Provides information of Fishes

Month: June 2012

Conserving Areas Where We Boat and Fish

Conserving Areas Where We Boat and Fish

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 […]

The Secret to Netting Fish

The Secret to Netting Fish

Kirk Deeter 6/27/2012 Netting the fish you catch can be tricky. Sometimes, actually landing the fish can be as tough as hooking it in the first place. And how many times have you had a whopper come almost to hand, only to have it wiggle […]

Small Mistakes, Big Costs

Small Mistakes, Big Costs

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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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.

Fishing Tips to Beat the Heat

Fishing Tips to Beat the Heat

Kirk Deeter 6/20/2012 There’s not much I like more than warm summer days. Feeling the sun on my face and cool water on my feet as I wade in a river or lake puts me in a great frame of mind. Unfortunately, the fish don’t […]

Pond Monsters

Pond Monsters

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 […]

Find Exotic Near Home

Find Exotic Near Home

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

Kirk Deeter

Kirk Deeter is an editor-at-large with Field & Stream, and he co-wrote The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing with the late Charlie Meyers.

Out of this World

Out of this World

Andy Whitcomb 6/12/2012 All fishing is fun, but top-water action functions on a higher plane. Normally, I am not big on surprises. You can keep your surprise parties, pranks, and credit card statements, but I never pass up a chance at a nerve-rattling burst from […]

Kudos to Anglers Who Keep Things Clean

Kudos to Anglers Who Keep Things Clean

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 […]

From Russia, With Ballast

From Russia, With Ballast

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.


Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”…  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie.”  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.

Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well…

And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.   

Fishing Artwork

Fishing Artwork

Tom Keer 5/31/2012 It’s probably true that most of us have some form of artwork that is related to fishing in our homes. From paintings and etchings to carvings and photographs, the list can be quite long. But sometimes there are pieces that stand out, […]