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Friday
Jul042014

No Better Country Than America for Fishing, Hunting

 

“What people don't understand is this is something that we only have in America. There is no other country in the world where the ordinary citizen can go out and enjoy hunting and fishing. There's no other nation in the world where that happens. And it's very much a part of our heritage.” Norman Schwarzkopf

 “Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land.  It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn.” Chuck Clark

“The true fisherman approaches the first day of fishing season with all the sense of wonder and awe of a child approaching Christmas.” Robert Traver

“Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won't feel so thankful then.”  Garrison Keillor 

Why We Fish--- Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen

“Hell, if I'd jumped on all the dames I'm supposed to have jumped on, I'd have had no time to go fishing.” Clark Gable

“Leave part of the yard rough. Don't manicure everything. Small children in particular love to turn over rocks and find bugs, and give them some space to do that. Take your child fishing. Take your child on hikes.” Richard Louv

Thursday
Jul032014

V-T2 Ventilation Shines at BASSfest

If you fish tournaments, especially during summer, you should have the V-T2 ventilation system on your livewells. I’ve been endorsing it since last summer, and here’s an example of why, provided by Judy Tipton, founder of New Pro Products and inventor of the inexpensive and easily installed V-T2:

“At BASSfest, Gene Gilliland (B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director) came by our booth to inform us that when he checked all the Elite Series pros’ livewell temperatures, our pros’ boats with the V-T2 installed had water termperatures 4 degrees cooler than everyone else’s.”

Tipton added that an angler with the V-T2 told her that he had “catastrophic aerator failure” and yet all of his fish were healthy and alive when he weighed them in.

The easily installed V-T2, with no moving parts, creates an open air exchange when installed in the center of a livewell lid.  A three-inch sleeve protrudes into the water, directing air into, through, and out of the livewell, to cool, oxygenate, and remove harmful gases.

“Aerators are great and needed,” Tipton said. “But to save on battery power, they usually run on a timer. Fish need continuous oxygen flow the entire time they are in the livewell.

“Interval aeration creates a roller coaster of oxygen levels and a very unstable and more stressful environment.”

By opening up the livewell to the atmosphere, the V-T2 utilizes natural processes to cool, oxygenate, and remove harmful gases. Wind and boat movement enhance the benefits.

Tuesday
Jul012014

With Closure of Smelter, Future for Lead Fishing Tackle Uncertain

Late last year, the last primary lead smelter in this country closed, forced out of business by oppressive regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Owned by the Doe Run Company, it had operated in Herculaneum, Mo., since 1892.

In a nutshell, what that means is lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle no longer can be entirely manufactured domestically from raw ore to finished products. That’s because the ore will be shipped to other countries for smelting. As a consequence, prices likely will be higher for many of these items.

That will be the case, that is, unless another company decides to open a new smelter that can meet the more stringent air quality standards imposed by the EPA.

“Whatever the EPA’s motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition,” said AmmoLand in explaining the consequences.

Cost of sinkers, jig heads, and other lead fishing tackle also will go up if companies must buy lead bullion from foreign smelters. Some companies, including TTI Blakemore Fishing Group, won’t be impacted--- yet.

Since most Road Runners are tied in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and the Philippines, our lead is foreign sourced. We are okay, for now,” said T.J. Stallings, director of marketing for the company.”

“ As more states decide what’s best for the environment based on lies, we may have to offer a lead-free alternative, at nearly double the cost,” he added.

That’s because the regulations that forced Doe Run to close its smelter are  part of an ongoing and coordinated campaign to demonize and ban lead fishing tackle. Never mind that no evidence exists that sinkers, jig heads, and other items pose a significant threat to fish and wildlife.

Lead is a natural substance. It is inert,” Stallings added.

“I’ve poured and tied thousands of jigs. I’ve crimped split shot with my teeth since I was eight. I’m still here.

“Meanwhile the environmentalists are screaming that we are killing birds with our lead fishing tackle. I guess that is the difference between environmentalists and conservationists.

“You only need to do a little fact checking to see what the conservationists at Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation have done the last 40 years. The results of their work are astounding.”

By contrast, just one “green energy” wind turbine kills more birds annually than lead tackle ever has, he added.

Meanwhile, here’s the Second Amendment angle to the closure of the Doe Run Smelter:

Without ammunition, a gun is just a club,” said New American.

“The government knows this, and in light of the ongoing project of arming federal agencies to the teeth with millions of rounds of ammunition and military-grade weapons and vehicles, the EPA’s closing of the Doe Run plant, although not a direct assault on the right to keep and bear arms, can be seen as another step toward civilian disarmament. 

“While a few other media outlets have reported on the closure, none has connected this dot to a couple of others in the overall plan to leave Americans without weapons and ammunition.”

Go here to read more.

And here’s a more in-depth look at the lead issue from Activist Angler.

Tuesday
Jul012014

Loss of Access Threatens Future of Fishing

Anglers are losing access to their favorite fisheries.

Sometimes, it’s because of development or budget cuts. Other times it’s because government bodies or even private groups have shut down public launch areas.

The latter is happening with increasing frequency because of a fear that invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil will be accidentally introduced via contaminated boats and trailers. Sometimes the concern is legitimate. Other times, it’s simply an excuse to keep out the public.

This threat has grown so severe that one in five anglers surveyed by AnglerSurvey.com reported having to cancel or quit fishing a particular location in 2011 because they lost access to it. Most were able to shift their fishing to another location, but a third of affected anglers said that the loss caused them to quite fishing altogether.

“While access issues can often be overcome by fishing somewhere else, we are still losing some anglers each year due to problems with fishing access,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which conducts the surveys at AnglerSurvey.com.

“When we add up the anglers lost year after year, whether as a result of marine fishery closures or dilapidated boat ramps, access remains a major long-term problem for sportfishing and fisheries conservation.”

You can help slow down this loss of access and possibly even reverse the trend.

First, be a responsible angler by making certain that you do not allow invasive species to hitchhike on your boat and/or trailer, and encourage others to do the same. When fishermen set good examples, those in power have less reason to try to deny access. Additionally, if you belong to a fishing club, encourage it to work cooperatively with lake associations and government bodies on plans to keep out invasive species.

Also, familiarize yourself with access issues, both locally and nationally. Attend public meetings when access issues are on the agenda. Write letters, send e-mails, and make phone calls to officials, emphasizing that quality access is important.

Solution: Make sure you leave every area better than you found it, be committed and vocal about preventing the spread of invasive species, and get involved locally so that angler interests are represented when decisions on access are made.

Check out five more threats facing fishing at Recycled Fish.

Monday
Jun302014

Hunters Reduce Cormorant Population on Santee Cooper System

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Nearly 12,000 fewer cormorants are eating fish in the Santee Cooper system.

That’s because the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) granted permits to 1,225 hunters to shoot the birds Feb. 2 to March 1 on Lakes Moultrie and Marion. Forty percent of those reported back, with a final tally of 11,653.

The agency said the hunt was necessary to reduce predation on forage, including herring, shad, and menhaden, as well as on juvenile game fish and catfish.

“In addition, cormorant harassment has been linked to significant winter kills of adult redear sunfish too large to swallow,” it said. “Permanent damage to flooded bald cypress and tupelo trees used for roosts has also been documented.”

For decades the birds were protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and their numbers exploded as resident populations established themselves on large lakes and impoundments. Recently, though, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has granted states permission to reduce their numbers.

Mostly only agency personnel have been involved in these efforts. But South Carolina decided to enlist public assistance to reduce shoot the birds that anglers love to hate. Permits were granted to those who attended a training session and agreed to follow the strict rules.

“The taking of cormorants will be restricted to the legal boundaries of the Santee Cooper lakes and will be allowed only in areas where waterfowl hunters can legally hunt waterfowl,” SCDNR said.

While many were pleased with the state’s first cormorant hunt, some were not.

“When I requested scientific evidence from SCDNR to justify this proposed hunt, none was provided,” said Norman Brunswig of Audubon South Carolina. “I strongly suspect that none exists. Rather, as I’ve said, I believe that the SCDNR has been pushed and bullied into an unnecessary slaughter of a native non-game bird, by fishermen, fishing guides, and a few powerful but misguided politicians.”

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