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Best in Fishing Tackle for 2013

To see the latest in new products for sport fishing go to the Bassmaster site here. These items were voted best of show at the world’s largest fishing tackle trade show in Las Vegas.

Also known as ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades), it is sponsored annually by the American Sportfishing Association.

Personally, I’m looking forward to trying Shimano’s new Chronarch C14+. Made with “a new carbon material,” it is described as being corrosion-proof, light, and “freaky strong.” 


Bass Brigade Doing It Right for Texas Youth

Texas is doing it right in terms of educating young anglers about aquatic ecosystems and natural resource management. Most notably, it is doing it through the Bass Brigade, one of several Texas Brigades youth camps. If you live in Texas, you should check out the program, both to see about opportunties for your children and to contribute.

I received the following from Steve Perry, regarding the 2013 Bass Brigade:

"Thank you, Robert, for donating three autographed copies of Why We Fish to this year's Bass Brigade camp!

"During camp, each cadet is required to design a table top, tri-fold display on topics such as aquatic habits, fish species, conservation, fly fishing, fish sampling etc. We awarded your books as prizes for the top tri-folds.

"Thanks for supporting Bass Brigade and our mission of educating teenagers with leadership skills and knowledge in fisheries, and land stewardship to become conservation ambassadors for a sustained natural resource legacy."


House Group Looks to Stop Abuses of Endangered Species Act

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Arguably the bald eagle, our national emblem, would be extinct if not for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The legislation also has helped with recovery of the wolf and alligator, as well as lesser known species.

But critics charge that it also is being abused by environmental groups that want to force the federal government to spend billions of dollars restricting use of both public and private lands and waters.

As a consequence, the U.S. House of Representatives has formed an Endangered Species Act Working Group. Throughout the coming year, the group will sponsor events, forums, and hearings on how well the act is working, how it could be updated, and how to boost its effectiveness.

“We should be good stewards of the planet God gave us and its inhabitants,” said Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford. “But federal laws protecting dwindling animal populations should be crafted to actually access the problems they intend to solve. Current law, including the ESA, is outdated and does more to protect paperwork than animals.”

As an example of the paperwork problem, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) late last summer to protect 53 new species of amphibians and reptiles. This followed closely on a 2011 settlement between the Interior Department, CBD, and WildEarth Guardians that covered 779 species in 85 lawsuits and legal actions. In exchange for FWS taking action on those species during the next seven years, the two groups agreed to limit lawsuits so that efforts could be focused on accomplishing the terms of the agreement.

This second petition does not directly violate the terms of the settlement, but it does divert money and resources away from species recovery and disregards the spirit of the settlement by adding to the agency’s backlog of petitions.

“Time and gain, CBD and other similar groups have undermined the goal of the ESA by litigating, obstructing, and frustrating the FWS while racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded attorney fees that continue to feed their litigious strategies to the detriment of species and people,” the House Committee on Natural Resources said in a statement.

As an example of the cost of implementing the ESA as it currently is enforced, FWS estimates that restoring habitat for two species of mussels--- the Neosho mucket and the rabbitsfoot--- will cost between $4.4 and $5.9 million during the next 20 years. And it  admits that  “the majority of these costs are administrative.”

“I believe that we all support the goal of wanting to preserve, protect, and recover key domestic species,” said Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “Forty years after it was signed into law, and 25 years since it was last renewed by Congress, I hope there can also be recognition that there are ways this law can be improved and made to work better for both people and species.”

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


Lessons Learned from Fishing

Photo by Robert Montgomery

(This is an excerpt from  the essay "Lessons Learned from Fishing," by Kathy Magers. The complete essay and 49 others are in my new book, Why We Fish. One of the most respected women anglers,  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.)

While most of my little friends were fast asleep at 4 a.m. on a Saturday, I felt special when mom whispered “Wake up, sleepy head. We’re going fishing with Grandpa in the boat.”

I sprang from bed and into my clothes like a cheetah. Breakfast followed at a beachfront café, where, to this day, I remember the chin-high Formica table top, scooting sounds of metal chairs and the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the air.

We then rode a ferry from Galveston Island over to Port Bolivar. Dad would lift me up to look over the side at neon-glowing phosphorous breaking atop the ferry wake.  Porpoises raced alongside us --- a real thrill for me. 

So there I was, with the salty gulf breeze blowing my pig tails, experiencing some of the most breath-taking nature scenes, all framed with swirling seagulls and pelicans everywhere. Shrimp boats in the distance, a cloudy peach sky swirled with gray clouds, punctuated with a hot red ball of sun --- all while my friends slept.

I doubt the adults realized what deep impressions those trips etched in my young mind for life. Even today, I’m sure I’m not alone in considering nature and its beauty a major calling to fish. 


Faith and Fishing

Photo by Robert Montgomery

(Teeg Stouffer is found and executive director of Recycled Fish, an organization that encourages conservation through stewardship. This is an excerpt from his compelling essay, "Faith and Fishing," in my new book, Why We Fish. You can buy the book from Amazon--- see button on the right side of page--- or other booksellers.)

 God uses lots of images of nature to describe His Nature in the Bible. In fact, I think that all of Creation reflects its Creator. And early on, God entrusted it to us. He said, “I’ll take care of Heaven, you take care of Earth.” And in the thousands of years since, we’ve done a pretty terrible job of holding up our end of that deal.

But something happens in our wiring when that inanimate graphite rod in our hands springs to life, connected to another living thing. Think about this: Why would it be fun to catch a fish? Why would it be even more fun to watch a big fish swim away? Who knows, but it is.

Logic cannot define it. There is no reasoning to it, no explaining it to someone who hasn’t experienced it. But it is fun. It’s healing, being out there. It transcends a peace, and it’s about more than neurons and psychology.

That dancing rod does something in our soul, and, if you ask me, something in our spirit, too.