My Facebook pages

Robert Montgomery

Why We Fish

Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies

Pippa's Canine Corner 

 

 

Loading..
Loading..
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Loading..
Loading..
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Loading..
Loading..
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Loading..
Loading..
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Get Updates! and Search
No RSS feeds have been linked to this section.

 

 

 

 

 

Entries in B.A.S.S. Nation (17)

Friday
Apr202018

Powerful Opposition Kills Public Access Reform In Louisiana

A bill that would have restored anglers’ rights to access public waters in Louisiana was voted down in the state legislature this week by a vote of 37-59.

Proponents of House Bill 391, including B.A.S.S., the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation and the Louisiana Sportsmen’s Coalition (LaSC), were disappointed but not surprised at the loss, said Gene Gilliland, national conservation director for B.A.S.S.

“Everyone knew going in that this was likely to be a contentious issue and that it might take several years to find a good fix,” he explained. “When the vote came to the full House of Representatives, wealthy landowners and energy companies with deep pockets and armies of lobbyists persuaded legislators from many parts of Louisiana that are not even affected by this issue to vote against the bill.”

Gilliland said the bill’s author, Rep. Kevin Pearson (R., Slidell), told him his bill was perhaps the most talked about piece of legislation in this session, and although it was voted down, it raised awareness of the problem statewide.

HB 391 would have restricted the ability of private landowners to prohibit boater access to navigable waters flowing over or through their lands. Almost alone among the 50 states, Louisiana permits private property owners in tidewater areas to bar public access to those waters and to do so without posting them against trespassing.

“Almost everywhere else, the law says that, ‘If you can float it, you can boat it,’” Gilliland pointed out.

“Louisiana is one of the only states in the nation where you can be traveling by boat on public, navigable waterways, and suddenly with no warning find that you are not,” according to the LaSC. “As a result, families out for a day of fun have been subjected to armed challenges from guards hired by big landowners and told to leave the unmarked, seemingly open water.”

Because of the inconsistencies in access, B.A.S.S. announced last year that it would no longer conduct professional bass tournaments in Louisiana’s tidal regions, including the Louisiana Delta, which has hosted four Bassmaster Classics, and others where public access is being increasingly restricted. In the upcoming Bassmaster Elite at the Sabine River out of Orange, Texas, competitors have been told they cannot fish in Louisiana waters.

Gilliland said Pearson made it clear that B.A.S.S.’s decision to stay away from Louisiana until this issue is resolved played a major role in raising awareness among the public and his fellow legislators.

“Although the bill is dead for this year, Rep. Pearson is fully committed to making a run at this issue again next year,” Gilliland said. “We hope that prior to next year’s session there will be meetings of all the concerned stakeholders, including B.A.S.S. and the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation.

“We want to build a consensus on how public access to the waters of Louisiana can be preserved for recreation and commerce, while respecting landowners’ rights.”

The LaSC said in a statement this week that it is encouraged by the fact that 37 state representatives voted for the reform despite “powerful opposition” and little time to prepare for a legislative push.
 
It added, “This was always going to be a multi-year fight, and we are optimistic that the progress made in this year’s legislative session has moved up the expected timeline.”

Monday
Jan082018

Thom-A-Lex Fishing Trail Opens In North Carolina

With B.A.S.S. as a key partner, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) recently opened its third educational fishing trail in two years on a state fishery. The new Lake Thom-A-Lex trail follows closely Cane Creek, which was completed in the spring, and Oak Hollow in 2016.

"The singular difference in the Thom-A-Lex trail is that the lake was part of a select group of reservoirs managed as a North Carolina trophy fishery for many years," said Bill Frazier, North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation conservation director and a guiding force for these innovative habitat projects.

"Until recently, it had special creel limits to help it produce exceptional quality fish, and it is not very well known so it did not get much pressure," he added. "It has been a long-guarded secret that we've now let out of the bag.

"I expect it to do great things once the enhancements have some time to acclimate."

Frazier is particularly pleased that the Boy Scouts of America organization was a key player in the project, as was the Lake-Thom-A-Lex Lake Authority.

 "I’ve always wanted to reach out and partner with  other traditional, youth-based organizations like the Scouts," he said. "By not doing it, we are missing an unprecedented opportunity to build on multiple strengths we both share.

"Daniel Pell, our Eagle Scout candidate who led the project, finally opened that door and I hope it is more like a flood gate," he continued. "We now have a second candidate who has stepped up to do a fishing trail in 2018. I believe this is a real coup for expanding the project and B.A.S.S. youth options in many positive ways."

A member of Troop 328, Pell found local sponsors to provide the materials for the fish attractors, helped survey the lake and select site locations, solicited volunteers to build the attractors, and helped deploy the attractors as part of his Eagle Scout Service Award project, according to WRC.

The trail consists of 13 sites scattered around the 650-acre impoundment. As with attractors on the earlier trails, they will help anglers learn about habitat needs of bass as they fish a variety of cover placed sequentially according to season.

"We hope this is the next level of reservoir habitat management and a new avenue to building the sport with younger anglers," Frazier said.

WRC's Mark Fowlkes added, "Largemouth bass and other sport fish use different habitats throughout the year. These seasonal movements and habitat patterns are instinctive and triggered by changes in water temperature, daylight hours, spawning and feeding.”

Buoy markers pinpoint the sites and a pamphlet created with funding assistance from the Sport Fish Restoration program explains these seasonal movements.

"In the spring, prior to the spawning season, largemouth bass congregate in areas such as in river and creek channels near shallow flats," WRC said.

Next, they move into shallow coves, onto flats and around points, in about 1 to 7 feet of water to spawn. Afterward, they move slowly into areas with cover or that have access to deeper waters to reside during the heat of the summer.

"As water temperatures decline in the fall, largemouth bass often move to the same creeks where they were found in the spring, searching for food. In the winter, they move to deeper water because of the short days and cold water temperatures," the agency added.

“Teaching anglers about seasonal movements of fish can help increase their angling success and make fishing more enjoyable,” Frazier concluded. “These principles can be used on other reservoirs, but it is important to remember that each reservoir is unique.”

Friday
Jul282017

Jackall Lures Joins With KAF, BASS, to Expand 'Pledge to Pitch It'

Keep America Fishing, Jackall Lures and numerous B.A.S.S. Nation chapters around the country have joined forces to expand the "Pledge to Pitch It" campaign.

A nationwide effort, the Pledge to Pitch It program encourages anglers to properly dispose of, or even recycle, worn out and used soft plastic baits. Since its launch in 2014, the campaign continues to grow in strength and prominence.

“Too often, used soft baits end up as litter at the bottom of our lakes and rivers,” said Liz Ogilvie, chief marketing officer for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the recreational sportfishing industry trade group and parent organization of Keep America Fishing.

“A bill introduced in Maine’s legislature a few years back would have placed a ban on the sale and use of soft plastic lures. That’s why, through the Keep America Fishing initiative, we created the Pitch It campaign to get anglers involved in the proper disposal of worn out soft baits by pitching them in the trash or recycling them.”

Shimano's Jackall Lures will provide up to $1,000 of soft plastic lures – including its Flick Shake worms for finesse use and the "crawling action" ScissorComb creature baits – to B.A.S.S. Nation state chapters that complete a soft bait collection/recycling program. Earlier this year, each state chapter submitted a short proposal outlining their plan for collecting used soft plastic lures to B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland.

“While most anglers – and especially those involved with B.A.S.S. – do their best to keep lakes and rivers clean, we’re hoping this small incentive from Jackall Lures will help them embrace the Keep America Fishing Pledge to Pitch It program,” said Steve Ferrara, Shimano’s fishing division Vice President.

While the plans differ from state-to-state, they all focus on collecting used soft plastics and keeping them out of the rivers and lakes. Illinois Bass Nation, one of the chapters spearheading the effort since 2014, collects, melts down, and recasts collected baits as trophies. They are shooting to break their 2016 record of 134 pounds of collected lures.

Recreational anglers who haven’t yet signed the Pitch to It Pledge to properly dispose of their worn out soft plastic baits are encouraged to do so by visiting www.PledgeToPitchIt.org.

Monday
Jun122017

North Carolina Adds More Fishing Trails

North Carolina now has its second Educational Fishing Trail, with a third on its way to completion.

In March, volunteers worked with staffers from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to build fish attractors for installation in Union County's Cane Creek Reservoir. By April 9, the trail should have been "unofficially ready to fish," according to Bill Frazier, North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation (NCBN) conservation director. He added that completion of the trail at Thom-a-Lex in Davidson County should not be far behind.

Starting with the Oak Hollow trail, which opened last year, Frazier has been the guiding force those these unique projects that allow anglers to learn about habitat needs of bass as they fish a variety of cover placed sequentially according to season.

"We hope this is the next level of reservoir habitat enhancement and a new avenue to building the sport with younger anglers," said the member of the Archdale Bass Club who also is a regulatory manager for environmental programs in a regional water utility.

NCBN teams up with the commission and local governments to plan and place the trails, with a special emphasis on youth involvement.

"Youth members of N.C. B.A.S.S. played a huge role in the creation of the Oak Hollow Educational Fishing Trail by helping us design, build and install the structures for each fishing site, using leftover materials from a previous Boy Scout fish attractor project,” said Mark Fowlkes, a NCWRC aquatic habitat coordinator. “Likewise, youth from Riley’s Catch (a B.A.S.S. affiliate youth club in the Charlotte area) have helped design the Cane Creek Fishing Trail and will be there to help build and install structures."

Youth anglers also raised funds to purchase materials and the commission used money from the Sport Fish Restoration Program to purchase buoys, he added.

Frazier pointed out that the trails, thus far, have involved no cost to local communities. "We want them to see this as a huge asset for them," he said. "We need the tourism folks at the state level to step up and share the vision of how big this can really be."

Small, municipal lakes are "hugely underutilized resources that need just a little help to be stellar resources," he added.

Meanwhile, anglers like what they see at Oak Hollow. Following a March competition there, marina manager Lamar Lee said, "This was the best tournament we'd had in years, both in number of participants and fish caught. Now that the word has gotten out, it should be a busy season for us." 

Friday
May052017

Tournament Anglers Boat Big Bass at North Carolina's Shearon Harris Lake

North Carolina's Shearon Harris Lake claimed legendary status as a bass fishery in 1996, when Dennis Reedy won a tournament with a 10-fish limit that weighed 72 pounds. Since he finished a distant third with 35 pounds, Shane Burns well remembers that day.

But Burns and fiance Bonnie Kelly made an even more spectacular splash on the 4,100-acre reservoir in early March when they won back-to-back tournaments with 40-pound-plus limits of 5 fish.

"I just seem to keep figuring it out better every year," said Burns. "Not many weigh in a limit with five fish overs out there."

By "overs," Burns means bass above the 16- to 20-inch protected slot on  the fishery that boasts hydrilla and provides cooling water for the Harris Nuclear Plant.

"It is not specifically managed as a trophy fishery but is in a cluster of ponds in the Capitol area that seems to persistently breed above average fish," said Bill Frazier, conservation director for the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation. "Hydrilla is managed pretty extensively but other weeds have gotten a foothold. Notably alligator grass and primrose."

In the first event, competing against 88 other teams, Burns estimated that he and Kelly caught about two dozen overs, as they weighed in 41.93 pounds. "Everything we caught was an over," he said.

In a smaller event the following weekend, they managed an even more impressive 46.89 pounds.

"The fishing wasn't as fast and furious," the veteran angler said. "But we had a limit of 32 to 34 pounds within the first 45 minutes. I caught a 10.38 later and then a 10.91. We had eight fish over 7 pounds and I counted 30 overs."

Even more incredible, Burns went back out with a friend on the day after each tournament and enjoyed equal success.

How did he do it? Just before the first tournament, Burns found a transitional spot. "I intercepted those fish on the way to spawn," he said.

His primary area was about 100 yards long, and featured a main lake point that dropped out and then rose back up to a hump. "I was marking fish in 30 feet of water," he said. "But they wouldn't bite that deep. We caught them in 23 to 26 feet."

Only three teams fished deep in the first tournament, he added, and they finished first, second, and third.

Burns and Kelly used 3/4-ounce willowleaf spinnerbaits and football head jigs for the first win.  For the second, they needed only jigs.

"These were the most unbelievable days of my life and getting to share them with Bonnie was extra special," he said.