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Robert Montgomery

Why We Fish

Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies

Pippa's Canine Corner 

 

 

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Sunday
Sep272015

Gulf Red Snapper Fishing at Stake in Pending Lawsuit

There’s a lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans that every recreational angler ought to be following like a hawk.
 
The case will decide whether public wildlife resources that rightly belong to all of us will instead be funneled into fewer and fewer hands -- and whether federal waters can be effectively walled off to private recreational anglers for the advantage of a tiny group of politically influential special interests.
 
NOAA Fisheries calls it “Amendment 40,” but it ought to be known as “Privatization 70,” because that’s what it does: if this scheme is allowed to stand, commercial fishing and charter boats will be handed a monopoly over more than 70 percent of the Gulf red snapper fishery, while recreational anglers are forced to watch from the docks.
 
Dysfunctional federal management has already resulted in a 10-day red snapper season these last two summers, down from 44 days the year before.
 
But it’s not just recreational anglers who are being short-changed.  More than 16,000 Americans owe their jobs to bait and tackle shops alone -- and that’s not even counting the big-box stores and chain retailers.  Altogether, the independent bait shops alone generate more than $796 million annually in payroll.
 
A red snapper season of just one weekend a year wreaks havoc on the Gulf economy, as everything from gas stations and motels to restaurants and tackle shops feels the impact. Unfortunately, nobody from NOAA took the time to evaluate the economic aftershocks.

What’s behind Amendment 40?  A lot of clever lawyering by the Environmental Defense Fund and their shill operations in the Gulf.  The unholy alliance: 387 commercial fishing operators; a handful of charter/for-hire operators, and a bunch of professional environmental lobbyists in Washington, D.C.  Coastal Conservation Association highlights the united front standing against us.
 
The white hats are fighting Amendment 40 in the U.S. District Court, and the State of Louisiana has recently weighed in with its support, filing an amicus brief in support of our position. 
 
A lot is at stake.  Stay tuned.  

From the Coastal Conservation Association 

Friday
Sep252015

Why We Fish: Waiting for the Blowup

 

And do you know what heightens anticipation even more? A big blowup and a near-miss from a bass that looks to weigh more than 10 pounds.

One extraordinary morning, that happened to me on consecutive casts to the same spot. Always the optimist, I put the lure there a third time, and this time I hooked the fish that just wouldn’t quit. It weighed 12 pounds.

What pleases me the most about that memory, though, isn’t that I caught --- and released --- that big bass. It’s vicariously enjoying again the anticipation and how it intensified with each cast and each near-miss.

I also can remember feeling almost unbearable anticipation as a child. Mostly it manifested as sleepless nights, with me thinking about going fishing the next day with my friends. But the mystery? Not so much. Kids live more in the moment and eagerly take what comes instead of pondering what might follow. That’s why it’s so important for adults to allow them to pursue distractions --- chase frogs, dig worms, skip rocks --- when the fish aren’t biting.

Excerpt from "Mystery and More" in Why We Fish--- Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen.

Wednesday
Sep232015

Help Stop Attempts to Ban Recreational Fishing Off New England Coast

Anti-fishing groups are asking the Obama Administration to ban recreational fishing off portions of New England, significantly impacting the recreational marine community in the Northeast and setting a precedent for future closures across the country’s coastal areas.

Despite zero evidence to suggest recreational fishing poses a threat to the habitat or fish populations in these areas, these groups are lobbying the government to include a ban on recreational fishing if, and when, it designates a large section of the Northern Atlantic as a new Marine National Monument.

You better believe if these groups get their way, they won’t stop. And with more than a year left in the White House, the Administration could soon be adding similar bans across more and more offshore waters. 

We can’t let that happen. We can’t let anti-fishing groups dictate the government’s agenda. We need to respond.

Monday
Sep212015

Hydrilla Creeps Closer to Great Lakes

Hydrilla is creeping ever closer to Lake Erie, the warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes. Most recently, it has been found about 20 miles away in Lake Pymatuning, a 17,000 -acre impoundment on the Ohio/Pennsylvania border.

"It is a serious situation," said Brian Pilarcik of the Crawford County Conservation District. "It can grow very fast, almost an inch a day and forms large, dense masses that can and will impact water sports and will have a negative impact on tourism in the county.

"We are very concerned that the plant could eventually reach Lake Erie."

An environmental educator at Pymatuning, Linda Armstrong added, "The lakes here get quite a bit of use and people will go from one to another, so it is critical to clean all equipment as well as boats."

Already Pennsylvania resource managers have talked with their counterparts in Florida about the discovery, with the latter promising assistance in containing the invasive plant.

Long a problem for many fisheries in the South, hydrilla was first reported in Pennsylvania during the mid 1990s, according to Pennsylvania Sea Grant (PSG).  It's also now established in Bucks County and the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The next closest infestation to Pymatuning is Lake Arthur, about 60 miles to the south.

"Hydrilla is a federal noxious weed that continues to spread to new regions in the United States," PSG said. "It is unknown exactly where hydrilla originated, but Asia, Africa, and Australia are all mentioned in the literature as native ranges.

"Currently, Antarctica is the only continent without records of hydrilla."

Thursday
Sep172015

'Tis the Season to Buy a Book About Nature and the Outdoors

As summer winds down, the book-buying seasons of fall and winter begin. I hope that you'll consider my latest, Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies--- Growing Up With Nature. It's a collection of essays and short stories, mostly by me, about lessons learned from nature when I was a child.

Here's an excerpt from one, based on what happened many years ago, at just about this time of year. I frightened a hawk that had just captured a snake. It tried to fly with the reptile in its talons, but the weight was too much and the raptor fell into a lake:

"I had to do something or the hawk almost certainly would die. But what?

"I would have to pull it out of those reeds, of course. I snapped a couple of photos of the bird, put the camera back in the car, and took off my flannel shirt. Then I waded in toward the hawk. It watched me with fierce eyes as I maneuvered around behind it.

"Spreading the shirt like a blanket, I used it to enfold the outspread wings and press them against the hawk’s sides. As I lifted the big bird, weeds fell off its feet, but no snake. Sloshing toward shore, I pushed against the bird’s sides, fearing it would panic and hurt me with its hooked beak or sharp talons.

"But it did not, and we both reached shore safely. Now what? The logical action would have been to set the bird free, of course. But I was a teen-ager. Remember?"

The book is available at Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Here are a couple of the 30 reviews:

"Absolutely delightful, from start to finish, I loved the many short stories, the passion of the writers comes through so vividly it is hard to put this book down. No matter your age, there is something in this collection of stories for everyone who has ever loved the outdoors, wild places and wild things."

-----

"Funny stories and a couple that will require a hanky, but all well written. If you grew up in a small town near a creek or pond it will be impossible not to smile and remember how you felt back then. It will also remind you of the folks that shared their knowledge so freely, and how lucky you were to grow up when kids could be kids."