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Fishiding Building Better Fish Habitat

If you own a pond, live on a lake, or manage a fishery, you really should know about the great habitat innovations being created by Fishiding, a sponsor of Activist Angler. If you’re just an angler, you can learn a lot about what attracts fish at the website of the company that builds cover out of recycled materials.

One of the newest products is the “Hangout Artificial Fish Habitat, Fish Feeder.” As the name suggests, it combines cover with a food source.

In short, baitfish are drawn to a micro-floral community of bacteria and fungi, as well as protozoa and zooplankton, that grow on a matrix of plastic woven from recycled drinking bottles.

In turn, bass and other predatory fish are drawn to the baitfish.

Contained within a mesh bag, the food source hangs below 32 square feet of flexible vinyl limbs.

The unit can be hung from the underside of a dock, pier, or raft. It also can be tied to a tree limb or attached to a full size habitat unit or anchor, with foam added to the feeder bag for buoyancy.

“What started with the simplest idea and one crib model has helped turn the industry’s focus in the direction of artificial fish habitat products, lasting for many years to come,” said owner David Ewald.

“Our focus always has been to improve habitat for fish. We are now learning how many other water- and fishing-related benefits these products possess.”

Coincidentally, results from a three-year study in North Carolina reservoirs recently confirmed what fisheries biologists suspected: Artificial structures are better at attracting and holding fish over a long period of time than structures made of natural materials.


Fishing Better, Stronger Because of Scott, B.A.S.S.

Ray Scott hugs Jett Williams, daughter of late Hank Williams, during his birthday party. Photo by Alvin Benn

The man who popularized catch-and-release and founded B.A.S.S. celebrated his 80th birthday last week. Arguably, with these two actions, Ray Scott changed fishing for the better more than any other person in history.

In my new book, Why We Fish, I include an essay about the importance of B.A.S.S. to recreational fishing. Here’s an excerpt from "The B.A.S.S. Factor":

“I remember a B.A.S.S. tournament on (Oklahoma’s) Lake Eufaula in the early 1970, when I was in high school,” said Oklahoma fisheries biologist Gene Gilliland. “Roland Martin won it.

“Afterward, he and Forrest Wood (founder of Ranger Boats) sat out on the dock and talked about how to make livewells better to keep fish alive. The tournament environment, I think, spawned a lot of innovations, especially in boat design and safety features for both the occupants and the fish.

“Maybe they would have shown up anyway eventually,” he continued. “But their development was sped up by tournaments and they became available to the public sooner.”

Kill switches, boat hulls, electronics, trolling motors, trailers, and tow vehicles are but a few additional items that owe their current state of development to B.A.S.S. and its professional anglers. Others include specialized rods, reels, baits, lines, tackleboxes, sunglasses, and clothing.

“If my granddaddy could see the equipment today, he wouldn’t believe it,” Bill Dance said. “He just wouldn’t believe what fishing has become.”

By the way, Gene Gilliland will replace recently retired Noreen Clough as B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director.


V-T2 Helps Keep Fish Healthy in Livewells

If you own a boat with a livewell, I encourage you to check out the V-T2 from New Pro Products, a new supporter of Activist Angler.

It’s a simple, ingenious, and inexpensive way to take better care of your fish.

Requiring no power and almost no maintenance, it provides a continuous source of dissolved oxygen, helps control temperature, and assists with removal of metabolic wastes and gases. Also, its use creates no risk of mechanical injury to the fish.

Via the V-T2, dissolved oxygen increases through atmospheric diffusion, augmented surface diffusion, and natural cooling processes, which increase the saturation capacity of the water.

It helps lower temperature through radiation, evaporation, conduction, and circulation.

And it uses air stripping and vacuum degassing to improve water quality.

Brian McCarter of Nemesis Baits said this about the V-T2:

“The V-T2 kept the livewells cool and the fish fresh despite the 90-plus degrees temperature. The biggest fish was caught at 7:20 a.m. and released at 4:15 p.m.

“I was surprised to see it didn’t lose its color, which is very common for Great Lakes smallmouth that spend extended periods of time in the livewell. The fish swam away immediately when released.

“I will never own a boat without your V-T2 on my livewell lids. That is a guarantee!”

Available in black or white, it sells for only $44.99, a small price to enhance fish survival, especially if you are a tournament angler.


Bill Dance Shares Tips to Help Ensure Angling Success

Bill Dance, a legend in bass fishing, offers the following tips to Activist Angler readers to ensure that your next fishing trip doesn’t hit any snags:

1. Replace your boat battery terminal’s wing nuts with lock nuts. They’ll help prevent those dreaded loose connections that vibrations often cause.

2. Be sure to never stress a rod past a 90-degree angle. While fishing rods are designed to be flexible, they can only take so much pressure. When you’re setting the hook, fighting a fish, bringing it into the boat or trying to remove a hook with the rod bent in an awkward position–or at 90 degrees and beyond, you always run a great risk of breaking it.

3. Add a second propeller to your trolling motor. No matter what the motor manufacturer says, one prop can’t do everything.

4. Last, but not least, if you are counting on a 2-cycle outboard engine to get you to all of your favorite fishing spots, upgrade to Mystik JT-4 engine oil. It’s formulated specifically for 2-cycle engines and has detergent package that is specially formulated to remove carbon pockets and can actually clean up the gunk that other oils have left behind.

Also, check out this video, in which Bill talks about the largest bass that he’s caught.

And in my new book, Why We Fish, Bill tells the story of a big one that got away, as well as contributes an essay about why he fishes.


Invasive Species Spread Through Ignorance, Negligence

This article in the Crookston Times sadly illustrates how public ignorance and negligence spread invasive species that threaten our waterways and fisheries: 

Bemidji, Minn.  —  A watercraft inspector discovered zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil on a boat trailer exiting Lake Bemidji this month, though they didn't originate here.

The zebra mussels and watermilfoil appeared to be dried and dead, said Henry Drewes,  Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regional fisheries manager. He said if that's the case, DNR officials wouldn't expect the incident to result in an infestation, something that Beltrami County has thus far been able to avoid.

"What it tells you, though, is that boats coming from infested waters, despite all the publicity, people are still not being vigilant enough about cleaning their watercraft before they move them," Drewes said.

The boat discovered Aug. 2 had recently been in the Twin Cities in Lake Minnetonka, one of the most infested waters in Minnesota. The boaters were from North Dakota.

"I think it also illustrates the mobility of people and their equipment," Drewes added.

The boaters cleaned the boat and were issued a $500 fine.