss shoveling my driveway back home in East Aurora, NY.” He groused back, “Yea, me too, NOT! I love it down here.”
Captain Heller asked us to follow him back to his nearby home, and he cleaned 81 keepers. It was probably about 1/3 of the number of fish we actually landed, as we had to release all the short gag grouper and red grouper. We had caught dozens of them—an excellent sign for the future of Florida fishing. We split ’em up, and there is only one or two choice words for the meal that followed later at my home. Scrumptious! Delicious!
I fell asleep that night with my ears ringing a bit. It was that tune from earlier in the day…”Fish On!” Can’t wait for the next time out. To fish with Captain Heller yourself, you can check schedules and open dates at: Fishing Booker.com
Summer is here, frogs are breakfast food for big bass
Not all frog lures are created equal, learn about differences below
Heavy frogs, light frogs – when to use each of these
By Forrest Fisher
Did you know that bullfrogs never sleep? Some say that’s why big bass never sleep either! With summer water temperatures following the countrywide heatwave this year, the weeds in our waterways are thick and matted. The result is shade for massive bass that wait in ambush for critters that share use of the matted weeds for ease of movement, including frogs, bugs, mice, and the like. So it makes sense that fishing with an artificial frog bait might be a good idea to catch some of the bass hiding in their new weed shadows. Truth is, the biggest bass seem to always be in those weedy shadows.
I discovered “frog fishing” with artificial surface frogs about 60 years ago. As a kid, at first, we baited real frogs, but after we ran out we would head home and try to find more. Into the early 60s, plastic frog lures were invented and we learned how to use them. It was much easier than trying to catch live frogs. Our light rods were flimsy for what was needed, that’s all we had, but the explosion of the fish making their way through the weeds to engulf our plastic frogs was exhilarating. So we used our flimsy rods anyway!
Fishing with fake frogs was noisy, even spooky fishing, but most of the time we lost the fish because of our gear. As we grew older into our teens, my brother and I transitioned to start fishing the frogs with short deep sea fishing rods and wide-spool, open-face fishing reels loaded with 40-pound test Gudebrod braided line tied direct. Those old plastic frogs were very basic and most were only hollow, air-entrapping, plastic caricatures of frogs that floated. They sank after a while. Today, there are new “super frogs” out there, with many offering a popping action and you might say they are sophisticated frog lures. The new frogs are more durable and are “killer-effective,” the fish seem to love ’em.
Among the top choices in frogs, the age-old Scum Frog. At the Scum Frog factory (Southern Lure Co.), they do nothing but design and manufacture hollow-bodied frogs. They are among the originals in the industry and are among the true innovators in the design and development of frog fishing from way back when. They offer a painted trophy series that features 10 new hand-designed colors relying on a proprietary system that digitally patterns the frog color. The Scum Frog Painted Trophy Series is durable too, and was designed to give anglers all of the benefits of many high dollar frog baits at an unbeatable price (under $6). The Scum Frog displaces water, an excellent attractant quality, and is available in 1/2 and 5/8 ounce options (solid brass weights), so casting is easy. The new skirts are made from silicon, they float higher and accentuate the movement action of a live frog. DEADLY. Best yet, these Scum Frogs come with a pair of tough, sharp Owner Hooks perfectly fitted for big bass dentures.
Many pro anglers say that summertime bass yield to the white color frog more than any other. Why? The difference between oatmeal and hominy grits is what I think. Very little, but it seems to matter if you live down south, not sure why. Plus, white frogs allow the angler to see the bait a little better while working it. I like ‘em for visual identification of where they are.
Most frogs offer a two-hook design with extra strong hook points that cozy up to the collapsible plastic frog body, making them weedless. The only thing between you and the fish is your line and if you fish these in thick cover, you will need to check your line often. Use a good, modern, braided line and a positive knot with an extremely stiff rod that will allow you to haul the fish out of the thickest weed cover you might imagine. I like the 60-pound Gamma Torque braided line, you simply cannot break it. Other brands work too, but I think you could tow a tree with Gamma and it is thinner and slicker to cast than most others, this allows greater casting range. Visit: http://gammafishing.com/.
Another favorite is the “Signature Series” frog from LiveTarget Pro Angler and TV personality, Scott Martin. It features a hollow body frog popper that has become a favorite in the topwater tackle box for many anglers. The frog has a narrow profile with a cupped face that makes this bait unique when you walk it across the surface.
With either of these two frog brands – there are many more, the popper face creates a unique sound message below. “Hello, I’m food, c ‘mon, get me.” It offers a different sort of visual splash attractant message to join with that sound message.
I tried several colors over the years and while I like the white for ease of sight, the natural green frog colors seem to get the biggest hits, especially in heavy, super-thick cover. It is still a mystery how the fish can even see the bait in really thick summer weeds like we have this year.
The acid test for your frog gear? Here it is. Drop a 5-pound anchor in the thickest weeds you can find, then move your boat 30 feet away and see if you can rip that anchor up and out without breaking your line, your rod or the gears on your reel. That is your goal. This is tough fishing for really big bass, but that’s how I measure the gear. If you can’t put a rig together like that, go fish a frog anyway. It is unbelievable fun!
For the frog, don’t forget about frog size and frog weight. The thicker and heavier frogs are for working extra-thick matt and the lighter frogs are for thinner lily pad cover.
Chautauqua County, NY – Veterans enjoyed this free event sponsored by WNY Heroes, Inc. – they caught fish and line-stretching fun departing from Chadwick Bay Marina/Clarion Hotel.
Chartreuse stickbaits (Yaleye Lure) and spinner/worm rigs (Eye-Fish Rigs) were the hot lures
Wind and waves did not deter volunteer charter captains from finding the walleye
By Forrest Fisher
As military veterans parked their cars and trucks in the limited spaces available near Chadwick Bay Marina, located in downtown Dunkirk, NY, Program Director Lynn Magistrale from WNY Heroes Inc. (www.wnyheroes.org) led the charge at sunrise registration activities on Friday, June 26, 2020. Magistrale was joined by event master-mind planners, Captain Jim Steel and his wife, Diane, in conjunction with their volunteer promotion of this event at Innovative Outdoors Tackle Shop HQ (https://innovative-outdoors.com/), along with other volunteer groups and professional resources to make this event unforgettable for military veterans that had registered with WNY Heroes, Inc.
Military veterans filled the boats of 24 volunteer fishing crews that shared their on-the-water fish-catching skills and expert watercraft leadership. The crews donated their time, gear and special services for this impressive extravaganza fishing event during this time of worldwide pandemic. All, just to say thanks to our military veterans. Hats off to all the volunteers.
It was a privilege to meet retired US Navy Petty Officer 1st class, Barbara Erdt, and many other veterans. The fishing was absolutely great as we shared rod-exchanging maneuvers in fire-drill mode with exciting line-stretching moments for the next 3 hours, catching 22 walleye, keeping 18 for the freezer, while fishing aboard Eye-Fish Charters with Captain Jim Klein. I shared my experiences as a US Navy veteran with Barb, but I left after 4 years as a Petty Officer 2nd Class, serving during the Vietnam era on the flight deck aboard the USS Independence/CVA62, maintaining A6-Intruder fighter-bomber jets. Erdt had served during the era of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom from 1989-2004, then with the US Navy active reserve. We compared locker room stories and laughed about morning reveille at boot camp.
With a strong west wind of 12-14 mph at the morning take-off, we headed west about 15 miles and focused on 45 to 65 feet of water. While trolling an assortment of crankbaits and spinner/worm rigs, we enjoyed moments of 3-fish on at the same time on several occasions. The sizzling hot lure was a 2-hook Eye-Fish Firetiger (color) spinner/worm rig (https://www.eye-fish.com) and the commemorative Yaleye Mooneye fish lure (chartreuse w/faded blue rib color, www.yaleyefish.ca) from the recent Southtowns Walleye Association 9-day fishing contest. Barb caught the biggest fish at 9.04 pounds, adding to the total number of really large and healthy walleye already swimming in the live well.
The presentation method was not complicated, but the boat location and speed was fine-tuned as the wind picked up pushing 24 mph gusts from the southwest. Klein said, ”We caught fish from both sides of the boat using four lines on the big boards and two riggers.
The boards were trailing the lures on 5-color leadcore with a 40-foot fluorocarbon leader and riggers with spinner/worm rigs set back 50 feet while deployed 35 to 55 feet down. The boat speed was 1.4 to 2.6 mph, walking the boat in and out from shore, northeast to southeast, then northwest to north east, as the boat was pushed laterally due east with the strong wind. We never even had time to put the diving planes in! Was a fun time!”
Barb Erdt said, “I can’t wait to tell my brother about this Lake Erie trip. He fishing quite a lot, but for some reason says walleye fishing is tough this year. Captain Jim made it look pretty easy, thank you Captain!” Erdt added, “I can’t wait to share these fish with my two kids and my two grandkids.”
Event master-mind and organizer, Captain Jim Steel said, “While we scaled down this event to about ¼ of what it usually is, due to the pandemic social distancing rules, we still had 24 boats out there today, including two out-of-state charter captains that volunteered their time for our relatively local Western NY event.
They stayed at the Clarion Hotel, paid for their own fuel and food, never asked for any expenses.” Captain Jim followed, “These two long-distance volunteers, like all of our other master-angler volunteers on the water, just said they wanted to be here to say thanks to those who served to provide the USA freedoms we enjoy each and every day.” Diane Steel added, “The NYSDEC provided free fish-cleaning services for the veterans today too, preparing more than 100 walleye to take home for their kitchen dinner meal. From the conservation side, the DEC biologists and technicians collected age and health data for their study and record books too.”
Besides a big resealable bag of fresh walleye fillets (they sell for $19.95/pound in Florida!), every veteran left with a red/white/blue fishing rod/reel outfit and a tasty box lunch for the trip back home.
The mission of WNY Heroes is to provide veterans and their families with access to essential services, including financial assistance and resources that help support their lives and sustain their dignity. To help support their life-saving services, WNY Heroes does rely on volunteers for many functions. To learn more about them check out www.wnyheroes.org.
For area accommodations, vacation lodging, charter fishing contacts and services and hotel information/discounts, visit www.tourchautauqua.com.
It helps. The beach, the sand, the lake, the trees, the birds, the fish, the deer, the sunset.
These are wonderful diversions.
As all folks are responsible when we need to be, corona-fear is legitimate. Visiting the beach with your close family can help. Controlled numbers of people, people you are with regularly, are good things to share. The air is fresh, beach attendance is relatively nill, there might be fish to catch and shark teeth to find. Good stuff.
Mind diversion can be a key resource option for many. Want to stay at home? Read a book. Find one with birds and fish and wildlife. So relaxing. Want to laugh? Pulldown an internet from Patrick McManus. He was my favorite American humor writer. He wrote such classics as, A fine and Pleasant Misery, The Grasshopper Trap, and many others. Gut-splitting laughter can be the only result. After one chapter, everything in your life will be better.
So yesterday afternoon, my visiting family and I did all the responsible things first, We washed up with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, then used a recommended disinfectant to wipe down all of our door handles, light switches, faucets, counter tops, the car, the fishing rods, beverage cans and everything else. We’re in Florida and like many other places around the country, there is a gentle semi-fear and ready-to-respond awareness of things to do and not do. All good.
Then as I swept my email arrivals, this one site from Trip Advisor seemed to sum it up perfectly in fewer words than anywhere else.
Trip Advisor CEO, Steve Kaufer shared the following: “As a site that millions around the world count on for travel guidance, Tripadvisor is closely monitoring the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on both travelers and the travel industry. We care deeply about your safety, whether you are at home or traveling. With this in mind, I would like to share some resources we’ve created and the actions we’re taking to help you make informed decisions about your own travel plans.
Helping you make travel decisions: As this situation rapidly evolves, we know there is an atmosphere of uncertainty as travelers wonder if they should change their plans. That’s why, starting today, Tripadvisor will feature alerts for destinations that the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated as heavily impacted. We’ve also launched a new resource page to bring all the latest COVID-19 travel information from trusted sources together in one place.
Keeping you informed if you are traveling: As travel-related business owners continue to adapt as a result of COVID-19, they are making changes to their hours, making changes in service or even temporarily closing. We are making daily updates to the information on our site to keep travelers informed. We’re also doing what we can to help businesses in impacted regions, by providing them with tips and advice on how to weather this challenging time.
What you can do to stay healthy: Whether you’re at home or traveling, the WHO recommends practicing good hygiene to protect yourself against infection — by washing your hands frequently with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer, maintaining distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you become sick, please seek medical attention quickly.
For more information, anyone can visit the Tripadvisor resource page. You can also connect to other travelers and join discussions about COVID-19, and how it may affect your plans in Tripadvisor’s forums.”
After the beach last night, we arrived home, wiped down all the same things and we stayed aware. Then at dinner, we prayed. It helps us to share our strengths. The Creator is our biggest strength.
Embrace the opportunity to learn about a threatened species and help the conservation efforts. Florida FWC Photo
Gopher tortoises are threatened due to habitat loss, let’s all share the need to be aware
Florida gopher tortoise awareness day is April 10th
Find gopher tortoises on a walk to any Florida beach, and at many other places
By Forrest Fisher
Gopher tortoises are charming creatures.
They are also beachgoer stoppers. “Hey look over there,” said Matt Nardollilo, as he motioned to his family friends headed to the beach with towels and shark tooth screens. His college girlfriend, Kelsey Voss, who is studying veterinary medicine, slowly approached the tortoise and said, “They’re so cute! We should really try to get her away from the road.” The group had already witnessed one other reptile tortoise that had lost its life to traffic on the busy highway earlier. Using grasses that the vegetarian gopher tortoise enjoys as a primary meal staple (often eating all day long), the tortoise was coaxed back to the safety of the sand dunes. While there, the group saw one other gopher tortoise digging a burrow in the dense foliage between the parking lot and beach. Gopher tortoise burrows average seven feet deep and 15 feet long but can be more than 40 feet long. “It’s been such an incredible nature day,” shared Matt, “I love visiting Florida!”
Gopher tortoises are classified as a state-threatened species in Florida, primarily due to habitat loss. The slow-moving reptile is vital to Florida ecosystems, as it digs burrows that provide shelter for over 350 native species. The Gopher Tortoise Council declared April 10thas Gopher Tortoise Day to raise awareness for this remarkable reptile.
There are many ways that EVERYONE can help conserve this keystone species on this special day and throughout the year!
Host your own Gopher Tortoise Day event to raise appreciation. At your event, you can distribute materials found on the Gopher Tortoise Day website to help attendees learn how to help gopher tortoises and the habitats they live in.
Volunteer at a local park to improve gopher tortoise habitat by picking up trash, removing invasive plants, or planting native plants.
Participate in a wildlife appreciation festival. You can request a local gopher tortoise expert from the FWC to give a presentation at the event. Email GTevents@MyFWC.com to see if someone is available to attend.
Visit the Get Involved page for more ideas on how to bask in the glory of Gopher Tortoise Day.
No matter how you choose to enjoy it, make sure to share on social media or invite local news media to your event! For a sample of social media posts and press releases,check out the Media page of the Gopher Tortoise Day website. Remember to promote your posts by using #GopherTortoiseDay!
Celebrating Gopher Tortoise Day is one way to help tortoises in your community, but many of these activities can be done year-round to benefit this important species!
For more information about Gopher Tortoise Day, hosting an event, or adopting a resolution, please contact GTevents@MyFWC.com or call (850) 921-1025.
Sure-Shot Game Calls, proud to be “Presenting Sponsor” for Marsh Fest 2020
Cash prizes with state and world fame qualifier recognition for winners
Contest and family event details for Marsh Fest 2020, visit www.marshfest.com.
By Forrest Fisher
When wanna-be world-class duck and goose callers gather March 6-8 at Winnie-Stowell Community Park in Winnie, TX for competition at Marsh Fest 2020, Sure-Shot Game Calls is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor. This annual caller recognition competition event will be a fun-filled family weekend that will include eight duck and goose-calling contests. Among other contests, the Southern Central Flyaway Regional and James “Cowboy” Fernandez Memorial Texas State Championship are part of the calling competition.
The Southern Central Flyaway Regional contest is open to all ages with a $50 entry fee. Main Street Routine, 90 seconds, 3 rounds. The first-place winner takes home $1,000, second place $500 and third place $250.
The James “Cowboy” Fernandez Memorial Texas State Championship contest is open to all ages. The contestant must be a Texas resident and pay a $50 entry fee. Main Street Routine, 90 seconds, 3 rounds. The first-place winner takes home $500, second place $250, third place $100 and fourth place $50.
These two contests are qualifiers for competing in the World Duck Calling Championships in Stuttgart, AR set for November 2020. The legendary World’s Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart is the longest-running duck calling contest, starting in 1936, and requires winning a preliminary sanctioned calling contest.
The James “Cowboy” Fernandez Memorial Texas State Championship contest is named after Sure Shot’s founder, James “Cowboy” Fernandez. Co-founder, inventor and world champion caller, who passed away in August 2018 at age 86. Cowboy worked with George Yentzen to design and patent the first double-reed duck call in 1950 and the triple-reed in 1968.
Cowboy was the first Texan and first contestant to win the Worlds Duck Calling Championship in Stuttgart, Arkansas in 1959 using the double-reed Yentzen Caller. It was the first time anyone had won with a double-reed, others followed, winning world championships with the Yantzen Caller. Cowboy was well known for his calling skills, capturing many regional and international competitions, he was inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2014.
Charlie Holder, the current owner of Texas-based Sure-Shot Game Calls shared, “Sure-Shot is proud to support our callers and our home state competitors. We’re happy to welcome some of the best callers in the country to our area for this competition.”
For Marsh Fest calling contest details and other Marsh Fest information, visit marshfest.com. Other Marsh Fest 2020 contest sponsors include Mossy Oak, Ducks Unlimited, Remington, Filson, Delta Waterfowl, Koplin, MOJO, and local businesses in the Southeast Texas area.
About Sure-Shot Game Calls: The 60+year old company was founded by James “Cowboy” Fernandez and George Yentzen in Nederland, Texas in the early 1940s. After many prototypes, their first product, the 1950 Yentzen Caller, became the very first patented double-reed duck call introduced to the marketplace. In 1959, Cowboy Fernandez entered several duck calling competitions and both he and the Yentzen Caller became world-class champions. Charlie Holder purchased the company in 2011. Today, Sure-Shot offers over two dozen game calls for waterfowl, predator, deer, and turkey. For more information about Sure-Shot’s complete line of game calls, visit sureshotgamecalls.com.
Caught (and RELEASED) by Thomas Hendel, angler in Lake Placid, FL
Lake Placid is located in Central Florida, in Highlands County, it is a 3,400-acre lake on the south side of the town
The TrophyCatch program is a Florida Angler Recognition Program from a partnership between the FWC, anglers, and fishing industry leaders, such as Bass Pro Shops. Visit www.floridagofishing.com for details.
By Forrest Fisher
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) TrophyCatch program, now in Season 8, commemorates its first Hall of Fame bass caught in the new season. Weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces, it was caught and released in Lake Placid on Jan. 31 by Thomas Hendel, also from Lake Placid.
“I was excited to learn I caught the first TrophyCatch Hall of Fame bass of the season and amazed at the size of my catch,” said Hendel. “This is the first bass I’ve submitted to TrophyCatch. I look forward to continuing my participation in this program for years to come.”
“Since its inception in 2012, TrophyCatch has approved over 9,000 photo submissions of largemouth bass exceeding 8 pounds that have been caught, documented and released into the waters of Florida,” said Jon Fury, FWC’s director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management. “There is no other program like this anywhere and it could not have been possible without Bass Pro Shops and all of our partners who are committed to the conservation of Florida’s trophy bass fishery for our more than 1.2 million freshwater anglers here in the Fishing Capital of the World. Together, we will continue to enhance and protect 3 million acres of lakes, and approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams, and canals.”
Lake Placid, in Highlands County, is a 3,400-acre lake on the south side of the town of Lake Placid. Lake Placid offers great opportunities for those looking to catch a high number of fish, as well as the chance at a lunker. This unique lake has a variety of vegetation and quality habitat types, including deep flats, ledges, and humps not typical of most Florida lakes.
TrophyCatch is a partnership between the FWC, anglers and fishing industry leaders, such as Bass Pro Shops, that rewards the catch, documentation and release of largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier in Florida. To be eligible for prizes, anglers are required to submit photos or videos showing the entire fish and its weight on a scale to TrophyCatch.com before releasing it back into the water. FWC biologists use TrophyCatch’s citizen-science data for bass research, to make informed decisions about the management of Florida’s bass fisheries and to promote the catch and release of trophy bass.
When winter anglers from all across the United States travel to southwest Florida, they find sun, sand, warmth, and one fish species that is in abundance: saltwater sheepshead. These “pretty fish” keep close to bridge abutments, boat docks, fishing piers and similar in-water structure along saltwater harbors and canals of the Gulf Coast, and other places.
The sheepshead arrive close to shore in good numbers as the waters chill with the season (mid-60 water temps), they feist on shrimp, clams, blue crabs and other crustacean forage forms. This fish species is usually hungry, though they can be finicky. Sheepshead are a delicacy for table fare and that makes them a favored target for winter retirees, visitors, and local anglers alike.
One local celebrity angler, Josh Olive, also known as the “Fish Coach,” often makes time in his busy schedule to teach others how to catch fish, where to go, what to do and how to do it, all the while courteously sharing necessary details for folks to understand pertinent conservation issues, size limits and local ecology concerns. This gentleman has a lifetime of stories and expertise to share and is the editor of a widely popular weekly fishing magazine of The Charlotte Sun-News called the “WaterLine.” This issue is published weekly on Thursdays and can be ordered from anywhere in the country, it is complete with fishing tips and chef recipes from the sea.
During a recent visit to the retirement community of Kingsgate in Port Charlotte, FL, I had the pleasure to listen to a seminar and learn from Josh during a monthly meeting of the Kingsgate Fishing Club. Following a colorful introduction by Charter Captain Tom Marks, the humble and direct manner of Josh Olive held the attention of every visitor in attendance. If you are a winter visitor to the Port Charlotte (Florida) area you can meet and talk with Josh yourself on any Saturday night at Fish’n Frank’s Tackle Shop, where he joins the work crew. Here is a summary of what Josh shared with us. Go get ’em!
Short description: The Sheepshead is a visual food hunter. They are bottom feeders to be found close to near-shore structure such as docks, piers, and bridge abutments, as well as land-related reefs up to about 40’ deep. Sheepshead have human-like teeth with incisors and molars and actually look like human teeth. That means they can cut your line without too much difficulty.
Methods: Spinning rods, 7ft, medium w/30 series or 40 series ope-face Penn reels, or equivalent. Use bait, live or frozen, can use jigheads (1/4-3/8 oz depending on current flow strength), Poor Man’s Jig (Size 4 hook w/large bb-shot) or Porgy Rig (double dropper loop for one hook and one sinker, 1-3 oz).
Line: 10-20 lb braid (Power Pro) mainline and 25-30 lb fluorocarbon leader, though when water is very clear and fish are spooky with a high mid-day sun, downsize fluoro to 15 lb or so. Use TG knot or double Uni-knot from the leader to the mainline attachment. Braid color: no preference in reality, but to help angler sight, use a bright color green or yellow. Leader length: about 6 feet or so.
Baits: Shrimp (frozen pieces or live), clam bits, red wigglers (worms), fiddler crabs (a good option when fishing in a heavily fished area), and Berkeley Bish Bites (pink/white color, E-Z clam flavor or E-Z shrimp flavor, both work -cut to ½” pieces, put 3 on a bare hook or jig head).
Specific Places to fish: In southwest Florida, the Venice Jetty may be the best place for shore fishing. Casperson State Park rock jetties are only just ok, at times, Peace River docks are good, not so good when going upriver to Navigator Bar area. To fish rock jetty areas, use a poor man’s jig head with a float set 2-4 feet above the bait. Offshore-nearshore reefs such as Cape Hayes and Trembley are also excellent.
Times of Day: Middle of the day seems best for Sheepshead fishing
Advice: Get away from lines and rigs with beads, swivels, hardware, is spooky to fish these days, too many anglers in short, spook the fish.
Edibility: Very good, delicacy. Crustacean and blue crab eaters are usually tasty fish to eat. Can fillet, though fillet method will leave lots of delicious meat on the carcass. Better to use whole fish and simply gut the fish, remove the gills, boil, remove the meat on a platter as in a restaurant platter style. Or use the meat and boiled water residue from this method to make chowder, fish soup or fish bouillon.
Rules/Reg’s: See syllabus, but in Port Charlotte County general area, the minimum size is 12 inches and 8/person/day, or if in a boat, 50 fish boat limit max for any number of persons.
The true safari experience requires experienced professional hunters and skilled camp/field staff
Find hunting areas that provide a variety of game: Buffalo, Zebra, Wildebeest, Kudu, Antelope
Safari hunts are life-altering experiences, they captivate all your senses. Special moments in life.
By Forrest Fisher
Whenever folks think about a safari, they have shared with me that they think of the old Tarzan movies and the baggage carriers from those old movie films. I was that way too until I learned more from folks that experienced modern-day safari trips that found fun, hunting efficiency and that they are less costly than going to fish or hunt in Alaska. True fact. So what to do? Find a Safari business that caters to out-of-country visitors and ask for info. My good outdoor friend, Kevin Howard, speaks very highly of a service he has encountered that is run by a man whose name is Graham Sales. Sales has been a professional hunter since 2000 and received the prestigious “Uncle Stevie” award in 2004 and again in 2007 from the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa. This award is an acknowledgment of excellent trophy quality. In addition, Sales received the “Professional Hunter of the Year” award in 2018. That’s quite an honor, there is lots of competition for this award, his services are provided for hunting in South Africa and Mozambique.
South Africa: Graham Sales Safaris has the exclusive hunting rights on South Africa’s largest provincial nature reserve – Songimvelo Nature Reserve (the film “The Ghost and the Darkness” was filmed on the Reserve). Songimvelo Nature Reserve received “World Heritage” status during 2018. Graham Sales also has the hunting rights to the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve which shares a common open boundary with the world-renowned Kruger National Park. The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve forms part of the Greater Park area, which allows free movement of the game across 432,000 acres of land. The area is made up of Mopani bushveld, acacia shrub, watering holes and riverbeds that attract a huge variety of game including elephant, buffalo, zebra, Blue Wildebeest, kudu, and several other antelope. These, in turn, attract several predators, such as lion, leopard, cheetah, and hyena, which makes this a popular choice for a ‘real’ African wildlife experience.
Clients experience a free-range safari with Graham Sales Safaris in their tented Safari camp that is located on the banks of a dry riverbed which adds to the whole African Safari experience.
Mozambique: Graham Sales hunt 988,000 acres in pristine wilderness in the Niassa province – northwestern Mozambique. The area is situated north of the small town, Marrupa and south of Block C – Niassa Reserve. The concession is flanked on the left by the Ruambeze and on the west by Lureco rivers. The main habitat is Miombo woodland with some open savannah areas, seasonal wetlands, and riverine forests along with the many watercourses, rivers, and streams. The landscape is scattered with spectacular rock formations and mountains, many of them have thickets of montane forest growing in the narrow gullies that extend up the smooth-sided rock faces. The magnificent scenery combined with the vastness of the area, an abundance of game and pristine nature makes this without a doubt one of Africa’s last great wilderness areas. The Marangira area is home to prolific wildlife, including elephants and more than 60 of the critically endangered African Wild Dog. Leopards are in abundance, lions and hyenas are common with big numbers of buffalo, Roosevelt Sable, Lichtenstein Hartebeest and Livingstone Eland including three endemic species, Crawshey’s Zebra, Johnston’s Impala and Niassa Wildebeest.
In all their areas, Graham Sales clients will have exclusivity and will enjoy a true safari experience with experienced professional hunters complete with skilled camp and field staff that always have a smile on their faces.
Those attending the 2020 SCI Hunters’ Convention can meet and talk with Graham Sales and Armand Theron at their SCI booth #1438 in Reno, Nevada, February 5-8, 2020.
About the SCI Hunters’ Convention: Safari Club expects upwards of 24,000 worldwide hunters to visit Reno, Nevada, February 5-8, 2020. The SCI Hunters’ Convention represents the largest and most successful event to raise money for advocacy to protect hunters’ rights. The2020 Hunters’ Convention will be held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with over 452,000 square feet of exhibits and almost 1,100 exhibiting companies. Register and book rooms at www.showsci.org
Becoming an SCI Member: Joining Safari Club International is the best way to be an advocate for continuing our hunting heritage and supporting worldwide sustainable use conservation, wildlife education and humanitarian services. JOIN NOW: www.joinsci.org
Safari Club International – First for Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI has approximately 200 Chapters worldwide and its members represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries.SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs empower sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.safariclub.org or call 520-620-1220 for more information.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, bluegill (bream) and redear sunfish (shellcrackers) fishing has slowed, but fish can still be caught while fishing for black crappie (specks).
Specks (crappie) will be turning on with the cooler water temperatures in these next few months. Drift live Missouri minnows and grass shrimp in open water, or troll with Napier deer hair jigs and Hal flies for schooling fish. Find areas with sandy bottoms around bulrush and cattails, and fish a grass shrimp under a cork for spawning fish. Henderson’s Cove and the north end of the lake usually produces good numbers of specks on the outside edge of the pads and grasses near deeper water.
Lake Istokpoga is one of the best lakes in the state at a chance to get your hands on a fish of a lifetime.
As of November 2019, there have been a whopping 527 TrophyCatch submissions of bass larger than 8 pounds since the program was launched in October 2012!
A total of 441 fish have been entered into the Lunker Club (8-9.99 lb.), 84 into Trophy Club (10-12.99 lb.), and 2 into the Hall of Fame Club (13 pounds or more).
TrophyCatch Tracker – TrophyCatch is FWC’s citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger.
Remember, as part of the TrophyCatch program, these big bass have been released, so your trophy still swims in Lake Istokpoga. Largemouth Bass have also been tagged by Biologists on the lake. If you catch a tagged fish, remember to remove the tag and call the number provided. You will need it to collect your $100 reward!
Largemouth bass fishing can be tough during the early months of winter, with cold fronts slowing the fishing on a regular basis. Slow working baits like plastic worms in Junebug and red shad colors and suspending jerkbaits in shad colors can be beneficial during these colder months. Just remember, you must have patience while working these baits.
Live wild shiners typically produce better than artificial baits during this time of year.
Bass will begin to spawn in late January and will be moving into areas in and around bulrush (buggy whips) on the northern shoreline and the submerged vegetation in the channels south of Big Island and Bumblebee Island. Flipping these areas with soft plastics, weightless speed worms, and swimbaits will be the best bet during the spawning season. Fishing for bass between the cold fronts can be very productive.
Use caution when the wind blows on this shallow lake, it can get rough in a hurry! Tight lines!
More details about Lake Istopoga:
Located five miles northeast of Lake Placid, Highlands County, this 27,692-acre lake has quality fishing for black crappie (specks) and one of the highest largemouth bass catch rates in the state. The best speck fishing occurs during winter months drifting over open water, particularly in the northeast and southwest corners. Predominant aquatic vegetation includes spatterdock (bonnets), bulrush (buggy whips), cattail, and pondweed (peppergrass). Kissimmee grass on the south end is particularly productive when there is flow into the Istokpoga Canal. This canal, located off County Highway 621, provides excellent largemouth bass fishing from the bank when the gates are open. Arbuckle and Josephine Creek mouths are also good areas when there is flow. The island areas and associated grass can hold bass any time of year and the deepest portion of the lake (10 ft) is in the southwest corner. Public boat ramps are located on the north, northeast, and southwest shorelines off of U.S. Route 98, Lake Boulevard off Cow House Road, and Highland Lake Drive off of County Route 621, respectively. There are also six fish camps/resorts on the lake with various accommodations. Anglers can wade fish off of the Cow House Road boat ramp.
Sig Sauer temperature-stable propellant provides consistent muzzle velocity in all weather conditions
Early in November (2019), SIG SAUER, Inc. extended its line of Elite Match premium competition ammunition with the addition of 6mm Creedmoor.
“6mm Creedmoor is a popular long-range round that performs well in wind, thanks to its high ballistic coefficient and flat trajectory,” said Brad Criner, Senior Director, Brand Management and Business Development, SIG SAUER Ammunition. “We are pleased to offer this highly accurate round for competition shooters along with 6.5 Creedmoor and numerous other match-grade loads.”
SIG Elite Match ammunition is currently available in the following calibers: 223 Rem, 300BLK, 308 Win, 30-06 Springfield, 300 Win Mag, 6mm Creedmoor, and 6.5 Creedmoor.
SIG SAUER Elite Match ammunition features a temperature-stable propellant that delivers consistent muzzle velocity in all weather conditions. Premium-quality primers ensure minimum velocity variations, and the shell case metallurgy is optimized in the SIG Elite Match OTM cartridge to yield consistent bullet retention round to round. All SIG SAUER rifle ammunition is precision loaded on state-of-the-art equipment that is 100% electromechanically monitored to ensure geometric conformity and charge weight consistency
The SIG SAUER 6mm Creedmoor Elite Match ammunition is now available for purchase at https://www.sigsauer.com/store
All SIG SAUER Elite Ammunition is manufactured by SIG SAUER at its state-of-the-art ammunition manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, Arkansas to the same exacting standards as the company’s premium pistols and rifles.
Opening day hunters were hampered with wind and rain in Maryland, but the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that 8,061 deer harvests were reported on the opening day of the 2019 Maryland firearm season, Nov. 30. This represents a 29% increase over last year’s Saturday opener. The overall weekend harvest of 9,201 was down 9% from 2018 due to nearly non-stop rain and wind across the state on Sunday.
The harvest total includes 4,248 antlered and 4,953 antlerless deer, including 147 antlered and 126 antlerless sika deer. The two-week deer firearm season runs through Dec. 14.
“Rain once again plagued hunters this year for part of the opening weekend, but many hunters took advantage of a dry Saturday and were still able to put venison in the freezer,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “The strong antlerless harvest for the weekend is reassuring, and is vital for managing deer numbers in the state.”
Hunters in Region A — Allegany, Garrett, and western Washington counties — harvested 878 antlered deer. Hunters in Region B — the rest of the state — harvested 3,370 antlered and 4,953 antlerless deer.
Junior hunters enjoyed excellent deer hunting weather and harvested 2,423 deer during the Junior Deer Hunt Days on November 16 – 17. The harvest was 12% higher than the official harvest of 2,164 last year. Juniors registered 1,471 antlered and 952 antlerless deer.
One-stop shopping even when you are not sure what to buy
Buy a $15 coupon to support Youth and Military Veterans, earn up to $5,000 in discounts
By Forrest Fisher
Most outdoor folks have little time for shopping, even for their loved ones and best friends of the outdoors. Well now, the 2019 Online Holiday Sportsman Show can help you make a good choice in very little time with their interactive online shopping offers. Visit the outdoor show halls to find exceptional outdoor products and gifts at discount prices for everyone on your list. The Online Show allows shoppers to avoid crowds, traffic, and parking. Stay at home and visit with hundreds of exhibitors to help make selecting the perfect outdoor gifts for outdoor enthusiasts easier than ever.
If you are looking for even deeper discounts on great products at the Holiday Sportsman Show, consider a $15 Fundraiser coupon package will open the door to more than $5,000 of exclusive savings for a wide range of gifts and products. Gain instant cash discounts and 10 to 50 percent discounts on larger offerings, like a fishing trip or hunting trip vacation. The best part is that this coupon purchase will directly benefit our youth, conservation and U.S. veteran groups across the United States. For more information on the Fundraiser Coupon, visit www.holidaysportsmanshow.com and click on “Discount Coupons” at the bottom of the opening page. The fundraiser program helps consumers extend their holiday purchasing power while supporting Kids, Conservation and Veterans.
With the Holiday Sportsman Show, sit back, relax and have a stress-free holiday shopping experience. The show is open through Dec. 31.
The Online Holiday Sportsman Show is a property of Vexpo Marketing that also produces the award-winning www.SharetheOutdoors.com website.
Like it or not, winter weather is coming and for bass anglers in the know, that’s a good thing. The fish, all species really, stock up on protein and feed heavily right before the coldest weather arrives. One of my best friends, Russ Johnson, now a 90-year old student of precision speed trolling, offers key advice to catch the biggest fall bass. When the water temp hit the low 50s, he would dust off the frost on his boat and head for the lake with crankbaits that were perfectly tuned. His method? Speed troll them over sharp dropoffs to intimidate bass into striking, and it wasn’t just a strike, it was a SLAM-BAM-GOTCHA. A mega-strike. Big fish hit like that. It seems they wanna stop the boat and head the other way.
Running four lines, two on each side of the boat, one trailing 120 feet back, the other 145 feet back, and using lures that were designed to be crankbait hardware, he would achieve diving depths of 2.5X their rated profile. Lures that were advertised as “dives to 12 feet” would hit bottom in 30 feet or so. The new braided lines with their thin diameter make his method even more effective. The precision manufacture of LIVETARGET lures seem to gain even more than 2.5X when perfectly balanced and trolled. This makes the LIVETARGET lure even more effective for fall bass like no other method I know, but also makes them a “best lure choice” for daytime fall walleye that are also on the binge feed.
Johnson knew that fall weather can spread the bass out in many waterways, but in the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie, he would focus on structure dominant points to find schools of bass segregated by size. Some schools were comprised of 2-pounders, then 4-pounders, and so on. One day we caught limits of bass whoppers that all exceeded 5 pounds. These were smallmouth bass. While doing a video with In-Fisherman TV, Ron Lindner had shared with us that bass are domiciled to their home range on shoals and underwater structure, so we always released these big fish to live and spawn another day. Some of our whoppers some went over 6-pounds. His favorite fall-time lure color? Tennessee Craw red or orange.
Johnson can get lures like the LIVETARGET Magnum Shad Baitball Crankbait, the 3-1/2 inch model, to hit bottom in 42 feet! He is a master lure tuner. I did not mention his trolling speed, but he is trolling quite fast, in fact beyond your imagination if you are a troller. That detail will remain his secret, but it one other reason why the lure tuning has to be perfect. Most folks fishing the Seneca Shoal area near Hamburg, NY in eastern basin Lake Erie think he is leaving the area. It’s that fast.
Other expert anglers know other methods that work well in fall too. Noted professional angler Stephen Browning, a seasoned veteran of the FLW Tour, MLF, and the Bassmaster Elite Series, has amassed similar knowledge of late-season bass behavior that can up any angler’s game right now. Aside from decades of experience on tournament trails, Browning’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management hasn’t hurt his ability to pick apart various waters and he has advice to share.
The first tip? Cover lots of water. And for Browning, that means crankbaits.
“For me, fall is all about chunk and winding and covering water, whether that’s main lake stuff or hitting the back of pockets, coves, and creeks. Crankbaits are definitely key in fall and into early winter,” says Browning.
For Browning, the biggest factor for finding fall bass to crank is water temperature. “I’m trying to search out water temperatures that are 70 degrees or less, because experience proves that’s the point at which fish get fired up for a super fall bite.”
Winning in the Wind
Secondly, he’s monitoring the wind. “Besides cooler water, I’m looking for spots where the wind is blowing a little bit. There’s still a lot of fish out on the main lake and not necessarily deep into the pockets. So, I’m going to look at the wind—see where it’s hitting the banks the best. Bass will utilize the wind to kind of break things up. You can burn down a pea gravel bank or a chunk rock bank and still have the ability to catch fish. And they aren’t always target oriented. In my opinion, they don’t like to hold tight to cover when the wind’s blowing, because it’s going to beat them around. So, I think they do more roaming in the wind—if it’s windy I’m going to chunk and wind,” says Browning.
For such windy scenarios and main lake fishing, Browning turns to the LIVETARGET Rainbow Smelt suspending jerkbait—specifically the RS91S, which is 3-5/8 inches long and dives three to four feet, typically in the (201) Silver/Blue pattern, although Browning has been experimenting with the host of new colors LIVETARGET now offers in this highly effective bait.
“It’s kind of a shallower-diving jerkbait, which I utilize for cranking points, rock outcrops, rip-rap, etc. when the wind is blowing. When fishing it, I’m looking for a little bit of visibility… not a lot of stain. I fish it a lot in main lake and main creek areas using the wind and water clarity as kind of a one-two punch. It’s definitely a go-to bait for these situations,” offers Browning.
Another bait Browning utilizes for windy main lake and main creek scenarios is the LIVETARGET HFC (Hunt-For-Center) Craw. “It has a very aggressive action and deflects off of cover, so I can utilize it on steeper rocky banks and really cover a lot of water. In terms of color, it depends on the water clarity and temperature. If the water is stained, a lot of times I’ll use LIVETARGET’s Red (362) or Copper Root Beer (361). The latter has a really nice copper hue to it and kind of a whitish-style belly.
When the water temperature plummets into the 50s, Browning also reaches for the LIVETARGET HFC (Hunt-For-Center) Craw, especially in the Red (362) and Copper Root Beer (361) colors. “The HFC has an aggressive action but is not overpowering. It was designed to randomly dart left and right, mimicking a fleeing craw. In late fall when the water gets really cold it can be a fantastic bait for target fishing for the resident fish that live in the very back ends of creeks and pockets.”
Water Clarity and Target Cranking
Browning’s advice for those days when there isn’t much wind is to monitor water clarity. “On calmer days water clarity is a big factor. I’m going to go and try to find some stained water someplace within the fishery. The biggest thing about stained water is fish don’t tend to roam as much on you, and they’re going to be more target related—an outcrop of rocks, a laydown, a series of stumps, etc. that will give those fish a place to ambush their prey.”
On those calmer days, Browning will vacate the main lake and main creek areas he fishes when windy and concentrate on the back third of pockets where they have a tendency to flatten out. There, he looks for isolated cover.
“I’m looking for that isolated stump, maybe a log, lay-downs, isolated grass patches, or a lot of times people will put out crappie stakes. Especially when the water’s low, bass will utilize crappie stakes. One of the baits I like for target fishing in the back of pockets is the LIVETARGET David Walker Signature Tennessee Craw. I’ll crank it on 12- or 14-pound fluorocarbon and only get it down to six feet so I can bang it around, which is key to getting good target bites. I’ll make multiple casts to the isolated cover from various angles giving the fish the most opportunities to ambush my presentation. That’s really key—working cover from multiple angles and making sure you spend ample time on each spot,” offers Browning.
When target fishing, Browning is also a fan of the shallow-diving LIVETARGET Sunfish Crankbait—specifically the BG57M (bluegill pattern) and PS57M (pumpkinseed pattern). “The Sunfish Crankbait has a rounded bill, so it has a nice, tight wiggle to it. For me, especially when the water temperature gets cooler, it becomes another go-to bait for target fishing. I think it kind of gets overlooked by anglers who tend to concentrate on shad patterns, but bluegills are a major forage source in fall and year ‘round that bass will really home in on.”
Water clarity dictates whether Browning will choose the Pumpkinseed or Bluegill pattern, as well as the choice between LIVETARGET’s available matte and gloss finishes. “I use the Bluegill if the water is a bit clearer and the brighter Pumpkinseed in stained water. I like using the gloss finish if the sky is cloudy and the matte finish if it’s sunny. So, you’ve got two different colors and two different finishes for a variety of fishing situations.”
In terms of equipment for cranking the LIVETARGET HFC (Hunt-For-Center) Craw, David Walker Tennessee Craw, or Sunfish Crankbait, he sticks to the same set-up of a St. Croix 7’4” medium-heavy, moderate action Legend Glass rod, a Lew’s Custom Pro baitcasting reel with 8:1 gear ratio and either 12- or 14-pound Gamma Fluorocarbon line. “If I’m concentrating on shallow areas, I’m going to use the heavier line – but if I need the bait to get down six feet or more, I’m going to use the 12-pound line,” Browning adds.
When targeting the backs of pockets and creeks with grass, Browning urges anglers not to overlook the efficacy of employing a chunk-and-wind topwater routine.
“The LIVETARGET Commotion Shad is a hollow-body shad style topwater bait that has a Colorado blade on the back end. It’s a real player in the kind of broken-up grass you find way back in pocket flats. During the fall, adding this bait to the chunk-and-wind crankbait program can really pay off. It comes in a couple of sizes, but I like the 3-½ inch in Pearl Ghost (154) and Pearl Blue Shad (158). The spinner makes a gurgling sound when you retrieve it like you would a hollow body frog, and it’s great for working over grassy areas,” offers Browning.
For gear, Browning throws the Commotion Shad on a 7’6” medium-heavy, moderate action St. Croix Legend X with a Lew’s Tournament reel geared 8.3:1, and 50-pound Gamma Torque braided line.
While monitoring water temperature, wind conditions, water clarity, and the amount of visible sunlight are all huge factors for finding fall bass in main lakes and creeks as well as pockets and coves, Browning suggests anglers stay tuned to another of nature’s cues: bird behavior.
“Watch for the migration of shad, which have the tendency to move to the very back ends of the pockets in fall, but also know, as mentioned, that bass are feeding on bluegills and craws in lots of other locations. You can really eliminate a lot of water and fish more productively by keying in on bird behavior. They’re going to tell you where the baitfish are. Could be a Blue Heron sitting on the bank eating bluegills or picking around on crawfish, gulls, or all sorts of other birds either on the main lake or back farther in coves. Really pay attention to where the birds are. It’s definitely one of the small details that gets overlooked by a lot of anglers.”
Learn HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY, the program is free with membership
Membership is as little as $35/yr, right now; half-price Life Memberships right now too
By Forrest Fisher
Perhaps the NRA should be called the Empower Yourself Association. I’m one of those folks that are careful when I travel, cautious when I drive, lock my doors when I leave the house, I’m careful when cutting the turkey at holiday time, I have to cut corners to save money, and I love my family. I also like to hunt in the woods with a bow or a firearm, and I’m upset when I hear the everyday news and learn of so many folks harmed by violence because they could not protect themselves or did not know how to stay safe. We live in surprising times. So what can we do as ordinary people in America? What can we do to learn how to protect ourselves and teach our family how to protect each other?
Whether you’re a parent in search of firearm safety for your home, a first-time gun owner, or an old pro in the outdoors, we all need to know about firearm handling to stay safe. We need to understand and develop firearm handling skills. The NRA is here to keep you and your family safe and it is all part of the NRA membership. Explore how to safely store a gun with kids in the home. We all need this.
The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program teaches young kids in pre-K through third grade the important steps to take IF THEY FIND A GUN. The friendly program cartoon mascot, Eddie Eagle, provides an easy-to-remember format that shares these simple rules: STOP! DON’T TOUCH. LEAVE THE AREA. TELL AN ADULT. Teach your kids to recite it. Save a life.
As kids get older, the NRA has resources, programs, and training to assist youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Royal Rangers, JROTC units, 4-H clubs, commercial summer camps, U.S. Jaycee chapters, and more. American Legion Posts too. The NRA can help with costs to support firearm safety and shooting sports programs where you live. Everyone needs to know more about firearm safety and share what they learn. We are all in this together.
The NRA Family of programs provides ideas for family adventures and tips for hunters and shooters of all skill levels. The offering of safety programs is VAST and the programs build upon skills learned in basic hunter education courses to encourage safer, lifelong hunting habits, wildlife identification, map reading, compass orienteering, and much more.
Every day, the NRA is working to help increase your safety and provide enjoyment of the shooting sports by offering educational shooting programs, providing member benefits, and defending our Second Amendment rights. By becoming an NRA member, you will take a solid step toward helping your family stay safe and send a strong message to those who threaten our American firearm ownership rights.
Today you can gain access to all these NRA Safety and Education Programs for a LIFETIME at half the normal cost. The normal cost is $1500, right now through this special offer, it is $750. Click here. Save $750! If you are a woman, you know it is time to step up to learn about the safe use of firearms. This offer is time-limited.
A love of landscape is not new in Alaska. In a place so beautiful, with the strong cultural values of Alaska Native peoples, reducing our impact on the environment is only natural. We know that sustainable travel – considering environmental, social, cultural, and business practices as part of the travel process – is important to Alaska, our communities, and our future.
And it’s easier than you might think to tread more lightly when you visit.
These four steps are a fantastic way to get started:
1. Pack A Little Lighter
No one likes to carry around heavy suitcases, and Alaskans are pretty laid back when it comes to fashion, so bring just what you need when you’re filling your suitcase. It’s easy if you plan to dress in layers, re-wear items, and remove packaging from anything new you bought for the trip. Less weight in your suitcase means less energy – human or mechanical – is needed to move stuff around, reducing your transportation carbon footprint. Wondering what you need to bring? There’s a packing list inThe Alaska Vacation Planner.
2. Buy Local Eat Local
Buying goods and services locally – including hiring local guides – not only cuts down on shipping and transportation costs, it helps support local families and communities. You’ll also get to know more about local people and cultures by connecting one-on-one with Alaska residents. Is there something you’ve always wanted to know about living in Alaska? Here’s your chance to ask!And, by eating local foods, you’ll get to try wild Alaska salmon and halibut, locally grown (giant!) veggies, and regional favorites while supporting Alaska fishermen, farmers, and craft food and beverage-makers. While shopping, look for the Alaska Grown, Made in Alaska, and Silver Hand labels to signify Alaska-produced items.
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The “3Rs” is a common theme for promoting sustainability and they make sense (Did you know nearly half of all plastic produced is only designed to be used once?). Reduce your footprint by bringing an extra reusable shopping bag to carry your locally produced purchases and using your own refillable water bottle or coffee mug for daily use. Plus, those water bottles and coffee mugs are great places to put travel decals and stickers from all the great places you’re going to visit!
Look for TravelAlaska.com’s advertising partners with the Adventure Green Alaska (AGA) logo. The AGA program certifies tourism businesses operating in Alaska based on economic, environmental, and social sustainability standards. AGA monitors compliance, and certified businesses must renew every two years to maintain certification. They’re the green team!
Are you Fishing?
The biggest problem with fishing in Alaska is making decisions-saltwater or fresh, salmon, trout or halibut, guided or unguided, remote lodge or road system, spring or fall, summer or winter, Southeast or Interior, Alaska Peninsula or Aleutians-the list of options is nearly endless. However, whether you’re a die-hard fly fishing purist or a visitor who’d just like to catch a couple salmon to take home for friends and family, you can fulfill your fishing fantasies in Alaska.
Northern Lights Trip?
This Far North phenomenon turns an average winter, fall or spring night into a widescreen extravaganza like nothing else. When you see the lights for the first time, there are no words, no description, to match their magnificence. You can only watch in wonder. Such beauty is a rare and oft-admired thing.
Presented by Forrest Fisher (photo credits: Jim Zumbo)
When Jim is not shoveling snow off the deck or fighting off the Wyoming wolves and grizzlies that want to partake in his cooking, he is sharing recipes with outdoor friends on-line. Here is one of those special, easy-to-do recipes in Jim’s own words.
“While hunting deer in Arkansas with a group of hunting writers, we were served backstrap by the ladies who cooked at the lodge. It was sensational. That’s where I learned this recipe. It’s so simple, you won’t believe it works.
The simple “Prep & Cook” process:
Trim the backstrap of all fat, then put it in a glass bowl or non-metallic bowl.
Drizzle the meat with Olive Oil. Flip it around so it’s well-coated.
Then sprinkle Cavender’s Greek Seasoning on all sides of the meat. Let it marinate for 4 to 6 hours before cooking.
Leave it on the counter for the first few hours, then put it in the fridge for the remainder of the time.
You’ll note that the olive oil will tend to jell a bit in the fridge.
Next step, put the backstraps on a hot grill.
When you put it on the grill, the olive oil will drip and cause the flame to flare up. Not to worry, it soon burns down, and will initially give a nice sear to the meat.
Important: Keep a meat thermometer handy. If you like it rare, remove it when the meat hits 140. At 150 to 155 it is well done. Cover it with foil for a few minutes. And that’s it. Be sure you eat it HOT — right off the grill.
There are many ways to cook backstrap. Before I learned this recipe, I sliced it into steaks or butterflied it and then cooked it. Never again.
I don’t know why this recipe works so well.
The meat has a terrific flavor and seems more tender.
Give it a shot and try it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Leftovers are sliced thin and used in delicious sandwiches.
Some background. I met one of the founders of the Cavender’s Greek Seasoning Company, Steve Cavender, at an Iowa Governor’s Deer Hunt hosted by the late, great, Tony Knight. Steve was from Harrison, Arkansas, and shared his seasoning with us. Tragically, he passed away far too soon, but the family continued the company. I didn’t know much about the seasoning and used it, among others, to flavor meals.
This is my go-to recipe for every backstrap I cook, 100% of the time. All it takes is olive oil and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning (which you can buy at Walmart). That’s important to know. It makes me crazy when I see a recipe with a rare ingredient that’s almost impossible to find.
Learn more about Jim Zumbo secrets of the wilds in Peterson Hunting Magazine, look for the closing back page article entitled, “Rear View.” Good stuff. Subscribe here: https://securesubs.osgimedia.com/orderpage_ex8.php?m=petersenshunting&pkey=IBQ1
The Parka and Bib are soft, quiet, flexible fleece shell fabric.
The Parka has 10 pockets for storing gear and warming hands.
By Forrest Fisher
A month ago I met Nick Andrews from ScentLok at an outdoor meeting event and he explained the technology controlling human odor during the hunt. I’m from a scientific background and it all made sense to me. Finding success in the wilds from a tree stand or ground blind is more likely with human odor containment. The Late-Season staple garments in ScentLok’s pinnacle Bowhunter Elite:1 Series, the new BE:1 Fortress Parka and Bib provide hunters, especially determined archers, the ultimate protection from the nastiest elements of smell during prime hunting season.
Nick and his associates shared many stories.
During the rut and even after the rut in areas where hunting season is still open and the days become noticeably shorter, the deep chill of winter may cause deer to move when they are trying to warm up. Watching the weather and being on stand during the minutes and hours before a major winter storm system arrives can provide a moment to capitalize on an “opportunity window” of increased whitetail activity. Hunters need to bear the elements too, during long sits on stand. Now more than ever, bowhunting success often comes down to bowhunting dress.
As the name suggests, the ScentLok BE:1 Fortress Parka and Bib are the late-season cold-weather bowhunting garments that check every box. Fully waterproof, windproof and critically insulated, they’re ultra-quiet and super-comfortable in the nastiest conditions. Purposely tailored for optimum bowhunting performance, this premium apparel features compression and sculpting for minimal bulk, full articulation to support maximum bowhunting motion and mobility, and pockets aplenty for storing gear and warming hands.
Designed and built for elite bowhunters willing to put in the time it takes to outsmart big-beamed bucks, the ScentLok BE:1 Fortress Parka and Bib are ideal for demanding late-season hunts. With a soft, quiet and flexible brushed fleece shell fabric, thermal-mapped ThinsulateTM insulation for perfect warmth, and ScentLok’s proprietary Carbon AlloyTM technology for maximum odor adsorption, this 100% waterproof, windproof and breathable system provides unparalleled late-season performance.
The new BE:1 Fortress Parka’s thermal-mapped insulation features 150g of ThinsulateTM insulation in the body, 100g in the arms and 200g along the back. It has a soft, quiet and flexible fleece shell fabric with ten pockets for storing gear and warming hands, plus a concealed safety harness access opening to keep harnesses close to the body for safety with maximum scent control. Extremely archery-friendly, the BE:1 Fortress parka’s articulated elbows ensure exceptional comfort and range of motion throughout the draw, while the articulated hood’s three-piece construction reduces bulk and allows for a positive anchor point.
ScentLok BE:1 Fortress Parka
Carbon AlloyTM for maximum odor adsorption
100% waterproof/breathable protection
Thermal mapped ThinsulateTM insulation for perfect warmth (150g in the body / 100g in the arms / 200g along the back)
Soft, quiet, flexible fleece shell fabric
Ten pockets for storing gear and warming hands
Articulated elbows for a greater range of motion & comfort
Concealed safety harness opening
Available in Mossy Oak Elements Terra Gila at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s
Men’s sizes MD-3X
The new BE:1 Fortress Bib features 100g of ThinsulateTM insulation in the chest and lower legs and 150g from the waist through mid-thigh. Unmatched in storage, the BE:1 Fortress Bib is equipped with six easily accessible pockets and two additional chest handwarmer pockets.
A full-length center zipper makes for easy dressing and fly usage, while extended leg zippers with storm flaps ensure easy on and off. Upper stretch panels and adjustable suspenders keep the bib in place and minimize restrictions.
ScentLok BE:1 Fortress Bib
Carbon AlloyTM for maximum odor adsorption
100% waterproof/breathable protection
Thermal mapped ThinsulateTM insulation for perfect warmth (100g in the chest & lower legs / 150g waist through mid-thigh)
Soft, quiet, flexible fleece shell fabric
Full-length center zipper for easy dressing and fly usage
Six storage pockets and two chest handwarmer pockets
Leg zippers with storm flaps for easy on and off
Available in Mossy Oak Elements Terra Gila at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s
Men’s sizes MD-3X
In addition to the new late-season BE:1 Fortress Parka and Bib, the ScentLok, Bowhunter Elite:1 apparel series includes the mid-weight BE:1 Voyage Jacket and Pant, BE:1 Reactor Jacket and Pant for on-demand insulation, plus a complete lineup of gloves, headcovers, and caps.
It’s an elevated suite of premium gear, purpose-engineered for the serious bowhunter who’s committed to solving problems, creating their own opportunities, and increasing their chances for success.
All BE:1 garments are fully compatible with ScentLok Liquids and OZ by ScentLok pre-hunt and post-hunt ozone and storage products for Complete Odor Management.
ABOUT NEXUS OUTDOORS:Nexus Outdoors, headquartered in Muskegon, MI, USA, is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of performance, hunting and casual odor-controlling apparel, footwear and equipment under the ScentLok Technologies®, OZ®, Blocker Outdoors®, Whitewater, Hard Core® Waterfowl Hunting Apparel and Tree Spider® brands. It also owns American Range Systems, manufacturer and distributor of the world’s strongest and safest bullet traps. Nexus Outdoors is the only company with access to all scent-controlling technologies, including their patented Carbon Alloy™ and Cold Fusion Catalyst™ technologies, which provide superior success in the field.
Allison Stattner is alady angler extraordinaire, the only anlger to land 50 saltwater fish species in this program.
In a fun-to-fish program designed for young and old, the Florida Saltwater Fish Life List consists of 70 species of saltwater fish. To participate, an angler must abide by the general FWC Saltwater Angler Recognition Program rules (see “General Angling Rules”). The fish pictures shown here include photo’s of Allison Stattner, a lady angler known locally in Florida as “Reel Love,” the only member of the “50-FIsh Club” in Florida, quite an accomplishment!
All Life List catches are eligible as long as they can be documented and have been caught in accordance with FWC rules. Anglers do not have to harvest their fish to be eligible and are encouraged to release catches alive.
All harvest of fish must comply with current regulations, available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing or by calling 850-487-0554. The Florida Saltwater Fish Life List publication lists the 70 species included in the program and allows anglers to record the species, date, size, and location of Life List fish caught.
70 Species Included in the Saltwater Fish Life List Program
Gulf kingfish (whiting)
Black sea bass
Gray (mangrove) snapper
Southern kingfish (whiting)
Saltwater Fish Life List Club Categories
10 Fish Club: 10 total different Life List species caught to date
30 Fish Club: 30 total different Life List species caught to date
50 Fish Club: 50 total different Life List species caught to date
70 Fish Club – Life List Master Angler: All 70 total Life List species caught to date
Submission Requirements for Life List Clubs
Photographs of the angler with each fish are required and may be used in various FWC publications as well as on MyFWC.com. Fish photographed should be supported horizontally using wet hands with no fingers in the fish’s gils or eyes. If not held, fish should be photographed in a rubber-coated, knotless landing net rather than lying on a dock, cooler or boat deck. Large fish should not be removed from the water or boated, as this can injure the fish.
Submissions that are incomplete or fail to provide full documentation of species required will result in disqualification.
Prizes for Saltwater Fish Life List Club Anglers
Each time an angler submits a valid application for a Saltwater Life List Fish Club, they will receive a certificate of accomplishment, various prizes, FWC saltwater publications and will become a member of the corresponding Life List Fish Club. Successful participants will also receive one raffle entry for each verified submission to the program.
To be eligible for prizes, anglers must comply with all rules for Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs and the Saltwater Fish Life List Program. Prizes typically arrive 4 to 8 weeks after approval (not submittal). All prizes are awarded pending availability. FWC reserves the right to deny any application for the Saltwater Fish Life List Program and to change recognition prizes at any time without notice.
Muzzleloader & Late Archery Season Opens Dec. 9, ends Dec. 17
By Forrest Fisher
Chautauqua County is the land of big game hunting opportunities for CWD-free whitetail deer and abundant black bear. There were 9,944 whitetail deer harvested in Chautauqua County last year, including 4,334 adult bucks greater than 1.5 years old – about 4.1 to 5.0 bucks per square mile. Approximately 20 percent of the deer were harvested with a bow. A review of bowhunter logbooks shows that hunters viewed 10 deer for every 10 hours of hunting. There was 28 black bear harvested, 11 during bow season and 17 with firearms. Out of State license cost for big game hunting is a mere $100!
Nature’s organic health food mix for big strong deer in Chautauqua County includes apple orchards, cornfields, and vineyards. The rolling hills support forests of sweet white oak, beech, and hickory to provide sweet acorns and high protein nut stock for deer. Plentiful wild berry bushes and grape fields provide sweet mealtime for increasing numbers of black bears. High, straight, hardwood trees offer safe support for your ground level tree-mount chair, a fixed ladder stand or a climbing tree stand. Please wear a full-body harness if you are going vertical. The Hunter Safety Lifeline System works great and is inexpensive (under $40). Stay safe.
Chautauqua County is prime with public and private hunting land across more than 1,000 square miles of mostly undisturbed country land. Public access is free to hunt in our 14 State Forests that are specifically managed by the New York State Fish and Wildlife to provide free access to hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing and photography. Handicapped hunters have privileged access to 13,000 acres in eight of those 14 state forests here.
Add the aroma of fresh organic pancakes and hot maple syrup from local trees for breakfast before the hunt, you can understand the welcome feeling that hunters have who travel here from near and far. Big game hunting is very good in Chautauqua County. The deer and bear population is increasing, we need help from hunters in Chautauqua.
Hunters that repeatedly bag a deer with a bow, crossbow, firearm or muzzleloader are usually in the woods and in their stand about one hour before sunrise. The hunting day ends at sunset, by law. The deer and bear are abundant here. With archery or firearms, be sure of your target and beyond. Be safe.
There are SO MANY deer here. Wildlife Mangement Unit 9J. Motorists here say they need hunter help. Join in the adventure and excitement of big game hunting in Chautauqua County, NY.
The meandering Merced River offers peaceful trout fishing
Giant trees, some 10 feet in diameter, can mesmerize visitors
High rock mountains offer an unmatched view, even more spectacular during sunrise and sunset
By Forrest Fisher
The spirit of reflection can provide a trail to the sacred territory. No matter where we travel in 2019, it seems many people say hello with a smile. In all goodness, I think this means it has been a great year in the outdoors and for all folks that enjoy our many special American freedoms each day, like cherishing nature and the simple wonders of the outdoors.
No politics. No special licenses. No extra cost.
All of that sort of thought took my better half and I toward a fresh look at our bucket list, it was getting dusty. Yosemite National Park had been on our list for a few decades, so we decided to “get there” this year to celebrate our 50th wedding year, it seems we needed a good excuse. The trip was two-fold, as it was also to visit our eldest grandchild, Kiley Voss from East Aurora, NY, who is now a Park Ranger there.
We flew into San Francisco, headed for a stop to a remote Pacific Ocean beach and we enjoyed the exhilarating sound of the surf – there were pelicans and sea birds screeching out conversations too. About four hours later we arrived at the park and checked into a nearby hotel to prepare for this highly anticipated Yosemite visit.
There was no wifi signal, no phone signal, and no email. Wow! What a vacation!
The next day we drove 12 miles from the hotel to the Yosemite National Park entrance gate and it felt like the year might have been 1850. No development here.
There were sharply rising mountains made of granite that rose toward the heavens along both sides of the single-lane, very narrow, but paved road.
The Merced River slowly ambles westward along the road, comprised mostly of snowmelt runoff (in September!) from the high mountains in the distance. The river thrives with abundant native rainbow trout and a healthy population of stocked brown trout. We watched an angler or two casting a fly line, it was hard to keep our eyes on the curvy road.
As we proceeded past the gate, the narrow roadway led into a much wider valley with meadows and giant trees, some of them more than 10-feet in diameter. We were astonished to see all of the giant Cedar trees and Ponderosa Pine, Sequoia, Sugar Pine, magnificent Black Oak, aromatic Cedar, and other tree species.
Then suddenly as the roadway opened up, there on the left was El Capitan, the name of a magnificent rock mountain. It is a sheer vertical cliff-like rock structure of solid, polished granite that rises to more than 7,500 feet. Straight ahead was another mountain, “Half-Dome,” more than 8,800 feet high, and then many other similar mountains all around us, many with Indian-based names converted to English. Frankly, we were astonished and speechless. It was that beautiful.
Yosemite Valley is indescribable, beautiful, unimaginable, magnificent, a place where God and the spirit of man and life may exist for all time. I felt that.
That was my first impression upon taking a drive to the place they call Yosemite Village, located in the central east side of the 1,176 square mile park of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains of California.
Our granddaughter introduced us to a Native Indian guide that conducted tours for the Indian Museum there. He was humble, and a very knowledgeable gentleman of the local wilderness and ways of the land. His name was Ben Cunningham Summerfield and he shared tales of the earliest inhabitants of the park, the Miwoc Indians (pronounced Me-Wuk).
Locally, he said, “The Miwoc were called Awahnichi and they were the Indian people that lived in Awahni.”
From other sources and from my novice understanding, the people of the Awanichi there were referred to as Yohimite or Yohometuk, the converted language meaning “some of them are killers.” Hence the name Yosemite was born from those terms when the Euro-Americans came to the area during the gold rush era of 1849.
Ben said to us, “They found no gold but did disturb the nature and the people of the valley.”
Standing next to a rustic example, Ben explained, “The Awahnichi lived in sturdy roundhouse structures made of pine or cedarwood, lashed together with grapevines and uniquely covered with a thick roof made from dead incense cedar bark, some of the roofs were additionally covered with earth.”
This history was also documented by a late Miwok lady, Isabelle Howard Jimenez, who passed away in 1996, though her sharing of Native information was recorded with her permission and is now available in a free booklet provided by the Yosemite Conservancy. Some of it is shared in this story as provided by Ben. Ben’s stories and tales were notable and mesmerizing., and unforgettable. And there were many.
We so relaxed at watching soaring eagles, circling hawks, many other tree birds, and a gray fox stalking his way through the Yosemite woods, and more. Other visitors that we met at the visitor center were coming in off the hiking trails, everyone seemed to have a smile embedded in their chin. any shared sightings of black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, mule deer and other critters of the Yosemite wild.
Among touring highlights, the Park Service offers a 2-hour long tram tour that provides visitors with a 20-mile journey around the Park. Visitors will discover the nature of birds, fish, and wildlife, and trees that are at home in the park, the mountains – their names and geology, the great places to stop for a photo and restroom stop, the history of the park and much more. Our granddaughter was the host for one of the tours that we took, of course, we were impressed with her complete knowledge and descriptions of all things Yosemite. She even spotted mountain climbers scaling the face of El Capitan. The tram stopped, everyone took pictures of these adventurists suspended about 3,000 feet up the sheer cliff face of the mountain…sleeping on a rope sling. I just thought -WOW! I once considered that treestand hunting might be dangerous.
My better half, Fern, was disappointed at NOT seeing even one bear, but our granddaughter explained, “They’re just not out in the open and along the highways at this time of year, they’re getting ready to hibernate.”
The multiple peaks, snow-covered mountains, snow-melt streams and Yosemite Falls – crystal clear water, rising trout slurping flies from the surface of the Merced River at dusk, the options for hiking and biking amidst all this beauty…simply amazing, to state it modestly.
In Yosemite, there is no hunting allowed for specific management reasons (hunting is controlled and conducted by official Park personal for invasive species), fishing is allowed, but like many places, some special rules apply.
For us, this was a trip of a lifetime.
Not judging, but as we entered San Francisco for our air-lift home, we realized the life we love is certainly not in the big cities, but it definitely is in those mountains about four hours away.
Yosemite was unforgettable.
I think God lives in the church of His mountains there. It is a sacred place.
Hi-modulus sensitivity rod blanks from Scheel’s allowed for detecting the lightest of strikes
“Smart Boat” technics from Humminbird for total position control to target hotspots
By Forrest Fisher
Walleye fishing legend, Johnnie Candle, suggested that we look at mid-river shoals on the Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wisconsin, and search the area with his new Humminbird sonar. We utilized the map to find such locations and he’s a walleye guy at heart, so we set up our rods accordingly.
In his Lund 21-foot, 10-inch fishing boat with a 350Hp Mercury Verado main-kicker, we arrived at our fishing destination in a few minutes. The ride was smooth as silk.
Using a very sensitive Scheel’s “One Limited” medium-action fishing rod, the 6-foot,9-inch version, rigged with a Scheel’s 2500 series reel and 10-pound test Ultra -8 Fireline, we tied on vertical vibrating baits (Sonar, ¼ oz), Strike King Swim Tail Shiner jigs (1/4 oz) and Berkley power minnows(1/16 oz jig head/2-inch tail) to catch five species of fish in the next two hours of peaceful fishing fun (https://www.scheels.com/p/scheels-outfitters-one-limited-edition-spinning-rod/3340-ONEB.html). True relaxing fun.
We released them all, including sauger, crappie, yellow perch, sheepshead, and largemouth bass. La Crosse, what a great place to fish! Mid-day, bright sun, clear sky, catching fish because we could find them with the right sonar and could sense their light bites with the right rod and line.
Yet, just a very short time ago, we had no clue what to fish for and where to go. We launched at the Black River Beach boat launch (https://www.explorelacrosse.com/), there was a $5 launch fee for non-residents. Look for the semi-hidden boat launch envelope station and be sure to use it, to avoid a $20 parking ticket. Don’t ask how I know.
Using the right gear makes for fun fishing in Wisconsin…and everywhere else.
Autumn colors provide an extra measure of goodness for visitors
By Forrest Fisher
Near La Crosse, Wisconsin, the Upper Mississippi River spreads well beyond its main channel, a bonus for anglers. Hundreds of tiny islands, channels, and deep pools offer a new home for many species of fish, perhaps more than any other temperate-climate river in the world. It’s a fishing paradise.
Walleye is king in these waters, but you can catch just about anything here, including sauger, northern pike, shovelhead sturgeon, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, sunfish, bluegill, crappie, gar, channel catfish and blue catfish, just to name a few.
The La Crosse River and Black River join the Mississippi near La Crosse and create a home to many of the same species. A few miles north of La Crosse, the Mississippi opens into the 8,000+ acre waterway named Lake Onalaska that features 7 boat landings and is chock-full of panfish, northern, and bass, and the area also offers myriad cold-water streams rife with brown, rainbow, and brook trout.
Another popular lake fishery is Lake Neshonoc located in West Salem. It has a maximum depth of 11 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from public boat landings and a public beach. Fish include panfish, largemouth bass, northern pike and catfish. Check out the DNR’s Trout Stream Map for La Crosse County.
The La Crose area features several boat landings, marinas, and beaches, as well as fishing floats and piers, guides, and numerous outfitters. The Upper Mississippi USFW Refuge (United States Fish & Wildlife) has put together some fantastic maps of Pools 7 and 8 of the Mississippi River, with boat landings, walk-in access points and more.
Fall and Winter Action is Just Ahead
The cooling temperatures of fall bring wonderful color to the woodlands and bluffs. Fall also provides hungry fish and some of the best fishing of the year. Walleye begin to move again in the fall and while the fall walleye run tends to be less lively than in the spring, the fall run tends to provide steady action right up until freeze-over.
For a summary report on Mississippi River Pool 8 walleye sampling efforts that identify fish density and methods of assessment, visit this link provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – LaCrosse: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/reports/LaCrosseMississippiRPool8_2018_2019WeSaAdultsSpring.pdf.
The first areas to catch the attention of ice anglers are the area’s many backwaters. As ice creeps out from the shores of Lake Onalaska, so do intrepid ice anglers looking for some of the best panfish catching of the year. As ice covers a wider area, ice anglers begin moving further out to deeper water in search of walleye, yellow perch, and northern pike.
Unforgettable moments at the Black River near La Crosse, Wisconsin
Light line, swim jig with Strike King Shad
Bass Cat with Yamaha Vmax Engine
By Forrest Fisher
There is something special about fishing for bass, especially when you’ve tried before, but you let your kids fish so they have that first cast and last cast while you manage all else, always hoping for them. Even at that, from shore, it’s often tough to catch a fish. Then one day, you’re hard at work and an invite comes along that is just perfect with the timing of your workday.
That’s how it was for Yamaha Communications and Dealer Education Manager, Melissa Boudoux, when Yamaha bass pro staff angler, Brett King, was in town to meet with the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) for their annual conference at the AmericInn Hotel. Brett has his Bass Cat Caracal and 225Hp Yamaha VMAX moored at the hotel dock on the Black River in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and he asked if anyone had time to help him test a few new bass lures. “I’ve never ever caught a bass,” said Melissa. “Let’s go, we’ll see what works today,” answered Brett.
A few minutes later, his Bass Cat was floating near a rock pile along the shoreline and Melissa was casting a 3-1/4 inch Strike King Rage Swim Tail on a 1/8 ounce lead head jig. A new experience, the 6-foot, 9-inch lightweight rod from J. T. Outdoors was a perfect match for the lure and in no time, Melissa says ”I was casting a very long way with very little effort. It was really fun!” As Brett placed his boat in a fishy-looking spot along the shoreline rocks, a hungry largemouth bass caught a glimpse of the swimbait passing by. That was it. WACK! FISH ON!
“It was so exciting! That bass fought so hard,” Melissa said. Brett adds, “Mellissa caught another bass a little while later too. It’s great to be in the boat when someone catches their first bass ever. This was a special day, she’s a veteran now!”
Brett adds, “You know, I run my boat about 4,500 miles a year, none of it on land either. Sometimes in the roughest water and many times, in a debris field of blow-downs and backwaters. I have to feel comfortable with my engine and boat, I need to have confidence in them, and I have to know that they will provide the capability for me to run far and run back safely, and on time, when I fish big money tournaments. My Bass Cat and Yamaha 4-stroke engine do that. I love my rig and I trust it.”
Melissa adds, “I learned what to do after you catch a bass now too, so I can show my kids. It’s all so exciting! We released all the fish we caught. They’ll be there next time for somebody else to enjoy.”
Back at the outdoor media conference, word got out, and the next day and everyone cheered to Melissa’s first bass.
Experts say the best deer hunting with a bow is from 15 to 30 feet up in a tree. Dangerous? Yes!
Early to rise can mean “early to sleep” while in your tree stand. It’s common, it’s fun, it keeps you in the woods, but can be deadly if you are not protected.
Minimize danger, Lifeline Safety – here is how to stay protected while you wait for Mister BIG or snooze.
By Forrest Fisher
With the seasonal shift in progress, it’s becoming a colorful time of year, a likable time of year for most everyone that loves the outdoors. For deer hunters, the archery season is open, or close to it, wherever you live. Most everywhere, it has been too warm and the moon phase isn’t quite right yet for the usual natural deer behavior of bucks seeking to find hot doe’s this early. The rut, the typical time for bucks to mark their territory and leave a scent trail to be followed by members of the opposite sex, is predicted to be the first or second week in November in northern zones. If you are an archery hunter and are out there anyway, I understand. It’s fun to be in the woods in a tree stand 12 to 20 feet above the ground, or higher, safely tethered to your tree and out of any danger that might befall you should you render yourself asleep up there.
I must confess, I fall asleep just about every hunt, but I’m safely tethered to my tree because I’m in a Summit Viper climbing tree stand. It fastens around the tree with a braided wire hoop and also acts as an “easy chair” once “up there.” This is the safest, quietest and most comfortable way to hunt from above ground, tethered to the tree every foot of the way that you climb upward. I am in full confidence that no danger or injury would occur with this setup and I feel totally safe, yet I am always aware of issues, worn parts and all that. Best part? You or I can be in a new tree for every hunt. No over-scent left by our presence in the same tree each time out. Deer have a super-sensitive sense of smell, sight and hearing. Not repeating in the same tree works to help you be successful.
Many big game hunters that hunt from above ground use a fixed ladder-stand. Granted, it’s easier once in place. Most are using modern, metal stands that will not rot with exposure to rain or snow, that’s a big plus. The old-style, build-it-yourself tree stands from wood are mostly history today, but if you hunt from one of those be VERY CAREFUL. If you hunt from either one of these fixed-stand types, old or new, wood or metal, there is one common protection method that will work for both stand types. To be just as safe as if you were in a climbing tree stand and tethered to the tree from start to finish, going up and coming down, check out the Hunter Safety System (HSS) Lifeline and don’t wait to get one. Do it now (https://huntersafetysystem.com).
Anyone that hunts above ground should always be wearing a full body-harness, of course, that is rule number one. Your family and friends are way too important to be taking care of you with a broken back or a broken neck, since these are among the most common injuries from a tree stand fall, IF YOU LIVE. Lots of guys think they are the big, strong, macho brutes of the woods and don’t need a harness for their 10-foot treestand (hunter girls not so much, they follow the safety rules). Everyone that hunts above ground needs a full body-harness, period. Injury can happen from much lower heights too. Protect yourself.
To hunt with the harness and Lifeline, just clip the full body-harness carabiner (the uppermost clip on your harness) to the moveable HSS Lifeline Prussic loop knot (part of the Lifeline unit), it slides up with you as you go up – one foot at a time. If you slip off the ladder as you are climbing up, or from the top, as you sit in your stand for hours on end – way up there, while you might be resting your eyes, you are protected by the Lifeline. Follow the instructions that come with the Lifeline Unit to install the Lifeline. Use care, always.
For $40, it’s worth it. Your life insurance is only $40. Can’t beat that.
Total protection from the ground to the top of the stand and back down – cheap, easy, adds to your confidence level (no worries), worth your time to get one. The full body-harness can cost $60 to $200, there are lots of choices. I’m a simple guy, my $60 model works great. You can search the same HSS website as above for harness details. Yes, the full body-harness takes some time to become familiar with, but once mastered, you can put it on and take it off in about 20-30 seconds, even in the dark. I’ve used mine for about 20 years and it gets to be that simple to draw your bow and aim your arrow, or point your firearm – from 20 or 30 feet up, with complete confidence in your own safety. That’s a big deal to me. The deer and choice of shot is now totally yours, no safety worries. Dead deer. It’s predictable.
With the warm weather early in the season, or when it turns brutally cold during firearm and black powder season, you can hunt with the confidence that you will return. Your children, your family, and your friends might like that if you explain it to them. You are safe. Share this good news. Get a full-body harness, get a Lifeline and get some safe sleep, even when you hunt.
It's a Crock-O-Gator "Swamp Bug" in Pumpkin-Candy color...I call 'em "Swamp Things." Ugly, no idea what they look like to fish...but they work.
Big Bass and Small Bass….you know you need to jig “in the junk”
We do that with Soft Plastics, Jig Heads and Buzz Baits to Score
Where to find help with Colors, Sizes, and Choices that Work…see below
By Forrest Fisher
If you’re like me, whenever I fish, the baits I use sort of need to have a history that tells me somehow, “I’m gonna catch fish with this bait.” Sometimes when nothing else works, we try an untested bait from our box and are surprised to hear those words in our mind, “There’s a Fish!”
We set the hook.
Pure satisfaction! Surprise too!
Of course, we need to afford what we fish too and at Crock-O-Gator, imagine that you can buy soft plastics for about 45 cents apiece. It’s true! Get a 10 pack of tubes for $4.25! Unreal. Not a 4-pack or 5-pack, but a 10-pack for under 5 bucks. I was hooked and so was the many bass, all released, that we tallied that morning. We were fishing for fun.
Above all that “gotta have” thinking, I like to use baits that have come from resources within the USA, when they work. Crock-O-Gator baits all come from the USA and guess what? Because they are so affordable, you can try them to see for yourself. Check out this video below. In the video below, veteran angler David Gray talks with Jim and Denise Dill on Lake of the Ozarks, he discovers how the company came to be and grew to what it offers today for anglers that like to fish for bass and catch bass, all with USA-made fishing products.
Click the picture below to learn more about Crock-O-Gator.
Jim Dill says, “We are an American-owned and operated company based at Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. We bought the company in 2010, it was founded in 1984. Since we bought it, Crock-O-Gator has been steadily growing since. Our goal is to continue making and providing top quality baits at a fair price. All of our products go through extensive testing prior to marketing to ensure every feature of the bait is perfect. As anglers ourselves, we understand the importance of quality products to get the most of every fishing outing.”
Avast ‘ye Matey’s! ‘Thar’s Treasure and Fun to be Had Here!
By Forrest Fisher
If you happen along the Gravois Arm while boating Lake-of-the-Ozarks, you could find a wailing pirate in search of treasure, and you could be helping ‘em.
Your kids might be part of the crew too!
You would be setting sail from the Jolly Roger Grub-n-Grog waterfront restaurant aboard their weathered Pirate Ship with Captain Scalawag, of course, chock full with a new gold and silver search for a fun adventure. It’s unforgettable for kids and some of the not-so-young kids too.
After the lake-ward treasure hunt, it’s to shore to the Kracken Shack Seafood and Oyster Bar. Look to find an assortment of tasty and healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner assortments, a topside menu of buccaneer beverages, an arcade for the fun of it, and lake-life leisure like you may have never found before. You can feast, party, find all sorts of adventure and even book a charter fishing trip. Well, shiver me fishing pole timbers!
If you’re driving there, you’ll find them at 28443 Polk Dr., Rocky Mount, Missouri (65072), or call ahead at 573-392-0700.
Matching Lure Sets can make a fish-catching difference!
NYSDEC Fisheries Chief Steve Hurst wants more public input on fishery issues
Wilson Harbor, Olcott Harbor…provide safe access to Lake Ontario monster fish
By Forrest Fisher
In the world search for outdoor fun, salmon fishing with new friends aboard a 39-foot well-equipped boat can light a fire for unstoppable conversation. That’s true, even when the wind is kicking up 5-foot waves. My dad always told me, “It’s not about the catching, it’s about the fun and being there.”
Assemblyman Angelo Morinello said, “I’m learning so much!” The word-sharing for learning more about fishery issues and becoming a good fisherman couldn’t have been any better during a recent fish trip with legislators and press representatives on western Lake Ontario from Niagara County. High water is an issue for Lake Ontario right now, but the group of about 30 folks, in total, discovered that the fish really do not care about water levels.
King salmon (Chinook), brown trout and steelhead live far offshore in summer and their only concern is finding forage and feeding when they’re hungry, which is quite often. Our group went to Wilson Harbor, but looking there, you might never know high water was an issue (near Sunnyside Grill area), as save-the-harbor efforts in Wilson by a private concern brought in new docks and new fill, those efforts made the high water seem non-existent.
With a nasty wind from the east, we headed out of the marina and about 10-miles north. It was rough but doable. Captain Mike Johannes (716-791-3646 ) and 1st mate, Randy Jasulevich, made running the boat named “On-the-Rocks” and trolling 10 fish lines seem like easy work. It’s not, of course, especially under high wind and wave conditions, but they were trying hard to put us on fish. Captain Mike’s big boat handled the surf with no issues at all and we enjoyed a “County Fair” sort of shallow roller coaster ride for a few hours. It was relaxing too.
For the first time in quite a while, the best part of the trip was a simple conversation. We talked about fishing, changes in the NYSDEC, free fishing licenses from now through Labor Day for Lake Ontario anglers, fish management policies on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario water levels, the new NYSDEC inland trout initiative, the new focus on bringing more women to fish with families, the Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB), the NYS Conservation Council, the NYS Fish and Wildlife Management Board, our 12 NYS fish hatcheries, the success of the Niagara River musky population, radio telemetry studies of tagged fish species, the future for youth fishing programs and so much more. Thanks to Steve Hurst, Chief of NYS Fisheries with the NYSDEC, who was aboard with us, everyone had a chance to share thoughts and a bit of banter, too. It was a great 6-man/2-way session for educational outreach in its finest form. That’s one major goal for Hurst, “I want to bring the public into the picture more often, then provide details of changes to be made based on public input and science.”
Dave Godfrey, the legislator for Wilson/Cambria/Wheatfield, provided a simplified rationale for management of the Lake Ontario water levels, all based on his 60-years of white-beard experience with the lake. Assemblyman Angelo Morinello shared a summary of positive changes and improvements underway in Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda, and Lewiston, all quite impressive.
“Fish on!” Captain Mike hollered out. Dave Godfrey jumped up. 1st mate Randy hollered out, “Reel, Reel, Reel!” The rod was bent over from 12 o’clock to the gunnel at the back of the big boat, the rod was throbbing with a king salmon in a sort of bob and weave pulsation, and with a hard pull. Just then, “Uh-oh, what happened?” said Godfrey, “He stopped pulling, darn, I think the fish is gone.” A quick check by Captain Mike showed that during the battle, the line had apparently hit one of the other down lines and with such a big fish on, the line snapped. “Not your fault!” Said the captain, “There are plenty more out there!”
We all learned lessons in setting dipsy divers, mag-divers, use of wire-line, downriggers and slider leaders, leader length, flasher-fly combo’s and spin-doctor/tinsel fly rigging tricks. Wow! What a day!
Coming back to port, the biggest fish from Wilson Harbor was caught by Jonathan Schultz fishing with Captain Hank Condes aboard Blade Runner Charters. The biggest fish from Olcott Harbor, a 22-pound king salmon, was brought in by Andrea Czopp while fishing aboard Tough Duty with Captain Tim Sylvester. Both Schultz and Czopp received a handsome trophy for their mastery with rod and reel. The most unusual catch – awarded for landing a fish hooked by the tail, was made by Becky Wydysh, also fishing aboard Tough Duty. To a crowd of cheering and fun-filled jeering, Becky was presented with the “Golden Boot Award.” She accepted with a big smile.
The friendly competition among the six charter captains and the Niagara County legislators and public officials concluded with a tasty lunch at the nearby Live Edge Brewing Company, a microbrewery located just five minutes away from the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott. The fun event was hosted by Bill Hilts Jr. and Dr. John Syracuse in conjunction with Niagara County Fish Advisory Board.
For more info on vacation guides, fishing charters or accommodations, call 1-877-FALLS-US or visit www.olcott-newfane.com or www.niagarafallsusa.com. To contact Capt. Mike Johannes at On-the-Rocks Charters, call 716-791-3646 or email: ontherockssII@aol.com. To contact Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty Sportfishing Charters, call 716-417-2455 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s chow time on the trail. You know the excitement! It means rest and relaxation, conversation, good moments are just ahead. Yet, many times, you are just ready to get the fire going and something is missing. Forks, knives, spoons, can opener – you know how it goes. That’s life, but guess what? That precious R&R just got to be a few more moments away. Enter ChowLite. Some of those NEEDs and ISSUES are gone. Presto. Gotta like that.
From the company that introduced the popular ChowPal™ all-in-one utensil set/multi-tool last year, Outdoor Edge now introduces a new smaller, lighter eating utensil, the ChowLite. Crafted of 420J2 stainless steel for increased strength and durability the ChowLite’s one-piece design swings open and locks securely to reveal a full-size fork and spoon with a serrated food separator, integrated bottle opener, can opener and a flathead screwdriver.
Weighing only 1.6 ounces, the new ChowLite is ideal for weight-conscious backpackers. For space-conscious issues, when closed it is a mere 4.5 inches, but when locked open for use, it measures 7.75 inches long. Ideal for digging into freeze-dried food bags, separating food and general-purpose eating, the ChowLite keeps your venture into the wild a civilized dining experience.
The ChowLite will retail for under $20 and will be available at www.outdooredge.com and at retailers nationwide. I like the new inventions. This is one of those. Enjoy.
Take that adventure, but keep your hands clean. Pick up a ChowLite soon.
About Outdoor Edge: Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Denver, Outdoor Edge is a leading designer and manufacturer of knives and tools. Today, Outdoor Edge continues to innovate and develop state-of-the-art products for outdoor enthusiasts, game processors, survivalists, handymen and others who require the very best knives and tools available for leisure, work and everyday-carry needs. The company prides itself in offering a variety of products that undergo extensive field-testing in harsh, rugged environments resulting in durable, long-lasting products that come with a lifetime guarantee. For additional information on Outdoor Edge and its full line of products write to: Outdoor Edge, 5000 Osage Street, Suite 800, Denver, CO 80221; call toll-free 800-477-3343; email email@example.com; or visit www.outdooredge.com.
154 Military Veteran’s, more than 50 volunteers as charter guides/hosts
Clear weather, smooth sailing, hundreds of pounds of walleye fillets for veteran freezers
Stickbaits, spinner worm rig tactics were key to catching fish, details follow in story below
By Forrest Fisher
It was a tad before 6:00 a.m. when the morning sky-glow of bright yellow on the horizon of the cliffs to the east started to light up the day. It was a special day.
A warm forecast with windless air was perfect weather for Operation Boots – a sponsored fun-fishing activity for military veterans from WNY Heroes, Inc., a not-for-profit organization established in 2007 to provide veterans and their families with access to essential services, financial assistance and other needs that they might not be able to find any other way. And today, to provide some fishing fun on the water.
Military vet’s and volunteer fishing guide hosts began to gather at Chadwick Bay Marina in Dunkirk Harbor at this early hour. Their mission for the day? To fish for walleye on the Lake Erie waters of Chautauqua County, NY. I could feel there was electricity in the air. Good energy! To help control over-crowding at the event, the veterans were asked to pre-register and numbers were capped at 145. Yet, these numbers grew on site and who could say no to our dedicated military and wartime veterans?
Bantering, good-natured jokes, and warm-hearted conversations kept a mega-box of Tim Horton’s donuts busy. Dark roast java – better than the Uncle Sam version of early morning rocket fuel, complete with all the fixings, added to that feeling of “the guys” getting together for morning service work. This time, for the fun of it, the goal was to catch the biggest walleye. Fun battles. The morning was off to a great start.
In their third year of helping to host this event, Charter Captain Jim Steel and Diane Rae from Innovative Outdoors (www.innovativeoutdoors.com, 716-481-5348) managed to satisfy the unthinkable task of finding more than 45 volunteer fishing boats to host the veterans, all of them providing fishing expertise. No small mission! In a very well-organized manner, veterans were assigned to their respective captains and a small armada to fishing boats headed to eastern basin Lake Erie to enjoy some fishing on the water. Even organizer, Captain Jim Steel, took time to host veterans aboard his 31-foot Tiara. The guy never stops!
It was a pleasure and an honor to serve as 1st mate aboard the brand new 24-foot fishing boat of Captain Jim Klein – Eye-Fish Charters. As we boarded the sleek-looking blue/white boat, the 225HP Yamaha 4-stroke outboard stood large and impressive on the stern. Captain Jim said, “This will get us to where the fish are in no time, then once we get there, we’ll switch to get better boat control for trolling with this smaller 9.9HP Yamaha motor. Both of them have autopilot for hands-free operation. He added that the Lowrance sonar would help us find the fish.” He also added that he had scouted the day before and knew where we should start.
It was a privilege to meet US Army Engineering Battalion veteran, Chris Corcoran; US Army Infantryman – Al Sawyer (79 years young), and Rick Shick – US Army Vietnam Veteran with the 1st Infantry Division where he and his buddies tried to stay alive doing battle about 80 miles east of Saigon.
The fishing was good and we shared line-stretching time for the next 4 hours. Chris Corcoran could be a regular 1st mate on any charter boat, he caught on to details that quick and had lots of energy in this, his first boat fish trip ever. Corcoran helped set lines, rig lines, he was quite amazing. By the end of our 4 hour fishing day, we caught 30 walleye, keeping 24 for the freezer. While we caught fish on various stickbaits too, the hot lure was the Eye-Fish spinner/worm rig in Mixed-Veggie color (https://www.eye-fish.com). We fished a Figure-8 trolling pattern just west of Dunkirk in 40 to 70 feet of water.
Al Sawyer caught our biggest fish at 7.23 pounds, while Rick and Chris took turns at the rods. We had doubles on three times! A testament to pre-scouting by Captain Jim on where to fish for this event.
Hats off to the event organizer at WNY Heroes, Inc. Program Director, Lynn Magistrale, and WNY Heroes co-founder, Chris Kreiger – an Iraqi War veteran, and so many groups that donated, to help make this event unforgettable. In total, 154 military veterans participated.
More than 45 volunteer fishing crews donated their time, gear and services to help host this extravaganza fishing event to say thanks to our military veterans for the freedoms that we enjoy in America every day.
Before we hit port, Al Sawyer was beaming with a giant glowing grin and said, “This has been the most fun-fishing day of my life.” For Captain Jim and myself, that said it all! To fish with Captain Jim Klein, you don’t need to empty your pocketbook. Two people can fish a half-day charter on Lake Erie for walleye for $250. Imagine that! If you want to try it, give him a call at 716-597-9421. Don’t wait, the fishing is hot right now.
Hats off to all of the volunteers and host fishing guide/hosts, many from the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (ELECBA), and to the host kitchen facility, the Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club with food preparations by Brunner’s Bayside Catering. Every veteran left the banquet that followed the fishing event with a brand new Zebco open-face fishing rod and reel in red/white/blue colors, an additional thank you for their military service in the past.
One last thing, let’s not forget prayer and a toast to all of those veterans that did not make it back home. I, for one, say thank you to the good Lord for these brave friends of our America.
No O-rings, plastic retainers, rubber bands or other things to lose on these broadheads
Same cost as other high-performance broadheads
100 and 125-grain sizes, with 2-inch and 2-1/4 inch cutting diameters, respectively
By Forrest Fisher
For decades, big game broadhead engineers have come up with quite a few evolutions for change to make a better broadhead. In doing so, I think I have tried them all, used them all from the stand, discovered their efficiencies and flaws – pro’s and con’s, and have always wondered why nobody has ever used magnets. Too heavy? Too costly? What?
I’ve used deployable blade broadheads for decades now because they fly straighter than most fixed blade varieties and I’m a simple guy. I don’t want to tune the blades to sync with my fletching’s for straighter flight. Time is not free for me or anybody. So as a result, I have boxes with all the forms of various retention devices to hold mechanical blades in place while the arrow is in flight. We all want greater accuracy. One look into my arrow box of goodness will show there have been elastomers (O-rings), plastic holding collars, tiny rubber bands, friction devices and more – all used as blade retainers for mechanical broadheads. While they are all functional, those items are potentially the same reason for blade deployment failure, either in flight or upon impact. The new Spectre Broadhead solves the problem using higher technology, through magnetism.
From Brookville, Pa., Spectre’s patent-pending magnetic-blade technology is revolutionary. The design holds the fold-up blades in their closed position throughout the arrow flight. Upon impact, the blades are guaranteed to open instantly for a failure-proof deployment, and with a 2-inch cutting diameter, the result is massive entry and exit wounds.
The Spectre Broadhead is designed to fly like a field point and it features a strong, aerodynamic, machined ferrule made from 7075 Aluminum with a hardened carbon-steel, four-face, chisel tip. This crushing combination provides extremely reliable penetration through hide, flesh, and bone.
The Spectre Broadhead has the thickest, strongest blades of any expandable broadhead on the market. The pair of 0.047-inch-thick, razor-sharp, swept-back blades are magnetized to hold together until the moment of impact when they reliably deploy to cut a path of destruction. The chisel tip and blades have a gold Cerakote (ceramic) finish for lubricity and wear resistance.
The new Spectre Broadhead is available in two versions:
100-grain with a 2-inch cutting diameter
125-grain version that boasts an impressive 2.25-inch cutting diameter.
Each three-pack of broadheads comes with a practice head and an extra set of sharp blades, ultimately providing four broadheads for the price of three. Spectre Broadheads have a suggested retail price of $44.99.
Spectre Broadheads are a Viper Archery Products brand. Located at 494 Service Center Rd. in Brookville, Pa., Viper Archery Products has been proudly manufacturing top-quality Made-In-America archery sights and accessories for 15 years. For more information on Viper Archery or Spectre Broadheads, visit www.viperarcheryproducts.com.
When anglers fish with new lures, they try them for a reason. This angler used this lure for the first time, a Mister Twister Tri-Alive Plastic Nightcrawler, to catch several post-spawn bass like this one.
What lure should I buy?
What color, what size, what brand?
By Forrest Fisher
Catching many fish lately?
No? Do you wonder why not?
Ask yourself this question, “Am I happy with my lures, baits, sizes, colors?”
If you’re not catching fish, then you know the answer to that question. As an outdoor writer that has fished with many of our country’s most successful pro anglers, I can share with you that these guys know the basics like not many others.
The bass pro’s know how to cast, which rods, reels too, line options and the last maybe the most important thing, which lures to use. Questions is, which lures are those and why?
I asked Rick Clunn this question during a big tournament on a reservoir near the University of Alabama many years back.
Rick said, “You gotta use the lures that you have the most confidence in.” Of course, I was not going to stop there, so I asked, “What is your favorite lure, Rick?”
He said, “Well, it changes from time to time, but the lures I use are the lures I like and the lures I like, I catch fish with. Sometimes you catch a fish on a lure you never thought would work, but you have it, so on a slow day, you try it. Surprised, you find it works. You keep a mental note. A “positive vib” for that lure. Your knowledge grows of when to use that lure, where, why, how to retrieve it. In the end, I only fish with the lures I believe work for me. The lures I like are the lures that catch fish because I honestly believe they will catch fish. My confidence grows.”
I replied, “So Rick, how do I tell a listener on my radio show which lures to buy, which lures to use, what colors and all that?” Rick looked up, smiled, then answered, “You might tell them to go to the tackle store and walk around. Talk the proprietor. Talk to the other guys in the store. Listen to them. Then go walk around by yourself keeping in mind what you learned. Then pick a lure or two that you like. It might be the color, size, whatever it is, that lure will probably catch you lots of fish. You had a start and rationale to believe in it. You will use that lure. Time in the water is a big thing. That’s how you tell them the straight story, hope that helps.”
To learn more about what lures Rick Clunn likes these days, visit: https://luck-e-strike.us/rcseries. It’ll help you develop a background for the passion Clunn shares with us by his own lure designs.
Like many of you, I have a tackle box full of lures of all sorts. Probably, there are hundreds that I carry with me to fishing trips, but in truth, I only use about 5 or 6 of this myriad of lures in my carry-around collection. Why the others that probably tilt the scales at about 25 pounds? I tell myself I need to exercise too!
Lure form, lure function, and lure attraction – all make up that special tackle box we all carry around in our mind.
Some anglers say, “My tackle box talks to me.” If you have that kind of tackle box, you are already catching fish.
If not, listen to what Rick Clunn says. It was nearly 30 years ago that Rick Clunn shared that lure advice with me.
Guess what, for some reason, my tackle box talks to me these days.
The contents, at least some of the contents – the lures, smile with whisper tracks of memories formed from hungry fish smacking my lures.
The trail of teeth mark impressions always seems to be in the form of a smile.
I release most of the fish I catch. Sometimes I think the fish might somehow know that.
Maybe in the cosmos of fish, they are talking back with me.
Smart Troll with diving planes is highly effective
Warrior Spoon lures proved they are hot
By Forrest Fisher
High Great Lakes water levels have raised concerns for shoreline issues, but it sure has not affected the fishing. In Lake Ontario where the water level is the highest above average when compared to the other Great Lakes, we fished Lake Ontario to find heavy fun with no issues.
Working out of Hughes Marina in Williamson (NY) with part of our fun group aboard Dandy Eyes Charters and the other half aboard Miss Demeanor Charters, we readied for action. Our troop of anglers was a team of outdoor communicators from the New York State Outdoor Writers Association that were challenged by the team from Rush Outdoors TV (Pursuit Network). Led by Realtree camo superstar, Tim Andrus, the battle of Lake Ontario for heaviest weight at the scale after just three hours of fishing, was on.
There is always more than just playing the game with outdoor media – there are jokes, tales from impractical history, shoelace tying fun (tying laces together when the other guy is sleeping, then yelling fish on!), and other such shenanigans. It’s all in real fun, and it is, and it was, real fun for everyone.
We left the marina at about 9:00 a.m. and headed northwest into the mild 8 mph wind that had created a perfect “chop” for keeping the mayflies off the boat. Aboard the comfy 31-foot Baha with Captain Jerry Snyder and Captain Sandy Miller from Dandy Eyes, we discovered so much about high-tech fishing.
Using 8-1/2 foot Okuma fishing rods with Daiwa Salt 30 or Shimano Tekota 600LC reels, each filled with 9-strand/45 pound test Torpedo Diver wireline, we trolled a King John flasher with a trailing Warrior silver-plated spoon in “Spoiler” color to fool some nice King Salmon.
In all, we hooked up with 8 of these incredible fighting fish. Some of them took as long as 38 minutes to bring in! Fun? WOW! Sore arms and shoulders? Yes! Need for oxygen? Yes!
Captain Snyder uses Smart-Troll electronics to measure the water temp, lure depth and lure speed – yes I think a fishy degree is required to figure all this hi-techy stuff out, as the fish were hoodwinked into thinking some of the flashy/UV-coated spoons presented at just the right depth for the day, 70-80 feet down in 130-140 feet of water, was their late breakfast. WHAM! Fish On! Love that sound from the captain.
Captain Jerry Snyder proved to all of us writer folks that he might just understand a little about the very tricky Lake Ontario salmon and trout fishery. Among all of us jousting him with jokes, laughable tales and more, he maintained his reliable and proven fishing method self to put the boat on fish that could be caught. We watched many fish we could not catch on the sonar screen, but then he changed his fishing tactics to win the FooltheFishzitzer prize. Masterful. Really was.
Fishing aboard Dandy Eyes, we zeroed in on bringing fish to the boat even when the fish were not biting for many other charters. It might be embarrassing for other charters, as you might guess, but it’s quite a lot of fun at the dock when you return to share stories of your catch. Biggest fish, smallest fish, most fish – you know, the big fish tale spins abound. So that’s how it was last weekend when we fished with my outdoor media buddies Chris Kenyon, Leo Maloney and Bill Hilts in this fish-off match vs the TV stars and the camera crew from Rush Outdoors TV. Once more time – Fun? WOW! Yes it was. I’m trying to wipe the grin off my face, so please don’t mention it.
In a fun day of fishing, sharing jokes, bantering about all things, like where you might find a deer tick – no, not going there – and all that followed by the biggest question from Captain Jerry time after time: “Who’s Up?!! Fish On!”
We caught fish, King Salmon to 16 pounds – our smallest at 5 pounds, to win the jesting tussle at the scales. Hardy thank you to Wayne County superman outdoor educator Christopher Kenyon and TV stars, Tim Andrus and John Lenox, for wholehearted vying in this funfest battle. Both groups, a total of 12 people, are dedicated professionals committed to furthering the message of the great outdoors with everyone everywhere.
Love the battle hymn aboard our boat last weekend: “FISH-ON!” What a great tune.
There are kindred spirits of the sea, and they came alive on this day-trip for me
Seashells, the sound of surf, sea birds, beautiful dolphins
By Forrest Fisher
It was about 10 years ago that I first met someone that could offer to take you for a short sightseeing boat ride near Key West, Florida. Then, while slowly motoring along, ask if you like dolphins, then take you to meet them, one on one. Everyone loves dolphins! Captain Victoria Impallomeni smiled to us, then took the five of us on her boat that day to a secret place in the Atlantic Ocean, about 45 minutes from her boat dock at Murray Marina.
We motored along to arrive at an uninhabited mangrove island that offered unique seashells, clear waters, the quiet sound of gentle waves washing ashore, and the faraway screech of feeding sea birds in the distance. Time seemed infinite while on the beach. So relaxing. I discovered a new awareness of the sea and nature that day.
We explored the beach and shared a conversation about the infinite power of nature, then moved back to the boat and to the waters offshore near the island. That’s when Captain Victoria took out her tuning forks, yes…tuning forks, just like in the science class movies of the 1950s and 1960s, and turned on her musical i-pod sounds for us in the boat. She also shared her tunes with the sea below, using special marine speakers. It only took a few minutes, like a miracle, a mama dolphin surfaced 10 feet from boat side, lifted her head, and looked us all in the eye, gently squealing a bit. It was if to say, “Hi Captain Vicki! It’s good to see you, who have you brought to visit?” Seriously, she talked to that dolphin. Then, three more appeared. They stayed with us for quite a while. If there is one place where peace in the world can be found, it is here.
Captain Victoria says, “Whenever we come out to this special place, the dolphins all seem so happy to see us.” Her smile is deep and honest, and special. I asked if they are this easy for everyone to find. Captain Vicky smiled at me and said, “Not sure, they seem to like my music, are attracted to the tuning fork vibrations that none of us can hear, but they appear to hear, and they seem to know me somehow, too. I always feel special out here with them, and we have become friends for all time. Everyone that takes this day cruise will remember it for a long time. We seem to form a connection to nature and the sea like no other connection in life, and many folks tell me that.”
She added, “Honestly, the dolphins appear happy to see us every time we arrive in this area with our new group, music, and tuning forks. I think that might sound a little corny, but they know the signature sound of my power trim motor. They are so intelligent, so graceful and beautiful.”
“Many folks ask for a trip like this to take them far from their lifetime reality, a sort of healing moment for them that – for many – changes them in a good way. I think time stands still while the dolphins are near. Some people reach over the side and the dolphins seem to know they should get closer, and they do, at times. The result is what we call a healing moment. Honestly, I think the dolphins enjoy our visit as much as we do. They play with us. They talk to us. They are incredible in so many ways.”
I cannot wait to return for one more visit to share in the peace of sea in this special place near Key West, Florida. You can share more about these experiences with Captain Victoria in her blog, it is quarterly, and can be found here: https://dancingdolphinspirits.com/.
Gobble-Gobble-Gobble, it's turkey time. Jim Monteleone Photo
New Bottomland camo for popular Mossberg Turkey shotguns
Safety and safe firearms handling is everyone’s responsibility
By Forrest Fisher
When it comes to turkey hunting, camo can make the difference between getting “the” shot or not.
If you hunt deep into the bottomlands, Mossberg has added Mossy Oak Bottomland camoflouge to two of their turkey hunting shotgun models: the 500® Turkey Bottomland 410 bore pump-action shotgun and 935™ Magnum Turkey Bottomland 12-gauge auto-loading shotgun.
Both models offer full concealment with Bottomland camo, the original pattern that launched Mossy Oak more than 30 years ago. Driven by the desire to get closer to turkeys in his home state of Mississippi, Mossy Oak Founder, Toxey Haas, turned a handful of bark, sticks and leaves into an extremely life-like hunting pattern. This classic pattern remains every bit as effective three decades later.
If you don’t already know, the Mossberg 500 Turkey Bottomland 410 Bore (50109) is a pump-action designed for reliable, smooth operation with the combination of non-binding twin action bars, dual extractors, a positive steel-to-steel lock-up, anti-jam elevator, anodized aluminum receiver for added durability and universally recognized ambidextrous top-mounted safety. This 500 Turkey 410 bore comes with a 26-inch vent rib, fixed full-choke barrel, fiber optic front sight and is fully-camouflaged with Mossy Oak Bottomland.
The Mossberg 935 Magnum Turkey Bottomland 12 Gauge (81046) is a big boy firearm that can score well at long range. At the core of this smooth-cycling 12-gauge, 3.5-inch auto-loading shotgun is the Mossberg dual vent-gas system for reliable operation and recoil reduction. Additional standard features include a patented Mossberg Stock Drop System that adjusts the vertical angle of the stock (drop at comb) for a custom-like fit, quick-empty magazine release button for convenient unloading of shells, drilled and tapped receiver and top-mounted safety. This magnum autoloader features a 22-inch vent rib, over-bored ACCU-MAG™ choked barrel and comes with an X-FACTOR™ ported Ulti-Full Turkey choke tube, fiber-optic front sight and is fully-camouflaged with Mossy Oak Bottomland.
Rugged, dependable and smooth-operating describes Mossberg’s series of Turkey shotguns. To see the newest members of the family and the complete line of hunting (waterfowl, turkey, deer and all-purpose field) and tactical/home defense models, please visit our web site at www.mossberg.com.
2019 Mossberg 500 and 935 Magnum Turkey Bottomland Shotgun Specifications:
Mossy Oak® and Bottomland® are registered trademarks of Haas Outdoors, Inc.
About Mossberg: Founded in 1919, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., is the oldest family-owned firearms manufacturer in America, and is the largest pump-action shotgun manufacturer in the world. Celebrating 100 years of innovation, Mossberg leads the industry with over 100 design and utility patents to its credit and stands as the first ISO 9001 Certified long-gun manufacturer. Complete information on commercial, special purpose, law enforcement and military shotguns, rifles and accessories are available at mossberg.com or by calling 1-800-363-3555. Mossberg can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Speckled Trout, Tarpon, Redfish, Snook, Jack Crevalle, Pompano, others
Lures or Live Bait, both work well
Lagoon or flats, there are fish in all places here
By Forrest Fisher
New to Southwest Florida and only in the wintertime, there is so much to learn about where to fish and what to do. Rod strength, line test, reel size, lure and bait choices, where to fish, a mystery for anyone new to anywhere, but I had one advantage, my nephew, Jeff Liebler, who lives in Florida, had a close friend with a boat and a “best place” to go fishing for a half day: “Cockroach Bay is one of the best places to cast a line in southwest Florida,” said Trevor Brate. ”You could catch a tarpon, snook, redfish, speckled trout, flounder or any of dozens of other fish here too.”
At 25 years young, Brate is the youngest licensed construction contractor in Southwest Florida (A+ Yardscapes / (813) 642-7358), having passed all the exams and certifications, a smart kid, and it shows in his fishing prowess. “I keep it simple, lures and simple live baits is all I do,” says Brate. “Keeping it simple allows you to become really skilled at simple efficiency and it catches fish, my grandpa taught me that.”
We launched his 17-foot Grady White right at Cockroach Bay boat launch (near Ruskin, FL), a single ramp in a lagoon-like bay area with no dock – so it takes two to be efficient, one driving the truck to the water and the other in the boat, starting up and beaching the boat on the large sand beach next to the ramp. The parking line with boats and trailers begins at the ramp and goes for as long a way down the single lane road as you care to walk. Once in the water, the tide is a factor for water depth, see the charts, and fishing can begin right in the lagoon or outside the canal that leads to Cockroach Bay and Tampa Bay. In either area, be prepared to hook a fish.
Jeff and Trevor opted to leave the crowd at the ramp and head to the flats. The water was nearly crystal clear with a sight brownish tint and we arrived with an outgoing tide, soon to be a negative tide – it is wintertime, not a good thing by local fishing optimism. It didn’t matter, we were all there to enjoy a few hours of fishing. The cooler was filled with sandwiches and dehydration prevention liquids that had a low ABV rating, if you know the lingo. Electrolyte replacement is important!
Not more than 5 minutes into fishing, the electric MinnKota bow motor moving us around between sand flats and emerging weedbed edges, Trevor yelped out, “There’s one!” His drag was singing a gentle scream tune, testing the 30 pound test braid with flourocarbon leader a bit. About a minute later, Trevor hoisted a silvery, thin-bodied fish with a deeply forked tail fin out of the water, a nice Jack Crevalle, grinning that grin of success, you know “the grin look,” as we looked on and reached for a camera. “Nice fish!” I quipped, “Spoon? I asked.” Trevor was casting a 2/5 oz. gold-plated Johnson Sprite with a red flicker tab on the tail treble hook. “You need that red flicker thing he said, it seems to make ‘em hit it.”
OK, reaching for my backpack with a limited supply of tackle goodies – hey, I’m new at this, I searched for anything gold with a red flicker thing. Nope, none in there. I stuck on a red/white Mirrolure, one of my favorites from way back when at home in New York. Jeff too, searched out his tackle, nuthin similar. “Got any more of them ‘thar spoons Trevor buddy?” Jeff asked. Without looking, Trevor says, “Nope, just had one.” He was grinning. I saw that. Hey, what are friends for?
Jeff added a plastic tail to a jig and soon after, he was hooked up with a bonnet head shark! WOW! The 3-foot long shark fought so hard, testing Jeff’s 20-pound braid with several runs, but eventually coming to the boat. We released the shark too, though there are some good recipes for bonnet head steaks.
We were now about 15 minutes into the trip and it was already so exciting. I had casted about twice per minute, so 30 tries or so. I reached over to the live bait bucket where we had 5 dozen shrimp that I brought “just in case” the lures didn’t work. Some charters fish with nothing else, some charters fish with all lures, I just wanted to be prepared for the guys, as a guest of this friendship.
So I tied on a size 1 circle hook and weighted bobber, was just about done when Trevor shouted, “Fish on!” Again, his drag screamed and I stood up to get the net, this fish looked like a double rod bend species when I got wacked by the rod and fish coming aboard. “Schllaaaap!” The sound of a loaded fishing rod hitting me square in the shoulder with a fish on makes that sound. Trust me. I was knocked on my butt, but stayed in the boat. We all laughed. Me too.
The fish was a beautiful speckled trout, 19 inches of pure energy with soon to be white fillets. It met the 16 – 20 inch slot limit allowed to keep four per day. Again, on the gold spoon. “Sure you don’t have any more of those spoons Trevor?” Jeff asked again. “Nope,” answered Trevor without looking. Again, the grin. Made me wonder twice now.
That was it, I hurried to hook up a live shrimp to the bobber rig. Slipping the hook right behind the stud above the shrimp’s nose for a secure locking point, I cast out to the edge of a weedbed I could see about 50 feet away. The bobber never had a chance to settle, the line just took off. “Fish On!” I could not believe the power of this fish. My 20-pound braid was wailing a James Taylor tune…Fire and Ice, I think. Indeed, I was dreaming. About a minute later, a 22-inch Pompano came aboard. These saltwater fish really fight well.
Over the next two hours we landed another 12 fish, puffer fish too, several speckled trout, others. These two kids opted to let the “old guy” take the fish home for a guest fish dinner. I didn’t argue.
In just three more weeks, all three of us would be part of a formal ceremony day in a formal uniform suit of the day, Jeff’s wedding! This was sort of a pre-bachelor party fish trip. Jeff and his bride are both outdoor-minded conservationists. I’m so happy for them both to be getting formal about being together for their future.
Fun? Oh my gosh, this was such a great adventure day!
Tail seems to have buoyancy, making the worm totally new
By Forrest Fisher
Ever noticed that fish everywhere become familiar with seeing the same lure over and over? What worked last year simply is not working this year. It’s frustrating, right?
Sometimes when a new lure hits the market…CHAZAM!
Not sure, but here is one new lure that does just that, the new Tri-Alive Nightcrawler from Mister Twister.
It’s a 6 ½-inch straight tail worm with a slender profile, soft feel for that “bite me and keep me” instinct attraction, and it seems when using these new worms, the tail-end floats a bit. That adds a flavor of newness and different action. This is especially intense for “used-to-it” fish, when using a stand-up style jig head (Shakey head).
You can hook it up as a regular Texas rig, Carolina rig, wacky rig or in any manner rig you think to try.
The worm has a different descent rate and when combined with the myriad assortment of colors offered, there is fish attraction.
The worm has a slight, but not overwhelming internal glisten, and it has a gentle gliding movement during the cast and drop . True even during steady retrieve motions – like when fished with a vibrating jig head, the Z-man head or Ricky Clunn head.
All tasty options for hungry bass.
When cast to the same spot repeatedly, the worm is enough to drive bass wacky. Wacky rig, wacky bass, it all comes together. The bass are intimidated, striking the worm just because.
It comes in 15 different three-layer color combinations with unique colors to offer fish something new to see and eat.
“All the colors in the Tri-Alive Nightcrawler lineup were custom made in combinations that have yet to be offered,” said General Manager of Mister Twister, Chuck Byrd. “The color contrast is a key to more fish whether in clear water or stained water.” Adding, “What really sets this product apart from all others, besides the new color contrast is the very soft plastic formulation. “Very soft means much more action, slower fall and a more natural gliding action in the water.”
“You know it’s a great worm when you can catch a four-pound, post-spawn bass in 10 feet of water with it,” says Twister Team Member Mike Cork. “Awesome new colors!” Super soft, yet durable.
Fish the 6 ½-inch Tri-Alive Nightcrawler, testers say, “It’s exceptional even for walleye harness rigs.”
Gaining Access to Productive Properties, How to Find These Properties
Caliber, Ammo, Scopes, Lights, Calls…It’s All Here
By Forrest Fisher
Hunting veterans and novices alike will become better coyote hunters after reading this book written by award-winning author and expert coyote hunting guide, Michael Huff.
This book provides the most detailed and comprehensive information and tactics for coyote hunting ever written. Explained in the chapters is everything you need to master the difficult art of locating and luring coyotes to your gun or camera.
Included is information on how to find productive properties and gain access, select the ideal caliber and firearm, effective use of field shooting supports, successful techniques to use electronic and mouth calls, proper operation of lights for night hunting, organizing a vehicle, creating perfect setups to bring in coyotes, advanced hunting strategies and techniques, making long-range shots, selling pelts for profit, field care and taxidermy. All in one place.
The expertise shared by this award-winning author, speaker and popular professional guide will shave years off your learning curve.
This is the Michael Huff’s second book and further authenticates his well-earned reputation as a coyote expert, a reputation formed from years of pursuing scholarly research while hunting and guiding for coyotes across the United States of America.
His first book is the award winning, “Understanding Coyotes: The Comprehensive Guide for Hunters, Photographers, and Wildlife Observers.” In his spare time, Huff provides instruction in handgun and long range shooting skills, and gives back by operating a volunteer outreach program providing meals to homeless individuals ni need.
Huff is a full-time licensed professional coyote hunting guide and operates Master Predator Hunting LLC, one of the largest predator hunting outfitters in the USA.
By Forrest Fisher
The way of the future includes modern sportsmen on the move. As we travel from place to place to fish, hunt, shoot, hike or camp, it can pay dividends to hear fresh advice from the experience of seasoned outdoors folks through podcasts (that include re-playable radio shows). It’s one easy way to keep up, no matter where we are.
Outdoor Guys Radio is a weekly outdoor show, dedicated to hunting, fishing, shooting, and the great outdoors. Airing on ESPN 99.3 FM and 1510 AM in Kansas City since 2011, listeners can catch the show every Friday afternoon from 3-4:00 Central on ESPN Kansas City or on Saturday morning from 9-10:00 Central on Sports Byline USA.
Avid outdoorsman and outdoors writer, Ken Taylor, has been a host of Outdoor Guys Radio since the show began in 2011. Ken has been hunting and fishing since he was old enough to pick up a BB gun, and is passing that passion on to his two sons. Both boys love to hunt and shoot, and are also avid fisherman. Ken credits his dad with instilling in him a love for hunting, fishing, and all things outdoors. Thanks mostly to his understanding wife, Ken spends over 90 days a year hunting and fishing. Ken enjoys hunting big game, upland birds and waterfowl in both Kansas and Missouri. The rest of his year is spent fishing on their home lake, shooting at Powder Creek Gun Club and training Ruby and Belle, the family’s Vizslas. Adds Ken, “Ruby and Belle are our most reliable hunting partners!”
The show features the best of regional and national experts, providing listeners with informative news, tips, destinations, and even a wild game recipe or two. In addition to the on-air shows, segments are also available through our podcast page and on iTunes. Each week, Outdoor Guys Radio hosts the best of local, regional and national experts in hunting, fishing, shooting and the Great Outdoors.
A few of “The Guys” who regularly contribute to the show include such national celebrities as Brandon Butler, Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri: Brandon is an avid outdoorsman, prolific writer, and a great defender of the rights of sportsmen; Jared Wiklund, Public Relations Specialist for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever: Jared provides listeners great insight into habitat and upland birds; Dr. Grant Woods, GrowingDeer.TV: Dr. Woods is a renowned biologist, game management expert, and the host of Growing Deer TV; Jim Zaleski, Outdoors Writer: “Jimmy Z” is an accomplished outdoors writer, fisherman, and radio host. He brings a wealth of fishing and hunting knowledge to the show. In addition, Zaleski is the Director of Tourism for Labette County, KS; and many other notable outdoor guys.
Help Youth Groups, Military Veterans, Conservation
Free Entry to Holiday Sportsman Show
Visit with Outdoor Vendors offering Giant Discount Options
By Forrest Fisher
We all have outdoor youth friends (4H) and most of us have met more than one disabled military hero, you know these groups need our support. A little can go a long way. Here is a special link to provide support for those in need and to find some timely outdoor holiday gifts too.
Visit the on-line Holiday Sportsman Show (it’s free), no spending is required, but you can purchase a $15 gift card package to receive an option for thousands of dollars in discounts to help our military heroes (F.I.S.H.), kids (4H and others) and outdoor conservation. That easy.
Explore outdoor halls you can navigate with your mouse, then go back again and again (for free) on your electronic communicator or computer. Visit vendors providing amazing discounts for the holidays. Gift buying and funding support made easy.
Take a peek, visit the show: Open through December 31, 2018.
Please purchase a $15 gift card package, you won’t be disappointed.
Help raise funds to help the Conservation Alliance protect wild lands and waters across North America for future generations.
New Ecology, New Nature, New Adventure
New Gear, New Kids…Old Fun in a New Way
By Forrest Fisher
Summer is warmer and starts earlier, winter is warmer and shorter. We have a longer rainy season each year. Modern generations are convinced that nature is changing.
New forms of fun have evolved to welcome millions of millennials to the outdoors where they escape to thrills with a welcome rush of fun, sometimes for just a moment or two.
The “new kids” bungee cord, hike, run, breathe fresh air, hear the surf crashing, ski downhill on snow-covered mountains, skin dive to photo-shoot fish on coral reefs – any of these a short flight from home. A usual manner of departure for their modern millennial day. They enjoy the wind moving through their hair, are protected from UV rays with modern sunscreen and meet accepted new standards of our apparent new age.
Outdoor participation is in a state of change in our modern outdoors, but it is about the millennial modern perspective, insulated within a well-planned, undeterred call for momentary adrenaline through nature. Then it’s back to work. Some millennials work 20 hour days, mostly on a keyboard.
As we approach Thanksgiving, is it time to rethink the feast of nature?
There are times when the truth of the woods, nature itself, is under question by the city folks, many millennials themselves. The new nature includes getting lost and resting easy to find yourself, sometimes in solitude, sometimes with a friend.
A roll-up air mattress that fits into the backpack with comfort to be found in a pop-up camp tent to enjoy a great night of sleep under the stars.
In your backpack, you remove your Pinnacle Dualist, it is the ultimate mess kit with stove and tiny isobutane fuel supply – total weight: 27 ounces. The kit integrates everything for hot meals and warm drinks in an impossibly small footprint.
No plastics allowed, no cigarettes, just filtered stream water, sustainable supplies, all with efforts to provide for a better future in nature and time away.
A clean future.
A green future.
A sustainable future.
Maybe these “new kids” reached their campsite on a rock-proof mountain bike. New products today can provide increased range for adventure.
Silence is the special gift of such new adventure, interrupted only by the sound of a lazy campfire, glimmering fireflies from a nearby field and woods. There is expectation for surprise looking skyward for a meteor to zoom across the night darkness.
That’s a moment to make a timely wish for peace in the world.
Nature by itself is a natural celebrity. A place where your internal clock is secure and a new secret to sync your body system is discovered. The “new kids” live true with such adventure.
There is time to write a handwritten letter to someone you know that needs a letter. A sip of purified mountain water from your Microlite water bottle that keeps liquids hot or cold for all day. Delicious.
Nature is truly grand.
Morning light provides a new connection to the day ahead. It’s hard to miss the “new day” vindication of mixed color, hues of yellow, orange and red. It’s a beautiful planet you think to yourself. You sense a new and sudden perfection with nature at this moment. You welcome your relaxed state of mind.
Friendship, wildlife, nature, conservation – all linked at this moment.
Your mind wanders a bit, then you think back to mankind centuries old to realize the bonus, this is the same morning sunlight that people 5,000 years ago watched come over the horizon. So times have not changed, you option in thought. You do know though, that this overnight experience has provided an uplift for you.
Nature is truly grand.
Human nature is a bit like Mother Nature with the seasons of spring, summer, winter and fall, you imagine. The seasons restore each other. Maybe Mother Nature has not changed all that much then or, you option, maybe it has. There is time to ponder this question.
Can there be a new algorithm to slow down this latest “new kids” generation that seeks to find instant solutions through the assortment of so many keyboard tools.
Jeans, T-shirt, sneakers, ball cap and sunglasses is all you really need to “fit in.” Soong as you have a battery cord and charger.
So we ask, “Is this the new nature or the old nature? “The “new kids” nature is…you accept, extraordinary.
Sunset arrives with an orange glow.
The clouds rest.
The wind is silent now too.
An owl hoots in a nearby tree.
It’s time for millennials to join up with nature to find adventure in the outdoors. It’s time for millennials to understand why hunting and fishing are important to our future and our ecology.
Us older folks could use the new leadership, don’t be afraid to ask us for a match.
Midsole support and solid heel fit helped heal my knee bones
Semi-automatic shoe-lacer, especially good for old guys
For hunting – they’re scent-free, waterproof and handsome to deer to stare at while I draw my bow
By Forrest fisher
In my short seven decades of hunting, hiking, fishing and camping, I have bought and tried virtually every boot ever made on the market. Most of them are pretty good and they work well for their intended purposes. Somehow without my knowing, time has passed and it seems I got old. First the back, then the knees, you know how things go when you wear out parts – especially in cold weather.
Then I had a chat with my long-time outdoor pal, Kim Emery, and she shared that there was this new boot that everyone was raving about for comfort. It was waterproof, you could get insulated or uninsulated, and if you wanted to save your back from bending over too far to tie the shoelaces, you could get them with the new, semi-automatic, wind-up shoe-lacer…push to lock, pull to release. Kim said, “You’re gonna like these Forrest.” When a trusted friend tells you that, they got ordered, they were on their way.
As soon as I received them, the shipping box wrapper lasted about 4 seconds until I reached the Irish Setter boot box. First off, they are handsome. Second, they were so lightweight. I felt myself hurrying to get my sneaker shoes off to slip into my new size 14 handsome boots. My heart was actually racing a bit, they looked so good. Would they fit? Would they work for me?
My wide foot slithered into them like a hot knife into warm butter. Wow, I thought, they feel really good. I stood up after figuring out the tighten-me-now shoe lace mechanism and there I was. I took a few careful steps. Then I hollered over to my better half, “Honey, come see these new boots! They’re amazing, they feel good, they help my knees, I can’t believe it!”
Smiling ear to ear, “I’m going hiking out back dear,” I was yelping. Underfoot and knee comfort like never before. Even my back felt good. I called Kim to share my surprise with this newfound hope for more time outdoors. Today, I wear them everywhere, every day – hunting, fishing, walking, shopping…everywhere. They are MY BOOTS. Good for uneven, even, rugged and un-rugged earth.
I researched them to learn more, because they are not only comfortable, they are warm and dry all day too. What are they made of? They are Irish Setter model 2890 boots and it turns out they use modern technology in putting these together, but without getting into the fancy names, they work. They even have odor elimination for smell-free feet when you hunt big game critters, like I’m doing today. I’ve had them a month and I’ve mistreated these like every other boot I have owned and they still look new. They don’t know what foot-dragging and toe-kicking abrasion means, they look brand new. AND, most of all, I can walk all day without looking to rest on my butt. That new shoe lace mechanism is called the BOA® lacing system. Only one word for these boots: LIFESAVERs! Irish Setter model 2890.
About Irish Setter: Based in Red Wing, MN, Irish Setter is a division of Red Wing Shoe Company that produces a full line of performance hunting boots and rugged outdoor casual footwear. Irish Setter continues to use leading technologies and the finest materials to offer customers the highest quality outdoor footwear. For more information about Irish Setter’s heritage, products and retailers, visit www.irishsetterboots.com.
My daughter was in a hurry to meet up with her family for a long overdue camping vacation. The kids were waiting in the van outside the house all prepped and ready to find some peace, quiet and campfire time. She had been up all night finishing up lesson plans for her school, she is a teacher, and was anxious about not forgetting anything for her family of 6. She said aloud, not looking at any list, “Check, check, check, and oh! I can’t forget the hiking jug. So, so important.” After that, she ran downstairs to the basement to bring back her water bottle.
“What’s that?” I was asking because I had not seen this purple-colored water bottle before. “Get a new water bottle?” She said, “Dad, I’m in hurry. Thanks for coming over to take care of the dog, the fish, the rabbit, the birds and the turtles, but I don’t have time to tell you about this one right now. I gotta go, everyone is outside and waiting for me. Just one thing dad, we never go out anywhere without this jug these days, it keeps things hot or cold for all day. It’s a life-saver, it’s a Microlite vacuum bottle. Bye dad, love you!”
With that, off she went, the van with mom and dad and four kids went off into the horizon of the outdoors for a few days. How she does it, I’ll never know. To be young, right?
Of course, I wasn’t going to settle for that too-simple answer of…“it’s a life-saver.” I wanted to know more. That’s me, a continuous researcher when it comes to finding better gear for the outdoors. I went online and Googled it. “Microlite Vacuum Bottle.” There it was, carried by GSI Outdoors (www.gsioutdoors.com). There are many sizes, but I noted she was carrying the larger size, that made it the 1000 ml model (33 ounces or about 1 qt.).
I read that the GSI Outdoors Microlite 1000 is a stainless steel insulated vacuum bottle with a twist top, unleakable if you follow instructions, and is the perfect bottle to keep hot coffee, hot tea or hot soup just the way you poured it in (hot) for about all day (18 hours). On the other end, for hiking, biking, working around the woods, watching for shooting stars in an all-nighter, or resting in your tree stand waiting for mister big – it’ll keep your water ice cold for as long as 32 hours. What impressed me too, was how small it was to be so keenly efficient. That’s how it is advertised too, smaller (thinner walls) and lighter (it only weighs 13 ounces!).
Gotta love space age stuff when we ordinary folks can benefit for a few dollars of our hard earned pay.
The Microlite vacuum bottles are made from specially treated stainless steel (18-8), they’re durable and unbreakable, won’t rust, making them totally cost-effective for my day outdoors. The bottle top was a secure screw-on (twist-on) top and I noted right away that it was available in nice earth tone colors that would work for an all-day backpack sit in the woods with my camera or bow.
Last, important to provide the forecast of life expectations for this $34 bottle, GSI Outdoors products like this are covered by a Lifetime Warranty against material and workmanship defects. You just call 1-800-704-4474 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and you’re able to ask questions and get answers. That’s a good deal for something that will last a lifetime.
I ordered one through Amazon and I’m hoping it comes in before my daughter gets back.
I can see her smile right now. I’m going to ask her, “What’s unbreakable, unleakable, efficient, lightweight, affordable and colorful? This is a test.”
Giving back to teachers….fun too.
Life is entertaining when you get to watch the birds and the bees after feeding the dog, the fish and the turtles. You might know how that goes if you have kids and grandkids. If you do, you now know that perfect gift.
Gear Tips, Rigging Options, New Tackle, New Tactics
The 2016 Bassmaster Classic offered anything but stable weather on Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees. When you’re fishing for big bucks and bragging rights, and the angler-field includes proven top-gun anglers such as Kevin Van Dam, Edwin Evers, Mike Iaconelli and a host of other big names, you know to have your gear ready and to be prepared for anything.
When nasty and changing conditions arise, successful anglers know that it helps to keep an open mind and an open tackle box. A professional Rapala field representative professional shared with me, “With the weather conditions, that’s a lesson all of our pro staff was reminded of in this one.”
“On the first day of competition,” Rapala Pro Ott DeFoe shares, “I caught five keepers on five different baits.” When a five-time Bassmaster Classic contender does that, the conditions might be asking for a change on every cast. The five baits that scored for DeFoe were a Terminator(R) Spinnerbait, a #5 and #6 Rapala Shad Rap(R), a Rapala DT(R)-6 and a Terminator(R) Pro Series Jig. How does he fish these baits? There are secrets.
One big item that is key is attaching to the lure. Not many anglers talk about it, but weekend fishermen wonder, do you tie directly on the lure or use a swivel for more wobble? DeFoe does not use snaps on his cranks, he ties direct.
With the Shad Rap, DeFoe uses a 6’9″ medium-weight spinning rod, size 30 spinning reel and 8lb test.
With the DT-6, he switches to a medium-heavy crankbait rod, 7’3”, with a 6.4:1 baitcaster reel and 10lb fluorocarbon line.
One of his other favorite baits is the ½ ounce Terminator Pro Jig, where he uses a medium heavy 7’6” casting rod and a high-speed bait caster (7.9:1) set up with 17lb fluorocarbon test.
Because Grand Lake’s lower end traditionally features lots of clear water, Defoe and another Rapala Pro, Brandon Palaniuk, came to fish with high confidence using one of Rapala’s brand new lures, the Shadow Rap(R) Shad. The new hardbait lure was unveiled for the public right before the Classic, though the Rapala pros had been field-testing and whacking bass on the undulating jerkbait that the lure provides. The innovative new lure features an action that bass have never seen, it works best when the water is clear enough for bass to actually see the staggering wobble action of the lure.
Similar to the original Shadow Rap, released at last year’s Classic, the Shadow Rap Shad is taller in profile than its predecessor, but not as long. Rather than slowly sinking on the pause, like the original Shadow Rap, a Shadow Rap Shad slowly rises when stopped, slightly wobbling and perfectly mimicking an injured shad. It’s deadly.
With the action it’s got, man, I just totally expected this thing to be a big hit there at Grand Lake this year,” DeFoe said in a video recorded before Grand Lake went off limits for pre-fishing. That was before the record rainfall deposited mud and high water in the highly respected waterway during the Christmas holidays.
“I figured there would be some off-colored water this week, but I was not expecting as much cold, off-color water as we had,” DeFoe said. Areas with clear water were few and far between, conditions were better suited for vibration-emitting lures like Terminator spinnerbaits and Rapala crankbaits. Once Grand Lake returns to normal form, DeFoe said, local anglers will be whacking bass on Shadow Rap Shads.
“During the Classic, I had to adjust as I went along,” DeFoe said. That meant scrapping his initial game plan and keeping both his tackle box and his mind open. In a tournament that saw numerous top pros fail to catch a five-bass limit, a last-minute color change resulted in one of DeFoe’s hard-to-come-by keepers.
“I had been fishing primarily craw-colored DT-6s when the water temperature was in the 40s, but something just told me on that second day to tie on a Disco Shad color instead, and then caught my first two keepers in 15 minutes.” DeFoe took home $10,000 for his 25th place finish, in the 55 member field of world class anglers.
For six-time Classic contender Brandon Palaniuk, scrapping game plans developed in practice was also necessary, as well as focusing on the current conditions as they changed rapidly. From practice to the last day of the tournament, water temp’s in many places warmed from 43 to 55 degrees. Quite a swing!
“This week was just all about changing for me,” said Palaniuk, who turned in yet another top-12 finish in the world’s most important fishing tournament. “I changed every day.”
Although known as a crankbait fanatic, Palaniuk fished the conditions and enjoyed his best success with a chartreuse and white half-ounce Terminator Super Stainless Spinnerbait.
“That was my big key this week,” he says. Palaniuk throws the Terminator with a medium-heavy 7’3” bait casting rod, 7.1:1 ratio reel and 15 lb fluorocarbon. Palaniuk took home $14,250 for his 13th place finish.
Whether you’re fishing for bragging rights or in the biggest bass tournament in the world, keep an open mind and an open tackle box to adapt to changing conditions in order to catch more fish.
Most pro anglers share the view that a wide assortment of lures will keep you in the hunt for the top prize, or at least the big fish prize, and you never know just how long it will take to find that magic key to the door of a new record weigh-in. Veteran pro’s will share, “It could happen in 10 minutes of fishing. That fast!”
Direct from BoatUS headquarters in ALEXANDRIA, Virginia, is news that much of the country has recently learned is that the reality-game-meets-exercise app currently taking the nation by storm, “Pokémon Go,” now has 21 million users every day. It is reportedly the most successful mobile game ever in the United States.
The game features characters called Pokémon that players capture in the real world using a combination of GPS and augmented reality. That also means that Pokémon-mania has also come to the water and with it, BoatUS, the national boating advocacy, services and safety group has three tips for playing Pokémon Go while boating:
The US Coast Guard reports “Operator Inattention” as one of the five main primary contributing factors in accidents. When searching for a “water type” Pokémon such as “Magikarp” on a waterway, let the first mate or friend handle the cell phone while the captain keeps a safe lookout.
Watch cell phone battery use:
Users report the game eats up a smartphone’s battery charge. With many recreational boaters today relying on their cell phones for communication, it would be wise to bring along a spare charger, or use battery saving mode. BoatUS also reminds boaters that only a VHF radio can summon emergency help from the closest rescuers, ensuring the fastest response.
The BoatUS National Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia offers a Pokémon “gym” located next to the iconic BoatUS Buoy at 880 S. Pickett Street. At lunch, some BoatUS employees can be seen playing the game. (Insider’s tip: The yellow Pokémon Go BoatUS Marine Insurance underwriting team often battles other BoatUS Departments, and for a limited time, free boat insurance quotes will be available to all players.)
A top priority of many baby boomer, wanna-be trout anglers is to keep up with that ever-aging bucket list as we age. Among my priorities is to fish more with a fly rod and learn about what many fly rod anglers all seem to say and share, “fly fishing is so relaxing- once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back!” So when some fishing friends wanted to make a trip to the Adirondack Mountains to fish the infamous Ausable River for brown trout, I was all ears.
Amidst the majestic mountains and winding roads above the quaint Adirondack Olympic village of Lake Placid, site of the world famous 1980 USA-Russia hockey game known as the “Miracle On Ice”, we met up during an evening rainstorm. Over a few local microbrews, we discussed our hopeful plan to fish the morning.
Since we had never fished here before, hiring a guide was a logical choice for day one and that turned out to be a great decision. We met with Ken Khalil, a local guide of over 20 years experience and this artist of the stream showed us how to catch brown trout in high muddy water conditions. This was on a day that all of us thought we would be relishing a late breakfast due to the weather. Guides that know what they are doing are a pleasure to fish with and learn from.
There were four of us and step one was to go over everyone’s gear and that included the rod, reel, line, leaders, knots, waders, wading staff and fly assortment. I had brought along a rod that I had made myself some 40 years ago from a yellow-color fiberglass Fenwick FL90-6 blank (90 inches long made for a 6-weight line). It has a soft action, is limber and is only gently loaded with level 5-weight line and an 8-foot leader. While most of the world has switched to more modern materials, our guide saw my “different” rod and was immediately attracted to ask some questions about it.
With a humble, inquiring voice, he finally asked if he could try it out. Of course, I agreed, he could show me how to use it! We never stop learning. After 15 minutes or so, explaining to all of us how we would start fishing, he directed us to take a spot on the stream then came over to meto say, “I am so impressed with your rod, I love the action, the delivery, the usability of the rod in general.” I felt like a million bucks! He explained the difference between some of the very expensive graphite models sold in many stores today and the old action. Special old-gear moments are priceless and never to be forgotten, especially when on a famous trout stream with a world class guide!
With the fast-flowing, muddy water, no one expected to catch anything. We praised the courage of our guide for even attempting to bring our group to the stream. Little did we know, Ken Khalil was an expert with fast-rising, off-color (muddy) water on the Ausable. Between the four of us, we landed and released 11 trout in less than three hours!
When a guide expert shares his techniques and talents during extreme conditions, you tend to remember that fellow for all time. Khalil is one of those who instructed us individually within our own capable performance, adjusting leaders and fly types and sizes until he fine-tuned all of us to be effective. Go figure! All this for less than $200 each.
The lighthearted Khalil provided my skill-set and aging, but never-used fly rod, with a custom-made Matuka fly that he ties up for his guests. I dubbed it the ruby-throated Khalil Matuka and got him to give us all a very funny laugh in the light rain. “It’s a pattern some others use too, I didn’t invent the name of the fly, but now you’ve made it unique Forrest!” He replied with a confident grin.
The design he offered allowed the fly to flutter and wiggle as we stripped it back after casting cross-current. It looked alive and like something between a minnow or other bait fish, such as perhaps, a sculpin, but also, several terrestrial-looking critters too. It worked well since the fish only got to see this for a quick moment, or there goes lunch! The fish struck at the fly instinctively and with a ferocious wallop. What fun we had!
I was instructed to cast about 10 feet upstream of a quickly forming eddy current area and then retrieve in stripping fashion, quickly, across the meddle of the reversing riff. Wham! Happened several times.
While fishing on an evening trip, we were fortunate to see much wildlife also found in the area along Route 86. This included three curious deer who watched me and my attempt at a fly casting demonstration, which admittedly, was not very good. During the same trip, we were amazed by a large 30-pound beaver that worked on building his dam a bit higher. We watched a beautiful Osprey soar from high overhead to latch onto a three-pound brown trout, then rise rapidly, screeching his usual call, an eerie sound amidst the gentle trickle sound of the river. Several good reminders that the Adirondack’s are still a very rugged and wild area that now also enjoy moose and black bear populations on the rise.
For more information on fishing the Ausable River or Sarnac River area of the Adirondacks, contact one of the following folks that we met there:
Jones Outfitters, located right in Lake Placid Village, 2419 Main Street, Lake Placid, NY, contact proprietor Chris Williamson, 518) 523-3468
For the latest river conditions and fishing reported a frequently updated link can be found here: http://www.orvis.com/fishing_report.aspx?locationid=5998. The New York State inland trout fishing season opens April 1, but much of the Ausable is open all year long and is a catch and release stream, so be sure you know where you are. Check the game syllabus. We released all of our fish.
Lastly, guess what? They were right! I’m officially hooked on the fun memory of learning new things about fishing with a fly rod in my hand and the peacefulness we enjoyed on this trip. None of us can wait to get back there again!
Expert Guides DO Simplify Catching Fish – with simple JIGS
Rainy Day BLESSINGS on the Rainy River
One BEST Fillet Tool CAN SIMPLIFY Cleaning Walleye by the Dozen
By Forrest Fisher
We arrived in the front lobby of Sportsman’s Lodge on the Rainy River in Baudette, MN, The weather was cold and nasty, and VERY rainy. We were in a momentary downpour. I looked disappointed, my better half smiled at me and joked, “It’s ok, it’s gonna be good luck, it’s raining and we’re on the Rainy River! I couldn’t help, but smile back.
We were one step closer to the fishing the Walleye Capital of the World that we had read about so often, not to mention a few decades of dreams.
What I didn’t know was that the number of fish to catch in the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods was beyond the normal angler’s day of fantasy fishing. We discovered a brand new REALITY here, an iconic, never-forget celebration of most-ever-walleye-caught memories.
Not long after we arrived, we were fishing with Captain Ralph Christofferson (218-634-1342) aboard his 27-foot Sportcraft, a beautiful, fully-equipped, big water vessel. Lake of the Woods offers about 1,700 square miles of fishing with more than 14,500 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. Impressive fishery numbers and with plenty of forage in the form of emerald shiners, tulibees and various crustaceans.
We boated out to the lake and anchored, only a 10-minute ride with that giant 454 Chrysler engine humming us into competition with throngs of honking Canada Geese that were nearby.
Captain Ralph provided everyone his hand-made, 6-foot 2-inch, personally customized, St. Croix fishing rods to use. The rods were light .and beautiful, a pleasure to hold. Perfect balance.
The rods were geared up with an open-face spinning reel, 6-pound test monofilament (P-line) and gold-plated 3/8 ounce jigs tipped with a salted emerald shiner minnow. The minnows were “slid” onto the hook with Captain Ralph’s “secret twist.”
It didn’t take long to discover active fish at our anchored spot. In less than 3 hours, we landed more than 50 walleye and sauger. Captain Ralph said, “It’s sort of a slow day.” In the words of our young friends and millennials, OMG! Except, he wasn’t kidding!
We kept our daily limit of 4 walleye and 2 sauger each, and there was five of us. Yes, we had a cooler filled with 30 fish and ice, ready for the pan or the freezer. We arrived at the dock, it was a short walk to the Sportsman’s Lodge state-of-the-art fish-cleaning house. There were plastic bags, foam trays for holding the clean fillets, saran wrap, ice and lots of bright lighting. I could see the light. Indeed, in more ways than one.
While some anglers use an electric knife to clean fish, most old-timers know there is about 15 percent waste with that method. I’m an old timer and I had a brand new fillet knife that I received on my birthday.
A manual fillet knife job will yield the most meat for the plate. If you consider some of the catches for the week – and we ate most of the fish right on site the day we caught them – you might think that manual filleting the fish was a tough task, but not so.
It’s not work if you a knife like mine, a new 6-inch Case, fixed-blade, fillet knife (Model BR12-6 SS). My Case fillet knife is so sharp and rigid, but also provides some bend in the blade if you press a bit, to be flexible, making it so simple to use. It seems to never lose its really sharp edge and we cleaned so many fish with it.
Every now and then, I touch up the edge with a very gentle stroke on a carbide diamond wedge, then a final stroke or two using a very smooth Arkansas super-fine stone and water.
One other thing about this knife, it is ergonomically perfect to fit my hand. It feels just right, you know, comfortable and solid. The steel blade and formed poly-handle are melded as one, permitting full control, and it works like a hot poker through butter. Even with potatoes, onions, carrots and sausage, you get the idea. It’s my favorite all-around cutting tool.
Many things we buy in the USA are now manufactured elsewhere, but W.R.Case knives are made in the USA (http://www.wrcase.com/knives/), one more of many reasons why I like them.
The bottom line for a good knife: can it hold an edge? Indeed. This thing holds an edge like no other fillet knife I have ever used, and I have used most of them. I’m not sure what kind of steel alloy this Case knife uses, but whatever it is, please tell them to never change it.
My grandkids will want one of these 20 years from now and, of course, my Case will be here ready and waiting.
Last, this knife is an easily affordable investment at about $25-$30 cost. Check google for the best price or go direct to W.R.Case.
Love this knife, the expert guides and this deluxe accommodation where we caught all these fish just a short boat ride and simple drop-jig cast away. Dreams are made of this.
For Gardeners, Hunters, Hikers, Fishermen and others too
Every so often, you find something among all the functional items out there for sportsmen that can really make a difference in your outdoor experience. Last summer I found one of those items, it is the Real Avid Multi-Cutter. I have used this cool tool while fishing, hunting, working in the yard and while working on my truck in an emergency to cut and replace a brake line.
The Multi-Cutter provides serious, portable cutting power in the field. It will easily clip bird bones, help you field dress a deer (it will cut a ½ inch thick bone!), saws through branches when you’re setting up your tree stand, and work with you and for you in a hundred other uses.
The hefty cutting jaw is strong, plus there are other assorted useful sportsmen tools that fold out and then retract into a convenient carry package. There is a limb saw, a claw point knife blade, a drop point knife blade and a versatile tree step starter. Shotgun shooters can change their choke tube with an internal wrench that will fit all common shotgun sizes, along with a pin punch that will help you easily break down your firearm actions for regular or emergency field maintenance. The tool has a rubber grip to stay firmly in the control of your hand hold.
When closed up and retracted, the tool is compact and will slide neatly into a durable nylon sheath with a belt loop. It’s with me all the time these days. Retail cost is under $40. To see a video, visit http://www.realavid.com/multi-cutter-box.html.
Thinner, Stronger, Shock-Tough, Low Memory, Long Life
Since I retired from an engineering job in space and defense a few years ago, I have researched quite a few things that make my time in the outdoors more useful and efficient.
Just as when weekend anglers spend their hard-earned cash on fishing line, they are looking for just one fundamental thing, to land that biggest of fish safe and sure.
I interviewed pro bass anglers about fishing line because they work their lines the hardest, casting all day long, out and back, out and back. These guys want the same thing – the best line to bring big fish that strike their presentations back to the boat.
I figure like many other anglers, there is too little time to gamble on hooking and losing a big fish once we’re casting or trolling lines. Time on the water is scarce for a lot of us, time out there is limited by other demands in life. So when I’m there, I work really hard to assure there is very little that will compromise my luck or skill for total success on the water.
As science and private industry have advanced, new and better fundamental strength factors in fishing lines have become better too. The new lines add flexibility, longevity, shock resistance, abrasion resistance, high UV resistance, low memory and also deliver an affordable lower price, especially the new Gamma Torque braided line. On top of all that, I discovered that Gamma Torque is priced lower than many other braided lines out there. Now that is also something that many anglers want to know more about. Anglers I shared the new Gamma Torque braided line with could only say one thing: “What’s the name of that line again?” Off they went to the tackle store.
I shared the knots to join the nearly invisible Gamma Edge 100 percent fluorocarbon line with the Gamma Torque braided line and explained some of why the Gamma Edge fluorocarbon really does give anglers the “Edge” in fishing. Invisibility with flexibility, strength, long life and small diameter are key!
Gamma lines, including the new Gamma Polyflex, a copolymer fishing line, have advanced their affordable and efficient product with a fancy science-based name called “molecular alteration,” similar to a fundamental basis called “Nanotechnology”. This is the once futuristic science of tiny sizing, a science used to also develop high strength structural materials and high power batteries.
The resulting Gamma fishing lines are so unique, they are patented.
The high tech Gamma lines allow longer casts. When I first used the Gamma Torque braided line, I needed to finger the spool a bit more because my lures were flying so far – the line is so tiny and friction free. The result was more accurate casts, more action on lures and more confidence in my ability to do more with no extra effort.
Several dozen bass pros use the Gamma fishing lines now, day-in and day-out. Brent Chapman, bass pro, says, “Gamma is by far the best fishing line in the industry. Most fisherman underestimate the importance of high quality line. Fishing line is the only connection between the angler and the fish… I only trust Gamma! Winning the 2012 Bassmaster Angler of the Year title is a direct effect of getting those bass into the boat.”
One more example: 6-pound test Gamma Torque braided line measures 0.002” inch thickness and has an actual break test of 14.0 pounds! This line is made of 100 percent Spectra Fibers. For comparison, this line is one fourth as thick as a single strand of hair for most people. Very thin.
The list price for 225 feet of this braided line is under $9. Use it on casting and spinning rigs where you need strength and sensitivity, especially vertical jigging lures and drop-shot rigs. For diving planes and walleye trolling, the 30 or 40 pound test is efficient. For yanking big bass from deep weedbeds, this line has the ultimate in abrasion resistance with the thinnest diameter, the 60 pound test works well.
The Gamma Torque braided line is so thin that most anglers opt to use the 20-pound test Gamma Torque braid instead of the lighter weight lines that Gamma offers, then tie on an 8-pound or 10-pound leader of Gamma Edge fluorocarbon to insure invisibility of the presentation at the terminal end.
All you need to ask yourself is, why would so many professional anglers use the Gamma fishing lines when they are competing for a $1,000,000 in prize money?
The answer is clear, especially once you try this stuff.
There are some places where adventure into the outdoors is beyond the realm of imagination, Alaska is one of those places.
While many people head to Alaska to take an adventure cruise, catch giant Halibut in the saltwater, or simply see glaciers, Alaska also offers some of the most spectacular freshwater fly-fishing for a myriad of species.
When we visited there just a few years ago, finding the next best fishing spot in the world was as easy as stopping the truck alongside a meandering stream and taking out your fly rod. There were other options that can also offer more excitement, like renting an all-expense included trip via a charter service or float plane, where certified Alaskan guides will open the door for you to take your next cast to a honey hole that no one else may ever find.
There are so many lakes and streams in Alaska that there are probably quite a number of secret fishing holes and most of them are filled with quite a few different species of fish that most of us can easily catch. One of the big questions for most visitors is deciding what to fish for, there are so many species! The next big question is where to fish and where to stay for non-Alaskan visitors like we were.
There are very luxurious hotels with bonus accommodation amenities and there are many more rustic lodge type facilities. Either way, you and Mother Nature will make great friends. The type of rental housing is just another decision that once-in-while visitors to Alaska, like us, have to think about.
Wherever those accommodations might be, you are sure to find fresh air, exhilarating views and unspoiled wilderness. During our last 2-week visit, there were several times I simply took out a folding chair and sat there for an hour, realizing that I was experiencing a trip of a lifetime. It eventually registered that the view we had at the moment was probably a view that no one else might have ever seen, there is so much remoteness.
My better half and I enjoyed easy fishing fun by fly casting lightweight leaders on #4 floating fly lines for Arctic Grayling during a good part of the trip. We used a guide service to learn the ropes a bit at first, then stopped and tried it on our own. Best part was the feeling that we could be successful with little training. Fun? Yes, unforgettable fun!
We flew into Fairbanks and rented a vehicle. Our plan was to learn more about the unspoiled spirit of the terrain and nature treasures to be found in this culture of the Alaskan wilds – as long as we were traveling where there was a road. That was our one prerequisite. Traveling by road vehicle from place to place, my wife and I felt a primordial connection to the dimension we came to realize about this special land. We felt as if we had come to learn a place of new reverence with unspoiled landscapes. There was a fresh developing sanctity for this place called Alaska.
Wherever we cast a line, we found unspoiled adventure. One thing for sure, you will discover that even with just one trip, the journey will linger as memories of sacred vision to reflect on.
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
-November 8-10, 2016
-Goal: Asian Carp Population Survey
-Benefit: Collected Fish Sold to Fish Processors
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.
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.
Diamondback Firearms, a top-tier, Florida based manufacturer of quality pistols and rifles, has introduced their new DB1065CB AR-15 rifle, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, to market. The 6.5 Creedmoor is growing rapidly in popularity because of its superior ballistic performance over .308 and other long-range calibers. The 6.5 Creedmoor is the fastest growing caliber for tactical shooters and is a great selection for medium to long range (500 to 1,000 yds.) shooting.
Ballistically speaking, when compared to the .308, the more aerodynamic 6.5 Creedmoor performs exceptionally well, with a very noticeable reduction in recoil.
The Mako Group is excited to partner with Diamondback by featuring the revolutionary FAB Defense GL-Shock Recoil-Reducing Stock and the AGR-43 rubber over-molded pistol grip on this new model rifle. The state-of-the-art GL-Shock has a unique, patented “Anti-Rattle” mechanism with no protruding parts, so as not to get snagged, and comes with a built-in silicone chrome alloy—perfect for your AR15/M4/M16.
The AGR-43 pistol grip comes with multi-textured rubber features for a more secure grip. It provides a better shooting angle, heightened control and less wrist fatigue and hinged floorplate for battery storage.
Other features of the DB1065CB AR-15 rifle include a 20” stainless steel fluted barrel, the 15” Victor M-Lok rail and the Double Side Port Muzzle Break.
The DB 6.5 Creedmoor will be offered in Black (MSRP $1,229.00) and FDE (MSRP $1,259.00), which will make it one of the most affordable in the market.
About Diamondback Firearms: Diamondback is located in Cocoa, FL and has been family operated for over 30 years. Diamondback Firearms was created in 2008 with the DB380 and DB9 pistol series. DB has evolved to now include the DB10 rifle/pistol series with .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor calibers offered. DB15 rifle/pistol series with .223/5.56, 300 BO, and 9mm calibers offered. In January 2017 DB Firearms moved into a brand new 40,000 sq. ft. state of the art facility, which will also include Diamondback Barrels Division and CNC machines. All Diamondback products are manufactured in the USA.
About The Mako Group: The Mako Group is the exclusive U.S. distributor of the finest tactical equipment and weapon accessories that have been proven in combat. Designed for law enforcement agencies and militaries worldwide, Meprolight night sights and optics, FAB Defense weapon and personal defense accessories, Front Line Holsters and RTS Target Systems are available at firearm retailers everywhere. Connect with The Mako Group on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to stay up-to-date on the latest news and products. For more information visit www.themakogroup.com.
Lure of Autumn Bass Fishing, Lake Trout, Landlocked Salmon
Sights of Colorful Foliage
Plans for Waterfowl Hunting, Stream Fishing for Brook Trout
By Forrest Fisher
My workday plan was busy with a business trip from New York City to Montreal. The airport traffic was heavy, the security lines long, longer than ever, the sky was clear and it was a beautiful day. I was not happy with bumper to bumper traffic conversation between the interstate roadway vehicles and the morning disc jockeys were in a rant about their bummed weekend. They made the congestion worse. Then I suddenly realized, “I can drive!”
About two hours or so up the northbound highway, the traffic was gone and I discovered a wonderful sense of peace and quiet. I left the long lines of airport security, the chaos of baggage, laptop checks and body scans behind. All gone. All replaced by a road trip drive that would change my persona for the day, maybe forever.
There was a faint sliver of fog rising from the valleys that appeared like slices of horizontal white pie resting among the high and very dark mountain peaks of the Adirondacks in the background. Driving down Highway 87, the road signs announced Lake George and despite the near-darkness, I noticed that the autumn scenery was stunning in this particular area. Signs advertised fly fishing, Hudson River rafting, rail trail bikes, historical sites, boating, biking, hiking and more. These diverted my mind and were tempting me to consider a new daytime destination, maybe as just a momentary, side-of-the-highway, homesteader. Yes, I thought, pull over, if only just to watch the enchanting sunrise.
Rocky bluffs jutted upward and outward along the freeway, as I tried to focus on driving and not the scenic beauty. That was just not possible. The scenic views were an immediate visual award, an instant lottery prize win, just for making this drive. I sensed myself grinning to the view, perhaps that was one honest measure of my sheer contentment.
A few minutes later, in the distance, the brilliant orange ball of morning sun began to tiptoe upward. It was only a dull orange color sky at first, and then the first sliver of the sun crest rose just above the lowest horizon in the east. I pulled off the roadway at Exit 21 and decided I needed a cup of java just to watch the morning light. Driving down Beach Road in Lake George Village, sort of exploring too, my business trip had become an adventure.
I continued along Highway 9L just for a few minutes, it was October and many business places were already closed for the season, but it was so quiet, so enjoyable. Then I came to Dunham’s Bay Resort (www.dunhamsbay.com). I went in and asked about coffee. Yes! They had fresh java and all the mixings, it smelled so good. I toasted a cup to my decision to drive and thought about those poor folks that were probably still waiting in the airport line, grinning again.
I moved to the front of the resort and sat in one of the outdoor lawn chairs. The warm Lake George water and chilly mountain air caused a fog to form on Dunham’s Bay right in front of the resort. It became thick and started to settle before it started to rise. I went back in for more coffee. With cup number two, I realized I was looking at the highest mountain tops to the west, visible above the fog. They suddenly emerged into a sea of brilliant color as the sun lit them up. A flock of ducks went squawking by in flight, high overhead, that I heard, but could not see. My brief adventure continued. The natural intense lighting of the sun was doing everyday work. I was inspired by the dazzling beauty and the coffee tasted so good.
An immediate urge for home ownership in the area seemed an almost immediate necessity. How did I ever miss this Lake George area before? Perhaps, if only for now, I might try for a short stay. No. Maybe on the way back, I thought, that way I could stay a day or maybe two. Today, back to reality, there were meetings planned and work to do.
I realized that with the flight reservation and airport plan from the start, my fly rod was not with me. On the next drive north, there might have to be a stopover. Imaginary fog would be the cause, I’d need to pull over to stay safe. Again, I’m grinning. What a plan. I realize that this drive to a brief coffee stop has me totally energized.
A new essence for realizing the seasons of the year was added to my list of “important things,” the autumn colors of October on Lake George are unforgettable. Perhaps I must remember to do this again, maybe when NOT ON BUSINESS next year, I thought to myself. It is a family type of destination, I could bring everyone, the grandkids too.
My cellphone is activated and the calendar is reserved one year ahead around the seasons and the scenery just recorded only to memory. Of course, I’ll never forget this day.
The backcountry is a new priority. I return to the ribbons of roadway heading north with a new vision of the stunning foliage and clean, spring-fed, waterways that are abundant here. These waters are filled with trout and untainted crustaceans. Pleasantly now, I’m in a new comfort zone for effective business and again, I’m grinning. Driving was such a good idea.
Time spent in the Adirondack Mountains of New York during autumn are positively special. October is the month of color transition in the Lake George area of the Adirondack Mountains and lush green leaves turn to brilliant colors of bright yellow, orange and red. They are unforgettable.
Color and visions from morning light to sunset are remarkable all around Lake George. Accommodations are at low rates and fishing charters are still running. The crisp air is right for a fall getaway.
Not sure I can wait for next time!
For Lake George information, visit www.visitlakegeorge.com or call the Warren County Tourism Department at 518-761-7653.
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
New U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Policy
Non-Toxic Tackle Required by 2022
ASA Says Fishing Tackle Ban Blindsided Anglers
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/.
WHO: Rush Outdoors TV & Barcelona Charters Teams Up to Catch Fish
WHERE: Eastern Basin Lake Erie, Barcelona Harbor, Chautauqua County, New York
WHAT: Catching Walleye and Lake Trout
HOW: Troll Speed: 2.3-2.5mph; Water Depth: 130-135 feet; Fish Depth: 75-85 feet; Water Temp: 66 degrees
GETTING TO THE FISH: Downriggers, Divers, 8-color and 10-color leadcore
PROVOKING A STRIKE: Custom-painted Stickbaits, Homemade Spoons, Handmade Spinner/Worm Rigs
By Forrest Fisher
NY Outdoor News editor, Steve Piatt, (http://www.outdoornews.com/new-york/) gave me a ring last week and asked if I could fill in for him to do a Rush Outdoors TV Show taping with network outdoor stars, Tim Andrus and John Lenox. You know my answer! “Uh, let me think about it Steve.” ….clear the decks! “No I’m not busy, why?”
The next day, I received a phone call from John and we met yesterday at dockside at Barcelona Harbor in Chautauqua County, New York, and I was introduced to Captain Brad Smith and his wonderful wife and 1st Mate, Darcy, of Barcelona Charters (http://barcelonacharters.net/). Their 28-foot Marinette Fisherman boat is docked near Monroe Marina.
It was about 8AM, the winds were SSE at 8mph, the sky was clear and blue, the sun was coming up quick in the eastern horizon and there were 14 rod/reel rigs set to go aboard this comfortable, well-outfitted, boat.
Tim said, “I think we’re ready to go Captain Brad.” With a friendly and crisp response and a “welcome-to-my-boat” grin, Captain Brad answered, “Wait a minute, I gotta get my coffee cup and give the fish a chance to wake up. I’ll be right back.”
That’s how our day started. Very relaxed. The stage was set for a fun day with fun people aboard a big boat with a kitchen and rest room, built to find fish, catch them or release them, store the keepers in a cooler and bring everyone back to port safely with pictures and reality fish tales to share.
“Which way we going honey,” Darcy asked Captain Brad. “I think we’ll try east today, if that doesn’t work, we’ll swing back to west.” Captain Brad took the helm and we skirted the excavator rig barges still working on clearing the harbor-mouth after last winter’s storm seige. The storm opened the breakwall and after it was breached, the harbor filled with sand, stone and debris.
Action outdoor star of Rush Outdoors TV, Tim Andrus, was aboard and John Lenox, co-star, activated several camera’s throughout the day to capture the non-stop action we found fishing with Barcelona Charters.
With Captain Brad Smith setting and running 10 lines without a single tangle, and Darcy Smith running the boat to waypoints and adjusting the trolling speed, the twin 318 Chrysler engines came alive as we headed for a secret offshore shoal about 3 miles away in 78 feet of water. Slowing down a half-mile short of the waypoint, Captain Brad hopped down and started setting lines.
This guy should have a different name, perhaps “Flash.” That name would be more suitably correct for this elderly, young-minded, genius fisherman. By the time we arrived, the lines were all in and we were ready for action.
As the bottom came up, Darcy keep us all up to date with live reports. “There’s big fish at 75 feet, there’s a bait school at 55 feet, there’s two fish at…,” and so on. “The water temp is 66 degrees.” Tim and John and I were enjoying the live feed of all this data.
As Darcy read off depth, speed, water temp and fish sightings, Captain Brad would adjust the lines. He had three 10-color Sufix non-stop (very thin) 18-pound test lead core lines on the starboard side, three 8-color lead core on the port side, two wire-line diving planes on each side and two downriggers, with all the lines set to the fish depth that Darcy monitored. What a team.
“Berkley XT Fluorocarbon leaders are part of my fish attack,” says Captain Brad. “The leadcore lines, divers and riggers all use different leader lengths, but I think the nearly invisible line is important, and it has different flex to the lure too.”
As the water depth dropped off, we hooked up with our first fish, a small walleye, then another, then another. Double headers happened over the next three hours…SEVEN TIMES. Imagine that. “Hey Tim, can you slide to the right, I gotta net John’s fish,” Captain Brad would say. “Hey Forrest, can you slide to the left, I gotta net Tim’s fish.” What a day. We shared fish stories from times past – we all hunt, fish and share passion for the outdoors. There was not time for many stories. We were busy catching fish. Fun busy.
What makes a fun fishing day like this happen? The word is out that the “deep walleye bite” is pretty much over in eastern Lake Erie. Guess we know the deep bite is still VERY GOOD.
There were only two boat trailers at Barcelona Harbor this day, and these were bass boats.
A fish-filled day like this happens when you find a charter captain that understands how to use his gear to find the fish and can figure out a way to meet them half-way to provoke a strike. He knew which lures to switch to, colors to try. He understood the difference between tape flash differences underwater and sun angle relationships with the lures he used.
There is much to learn from this gentleman of a charter captain and his 1st mate who fish like this. The fine points of successful fishing are in the details.
Leader length, type of line, knots, terminal connection hardware, hook types and sizes, flash, glow tape, these things all matter.
Captain Brad is well booked for the next 7 days or so, but there is still time to catch fish after that. Don’t call ghostbusters. Go check your calendar.
The fish were DEEP, 75 down in 130 feet, but once we found them, running the lines over the fish produced big time. Have never witnessed a more efficient charter crew.
Amazing fun that ended with a cooler made to lift with not less than 4-people! We landed 31 fish in four hours, keeping 17 walleyes for the pan, 3 lake trout for the smoker and several giant, sweet-tasting, silver bass.
That’s a fun fishing day! If you plan to come visit, just click on http://www.tourchautauqua.com for lodging and general information about this area. Watch Rush Outdoors TV (http://www.rushoutdoors.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/rushoutdoors.uncut/) to note several more visual details I agreed not to disclose in writing. See you then.
Time to Drop the Snow Shovels and Head South to Fish
For many of us northern country folks, there comes that one point during our long winter months when it seems like the snow will never stop falling, your back is aching, the forecast is for a 10 degree colder day tomorrow and the wind just gusted at 25 mph to greet the morning darkness. You head for your truck to get to work late – you had to shovel and it won’t start. Ugh! You mutter a few unmentionable words. Have you been there? It’s a treasured moment! A memorable moment of the wrong kind.
You head back to the house, pick up the phone to call your boss, apologize because you’re going to later getting in than you thought now, the line is busy and it doesn’t switch to the machine. Ugh #2! You try to settle down, a nice hot cup of coffee helps. Mmmm, even the thought of hot coffee has you wiping off the shrug you had. Then as you pour out the java, like a flash of good fortune, there it is on the table. Last Sunday’s paper with a half-page color ad: “VISIT FLORIDA, WARM UP YOUR FISHING RODS!” Instantaneous thoughts occur. You smile. It’s a Machiavellian grin. You contact your better half, check your piggy bank and, of course, you both agree, why not? Let’s do it!
Five minutes later, you have called your boss and like it was perfect, now he isn’t in, but his machine come up and you leave a message, “See you in a week!” Sorry boss. You’re still smiling, wider now. You look, there are flights, low cost too, for a round trip to Florida if you book this instant. Click. You got ‘em. Two tickets to paradise for a week. YES! Next search, google is already up, need a fishing guide for two days. Wow, there are lots of ‘em. Which one is a good guide? You read a dozen reviews, some folks are not happy, some are downright feeling cheated, plus they paid hundreds of dollars. AND, no fish. You get discouraged. Erase that forlorn moment. This is supposed to be a happy time!
It is a happy time, because today, there is a better way to find a good guide. Simply switch over to a new fishing guide service, www.iTrekkars.com, which will work for almost all of Florida if you are heading near a saltwater beach area. These guys offer veteran charter captains that are bonded, know their stuff, know the waterways, have hi-performance fishing boats, hi-performance tackle, have all of the right baits for your target species and, just in case, they guarantee your money back if not satisfied
They connect anglers with the best fishing captains in Florida. Imagine, here is a charter service that believes when you are purchasing a charter, you shouldn’t have any surprises and should be able to trust the captain you choose. You can search, compare and book right on their website with a 100% money-back guarantee that you will have an amazing experience on the water. I took a trip with iTrekkers last week and they made it seem easy to have fun out there, not to mention one of the best fishing days with several bonus ecological photo opportunities I have ever had fishing saltwater.
Some fish made the 20-pound braid scream off the reel, testing the 25-pound test fluorocarbon leader and chemically honed Owner circle hooks that was cast into one of those secret pockets that these vetted captains seem know wherever they take you. It was an awesome half day of fishing! In all, we hooked up with about 30 fish across seven different species. It was an education in efficient fishing simplicity and fun on the water.
iTrekkers founder, Tom Mulliez says, “The whole idea started about five years ago after another failed attempt to find a good fishing charter when my family and I were on vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It always amazed me that you never knew what you were going to get. That your only resources were the guide-owned websites and testimonials on review sites that can be bought or manipulated.” The thirty something Mulliez adds, “Often times, the boat was not as advertised or it was “in the shop,” apologies were made even before leaving the dock. Then the guide turned out to not as qualified as he made himself seem to be. There was not a trustworthy solution where the reviews were real, the guides were amazing and I could feel safe and secure that the amount of money being spent would drive the value and experience I was expecting.”
Just bring yourself. No bait is required. No tackle is required. No license is required. It’s all part of the service. Do bring a cooler, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and your giant smile for some great photographs. Check ‘em out.
Ever since I was a little kid, watching the sky for the moon, the stars, and now satellites and the space station, has always been an exciting encounter. Getting older, when it seems I need fewer haircuts, has allowed me to connect that deer and the moon are synchronized through a master system that some experts say they understand. According to experts that follow the moon, the rut for 2016 will be a late event, set to occur about one week after November 14th, the date for the traditional rutting moon.
Yet, regardless of the 2016 moon cycle right now, whitetail deer seasons across the country are either open or are set open very soon based on calendar dates. The reality of big game archery hunters afield will be noted by vehicles parked along traditional hunting areas wherever they exist.
Deer will usually not be “fast on the move” this early ahead of the main rut, but no matter, it is always great to be in the deer woods. The fresh air, the silence, the time away from modern life, allows hunter folks to hear crispy, outdoorsy, none-essential sounds that are hard to describe any other way, and they are somehow appealing.
Crunchy autumn leaves as they gently break off from tree limbs make a distinct departure sound and again a distinct landing sound, as they meet the earthen floor. With a gentle wind and enough leaves are falling, a hunter can be moved to think there is something walking in the woods. Something like a deer. So it’s a special and uniquely exciting experience as we begin to hunt this fall.
Summer to autumn is a time of year that marks a normal change for all of us. Starting with the shortened hours of daylight, the first week in October is when the hours of daylight actually become less than the hours of nighttime. Hence, while most of us think of this phenomenon as simply – “winter is around the corner”, the tilting axis of our Earth in this annual position of orbit around the sun comes into reality in this manner. Without additional explanation, the change in daylight hours is real and that causes deer (and other critters too) to begin their hormonal trigger to transition toward their mating mood.
Traditionally, the first full moon after the autumn equinox (September 21) is called the farmers “Harvest Moon”, it will occur on October 16. It’s late this year, most farmers will already have made their harvest. With the increasing hours of more darkness than daylight, nocturnally-minded deer become instinctive to mate. The problem is, a majority of the doe’s (female deer) are usually not ready until at least another month passes.
Between the Harvest Moon and the next full moon that occurs on November 14, said to be known to the Indians as the “Hunters Moon” (for good reason), hunters will find areas in the woods where hot bucks mark the domain of their territory. Scrapes on the ground below favored licking branches, with accompanying antler rubs on nearby trees. The cycle of bucks and doe’s is fun to watch from a tree stand.
Studies show that really big dominant bucks can roam a rather large area of five or six miles and call it “their territory.” Smaller bucks always bow to the giants, so being on stand to even see a giant buck is really a simple matter of timing and luck.
Look for larger scrapes and rubs on giant trees to put yourself in an area of larger deer, then use your portable climbing tree stand to elevate to a vertical position where you can situate yourself downwind from the scrapes and rubs and be in a favorable position to make the perfect arrow placement.
Use of a trail camera will confirm the size of the bucks and does that visit the scrape you are monitoring. Since many deer are more active after dark, the new ultraviolet sensing cameras work to record all the deer activity without being detected by the deer. Many hunters use a Stic-N-Pic mechanical camera stand to hold the camera at an exact position or angle (see http://www.sticnpic.com/), I have one of these and they work very well.
While trail-cam technology can offer some advantage, just hunting the scrape is sufficient to provide you with a hunter awareness advantage. The problem with a trail cam is that hunters want to check them regularly “to see” what has come through. Doing that will leave hunter human scent in the stand area and work against the hunter, so smart hunters with trail cam’s get the memory chips and switch in new chips to review when it’s raining.
For tree stand hunters, portable or fixed, please be sure to use a full body harness that is designed to assure your safety. Don’t go vertical without a proven full body harness (visit http://www.huntersafetysystem.com/).
Large bucks or small, hunters with arrows still have to calm their nerves and make the perfect shot to succeed. One thing most successful hunters share is that they have learned never to look at the horns. Experienced hunters say that you really need to train yourself into that mental mode and it is hard to do.
After first noting that the deer you have spotted is a buck you would like to harvest, look only at the perfect target spot. From then on – in your mind, many make believe they are target shooting. Your nerves will be more in control, so say experts. My heart starts pounding a bit with any deer I see during bow season, but after hunting with arrows these last 50 years or so, the tremble and shake is better, but not gone. It’s still exciting!
Keep in mind, during that one week period after the Hunters Moon, bucks will run across roads and only care to chase the scent of a doe in heat, forgetting about their scrapes and rubs, and anything else including the scent of a hunter. It’s a good time to be hunting. The bucks simply chase the does that are ready to breed and stay with them until they succeed. When the does are ready and not one minute sooner, that is usually the week that many big bucks are taken.
The bucks are only looking for doe’s in heat, hence, they ignore just about everything else. So to become part of that chemical scent message telegram in the woods, that is the time for hunters to use “doe-in-heat” scent with a dragging line to their stand, put up a few odor canisters (check your state laws), and try to mimic the smell of a female deer that is trying to find a buck.
Share life with others. Make new friends in the outdoors. Lead by example.
Kayakers are searching for places to try out their new toys, birds are looking for places to wet their wings and cool off, and for anglers, hunters, hikers, campers and even outdoor photography buffs, the climate is testing their limits too. Tell me something I didn’t know, you say.
In the northeast United States, which includes Western New York, Cazenovia Creek, Buffalo Creek, Cayuga Creek and Tonawanda Creek are all feeling the swagger of the hot, dry summer we are experiencing.
Creek water flow all around the northeast is slow and low, almost nil, though the eastern Lake Erie beaches and surf do allow relief from the heat for swimmers and there are collections of colorful sea glass treasures to be found along the surf line for extra fun.
The dog days of summer are good for many things and one of them a tasty chicken dinner from the grill. It’s a good time to support local organizations, the VFW and Legion Posts, Boys and Girls Clubs, many others.
My bride and I enjoyed every tasty bite of just such a dinner recently and as we consumed our tasty morsels of goodness, we watched a blue heron search for his dinner in the nearby creek. Wings spread wide as he soared down the nearly dry creekbed, his search did not appear successful within our view.
Then two hummingbirds buzzed by and a half-dozen doves started cooing away in the shade of a nearby tree. A crow cawed once or twice downstream and above all this adventure in tasty chicken consumption, oohing and awing on our end– it was that good, I felt safe and content, and surprised that we didn’t render a surprise attack from a hungry coyote or fox while we were making all that savory noise of palate-satisfying jubilation.
Summer days like this are a good time to catch up with old friends too and share musings and memories in conversation about life, the outdoors, kids and the fun of new challenges in the modern adventure of surviving tomorrow.
Our outdoorsy conversation did not escape the topic of the presidential election, taxes, titles and time-honored traditions too. We also talked about many new things in the outdoors that more people need to know much more about right now, namely, Lyme disease.
An increasing number of people have been stricken by this affliction in the northeast United States and the disease appears to be spreading westward at an alarming rate. It all started in the early 70’s in Lyme, Connecticut, hence the name of the affliction. Lyme disease is not curable once it is established in a person, they can only hope to find treatment to attain remission. It’s nasty and what’s worse, it appears that many health insurance companies do not recognize the disease for treatment, so folks have to pay out of pocket. Go figure that one out!
Many outdoor folks know that deer ticks (black-legged ticks) are responsible for the bite that can infect people with Lyme disease, but many do not know that the ticks are carried and spread largely by mice, not deer. No matter where you live, we all see mice. If you have mice around your home and yard, get rid of them and stay safe from attracting the Lyme disease carriers.
Thought for this week:
Share life with others.
Make new friends in the outdoors.
Lead by example.
Bass Pro Shops assisting in Texas rescue and relief efforts in wake of Hurricane Harvey
More than 80 boats deployed for rescue efforts, donations for immediate relief
HOUSTON – Aug. 28, 2017: Bass Pro Shops is coordinating with local, state and federal agencies – including police, fire and rescue teams on the ground – to support ongoing rescue and relief efforts related to Hurricane Harvey. The outdoor company is providing more than 80 Tracker boats to government agencies and rescue organizations in Houston and other impacted communities in Texas.
In the immediate wake of the storm, Bass Pro Shops is also supporting disaster response organizations by donating truckloads of relief supplies totaling $40,000. The contributions support Convoy of Hope, a Springfield, Missouri-based humanitarian organization, and the American Red Cross. Donated supplies include protein-rich foods like Uncle Buck’s Premium Jerky and peanuts for those in the field.
Bass Pro Shops has seven retail locations and seven boating center locations in Texas, including three in the greater Houston area. The company is supporting impacted associates through its Bass Pro Cares Fund, which provides support for critical living expenses in times of devastating need.
The company remains in close contact with the governor’s office, first responders and associates on the ground to monitor response efforts and assess ongoing needs. Bass Pro Shops encourages all customers and community members who want to support relief efforts to donate directly to the American Red Cross.
About Bass Pro Shops®: Bass Pro Shops is a leading destination retailer offering outdoor gear and apparel in an immersive setting. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today more than 100 retail and marine centers host 120 million people annually. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is known as a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as “one of America’s Best Employers.”
2017 Angler Survey Catch Rates are nearly THREE TIMES GREATER than 30-Year Average
Anglers Harvested More than 70,000 Walleye in 2017
Walleye Fishing Expected to Remain Exceptional for Years to Come
Stickbaits, spinner/worm rigs and spoons fished in, or just above, the thermocline in summer last year, produced limits of walleye for anglers near and far. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that walleye fishing on Lake Erie during the 2017 season experienced the highest recorded success in nearly 30 years.
Captain Korzenski is a local professional charter captain and shares his fish-catching success methods with all of his clients on each trip, if they want to know how. A good thing if you own a boat and want to come back and try walleye fishing with your own tackle. The local stopover bait and tackle store for daily catch rate success is Bill’s Hooks (5139 W. Lake Rd., Dunkirk, NY; 716-366-0268), just a few miles south of the city of Dunkirk on Route 5. Visit with Gerri Begier there and allow yourself to learn about hot lures, snaps, swivels, fluorocarbon, leadcore line, rods, reels and a dozen other things you never knew about walleye catching, lure making and finding fish if have the time.
Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The New York State waters of Lake Erie are world famous for outstanding angling opportunities for walleye, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch, Our Lake Erie waters have consistently ranked among the top three most heavily fished waters in the state and the fishery generates more than $26 million in economic activity annually. Anglers should take advantage of Lake Erie’s current conditions and experience this world-class walleye fishery for themselves in 2018.”
DEC has conducted an angler survey on Lake Erie to estimate fishing quality and fish harvest annually since 1988. In recent years, walleye fishing quality has been generally increasing. Survey results for 2017 revealed record-high walleye catch rates that are nearly three times greater than the 30-year average. DEC estimates that anglers harvested more than 70,000 walleyes in 2017, a level not achieved since 1989.
This exceptional fishing was due in large part to contributions of strong walleye reproduction in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015. Recent evidence also suggests that walleye reproduction was strong again in 2016.
Walleye are one of the most popular gamefish in New York, as they put up an exciting fight during the catch and make for a tasty meal on the table. Walleye are aptly named because of their unique eyes that have a reflective layer of pigment called the tapetum lucidum, which allows them to see very well at night and during other low-light periods. This layer also gives walleye their “glassy-eyed” or “wall-eyed” appearance.
Lake Erie is continually ranked among the world’s top walleye fishing destinations by angler publications with an abundance of trophy-size walleye ranging from 8-10 pounds, with local tournament winners often landing fish exceeding 11 pounds.
If you are looking to organize an office party outing, Captain Lance Ehrhardt from the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (716-672-4282) can provide a listing of local charter captains that catch fish. Erhardt prefers to keep the live bait worms on shore – he is a stickbait expert, but has clients reporting summer catches of more than 40 walleye a trip during hot summer outings. Imagine that!
Given that walleye typically live 10 years or more in Lake Erie, combined with excellent reproduction rates in recent years, anglers should experience continued, exceptional walleye fishing in future years.
For the latest Lake Erie fishing hotline report updated weekly in summer, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9217.html. For lodging and other information for vacation planning, wine country tours, microbrewery locations, campsites, boat launches and more, visit http://www.tourchautauqua.com/.
Quality Line, Sharp Hooks, Stiff Rod can help ASSURE Hookup & Catch
By Forrest Fisher
When does the adventure of a short fishing trip become special?
After that unforgettable connection to big fish success.
When the fun is non-stop spontaneous.
When you realize something very good happened that was not totally expected.
When you’re fishing with your grandson!
That’s when. Grandkids grow up too quick, but they sure create some great memories that become more than special. Here’s one trip story that is time-honored in my “greatest gift” memory scrapbook.
Bass boats with 250HP engines whizzed from spot to spot around the lake, their engines echoing brilliant monotones of sheer power among lake cottages and the luscious green hills. You could sense the connection to new technology watching them.
There were jet-ski rigs too, and water skiers, and brave stand-up paddle board folks, and kids in tow on floating rafts behind family-sized pontoon boats – there was lots of mid-afternoon activity. Fun activity.
There was also one bright-yellow 12-foot Mirrocraft aluminum boat with two anglers and only two fishing rods. In the sun, the yellow boat rig was easily visible from a half-mile, but looking from the bottom up, it was so bright that it matched the sunshine. An uncommon mode for fishing stealth.
There was no gas-powered engine on the transom. It was a very common, simple, durable, car-top fishing boat with wooden oars for normal motion, except for one thing: On the bow was mounted an old-time, cable-drive, foot-pedal controlled Johnson 12V electric motor on a cross-piece of pressure-treated board. The battery was in a case in the back of the boat for weight distribution and a shielded electric cable, duct-taped along the side of the boat, made the power connection. A Lowrance X-50 sonar unit, tiny in size and volume, but effective, was also hooked in, providing underwater eyes for depth awareness.
The rig offered stealth movement in sheer silence. It provided more ability to work a quiet fishing line around weedbeds, docks, and rocks and buoy markers, maybe even more stealth than one of the new $85,000 bass boat rigs.
With a 15-pound cannon-ball anchor for holding position in the wind, it was simply efficient. In fact, it was a pretty slick-looking fishing rig in a class all by itself. Even with movement, it did not spook fish – big bass, that were nearby.
The fella driving the boat was my grandson. I’m so proud that he shares a similar passion for the outdoors, like I do, and that his father does too – now a long-standing family tradition. It’s the kind of passion and tradition that keeps us all curious to learn more about new things we find when we spend time in the outdoors. It helps to bring us back to meet adventure in the outdoors time and again, and that next time can never be far away.
His fishing rigs are simple, but like the boat, are totally functional. He has thought this out. The boat and fishing rigs are assembled to hook and land big black bass. His humble Shimano open-face spinning reel is mounted on a 7-foot long, semi-stiff graphite rod (Carbon-X, S-15) with 10-pound Gamma braid line that has 6-feet of 16-pound fluorocarbon Sun Line leader tied to the end. The leader is dock-tough line, thin in diameter and is nearly invisible. The 10-pound braid allows feathered casts for short pinpoint casting, or into the wind with a little “wrist-reach” for long distance.
Terminal tackle includes heavy-wire size 3/0 VMC hooks, the same kind used by many of the Elite Series pro anglers. His favorite bass bait? Friend and bass pro-staffer, Scott Callen, recommended the Sun Line and the 6-inch Big-Bite-Baits “TRICK STICK” plastic worms. My grandson rigs them Texas-style to be weedless (not wacky). An assortment of worm colors is visible in the clear plastic Plano tackle box on the boat seat, and there is only one box. My grandson adds, “Why complicate simple fishing, but just gotta make sure you have that green-pumpkin red flake in there.”
A check with Ted’s Bait & Tackle in Lakeville, N.Y. (opens at 6AM every day, (585) 429-0587), helped with the plastic worm color selection. Proprietor Ted Decker and associate, Bill Brizzee, know the lake and what’s working, and they provided advice about the Big Bite Bait worm colors. Brizzee says, “Yeah, you know they’re priced right ($1.99) in a 5-pack package and we go through ‘em pretty quick when the fish are biting – like this time of year, especially that green-pumpkin color and black w/red sparkle color.”
My grandson stood up in the rig and said, “This little boat is so easy to take places, it is so stable in the water and so safe, and so crafty inside the areas I like to fish. The weed lines, the tree blow-downs near inlet and outlet creeks, the docks, and if you splash-cast up into the shade of whatever structure you can find – even in 6-inches of water, so that your worm entry makes little or no sound, it just settles and sinks – the fish just jump on it. Getting the presentation right is fun! It took me a few years to get better at good casting though.” I knew about those fun years, “Look, you caught a 40-foot hemlock tree!” More good memories.
He went on to show me his nearly perfected casting technique,splash-casting, and on the second cast, he said, “There he goes, he’s movin with it.” He reared back and set the hook two-handed. “Got ‘em! Fish on!” He smiled with that look of fun and approval. Not using the net, he reached over the side and lipped the big bass. One picture later the fish went back to swim another day.
He did that 11 more times in the next two hours. The largest for this day was a healthy 4.65 pounder and the smallest was a 13-incher. All of the fish were plump and with good color.
Sunfish and perch make up a large part of the bass diet here, but why they like plastic worms is still anyone’s guess. I suppose they look like a salamander, leech, snake, nightcrawler or other edible live bait forms too, but one thing for sure, the fish like ‘em – or hate ‘em, because they seem to destroy them.
Before fishing, we reviewed the Conesus Lake Fishing Forum on Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/ConesusLakeFishingForum/. We noted that there is a weekly, 3-fish, Tuesday evening fun bass contest open to all anglers that begins at the state launch in the central portion of the lake. Exactly where did we fish? We launched at the north end of the lake and followed the directions and advice provided by the NYSDEC to fish the lake. Visit this link: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/25575.html.
We worked the weedbed edges, shadow side of some of the docks, and we also did some deep jigging in 25 feet of water. Found success there too, but switched to using sonar-style vertical jig baits there.
Advice for the next trip? Leave no docks and weedbed drop-offs unexplored, don’t forget the water bottles and the peanut butter/jelly sandwiches.
Tight lines everyone.
When the wind on Lake Erie kicks up waves that churn over the top of the 7-foot breakwall at Chadwick Bay in Dunkirk, New York, it’s too rough to go bass fishing there. In Chautauqua County, though, there are many other inland lake options that can offer the green light on those days.
Mike Joyner and I had joined fishing educator, tournament bass angler and longtime friend, Scott Gauld, at Cassadaga Lake, a little waterway located near the village of Lily Dale, just 15 minutes away. See: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/26964.html.
We launched at the state boat access located on the Middle Lake, the scene was pristine, not crowded and offered two floating docks for launch and retrieve.
Giant fluffy clouds masked a brilliant blue sky and there was a rising red glow of sunrise glimmering over the trees in the eastern horizon. But surprisingly, to the north, there was another cloud line of demarcation, as a cold front with dark rain clouds was visible in that direction. They seemed to hover there and we hoped they would stay away. They did and we didn’t get wet.
Scott explained that we would try our luck by fishing the weedline in the Lower Lake (there were three lake parts to Cassadaga Lake: Upper, Middle and Lower) and that would put our lures in about 10-12 feet of water. He described the details that we start out by trying one of his old favorite baits he had used successfully there several times before, while fishing with his dad.
He reached into a storage compartment on his new Nitro bass boat to hand each of us a 4-inch Salty Sling plastic worm (Venom Lures), then helped us rig up in drop-shot style using rather unique Size 1 “Standout hooks.”
Green-pumpkin copper and green-pumpkin candy were the plastic worm color choices.
We were using 7-foot Quantum rods with Sixgill open-face fishing reels loaded with 8-pound test Berkley Nanofil braided line that had 6-feet of Stren fluorocarbon leader (8-pound test) tied on to the end of the braid. Scott said, “The braid will give us better feel and the fluorocarbon will help keep us in stealth mode so the fish can’t see our line.”
I felt like we had a distinct advantage, such was the confidence in Scott’s voice.
The plan was to toss the drop-shot rigs a few feet in front of the boat and allow them to reach bottom, then lift slightly and check, sense, feel for the slightest tap from a feeding fish. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass lived in the lake, but so did crappie, walleye and musky too. Lots of possibilities.
The standout drop-shot hook was tied about 8-10 inches above a specially made 1-1/4 ounce sinker made by the Western New York Bassmasters fishing club, that allowed for quick descent and positive contact with the bottom. Scott demonstrated what to look for and how to react with a demonstration. “Cast out, let it hit the bottom, lift the rod ever so gently, feel for a fish, watch the rod tip, if you get no reaction from a fish, then lift the rod tip and gently swing the bait toward the boat a foot or two – watching it the whole time, then drop it to bottom again and repeat.”
We observed this process while he cast a few times and visually showed us how to work the bait back to the boat. What he stressed for us to know and learn was to sense for that possible VERY LIGHT TAP, the strike signal, from a feeding fish. A moment later, he said, “There’s one! Fish on.” He lifted his rod tip to set the hook and started reeling. A beautiful, healthy, 3-pound largemouth bass came aboard about 30-seconds later. My camera woke up to capture this really handsome fish.
We were having a friendly contest with two buddies in another boat. Hardy, old time anglers and long-time friends, Leon Archer and Wayne Brewer, were fishing with pro bass angler, Scott Callen, in another bass boat.
Mike and I grinned at each other because it seemed that Scott had insight and skill for this Cassadaga Lake waterway. The fish went into the live well to be released after we weighed them and finished fishing later in the morning. The plan was for each boat to weigh in a three fish bag of bass for the top-gun honor. A little friendly competition.
One moment later, Mike hooked a smallmouth bass and brought it aboard. We caught several fish along the weedline and enjoyed just working the baits and learning this new fishing method.
We caught many other fish, smaller bass, a perch, and then I even hooked-up with a giant musky. He looked like about 45-inches or so, maybe a 30-pounder, using one of Scott’s Rattle-Shake swim jig lures tipped with a white Venom Skip Shad tail. The big fish swirled at my bait, grabbed it, and took off with my line like a freight train to Texas.
Then, in less than five seconds, he spit it back toward the boat, the line went twang, and the bait went airborne as it came flying back right past my ear. WOW! The rod was a just little too light to set the hook into the jaw of that monster, but what a huge fishing moment! I’ll never forget that fish. Unforgettable memories are made of this. Pure fish power.
Our three biggest bass tally weighed in at a little under 10-pounds. A very nice morning of fishing, fun, good natured joking, busted laughing and serious hook setting above talk-to-fish expressions. There were one or two comic expression, “Oops, that one got me,” or “I should’ve set the hook sooner,“ or “Thought that was a weed.” Fishing with friends, it’s the best.
One other new secret to learn on this trip was the covert hooking of the plastic worm. The worm was hooked by pushing the hook point right through the worm diameter about a half-inch from the heavy end of the worm, so the rest of the worm just dangled freely. It looked so very real in the water. Tantalizing.
The rod, the line (type and size), the hooks, the weight, and where you cast was important too, but the most important thing was the technique of hooking up the Salty Sling worm to the hook. That’s what gave the worm the action that provoked the fish to strike.
It was deadly.
I added a little diagram to the “fishing secrets” book I keep after each trip for future use and to share with some youngster learning to fish along the way when the chance to help a kid occurs.
Cassadaga Lake is a sleeper lake for sure. When the bigger nearby waterways of Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake are too rough with wind or rain, this is one secret spot to be aware of.
Lots of cooperative fish for catching and releasing for the fun of fishing. Especially with friends. Right now, you know at least one way to fish and what to do when you get there.
CHANGE Lures, Speed, Turn Radius, Time of Day You Fish
CHECK Colors, Leaders, Hooks – Control Hand Odor Scent
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tasty Eating, Extraordinary New Friends, Discovery
By Forrest Fisher
For all of us that fish Lake Erie for walleye from New York or Canada, this summer has been one to remember. The fish have been cooperative, close to home and more plentiful than ever before. The eastern basin has finally become much like the western basin, in that you can catch walleye by many means when 41 million fish reside nearby and you are fishing with something that represents a forage item that walleye savor.
Boat launch action at Buffalo Harbor State Park, Erie Basin Marina, Sturgeon Point Marina, Sunset Bay State Park, Hanover Launch, Dunkirk Harbor and Barcelona Harbor has been busy and steady. Boat trailer plates can be noted from many states in the parking lots, not something that is new to WNY, but the sheer repetitive volume each day and each weekend is new. Visitors fish for walleye, perch and bass too, and catch bonus 20pound lake trout and leaping steelhead that provides an additional test of angler durability. It’s pretty exciting to say, “Fish On!” You never know what species might be there, though walleye are the norm.
Like kids in search of candy, these repetitive fishermen need more. They need a fish-catching refill whenever time allows and, even if they must drive a few hours, they come. Even Ohio anglers are heading to WNY! Now that’s a switch!
If we ask the visitors or locals why they fish, the answers are far and wide. Some say, “It’s just fun, I like the way they taste.” Others say, “I eat, therefore I fish.” Many of us say the same about hunting. Still others add, “I want to fill my freezer for winter, I don’t ice fish and fish are expensive in the store.” Add, “I like just like it” or “I wanted to fish with my grandkids,” or “My wife wanted me to cut the grass so I came fishing,” or “I just love being here, I don’t care if I catch fish.” There’s more, you’ve heard them now and then.
I asked Captain Jim Steel, a Lake Erie charter captain (Dreamcatcher Sportfishing) who works the Sunset Bay-Dunkirk area, why he fishes. The soft-spoken master captain says, “Because I Iike to fish. I like to share our incredible resource with others. My first mate is Rich Fliss, both of us never stop thinking about fishing. Even when we’re deer hunting, we text each other from the tree stand and exchange ideas for gear and new rigs to try next, to fish better with. My wife (Diane) is also a coast guard certified first mate, we are first aid/CPR certified too. We are all drug-tested. We follow the rules and people know, they’re safe here.” Captain Jim Steel has a big heart and he shares his tactics, his gear choices, line sizes, snap-swivel choices, all that. Even his thinking about strategy for the fish day and why. He explains gear choices for the day, right down to lure picks (Renosky’s, Bay Rat’s, Challenger’s, Chatterstick’s, etc.), colors, actions and depth placements. Visit his website at www.dreamcatchersportfishing.com or call 716-983-7867 to visit aboard his 31-foot Tiara (w/rest room).
While some people fish to simply fill their freezers, fishing for Lake Erie walleye is more than a grocery trip for most anglers. For Captain Jim Steel and so many others, it is a passion. It is a new experience to enjoy each and every time. Steel adds, “You know, each trip is such fun because so often we take people fishing that have never been here before. Watching them enjoy reeling in a big catch is an unlimited fun moment for them and for us.”
Steel says, “The fishing changes day to day and so while it may appear that all of our tackle rigs in the rod holders are a bit overwhelming, many are often quite different from each other. Some rod/reel rigs have light line, some have heavy line, some are rigged for lead-core line, others for downriggers, still others for other specific purpose. We use varying types of leader lines too. Whatever the fishery demands for us to do to catch fish that day, we are prepared. That’s one of the reasons why we are busy with repeat anglers using our services all summer. We use new Okuma rod-reel tackle each year, it all works and we avoid malfunctions to be sure folks enjoy the best day without problems.”
Like a hunter looking through his binoculors for game in the deer woods, Steel and others that have stepped up to the now affordable hi-tech sonar gear, can search with down scan and side scan electronics to find fish. The sonar adds excitement to the trip. “There’s one,” says a client watching the screen. “You can sense the excitement and anticipation in their voice.”
For many of us regular fishermen, we share our fishing spirit all summer long, all the while, in pursuit of our quarry, the wily walleye. We share our enthusiasm. We share our reverence and respect for the fishery, big fish and little fish. We embrace the army of anglers that enjoy and share in these same things. Together we are a brotherhood of men and women and kids that love the outdoors with a passion that cannot be equaled. As a brotherhood, we define a time-worn trail to pass along to younger generations. First encounters, indescribable moments in time – the one that got away, the one that didn’t, the one that won the prize.
We share in orange sunrise moments, peaceful sunsets and at night, even the Milky Way and twinkling stars in their constellation positions add to our unforgettable moments during our fishing time. Each of these, we share with the same appreciation of where we are and what we are doing when we are fishing. We embrace such moments and they help make us who we are. We are fishermen. We are special, especially in today’s world.
Each fishing day, the goal is to encounter that first fish. Sometimes it takes a while longer, so we change lures, colors, and tactics. That’s fun too.
Last month (August), my grandson and I were set up to troll a few miles from the south gap of Buffalo Harbor. Using 5-color lead core lines, short leads off the downriggers and diving planes too, we fished for about 45 minutes to catch 7 walleyes on stickbaits and weighted-willow blade spinner-worm rigs. About an hour of no strikes, my grandson asked, “Ya know Dziadz, I sort of miss how we used to fish for bass. Can we do that again sometime?” I answered, “Sure! How about now?” He quickly asked, “We don’t have any of our lightweight rods do we?” They were in the storage locker, so off we went to the rocky structure of Seneca Shoal.
Using Heddon Sonar’s, jigging Rapala’s, drop-shot rigs with ElaszTech plastic worms in peanut butter/jelly color rigged 20 inches off the sinker with size 2 VMC hooks, fished with 20# Gamma braided line and 8# Gamma fluorocarbon leaders, and casting Storm 360GT 5-inch jig tails, we landed 24 bass and 7 more walleye in the next 2 hours. Wow. The afternoon was unforgettable. For all time. Reasons why we fish are simple. Indelible. Fun. It keeps us ageless wonders from the 50s young for a day.
We live in an incredible time on an incredible fishery because the resource of Lake Erie is in our backyard. We are the lucky ones. Why we fish? It’s about expectations, adventure, friends, fun and working hard to make it all happen. Checking gear, camaraderie, sharing secrets and embracing the spirit of the catch, even when we don’t catch ‘em, that’s why we fish. You might have many reasons. All good.
The future of fishing, our clean waters and our kids depend on you sharing why we fish with that youngest generation of today. Kids today need to hear it from their master mentors. Parents. Grandparents. Charter captains. Those expert Southtowns Walleye anglers that go to those long meetings on Southwestern Boulevard. That’s us. The future depends on us. That’s you and me. So get busy, go tell those kids you know why we fish and invite them along. Be gentle, be thorough. Laugh hardy. Create special moments not to be forgotten. This year, our fishery will help.
Share some of the best time to be found on the planet in WNY fishing for Lake Erie walleye.
For more information on eastern basin Lake Erie, accommodations and access points, visit www.tourchautauqua.com.
Editor Note: Forrest Fisher is one of the 17 original founding members of the Southtowns Walleye Association, is a syndicated outdoor columnist over the last 36 years with feature stories in local newspapers, state, regional and national outdoor magazines.
We discovered this book while visiting the Black Caddis Ranch B&B and it started us on a new adventure with the outdoors that we will enjoy or all time. Radim Schreiber Photo.
By Forrest Fisher
The half-moon rising in the distant eastern sky was dim and sheltered by scattered, giant, white clouds. The openings in the clouds allowed us to see millions of stars and the vastness of the Milky Way as we have never seen before. There were no streetlights anywhere within miles of this cheerful and peaceful mountaintop place and the crackle of the fire was adjusting to the new log. It provided the perfect music to especially enjoy this time of day.
Our adventure into the outdoors took a wonderful turn this summer when Peggy tossed a new log onto the simmering campfire. The sunset was just about complete, a stream of beautiful tinsel sparks rose upward. It was a warmly coded skyward message to life in the night woods, and to us, that darkness had arrived.
Rose, my wife of 49 years, had a warm smile like she often does, as she was discussing some fine points of nature and observing wildlife with our granddaughter. Kiley was completing a summer research internship for the State University of New York Environmental School of Forestry in Syracuse, New York, as a senior college student. I sensed that science and adventure were finding common ground. Rose had questions about the recipe to observe the ancient winged ancestors that lived here, just as they started to light nearby fields and forest.
Peggy’s sister, Barb was visiting with her two nieces, Molly (9) and Carly (12), and the girls had noticed the blinking lights of the fireflies too. Molly noticed them first, “Aunt Peggy, look there! There they are! Wow! They’re beautiful!” Carly added, “Why do they light up and blink like that Aunt Barb?” A short silence followed as Barb looked to Peggy who prepared to answer, “Well, the fireflies that light up are the boy fireflies and they’re calling to the lady fireflies to show them where they are. They’re looking for a date. It’s that simple.”
Peggy smiled. Barb smiled. Rose and Kiley smiled. Carly answered, “Oh, ok, I get it.”
Just then Molly rose from her fireside chair and ran onto the backyard lawn. Molly cheered, “Look at all the fireflies!” The back lawn was skirted by a knee-high grassland meadow around the backyard perimeter. Kiley went to Molly and added to the conversation about fireflies and explained the great job that her Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ken had done with helping everyone in the whole world understand more about fireflies at this ranch.
Rose and I shared thoughts about these intriguing airborne insects of the night. Do they carry a message for us all? It seems that fireflies offer magic and wonder to every outdoor adventure where the land and air is clean, like here, in the middle of this wonderful Pennsylvania woods just south of the Allegheny National Forest, in Tionesta, Pennsylvania.
We all sat there in awe of all the twinkling airborne light forms. Hundreds and hundreds of them. My mind transcended to an effortless zone of harmony and wonder for a moment, a thought-binding moment.
There is mystical, divine and magical experience from the light of a true firefly experience like this. I sat back into my chair and looked at the embers of the fire, then upward to the thousands of stars of the Milky Way shining bright. How lucky we were to be here.
Just then Kiley started to strum her Ukulele, sharing the chords played with Molly and Carly. She said, “This is a C, E minor, F, G and A minor, that’s it, pretty easy with a little practice,” Would you like to try it? That was Peggy’s que to bring her Ukulele out from the house to join in. Two Ukulele’s at the same campfire! We all knew this was one special night for our memory book of perfect medley. Kiley and Peggy were strumming and singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and the flight of the fireflies surrounding us seemed to be applauding with their brilliant intricate flashes in some sort of light beam code. Where is Peter Pan? I was thinking. Like the two ladies playing the music and all of us singing or humming along (I can’t sing), were on their stage. Tin Man and Judy Garland were there in spirit. There were bears, wolves, trout and other critters of nature alive in our campfire talk.
That’s when I learned that we can talk to fireflies.
We can question them. They reply. Feel the connection by virtue of the extraordinary light gallery.
We can all connect to nature by our visits with fireflies. Such visits require no special gear. A comfortable chair, perhaps, a glass of wine from a grape aging specialist, Gregg Stoos, and a quiet campfire with friends.
The fireflies, like guiding spirits, dance to challenge the darkness with their light.
They hover and move silently through the darkness.
Their movement and motion with different color light can appear to write a letter or a symbol. Are these the source for early Greek symbols? The roots of math? My mind wanders and wonders.
The fireflies provide a sure source for wonder…are they sharing a language not yet known to us? A secret code? Perhaps early settler groups to North America could understand this code? I ask myself. Is it a computer code? A binary switch of sorts? A prismatic code not yet known to us? Does it lead to a vault of undiscovered knowledge?
Whatever signals the night light beacons of the fireflies share, to watch them is enlightening.
All these thoughts, yet, so many questions in wonder, how can that be? I ask myself.
I realize I am so relaxed, so mesmerized by the flight of these miracle insects that fly with lighted inspiration. Everyone sitting around the campfire is too.
Just being near these fragile airborne creatures of the night is such a reward to cherish. For us astonished onlookers, their intricate behaviors seem to share a virtue of loving life and respect for one another.
As the music lessened, the magic around the campfire was evident to all. This Black Caddis Ranch place is a really special place, as we were isolated to the darkness of this perfect night with a band of chivalrous fireflies that led us to enjoy a nighttime gallery of airborne art to appear all around us.
Kiley added, “Each firefly species is different and has a season. Their season can be predicted by growing degree days, it’s a sort of farm language. Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are out during June about the time the orange daylilies bloom and usually peak at end of June. The “big dippers” or photinus pyralis, start to appear at the beginning of July.” Rose and I returned home the next day to sit in our backyard about three hours north. We saw some fireflies there too, but nothing like what we saw in Tionesta, Pennsylvania.
Peggy and Ken Butler host a wonderful Bed & Breakfast Lodging House called the Black Caddis Ranch in Tionesta, Pennsylvania, it is home to the Pennsylvania Firefly Festival, and I guess we know why now. There is firefly magic in this special place. The spacious accommodations are wonderful and are modernized amidst a home that was built in the 1800’s. Real wood floors and walls and kitchen tables, a giant stone fireplace in the front parlor, complete with homemade pancakes and maple syrup from nearby trees, and a myriad of other breakfast goodies, this all made this place that sort of place that my better half and I search for…and only hope to find. Peggy and Ken, and many close friends, are the originators of the Pennsylvania Firefly Festival (PAFF, https://www.pafireflyfestival.org/) that is hosted at their ranch, but there are fireflies present on most summer nights. It’s a magical place.
We’re going back to be inspired by the night flight of fireflies, the Milky Way, a quiet campfire and honest friends. The daytime song and buzz of hummingbirds adds to the peace and magic found here.
A hunters first deer provides an unforgettable smile into the heritage of our ancesters. Forest Fisher Photo
Hunting is Inexpensive
Hunting is Ethical
Hunting is Challenging and Builds Character
Compiled by Dave Barus, this story is shared in detail through the courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Wildlife.
Harvest Your Own Natural Food
Hunting is a source of natural, free-range, and inexpensive food. Not to mention the meat is lean and healthy!
Hunting is one of the most inexpensive and ethical ways to fill your freezer with natural, free-range meat, but taking up hunting can be challenging and intimidating.
Don’t let this discourage you.
We can help you with all the information and resources you’ll need to safely and responsibly hunt and harvest your own local food.
On a hunt, your senses are sharpened. Awareness of your surroundings is heightened. This is more than observing the environment – it’s active engagement. Hunting challenges the mind and the body. It demands skill, knowledge, and patience. It also brings us closer to nature and understanding our natural environment.
Hunting in the United States is highly regulated, which helps make it a safe, sustainable, and highly popular activity. The sale of hunting licenses, permits, and stamps provides much-needed funds to wildlife research and management programs. Ethical hunters care about the environment. Without proper conservation, our wild spaces could be lost.
Ohio hunters play a critical role in the control of deer and other animal populations, which are carefully studied by the Division of Wildlife. The length of hunting seasons and other regulations are directly related to the need to thin or extend species numbers in the state. Without the help of Ohio hunters, a few of the risks include uncontrolled deer populations devastating crops and creating hazards for drivers on roads and highways throughout the state.
Editor Note: Many other states have similar “get started” young hunter or “1st time” hunter programs, but this program explanation from Ohio does a good job of providing all the right things to know in very little space. Hats off to Ohio! Dave Barus
Rush Outdoors TV Star, TIm Andrus, had a great day on Lake Erie from Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, NY, fishing with Captain Brad Smith of Barcelona Charters.
Secrets to Finding Out Where Summer Walleye Live?
Color is a Factor, Pearlescent Coatings Improve Attraction Rates
Check Terminal Tackle and Leaders to Assure Hooked Fish come to Net
By Forrest Fisher
Captain Brad Smith had an ear to ear grin as we walked up to his dock at Monroe Marina on Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, New York. “Good morning guys!” He greeted us. His sweetheart 1st mate, Darcy Smith, was right by his side and shared, “It’s going to be a great day.” John Lenox and Tim Andrus, stars of Rush Outdoors TV, and myself, couldn’t agree more. It was so good to be on the water at sunrise with a calm wind and a fishing crew that understood the changing moods of the megapixel walleye (see them on your sonar) that migrate to eastern basin Lake Erie during summer. Summer walleye can be tricky to catch. I had a feeling today would not be one of those days. The big smiles when we arrived were way too happy!
Captain Brad said, “Let’s get on board and ready up guys.” The 28’ Marionette was so big and solid with a large deck area out back, rest room down below and state of the art electronics, there was no doubt about safety, comfort and fun for everyone aboard. The rig can accommodate seating a fishing party of 6 guests.
As we shared conversation, coffee and Tim Horton donuts, Captain Brad explained that the area had sustained some extended north wind and the stable water layers that had been setting up may have moved. He pointed to the dashboard sonar, “Look there, the water temp fell about 8 degrees overnight to 66, so we may have to search a bit, but I have a good idea on where to start.” Being a curious fisherman, I asked, “How do you figure that out?” Captain Brad replied, “You make sure you have friends that are scuba divers and share your fillets once in a while. It’s easy after that!” Everyone laughed a bit.
Captain Brad pointed over to the boat moored right alongside his common dock, it was the giant scuba diving boat of Barcelona. “My friend runs that one over there and he shares where the fish are with wind changes, I’ll share some of that with you all as gear up.”
After checking the leaders on the 12 rods set to fish, then helping us understand the secrets to good line terminations with top notch snap and swivel hardware, and good knots, he looked up at Darcy and said, “Are you ready honey?” Darcy smiled back,”Just waiting on you dear.” The inboard engine exhaust fans had already been on for a few minutes. Captain Brad gave the all clear with a circle wave with his thumb up. “Let’s start ‘em up!” The sheer power and growl sound from the twin 418 Chrysler engines roared to life. It was satisfying to be here.
Tim didn’t miss a word on the plan for where we might find fish, John was double-checking the camera gear. We slowly backed out of the dock and headed for open water along the Chautauqua County shoreline toward Pennsylvania (southwest). Boat speed was slow at first, checking sonar and probes, the water temp was coming up. When we reached the “right zone” about 8 miles out, the temp had quickly changed to 74 degrees, Captain Brad started to set lines. Nothing more exciting than fish-catching expectations when those reel clickers start sounding off.
The pro that he was, Captain Brad dropped two very large planer boards in the water, one on each side of the boat, two sea anchors, also one on each side. When the boards reached about 150 feet out, he set three 4-color leadcore lines on one side and three 7-color lines on the other. “It’s a school effect thing, it works,” He shared. Then two dipsey lines were set on each side and one downrigger line on each side. A total of 12 lines! He made that all look so easy. In between line deployments, Darcy was reading off sonar observations, “Four fish at 40, two fish at 35, one lone fish at 90 – probably a lake trout. We are in 115 feet of water.” “What’s our speed dear?” Captain Brad asked. “2.2 miles per hour, changing a bit from 2.0 to 2.4 with the quartering chop,” Darcy replied.” “That’s a good start for now,” Brad shared with his usual ear to ear confidence grin, sunshine gleaming a bright, self-assurance flash off his white teeth.
The dive boat that was next to us at the dock passed us as we slowly went looking for those occasionally elusive walleye, but no sooner did the distant wake reach us, when one of the planer lines soared backward. “There’s one! Who’s up?!” Brad said. We all shared on the hookups to bring the fish in. Just a few minutes later, a nice 4-pound walleye was aboard. Tim held up the healthy fish for a film shot and another line popped. It was going to be a great day indeed.
Captain Brad had deployed an array of spoons, stickbaits and spinner/worm rigs, most of them non-commercial homemade lures with homemade colors that he had learned to use through the years, mostly from his mentor, Captain Mike Cochran. Additionally, Captain Brad’s son is also innovative with colors and unique lure designs, stickbaits and spoons, that complement catching fish aboard Barcelona Charters. “Born here, built here, I like the way my kid makes lures, especially the colors,” Captain Brad added. “Renosky lures work too,” Captain Brad added.
Many of the lures had a sort of clear pearlescent attraction film color on them, all handmade at home. Many wish the lures were for sale, but they’re not. They work, maybe that’s what counts.
The first fish came aboard at 7:50 a.m., after that, we caught one fish on an average of every 6 to 10 minutes through 11:16 a.m., it was busy fun! The longest stint of no fish through that time was 19 minutes. Quite amazing. John tossed a quarter in the drink one time, after 15 minutes of no releases, with Tim quipping, “It’s a tradition when it slows down, a toast to Odin.” TV star, Tim Andrus, was taking abuse from John too, as John said, “Captain Brad, don’t know how you did it, but you got Tim to work today!” Tim was helping out with setting and resetting lines to the boards. Actually, it was a busy time, a good busy time.
Tim responded, “Hey Forrest, what’s that sound, can you hear that snap, crackle, pop? Oh, oh, sorry, that’s John’s bones, it happens every time he is landing another fish.” We laughed and joked the whole trip. Tim was helping net and stow the fish after catching and caught a fin on the thumb. John didn’t let that pass, “Don’t worry Tim. Pain heals, chicks dig big scars and glory lasts forever!” We all laughed again.
Not to allow any silence to sneak in between reel drag sounds, Brad chided in, “Know what’s the best part of a trip out here with Barcelona Charters? It’s Brad and Darcy!” Saturday Night Live would be proud this group. Hardy fun! Laughing all the way.
Lots of camera footage was recorded and my camera shutter made history, frequent click and shoot mode in action. Already, more than 30 fish had entertained us through the morning, 26 of them came to the boat net. That tally included one steelhead, one lake trout and one Coho salmon! The rest were mostly walleye, some to 7 pounds, but we also caught yellow perch, silver bass and white bass. Seven species! A great day of fun and fish-catching.
How do you spell fun? W-A-L-L-E-Y-E! Especially if you ask Tim or John, as our catch rate may have exceeded expectations. The bottom line? We forgot life for a moment, we had so much fun. The viewers will too, when they see this show. John wasted no time in booking another charter for his family a few weeks down the road.
One thing to remember when you fish with a charter captain and first mate that understand their job, they like to share. We all learned a lot, including new ways to fillet fish, as we watched Captain Brad after returning to the dock.
If you’re out this way, contact Captain Brad of Barcelona Charters at 814-602-9899 or email: email@example.com. Look for the fishing TV show by checking on-line at http://www.rushoutdoors.com/.
Speckled Trout Fun near Captiva and Sanibel Islands in Lee County, Florida.
Big Boat Comfort and Capability Allows for an Unforgettable Cruise Adventure
Enjoy Watching Loggerhead Turtles, Dolphins, Pelicans, Eagles, Osprey and Nature at Work
Fishing Fun – Sea Trout, Barracuda, Hammerhead Shark and Stingray
By Forrest Fisher
Vacation time in Florida can be such fun! My better half discovered that we were not far from Sanibel and Captiva, the shell treasure chest of the world. So Rose started to search out the adventure trail and found there were charter boats for fishing that would conduct shelling and eco-tour trips too. We had a match! Love that woman.
One phone call later, the date was set and the plan was solid with friends from Michigan to join us aboard Southern Instinct Charters with Captain Ryan Kane (http://www.southerninstinct.com/). The plan, according to my better half, was to compromise fishing and touring, weather permitting, but there is not much weather that can hold back the capability and comfort aboard Captain Kane’s 36-foot long Contender. With triple engines, getting to wherever you want to go is not an issue and it doesn’t take long to get there at about a mile a minute.
The long boat gave the four of us plenty of room to move around and we enjoyed comfy seating while listening to the stereo tunes of golden oldies and country western music. While the boat doesn’t appear to have a rest room, it does! The ladies were thrilled. I thought to myself, “We can do this again and stay longer!”
Bob and Shirley Holzhei, from Michigan, met Rose and I at 7:00 a.m. at Port Sanibel Marina. Captain Kane had the ice chest coolers filled with chilled beverages, snacks and plenty of water. Live bait was in the rear well and we had an access ladder just in case we needed to search the offshore beaches for pirate treasure. This charter boat was perfect in every way, I knew we were in for the time of our life on this day.
One sad thing was that while the sky was clear of storm clouds, the weather report offered that the invisible wind was sending waves five to seven feet on the outdoor gulf waters. It looked like we might be looking at a rescheduled trip. Not for Captain Kane, he said, “OK, let’s go kids! No planning calendar today! We’ll just go out and have some fun. We’ll see how it really looks and if it’s too rough, we’ll tour North Captiva and Cayo Costa islands to be safe. We’ll fish for speckled trout with popping bobbers and live shrimp. We’ll have a great day! We’ll do the deep sea fishing to waters less travelled on another day. Sound ok?” Who could say no?!
Captain Kane was so reassuring, we were thrilled to be heading out of the marina with a cast of pelicans and dolphins that had found their way in there. But we were not in Disney, this was real. The ladies loved every second. They never stop talking about it, even months later
The three giant outboard engines hummed up from idle speed to flyaway throttle and we were getting somewhere fast. Yikes! This was fun. About 5 miles out (4 minute drive time, we were airborne), Captain Kane said, “Looks like we made a good call, it’s so rough out there.”
I thought, for sure, there was no better way to spend the day with friends and it turned out to be a trip we will never forget.
We toured deserted outer islands and watched dolphins chase the boat, Rose said they were talking to us, but I thought they were playing. We watched loggerhead sea turtles – some were nesting on the isolated beaches, we saw a mother and father eagle feeding their young with fresh fish, watched ospreys capture fish after a 300 foot nose-dive, and we enjoyed a slow ride along areas protected from heavy surf. This was an adventure like none other.
Not long later, Captain Kane asked about fishing and we were all in. The fishing license is included with Captain Kane’s charter license, so everyone wanted a rod. We anchored in a protected inshore area near a sandy point and deserted natural island where the tide current was holding shrimp and baitfish not far from the boat. Good captains know these gentle weed lines, clam beds and secret spots from years of trial and error.
Using a slip bobber that created a popping sound when pulled with a circle hook just below, offered a live shrimp to a hungry trout attracted by the sound. It did not take long for Captain Kane to have all of our lines in the right place.
A few minutes later, Shirley hollered, “Hey, I think I have one, it’s pulling so hard. Bob, please come help me.” Bob said, “I can’t, I got one too!” Forrest, “I don’t want to lose the rod, can you come back here please, Bob has a fish on too.” I hollered back, “I do too!” Rose was the only one that had just reeled her line in to check the bait and shared, “I’m coming back there to help you Shirley, hang on.” Captain Kane was helping everyone at the same time. Fun?! Are you kidding?! This was incredible. Unforgettable! Not your ordinary fire drill. Memories are made of this. Shirley landed a small hammerhead shark and was ecstatic, and scared too. “I caught a shark! Can you believe it?” Captain Kane was careful, but sure-handed with the small shark and Shirley had a chance to touch the skin. “It feels like sandpaper!” She screamed a bit. I think they were happy tones.
We landed 25 trout in only an hour or so, a shark, caught some wonderful warm sunshine. We also hooked a giant barracuda and lost it, then hooked and landed a giant stingray that took us 45 minutes to bring in. What a battle that was! Bob and I had to switch places a few times and do the anchor dance, under the line, over the line, under the line…stretch, oooohhhh, aaaahhhhh, ouch, roll, turn, don’t lose the rod. Man, what a time! More than 50 pounds in size, we landed the nearly 4-1/2 foot long winged sea creature that resembled a spaceship shape from a TV space show.
Captain Kane removed the stinger to make the large critter safe while aboard while we prepared to release back to nature, then gave me the 5-inch long stinger with directions to placed it in a bottle for safe travel home and soak it for 2 days in bleach to sterilize the poison normally found on the stingray barbs. “The stingray will grow it back,” said Captain Kane, “And the stingray is not harmed in any way.”
The 7’ lightweight fishing rods we used were so light, so strong and so just right. I had to ask, what pound test was on that rod? “10 pound braid,” said Captain Kane. “Some of these rods, like the one that you caught that big stingray with, are new fishing rods in the development stage. I use only Dan James Custom Fishing Rods made right here locally in Fort Myers (http://danjamesrodcompany.com/). They cost more, but they are guaranteed for life, and Dan is a disabled military veteran and close friend, we fish often. You would never know he is disabled, he is an example for all of us who might think we have troubles. We share ideas about how to make fishing better for clients, how to make better boat adventure tours, better fishing rods and how to enjoy every single day we live life with our family and friends. We both share that kind of passion for our families and the outdoors.”
Captain Kane added, “Dan tests his rods with me and other charter captains, but in the shop too, you wouldn’t believe some of the abuse he wreaks on these blanks while testing them. He puts his rods together to be light and sensitive, yet uses a strong, high modulus blank so folks don’t get tired using the rods and can fish with confidence even when they hook a big fish like you did with that lightweight rod. You can push the limits with his rods.”
We headed back to the marina and all of us were happy to be on the water with such a knowledgeable captain. We explored and enjoyed some of the best that Southwest Florida has to offer. Captain said, “When you come back during summer, the winds are always lower in the warm months and we can run far without much trouble. We have natural and artificial reefs out here that hold giant gamefish like Tuna, Snapper, Grouper, Wahoo, Cobia, and more. We’ll do an offshore trip to have some fun with these, I’ll call you when it gets good! How’s that sound?”
Healthy whitetail deer management practices are key to healthy wildlife. Jim Monteleone Photo
Fawns are frisky, healthy, delightful and ready to play with anyone that will return the favor. Mostly their brothers and sisters, and mother. There are lots of them right now.
Most fawns in New York are born in late May or early June, and the first few months are a critical period for survival.
Fawn survival is heavily influenced by habitat quality, and those fawns that have good hiding cover and quality forage have the odds in their favor.
You can improve habitat for fawns on your lands by promoting native forbs in fields and forests.
• Avoid mowing large fields until mid-August – mowing fields in June can kill or injure fawns. Large, un-mowed fields provide excellent cover from predators and high quality native forage for fawns and their mothers.
• Create patches of young forest within your woodlot – removing overstory trees and allowing more sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor, will stimulate growth of herbaceous plants and new tree seedlings. Fawn survival is typically lower in wooded areas than in areas with some agriculture and fields, but increased greenery on the forest floor improves cover for fawns, helping them to stay camouflaged and protected from predators. It also provides more food for the fawn and its nursing doe. Overstory tree removal is best done during winter or another period outside of the breeding, nesting or brood-rearing season for many wildlife species.
• Keep winter in mind – Thinking ahead to winter projects, it is much easier to identify trees by their leaves than by their bark. Summer can be a good time to mark trees for winter-time cutting projects designed to enhance year-round browse and cover. Contact a DEC forester or biologist for advice.
• DEC reminds you, if you happen to find a fawn: If you care, leave it there! For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the care of young wildlife, visit DEC’s website.
Employing these simple practices can help fawns survive into adulthood. After all, healthy fawns have a better chance of becoming healthy adults and improve our opportunity to let young bucks go and watch them grow!
It's all about visual surface distrubance, underwater sound waves and your reaction time!
By Forrest Fisher
Some of us white beard anglers of today grew up fishing surface frogs 60 years ago.
At first, we baited real frogs, but after we ran out, plastic frogs were invented in the late 50s and we learned how to use them fishing with short, deep-sea fishing rods and wide-spool, open-face fishing reels loaded with 40 pound test Gudebrod braided line tied direct.
Those old plastic frogs were so very basic and mostly were only hollow, air entrapping plastic caricatures of frogs that floated. They sank after a while. Today, the new “best frog” out there has a popping action and it is much more sophisticated, more durable and is killer-effective. Gotta love some things about the word “modern.”
Personally designed as a “Signature Series” product by LIVETARGET Pro Angler and TV personality, Scott Martin, the Hollow Body Frog Popper has become a personal favorite in my topwater tackle box.
The frog is new in that it has a narrow profile and cupped face that make this bait special when you walk it across the surface. Special in that the face creates a unique sound message below…”Hello, I’m food, c’mon, get me,” and it offers a different sort of visual splash attractant message to join with the sound message.
I tried several colors and up north, the frog colors worked best for me, especially in heavy, super-thick cover, though it is still a mystery how the fish can even see the bait in thick weeds. Toemayto or Towmahto it is not, it seems to matter.
Down south in Florida, summer time Florida bass yield to the white frog LiveBait color more than any other. Why? The difference between oatmeal and hominy grits is what I think. Very little, but it matters if you live down south.
The two-hook design is not unique, but what is unique are the extra strong forged hooks that embrace and provide stealth cover for the soft collapsible body of the frog. Their extreme sharpness provide deep and sure hook-up. The only thing between you and fish is your line and if you fish these in thick cover, check your line often, use a good, modern, braided line and a positive knot with a stiff rod that will allow you to haul the fish out of the thickest cover you might imagine.
The acid test? Here it is. Drop a 10-pound anchor in the thickest weeds you can find, then move your boat 30 feet away and see if you can rip that anchor up and out without breaking your line, your rod or the gears on your reel.
For line, I like 60-pound Gamma Torque, I simply cannot break it. Other brands work too, but I think you could tow a tree with Gamma and it is thinner than most others to allow longer casts. Visit: http://gammafishing.com/.
For the frog, one last thing: best of all, these new LiveTarget Popping Frogs are available in two sizes for working extra thick matt or thinner lily pad style cover.
Frank Shoenacker gets the net for another one of our 26 walleye caught in daylight the Friday before Memorial Day.
Simple Fishing, Simple Fun, NEW METHOD
Peaceful Fishing Fun with Time to Share Conversation
Braided Line, Fluorocarbon Leaders, Sharp Hooks
By Forrest Fisher
“There’s one!” Frank shared, “Can you get the net Forrest.” It was actually, to be more correct, “another one.”
We started at 7 in the morning on the Friday before Memorial Day, the sun had not yet made it over the eastern hill at Bemus Point. Through about 10:30AM, we landed 26 walleye. Not joking. My fishing buddy and friend, Captain Frank Shoenacker (pronounced “sha-na-kir), enjoys fishing for walleye with rod in hand. “It’s real fishing,” he says.
When he’s not guiding for fun with guys like me to catch walleye to 6 pounds, he likes to work on his rigs, experiment with new baits, learn from other experts – like at the seminar series at the Niagara Outdoor Show every year, and also share what he knows too.
Our catch included a good number of throwbacks that were 1/8″ under the 15″ minimum, but being honest, I filled my limit fishing with fish to 24 inches long while spending a peaceful morning of conversation with this incredible fishing expert and friend. Secrets abound, some of them you need to find out from Frank himself, but think about it, 26 walleye. An amazing morning!
I felt like I was fishing in a throwback time. You remember those old days when going fishing meant leaving the rest of the world behind and just hoping to find some fish that would bite? That’s how it was with Frank. We’ve been fishin’ friends for a few years now because we share a passion for the fun and legacy of catching walleye in Chautauqua Lake (and Lake Erie), especially with rod in hand.
We leave the fancy toys, riggers, boards and all that behind when it comes to early season walleye fishing. I like to cast toward evening and into the night, but Frank prefers to catch fish in daytime hours (who doesn’t?) and shares his secret tactics with those folks that use his guiding services for charter fishing on Chautauqua Lake, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Frank says, “For the newbie fishing folks to enjoy the day and really have fun, I have learned the lesson that keeping it simple gets that done. Customers go home happy and with fish for the table if they want to keep ‘em.” When I saw how simple his tactics were, how savvy and coy they were at the same time, I was not just impressed, I was blown away.
As we moved from spot to spot collecting three or four walleye from each fishing zone, we shared conversation with 9 other boats out there vying for a fish-catching moment. In all, there was only one fish among them! Surprising to me? Yes! We were killing ‘em. Why? Stealth. Proper colors. Proper presentation. Fishing where the fish were (perhaps the biggest reason).
Cut weeds, floating weeds, short emerging weeds, all were present in the water, but no algae or moss. Seeing the weeds, you might agree, trolling is not an option. At least not an option that most folks might take. For Frank, it’s the one situation he likes the best. “No boat traffic this way,” he says with a smile.
He likes to use a modified troll using his 8HP/four-stroke engine with a drift bag to make the type of motion control possible that he wants for his 17-foot Lund fishing boat. Very slow forward motion in particular places, almost negligible motion…but there is motion, fish-catching motion.
Frank understands this motion thing quite well and can explain it. He puts the presentation on the fish where they are and then tantalizingly appeals to their sense of scent, visual attraction, lure motion and hunger using small baits. The scent of live nightcrawlers on his assortment of artificial worms in combination with vivid colors, stealth bead rigs and a unique catch-no-weeds arrangement, makes Frank’s home-made rig effective on Chautauqua Lake. Quite amazing really.
The motor was running, though I couldn’t hear it. As Frank reached for a Tim Horton’s Timbit, he looked over his shoulder at me and said, “It’s so good to be out here just fishing for fun today, ya know?” He tossed his line out about 40 feet behind the boat and told me to follow suit. He had the right side, I had the left looking back toward the transom. We caught one freshwater clam before moving to the next spot. “Lots of spots to fish,” Frank shared with a grin.
In similar depth water, we repeated the cast-out routine using his 7’ high tensile strength graphite St. Croix rods and Daiwa reels filled with 10-pound test Seaguar 832 braid and terminated with a fluorocarbon leader to the lure. You could feel every pebble, every bottom sensation and every nibble, tap-tap and anything else that contacted the lure. The rig provides the perfect rod-in-hand experience for every angler.
Over the next two hours, we landed dozens of walleye, but we also hooked or caught other fish species too, including musky.
I raised my rod tip, there it was, one tap and a slight movement left, dragged the rod forward and wham, the fish slammed the lure, just like Frank said he would. This guy likes to share fun, that’s all I can say about this trip.
Frank catches walleye using a method with lures that he alone has perfected. Since I’ve been doing this for 60 years I can say that. The results are amazing on even a short day of fishing. Imagine 26 walleye, a 4-foot musky and so many other fish from a lake 17 miles long that thousands of anglers fish each year.
Riverside Camping near Franklin, Pennsylvania – Campfires, Peace, Eagles, Blue Sky…Unforgettable
By Forrest Fisher
Last week was a journey week for Fern and I. We hitched up the GMC-1500 and travelled to Pennsylvania for a visit with fellow outdoor writers to share ideas, toss a few fishing lines, compare shotguns, quip about each other’s hair loss and joke about how we might climb the tallest mountain to hunt turkey where no one else could possibly be.
Some of us are getting too silvery between the ear lobes to climb much of anything that some might call a mountain – like the stairs to the second floor of the hotel. Still, we kid about it, it’s fun. It helps to laugh, since according to Fox News, laughing helps us all keep younger, the ultimate quest.
As writers, we share our love of the outdoors in every aspect. We talked about fishing rods, reels, boats, 4-stroke engines, shoes, waders, braided lines and fly lines, firearms, new laws, arrows, bows, boots, deer ticks, health insurance and the cost of gas, not necessarily in that order.
My friends in the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association are from an elite group of outdoor folks that love to share the one thing they want to help others find out about – the outdoors. The fun of hiking, fishing, camping, hunting and all the rest.
New terms in the last few years include kayaks, mountain bikes, mini-backpacks, ceramic forks and our dependency on space age communications…‘er, cellphones. We all agreed that the world seems to think we need these gizmos. We did not talk about Chinese exports and our own American need to overconsume everything, thank goodness, since the microbrews tasted so good.
One evening as we walked down Main Street from our affordable and comfy Quality Inn hotel room in downtown Franklin, Pennsylvania, my wife said, “Isn’t it great to see families holding hands, talking and walking from one small shop to another, window shopping and just enjoying conversation?” Who could disagree?
Franklin is special in that regard, besides being right next to Oil City, where our life in the petroleum world started long ago. We are all lucky to live in America, but I was considering that we were really fortunate to find a place like this highly valued town. So to share more about this for friends and vacationers, if you’re looking for a clean, wholesome and healthy place to visit this summer, check out this National Heritage Oil Region in western Pennsylvania, where oil was discovered. I know, who of us knew?!
We visited the DeBence Antique Music World as a touring stop and we heard the sound of beautiful birds outside trying to overcome the music inside, all coming from mechanized musical instruments that were on museum display and were played for us visitors. Some of these things were straight from the Wild West and the Matt Dillon timeframe – including church air organs. I felt like we were in a time machine. The mosaic of musical gear we observed, provided a symmetry of sound that was beautiful, unamplified, all natural, and was mostly using simple air, simple springs, and old-fashioned ingenuity. No hidden circuitry, if you know what I mean. No permission to share your name, pictures, location or personal information. I miss those days.
We walked a bit farther down the sidewalk, passing undisguised church steeples and wooden-front stores and shops, all still in use, many built in the late 1700’s.
Spring flowers were in bloom alongside the shop venues when we stopped with our writer friends to have dinner at Benjamin’s Roadhouse. Simple wooden tables, wooden floors, a 200 year-old bar and undisguised comfort. We enjoyed live music too, blues and rock, from a group called the Max Schang Trio – you gotta love base, drums and guitar simplicity, half of us were singing! It was that melancholy good.
As we drifted back to the hotel to refuel our energy for the next day and a fishing adventure on the Alleghany River, our conversation embraced the unfussy life of the old days and life in the outdoors, and how good we felt visiting this town.
The next day, we each caught several dozen smallmouth bass casting trouble-free tube jigs. Simple fishing, albeit from a modern watercraft and using Gamma brand braided line – the good stuff, and made right in Oil City. Still it was simple, drag-screeching fun.
We observed campers in simple pop-up tents that had hiked down to the river bottom to overnight a stay and fish the shoreline of the river. Watching them cook breakfast took me back to my young family days and camping. Camping is much more than a place where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person! Many joke about that.
Camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, even a simple lunchtime break, all allow us to observe nature and sort of “find ourselves.” Some say we all quest to find a deeper understanding for all things outdoors. Maybe, but we will find fresh air, silence, the sound of the wind shifting through the trees, the music of water rushing over rocks in a creek, and other hidden things that to learn more about outside. All devoid of over-complexity. In the outdoors, with nature, we look to form a special bond with our own universe and the simple natural world.
If we are lucky, we share such essential time with those special people that we share life with, our family and friends.
Strike King Tubes and Paddle Baits (Green Pumpkin)
Safety First! Wear Life Jackets, the Water Temp was 36 degrees
Eastern Basin Lake Erie EARLY SEASON SECRET: 3-Way Rigs, Long Leaders, Live Golden Shiners
By Forrest Fisher
My alarm went off at 6AM, the coffee pot came to life, my gear was ready at the door to move to the truck and it was just then that I looked out there. SNOW?! What?! Can’t be, I thought, but sure enough, the white stuff coated my semi-new truck and made it really glisten. Santa would be proud. I just smiled to myself and said, “It’s ok, I’m going fishing with friends today.”
For the record, spring is here! You know it, I know it, we all know it. So this past weekend on Sunday, I contacted on old friend that is a bass fishing guide on Lake Erie and a new friend who works for Flambeau Outdoors – the tackle box storage company that never fails. We decided to wet a line in Lake Erie where ice-out happened just days ago.
Captain Terry Jones from First-Class Bass Fishing Charters asked us to meet at Anchor Marine boat launch on Grand Island at 9AM, so Charlie Puckett and I did just that. Terry hollered over, “I’ve got plenty of gear guys, just bring the coffee and hop in, got golden shiner live bait too, we’re good to go.” Don’t know about you, but anytime the moment of truth arrives, you know, that a fishing day plan is going to happen for certain, my heartbeat quickens a bit. It’s exciting! Especially when you head out to fish for giant springtime Lake Erie smallmouth bass in a brand new Lund 1875 Impact boat package, complete with a Motor Guide Xi5 electric bow motor and two Lowrance Elite sonar units that can spot fish to give us a little confidence that we might catch a few.
Of course, Mother Nature was doing her best to remind us who is boss after every sunrise. The water temperature had dropped to 36 overnight, the wind was wavering between 5 and 15 mph from the west-northwest, the waves were growing. Not sure why we were all still smiling with wet raingear on after reaching the rocky shoal about 6 miles above the Peace Bridge.
The 4-stroke 150HP Mercury was purring along so sweetly to move us around on the shoal, we couldn’t even hear it. After 45 minutes, Captain Terry said, “OK, let’s go to another spot where we might find some active fish and the wind might be quieter.” I was thinking that’s exactly what other great smallmouth bass anglers like VanDam, McClelland, Hartman and my father – who loved to fish for smallmouth, might suggest too. One thing for sure, we would not be working topwater baits!
We headed for a rock pile near Woodlawn Bar, not far from the shoreline windmill farm near the old Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna, New York. A few minutes later, we switched lures to Strike King tube jig tails (green pumpkin color) with Captain Terry’s custom (home-made) football jig heads inserted, all coated with a dash of his secret smell attractant, and we let our lines down to drift and jig in 33 to 38 feet of water.
As we did that, with Captain Terry’s tackle box open and about 100 jig heads in all sizes looking at us, Charlie shared the latest about the new Flambeau tackle box divider packs. He said, “Yep, these are the best, our storage box divider systems are now coated with Zerust®, a patented, infused plastics technology that emits an odorless, harmless vapor in the container area of your storable latch-down tackle box. It provides rust and corrosion protection. No more rusty hooks!” You can check it out at www.flambeauoutdoors.com. The new gear today, like these dividers, do help anglers “be better out there.” The new stuff never ceases to amaze me.
My 7’-0” Abu-Garcia Veritas rod and Abu SX-30 reel with 8-pound Seaguar AbrazX clear fluorocarbon line was working perfectly. It was throbbing every now and then, my trailing jig tail was navigating the rocks and bottom rubble, hopping, dragging along, moving slowly, and acting attractive and vulnerable. As I was concentrating on the highly visible white rod tip…so easy to see from inside the boat, Captain Terry hollered, “FISH!”
The lone line we had trailing with a 3-way rig and a golden shiner lip-hooked from a size 1 Mustad circle hook suddenly bent clear down to the water. Charlie grabbed the rod and the first fish fight of the day was on. A few minutes later, we slid the net under the 4.6 pound female that was still hard with eggs. The 20-inch fish was also waiting for spring weather. One or two pictures later, we carefully released this healthy bass back to the depths to live another day.
The perfectly-sized golden shiners came from Tony Scime’s Tackle Shop (716-444-1704) in the heart of the Upper Niagara River fishing district on Niagara Street in Buffalo, New York. A good place for anglers fishing the FLW Costa Bass Fishing Tournament out of Buffalo to pick up Strike King jigs, tails, tackle, supplies and the hottest baits at the time. The summer tournament is set for July 26 – 28, 2018, (https://www.flwfishing.com/tournaments/2018-07-26-lake-erie-buffalo).
We tested the Lake Erie Buffalo Harbor waters near the south gap, the middle gap and near Motor Island in the Upper Niagara River before realizing it was already 3PM. How did that happen? When you’re having fun with friends, time flies.
The Lowrance sonar showed us that fish were present, but they were sluggish and the water color was not the best. It didn’t matter, we were enjoying conversation, fresh air and outdoor camaraderie.
All of us had spring things to do, like everyone, but this day was simply the best way to kick off the Lake Erie fishing year. If you want to do the same, give Captain Terry a call at 716-875-4946 or look him up at www.1stclass-bass.com.
Imagine that sound, “Fish On!”
Be sure to dress in layers to stay warm right after ice-out on the big water lakes, but GO GET ‘EM!
Worried about your kids or grandkids and their continuous attention to some sort of keypad? You know you are, so am I. They are growing up with something missing, but none of us know what to do.
While in Alaska recently, I had the pleasure to meet Richard Louv, a journalist, book author, radio, TV interview guest and fun-related speaker with a focus on bringing more kids and adults into the wonderful world of the outdoors.
Widely accepted as an authority on the outdoors, Louv created the expression “Nature Deficit Disorder,” as data provides evidence that both kids and adults spend less time in the outdoors than at any other me in our American history. Louv cited that this translates an increasing fear of the unknown in nature. Louv is the author of the book, Last Child in the Woods.
In this influential work, Louv cites barriers that impede people from identifying a path into nature. He told me one thing that I think all of us must not forget, “the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need in nature.”
Louv explain details about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors. He directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.
Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard.
The latest edition reflects the enormous changes that have taken place since the book was originally published. It includes:
100 actions you can take to create change in your community, school, and family.
35 discussion points to inspire people of all ages to talk about the importance of nature in their lives.
A new progress report by the author about the growing Leave No Child Inside movement.
New and updated research confirming that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder has spurred a national dialogue among educators, health professionals, parents, developers and conservationists. This is a book that will change the way you think about your future and the future of your children.
Follow Jim Monteleone in his 3-Part “Turkey Expertise Series”
Learn “HOW-TO-HUNT TURKEY” – Series Starts February 15, 2018
By Forrest Fisher
That’s right, it’s February, but each year in early March, just when many Major League Baseball teams are holding spring training out west and down south, turkey hunters are training too, gearing up for opening day of the turkey season just ahead..
In Florida, the 2018 spring youth season will run Feb. 24-25, the adult season starts March 3, with other southern states are not far behind. Hunters travelling with their families to share in the sandy shorelines of warming saltwater beaches have an opportunity to do more than collect seashells, they can hunt Osceola wild turkey too.
As the spring turkey hunting season nears across the country, the NWTF provides their annual Spring Hunt Guide as an overview of each state’s up-coming wild turkey hunting season.
The 2018 NWTF Hunt Guide provides the most up-to-date wild turkey population and harvest data available from state wildlife agencies across the country. Visit the links provided for each state and assure that regional sectors regulations are clear for exactly where you plan to hunt.
You can also search the NWTF Wild Turkey Records database and discover where the largest birds in the country can be found.
Following this very brief introduction from NWTF in getting prepared for the 2018 spring turkey season across our great country, follow the new 3-part “Turkey Expertise Series” provided for your education and enjoyment from one of the most knowledgeable and humble turkey-hunting experts you may ever meet, Jim Monteleone. He has taken the birds all across America.
Train Mental Skill and Subconscious Mind to Excellence with Proper Back Tension
Building Blocks to Solid, Consistent Arrow-Shooting Form
Learn from a Champion
By Forrest Fisher with Larry Wise
When your form is physically complete and practiced so it operates through the subconscious mind, you develop good mental skills to help you score high under all conditions. CORE ARCHERY will train you to be like this. CORE ARCHERY is a systematic set of archery shooting form steps built around the proper use of your skeleton. It is about proper back tension, and much more, on the building blocks of consistent, solid shooting form. It is a proven, simplified approach to consistent shooting form to achieve your desired results.
Throughout each form step of CORE ARCHERY, the governing theme is to maximize skeleton and minimize muscle. If you do this, your form will be energy efficient, fatigue resistant and highly repeatable.
CORE ARCHERY is a complete system of archery shooting form, presented here as the sequence of proper mental and physical actions required to launch an arrow to the target center. It consists of only the necessary and sufficient actions needed, and it has been validated by many archers.
CORE ARCHERY gives you the insight into good archery shooting form that will allow you to find the form you’ve lost or to gain it for the first time. Most important, when you learn core archery, you’ll be able to repeat your form, shot after shot after shot.
The author, Larry Wise, knows his beans…and his archery. He has been a competitive archer since 1979. His professional record shows 38 individual or team 1st Place/Championship titles, 11 2nd place finishes and four 3rd or 4th place.
He has given more than 300 “Tuning Your Compound Bow” seminars in 20 states; written five books on bow set-up and tuning; been a member of several bow manufacturers shooting and advisory staffs, and has done design consulting. He coaches nationally and internationally.
Since 2004, Larry has coached more than 300 individuals privately, written and edited a national archery coaches study course, taught national-level coaches courses, and coached the U.S. archery team at the 2005 World Indoor Championships (winning 13 medals, including seven gold).
In 2016, he co-authored the “Adaptive Archery Manual for Disabled Sports USA”. In 2014, Larry and Coach Linda Beck co-authored the “National Training System for Compound Bows” for the US Archery Association which is used by the Compound Junior Dream Team for which Larry is an assistant coach.
There are nine chapters and a special insert made from a 30-second video of the author making one well-executed shot.
Intro: Core Archery Explained
Your Shooting Objective
Stance & Build Your Form
Drawing the Bow
Aiming & Sighting
Aim & Release
Learning Back Tension
Muscle Activity during Back Tension
The Mental Game of Core Archery
SPECIAL INSERT – The Shot Sequence in Digital Photos. This is a unique chapter utilizing 44 photos of one shot to show you the steps of a good archery shot as that shot is being built. The photos are on 44 consecutive right hand pages and spring to life as you thumb rapidly through them. Study the flow from one image to the next to identify how each of the 12 form steps leads into the next.
Larry notes, a bit tongue-in-cheek, “Archery is a simple two-step sport. Step One is to learn to shoot an arrow in the ten-ring. Step Two is to repeat Step One!”
CORE ARCHERY is paperback, 8-1/2” x 5-1/2”, 140 pages, it retails for $13.95 plus shipping / handling. Published by Target Communications Outdoor Books (TCOB) as part of its “On Target” series. CORE ARCHERY and other archery/bowhunting books, plus deer, bear and turkey hunting books, are available at www.targetcommbooks.com.
Rods, Reels, Lines, Baits, Hooks and Rigs – Learn for Free
Where to Fish, Where to Park, What to Use, When to Go – Can it Get Any Better?!
Black Bass, Grouper, Snook, Crappie, Redfish, the list is LONG
Saltwater and Freshwater Goodness Tales of Help for Every Angler
By Forrest Fisher
While visiting a bait shop in Port Charlotte (Florida), I met a young-minded, white bearded, guy that the locals call “Fishin’ Frank.” He was talking to a gentleman angler and his friend in the store about tackle to use in saltwater. The guy was a fisherman from Minnesota. With a half grin, he said, “Frankly, have you ever heard of catching giant gag grouper on plastic-tail black bass baits? How about goliath grouper on a Carolina rig? Or giant snook on a freshwater Storm Twitch stick bait? Redfish on Zoom plastic worms…with a bobber?” The room went silent. “Nope,” the guy answered. “Let’s talk simple,” Frank added.
Making common sense of non-sense is something that this witty expert angler guy in southwest Florida does every day to help others understand how to catch fish in saltwater.
In a few short seconds, I discovered Fishin’ Frank knew more about catching fish than most people who spend all their recreational time fishing might know.
At his bait shop called “Fishin’ Franks” (http://www.fishinfranks.com/) you’ll encounter the best part of your future fishing day: Frank makes it his mission, for the moments with you, to share his knowledge when he senses what you need to know. You need to ask what it is you want to know first, after that just LISTEN (listen good).
Why does he do this? He’s a common sense guy that understands nature, forage, predator fish, the moon, the tides, his budget, your budget, his time, your time and, after a few minutes, your needs. Simply said, Frank likes to help people.
Catch fish or not, it’s fun to talk to this guy. Frank is friendly, accurate, an eternal optimist, and he’s there to come back to…if you catch ‘em or not – to answer more questions from you.
We all like people like this, but beyond that, Fishin’ Frank goes the extra mile to pursue the answers and solutions for you when he asks, “Did I answer your question? Do you have any more questions? Do you wanna know where to go fish while you’re here? From shore or boat?” Yep, hard to find this anywhere else in the country and world, I have fished those places and can confirm there is no other around exactly like Fishin’ Frank…who shares for free.
If you are a fisherman that loves to fish and catch fish, Fishin’ Frank’s Bait and Tackle Shop on Highway 41 (4425 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, Fl., 33980; 941-625-3888) is your “one-stop/must-go” place to visit. After that, if you’re lucky and there is an open slot, sign up for his free fishing seminars held on the second Tuesday and Wednesday of the month.
The seminars run from 7PM – 8PM at Luigi’s Restaurant in Port Charlotte, most folks start getting there around 5:30PM, they want a good seat. While there, you can eat, drink and be merry, while asking questions to quiet your quest for more information and savvy know-how and what-to-do stuff from Frank and the charter captain experts that talk with him. Best of all, everyone else there is a fisherman too, you’ll meet others that fish and know the area. Very cool if you are a visitor or resident.
In Frank’s little bait shop (not that little), the only thing you’ll find are hundreds of lures, hooks, floats, plastics, rods, reels and lines and fishing stuff that works in this fishing area for freshwater and saltwater fishing. And, at prices that can match on-line sales. How can Fishin Frank do this? The simple answer: sheer volume. He sells everything he carries right off the wall as soon as it gets there. Franks says, “I order lures by the thousands and still can’t keep up with the hot colors. For some lures like the Storm Twitch, I order 1200 at a time and they are gone very quickly.” If you and I visit there, we’ll find answers and solutions to our fish-catching problems at little cost to us. Quite amazing.
This past week at Frank’s seminar, Charter Cayle Wills of Bad Fish Charters (http://www.reelbadfish.com/home.htm), originally from Warren, Pennsylvania, where he cut his teeth on tiny trout streams, was one of two guest speakers. Captain Karl Butigian, Back Country Charter (https://www.kbbackcountrychartersfishing.com/), local native from Port Charlotte, also joined Fishing Frank to free the confusion about fishing the waters Port Charlotte, Florida. These guys offer charter fishing from their boats, or they will go with you in your boat for half price. Hard to match that offer.
The discussion this week was about using your freshwater lures to catch saltwater fish. Was it interesting? Indeed, it was eye-opening in a world of when it seems common sense is uncommon to find.
This column will begin a multi-part series about using those lures, the how, the where, and the what, from the information shared by this dynamic three-some of fishing experts. Look for Fishin Frank’s – Part 1 next week. To jump start you, need to know where to start fishing from shore? Frank has that for you! Look here: http://www.fishinfranks.com/where_to.htm#wade. You’ll find maps and more. Step by step. Just don’t forget to go back to the store and thank this gentleman giant of the Florida fishing world.
Captain Karl conducts hands-on seminars at many locations when he is not fishing. Captain Cayle writes for Waterline magazine, a local fishing publication, and is also staff at Fishin’ Frank’s store. Look to meet both of these angler gentlemen at the Charlotte County Boat Show Jan.11 – 14th, March 8 – 11 at the Punta Gorda Boat Show, and at the March 24, 2018, Fishin Franks Tent Sale, where about 3,000 anglers meet with manufacturers at the store and adjacent area to make incredible over-the-counter deals on fishing gear. It’s free to attend.
Choke Tubes Allow Shooters to Change their Pellet Dispersal Pattern
Choke Tubes Allow for “Quick-Change” Performance
Find the RIGHT CHOKE TUBE for every Shotgun you Own
When it comes to shotgun choke tubes, there is one name that rings true as the go to source of knowledge.
That name is Trulock.
From hunting to tactical, the team over at Trulock knows exactly what is needed to take the best shot possible. With decades of experience in engineering the world’s most efficient chokes, the team over at Trulock is second to none in knowledge as well as experience.
The story behind Trulock Choke Tubes, dates back to 1981 when founder George Trulock first began work engineering and designing his revolutionary new choke and installation system. George identified the need for a system that could be retrofitted into most shotgun barrels without the use of an adaptor or complicated machining tools. His final design accomplished just that.
Since then, George introduced a process and system that has been in continuous production, as well as being adopted by several major shotgun manufacturers as the industry standard. An inventive genius that has contributed to improve the shooting industry for all time.
To date, Trulock has a stock of approximately 2500 different chokes, with more scheduled to hit the market very soon. Trulock chokes are guaranteed to turn heads, they make competitors take notice. Folks that use them know that Trulock choke tubes are “THE brand” that everyone should look to when they need the right choke for their style of shooting fun.
This year, if you are planning to attend the 2018 SHOT Show, Trulock invites you to visit their booth #15855 and learn more about why Trulock Choke Tubes and the “Legend” behind their invention have helped to improve shotgun choke technology.
Follow Trulock for exclusive content and discount deals on Facebook, and check them out on-line at www.trulockchokes.com.
Moms Take to the Woods and Streams with Their Kids
More Industry is heading to Preserves and Protected Areas
Global Warming, Invasive Species…More
By Forrest Fisher
In the lives of sportsmen and sportswomen, the outdoors is about fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, boating, safe shooting, all that and more. Today we know that many things are subject to change and are scientifically measurable. One of the largest trends (change) is that there are many more ladies than ever before taking hunter safety training, learning to fish and becoming certified all across the country to carry a handgun. Modern moms want their kids to eat organic, untainted food, like venison from deer and to be safe. More moms in the woods will take their kids with them. More kids in the outdoors, a very good change.
If we talk to folks in Alaska, they acknowledge things are changing. There are fewer halibut to catch, Chinook (king) salmon are part of a variable up and down population swing more often and there are plans for new copper mines (at Bristol Bay) that may contaminate a myriad of pure water rivers with their process discharge effluents.
Is our increasing population to blame for many of the changes we read and hear about? Is world industry to blame? Is our world receding? Global warming, is it for real?
Many college-oriented experts say so, despite certain science that appears to still be quite uncertain to measure long term trends. Some experts say we do have measurable evidence of shrinking ice caps. We all might agree that our weather is certainly changing, that’s for sure, but is it a natural cycle or man-caused?
Birds are a serious part of the storyteller tale of evidence about our planet ecosystem. There are more than 10,000 bird species in the world, but in the last 100 years, about 200 of those species have gone extinct. Should we be concerned? Yes, of course, but we should work to understand why these birds have disappeared. Those reasons might include poaching, polluted waterways, contaminated air currents, inadequate garbage disposal and a long list of manageable people issues that until now, were not considered important.
Birds, fish, seals, beluga whales, walruses, polar bears, many other animals, arctic ice and people like you and me, all seem affected. So, believe it, we are certainly in the process of change. To the untrained among us (like me), we accept that most people are not climate scientists, biologists or environmental science engineers, but we do need to rely on the science and studies, and understanding, of these experts who do know.
With communication e-networks on the increase, it you live your life at work and at home from your smartphone and laptop, like a majority of working people today, where do we draw the line on false facts and untruths that can seem to affect lives? We can only combat the fold between falsity and truth by asking questions and trying to get involved so we can all understand more about our changing environment and actual reality.
The fact about all that is, for the bulk of us, the outdoors is something we do for recreation. It’s not our life. Maybe we need to make the outdoors and understanding it a larger part of our lives. Ecosystems worldwide are changing. Ships, planes and global industry are a big part of the management issue for world eco-health. Invasive species have come to us from these sources and more.
We have killer bees in much of America, Burmese pythons in the two million acres of the Everglades, snakehead fish that can breathe air or water in the Potomac River, and many more invasive critters that most of us sportsmen have little or no concern about. We should. These invasives are changing things, many have NO predators. Get involved.
Overall, we read there are something like 50,000 invasive plants and animal species in America alone. In Lake Erie, there are 186 invasive species at last count. There are non-native fish and mussels in that mix, too. These things affect you and me, and us all. America offers many great places to enjoy the outdoors in all its splendor, but yes, it is changing.
As sportsmen, let’s help our neighbors all around America by keeping an eye on things that can change our ecosystem. Let’s keep our national parks and monument trails intact. Let’s prevent industry from moving to capture minerals, oil and precious ore from areas that are now protected. They have been protected for a reason: to prevent change.
Many industries want to mine copper in the border waters of Minnesota, or drill for oil and mine in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the name of new energy development. I think these and many other areas should consider continued protection from industrial exploitation well into the future.
It’s important to let your legislators know how you feel about such change. Please join me in one resolution for the new year, to get more involved in these issues that affect our future.
Define a New Resolution Milepost for this New Year!
Outdoor Adventure for your Family ONLY BEGINS WITH YOU
Teach your Kids to Find Clear Skies and Share Real Outdoor Tales
Cast a Line, Pitch a Tent, Pan-Fry Dinner, Hunt, Shoot or Watch for Shooting Stars…Here’s How
By Forrest Fisher
If you are a wanna-be outdoorsman, no matter where you live, you might or might not already know that there is no end to the fun to be found outdoors through all 12 months of the year. You sense the need for new outdoor discovery, but what to do, where to go, who to call?
You can fish from shore or boat or ice – and score on fun and food for the family. You can hunt for small game, big game or many game birds and enjoy in the sacred traditions of our forefathers. You can camp in any of hundreds, maybe thousands, of wildlife management areas. You can hike to your heart’s content for miles along your favorite trails, a lake shore, around your favorite pond, along a mountain stream or in any of many state and national parks. There many places to find the roads less travelled.
You can keep up with seasonal changes and best places to do all these “outdoor things” by joining a local outdoor club where you live. Find a phonebook to look them up to find them, but these outdoor club groups abound all across the country. Nationally, look for Trout Unlimited, the Safari Club, Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Back Country Hunters and Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Rifle Association or the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Experts share their innermost outdoor secrets in many of these groups.
If you would rather “see” to learn, visually, you can take a side-seat to recorded adventure and excitement outdoors. You can absorb and learn from that one moment of truth that only occurs in the wilds – setting the hook, taking the shot – there is outdoor television. We have today, a choice of outdoor channels that cater to the wonderful specialized outdoor interests of fishing, hunting, camping and capturing to share that special spirit to be discovered in the wild outdoors.
For myself, I was so fortunate to have had parents that understood just how important starting kids off in the outdoors was, teaching us three kids to fish from when we were very young – I was four years old. My mom and dad have both passed on now, I so miss them, but their lessons of living an honest life and their lessons for functional simplicity live on with me each day. They kept things easy for us kids to understand. Starting a fire, baiting a hook, stopping to listen to the water run through the rocks of a stream or over a waterfall. They would stop and say, “Isn’t that beautiful? We would watch deer from a distance all summer, then hunt in fall. We learned to love every season.
Now, especially during the holiday season and with the joy of Christmas, I think of the delicious family recipes they passed on that always included the bounty of the outdoors. Our Christmas dinner included the whole family sitting around the table. At first, there was just my mom and dad, my brother, sister and me. We quickly grew to more than 20 people bonded by our love of family, the outdoors and an understanding of our supreme Creator, who we thanked before the grand meal at every Christmas dinner. There were specialty dishes mom would make and these included old-fashioned, handmade delicacies. Potato soup, fish dinner, homemade sweet bread and honey, a side salad of garden vegetables that included lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes and ground salt and pepper. As we slurped the soup, my dad would pass out four walnuts to each of us. We passed the nutcracker around and broke these open to eat with the salad, each nut reflected the forecast for your health through each quarter of the following year. A good nut meant good health, a crumbly nut meant you better be careful in that quarter. Mystical? Maybe, but you know, it was just something they passed on from their parents and, as kids, we believed every word. If we received a bad nut, mom would hold us to eat more fruits and vegetables in that quarter to “make sure” we did not get sick. It worked too. There were no magical pills, of course, we were all “good nuts.”
We lived in Western New York, the fish dinner included walleye from Lake Erie, perch and crappie came from Silver Lake and Chautauqua Lake, and bass from Buffalo Creek near Blossom, New York. I rode my bike to that creek about three or four days each week in summer, met my cousin there who came from the other direction, and we would fish all day to catch our limit of smallmouth bass. On most days, we used small crayfish (freshwater crabs) we caught by hand, they lived under the rocks in the creek. Fun? It was unforgettable! The big crabs would often be faster than we were, they would pinch our fingers. Yep, we yelped like little babies that needed a diaper change. Learned some new words too.
Dessert followed the Christmas meal, warm homemade apple pie topped with French vanilla ice cream. Ten minutes later, most of us were dozing off as we watched TV in legendary satisfaction, right before we started to sing our famous off-tune Christmas carols. No one slept through that.
Our tradition of sharing the bounty of the outdoors with family started nearly 70 years ago for me and is a keepsake that my wife and I try to maintain each year with our kids and grandkids. In hindsight, there is not much I would ever change.
If there is one thing to share it is this: Get your kids started in the outdoors early.
They’ll find peace, joy, confidence in themselves and fun, and love of life and nature, and when you’re old and gray, if you are lucky enough, they will never stop thanking you. My better half and I smile to each other quite a lot these days.
Start the new year off this way and next year at Christmas time, you may find that the best wishes for the happiest holiday and adventure season of sharing love in the outdoors started last year…right after New Years Day.
Compact Bows, Imagine Axle-to-Axle lengths of 18.5 to 24 inches
Add, Faster Arrows and High Impact Energy
Ground Blinds for Archers…Plenty of Room NOW
By Forrest Fisher
I’ve never seen anything like these Gearhead bows. They are unique in appearance, are shorter and lighter than most other bows and they offer superior performance too. Gearhead is offering a $30,000 cash prize to the winner of the Bowhunter Division at the 2018 Las Vegas Archery Shoot, set for Feb. 9th – 11th, 2018, with payouts to 5th place. Read up on the rules at this website: https://www.gearheadarchery.com/pages/winwithgearhead.
Gearhead Archery started an archery company based a new concept of compact and powerful bows they call their T-Series because they wanted to build the ultimate hunting bow. Gearhead Archery believes, that once you begin to hunt with and experience the benefits of their compact T-Series bows, you will never want to carry a large bow into the field again. Check ‘em out.
The Gearhead Archery compact line of T-S series bows include the T18, T20, and T24; that is, axle to axle 18.5”, 20.5” and 24.5”. The compact line comes standard with a backpack of your choice, to allow you to take these bows anywhere. The compact line is specifically designed for difficult hunting conditions, whether you are in the confined space of a ground blind or tree stand, or on an extreme backcountry hunt, the compact T-Series bow will be there with you.
All of the compact line of T-Series bows deliver plenty of kinetic energy, speed, and accuracy, despite their deceptive small size. In fact, these bows deliver the same punch as any full size bow with an equivalent draw length, don’t let the size fool you! Size and Accuracy how can that be? The single biggest myth of short ATA bows is accuracy, we can tell you this is NOT true,
Gearhead Archery currently has Pro Staff shooters shooting the T24 and have won and placed at multiple events. The dual riser plate design on all Gearhead bows is more precise and true that any other bow on the market. The simple fact is that the Gearhead Archery dual plate riser design is engineered like a bridge, giving them the repeatability, strength, and rigidity like no other bows built.
Gearhead Archery engineers will tell you that one of the biggest telltale signs of a rigid and well-built bow is shooting very light arrows to induce sound and vibration to draw out any weakness. They have evidence that Gearhead bows eat light arrows and don’t cringe like other bows.
The compact line can accommodate draw lengths from 24″ to 30″ and with the use of a custom FTR release aid that can extend draw lengths up to 34″, simply incredible. The PATENTED FTR release aids can adjust your draw length from 1 to 4 inches with one of the FTR-series releases. Another benefit of the release option is that it allows one bow to fit multiple shooters by simply changing to a different release.
Finally, all Gearhead Archery bows can be converted from a true Right to true Left-handed in minutes, without a bow press. Another incredible feat.
Sulfide-Ore Copper Mining can be Toxic to Watersheds
Mineral Leases Have Been Granted, Industrial Proposals are Underway
Ecosystems, Streams, Lakes, Forests, Fish, Wildlife and PEOPLE will be Threatened
Conservation Group is ASKING FOR YOUR HELP
By Forrest Fisher
Did you know that the Boundary Waters Wilderness is America’s most-visited wilderness? It is, yet this pristine area of more than one million acres located in northeast Minnesota in under threat. While it includes a watershed of backwoods streams, lakes and lush forests, the watershed and habitat is under imminent, toxic threat of Sulfide-ore copper mining. Sulfide-ore copper mining has never before been permitted in this pristine Minnesota watershed, yet it appears that mining is imminent. Mineral leases have been granted. Industrial proposals are underway. Locals are asking for help, asking for others in the outdoor media and worldwide conservation media to let the public to know. Many say we need an immediate public outcry.
According to experts, the short science to understand is this: sulfide-ore copper mining threatens aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of the South Kawishiwi River area, Mining Protection Area, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and other parts of the Superior National Forest including the Withdrawal Study Area, Voyageurs National Park and Boundary Water Region of Quetico Provincial Park.