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Month: December 2012

Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

Tom Keer 12/26/2012 Every year, the Fall and Winter holidays seem to begin earlier and earlier.  Part of me likes to keep the events separate while another part of me sort of likes the fact that everyone is happy for a long period of time.  […]

Muskie!

Muskie!

Andy Whitcomb 12/25/2012 Fishing becomes a completely different ballgame when casting in water that may contain a legendary fish with its impressive chompers and ability to attain massive proportions, like a human leg. This “fish of 10,000 casts” or the muskie, is famous for following […]

My 2013 Boating Plan

My 2013 Boating Plan

Assuming that the Mayan’s are wrong and that our world continues past December 20th, I’ve got my New Year’s boating resolutions all worked out.  This year I’m keeping a short, tight list to make sure I git ‘er done.

1.  Check out areas outside my local area. It’s interesting for me to see the same area in different seasons and under different conditions, but truth be told my boating gets sloppy.  I know where areas run foul, I know how the current sweeps across the bars and where the waters stack up, and I seldom look at a GPS or a depth finder.  This year I want to resharpen my navigation and my boating skills by trailering my boat to a new area.  I’m really cranked up to study charts, to find new ramps and harbors, and to learning about the tidal variations.

2.  Spend more time boating with my family and friends. With active kids in high school and increased work demands, we didn’t get out on the water in 2012 as planned.  Something always got in the way.  Fail to plan, plan to fail goes the adage, and we’re going to restructure our schedules.  We picked an April 1st splash date for our seasonal sea trial and we’ll take it from there.  Everyone has a weekend in place to invite friends which brings me to my next point.

3.  Introduce one new person to boating. Our kids are at the point where it’s time for them to start running the boat.  Bringing along some friends who don’t spend much time on the water will be fun, and hopefully these experiences will light a fire and create new boaters.

4.  Learn to sail. I’ve always wanted to learn to sail, and this is the year.  I want to see the ocean from a different perspective, and I’ve always envied the freedom that comes with sailing.  Some days the wind blows hard, other days not so much, but this is the year to fulfill a dream.

5.  Study the environment. I spend a lot of time learning how fish interact with bait, current, wind, and weather, but not so much with boating.  I know that an incoming tide combined with an offshore wind jacks up the mouths of a harbor, but I want to become more reliant on my skills as opposed to my machinery.  I’ll see if I can predict the weather more accurately than the weatherman.  That won’t be hard to do, right?


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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.

Cures for Cabin Fever

Cures for Cabin Fever

Kirk Deeter 12/19/2012 I really do live in a log cabin in the mountains of Colorado.  This is the scene I woke up to this morning.  Sure, the snow is pretty, especially around the holidays (when we get a foot in May, it really isn’t […]

Steamy Fishing Locations

Steamy Fishing Locations

Andy Whitcomb 12/18/2012 There are places around the country where the water temperature is manipulated, allowing for a relatively small area of unique fishing opportunities. For example, some great trout fishing areas are created by utilizing the cool tail-waters below large dams. During the winter […]

Winter Fishing and Hypothermia

Winter Fishing and Hypothermia

Some of the coldest situations I’ve ever been in involve fishing in the winter. Let’s face it — while winter fishing can offer interesting challenges and opportunities, it can also be downright chilly. The mix of moisture with low air temperatures is the perfect recipe for hypothermia and frostbite. And those situations are far more serious than feeling a bit uncomfortable. Unless you take the right precautions, they can literally threaten life and limb.

There are a few tips that can help you avoid these problems. Most importantly, I make a point never to fish alone in the winter, whether I’m ice fishing, or wading an open river. If someone falls in the water in summer, that’s usually a laughing matter — perhaps a bit “brisk” but usually refreshing, and the ego is typically the only thing that suffers. But in winter, getting wet can spell disaster and time is of the essence. So a team approach is always best.

Hypothermia is when your core body temperature drops, and you lose heat faster than you can generate it. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be below freezing to experience hypothermia. In fact, even in the summer, prolonged exposure to cold water will cause hypothermia.

Symptoms include feeling numb, dizzy, disoriented, slurring speech, shivering, and weakness. If you or your fishing buddy experience any of these, take action.

If you’ve fallen in the water, replace wet clothing with dry clothing. It’s always important to have spare clothing handy when fishing, especially in the winter. If you’re hiking along a river, carry a backpack with a change of clothes.

Always carry extra mittens or gloves, and hand warmers. If you’re fishing — and successful — odds are your hands are going to get wet, no matter what you do. To prevent frostbite, put your hands in warm, dry gloves or mittens often, and avoid prolonged contact with the water. If your gloves get wet, swap them out.

Carry a thermos with warm liquid, like decaffeinated tea or soup. Caffeine can actually exaggerate the feelings of cold, so avoid those drinks. You also don’t want to shock the system of a person who is already suffering from exposure, so don’t have them drink anything that’s beyond warm. Best to maintain a steady flow of warm hydration as you fish.

Have blankets or sleeping bags available, at least in your vehicle. And be sure to have a cell phone or radio so you can contact expert help if you need it.

If someone is experiencing hypothermia, you want to keep them calm but alert, warm and relaxed (preferably lying down), and sheltered from the elements. And you want to get them to medical care as soon as that’s feasible.

With some advance planning and precautionary gear, anglers can avoid these problems altogether.


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.

Christmas Along the Coast

Christmas Along the Coast

Tom Keer 12/13/2012 Winter along the coast can be very different from a Norman Rockwell Christmas card.  The climate doesn’t always lend itself to white, fluffy snow falls and cold weather plus humidity doesn’t usually form icicles on the house.  Bah, humbug!  Spice up your […]

Wade and See

Wade and See

Andy Whitcomb 12/11/2012 If you don’t fish often, perhaps you can get away with something like “economy vinyl stocking foot waders.”  After all, $7 sounds a lot better than a $120.  But $7 buys the bottom-half of a swamp creature novelty costume that may only […]

Top 5

Top 5

Most of my fishing season is spent within a few hours of my home.  I’m blessed with good access to freshwater rivers and streams where I catch trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and the saltwater fishing is outstanding.  Still, I try to get away from home now and again so I can fish for other species and learn new techniques to try back at home.  Finances dictate how much travel I actually get to do, and here are a few spots that I’d like to try and get to this year.

Where I live on Cape Cod is probably one of the best saltwater fisheries along the Eastern seaboard.  What I find myself doing, though, is staying really close to home.  This year I want to move around a bit more and fish the early season around Buzzard’s Bay.  There are a lot of rocks, ledges, reefs, and inshore islands that comprise an area known as the Elizabeth Islands, and in the spring there are a lot of big bass and early bluefish chasing herring.

I also want to hit the Hancock, New York area which is the confluence of the East and the West Branch of the Delaware River.  Both branches are tailwaters and that makes for an incredibly fertile river system with lots of big, wild trout.  There are long, wide pools broken up by shallow riffles, and good hatches throughout the year.  The river boarders New York and Pennsylvania, and the two states offer a reciprocal license which helps to keep costs down.  In a perfect world I’d love to sneak over to the Delaware River in late spring/early summer.

I’ve always wanted to fish Harkers Island, NC for drum and for False albacore.  I’ve read about the flats, tidal channels, and grass and shell beds that sound just about perfect.  Locals call the first good storm in October the ‘mullet blow’ as it drives the baitfish and the drum inshore.  Being down there at the right time sounds like a whole lot of fun, and there might be some albies and bluefish around.

Sight fishing for tailing reds is something that I have done in the Florida backcountry but I’d really like to fish in the creeks lined with Spartina grass around Charleston, SC.  I like the fact that the fishing is best during the fall and winter which makes for a perfect slot on my calendar.  Yeah, there are other fish to catch like cobia, speckled trout and sharks, but casting to a tailing fish is the biggest draw for me.

And like most saltwater anglers, a trip to the Florida Keys for tarpon, bonefish, and permit is on a bucket list.  I’ve got to think about that one very carefully.  I’ve always picked weeks with bad weather.  My buddies have gone the week before or the week after my trip, and they’ve had beautiful weather and great fishing. Maybe I should try June, but if any of you have recommendations please send ‘em along.  I’m all ears…..


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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.

10 Fishing Resolutions for the New Year

10 Fishing Resolutions for the New Year

Kirk Deeter 12/5/2012 As one year winds down and I start thinking about the next, I always like to make a list of New Year’s Fishing resolutions.  I think it’s good for any angler to set goals, even if some (like my other resolutions of […]