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Why We Fish

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Tuesday
Mar182014

You Can't Reel Too Fast if a Bass Wants Your Bait

Illustration from The Bass Fishing Matrix

Secret: No matter how fast the gear ratio of your reel and how fast your retrieve, you can’t get a bait away from a bass if it wants it. At best, you are reeling at 2 to 3 miles an hour, while a bass can swim at bursts of 12 to 18 miles an hour. So even if you are “burning” a bait, catching it requires just a jog for a bass. 

Secret: Fisheries scientists estimate that only 5 percent of fish in any given bass population are actively feeding at one time. Thirty percent are inactive and 65 percent are neutral. That why accurate casts, subtle presentations, and enticing retrieves are so important.

From my first book, Better Bass Fishing. Both it and my second, Why We Fish, are available from Amazon and other booksellers. BBF is filled with "secrets" that will help you catch more and bigger bass. A collection of essays, WWF is a celebration of the many reasons that keep us returning to the water. Bill Dance and others contributed. Check out its 33 reviews at Amazon.

Monday
Mar172014

Colorado River Reservoirs Drying Up

Lake Mead. UCLA photo

Two of the West’s largest and most important reservoirs --- Lakes Mead and Powell --- are below 50 percent of capacity and falling, as a 14-year drought continues in the Colorado River basin.

Additionally, for the first time ever, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is slowing the flow from Powell to Mead.

“What we’ve seen in the last two years are the worst consecutive years of inflow in the last 100 years,” said Terry Fulp, Lower Colorado regional director.

“We’re going to slow Powell’s decline. That will hasten Mead’s decline. But next year, we can adjust again.”

If rain and snow doesn’t bring relief soon, lots of “adjustment” might be required for the seven states and 40 million people who depend upon the Colorado water. For example, water managers theorize that Arizona has a 50-50 chance of seeing its allotment cut by 11.4 percent in 2016 and Nevada 4.3 percent.  That’s the equivalent of the water needed for 26,000 homes.

Additionally, flows vital to both recreation and ecosystems along the river will be threatened. Sport fishing and other outdoor recreation on the Colorado are worth an estimated $26 billion annually.

“We can’t simply sacrifice recreational and environmental flows when times get tough,” said Ann Castle, assistant secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“We know that outdoor recreation is an important driver of the Southwestern economy, just like agriculture, so we’ve got to consider all of those things together.”

The president of American Rivers, meanwhile, said that the problem is not the drought but how water in the basin is managed.

“What we need are fundamental changes in how we manage water in the Colorado basin,” said Bob Irvin. “This is the loudest wake-up all so far.”

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

Monday
Mar172014

Another Troublesome Invasive Plant Is Spreading

A pilot project in Michigan has resulted in the discovery of an increased threat to fisheries posed by European frog-bit, an exotic floating plant.

Statewide monitoring by the Early Detection Rapid Response coalition revealed European frog-bit in Saginaw Bay, Munuscong Bay, and around Alpena on Lake Huron. Previously, it was thought to be established in just a few localized sites in the southeastern Lower Peninsula.

“Responding quickly to a new invasive species is critical to increasing our chances of success, and it requires a well organized, collaborative effort between multiple agencies and other partners,” said Russ Mason, chief of the Wildlife Division for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Thanks to grant funding for the project through the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, control measures were quickly implemented, including physical removal and trial treatments with herbicides. By mid September, 1,500 pounds of the invasive had been pulled out of the infected areas.

Additionally, education, outreach, and future control activities are being planned with angling groups and other stakeholders.

European frog-bit resembles a miniature lily pad, with leaves about the size of a quarter. Forming dense mats, it shades out beneficial submerged native plants, disrupts natural water flow, and inhibits access.

It originally was accidentally released into Canadian waters during the 1930s, spreading throughout Ontario and into New York, Vermont, and other eastern states.

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

Sunday
Mar162014

Prowler Helps Put Your Bait Where Fish Are

For years Paul Lieb had been trying to perfect a product that allows you to stay in one place and yet maneuver your bait to better find and/or entice fish.

The Prowler Planer is his latest incarnation, following the BulletBobber and DualFin.

“It took 10 years, but I finally got all the options figured out to give you an advantage when facing any fishing situation,” he says. “The Prowler can help when shore fishing . . . and boat fishing when trolling, drifting, or anchored.”

About the only time that’s not useful with live or artificial bait is when you’re fishing deep water, he adds.

“Prowler Planers can do it all,” Lieb says. “They provide direction/location control and, when they are slip-rigged, you get depth control.

“Fishing in rivers with wicked currents and eddies is challenging, but you can quickly learn how to get where you want.”

Additionally, the Prowler “will teach you the benefits when doing any other type of fishing,” the inventor continues.

When you want to use it in fast currents or for high-speed trolling with larger baits, you can add a hydrofoil. That makes the Prowler “cut a furl like a water skier running out to the side of the boat.”

Finally, you can put the Prowler on and take it off without breaking your line or slip-rig it. And, by positioning the weight, you can make the Prowler plane only to the right or only to the left or make it flip direction with a twitch of the rod tip.

Go here to learn more.

Saturday
Mar152014

Why We Fish Provides 'Charming, Nostalgic Look at Reasons We Fish'

Photo by Robert Montgomery

“Robert Montgomery lays it all on the line so that readers understand why fishing is such an important part of his life. I loved this approach and appreciate his candor in actual life events, both sad and happy! Very few writers are able to get to the core of such a subjective storyline as Robert does in Why We Fish!”

“Montgomery's book is a charming, nostalgic look at the reasons we fish. It poses a question that every reader can immediately relate to and provide personal examples.”

“It's a wonderful book that belongs in every angler's home (and non-anglers who ask the question why do you fish?) Not only a must read, but a great gift idea, too.”

Excerpts from reviews for Why We Fish at Amazon. My first book, Better Bass Fishing, also is available there.