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Kentucky, Barkley Lakes 'Could Be in Some Serious Trouble'

Asian carp caught on Kentucky Lake. Photo by Steve McCadams

A television station is warning that Asian carp could lead to the collapse of sport fisheries on Kentucky and Barkley lakes.

"We could be in some serious trouble," said Marshall County Tourism Director Randy Newcomb. 

 "What the Asian Carp do is they eat the plankton and vegetation that the bass and crappie live on," Newcomb said.

Read more here. 


Family Bluegill Tournament Planned for Sept. 28 in Texas

Photo by Robert Montgomery

A bluegill family fishing tournament is set for Sept. 28, sponsored by the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. What a great way to remind adults how much fun they can have by fishing with children.

Participants can fish in adjacent Lake Athens or in the center’s ponds and streams, some of which have been stocked with bluegill.

More than $2,500 in prizes will be awarded.

Go here to learn more.



Fishing Is Mystery and More

Photo by Robert Montgomery

(The following is the introduction to an essay about the pleasure that we derive from the mystery of fishing in my new book, Why We Fish. You can buy it at Amazon by clicking on the button at right side of page. It's also available from many other places, including Barnes & Noble and my publisher, NorLights Press. )

Much of the pleasure that we derive from life comes from mystery --- and the exquisite anticipation that accompanies it.

What’s in that big present under the Christmas tree? Will this next lottery ticket be the big one? Will the Cubs finally win the World Series this year?

For my money, no other pastime comes close to fishing in tapping into that oh, so human pursuit of happiness. Yeah, you can apply the correlation to any sport: Will my next drive be a hole-in-one? Will our doubles team win the tournament? Will I come through with the bases loaded?

But fishing is mystery and anticipation: We cast a line in hopes of connecting to an unseen creature in an alien world. Even better, the mystery --- the thrill --- renews with every cast. And unlike with a lottery ticket or slot machine, we don’t have to pay for privilege.

This phenomenon that keeps us going back to the water is more motivating as we age and gain experience, I suspect. That’s because we become more thoughtful about and appreciative of fishing.


'Boys, Oh Boys... I Think He's Come Back for His Noon Feeding'

Did you miss Shark Week on the Discovery Channel? Never fear.

I’ll get you up to speed.

But, first, we’d better get a bigger boat, especially if we’re going fishing in the Potomac River, which is mostly noted by anglers for its largemouth bass and snakeheads.

And we’d better upgrade the hooks on our Zara Spooks.

That’s because a couple of 8-foot bull sharks have shown up there recently.

"When I first seen it, it was like 'Jaws' -- we need a bigger boat!" said Willy Dean, a commercial fisherman who found one of the big predators in his net.

"I'm not kidding you. It looked huge. I didn't know how we were gonna get it out. It's my first shark. I've been fishing here a little over 30 years, and it's the first time I've even seen one."

Read the story here.

Now, let’s head over to Australia, where bull sharks have taken up residence in a golf course lake. Talk about a “water hazard.”

More details are here.

And Lake Nicaragua in Central America? I'd watch my back if I ventured into that body of freshwater.

“The picture above was taken in 2000 at the San Ramon Biological Station, Maderas National Park; it serves as evidence that sharks, indeed, do exist in Lake Nicaragua today. Two young, adult bull sharks are shown with Anna Maria Adamo (the former consul to the USA) and Rene Molina Valenzuela. The sharks were accidentally caught in the nets of local fisherman while fishing for other food species such as guapote and mojarra, as fishing for the sharks in Lake Nicaragua is not allowable. Thanks to Anna Maria Adamo for the photo. 

“Nicaragua's freshwater sharks have been migrating up the Rio San Juan to Lake Nicaragua from the Atlantic Ocean, for as long as people can remember. Lake Nicaragua used to be well populated with bull sharks until the 1960s and 1970s when Nicaragua allowed Japan to build and operate a shark fin processing plant on the shores of the Rio San Juan. There was even a shark fin processing plant on the lake shores near Granada during the golden days of Nicaragua.”

Read more here.

And how about the bull shark that swam up the Mississippi River, all the way to Alton, Ill.? Maybe this explains why Jimmy Hoffa’s body hasn’t been found since he disappeared in 1975.

“Officially, bull sharks have made it up the Mississippi as far as Illinois. In the town of Alton, Illinois, which is above St. Louis, two commercial fishermen caught a bull shark in the river. This shark had been raiding their fish traps, and they decided to catch the culprit once and for all. They set a big trap, one that would catch the biggest muskellunge or pike.  They were certainly shocked to find that it was a shark raiding their traps.

“Now, there is another interesting story that should be added. Although no official record of it exists, a man was supposedly attacked by a shark in Lake Michigan in 1955. This attack supposedly happened at one of the beaches near Chicago. The shark may have traveled through the Illinois River and then took a trip up the Michigan and Illinois Canal.

"However, the canal was disused and parts of it had already started falling in. It could have made it up the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the Great Lakes system. How it made it through the locks and dams on the St. Lawrence is a very good question. Further, bull sharks have been found only as far north as Massachusetts. None have been reported in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where they could enter the river and seaway.”

Learn more here.

The inspiration for  the novel “Jaws”? Peter Benchley supposedly got the idea from 1916 shark attacks along the inland waters of New Jersey.

“In the summer of 1916, panic struck the Jersey Shore. A shark sunk its teeth into Charles Vansant, the 25-year-old son of a Philadelphia businessman, out for an evening swim in the resort town of Beach Haven on July 1. A lifeguard pulled him ashore, but he quickly bled to death. Five days later, and 45 miles to the north, in Spring Lake, New Jersey, Charles Bruder, a young bellhop at a local hotel, met a similar fate.

“Then, something even stranger happened. The rogue great white traveled 30 miles north of Spring Lake and into Matawan Creek. On July 12, Lester Stillwell, 11, was playing in the creek 16 miles inland when the shark attacked. A young man named Watson Stanley Fisher attempted to save the boy, but was fatally injured in the process. 

“Joseph Dunn was luckier. The teenager, the shark’s fifth victim, was bitten in the creek less than a half-hour later and survived.”

Go here for more details.

And, finally, here’s an interview with Bruce Fintale, who played the shark in the blockbuster movie that has spawned hundreds of sea monster movies.

And, we can’t forget the latest film epic, Sharknado.

Now, let’s all go swimming, shall we?


Freedom to Fish Act Protects Angler Access Below Dams

Enactment of the Freedom to Fish Act in early June forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to back off its plan to restrict access below 10 dams on the Cumberland River and its tributaries.

In the wake of the bill’s signing by President Obama, the Corps immediately announced that it would comply and begin removing barrier buoys.

“This preserves the freedom to fish for generations of Americans who enjoy fishing below the dams on the Cumberland River, and does so in a way that gives the appropriate state wildlife agencies authority for boating safety,” said Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who championed the legislation.

“Now the Corps is required, by law, to stop wasting taxpayer dollars and ignoring elected officials who are standing up for fishermen.”

The Corps had planned to establish permanent restrictions, which angered anglers and boaters, as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle in Congress. Additionally, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said that it would not enforce the Corps’ policy.  

Under the law, anglers and boaters retain access when conditions are safe, with state agencies determining when it is not.

In response, the Corps said, “The Nashville District will be removing the buoys recently placed below the following dams: Old Hickory, J. Percy Priest, Cordell Hull, Center Hill, and Dale Hollow.

“This work will begin immediately. The Corps will also convert recently placed ‘Restricted--- Keep Out’ buoys above its dams on the Cumberland River and tributaries back to ‘Danger Dam’ buoys. The signs installed on upstream and downstream lock walls with the message ‘Restricted --- Keep Out’ will be replaced with signs that display the message ‘Danger--- Dam.’”

The Corps pointed out that three accidents have occurred below Tennessee dams since June 1.

“The water areas above and below dams continue to be very hazardous,” it said. “State laws for mandatory lifejacket wear below dams remain in effect. All boaters are cautioned to say clear of all turbulent waters released from these structures.”

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