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New Book Explores Why We Go Fishing

My publisher, Norlights Press, tells me that pre-orders already are coming in for my new book, Why We Fish. It's a collection of essays exploring all of the many reasons that we go fishing.

You can read a portion of the book if you go here

I wrote most of the content, but the following people also were kind enough to contribute, and I am very grateful to them for giving this book a variety of voices in exploring why we are so passionate about angling.

1. Dave Precht is vice-president of editorial and communications for B.A.S.S. He also is a great editor and good friend.

2. As one of world’s best known and most beloved anglers, Bill Dance began his television career in 1968 on an ABC affiliate in Memphis. He was B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year three times during the 1970s, and is a member of the International Game Fish Association’s Hall of Fame. He is also a good friend.

3. Dr. Bruce Condello is a noted expert on aquaculture and private pond management. He is a frequent contributor to Pond Boss Magazine, and owns website.  He has been featured in In-Fisherman Magazine. 

4. One of the most respected women anglers, Kathy Magers was a 2005 inductee into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame and a 2002 inductee into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. She was a Bass’n Gal National Champion and once guided former President George W. Bush on a six-hour fishing trip.

5. Ken Cook is managing editor of Fishing Tackle Retailer and a newspaper columnist living in Georgia. He shares his name with a long-time bass pro from Oklahoma.)

6. Owner of National Bass Guide Service, Steve Chaconas  catches bass and snakeheads on the Potomac River and is a fishing friend of mine.


7. Ben Leal is an outdoor writer and program director for Recycled Fish, a conservation organization.

8. Timothy Chad Montgomery is an African-American whose life choices have been guided by his love for fishing and the desire to pass it on. A former competitive angler, he now is a vetrepreneur and works as a master baker.)

9. Teeg Stouffer is the founder and executive director of Recycled Fish, an organization that encourages conservation through stewardship.

10. Ross Gordon is president of Mystery Tackle Box. Gordon asked his thousands of followers on Facebook why they fish, and I included more than two dozen of the best responses in one of the essays.


Slobs Return to Trash Lakes

They were a little late this year, because of a cool spring. But the pigs finally have arrived.  This morning, I picked up this wad of monofilament line (above) left by one of them at a lake near my house. A litter barrel was less than 10 feet away.

Am I upset? Yes, I am. Jerks who do these types of things give anglers a bad name --- and they kill.

Think I’m exaggerating?

Awhile back, I took this photo (below) of a great blue heron that died because of entanglement in discarded fishing line.

If you haven’t already, please take Recycled Fish’s Stewardship Pledge. Following it will be good for you, anglers in general, our waters, and our wildlife.

Photo by Robert Montgomery Okay, now that I have that out of my system.

For the past couple of years, I’ve picked up trash at the access areas at a couple of lakes near my home, once the summer season starts. Mostly I pick up discarded drink containers, fast-food wrappers, and fishing line.

Now that I have Pippa, my new canine companion, she will accompany me on these cleanups. And she seems eager to help.

This morning, she picked up a used feminine hygiene product. Fortunately, I was able to grab the dangling string and pull it out of her mouth.

Ah, yes, I love the pigs.


Why We Fish Now Available for Pre-Orders

Go here or click on the cover photo to learn more about my new book, Why We Fish, published by Norlights Press. You can pre-order now, for June 15 shipping.

This is a summary from Norlights:

Why do we fish?

Most fishermen (and women) don’t stop to analyze why we love fishing. We’re too busy planning our next trip or daydreaming about the fish that got away.

Award-winning outdoors writer Robert Montgomery discovered that
we fish to remember, and we fish to forget. We fish when we’re happy,
and when we’re sad. We fish to bond with friends and family, or to be

These are some of the photos in the book. All were taken by the author.

Whatever our motivation, no matter where we are on the success
spectrum, fishing makes our lives better in ways we never could have
imagined. It slows us down. It sets us free. It teaches us about nature,
even while showing us how much we don’t know. And fishing becomes
the foundation for our fondest memories.

We hook fish; they hook us. It’s that simple.

In Why We Fish, Robert examines the reasons we keep going back to the
water and how fishing enriches us, both individually and as a society.

Contributed by ten passionate anglers, the essays on these pages
celebrate the tangible and intangible blessings we derive from one of
man’s oldest pastimes.

What is life all about? Go fishing and find out. But first, enjoy the wonderful essays in Why We Fish.


North Carolina Sportsmen Deserve Better

Photo by Fred Bonner

The sportsmen of North Carolina deserve better from their elected state representatives.

But the only way that they are going to get it is by flooding the offices of those officials with phone calls and e-mails. Even better, they should go in force to Raleigh to express their outrage.

Or how about besieging the capitol building with bass boats? That should convince the politicians that anglers and hunters are a constituency worthy of respect.

Here is what is going on:

 1. This week, the state House of Representatives will consider a Senate budget proposal to cut $9 million --- or nearly half --- of the general appropriation to the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC).

The governor’s version cuts just 1 percent, while the Senate is not recommending such a severe cut to any other agency.

In past years, that appropriation has been used to support work by the agency in areas unrelated to fishing and hunting. Of course, anglers and hunters mostly pay their own way for the latter, through license fees and the state’s share of appropriations from the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, which consists of excise taxes those sportsmen pay on fishing and hunting gear.

“The WRC cannot make up this deficit from hunting and fishing license fees or the Wildlife Endowment Fund without hurting the traditional programs of the agency,” says the Camo Coalition.

“The WRC has put 120 ongoing projects on hold until the results of the budget proposal by the Senate is resolved.  Without significant restoration of these funds, many of the projects will be scraped. 

“Slashed programs would include critical services such as law enforcement and widely used statewide infrastructure for boating and fishing access areas, game lands, shooting ranges, community fishing sites, and fish hatcheries.”

The agency manages 2 million acres of public game lands; 49 lakes and ponds, including 31 dams; 73 waterfowl impoundments; 1,878 miles of roads; 6 fish hatcheries that produce 7 million fish annually; 58 public fishing areas; 211 public boating access areas; 1,400 navigational aids; and 137 buildings that range from storage buildings and field stations to education centers and a 73,000-square-foot agency headquarters and environmental education center.

“Hunting and fishing is big business in North Carolina,” the coalition adds. “The wildlife related outdoor industry gives a whopping $3.3 billion bonus to the state’s economy every year through direct expenditures by hunters, fishermen, and wildlife enthusiasts.  This stimulus comes from 1.2 million resident anglers and 395,000 non-resident anglers, who spend $1.5 billion directly fishing in North Carolina. 

“Also, 259,000 resident hunters and 77,000 non-resident hunters spend $525 million here each year.  Another 2.4 million wildlife-watching participants spend $930 million directly on their activities in North Carolina each year. 

“The $18 million in general fund appropriation to keep this powerful economic engine that requires very little input or maintenance running is a wise investment by any terms of evaluation.”

Go here to learn more.

Also, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundations says this:

“Please contact House Appropriations Committee Chairman Representative Nelson Dollar and other members of the Committee immediately to voice your opinion. Additionally, consider contacting Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Harry Brown and other members of the Senate Committee to express concerns over the proposed budget.” 


 2. North Carolina politicians continue to bow to pressure from commercial fishermen and their friends, refusing to give game fish status to striped bass, speckled sea trout, and redfish (red drum). Both Democrats and Republicans have been responsible for this, with the latter to blame this time around.

“Here we are in 2013 and the Republican Caucus, operating in secret and without warning, killed HB 983, the Fisheries Economic Development Act, commonly called the game fish bill, a week ago under the guise of it being a local issue,” says the Coastal Fisheries Reform Group.

“The Republican Caucus in the House essentially has told the more than 500,000 recreational salt water fishermen in the state that they have no vote, no say in how the salt water fishery is managed. A few coastal Representatives, again with ties to the commercial fishing sector, have decided for all of the state’s recreational fishermen that the commercial fishing industry will manage the fish.”

Only three commercial fishermen caught, sold, and reported selling more than $10,000 worth of estuarine striped bass, speckled trout, and red drum in any combination. These three fish constitute less than one percent of the total annual commercial catch and account for only about $3 million annually and 28 jobs according to the 2012 figures from the Division of Marine Fisheries. 

The recreational value of the three fish is $131 million for the same period and supports 1,267 jobs.

“More than 30 species of finfish in inshore waters are open to commercial fishing; not one fish is managed as a game fish,” the reform group continues.

“If game fish had been enacted into law, the commercial sector still would be harvesting over 99 percent of the fish they are harvesting now. Even without the three game fish! 
“The management of fisheries for commercial harvest creates a persistent drag on the population that over time always depletes the population and requires emergency and drastic action to save the fishery.

“We were too late in the case of the gray trout, the sturgeon, the river herring and we are just beginning to see recovery in the red drum, striped bass, and flounder. Extraordinary measures by recreational fishermen have led the way toward recovery with commercial fishermen complaining about government interference all the way.”

Go here to learn more.


Processing Plant Will Take Bite Out of Carp Population

Bighead carp netted in Kentucky Lake. Photo by Steve McCadams.

A plant that can process up to 40,000 pounds of Asian carp daily is about to open in western Kentucky. Most of the finished products likely will be shipped to Asia, where the carp are prized as food fish and the waters are too degraded to support them in harvestable numbers.

 We’re never going to rid our rivers of bighead and silver carp, but making them a valuable commodity will help slow the damage that they do to native fisheries.

 Read more and see a video here.