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The Power of Backing

“Fishing is much more than fish.  It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” ---Herbert Hoover

“Put backing on your line; even if you never use it. It helps you dream.” ---Jimmy Moore

“More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings, the satisfaction felt from being in the open air, the new lease of life secured thereby, and the many, many pleasant recollections of all one has seen, heard and done.” --- Charles F. Orvis

Why We Fish --- Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen

“Even though I saw the move coming and sunk the rod to the grips, the fish broke through the surface, pausing on the taut line and loaded fiberglass. There it was, just for an instant, an eye and a mouth. And back down it went, pulling drag and wiping a dozen years of fishing experience from my consciousness.”  ---George Kramer

“The gods do not deduct from man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing. “ --- Babylonian proverb

“All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.” --- Harold F. Blaisdell




The Best Day

I caught this 5-pound-plus smallmouth during my best day of fishing. Read about it in Why We Fish.

We say that bad fishing days don’t exist. But that’s not true. What we really mean is that we never have bad days on the water, no matter how uncooperative the fish are.

Exploring the reason for that is one of the reasons that I decided to write this book, and you can check elsewhere in these pages for what I’ve discovered from my own experience and that of fishing friends and acquaintances.

But for now, let’s just say that is the reality: A bad day of fishing is an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp” and “living dead.”

Some days, however, are superior to others, and one of the primary explanations for that is the fish are biting.They’re even better when the bite is extraordinary. And the best when that bite is totally unanticipated, which leads me to my best day of fishing ever.

I’ve had a few other extraordinary days, including several on Mexico’s Lake El Salto, as well as a couple in Canada and Costa Rica. But hopeful expectations accompanied those days on the water.

That certainly was not the case for this early summer day angling for smallmouth bass out of Door County, Wisconsin. With several different guides who gave it their best, I had been trying to fish the Green Bay side of Lake Michigan for several days. But an unusually cold and brutal wind for June persisted out of the west, blowing right into our faces.

In short, we worked hard to avoid and/or navigate the rough waters and catch a few bass. Going into my last day, the trip had been most unmemorable in terms of angling success.

 (This is an excerpt from “The Best Day,” an essay in my book, Why We Fish--- Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen.)


Ontario's Lake Simcoe Yields 8-Pound Smallie

Dave Chong with 8.05-pound Lake Simcoe smallmouth. Photo by Wil Wegman

Ontario’s Lake Simcoe continues to live up to its reputation as the best smallmouth bass lake in Canada, if not North America. Dave Chong of the Aurora Bassmaster Club earned the latest gold star for the Ontario fishery, as he caught and released an 8.05-pound smallie in late October.

“At first I thought it was a laker (lake trout) because it was so strong and peeled drag seeral times without ever attempting to jump,” said Chong, a veteran tournament angler who was fishing in 27 feet of water with a Lucky Craft Pointer deep diver. “I was not sure what it really was until we saw this gorgeous bass about 15 feet below the boat. I thought it was over 5, maybe 6 pounds.”

Chong knows big smallmouth bass when he sees them, having caught 32 of 7 pounds or more in Simcoe. His previous best was 7.5.

Plenty of other anglers have tangled with hefty bronzebacks there as well. In 2010, Ontario’s sixth largest inland lake yielded a five-bass limit of 31.5 pounds during the Bass Pro Shops Simcoe Open, hosted by the Aurora club. During that same event, an 8.05 also was weighed in. That is believed to be the heaviest bass recorded in a Canada tournament.

What’s going on at Simcoe, a far north lake where the winters are long and the growing season short?

Chong believes forage is the key. The fishery sandwiched between Lakes Huron and Ontario always has offered smallmouth bass plenty to eat, via smelt, herring, emerald shiners, sunfish, and crawfish. But the migration of round gobies into the lake from Ontario seems to have kicked up growth a notch, as it has in other smallmouth fisheries.

“I know that there are double digit smallmouth bass in Lake Simcoe, and believe that the world record will be broken on it one day,” he said. 

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)


Boaters Suffer Defeat in Ethanol Lawsuit

The damage done to outboard engines by ethanol was given little consideration recently, as the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia threw out a lawsuit that sought to force better labeling at pumps carrying ethanol mixtures of 15 percent (E15).

“E15 isn’t approved to be used in any marine engine and doesn’t work to the point of being toxic,” said Randy Pulley of Precision Marine in Goldsboro, N.C.

“E15 isn’t even approved for all automotive engines. We really don’t want it at all, but if it is going to be forced on us, gas pumps need to be labeled large and prominently to show it is not for marine and other small engines.”

Since its introduction, E10 has caused problems for thousands of boat owners, as it dissolves plastic parts and eats through hoses and other components in fuel systems. E15 will be even more destructive.

But the court ruled that the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the American Petroleum Institute, and others who brought the suit don’t have standing because they “cannot show members have suffered or are suffering with an injury that is traceable to the misfueling regulations.”  

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved gasoline with 15 percent ethanol for use in cars year 2001 or newer.

“But while the agency prohibits its use in mowers and other power equipment, the EPA’s warning label on so-called blender pumps (carrying mixtures of 15 percent ethanol, E15, or higher), is easy to miss amid all the advertising and other labeling on the pump,” said Consumer Reports.

NMMA’s Nicole Vasilaros said that NMMA is not involved in additional curt cases regarding E15, but added that the organization is reviewing additional legal options to force EPA to better label and warn consumers about the dangerous of misfueling their outboards and other engines with E15.