Tom Keer 6/28/2012 My wife has a saying that has become one of my favorites. Presentation without demonstration is merely conversation. Someone may have said that before, but I heard it from her first, and she’s right. That statement gets to the point. Organizations like […]
Month: June 2012
I was at a boat ramp the other day and saw a boat off the trailer sitting directly on the ramp. Probably the only thing grimmer than seeing a boat that should be in the water perched on the ramp, has to be the sound of fiberglass hitting concrete. Ouch.
In preparation for the launch, the owner unhooked the tow strap and chain, and proceeded to back down the ramp. He had a buddy behind the console waiting for the boat to hit the water. Like all of us, he’d trim down the outboard, pump the gas ball a few times, and fire it up. Then he’d back the boat off the trailer and tie up while his pal parked the truck and trailer. Easy breezy lemon squeezy, just like we all do.
These were experienced boaters, not ones prone to making rookie mistakes. But the issue lay in the half tank of gas and the steepness of the ramp. When the boat crested the top of the ramp, the gas sloshed towards the stern and the boat, sitting on Teflon skids, rocketed off the trailer. If they filled the tank prior to backing down or launched on a less-steep ramp, they’d have had no problem. The boat was big enough to require a crane to lift it back on and that cost about a grand.
The devil is in the details my friends, and big problems can come from small mistakes. I’m not exactly sure of why this sailboat spent the night underwater, but it had to have been a minor error. Plugs that are left out, bilges that aren’t turned on, batteries that run down, who knows what. Sometimes the fix is as simple as emptying a dinghy after a rain so that it doesn’t sink. Or cleaning out the drain on a self-bailing boat. Keeping your trailer hubs lubed, checking trailer lights so the jockey on the highway behind you going Mach 2 doesn’t power clean your outboard when you slow down.
A few years ago I found an unmanned boat drifting in the bay. It had a current registration from a few states away. I towed it in and found a family waiting on the dock. There were lots of hands waving around, and when they saw their boat it all stopped. Long story short, the family was on vacation and had an epic day of fishing. They tied off on a transient mooring and paddled ashore to have dinner and to check in to their hotel room for the night. A poorly tied knot was the culprit, and I appreciated the beers they bought me afterwards.
For a refresher on covering some of the basics check out this overview on the Take Me Fishing website. There is a tremendous amount of useful information that will help boaters focus on getting on the water without any stress or strain. It’ll prompt you that a stictch in time won’t just save nine; it’ll save your boat if not your lives. http://www.takemefishing.org/boating/boating-basics/overview
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Andy Whitcomb 6/19/2012 Recently on The Fishing Wire, I read a report about aggressive bass biting fingers and caught by hand. News Station WKRG posted this video, perhaps worthy of a visit by Jeremy Wade of River Monsters. The aggressiveness is attributed to a genetic […]
One of the things I enjoy most about fishing is that, with a little imagination, it’s possible to make exotic-style adventures happen right near home. Sometimes, changing how you fish, even what you fish for, can turn the familiar spot into something new and exciting.
Here’s an example. This is a slough on the Snake River in Idaho. The Snake is one of the best rivers in the West because it has a wide variety of fish—from native cutthroat trout in its upper stretches, to powerfully built smallmouth bass in its warmer waters. But this area is special, because it’s relatively shallow (from a few inches to a few feet deep) and the bottom is firm enough to walk on without getting stuck.
And at certain times of the year, common carp will migrate into these shallows to feed and spawn. If you like fly fishing, you can spot and stalk these carp, cast at tailing and rolling targets, and hook into some brutes that weigh upwards of 30 pounds.
It’s as challenging and enjoyable a “flats fishing” experience as any bonefish adventure you’ll ever find in the tropics.
Moreover, it’s a technical challenge that demands sharper angling skills. Often maligned carp (even considered “trash fish” by some) are among the most complex and interesting fish anywhere and they take some game to figure out how to catch on a fly, on any given day.
Odds are, there’s a fishery like this near you, wherever you are reading this. Carp are among the most abundant and hardy fish in America. They were brought to this country in the 1800s specifically to be a food source, and their value was the fact that they could live in a wide range of water conditions, from clear, cool moving water, to muddy, flat warm water.
Whether carp flip your switch or not, I’d suggest mixing things up a bit the next time you go fishing. Try a new bait, or a new approach, and your angling horizons—and the fun—will expand dramatically. Best of all, you’ll discover that the best “exotic” adventures often happen right near home.
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Kirk Deeter 6/6/2012 I’m always happy to see anglers do good things for rivers, lakes and oceans. That can be as simple as stopping to pick up some trash as you fish—the little things really do matter. But some people take clean angling ethic to […]
During a recent fishing trip, my crappie jig snagged a small, striped shell. I placed it in an empty water bottle and sent a photo to Dr. Jim Long at Oklahoma State University to confirm my suspicions.
“This is significant,” he stated as he verified it as a zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha).
Native to the Caspian Sea, this tiny critter hitchhiked in the ballast of a ship. Well, not this particular mussel, but its ancestors did. And not that long ago. “Great, great grandpa zebra mussel” (life span may average about 6 years) disembarked from a freighter in the Great Lakes by about 1990. Since then, Oklahoma has listed 20 lakes as having zebra mussel populations. Now, thanks to a slow day of fishing and rather unorthodox bivalve sampling methods, Lake McMurtry is #21.
Biologists are concerned because zebra mussels can dramatically alter their environment with staggering numbers. These filter feeders can outcompete native mussels and larval fish for plankton. Plus, they clog pumping equipment for municipalities. Freshwater drum and channel catfish consume these mollusks, but cannot control the population.
To minimize the spread and effect of these and other invasive species, take these precautions such as cleaning and drying your boat between different bodies of water. Zebra mussels can live out of water for several days. And if they happen to be hitting minnow tipped crappie jigs in your lake, report it on the NAS Alert System. By gathering this biological data, hopefully we can learn how to control and manage these uninvited guests.
For more information on invasive species, click here.