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Entries in Shimano (19)

Wednesday
Mar192014

Lake Kingsley Leads Way for Trophy Bass in Florida

Len Andrews with TrophyCatch bass caught at Lake Kingsley.

North Florida’s Lake Kingsley is yielding an abundance of big bass this spring. Unfortunately, most of us can’t fish it. On the east, access is limited to military personnel from Camp Blanding and, on the west, with permission of private homeowners.

Still, it’s indicative of what many of the Sunshine State’s public waters are capable of producing, especially during the pre-spawn and spawn. And with the introduction of Florida’s TrophyCatch program a couple of years ago, we’re now getting a better idea of that what they are producing.

 The latest news from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is that Len Andrews caught and released a dozen largemouth bass that weighed 10 pounds or more during a two-week period at Lake Kingsley. Previously, FWC reported that Joseph Morrell caught three double-digit fish in early March. Morrell’s largest weighed 14-9 and Andrews’ 13-12.

Here’s more from FWC about 74-year-old Andrews and his big bass:

Andrews discovered north Florida’s Lake Kingsley 17 years ago and now routinely visits for three months every year, generally fishing seven days a week. His very first cast with a Zoom 6-inch lizard on a Shimano baitcasting reel and G. Loomis rod yielded a 14-pound, 8-ounce Florida largemouth back in 1999. He has been hooked ever since, and always uses the same lure while sight-fishing for bass in the shallows.

Andrews grew up fishing with friends, and in the 1960s and ’70s he tried his hand tournament fishing, but said he “nearly starved,” even after adding guiding on Rodman Reservoir to his repertoire. Ultimately, he relied on being a union carpenter and supervisor until he retired.

TrophyCatch is an incentive-based conservation program that rewards anglers for legally catching, documenting and releasing trophy largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds in Florida. The second season of this very successful effort to gather information on elusive trophy bass while encouraging anglers to release them began Oct. 1, 2013, and ends Sep. 30 this year. The program itself is ongoing, but having seasons allows the FWC to award a championship ring annually, which is donated by the American Outdoors Fund, and to draw for the Phoenix bass boat, which is powered by a Mercury outboard and equipped with a Power-Pole. Simply registering at TrophyCatchFlorida.com makes you eligible for the random boat drawing.

Andrews’ 13-pounder, which he caught on March 11, was verified on a certified scale by FWC biologists Allen Martin and Steven Hooley as the fourth Hall of Fame entry this season. Van Soles recorded the first, a 13-pound, 2-ounce tournament-caught bass from Lake Kissimmee. Joseph Morrell followed earlier this month with two catches a week apart, weighing, 13 pounds, 12 ounces and then our current leader – a 14-pound, 9-ounce bass. Both of Morrell’s catches were also caught and released on Lake Kingsley.

Hall of Fame entries receive a free fiberglass replica mount ($500 value) from New Wave Taxidermy; $200 worth of gift cards from Bass Pro Shops, Dick's Sporting Goods and/or Rapala; a Bass King duffle bag with customized hoodie, shirt and hat; and a Glen Lau DVD. In addition, their names are entered into the Florida Bass Hall of Fame at the Florida Bass Conservation Center .

The other two clubs that are part of TrophyCatch are the Lunker Club for bass between 8 and 9.9 pounds, and Trophy Club for bass between 10 and 12.9 pounds. Verified Lunker Club entries receive $100 in gift cards from our partners and a club T-shirt. Trophy Club entries earn $150 in gift cards and a long-sleeve club shirt. All three groups also get a club decal and customized certificate.

To enroll in any of the three clubs and support conservation, anglers should register at TrophyCatchFlorida.com, where they will also log in to submit their catches. A verified catch must be properly documented by one of the following means:

  • Photo of entire fish on the scale with the weight showing (if not perfect, be sure to supplement with a closeup showing the scale and at least part of the fish, a shot of entire fish on a tape-measure, and maybe a girth photo);
  • Link to a tournament website with official results, or to a publication that includes your name and verified weight of the individual fish;
  • A copy of an official printed tournament weigh slip, with tournament information that includes your name and the verified weight of the individual fish, or;
  • Provide the name and contact information for an FWC official who saw the actual fish being weighed and can verify the entry (e.g., creel clerks, conservation officers, event volunteers).

Other anglers can view the gallery and map on the TrophyCatch website to see where all the great catches are being made, and follow us at Facebook.com/TrophyCatchFlorida

Wednesday
Nov202013

Shimano Key Player in Fisheries Conservation

Just about anyone who fishes knows about Shimano rods and reels. It is one of the industry leaders in innovation for both.

Not nearly so many are familiar with the company’s long-standing devotion to fisheries conservation. But more are learning as Shimano steps into its new role as a supporting sponsor of Bassmaster tournaments and its name appears on live-release boats.

Traditionally, though, the company has worked quietly in the background. But Noreen Clough, recently retired B.A.S.S. Conservation Director, knows about that little publicized history.

“Shimano continues to be a key player in fisheries conservation,” she said. “It continues to sponsor scientific research and identify techniques to improve catch-and-release fishing. B.A.S.S. is fortunate to have Shimano and Phil Morlock as partners.”

Morlock is one of the primary reasons that Shimano is a “key player.” As the long-time director of environmental affairs for Shimano, he knows as much about angler and conservation issues in North America as anyone. And in political circles, he is one of the most outspoken defenders of public access and our right to fish.

Shimano's Phil Morlock

“As threats multiply, from animal rights groups and others, we’re forced to pay more attention,” he said. “Whether by design and intent or by other less nefarious means, I believe the very basis of science-based fish and wildlife management, conservation, and sustainable use is being threatened as never before.”

With animal rights groups, a persistent theme is that fish feel pain, an argument that Morlock loves to debunk.

“If fish did (feel pain), they would be unable to eat many of the spiny/prickly creatures like crawfish and other fish (because of dorsal spines) that they survive on,” he said. “That’s a rather obvious point to those of us who fish or who have a background in science.

“But for those who do not, the media does a poor job of filling in the rather glaring gaps in information deficiency often inherent in animal rights campaigns.”

Some of those who want to push us off the water, meanwhile,  don’t like opposition by Morlock and Shimano, especially in opposing the Marine Life Protection Act, which has needlessly closed many of California’s coastal waters to recreational fishing. In a petulant snit, they initiated a “Shame on Shimano” campaign, accusing the company of lies and caring more about making money than protecting the oceans.

“It’s too bad that Shimano is the only fishing company that has seriously stepped up to the plate to fight some of the threats to angling,” Chris Horton said at the time. Now Midwestern States Director for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Horton is a former National Conservation Director for B.A.S.S.

“This is how they are rewarded,” he continued. “It makes an easy target for the enviros. If more companies would do what Shimano has done, they’d have a lot harder time beating the good guys.”

Doug Olander of Sport Fishing Magazine added, “This is an attack not only on Shimano, but on all businesses that make and sell tackle, and in fact on all men, women, and children in this country who enjoy the chance to spend time on the water hoping to catch a few fish.

“That's why what at first glance seems just plain goofy is no laughing matter.”

Morlock doesn’t think that any threat should be disqualified because it’s “goofy.” That’s why he monitors them all, as one of sport fishing’s most devoted advocates, and looks for the reality behind the curtain. A perfect example, he says, is the anti-lead campaign.

“If you can’t shut down fishing and hunting with one approach, try another, like ‘toxic substances harming wildlife,’ and soft peddle it,” he explains. “Same endpoint by a different means.”

And as Morlock and Shimano defend recreational fishing, they also are working with B.A.S.S. and other partners to make it better.

“There are a series of layers to our involvement with B.A.S.S.,” he said. “And conservation is a cornerstone.

“Right now, you see the live-release boats. But this is going to evolve into other conservation initiatives.”

Some of the possibilities include habitat improvement, fish care, and youth programs, Morlock said, adding that such work likely will involve partnering with B.A.S.S. Nation states and clubs.

“Because of what we do (in conservation), we’re unique in the fishing business,” the director added. “And the history of where we’ve come from is directly related to where we’re going.”

That history includes both fresh and saltwater habitat work, creation of the first live-release boats nearly 30 years ago, and, more recently, development of a water weigh-in system for tournaments.

“We took apart every step of the tournament, from the time a fish is caught until it is released,” Morlock explained. “And that led to development of this system, which is faster than weighing fish out of water and less harmful.”

Without innovations such as the live-release boats and the weigh-in system, tournament fishing would be in big trouble, he said. “We could see a real vulnerability for any event. The anti-use folks will attack anybody. It doesn’t matter what size the tournament.”

The director of environmental affairs added that many improvements have been made since Shimano launched the first live-release boat in the mid 1980s. “Too many fish in warm water with low dissolved oxygen can lead to mortalities,” he said. “We’ve seen lots of changes in ways to reduce that, and B.A.S.S. has done a good job of staying current.”

Morlock pointed out that “virtually all big tournaments use live-release boats now.”

Shimano owned three live-release boats for awhile.  And it sent them, along with crews, all over the country. “Demand was so great that we couldn’t stay current,” Morlock says. “So we donated the boats to different tournament organizations. Today, a lot of organizations have boats based on our designs.”

In those early years, the company also played a critical role in a massive restoration project at Lake Havasu, where shoreline access for such work was minimal. The Bureau of Land Management and its partners constructed the habitat, and then a Shimano boat placed it. Together, they brought the fishery back.

(This article appeared originally in Fishing Tackle Retailer Magazine.)

Friday
Oct252013

Oh, No! More Great Reels From Shimano

Why, oh, why must Shimano torture me by producing new and better baitcasting reels on a regular basis? My old Curados and Chronarchs are working just fine, thank you very much.

In fact, they’re more than fine. They just keep on performing as well as they did when I purchased them years ago. In fact, I told that to someone who does marketing for Shimano after he told me about the new reels.

“I hear that comment often about Shimano tackle,” he said.

And, yet, here they are: the Antares and the Metanium:

Antares

The Antares series are the 'flagship' baitcasting reels in Shimano's global tackle lineup; the Metanium series offers anglers extremely lightweight reels  in three different gear ratios for the optimum speed for specific techniques,” said my marketing friend.

The Antares four-reel series includes the 100 and left-hand 101 models with a 5.6:1 gear ratio, retrieving in 26-inches of line per crank. “This is the ideal ratio to fish lures that keep constant tension on the line such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits,” said Robby Gant with Shimano’s product development team.

To fish jigs and worms, soft plastic and Carolina rigs, “anglers will want to turn to the Antares 100HG and 101H reels with a quick 7.4:1 gear ratio. They will crank in nearly 34-inches of line per crank,” Gant noted.

Added features to the Antares baitcasting reels include a “G Free Spool II,” a large diameter, ultra-light Magnesium spool, and a cone shape level wind guide to reduce line friction.

“Both these features combine to maximize casting distance and performance,” Gant said. “Plus we reduce overall weight even more with our ‘Super MG’ frame – the reason we stress highly that the Antares reels be used the freshwater only.”

All four Antares reels have 10 S A-RB (anti-rust) ball bearings in strategic locations, a one-way roller bearing for no handle back play, and weigh in at 7.93-ounces. They’ll handle from 200 yards of 6-pound test mono to 120 yards of 10-pound test.

As the “flagship” reel, the Antares retails for $599.99.

Metanium

Meanwhile, the new Metanium series includes six reels – the 100/101 (left-hand retrieve) with a 6.2:1 gear ratio to reel in 26-inches of line per crank; the 100HG and 101HG reels in 31-inches of line per crank with a 7.4:1 gear ratio; and the 100XG and 101XG with a super fast 8.5:1 gear ratio – ideal for coming tight quick when flipping or punching by retrieving almost 36-inches of line per crank.

Along with being extremely lightweight reels (6 ounces total weight for the MET-100, 101, 100HG and 101H – 6.2 ounces on the 100XG and 101XG), anglers are also introduced to Shimano Micro Module gear system.

“This new gear set makes use of smaller teeth – and more of them – to provide more contact points between the drive gear and pinion gear,” said Robby Gant with Shimano’s product development team. “And while anglers worldwide know our reels are smooth, the Micro Module gear system does take this smoothness to another level.”

To keep it all lightweight, “we construct the frame with our ‘Super MG’ magnesium material, and also use it on the handle side plate,” Gant noted, “while with the other side plate we keep things both light and add durability by using our proprietary CI4+ material.”

Gant added that even with the magnesium material used in the frame, the Metanium reels can be used for light tackle saltwater situations – with the appropriate freshwater wash off after every use.

All six Metanium reels have 9 S A-RB (anti-rust) ball bearings in strategic locations, and a one-way roller bearing for no handle back play. They’ll handle from 200 yards of 6-pound test mono to 120 yards of 10-pound test.

The Metanium retails for $419.99

Friday
Sep272013

Help Keep America Fishing

Surf anglers at Cape Hatteras. Photo from Outer Banks Preservation Association.

As a kid, I didn’t just love to fish.

I lived to fish.

Over the years --- and usually fishing --- I’ve met many who felt the same way about their childhood.

Reading comments on Facebook and in fishing forums, I can see that many adults never outgrow that feeling. That’s good.

In fact, the world would be a better place if more people felt that way.

I’m not talking about forsaking a family, giving up a job, and throwing away responsibility to go fishing 24/7. I’m talking about recognizing the value of fishing for relaxation, enjoyment of nature, and as a dangling carrot to get you from Monday to Friday. I’m talking about time spent with children and grandchildren that allows you to share knowledge and experience, as well as pass on the passion for a wholesome activity that has brought you so much happiness.

Sadly, many who do not fish are rising to power in all levels of government. They come from a background that says preservation --- look but don’t touch --- is better than conservation --- sustainable use of a resource through good stewardship. Some are adamantly anti-fishing, with close ties to extreme environmental groups. Others simply give no thought or value to recreational fishing and would consider its demise an acceptable loss for implementation of their agendas.

What can be we about this? Well, we could take them fishing. That really is the best solution. But we might have to abduct some of them to get them out of their cubicles, and that could get complicated and messy and charges might be filed.

The alternative is to organize and stand strong for recreational fishing. I know, I know: Fishing is your escape from things like organizing and standing strong. It takes you back to childhood, when living to fish was pure and uncomplicated.

I understand and respect that feeling. But I also know that neglecting to defend what you love against an overzealous enemy is the surest way to lose it.

The irony is that those of us who fish --- about 40 million annually --- far outnumber those who would take it away. But the latter are committed to a preservationist agenda, while we who fish are committed to fishing more than we are protecting our right to fish.

Or at least that’s the way that it has been.

“We’re the biggest recreational sporting group in the country, but we’ve hardly been organized enough to tie our shoes,” said Bob Eakes, owner of Red Drum Tackle in Buxton, N.C.

Eakes and his business were among the first casualties in this war against recreational fishing, where many of the early volleys are being fired at saltwater anglers. Under the guise of protecting birds and turtles, the National Park Service (NPS) elected to side with three environmental groups and shut down access to nearly half of the world-famous surf fishery at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The battle to reclaim that fishery is still going on, but there’s no doubt that the NPS is no friend to recreational fishermen.

“Twenty-one national parks are waiting to see how this plays out,” Eakes explained. “And we’re starting to see issues in freshwater as well.”

On inland fisheries thus far, recreational fishing is being attacked mostly by groups who want to ban lead fishing tackle and associations and municipalities who use concerns about the spread of invasive species to shut down access.

But more is on the way. By executive order, the new federal National Ocean Council can decide where you can and cannot fish on oceans, coastal waters, and the Great Lakes, and it has the authority to extend its reach inland to rivers and lakes.

That’s why your support for the Keep America Fishing  campaign is so vitally needed. “No one has been trumpeting the message that the public’s right to fish is at stake. But with Keep America Fishing (KAF), we now have a way to do that,” said Eakes.

Garnering more than 43,000 messages of opposition from anglers, KAF helped defeat an attempt to impose a national ban on lead fishing tackle in 2010.

Go there to learn about the issues, get involved, and make a donation. Also, buy KAF’s “FISH!” stickers from your favorite retailers.

“Keep America Fishing is helping keep anglers informed about what matters to us all,” said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano.

“Ninety-four percent of Americans approve of fishing, but some folks want to stop it,” said Gordon Robertson of the American Sportfishing Association.

“We have to fight to protect recreational fishing and Keep America Fishing gives anglers a way to help do that.”

(A variation of this article was published previously in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Thursday
Sep192013

In Defense of Fishing

 

Photo by Robert Montgomery

At the bank the other day, the teller told me that I had shortchanged myself a thousand dollars on my deposit slip.

I know why it happened. Each of the checks that I was depositing included a fraction of a dollar. I was so concerned about getting the pennies correct that I neglected to devote sufficient attention to the dollars.

In other words, I focused too much on minor details and completely missed the big picture.

That’s an easy thing to do. Most of us have done it at one time or another, and, fortunately, consequences usually aren’t catastrophic. We have spouses, friends, and friendly tellers to set us straight.

But too many of us are missing the big picture right now regarding the future of recreational fishing, and consequences could be catastrophic.

As the administration leads the country in a direction that the majority of Americans oppose, those who dislike recreational fishing or, at best, are indifferent to it, are using their White House alliances to push for massive federal control of public waters. And here’s the dangerous part:

As conservationists, anglers believe in sustainable use of fisheries, while protecting habitat, opposing pollution, and preserving the resource for future generations to enjoy.         

By contrast those pushing an anti-fishing agenda are preservationists who believe in “look but don’t touch.” They assert that humans exist apart from nature, rather than as a part of it. They think that we act immorally when we manage or alter it in any way.

Consequently, the big picture is that a concerted effort is underway to deny us access to a public resource, and, in so doing, to deny and destroy a significant portion of our history, culture, and economy --- not to mention our right to enjoy a day on the water with friends and family.

Granted, the movement is only now gaining momentum. Chances are, if you live inland, you might not see any closures in your life time. But the snowball has begun to roll downhill.

Arguably, it began when environmentalists convinced President George W. Bush to designate two remote areas in the Pacific as marine reserves. It has strengthened with the recently created National Ocean Council, which has been given authority to zone uses of our oceans, coastal waters, and Great Lakes, as well as the option to move inland to rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

Also, it’s taking shape via the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation Act and  a “catch shares” management strategy in which recreational participation would be capped.

And as preservationists seek to “protect” oceans from anglers, lake associations want to do the same on inland waters. Knowing a good excuse when they see one, they insist that closures of public access areas are needed to prevent spread of invasive species.

Inland access might seem unrelated to the ocean management. But they are two fronts of the same battle.

You need only look to California to see what is coming our way. Fisheries are falling one after the other, like dominoes, as emotion trumps science-based fisheries management.

Mostly the closures are coming under the auspices of the state Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA).        But they’re also occurring through local regulations. Four out of five members of the Laguna Beach City Council supported a five-year moratorium on recreational fishing along its 7 miles of coast.

“There’s no such thing as a five-year moratorium,” said dissenter Kelly Boyd. “You turn something over to the state and you’ll never get it back.”

Dave Connell, an angry angler, added, “We’re fighting a fad, an environmental extremist wacko fad about closing the ocean. I do not know what their agenda is, but it is not to save the fish. It is not to keep the ocean clean.”

For our side, the fishing industry is spearheading a Keep America Fishing campaign. In particular, member Shimano deserves recognition. Along with donating $100,000 a year and considerable staff time annually to the cause, it has been one of the most outspoken critics of the way in which the MLPA has been implemented.

As a consequence, it has been the target of the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups, who have deep pockets with which to voice their zealotry. Filled with invective and inaccuracy, the Shame on Shimano website is but one example.

"The 'Shame on Shimano' campaign by NRDC is an outrageous misrepresentation of the facts about a company who has led the outdoor industry in supporting scientific research, habitat improvement, youth programs and fishery conservation efforts across North America for twenty years," said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF).

Starting to see the big picture yet?