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Wednesday
Jul232014

Environmentalists Want Anglers to Pay for Management of No-Fishing Areas

First, environmental groups and their allies in California state government ignored science, chose to follow a United Nations model, and closed off vast areas for sport fishing through establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Now they want to steal money from anglers and boaters to manage those areas.

“Of course, the enviro groups are all over this (Marine Protected Areas Partnership Plan draft) in glowing terms about how great it is, how progressive the permanent closures are, etc.,” said Phil Morlock, Director of Environmental Affairs for Shimano.

In responding to a state request for public input, Morlock concluded with this:

“What cannot be argued is the fact that permanent MPA access closures to vast areas of prime fishing habitat have deprived anglers of access to public waters and to a public resource – fish.

“MPAs as established in coastal California are clearly not fishery management tools.

“We concur with others in the recreational angling community who maintain that anglers should not be expected or required to contribute any license, trust fund or vessel fee revenue to fund MPA management, law enforcement or any associated program in consideration of the negative impact MPA’s have caused by reducing recreational fishing opportunities.

“Those who supported these unnecessary MPA closures should be required to continue to also support their ongoing fiscal requirements.”

And here’s something that should be of concern to anglers everywhere:

The same anti-fishing zealots who closed off California waters are pushing for similar programs elsewhere, including the Great Lakes. The California MPA plan was adopted as one-size-fits all, ostensibly to “protect” habitat, even though no documented threat exists.

“It was essentially a ‘solution’ to a manufactured crisis that bypassed hard science, independent peer review, and inappropriately conjoined recreational fishing with commercial fishing impacts under the buzzword ‘overfishing,’ in the attempt to justify these closures,” Morlock said.

“From all appearances, the United Nations can’t manage a two-car parking lot effectively. Rather than encouraging them to elevate their policy to adopt the unparalleled success of the American Model of science-based fishery management and sustainable use doctrine, we continue to apply the lowest common denominator in a rush to reverse over a century of proven success.” 

Wednesday
Jul232014

Mepps Wants Squirrel Tails

If you are planning to hunt squirrels later this year, consider this:

Mepps needs squirrel tails to create hand-tied, dressed hooks for its lures. It has been recycling squirrel tails for more than 50 years. In fact, it recycles more of them than anyone else in the world.

By the way, I started catching fish with Mepps spinners when I was a kid, and have never stopped. I've used them to entice everything from bluegill and green sunfish in Missouri farm ponds to giant northern pike in northern Manitoba. 

This from the company:

“We’ve tried hundreds of other natural and synthetic materials; bear hair, fox, coyote, badger, skunk, deer, even Angus cow, but nothing works as well as squirrel tail hair,” said Communications Director Kurt Mazurek.

Squirrel tails are all hair--- no fur. Practically all other animals have fur tails with just a few guard hairs. Fur doesn’t have the rippling, pulsating movement of squirrel hair in the water.

Squirrels are a plentiful natural resource. Plus, squirrels provide some of the best wild meat and their skins are used for caps, coats, glove linings and many other items. But the tail is usually thrown away. Mepps is asking you to help it recycle this valuable resource. And, it’s offering to reward you for your efforts.

Mepps buys fox, black, grey, and red squirrel tails and will pay up to 26 cents each for them, depending on quality and quantity. Plus, the cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.

The company does not advocate harvesting squirrels solely for their tails.

Go here for details about the Squirrel Tail Program.

 Please note: Squirrel tails cannot be sold in CA, ID & OR.

Tuesday
Jul222014

PETA Intensifies Anti-Fishing Campaign 

That bastion of rational thought, PETA, is taking advantage of two recent shark bites to ramp up its campaign against fishing. At both Manhattan Beach in California and Okaloosa Island in Florida, it has been using a plane to fly a banner that says, “Keep Hookers Off  Beach--- No Fishing.”

Yeah, it is just so clever with word play, equating anglers with prostitutes.

The incident in California does seem to call for a compromise of some kind regarding who can use the pier and adjoining beach and when they can use it. PETA and other zealots, meanwhile, want an outright ban on sportfishing.

At least Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth is seems to be the voice of reason.

“I don’t like that we’ve demonized fishermen because one guy was behaving seemingly very horribly,” she said. “I certainly want to make it safe for people to enter the water and water sports.”

She added that the city is considering limiting hours for fishing on the pier.

What did or did not happen when a swimmer came too close to the pier, where an angler was fighting a white shark--- and was attacked--- remains the object of debate. The angler has vigorously defended his actions, and the state has declined to prosecute him.

Manhattan Beach pier. L.A. Times photo

In Florida, meanwhile, a tourist was bitten by a small shark that likely mistook his foot--- or toes--- for fish or shellfish. The media reported that someone was fishing nearby, and PETA took it from there with its anti-fishing campaign.

Almost certainly the shark was a young hammerhead or nurse shark, both of which browse along the bottom in shallow water. Or it might have been a blacktip or spinner, common fish-eating sharks in that area.

The truth is that sharks are common in the shallows all along the coasts of Florida, but the vast majority of them are not man-eaters. Still, I wouldn’t go swimming at night, and I’d always keep a lookout for dorsal fins when I’m in the water during the day. And common sense would tell me not to swim near fishermen.

To show you what I’m talking about, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies--- Growing Up With Nature, which will be published later this year:

A couple of years passed before I once again was given the chance to figuratively see the light. This time I was fishing with live shrimp along a low seawall near a beach. “Jaws” had come out that year, and many people were afraid to swim in the ocean.

The 10 or 12 people down to my right, however, either had not seen the movie or didn’t care. Through their yelling and splashing, they left no doubt that they were having a good time.

As I watched them and waited for a bite, I saw a dorsal fin cutting through the water between the beach and the swimmers. “No, it couldn’t be,” I said to myself.

It was. A large shark cruised through the shallows, on its way toward me. I considered yelling to warn the people. But I decided against it, since the predator didn’t seem to be interested in them.

As it neared me, I saw that it was an 8- to 10-foot nurse shark, which is not a man-eater. But it was my first opportunity in a long time to finally catch a big ocean fish.

I cast the shrimp a few feet in front of the shark and waited. I was not disappointed. The big fish took, and I set the hook. In an instant the shark accelerated from a leisurely feeding pace to light speed, as it headed toward deep water.

It ran, and ran, and ran, until it had pulled all the line off my reel. Then the rod bent double, the butt slammed into my stomach, and the knot popped. The shark was gone.

 (If you like fish stories, you’ll enjoy my latest book, Why We Fish--- Reel Wisdom from Real Fishermen.)

 

Monday
Jul212014

Florida to Offer Saltwater Version of TrophyCatch

Starting this fall, Florida will implement a saltwater version of its two-year-old TrophyCatch program, which reward anglers for catching big bass. The announcement was made recently at the ICAST fishing industry show in Orlando.

The “Life List” will include 71 species with four levels of achievement, based on the number of fish that anglers catch, document, photography, and release.

Additionally, fishermen will be recognized for various types of “grand slams,” including inshore (redfish, sea trout, and flounder) and blue water (dorado, sailfish, and wahoo).

The “Reel Big Fish” portion of the program will reward anglers who catch memorable, but not necessarily state- or world-record fish. For example, an amberjack of 50 inches or longer would qualify, as would a mutton snapper of 38 inches or more.

Four levels of prizes, ranging from novice to master angler, will be awarded.

Learn more here.

Friday
Jul182014

Are You a Crack Pot-Fisherman or a Crackpot Fisherman?

“Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish.” --- Roderick Haig-Brown, about modern fishing, A River Never Sleeps, 1946

“People who fish for food, and sport be damned, are called pot-fishermen.  The more expert ones are called crack pot-fishermen.  All other fishermen are called crackpot fishermen.  This is confusing.”  --- Ed Zern, 1947


“Even if you've been fishing for three hours and haven't gotten anything except poison ivy and sunburn, you're still better off than the worm.”  --- Author unknown

“Every night before a day of fishing is like Christmas Eve when you were a kid: You can’t wait for morning to see what you will get.” --- Robert Montgomery

“Fishing is boring, unless you catch an actual fish, and then it is disgusting.”  --- Dave Barry