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Month: August 2014
Debbie Hanson 8/25/2014 You might still hear the faint echo of your grandfather’s or grandmother’s voice as you draw your arm back in preparation for a cast or when you reach into your bait bucket to grab a minnow. His or her patient instruction and […]
Catfish are one of the most popular sport fish. Anyone with a chunk of bait on the bottom has a chance to experience the strength of these brutes. For several consecutive weekends in the in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area anglers have competed for fish with whiskers.
Recently the First Annual Field & Stream Catfish Classic was won by Team “Nite Shift.” They beat 35 boats with teams of two as well as shoreline competitors. However, winning was a complete surprise.
“When we returned to the boat ramp, we were pretty disappointed with what we had in the boat,” shared tournament angler Joe Stefanacci. “Then we saw how blank the leader board was!”
This tournament was held from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, some catfish tournaments have been held overnight. It is believed that the daylight schedule kept the bites fewer and smaller. Pre-fishing a few days earlier, support crew member Crystal Nelson landed a flathead over 20 pounds but it was late afternoon/early evening and the night loving big cats were starting to get more active. For the 2015 tournament, Ben Sladick, tournament director is “already leaning for an overnight tournament.”
Tournament anglers were allowed 3 rods each. Because flathead catfish can grow to large sizes and the swift river current, heavy line and sinkers were used, along with live bait. Channel catfish and bullheads would have counted too, but usually are much smaller fish. Catfish were kept alive in live wells or large, aerated tubs of water and released after weigh-in.
Some catfish tournaments are held in the smaller river systems but in Pittsburgh, the substantial Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet and form the Ohio River. In general the bigger the river, the bigger the fish. When fishing this urban deep, murky water, these anglers are seeking rocky bottoms. If the anchor gets stuck in mud, they’ll move to another location.
Another nice result from this tournament was a $1700 check donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A portion of the entry fee and a raffle for donated fishing gear helped support this wonderful cause.
There are impressive catfish in many urban rivers, both in quantity and quality. This is an overlooked fishing opportunity by many. But thanks to my fishing friends, I’ve seen what lurks in these waters and I look forward to casting for these big urban catfish too.
Debbie Hanson 8/18/2014 The numbers of women fishing have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Based on recent research, we now know that 34% of all fishing participants in the U.S. are female. Why do you think lady anglers are taking to the […]
Debbie Hanson 8/14/2014 Imagine for just a minute that you are stranded on a remote island or in the deep woods without the luxury of your fishing rod and reel. You might even be immersed in a different culture that uses fishing as a primary […]
Although the first video games were invented in 1948, the first ones I remember seeing were Asteroids and Space Invaders in a pizza parlor in the late 1970’s. My pals and I stopped by to get a couple of slices after football practice and there was a line out the door. We were pleased to see that the line wasn’t for food, but that line for the video game represented its own set of issues.
One issue was the shift to indoor, visual stimulation. As time increased, video games and digital technology became a greater part of our lives, so much so that in 2011, video games alone represented a nearly $17 billion business. One refreshing change I’ve seen in the past few years is what most of us have known all along: family fishing is on the rise. For those folks who took some time off to play in the world of technology, welcome back. And how about bringing along some of your friends?
In 20 years, no one is going to look back on Instagrams or Snap Chats.
They will not remember the video games they won.
As adults, they probably won’t place pictures of themselves with an iphone, a tablet, and a console with a joystick on their desk.
In 2011 there were about 11.6 million anglers between the ages of 6-15
In 2011 there were 48.3 million gamers between the ages of 6-15
In 1970, 8% of children were overweight.
In 2010, 40% of children were overweight.
In 2010, kids spent an average of 2.5 hours listening to music, 5 hours or TV and movies, and 3 hours of Internet and video games for a total of 75 hours per week.
People are a lot more active when they go fishing. They have more fun. They make memories that are told in the form of stories that are re-told from generation to generation. They take pictures that commemorate biggest catches, smallest catches or first catches. Yeah, we might poke fun at some outdated hair styles and clothing but it’ll be in good fun. Those moments are the parts of our lives that are worth reliving.
And the reason we have something worth reliving is ‘cause we did something fun and worthwhile in the first place. You’re reading this which means that I’m preaching to the choir. But my hat is off to you for going fishing with your family. And if you can rub off on your non-fishing friends and their families then I’ll be thankful and appreciative of your efforts as well.
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Debbie Hanson 8/4/2014 Life just seems to get busier and busier, doesn’t it? Parents are often caught performing major juggling acts between work, school activities for the kids, sports practice, helping out with homework, and a host of other responsibilities. Plus, as a society, we […]
I spoke with my friend Dave Dayton last week and he was all jacked up. He and his son fished for two mornings at Honey Lake Plantation in Northern Florida, right on the Florida/Georgia Line (sorry, I couldn’t resist). So how was the fishing, Dave?
“Epic,” he said. “We had non-stop catching for three hours, with largemouth bass, tiger bass, and bream on the feed. We lost count of the numbers, but it was a fish-per-cast easily, and that good fishing was spread across a three hour period during both days. It makes up for those days when there is more fishing than catching, and the conditions were perfect, particularly for families.”
Many columns, and I’ve written some too, always talk about the summer blues. In them we talk about schools of fish bailing from the shallows ‘cause they’re too warm. Anglers need to focus their fishing around early mornings when the temperatures have cooled down, they need to fish at night, or they need to get down a thermocline or two. Once we find deeper water or colder pockets we will find and catch fish. That is true if we’re targeting cold water fish like trout or striped bass or fish that prefer cooler temps. But as Dave pointed out, some fish like it hot.
Right now my striper fishing follows that same rule of thumb. It’s hot so the bass are in the rips where there are tremendous current exchanges. They are also at the 100 foot mark which is perfect for vertical jigging. They’re also in the rocks and ledges found around many coastlines and inshore islands. I’ll tell you where they’re not, and that is in the estuaries, saltponds or flats. What’s there instead? Bluefish, what else?!
Bluefish, those hard-hitting, hard-fighting fish have replaced the striped bass in those waters because the blues prefer the warm temperatures. There are a number of different sizes to catch, from snappers (8-10 inches), cocktails (1-2 feet long), and adult blues (5-10 pound class). The choppers will be in later when the water is good and warm. They’re in the 10-15 pound or bigger class.
And around the Gulf Stream, other fish like warm water. Like tuna. Green bonito. Spanish macs. Skipjack. False albacore. The same idea cuts across into the fresh, and that’s where you’ll find great warm water conditions for largemouth bass, catfish, green sunfish, and spotted bass. So when the water temps turn you don’t have to get up early or go deep to catch fish. Just target a different species.