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Happy Thanksgiving from the Activist Angler

Early morning double rainbow on Bull Shoals Lake. Photo by Robert Montgomery

For the following I am thankful:

The fondness of bass for topwater lures.

The rainbows that I’ve seen because I got up early to go fishing.

The opportunities that I’ve had to fish with friends all over the world and catch all kinds of fish.

The 10-pound bass that I’ve caught --- and those that got away.

Cold margaritas after a day on the water in Mexico.

Bluegill too big for me to hold with one hand.

The catfish, the bowfin, the musky, and the northern pike that hit my bass baits.

Bimini bonefish. Photo by Robert Montgomery

The big bonefish that found my offering, even though my cast was way off target.

Sailfish that grey hound and tuna that dig deep.

Sashimi from the yellowfin that I caught just a few hours before.

Thousands of dolphins swimming alongside the boat.

The good people that I’ve met and the friendships that I’ve made because of fishing.

Summer nights river fishing for catfish, while listening to the baseball game.

Bats chasing insects all around the boat under a full moon.

Manatees that drop by to say, "Hello."

The unexpected shower from a huge peacock bass that struck right at the boat.

The delicate take of a tiny dry fly by a big rainbow --- just before all hell breaks loose.

The headshake of a big walleye following the hookset.

North Knife Lake shore lunch. Photo by Robert Montgomery

Shore lunches on a Canadian lake.

Seeing the joy that a child derives from his first fish.

The power of fishing to bring us together, no matter how polarized we are politically.

Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all from the Activist Angler.


Family Foundation Ties Walmart to Anti-Fishing Movement

Walmart is garnering lots of headlines these days for its plans to force employees to work on Thanksgiving.

If you’re an angler, you should be more concerned about the huge contributions that the Walton Family Foundation makes to anti-fishing groups.

Here’s an excerpt from “Walton Family Greenwashing”:

“The Walton Family Foundation proudly reported ‘investments’ totaling more than $71.4 million in ‘environmental initiatives’ in 2011, including contributions to corporate ‘environmental’ NGOs pushing ocean privatization through the ‘catch shares’ programs and so-called ‘marine protected areas’ like those created under Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.”

The MLPA, by the way, has been used --- and misused --- to deny angler access to some of California’s best fishing grounds.

Read the full story here.


Four More States Guarantee Rights to Fish, Hunt, Trap

Four more states have amended their constitutions to guarantee citizens’ right to fish, hunt, and trap, according to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF). Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wyoming all passed the measures with more than 70 percent support.

Both interesting and disturbing is the fact that Idaho was the lowest with 73, while adjacent Wyoming had 89. Likely the reason is that Idaho is being “civilized” by people who don’t fish and hunt, moving in from California and other states.

“The motivation for amending these state constitutions is based on the recognition that anti-hunting forces are actively working to restrict or eliminate sportsmen and women’s access to public wildlife resources throughout the country,” says CSF.

“Consequently, voters and state legislators have taken it upon themselves to make it clear that hunting, fishing and trapping are safe, responsible and fundamentally important recreational activities that should be protected for generations to come.

“Fortunately, citizens in Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wyoming have shown that they recognize and appreciate sportsmen and women’s contributions to conservation by overwhelmingly approving constitutional measures that protect the right to hunt, fish and trap.”

While CSF points to “anti-hunting forces,” anti-fishing forces are at work as well, as I’ve often pointed out at Activist Angler.

Need reminding? Check out Anti-Fishing Agendas Revealed and Fishing for Sport Revealed as Cruel by Growing Number of People


BP Funds to Benefit Gulf of Mexico Fish and Wildlife

About $2.4 billion of BP’s recent settlement agreement of $4.5 billion will go to benefit fish and wildlife habitats along the Gulf Coast. Those funds will be funneled through the National Fish And Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), an independent non-profit conservation groups chartered by Congress in 1984.

"Ducks Unlimited applauds the decision to direct a significant portion of the settlement funds to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation," DU CEO Dale Hall said.

"NFWF is the appropriate organization to manage these funds and determine how they can best be used to benefit Gulf Coast fish and wildlife and the people who depend on these resources for their livelihood and recreation. NFWF's role in managing these funds is good news for the people and wildlife of the Gulf Coast."

Under this agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, BP pled guilty to several criminal charges for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which discharged an estimated 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

“All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf coast region,” said Bob Dudley, BP’s Group Chief Executive.

“From the outset, we stepped up by responding to the spill, paying legitimate claims and funding restoration efforts in the Gulf. We apologize for our role in the accident, and as today’s resolution with the U.S. government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions.”

The $4.5 billion settlement does not resolve penalties that could result from violations of the Clean Water Act. These penalties could range as high as $20 million if BP is found guilty of gross negligence.

To learn more, check out Ducks Unlimited and this BP press release.


Do More to Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer

I went to the dermatologist yesterday for my annual checkup. He used liquid nitrogen to freeze seven areas of sun-damaged skin from my face, and he sliced a chunk from my nose for a biopsy.

With plans to be around lots of people three times through the weekend, I’m thinking of just hanging a sign around my neck that says, “I’m not contagious.”

Those angry red blotches show up a lot more in real life than in the above photo, by the way.

On the serious side, I’ve spent much of my life outdoors, fishing and playing sports. Now I’m paying for it.

About 3 ½ years ago, a surgeon removed basal cell cancer from my right forearm. He told me that this type of cancer is the mildest form of skin cancer, but he emphasized that it is cancer. He also said that I had a 4 in 10 chance of contracting more basal cell within the next 5 years because that first one revealed a predisposition.

I’ll find out in a week or so if that’s basal cell on my nose.

This has happened even though I’ve been diligent about applying sun block and protecting my skin with long-sleeve shirts and caps since I was a young adult.  As a child, though, I burned frequently and perhaps that laid the groundwork for what I’m now experiencing.

My point is this: No matter how much you think that you are protecting yourself from the sun, look for ways to enhance that protection. And if you have children, protect them as well with sun block, hats, and clothing, no matter how much they protest.

If they need convincing, and you think that they can handle it, show them this photo of advanced basal cell cancer.