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Sunday
Jun252017

Sunday
Jun252017

Sunday
Jun252017

Florida Anglers Asked to Help Monitor Fish Health, Report Kills

With summer here, now more than any other time of year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs your help in monitoring fish health by tracking marine and freshwater fish kills in Florida.

Hot weather can cause fish kills, in part because warm water holds less oxygen than cold water. In addition, a lack of rain during hot-weather months can lower water level in lakes and ponds, resulting in poor water quality, increased density of animals and faster use of dissolved oxygen.

Heavy rains can compound the situation by suspending sediments in the water column and by washing vegetation, such as leaves and grass clippings, into the system where they  decompose, burning up oxygen.

Sudden temperature fluctuations or extreme temperatures, meanwhile, can result in fish kills any time of the year. The good news is that most natural water bodies are resilient to fish kill events.

FWC scientists monitor and document these kills and related diseases, as well as other aquatic animal health issues and associated environmental events.

“The public’s involvement is critical to locate, monitor and understand the extent of fish kills. Reporting observations to the hotline ensures a coordinated response to incidents and alleviates public concern,” said Theresa Cody, associate research scientist. “All the data collected from fish kill events are used in conjunction with directed research to further understand the causes of fish kills and disease incidences.”

You can report fish kills at MyFWC.com/FishKill or by calling the FWC Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511. You also can submit a report through the “FWC Reporter” app on your iOS or Android mobile devices. It is not necessary to report fish kills in man-made retention or private ponds to the FWC. The Fish Kill Hotline is sponsored in part by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program grant.

Friday
Jun232017

Shimano/B.A.S.S. Award Conservation Scholarships to Four

Logan Parks from Alabama (left) and Patrick Durand of New Jersey are two of the scholarship winners.Shimano, in conjunction with B.A.S.S. Conservation, has named the winners of its 2017 Shimano Varsity Program scholarships.

All with goals to have careers in fisheries and wildlife management fields, student anglers earning the college funds include Nicolas Boyett and Chase Ditchkoff from Georgia, Patrick Durand from New Jersey, and Logan Parks from Alabama. Each student will receive a $3,000 scholarship to pursue college degrees in biology, fisheries, wildlife or natural resources.

Shimano Youth Fishing Director Frank Hyla said, “Assisting young anglers and their passion for a career in helping assure there are excellent fishing resources for the next generation is one of the keystone goals of our Shimano Varsity Program. All of us with Shimano couldn’t be happier that in our first year with the scholarship program, we were able to select four outstanding future college freshman.

"Plus they are all pretty good bass anglers.”

From Climax, Ga., Boyett graduated from Bainbridge High School, and plans to major in wildlife management at Bainbridge State College. One day he hopes to own or manage a fishing or hunting operation.

With a goal of working for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources after studying fisheries at West Georgia University, Alexander High School grad Ditchkoff from Lithia Springs, Ga., earned a varsity sports letter from fishing on his school’s team. Alexander High is the first school in the country to honor its student athletes with awards for fishing.

A graduate of Cherry Hill High School in Cherry Hill, N.J., Durand is the founder of the Cherry Hill Outdoorsman Club. He is majoring in environmental science at the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, and plans a career in the environmental field.

Along with being a co-founder of the Auburn High School bass team and serving as the team president, Logan Parks from Auburn, Ala., designed and implemented a fishing line recycling project at seven sites around Alabama’s Lake Logan Martin. He will major in fisheries or agri-business at Auburn University.

With the noted decline in professional natural resource managers who fish, “the goal in working with B.A.S.S. to recruit students who already enjoy fishing and are interested in natural resource professions will pay off with these four outstanding young men,” said Phil Morlock, Vice President for Government Affairs/Advocacy at Shimano.

“We are already looking forward to even more interest in the scholarship program next year, and more interest among young anglers to pursue careers in fish and wildlife management fields.”

Thursday
Jun222017

Alabama Duo Wins Bassmaster Junior Championship

HUNTINGDON, Tenn. — Heading into the second day of the Bassmaster Junior Championship, Miller Dowling and Chandlar Hollingsworth knew they needed a couple of bites from big bass.

The boys from American Christian Academy in Tuscaloosa, Ala., were in seventh place after the first round of the tournament on Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake and trailed the leader by nearly 7 pounds. To account for the difference, they needed a lot of skill and likely a little luck.

They got both during the final day of fishing on Wednesday and came from behind to win the national championship bass tournament for young anglers 7-13 years of age.

Dowling and Hollingsworth weighed the heaviest limit of the tournament with five bass that totaled 16 pounds, 9 ounces. That gave them a two-day total of 10 bass that weighed 25-12, and that was enough to push past Rein Golubjatnikov of the Rochester (N.Y.) Junior Bassmasters for the victory.

Golubjatnikov, who led after the first day of competition with 15-13, finished second overall with a two-day total of 23-12. Jordan Sylvester and Jacob Tullier of the Southwest Louisiana Junior Bassmasters were in second place after Day 1, but slipped to third with 21-5 total.

Dowling and Hollingsworth were a tough act to follow on Wednesday. Each angler caught a bass that weighed more than 6 pounds, and the shared success paid big dividends. Both anglers won a $1,000 scholarship for the victory, not to mention championship trophies and national bragging rights for the year.

The 6-pounders both were caught on a green pumpkin shaky head worm in about 15 feet of clean water. The team fished only two spots the entire tournament.

“After Miller caught the second big fish, we said ‘We’re going to win this,’” Hollingsworth said.

But the day didn’t start so swimmingly. The boys thought they had the big bite they needed when Dowling hooked a bass they estimated to weigh in the 9-pound range within the first five minutes of angling time.

“We knew it was a big one right away,” Hollingsworth said. “We got him straight to the boat, but the hook came out. We were depressed — but later on, we had the first 6-pounder I caught on a shaky head, then we had some smaller 1-pounders. When we moved to our other spot later on, Miller caught another 6-pounder. I thought we were going to have only one big bite all day, but it got better and better.”

Dowling said the team was fishing old ditches that crease the bottom of the man-made 1,000 acre lake. They found their honey holes in practice, and they decided to stick with them in the tournament.

Dowling and Hollingsworth finished eighth in last year’s junior championship by catching nine bass that weighed 7 1/2 pounds total in 2016. That prompted them to select new spots this year, which turned out to be a decisive factor.

“This is like nothing ever before,” Hollingsworth said. “I’m shaking. We caught the first fish, and we knew needed one more. When we caught it, we were confident.”

Still, the eventual victors were among the first teams to weigh-in on Wednesday, and sitting in the hot seat for the majority of the day was a daunting task. Dowling and Hollingsworth literally sweated out the remainder of the 51-team field in the Tennessee summer heat to see if they’d finish on top. When the Louisiana duo of Sylvester and Tullier posted only 6-4 on Day 2, the Alabama tandem felt a bit of relief.

And when Golubjatnikov posted a second day total of 7-15, they finally could breathe easily.

“We got more nervous the closer we got to the end,” Dowling said. “But now, it feels great.”

Golubjatnikov caught his big bass by dragging a Carolina rig on the first day. His legs sunburned badly on Tuesday, and he was in pain on Wednesday, said his dad and boat captain Ken Golubjatnikov. Still, to fish solo in a national championship event and to fare so well was a feat in itself. He won a $1,000 scholarship, too, which didn’t have to be split with a teammate. School ends this week in upstate New York, and Golubjatnikov took his exams early knowing he would fish alone in the national championship.

It was the third consecutive year he qualified for the tournament. He finished seventh in 2016.

“To finish second in this tournament this year is a really great feeling,” he said.

Waupaca (Wis.) Junior Bass Busters teammates Reece Keeney and Bryce Moder finished fourth with a two-day total of 18-12. Bradlee Parish and Tyler Guin of the Monroe County (Miss.) Youth Bassmasters finished fifth with 16-9 overall.

Teams from 28 states and Canada participated in the junior championship. Each earned the right to compete in the championship through B.A.S.S. Nation qualifiers in their respective states.