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Wednesday
Jun252014

NAPRA Offers Competition for Stream Anglers

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Wading is an inexpensive, productive, and refreshing way to fish, and, if you are so inclined, it also can be competitive. If you’re interested in learning more about the competitive aspect, check out the National Association of Professional River Anglers (NAPRA).

And don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a “professional.” That’s really not necessary.

The organization’s tournament trails include Elite and its original pro-am, the Dayton Fishing League. Events are staged on streams in Ohio.

“We have independent groups in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and even saltwater flats fishing in Florida,” said CEO Pete Ziehler.

NAPRA also sponsors kids events, helps with river cleanups, honors military veterans, and plays host to a national invitation treaty, the Wade War, in September. 

Tuesday
Jun242014

Prescription Drugs Harm Fisheries

Nearly half of the population took a prescription drug during the past 30 days, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics from 2007-2010. Additionally, more than 20 percent took three or more prescription drugs during that period. I’d wager that both percentages have gone up since because, as a society, we’re taking more drugs, not fewer.

 If they improve our health, what could be wrong with that? Well, consider this: a potent synthetic female hormone used in many of those drugs could be harming fish and other aquatic life.

“We’re finding in our study that it can wipe out fish populations over several generations, and it’s the male fish that are most affected,” says Kristen Keteles, a toxicologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Denver.

“Some studies have found that male fish below wastewater treatment plants, and exposed to female hormones, can lose their masculine characteristics and become indistinguishable from females. Our new study found that a potent form of the female hormone estrogen used in prescription drugs not only causes the males to look female, it also appears to be toxic to male fish and these effects may impact future generations of fish.

“Where do these hormones and medications come from? All of us. Humans excrete hormones and medications, which often end up in our rivers and streams from sewage.

“Disposing of medications by flushing can also contribute to pharmaceuticals in the environment.

“A growing human population, combined with effects of climate change like decreasing precipitation, has resulted in many streams containing higher concentrations of waste water. In fact, some streams in the west are 90% waste water. Not a nice thought if you like to kayak and fish, like I do.”

 Read more here. 

And here is how to properly dispose of medications.

Monday
Jun232014

Weigh in on Florida's Proposed Changes for Bass Limits

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) originally intended to close its survey regarding proposed changes in bass regulations on June 30. But it has decided to keep it up through the deliberation process and take a “data snippet” on June 30. Go here to participate in the survey.

The first change in the state’s bass length limits in 20 years would keep the creel limit at five, but allow just one of 16 inches or longer. In other words, anglers could keep smaller fish for the table.

At present, different parts of the state have 12- and 14-inch minimum length limits.

Some anglers might think that these regulations are intended to change the size structure by removing smaller bass, which would boost growth of remaining fish to trophy size. But that is not the case.

Actually, biologists want anglers to know that it’s all right to keep smaller bass, since spawning and recruitment aren’t issues for healthy fisheries in Florida.

Current minimum length limits don’t convey that message. Rather, they seem to suggest that smaller fish must be protected, but it’s okay to keep larger bass.

Yes, the proposed changes will protect larger fish and probably improve the odds for anglers to change quality and trophy bass. But that likely will occur because those fish are being “recycled” through catch and release.

“We are also continuing to pursue our TrophyCatch program and will be rolling out a new website in the near future,” said FWC’s Bob Wattendorf.

 “It is a great way of incentivizing anglers to release bass heavier than eight pounds, without passing stricter laws. Meanwhile, it provides biologists valuable data for research and marketing, and engages anglers in both citizen-science and active resource stewardship.”

 

Friday
Jun202014

Rapala as a Confidence Bait

Every angler should have a confidence bait or maybe two. Doing so improves his odds, and I explain why in Better Bass Fishing.

Mine is a lipless crankbait, preferably a Spot or Rat-L-Trap. I’ve caught bass up to 12-4 with it.

For my neighbor across the lake, it’s a small, floating Rapala. Unless he is using live bait, it’s the only thing that he throws in our little clear-water fishery. He catches plenty of bass on it, too. One evening last summer, he handed the rod to me, and I immediately caught a 5-pound channel catfish with the bait.

Also, I’ve tried other swimming minnows while he is catching fish with the Rapala. No luck. For whatever reason, fish in this lake want the “wounded minnow” developed by Finnish fisherman Lauri Rapala back in 1936.

And based on the bait’s success worldwide, I’m guessing that it is the preferred forage of lots of other fish around the world as well.

Lauri's original Rapala.

Here’s a little background on the bait from the Rapala company:

The brand was unofficially founded in 1936 when Finnish fisherman Lauri Rapala made one simple, yet genius observation: Big fish eat little fish, particularly the wounded ones. As he fished the waters of Finland’s Lake Paijanne, he noticed how predator fish would dart into a school of minnows and attack the one that swam with a slightly off-centered wobble again and again.

This elegant insight led Lauri to pick up a carving knife to whittle, shave and sand the original Rapala fishing lure. With makeshift household materials such as cork, tinfoil and melted photographic negatives, he crafted and painstakingly tested a lure that perfectly mimicked the action of a wounded minnow and would ultimately become the forefather of the legendary Original Floating™ Rapala.

From these humble origins, the greatest fishing story ever told began. As anglers around the globe began to catch more and bigger fish with the lure, the legend of Rapala grew. It became clear that the Rapala’s groundbreaking ‘wounded minnow’ action was the key to triggering strike after strike from fish of all species in nearly any application.

In 1959, Normark Corporation was established and set out to increase distribution of Rapala lures to U.S. fishing enthusiasts, helping to offer the brand’s innovative designs to more people than ever before.

Since the inception of Lauri Rapala’s original lure, Rapala has become a market leader known to anglers worldwide as the standard in functionality and high quality.

Today, more anglers put their faith in Rapala lures and accessories than any other brand. In fact, Rapala now consists of such world-known brands as VMC, Blue Fox, Williamson, Luhr-Jensen, Storm, Terminator, Sufix, Trigger X and ICE FORCE.

Confidence in the company’s ever-growing selection of products has spread to more than 140 countries worldwide and is validated with approximately 20 million lures sold annually and the prestigious claim that more world-record fish have been caught on Rapala lures than any other brand of fishing lures.

Friday
Jun202014

'You Don't Know What's on the Other End'

“It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.”   John Steinbeck

“Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley.”   Author unknown

“I love fishing.  You put that line in the water and you don't know what's on the other end.  Your imagination is under there.”   Robert Altman

Why We Fish--- Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen

“Give a man a fish and he has food for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend. “   Zenna Schaffer

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable,  a perpetual series of occasions for hope. ”   John Buchan

“Of all the liars among mankind, the fisherman is the most trustworthy.     William Sherwood Fox