My Facebook pages

Robert Montgomery

Why We Fish

Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies

Pippa's Canine Corner 



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





Entries in recreational fishing (85)


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Unfortunately, the laws that govern federal saltwater fisheries are out of date and have never taken recreational anglers into account.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.


Recreational Fishing Allowed in New East Coast Marine Monument


In what now seems a never-ending struggle to ensure the future of recreational fishing, anglers have won another small victory. The Obama Administration is including it as an allowable activity in the new Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, approximately 150 miles off the Massachusetts coast.

For years, sports fishing advocates have campaigned to convince politicians and unelected bureaucrats that recreational fishing should not be considered synonymous with commercial fishing in terms of government policy. And too often that message has fallen on deaf ears, especially with the formation of Obama's National Ocean Council, with the purpose of "zoning" uses of public waters.

"For decades, recreational fishermen have generally been an afterthought in ocean resource management," said Mike Leonard, Ocean Resource Policy Director for the American Sportfishing Association.

"And when recreational fishing has received attention by mangers and policymakers, it’s usually lumped in with other 'extractive' activities like mining, drilling and commercial fishing.

"Anglers are leading conservationists and fully support reasonable regulations to conserve the environment. But we also don’t want to see bad public policy that bans recreational fishing unnecessarily." 

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument covers a 4,913 square mile area off the Massachusetts coast that contains deep sea corals and other unique and fragile marine habitats. These areas are also popular offshore fishing spots for anglers who target billfish, tuna and mahi mahi near the ocean surface.

During the marine monument designation discussions, the recreational fishing and boating community advocated that recreational fishing should be allowed to continue because, among other reasons, the type of recreational fishing that occurred in these areas has no interaction with the bottom habitats that are being protected.

“Summarily removing the public from public waters is not the way to properly manage our oceans, and it is encouraging that this Administration recognized how critical it is for conservationists to be connected to the environment they work to protect,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association.

“Recreational fishing and marine conservation are not only compatible, but complimentary, and we are glad to see that angling will continue to be managed as a sustainable activity in these areas.”

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is the third marine monument created or expanded by President Obama. The previous two decisions, which designated areas near Hawaii and remote Pacific islands, also allowed for recreational fishing.


'Taking Kids Fishing Is More fun Than I've Ever Had in My Life'

Books have been written, including my own, about the value of fishing, and, more specifically, the importance of introducing children to the pastime.

But Howard Davis is a simple man who can sum up the latter in one sentence.

"Taking kids fishing is more fun than I've ever had in my life," said the founder of Kids First Cast, Inc. (KFC), a non-profit, all-volunteer organization in Nampa, Idaho. "With kids you don't have to deal with politics or anything else. It's just fishing."

And for the man sporting a twinkle in his eye and a Santa Claus beard, a child is not defined by age. "To me, a kid can be 3 or 103 years old," he said, recalling a 67-year-old woman whom he instructed.

"On her first cast, she caught the first fish of her life, and she was as excited as any 3-year-old. There are big kids too."

Through affiliations with various programs and bass clubs, Davis has been taking kids fishing for 25 years or so, when he can break away from his business, Howard's Tackle Shoppe.

"I've probably seen more kids in Idaho catch their first fish than anyone else," he said.

"And it's amazing how many come back and talk to me. One who is 35 now is still excited about fishing. And he still has the pack of worms that I gave him that day. He won't use them."

But encouragement from Dyann Aspiazu in 2011 is what prompted him to finally take the plunge and form his own organization, which will take an estimated 6,500 children fishing in 2016. That and a promise from Aspiazu that she would take care of the paperwork and all he would have to do is keep taking kids fishing, as well as do a little marketing and soliciting of donations.

"Starting it was not as difficult as I thought it would be," Davis said. "The most difficult thing is finding enough adult volunteers. I probably do 50 to 60 kids events alone every year."

As well as partnering with Idaho Fish and Game, KFC  sponsors outings for disabled veterans and dependents and survivors of military families. One of those occurred this past May for children whose parents were recently deployed. "One kid caught a 3 1/2-pound bass on his first cast," Davis remembered. "Another  caught 14 bluegill, and he was tickled to death."

The KFC director keeps kids focused on the fishing by not allowing cell phones. "I want them to see there's something besides cyperspace," he said.

He also debarbs hooks and emphasizes over-the-shoulder casting, to lessen the likelihood of catching another participant instead of a fish. "We're going to start putting together rules and guidelines," Davis said. "It's a learning process every time we do an event.

"And we seem to get busier and busier every year, because I can't say, 'No.'"

He admitted that asking for donations was a challenge  at first, but then he quickly realized  that "it's amazing what people will do when it's for kids."

Marketing, meanwhile,  seemed to take on a life of its own when Davis purchased a van with a utility box to transport fishing gear and other equipment to events around the state. Wherever it goes now, it's recognized as  "Howard's Bassmobile."

"When I first saw it, I thought, 'That would make a hell of a tackle box,'" he said with a laugh, adding that it is adorned with logos of businesses that support KFC, as well as an awning on the side and a big bass (mailbox) chasing a lure on top.

Another boost to sustainability has been the "Cabin Fever Reliever," held each winter as a fund-raiser and a way of promoting and thanking sponsors. Thousands gather to learn all kinds of outdoor skills, in addition to fishing.

If Howard Davis had the time and resources, he'd drive the Bassmobile cross country, introducing kids to fishing. "I'm 67-years-old, a diabetic and don't have the energy I used to," he said. "But when you care about the kids, things like that aren't an issue."

For those in other states who feel the same way, he encourages them to form their own non-profits to introduce children to fishing. "The appreciation that you receive from the kids and their parents is overwhelming," he said.

Finally, Davis added, if you have rods and reels that you're not using, send them to him at 1707 Garrity Blvd., Nampa, ID 83687. He will clean them up and give them to more kids as he continues to have "more fun than I've ever had in my life."

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


Senate Bill Introduced to Prevent Closure of Sport Fisheries

A bill has been introduced into the U.S. Senate to uphold the authority of state fish and wildlife agencies and prevent unwarranted closures of fisheries, such as already occurred at North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Florida's Biscayne National Park.

“Given the significant economic, social, and conservation benefits that recreational fishing provides to the nation, any decision to close or restrict public access should be based on sound science and strong management principles,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.

 “While closed areas have a role in fisheries management, they should only come after legitimate consideration of all possible options and agreement among management agencies.

"This bill, which is strongly supported by the recreational fishing industry, will ensure that the voice of state fisheries agencies is not lost in these decisions.”

Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act, also known as S.2807, is similar to legislation already passed in the House as part of the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act. It requires the National Park Service (NPS) to have approval from state agencies before closing Great Lakes or state marine waters to recreational and/or commercial fishing.

“It’s only logical that any decision affecting fishing access in state waters should have the approval of that state’s fish and wildlife agency,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “We applaud Sens. Cassidy (Bill of Louisiana) and Rubio (Marco of Florida) for introducing this common-sense legislation, and urge other members of the Senate to co-sponsor and help ensure this bill’s passage.”

In 2015, NPS implemented a 10,000-acre marine preserve in one of the nation's most popular urban fishing areas, despite protests by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The state agency said that it would be overly restrictive and not biologically effective, adding that less punitive management tools could rebuild the park's fisheries and conserve habitat.

NPS's decision to ignore Florida input and force new regulations in state waters revealed a loophole in current law that could affect any state with coastal or Great Lakes waters managed by the federal agency.


Catch and Release is 'Cruel'; Yet Another Anti-Fishing Strategy


Here is something that you didn’t know: You are a hypocrite if you practice catch and release.

That’s right. If you care enough to turn a fish loose after you catch it, then you should be smart enough to realize that you shouldn’t catch it in the first place.

Don’t laugh. That’s a strategy by animal rights activists in this country to kill recreational fishing. Twice now it’s been used in comments at my Activist Angler website. The latest was in response to a post of mine that ridiculed PETA for distorting facts to support its anti-fishing ideology.

(Go here to see what PETA is saying.)

I was accused of being so steeped in a “pro-fishing, pro-industry dogma” that I have lost perspective. “Attempting to demonize people who are concerned about the ethics of sport fishing is a clear act of bigotry,” said commenter Rob Russell.

“Any thoughtful angler will reach a point where he or she desires to lessen their impacts on fish. When you engage in premeditated C&R, when your only goal is ‘sport’ (gratification), how do you rationalize putting a fish’s life at risk?

“If you are not concerned about this, then you have some thinking to do.”

Well, Rob, I have been thinking about it, and I am concerned. And if you fish, you should be concerned too. As irrational as this ploy seems, it already has worked in Europe.

The Swiss Animal Welfare Act of 2008 makes catch-and-release illegal because “it is in conflict with the dignity of the fish and its presumed ability to suffer and feel pain.” A similar rule has been in place since the 1980s in Germany, where anglers also must take a course in fish handling before they can obtain a license.

“The argument runs (in Germany) that it is legally acceptable to go fishing only if one has the intention to catch fish for food,” say the authors of a disturbing study, “A Primer on Anti-Angling Philosophy and Its Relevance for Recreational Fisheries in Urbanized Societies.”

In other words, you can have fun catching fish in Germany, but don’t tell anyone--- and you must keep the fish. Tournament fishing is not allowed and economic benefits are not a sufficient justification for fishing.

 “It all boils down to the individual benefits experienced by the angler, and here food provision is currently the only acceptable reason,” the authors add.

Think that can’t happen here, a country of nearly 40 million licensed anglers? Think again, and don’t be misled by the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans approve of legal fishing and support using fish for food.

The authors of that study discovered that when people are asked whether they approve of recreational fishing for sport, answers change dramatically. Twenty-five to 30 percent view angling for sport as cruel in more urbanized states such as Colorado and Arizona, while about 20 percent feel the same way in more rural states, including Alaska and the Dakotas.

And then there are the useful idiots. They fish but are so narrow-minded that they support anti-fishing activists in this campaign.

The second commenter at my website said this: “Sport fishing for catch-and-release should be outlawed! We are working to keep fish for real fishermen who enjoy the taste and food. We need to keep these so called ‘sport fishermen’ out of Minnesota lakes!”

How do we combat this strategy? We don’t engage in the false argument that catch-and-release is just one step on the road to enlightenment and that, if we really care, we must stop fishing for sport. That’s like trying to answer the question “Do you still beat your wife?” and not sound guilty. An attempt to answer either instantly puts the responder on the defensive.

The reality is that catch-and-release is a conservation practice, not an action prompted by concern for the welfare of an individual fish. Since B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott popularized the practice during tournaments in the 1970s, it has been embraced by anglers worldwide as a way to sustain fisheries. And it’s working. For example, Florida anglers keep less than 10 percent of the bass that they catch, with the vast majority released so that they can continue to reproduce, as well as be caught again.

And let’s not forget the value that we derive from catching and releasing those fish.  Yes, fish as food nourishes the body, but fishing for fun nourishes the spirit. During this chaotic and angry time in our nation’s history, nothing is more important.