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Monday
Nov252013

Boat Builders Support Center for Coastal Conservation

Four new boat builders have joined as corporate sponsors for Center for Coastal Conservation. They include Grady White Boats, Maverick Boats, Regulator Boats and Sea Hunt Boats.

“We are incredibly grateful and pleased to have the support of these boat builder partners,” said Center for Coastal Conservation President Jeff Angers. “All four share our vision for the future of recreational fishing and boating, and their presence within our organization will serve to strengthen our abilities to advance federal public policy that benefits the entire fishing and boating community.”

In addition to participating as a corporate sponsor, Maverick Boats President and CEO Scott Deal was elected to membership on the Center’s board of directors.

“Yamaha Marine Group really got the ball rolling in January when they announced their platinum sponsorship of the Center,” said Deal. “Thanks to those pioneering efforts, the Center for Coastal Conservation is uniquely positioned to make real progress with the Congress in stewarding marine fishery resources. We are proud to step up our support for this organization as we work together to preserve and improve recreational fishing and boating.”

The Center for Coastal Conservation is a coalition of  advocates for marine recreational fishing and boating. The Center is dedicated to promoting sound conservation and wise use of ocean resources and supports federal legislators through its political action committee, Center PAC. The organization is non-partisan and focuses on having an impact in the national political arena, principally Congress and federal regulatory agencies, to promote a quality recreational fishery and improve angling and boating access.

America’s 11 million marine recreational fishermen generate over $70 billion in economic output supporting over 450,000 jobs. The Center’s membership includes individuals and the major players in marine conservation and recreational boating and fishing. Non-profit members include American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association and National Marine Manufacturers Association. Corporate partners include AFTCO, Brunswick, Costa, Grady White Boats, Maverick Boats, Pure Fishing, Regulator Boats, Sea Hunt Boats, Shimano and Yamaha.

Monday
Nov252013

Talking Why We Fish on Fish Bait Radio

I talk about my new book, Why We Fish, and fishing in general with host James Smith on Fish Bait Radio. Click on the link to listen to the show.

Saturday
Nov232013

A Confidence Bait Important for Angler Success

My confidence bait is a lipless crankbait. I caught this 12-4 largemouth on a 3/8-ounce Cordell Spot.

Every bass angler has a confidence bait, or sometimes two or three. It is his “go to” bait when the bass won’t seem to bite anything else. It has become his favorite because he grew up throwing it or because he first tried it on a day when the fishing was tough and it produced.

Using a confidence bait gives you a psychological boost, and that’s important when the bite is slow--- maybe more important than the bait itself. It heightens your concentration and makes you more eager to fish. It makes you more attentive to where you are casting and to detecting subtle bites. In short, throwing a confidence bait makes you a better angler.

Secret: If you don’t have a confidence bait, work on developing a couple. You’ll be a better bass angler for it.

But also don’t forget that many, many variables play into whether a bass is going to bite your bait. Some we understand. Some we think that we understand. And some we don’t even know about. That watery world below the surface is so different from ours that we simply can not know it in the same way that we know our air environment.

Once in awhile, we really do catch bass because we have chosen the “right” bait. Other times, they hit because they are in an aggressive, feeding mode, or because we have found a concentration of fish that stirs itself into a competitive frenzy when a lure passes through. During such times, just about anything in your tackle box might work.

Secret: So, when you are catching bass on a confidence bait (or a new lure that you just bought at the store), pay attention to more than just what is tied on the end of your line, its color, and the way it moves in the water.  Look at water depth and clarity. Determine where the bites occur in relation to cover, structure, and current. Note the weather conditions and wind direction.

In other words, benefit from the “confidence” that throwing a favorite bait gives you, but also be smart enough to realize that bass probably aren’t biting it because it’s your favorite or because it is vastly superior to others. Likely, they are biting because of a complex combination of favorable variables, of which the lure is just one.

(The above is from my first book, Better Bass Fishing. It is filled with content that will make you a better angler, from revealing how weather affects fish and fishing to bass behavior, patterns, and techniques. My recent book, Why We Fish, is more a celebration of the joy that fishing brings. It is a collection of essays, most of them by me. But Bill Dance, Dave Precht, Teeg Stouffer, Kathy Magers, Steve Chaconas, and others also contributed.)

Friday
Nov222013

Anglers Use Facebook to Help TPWD Bag Redfish Poacher

Congratulations to Texas anglers who reported a poacher after his brother posted a photo of the offender with his catch on Facebook.

The photo of Luis Castro holding a large redfish (red drum), with eight others in the bed of a pickup, carried the caption, “Just for fun.”

In Texas, the bag limit is three per day. Only one can be longer than 28 inches and it must be properly tagged.

For his offense, Castro was fined $2,600, with an additional $2,645.91 assessed as part of civil restitution. No doubt some anglers would like to see him do jail time.

Starting on Nov. 1, game wardens with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department received multiple complaints regarding the Facebook post. Investigation followed and, less than two weeks later, an arrest warrant was issued for Castro.

“Anglers on several social media sites were posting negative comments, and a day after the picture was originally posted, it was removed,” said Maj. Alan Teague. “However, the picture had been saved by many anglers and reposted.”

He added that fishing groups as far away as Florida learned about the incident.

“With tips from anglers and hard work by our game wardens and dispatchers, we were able to track the individual to a city in South Texas,” Teague said.

During sentencing, Justice of the Peace George Solice noted how important recreational fishing is to the people in Willacy County which includes Port Mansfield.  Before sentencing Castro, the judge pointed out that there are people in the county whose livelihood depends upon the quality and future of recreational fishing.

“It was an obscene number of fish that you caught,” the judge said to the defendant.  “We are all living paycheck-to-paycheck but none of us are going hungry.  It was completely unnecessary to take that many fish.”

Thursday
Nov212013

9/11

Normally, we shared stories about the day’s fishing, with lots of laughing and teasing lightening the mood. But on our first evening there, the mood was somber, not sad exactly, but more reserved. I don’t remember how the conversation started or what we talked about at first, but eventually we learned that several of our small group were from one family.

 “We come here every year,” the father said. “We almost didn’t come this time. Our son was killed on 9/11.”

From my point of view, at least, time stopped, as did the rocking chairs that some of us were sitting in. Here we were, a couple of thousand miles from New York City, and we were in the presence of a family freshly grieving because of the World Trade Center tragedy.

(Excerpt from the essay "9/11" my new book, Why We Fish.)