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KFT Wants to Get More Kids Fishing


Check out this new Wisconsin-based organization designed to get more youngsters involved in fishing. The following is from the organization's "about" page.

KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW is a non profit organization dedicated to young men and women between the ages 10 to 17 years of age. This will be our first year with this new program so it’s very important to get all to support, sponsorships and donations that we can. We can’t make this happen without your support. 

KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW is a program that will help protect the sport of fishing for generations. This organization is like no other in the country. We are on the water with these young adults 120 to 150 days a year. Our goal is to get as many kids on the water with our team of State Licensed Fishing Guides and Professional Tournament Anglers. On any normal given week we will be running two shifts a day 5 days a week. One morning shift and one afternoon shift. Each boat will take a maximum of 3 young men and women per shift weather providing. 

  • These kids will learn how to tie different knots on hooks and swivels. 
  • They will learn the art of jigging, trolling with planner boards.
  • Different techniques to fishing with slip bobber's. 
  • They will learn how to read fish locators and GPS mapping
  • Learn and have the opportunity to catch big fish.


KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW is designed to cost parents of these young men and women nothing. This program is designed to get kids on the water no matter what background they come from. We understand life is not always easy. Whether from single or combined parent families we encourage all young adults that want to learn and challenge themselves in the world of fishing to participate in our program. Not all families have the skills, knowledge or personal resources available to expose their child to the outdoor experience of fishing. We encourage all families to take advantage of this program. For some of these young men and women, this will be there first time fishing or fishing from a boat. 

KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW will give those kids the opportunity to get out and be hooked for life. We want to get kids on the water and teach them the proper art of fishing so that they will have the opportunity to catch fish and the possibility of catching a fish of a life time. 

can not do this without your support. We truly need all the support we can get. We have a lot of expenses as you can imagine. Please help support this great community organization with a simple donation or become a sponsor. Every dollar raised for this organization will be used to help serve the needs of the kids and support our mission.

Not all kids can throw a football 50 yards or hit a baseball 300 feet but they can learn how to fish which they can carry with them the rest of there lives.

Our goal is to move this program into as many states as we can through your support. Remember these kids are all of our futures. We can’t do this without your support!


Coping With Clients Sometimes a Challenge for Guides

When guides fish with clients, their days often aren't nearly as peaceful as this morning for Ron Castille on the Sabine River. Photo by Robert Montgomery

For guide and customer alike, the goal is simple: catch fish.

Sometimes it is achieved; other times it is not.

But a bad day on the water still is better than the best day at the office or in a factory.


Well . . . sometimes for the guides it doesn’t seem that way at the time, especially when they are on the “receiving end.” Invariably, though, they can look back and laugh, despite wet feet, lost gear, assorted injuries, and other indignities.

Louisiana guide and outfitter Ron Castille remembers a client who agreed to back his johnboat into the water for him. All went well until the customer gunned the truck to head back up the launch ramp and the fender brace snagged the bow line.

“Possibly because the sun had already risen, the client was in a hurry and did not see me waving or hear me yelling for him to stop,” Castille remembered. “He dragged the boat behind the trailer for about 100 yards on the gravel and shell parking lot.

“Several giggling spectators and I arrived at his parking spot only a few seconds after he exited the truck. With the help of the gigglers, we were able to put the boat back on the trailer and the re-launch was successful.”

But the fun wasn’t over.

Later that morning, Castille “felt something wet and moving fast” hit his collar. It was his client’s spoon and pork chunk.

“I can still remember looking at him as he continued to try to cast me, along with his spoon, into the water. I think that it took about three times before he gave up.”

The Louisiana guide, however, still hadn’t learned his lesson. He later asked his customer to hand him the push pole. And, yes, that’s exactly what happened.

“I am still fighting with the trolling motor when I am clobbered on the head with the end of the push pole. With an open mouth and squinting eyes, I did not see where my sunglasses entered the water, but I could easily see my brand new white fishing cap sitting in the stinking black marsh mud.”

Lesson finally learned, Castille cranked the outboard and headed home, where he received a tip that he would have considered “really good” under normal circumstances.

A forgiving man, the guide agreed to take the man fishing again. This time, the client showed up “with a useless 4-foot push pole” as a joke.

“I fished several more times with him and we joked about our first trip together,” the Castille remembered with a laugh. “He continued the tradition of tipping me well and it was appreciated. I still have the short push pole.”

Once a guide, pro angler Dennis Tietje also received a generous tip for services rendered above, beyond and, well, below . . .

A father with five children asked him to take two out at a time so that he could videotape them fishing. The kids ranged in age from 2 to 10.

“The day was a lot of fun, but challenging,” Tietje recalled. “The funny part came when the youngest boy wanted to drive the boat and so I put him up in my lap, with his hands on the steering wheel. The dad thought that was great.”

The guide, though, couldn’t leave well enough alone. He started tickling the boy.

“I thought he needed to smile a little for the camera, so I tickled him a little harder. That’s when I felt something warm running down my legs. He peed on my lap! A lot!

“It was pretty funny and I got a really nice tip at the end of the day.”

And children aren’t the only ones to “share,” as Red River guide Homer Humphreys learned, when taking a couple of elderly clients fishing.

“One old gentleman wanted to stand up front,” the guide said. “He told me that he wanted to pee and he wanted me to hold him. I fish barefoot, by the way.”

You see it coming, don’t you?

As the client was taking care of business, he told Humphreys, “Homer, when I was your age, I peed like a bullet. Now it’s like a shotgun.”

But Homer already knew that because he was standing in the evidence. “And I couldn’t let go of him.”

Dale Hollow guide Bobby Gentry received some unwanted "exposure" because of a client. Photo by Robert Montgomery

Occasionally, accidents don’t involve harm or humiliation to the guide, but still can lead to unwanted exposure. That was the case for Bobby Gentry at Dale Hollow Lake, when his customer showed up with a battery-powered, glow-in-the-dark spinnerbait for a night trip.

“We were up one of the creeks and on his first cast, he put that spinnerbait 30 feet up into a tree limb,” Gentry remembered. “It broke his spirit to lose that bait.”

“Lose” might be the wrong word. The bait was disconnected from the line, but it was by no means departed to an unknown destination. That’s because it kept glowing on into the next day.

The client later told Gentry, “I had no problem finding the spot that you took me to.

The guide added, “The battery lasted about 20 hours, but for two years that spinnerbait showed where my bank was.”

Once in awhile, when the fishing is slow, customers can be good for entertainment value. Guide and lure maker Stephen Headrick recalls a couple who showed knowing only how to use push-button spincast reels.

“So, I got to helping them learn to use spinning rods,” the Tennessean chuckled.

“They wanted to turn them upside down. They said they felt more comfortable with them that way. So I was sitting in the front seat and every time I would look back, I would just giggle under my breath as I watched them fish with those spinning reels upside down.”

As they fished, the clients, who were “flatlanders,” asked Headrick what happened to all of the dirt that was dug out to create Dale Hollow. “Just in fun, and not meaning to be mean, I told them to look at all of the hills. And I told them that they took all that dirt and pushed it up to make those hills.”

Other times, customers are a life saver.

“I was fishing a Carolina rig and when I set the hook, it was like hitting a brick wall with no give,” said guide and bass pro Judy Wong. “The rod came out of my hand and, when I reached for it, I fell out of the boat.”

Her clients threw her a life jacket and helped her back into the boat. “They learned afterward that I don’t really know how to swim.”

Rarely, however, clients can be more irritating than fingernails on a chalkboard. Potomac River guide Steve Chaconas recalls one of those.

“One of the worst was a guy and his boss. The guy was great, but the boss was grumpy,” the guide said.

“We pulled up to the first stop and the boss lost a fish. I offered some advice and he told me that he knew how to fish. It happened again a few minutes later, and I again offered some advice.”

This time, the boss replied “Just drive the boat, boat boy!” And Chaconas agreed to not coach him anymore.

At the next stop, the guide quietly told the other client to cast his bait onto the bank and slide it into the water to avoid spooking the fish.”

“He whacked them! Ripped off 12 in a row.” Chaconas remembered with a laugh.

The angry boss kept casting into the water, scaring fish, without realizing what was happening.

“On the way out of the creek, he asked why he wasn’t able to catch fish while his employee was bringing them in one after the other,” the guide said. “I requested permission to speak and told him.

“He scolded me for not filling him in on the secret. I told him that I was just the ‘boat boy.’”

Still, by and large, the majority of clients are a pleasure to fish with, despite the unforeseen and embarrassing events that sometimes accompany them.

“I’ve never had a bad client in 37 years of guiding,” offered Humphreys.

“Most of my clients are good,” Gentry said. “I haven’t had any that I wanted to take back to the dock and dump off.”

And Tietje added, “Every now and then, you get someone with a different expectation about what you will be doing and you have to deal with that. But, in general, guiding is great, especially if it’s family oriented. When I was a guide, my biggest enjoyment was taking kids to catch easy fish.”

(A version of this article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)


Oklahoma Boosts Trophy Potential for Bass Anglers


Benny Williams Jr. caught this 14-pound, 12.3-ounce bass in Oklahoma's Cedar Lake. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife

Following on the heels of a banner year in 2012, a record-setting 2.22 million Florida-strain largemouth were stocked into state waters by the Fisheries Division of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation this past spring.

“We had a good situation this year by having so many fish,” said Cliff Sager, a senior biologist. “Being able to stock 44 lakes, to give so many lakes a shot in the arm with the Florida genetics, that just increased the potential for trophy bass production for years to come.”

About 1 million are stocked during an average year, while 1.74 million were released into 27 Oklahoma fisheries during 2012.

 The state began stocking Florida bass during the 1970s, with the goal of introducing the strain's genetics into local populations. Florida bass grow larger than northern, but they also are not as tolerant of cooler temperatures. Hybrids also grow larger and often exhibit enhanced growth for a generation or two.

"Oklahoma is really right on the line of where you can expect Florida bass to be successful," Sager said.

Lakes in the southern half of Oklahoma have shown much greater success in sustaining Florida-strain bass, he added. "There's a reason Cedar Lake (in southeastern Oklahoma) has broken the state record the past two years."

Stocking sites are chosen by a committee of biologists and technicians based on several criteria, including documented success in trophy bass production and angler pressure. Also, lakes with better habitat for bass are more likely to be stocked.

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


Questions Answered, Mysteries Revealed in Why We Fish

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Why does fishing make us happy, even when we don't catch fish?

When we lose big fish, what’s the best way to ensure that it doesn’t happen again?

Are some of us genetically programmed to be anglers?

Is being “trip proud” a good thing?

What makes the “best” day the best?

How does faith relate to fishing?

How does the way that we value fishing change as we grow older?

These questions and many more are addressed in my new book, Why We Fish. It’s received 17 five-star reviews at Amazon so far, and general praise elsewhere as well.


Arkansas, Missouri Anglers, Landowners Beat Back Federal Plan to Control Ozark Fisheries

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Which federal initiative or entity poses the greatest threat to recreational fishing?

Some saltwater advocates will tell you that it’s the National Ocean Council, an unelected body created without Congressional approval and charged by the Obama administration with “zoning” uses of our oceans and coastal waters.

Others point out that the National Park Service has restricted access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and now is attempting to do the same at Everglades National Park.

But the National Blueways System? What’s that?

We might not have found out until it was too late if not for irate citizens in the Arkansas and Missouri who rebelled against this U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) plan to expand federal control across a vast expanse of Ozark fisheries in the White River watershed, including lakes Table Rock, Taneycomo, and Bull Shoals, as well many world-class smallmouth streams.  A year before, the 410-mile Connecticut River and its 7.2 million-acre drainage basin in Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire quietly became the first entry in this “conservation” plan.

But the stealth strategy didn’t work with the 21,000 square miles of the White River system. Instead, the DOI beat a quiet retreat, concurrent with a query about specifics of the program from Missouri and Arkansas members of Congress to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

“The White River was designated without public comment, without adequate notice, without transparency from the federal government, and without clear evidence of broad public support,” they said. “This is not the way to start a program that is, according to the Department, intended to promote ‘collaboration, communication, and cooperation.’”

Rather than obtaining “broad public support,” DOI was content to garner support from multiple federal and state agencies, as well as a few non-government organizations, including Audubon, Nature Conservancy, and Ducks Unlimited.

“None of them (supporters of the designation) represent or actually are land owners in the area that they want to designate a National Blueway,” said Duane Lester in the Missouri Torch. “In fact, there weren’t many, if any elected officials on the county level who were consulted or even knew about this. The people writing the nomination are completely divorced from the area.”

But the people opposing it weren’t. They were local farmers and other landowners. As word spread and controversy grew, three Arkansas agencies, including the Game and Fish Commission, withdrew their support during a meeting in Little Rock with the Arkansas Senate and House Interim Committees on City, County, and Local Affairs.

“There was a standing room only in the meeting,” said Forrest Wood, founder of Ranger Boats and a former member of the commission. “There was a huge round of applause when each director announced he would withdraw support for the Blueway.”

Along with many others, Wood opposed designation because of concerns about the potential regulatory reach of the program.

Those who wanted the White River watershed included in National Blueways argued that its streams and rivers are fragile and need more protection. They also theorized that inclusion would have included additional funding for conservation programs.

But opponents countered another layer of bureaucracy is not needed on top of the state and federal agencies that already regulate use on and around public waters. Additionally, they feared that access to those waters could be reduced, as the federal government also restricted freedoms of private landowners through inevitable “government creep.”

They based those concerns on the Blueways strategic plan, which includes a 180-foot buffer along all surface water, restricting access into existing floodplains, development of conservation plans for 75 percent of farms in the watershed, and reduction of consumptive use of water on farms by 15 percent.

As someone who lives in the eastern edge of the Missouri Ozarks and sees no good coming from allowing federal bureaucrats authority over state management of our fisheries, I’m especially fond of Lieutenant Gov. Peter Kinder’s letter of opposition to the Blueways designation.

“Missouri’s history is steeped in passionate conservation and reverent respect for our land,” he said.

“We cultivate and farm land touching the Current and Eleven Point River. Our families spend hard-earned vacations boating on Table Rock or camping the shores of Bull Shoals Lake. Generations of Ozarks residents depended and will depend upon the waters that your program seeks to ‘improve.’

“These are deep Missouri traditions that I cannot see threatened by any regulatory attempt by the federal government, no matter how well meaning it presents itself.”

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