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Entries in fishing books (228)


August Sucks!

Ask me what I like about nature, and I can write a book. Ask me what I don’t like, and I need just one word: August.

Your August might not be the same as mine, especially if you live in a northern state. My August in the Missouri Ozarks is hell on earth, with no regard for the calendar. Typically it extends from the middle of July to the middle of September. But it could raise its demonic head in early July and its forked tail might not slither into fall until October.

What don’t I like about August? For starters, mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, sweat bees, and flies. August is a banner month for them all here at my house in the woods. Only then do I barbeque before an audience of thousands, none of them human and all of them believing that I am the entrée. Only then am I crawled on, sucked on, and stung so many times that I feel them scurrying up my legs, scooting along my back, and whining in my ears --- even when they are not.

Excerpt from "August" in Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies: Growing Up With Nature. Available at Amazon, the book has 43 five-star reviews.


"Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better"

--- Albert Einstein


Want to Be a Better Angler? Here's How

When you catch fish, don't just take note of the bait. Pay attention to lake conditions, weather, and time of day. If you were fishing visable cover, how close did you throw to it? What kind of retrieve were you using?

When you share a boat or shoreline with someone who seems to be a better angler than you, watch his behavior as well as your own.

Learn from him by paying attention to all of the little things that he does, especially if you are both using the same bait and he is catching more fish. How is he holding his rod? Is it higher or lower than yours? Is his retrieve steady or erratic? Are you retrieving as slowly or quickly as he is?

Also, are you using the same kind of reel that he is? That can make a big difference. Different models of reels retrieve line at different rates, depending on the gear ratio. Some are a blazing 9.1: 1. Others are 5: 1. The higher the first number, the more line is retrieved on each turn of the reel handle. That makes it a "faster" reel. You can slow down with a fast reel, but it's really tough to speed up with a "slow" reel. So, if your angling partner is using a faster or slower reel than you are, that could make a difference.

If the fishing is tough for both of you, here are some angler-behavior strategies that might work: Slow down your retrieve, especially if you're fishing a worm or other soft plastic. Use a smaller bait. When fish aren't aggressive, they sometimes prefer smaller prey. Use a different color bait. "Shades" (dark, light) usually are more important than specific colors. But if fishing is tough, a slight variation can make a difference.

Excerpt from "Angler Behavior" in my book, Better Bass Fishing.


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.”


What Is Life All About? Go Fishing and Find Out

A friend once told me that when his father was questioned or criticized by his non-hunting friends about his fondness for fishing and hunting, he responded that his pursuits had “much more of an ecological integrity and a biological and cultural basis than their golfing or even attendance at professional sporting events.”

Those wise words have led me to the realization that fishing is just as important as a means as it is an end. Yes, fishing is synonymous with relaxation, catching fish, having fun, and spending time with friends and family. Those are all valuable “ends” that make life better.

But fishing also is the means by which we connect with both our humanity and nature as we pursue those ends. In the outdoors, only hunting and possibly farming are comparable.

Sure, running, biking, swimming, and playing tennis are healthful pastimes, as are hiking, kayaking, and a variety of other pursuits in nature. But none of them transport us so completely into the web of life as fishing and hunting. We might no longer fish or hunt to feed our families, but these pastimes takes us closer to what life is all about than anything else I can think of --- except for maybe getting lost in the wilderness or being pursued by a grizzly bear.

And in getting closer to what life is all about, we implicitly recognize our place in it and, as a consequence, are healthier and happier in our everyday existence.

What is life all about? Go fishing and find out.

From Why We Fish. Check it out, along with my other books, at Amazon.