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Anti-Angling Bias in D.C. Remains a Threat

As they quietly go about their business behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., politicians and bureaucrats within the Obama Administration pose a significant threat to the future of fishing. It’s not easy to keep up with what they’re doing, but fortunately the Activist Angler has a trusted source for information about the anti-fishing movement.  

He has just provided me with a disturbing reminder that those who want to tell us where we can and cannot fish in public waters remain colossally ignorant and/or colossally disdainful of recreational angling.

They remain so despite attempts at educating them about the importance and value of recreational fishing by the American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal ConservationCongressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and other organizations.

What’s the latest evidence?

It resides within the National Marine Protected Areas Center website maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has been pushing a preservationist, anti-fishing agenda for four years. Much of that agenda focuses on zoning uses of our oceans and the waters that connect to them, courtesy of a National Ocean Policy created by Executive Order.

In categorizing those uses, anonymous bureaucrats have come up with four general categories: Recreation & Culture; Fishing, Hunting & Gathering; Energy; and Other Maritime Activities.

Now, “recreational fishing” is called that for a reason. It’s a form of recreation, with minimal harvest and minimal impact on fisheries stocks. Additionally, nearly 60 million Americans call themselves anglers, and they spend hundreds of millions dollars annually pursuing their pastime, with much of that money benefiting fisheries conservation.

Fisheries advocates have been hammering this message to the administration since President Obama took office. But blindly following their preservationist ideology, the bureaucrats pay lip service to the distinction and then go on about their business of ignoring it.

In other words, recreational angling is not listed in the Recreation & Culture category. Instead, it is paired with commercial fishing in the Fishing, Hunting & Gathering category.

“Only NOAA could lump fishing with a rod and reel into the same category as dredging and trawling – and to think we pay for this!” says my source.

And we’re going to pay additionally for it with reduced access unless we unite in advocacy through Keep America Fishing and other groups and unless we make sure that our members of Congress are educated and stepping up to protect our rights.


Fishiding Improves Fisheries Reclaimed Materials

Fishiding photo by Engbretson Underwater Photography

Much of the best artificial fisheries habitat comes from Fishiding, one of the sponsors of this website. It’s doing great things to improve fishing using materials that otherwise would end up in a landfill.

That’s why engineers have recommended its products for a restoration effort at California’s Lake Machado near Los Angeles. Reasons include the following:

“The inert, reclaimed PVC limbs will last for decades or more underwater. The PVC material attracts bio-film and peripyton growth excessively, superior to other products. The ability to bend to shape and drop in the water landing upright, is another key feature.

One of Fishiding’s latest innovations is the bait-ball artificial habitat feeder, created using Floating Island International Technology. It converts nutrients into fish food by providing surface area for the food to grow naturally.

According to Fishiding, “Units can be installed by hanging from piers, docks, rafts, etc., suspended off lake bottom at any desired depth or free-floating within entire water body from surface to any depth.”

If you own private waters in need of habitat or if you’re involved with a habitat project on public waters, you should check out the options that this innovative company offers.


Young Pro Staffer Speaks From the Heart for Gulf Restoration

Here’s a report from Vanishing Paradise about the testimony of its youngest pro staff member during a public meeting in New Orleans. He spoke on behalf of restoration for wetlands and other fisheries habitat on the Gulf Coast.  

Nine-year-old Sean Turner waited patiently for his turn to speak. When his name was called, he marched confidently to the microphone in a room packed wall-to-wall with over 200 policy makers, state and federal agency reps, reporters, scientists, and community leaders. His comments were simple and straightforward. 

"I love to fish in Louisiana and I've done it my entire life. It's important that we're able to fish because it means so much to all of us. This is a lot of money we are talking about. Don't mess this up. I want Louisiana's coast to stay here. I don't want to lose it because of some dumb oil spill."

As he uttered the last word of the simple message that came straight from his 9-year-old heart, the entire room BURST.... I mean literally BURST into riotous applause and shouts of support. People followed him out of the room clamoring to share words of thanks, support, and encouragement.

In a room of conservation, legal, scientific and policy professionals, Sean made the most honest and meaningful statement. Subsequent speakers cited his comments as they spoke to the RESTORE council representatives. "Sean said it best. We have to get this right. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to make sure that his generation has the opportunity to experience the Louisiana we love, and to share it with their children. We have to get this right"

I couldn't be more proud of Sean and his mother Marissa. They drove from their home an hour away, on their dime, to make their feelings know and to make a statement for future generations.
And Sean did it better than anyone in the room.

Go here to learn more.


Angler Input Sought for Bass Regulations in Florida

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants input from anglers about largemouth bass regulations. To facilitate that, a series of open houses are set for around the state.

“This is an opportunity for anglers to provide their thoughts and ideas about Florida largemouth bass regulations. Should they stay the same? Should changes be made? You tell us,” said Allen Martin, regional freshwater fisheries biologist for the FWC.

During the open houses, anglers can meet the biologists, talk about fishing and tell them what they think.

 “Anglers are welcome to come into the open houses at any point. There’s no set schedule. You can come in for 10 minutes or stay for an hour,” Martin said. “The open house format is casual and for angler input about bass regulations only. We want people to let us know what they think.”

The open houses are from 5 to 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Here are the locations and dates:


Feb. 28 – Lake Placid
H.L. Bishop Park
10 Lake June Clubhouse Road


*March 1-3 – Tampa
Florida State Fairgrounds
4800 N U.S. Highway 301
*This will be done at the FWC booth during the fair. FWC staff will be available all hours of the show.


March 11 – Okeechobee
C. Scott Driver Park
3950 SW 99th Drive


March 12 – Dania Beach
Bass Pro Shops
200 Gulf Stream Way


March 18 (4-7 p.m.) – Gainesville
Gary’s Tackle Box
5721 NW 13th St.


March 19 – Ocala
Gander Mountain
3970 SW 3rd St.


March 22 – Lake Mary
Gander Mountain
3750 Flagg Lane


April 1 – Jacksonville
Gander Mountain
13075 City Square Drive


April 2 – St. Augustine
Gander Mountain
550 Prime Outlets Blvd.

Early April (date TBD) – Tallahassee
Location TBD


Michigan Record Muskie Receives Additional Honors


The state-record Great Lakes muskellunge caught by Joseph Seeberger of Portage, Mich., on Oct. 13, 2012, has now been listed as a world record by the International Committee of the Modern Day Muskellunge World Record Program (MDMWRP). 

Seeberger caught the fish on Lake Bellaire in Antrim County. Michigan Department of Natural Resources verified the record and documented that the fish weighed 58 pounds. Although the DNR did not measure the length (Michigan records are determined by weight only), the angler measured the fish at a length of 59 inches with a flexible tape. Later in the day, a taxidermist reported the length at 58 inches.

“Mr. Seeberger’s fish is another example of the capacity of Michigan waters to produce enormous, world-record fish,” said acting Central Lake Michigan Management Unit manager Scott Heintzelman. “Added protection from recent regulation changes will allow more of these magnificent fish to reach their maximum potential and provide anglers the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime.”

MDMWRP is a committee of muskellunge scientists, industry leaders, anglers and outdoor media personalities that formed in 2006. The program facilitates the recording and verification of muskellunge world records, covering a current void of record availability to North American muskellunge anglers for fish in the 58- to 68-pound range. This range has been chosen because it is considered the maximum ultimate range of growth for this species. Prior to Seeberger’s submission, there had not been a MDMWRP world-record entry verified.

MDMWRP is one of many organizations that recognize world-record catches. Many of these organizations differ on their required criteria.

Over the past year, the DNR has made changes to muskellunge fishing regulations in an effort to improve fishing opportunities and to further protect the species. Starting April 1, the possession limit will change to allow anglers to keep only one muskellunge per season, instead of one per day. Anglers must also obtain a free harvest tag that must be attached to the muskellunge they intend to keep. These tags are available wherever fishing licenses are sold and will be available March 1.