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Thursday
Feb212013

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.

Wednesday
Feb202013

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

Wednesday
Feb202013

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.

Tuesday
Feb192013

Ontario Considers 'Extremely Troubling' Regulations for Smallmouth Bass

Ontario is considering liberalizing regulations in some portions of the province, a move that could have catastrophic consequences for its smallmouth bass fisheries.

“I strongly believe that allowing a ‘catch and keep’ season during the critical winter period, pre-spawn, and spawn could have serious impacts on bass populations,” said Jason Barnucz, conservation director for the Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation.

“Even through the ice, bass can be targeted,” he continued. “It is easy to locate wintering schools of smallmouths in Canadian lakes.”

While many acknowledge smallmouth bass as valuable to recreational fishing in Ontario, a vocal minority are calling it “invasive” and harmful to species such as lake trout, and that’s the source of the controversy, Barnucz explained. In some of the areas where it is now targeted, such as Zone 10 bordering the Great Lakes, he added, the smallmouth actually is a native species.

Meanwhile, what is being proposed for Zone 5, which borders Minnesota, is “extremely troubling,” according to Gord Pyzer, one of Canada’s most notable anglers and a former senior manager with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

“A small group of folks, who are opposed to bass, have persuaded the MNR to include (for review) the option of killing four bass, less than 35 centimeters (14 inches) in size, every day of fishing during the critical winter and spring spawning periods. In other words, from Nov. 30 to July 1,” he explained.

Such a regulation, he continued, runs counter to the findings of scientists such as Dr. Mark Ridgway and Dr. David Philipp, which indicate that targeting bass in the winter and when they are spawning harms both the overall bass population and the age class structure. 

“Quite simply, the research is very clear that there are absolutely no redeeming qualities when anglers fish for bass in the winter and during the spawn,” Pyzer added.

Indeed, Dr. Philipps’ research in southeastern Ontario, where the bass season is closed during the winter and spring, shows that in some lakes 100 percent of the nesting males exhibit hook wounds and were the season to be open, it is conceivable that the entire population of spawning males could be killed and harvested.”

Echoing Barnucz’s observation, Pyzer said a “small pocket of anglers” have attempted to hijack fisheries management because “they do not like bass and wish to see bass eliminated from the lakes and rivers in the region, despite the fact that bass have been present in northwest Ontario for more than 100 years.”

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

Sunday
Feb172013

Joaquin Phoenix Joins Anti-Fishing Movement

Add Joaquin Phoenix to the list of embarrassingly ignorant know-nothings who want to use their positions as public figures to tell us how to live our lives.

In this case, the message is that fishing is terrible and we shouldn’t do it.

Here is what Phoenix says about his decision to do an anti-fishing commercial for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals:

"I was 3 years old. To this day it is a vivid memory. My family and I were on a boat, catching fish… The animal went from a living, vibrant creature fighting for life to a violent death. I recognized it, as did my brothers and sisters."

PETA wanted to air the commercial during the Oscars program on Sunday, Feb. 24.  Phoenix is a nominee for his role in “The Master.”

But ABC rejected the ad for being “too political and controversial.”  PETA says that the commercial will be shown during Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscars special.

You can see the commercial here.

  • Vapid anti-fishing rhetoric from Hollywood and PETA.
  • A proposed ban on soft plastic baits in Maine. (See post below.)
  • A proposed ban on lead jigs in New Hampshire. (See post below.)
  • A push to ban "assault rifles," even though more people are killed annually by hammers and clubs.
  • An upcoming ban on soft drinks of more than 16 ounces in New York City, as well as a proposal to ban foam-plastic food containers by Mayor ( AKA "Nanny") Bloomberg.

None of it has substance, but all of it has support from those who blindly follow emotions and ideology instead of practicing thought and common sense.

It’s all related, folks, to the overall mood in this country right now, courtesy of a corrupt media that enables our President to say anything, no matter how false, and get away with it. As a result, we are living during a time when more people prefer ignorance and dependence than knowledge and personal responsibility. And the Left is using this advantage to push, push, push into every aspect of our lives.

For the next four years, it’s only going to get worse.