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Will Park Rangers Speak Out Against Closures of Public Waters? I Doubt It!

In the wake of the Obama Administration’s audacious closure of 1,100 miles of water in Florida Bay, I’m wondering how National Park Service rangers feel about enforcing such an edict. And I’m hoping that at least one or two will have backbone enough to speak out against it.

But I’m not holding my breath.

With that in mind, here are Mark Steyn’s similar thoughts on a related matter from the National Review Online.

“One would not be altogether surprised to find the feds stringing yellow police tape along the Rio Grande, the 49th parallel, and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, if only to keep Americans in rather than anybody else out.

 “Still, I would like to have been privy to the high-level discussions at which the government took the decision to install its Barrycades on open parkland. For anyone with a modicum of self-respect, it’s difficult to imagine how even the twerpiest of twerp bureaucrats would consent to stand at a crowd barrier and tell a group of elderly soldiers who’ve flown in from across the country that they’re forbidden to walk across a piece of grass and pay their respects.

 “Yet, if any National Parks Service employee retained enough sense of his own humanity to balk at these instructions or other spiteful, petty closures of semi-wilderness fishing holes and the like, we’ve yet to hear about it.”

 I started this website because of concerns that the Obama Administration would use its National Ocean Council to deny public access to public waters as it “zoned” uses of our oceans, coastal waters, and the Great Lakes. Considering how this President is allowed to get away with just about everything he does, no matter how outrageous, I’m still fearful that could happen.

I also knew that the National Park Service is no friend to anglers, as evidenced by its unwarranted closure of vast portions of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

But I didn’t see closures of Florida Bay and Biscayne National Park happening this way.


Obama Administration Now Trying to Close the Ocean

In addition to its attempt to keep World War II veterans away from their memorial and illegally block state roads to Mount Rushmore, this pitiful excuse for a presidential administration now is closing the ocean. reports the following:

Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was "closed" due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown.  

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban... of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business. 

This is governing by temper-tantrum. It is on par with the government's ham-fisted attempts to close the DC WWII Memorial, an open-air public monument that is normally accessible 24 hours a day. By accessible I mean, you walk up to it. When you have finished reflecting, you then walk away from it. 

At least that Memorial is an actual structure, with some kind of perimeter that can be fenced off. Florida Bay is the ocean. How, pray tell, do you "close" 1,100 square miles of ocean? Why would one even need to do so?

Apparently, according to an anonymous Park Service ranger, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” 

Those of us who oppose this tyrannical and incompetent President are accused of being racist, even though he clearly is a failure as a leader by any measurement. The sad irony is that he has more supporters because of his race than he has opponents. He's an "iconic figure," the nation's first black president, and a substantial number of people, including most in the media, will allow him to do anything.

Because of that, this imperial President truly believes that he can do anything he wants and no one will hold him accountable. If he gets away with this, sadly he might be right. Please, America, wake up before it's too late.


Fishing Is Occasion for Hope

Photo by Robert Montgomery

(The following is an excerpt from an essay in my new book, Why We Fish. It was written by Dave Precht, vice president of editorial and communications for B.A.S.S. and a long-time friend.)

For centuries, thoughtful men have tried to explain why we fish.

Henry David Thoreau pointed out, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” But he doesn’t say what they are after.

President Herbert Hoover gave it a go with, “The reason for it all is that fishing is fun and good for the soul of man.” He said this long after the Great Depression, which began during his presidency, but it would have been appropriate during the ordeal. As noted in a recent B.A.S.S. Times, fishing participation has risen during the current Great Recession.

My favorite thought is from John Buchan, the Scottish author: “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”

That is the reason I fish. It’s an occasion for hope. I hope to catch a limit of bass, or to outfish my buddies. To catch a 10-pounder. To not get skunked. The more elusive the goal, the more rewarding its attainment. Put another way, it’s the challenge of catching bass that drives me and, I believe, most bass anglers. 


Lew's Launches Rod Series to Honor, Assist Veterans

Lew's  has officially launched its American Hero Speed Stick rod series “out of genuine respect for America's military veterans and with a sincere promise to never forget them.”

American Hero is more than just a product line though. It is a program that Lew's developed as a way to help organizations that support veterans in their return to life after military service, and especially those organizations that use fishing as part of the transitional process. American Hero has already provided fishing gear support to a few such groups, including FOCUS Marines Foundation, Reel American Heroes Foundation and Operation HOOAH.

Lew's CEO Lynn Reeves says his company's decision to give back to veterans is probably the easiest one his management team has ever made.

"We have an obligation to those who have served our country, and this is one small way that the folks at our company can say 'thank you,'" he explained. "I can promise you there is no marketing-driven agenda behind American Hero. Our intentions are truly based on wanting to help veterans get an opportunity to enjoy some of the same activities that we have been participating in while they've been on duty, such as fishing.

"As many of us who fish recreationally already know, there's nothing like being in the neutral setting of the great outdoors with family and friends, and having a rod and reel in hand, to refresh the mind and soul."

A portion of the profits from the sale of American Hero and other specially identified Lew's products go into a budget line item for the program. Company officials review rod and reel requests from organizations, mostly focusing on those groups that provide assistance to veterans with health concerns.

Steve Kokai, a veteran who also works in the fishing industry, originally owned and trademarked the American Hero brand.

"It was during an unrelated phone visit with Steve that I realized he and Lew's shared a similar vision as to what American Hero was all about," said Gary Remensnyder, Lew's president.

"It wasn't long after that he graciously made the brand available to our company. Steve is active in programs like the Reel American Heroes Foundation of Virginia that helps wounded warriors and veterans of all services, and we consider him a valued ally in our efforts to provide meaningful support to such organizations. We couldn't have a better name than American Hero for this initiative."


Those Who Want to Prohibit Fishing and Hunting Never Stop

Just a reminder that as we fishing and hunt and generally mind our own business, those who want to stop us are hard at work. Unless we actively oppose them, they will win, first the small skirmishes and, eventually, the big battles. We ignore them at our own peril.

Here’s what is going on.

“We are seeing a nationwide influence by those who oppose, and very successfully, the age-old role of hunting and fishing in wildlife management. A recent example occurred in Michigan where a national anti-hunting organization, well-funded, sent their people and bankrolls into the state to circulate petitions and generate support for overturning a long standing dove hunting season. The sportsmen there laid back and wildlife support groups were less than serious and aggressive in countering the out-of-state national group of anti-hunting offensive.

“The election resulted in a majority of the Michigan citizens voting to repeal the long standing dove hunting season. Considering Michigan is known as one of the nation’s predominant states with favorable habitat for wildlife and fish and a larger than average number of sportsmen, the election results were a surprise.

 “The effort to effectively end Maine’s traditional annual bear hunt is being led by a newly-formed organization called “Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting.” Its website is full of pictures of cuddly-looking bear cubs and emotional appeals.

“What is not so apparent, however, is the fact that the shadow-group is not made up of Mainers at all, but is simply a hollow website maintained by the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States.

“HSUS is an extremist group that misleads the public and profits greatly off of its prolific fundraising efforts. People may know it for its television ads that feature Sarah McLachlan singing and soliciting contributions to support its animal shelters. What is not mentioned is that only one percent of its $100 million racket actually goes to animal shelters.”

 “California AB 711 (Rendon) Hunting: nonlead ammunition – Would expand the current ban on lead ammunition for hunting in the range of the California Condor to prohibit the use of all lead ammunition for any hunting throughout the entire state.

Because the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has made a determination that rifle and pistol nonlead ammunition meets the tests for illegal armor piercing ammunition, AB 711 could result in stopping hunting with rifles and pistols as there would be no ammunition for these firearms that would be legal for hunting.”