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Entries in conservation (192)

Tuesday
Jul112017

Modern Fish Act Introduced in Senate

The recreational fishing and boating community praised the Senate introduction of the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017” (Modern Fish Act), which would improve public access to America’s federal waters, promote conservation of our natural marine resources and spur economic growth.

A companion bill, H.R. 2023, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 6.

“On behalf of America’s 11 million saltwater anglers, we thank Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.),” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy.

“Recreational fishing is a tradition worth safeguarding through proper management policies and a critical component of the U.S. economy, with an annual economic contribution of $63+ billion. With a bipartisan bill introduced in both chambers, we are hopeful the Congress will ensure all Americans have fair and reasonable access to our nation’s marine resources by passing the Modern Fish Act.”

 For years, the recreational fishing community has been hindered by antiquated policies that restrict access to public waters, hurt the U.S. economy and detract from conservation goals. The Modern Fish Act addresses many of the challenges faced by recreational anglers, including allowing alternative management tools for recreational fishing, reexamining fisheries allocations, smartly rebuilding fish stocks and improving recreational data collection. The bill aims to benefit fishing access and conservation by incorporating modern management approaches, science and technology to guide decision-making.

"When passed, this landmark legislation will modernize the federal regulations governing access to the public’s natural resources by boaters and anglers,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich.

“The Modern Fish Act will achieve many goals, the most important of which is getting more Americans outdoors and enjoying our wonderful natural treasures,” added Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association.

“This bipartisan legislation includes key provisions that will adapt federal fisheries management to manage recreational fishing in a way that better achieves conservation and public access goals. Recreational fishing provides many economic, social and conservation benefits to the nation, and with this legislation, the federal fisheries management system will better realize those benefits.”
  
“The Modern Fish Act offers reasonable solutions to a management system designed primarily for commercial fisheries but which has failed to address the needs of millions of saltwater anglers,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “The simple adjustments in this bipartisan bill would continue to ensure conservation of our nation’s saltwater fisheries, while finally establishing greatly needed parity for the recreational fishing community.”
 
“The Modern Fish Act would fix key issues in the law governing marine fisheries that keep recreational anglers from enjoying access to healthy fisheries,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
 
The coalition supporting the Modern Fish Act includes American Sportfishing Association, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Friday
Jun232017

Shimano/B.A.S.S. Award Conservation Scholarships to Four

Logan Parks from Alabama (left) and Patrick Durand of New Jersey are two of the scholarship winners.Shimano, in conjunction with B.A.S.S. Conservation, has named the winners of its 2017 Shimano Varsity Program scholarships.

All with goals to have careers in fisheries and wildlife management fields, student anglers earning the college funds include Nicolas Boyett and Chase Ditchkoff from Georgia, Patrick Durand from New Jersey, and Logan Parks from Alabama. Each student will receive a $3,000 scholarship to pursue college degrees in biology, fisheries, wildlife or natural resources.

Shimano Youth Fishing Director Frank Hyla said, “Assisting young anglers and their passion for a career in helping assure there are excellent fishing resources for the next generation is one of the keystone goals of our Shimano Varsity Program. All of us with Shimano couldn’t be happier that in our first year with the scholarship program, we were able to select four outstanding future college freshman.

"Plus they are all pretty good bass anglers.”

From Climax, Ga., Boyett graduated from Bainbridge High School, and plans to major in wildlife management at Bainbridge State College. One day he hopes to own or manage a fishing or hunting operation.

With a goal of working for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources after studying fisheries at West Georgia University, Alexander High School grad Ditchkoff from Lithia Springs, Ga., earned a varsity sports letter from fishing on his school’s team. Alexander High is the first school in the country to honor its student athletes with awards for fishing.

A graduate of Cherry Hill High School in Cherry Hill, N.J., Durand is the founder of the Cherry Hill Outdoorsman Club. He is majoring in environmental science at the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, and plans a career in the environmental field.

Along with being a co-founder of the Auburn High School bass team and serving as the team president, Logan Parks from Auburn, Ala., designed and implemented a fishing line recycling project at seven sites around Alabama’s Lake Logan Martin. He will major in fisheries or agri-business at Auburn University.

With the noted decline in professional natural resource managers who fish, “the goal in working with B.A.S.S. to recruit students who already enjoy fishing and are interested in natural resource professions will pay off with these four outstanding young men,” said Phil Morlock, Vice President for Government Affairs/Advocacy at Shimano.

“We are already looking forward to even more interest in the scholarship program next year, and more interest among young anglers to pursue careers in fish and wildlife management fields.”

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." 

Thursday
Jun012017

B.A.S.S. Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Tournament

A half-century ago, when Ray Scott of Montgomery, Ala., wanted to entice outdoor media to cover his upcoming press conference, he didn’t soft-sell the event.

He invited the journalists to meet him in Springdale, Ark., and learn about “The Biggest, Most Important Happening In Bass Fishing History.”

The “happening” was the All-American Bass Tournament on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, an event many mark as the beginning of the modern era of bass fishing. The tournament was held June 5-7, 1967 — 50 years ago next week. The tournament was successful enough to launch the professional fishing careers of Bill Dance, Stan Sloan, Don Butler and others, and it inspired Scott, an insurance salesman turned promoter, to conduct a “tournament trail” of events across the country.

And it spawned the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society — B.A.S.S. for short — which would grow into the world’s largest fishing organization with more than 500,000 members and a magazine, Bassmaster, currently read by 4.5 million people each month.

Bassmaster’s June issue marks the milestone of tournament fishing with a cover story written by Bob Cobb, who contributed greatly to the All-American’s success.


In Why We Fish, I documented the  impact that B.A.S.S. has had on every aspect of sport fishing, from tackle, boats, and equipment to conservation and catch-and-release. Here's an excerpt from "The B.A.S.S. Factor":

“I remember a B.A.S. tournament on (Oklahoma’s) Lake Eufaula in the early 1970, when I was in high school,” said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland. “Roland Martin won it.

“Afterward, he and Forrest Wood (founder of Ranger Boats) sat out on the dock and talked about how to make livewells better to keep fish alive. The tournament environment, I think, spawned a lot of innovations, especially in boat design and safety features for both the occupants and the fish.

“Maybe they would have shown up anyway eventually,” he continued. “But their development was sped up by tournaments and they became available to the public sooner.”

Kill switches, boat hulls, electronics, trolling motors, trailers, and tow vehicles are but a few additional items that owe their current state of development to B.A.S.S. and its professional anglers. Others include specialized rods, reels, baits, lines, tackleboxes, sunglasses, and clothing.

“If my granddaddy could see the equipment today, he wouldn’t believe it,” Bill Dance said. “He just wouldn’t believe what fishing has become.”

Roland Martin added, “So many of us now are on design staffs. The tackle and marine industry use us for a lot of different things, but especially research and development.”

Wednesday
Apr122017

There’s nothing like the adventure of saltwater fishing. The adrenaline rush of hooking into a billfish, a big striper, or hard-fighting redfish is second to none. That thrill is undoubtedly what attracts more than 11 million Americans to the sport.

Unfortunately, the laws that govern federal saltwater fisheries are out of date and have never taken recreational anglers into account. This has led to shortened or even cancelled seasons, reduced bag limits, and unnecessary restrictions.

The good news is a new law is making its way through Congress that should fix those problems.

The Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, or Modern Fish Act for short, has just been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rather than focusing on commercial fishing, the new bill is a comprehensive package specifically aimed at addressing the needs of the nation’s 11 million saltwater recreational anglers.

The Modern Fish Act will improve access to America’s federal waters and promote conservation of our natural marine resources. Simply put, that means more and better fishing.

Tell your Representative to support the Modern Fish Act today.