Monday, May 22, 2017

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As the annual observance of National Safe Boating Week launched Saturday and the boating season across the Great Lakes gets underway, the Coast Guard is highlighting the responsibilities of boat operators, including the results and dangers of operator inattention, insufficient lookouts and inexperience.

Yamaha Marine Group has expanded its conservation efforts to support the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass., with the donation of a 300-horsepower outboard.

Learn kayaking, fishing, boat safety, fish cleaning and lots more at this event at Lewis and Clark SRA.

Here are the top spots for walleye fishing in the state right now, both for numbers and for big fish.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet June 5-8, 2017 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, located at 475 Seagate Drive in Naples.

Whether he's at home on the water, in the woods or simply grilling in the backyard, there are lots of great Father's Day gift ideas from Bass Pro Shops that Dad will love no matter your budget.

Eight months ago, The Powell Group and Solar Bat Sunglasses tapped in to Hank Parker's decades of experience as an outdoorsman to design best-in-class outdoor eyewear for anglers and hunters. The initial offering to come from the relationship is the HP1.

The aggressive aquatic nuisance species inspection program operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been successful in keeping quagga and zebra mussels out of the state. Waters in several surrounding states, however, are infested with mussels and that is a serious problem for Colorado.

GOST® (Global Ocean Security Technologies), a world leader in marine security, tracking, monitoring and video surveillance systems, announced today that its Nav-Tracker 1.0 was instrumental in the targeted recovery of a 36-foot Yellowfin from Tarpin Cove Marina.

Thirty-four sharks were tagged along Florida's Gulf Coast for studies designed to benefit their populations during a successful research cruise conducted April 17-21 by five scientists, two graduate and 40 undergraduate students from New College of Florida, Eckerd College, Mote Marine Laboratory and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Leatherman, the world's original and largest manufacturer of high quality multi-tools that prepare people for both expected and unexpected challenges, journeys and adventures, has announced the launch of two new knives in the Skeletool family, coming to consumers in June 2017.

Salt Life will present the WPA Paddle Championships in conjunction with Uptown Columbus June 3-4, with $15,000 in prize money on the line.

May 22 is the last day you can apply for one of 6,000 alligator harvest permits during the phase 1 application period.
Nebraska families fishing urban ponds and lakes will have additional angling opportunities as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is stocking hybrid bluegill in 11 bodies of water.
The DNR is advising boaters and paddlers to avoid the Des Moines River at the Sycamore Access near Des Moines due to construction and high water levels creating unsafe conditions in the area.
Over the past week, Karenia brevis was observed at background concentrations in three samples collected from Manatee County; background concentrations in one sample collected from Sarasota County; and very low concentrations in one sample collected from Charlotte County.
From May 20 - 26, 2017, the Maine Warden Service, Maine Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard ask boaters to pay EXTRA attention to their boating safety behaviors, and to especially ALWAYS wear their lifejackets.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a public meeting on Wednesday, May 24 to solicit input for recreational summer steelhead fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River and adjacent streams.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will open 34 trout streams and two lakes classified as Delayed Harvest to trout harvest on June 3 through September 30.

The 5th Annual Bass River Fluke Tournament will take place on June 10th, at Breeze's Bar and Grill in the Viking Yachting Center in New Gretna, NJ.
When nearly 400 college anglers blast off onto Pickwick Lake for their practice and competition days during Championship Week, they'll be facing a wide range of choices on how and where to fish.
Stan Hallman used a football jig and a shaky head rigged with a finesse worm and produced a mixed bag limit of largemouth and spotted bass that weighed 14.64 pounds to take home the $10,000 check.
As part of the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, the 12 Bassmaster High School All-Americans presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods were paired with 12 Bassmaster Elite Series pros and earned a chance to fish with the pros on Lake Naconiche.

Hosted by the Florida Wildlife Commission, the day-long clinic will teach basic angling skills, safety, ethics and conservation stewardship in a fun laid-back atmosphere.

Over three dozen children's fishing events are scheduled for May and June throughout Vermont, creating a variety of opportunities for kids and families to enjoy the sport of fishing as well as the state's natural resources.

Patience, Petite Tackle and Opening Day Muskies

By Ted Pilgrim

Photo by Bill Lindner, courtesy of Old Town Canoes Kayaks
Eight months is a long time to wait between casts. When the season finally opens in May or June in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario, casting withdrawal reaches maximum angst. It's just the sort of abstinence that can elicit a nasty case of lure charades, that nervous habit that makes certain anglers constantly change baits. A dude I used to fish with had it bad, manically switching lures in hopes of discovering the one. You know the type. When follows are sparse, lure-changer rotates through whole piles of baits, a new one clipped to the leader every ten casts or so. And most of these anglers carry a boatload.

Now, as a bit of a lure collector myself, I've been guilty of the occasional wild experiment, believe me. But most openers, good, bad or otherwise, I mostly limit myself to a couple favorite baits, throwing them uninterrupted for 12-hours. Not that I don't occasionally get tempted by what ifs.

For my friend, it wasn't so easy. One winter, he'd accumulated a load of new baits — more ballast for his already over-crowded lure rotation. Things got dicey that particular opening day, as I recall counting 11 different lures clipped to his leader in the space of a single hour's fishing. Late that afternoon, it looked like a jack-in-the box of baits had exploded all over his casting deck. Which made it surprising to consider we'd managed to boat three fair muskies that day, while losing a forth biggie on a furious hook-ejecting headshake. From his perspective, the unfortunate part was that all but one of these had eaten my old brown Grandma's Lure. "Maybe if you'd just kept your lures wet a little longer," I'd offered, trying to be genuinely helpful.

Photo by Bill Lindner, courtesy of St. Croix Rod
Finally, very late that day, my friend connected when he semi-settled in with a jig and 8-inch plastic Reaper for about 30-minutes of uninterrupted casting. Having by then exhausted 95% of his other players, he was forced to stick with his emergency quarterback for the remainder of the game. "Nice Hail-Mary," I quipped, again just trying to be supportive. "Imagine if you'd thrown that ugly thing all day."

Muskie . . . Jigging?

Interesting, indeed, that the single most popular lure category in all of fishing plays such a minor role among muskie hunters. In early season, however, a big jig and plastic tail or a 6 to 9 inch soft plastic Bull Dawg style creature can be an awesome primary presentation. Take the aforementioned 1-ounce jig and 8-inch Reaper and work horizontally across shallow weeds. Or rig a Bondy Bait St. Clair Jig with a big paddletail like a Z-Man Mag SwimZ. Or go weedless with a Bait Rigs Esox Cobra Magnum, dressed with your favorite soft plastic tail. A Red October Ninja Tube and Savage Gear's Burbot are two creature alternatives that allure early season muskies. For the ultimate in stealth, secure your jigs to 100-lb. test Seaguar AbrazX Musky Pike Leader, the tooth-toughest fluorocarbon ever made.

The beauty of a 1 to 5-ounce jig is that it allows you to retrieve fast over shallow flats, pausing to flutter the lure along drop offs. You can also kill the bait during boatside figure-8 maneuvers — occasionally a spectacular triggering move for following muskies.

Particularly appealing are the rods you can wield — without fatigue — for a full 12-hour day of casting. St. Croix's Legend Tournament Musky "Downsizer," a 7-foot 3-inch, 6.9-ounce feather lets you hoist ¾- to 3-ounce jigs, minnow baits and other small lures with precision and finesse, yet provides ample power to drive hooks home. For first-time muskie hunters and folks who prefer to steer clear of backlashes and baitcasters, St. Croix also builds a beautiful muskie spinning rod, a heavy power 8-foot stick in their Premier rod series.

Baby Bucktails

Another early season trend, counter to the current lust for license-plate sized spinners, downsized inline bucktails definitely belong in "the one" category. On opening day and probably all through summer, you can clip a small spinner, such as a Buchertail 500 Tinsel to your leader, never change lures once and proceed to put more muskies in the boat than everyone else. These compact yet heavy blades offer positive cues in abundance — flash, speed, and vibration — and cast effortlessly all day with the aforementioned St. Croix Downsizer rod, a 300 size reel and 50 pound Seaguar Kanzen braid.

If you really want to get funky, try a Baby Beaver, a radical weighted bucktail bait with a molded beaver-like head, tufts of deer hair and a flat, soft, beaver tail. Though the bait measures 12-inches, it pulls through the water with minimal effort, allowing for effortless cranking at slow, medium or super fast retrieves. You can also add a double blade attachment for flash and vibration.

Flingin' Flies

New St. Croix Premier Musky spinning
Intriguing that one of the original reasons anglers chose bucktail as skirting for early in-line baits was its pulse factor. Bucktail provides a beautiful but subtle undulation effect when retrieved through the water. Fly tiers have leaned on this feature forever, and also on the fact that bucktail and certain synthetic similar materials stand up well to toothy bites.

Regardless of reason, fly-fishing for muskies is on the upswing. Rich Belanger of St. Croix Rods says that even if you're not a full-fledged fly guy, keeping a fly rod and streamer on hand as a throwback bait can be an awesome plan for converting tough to tempt, following fish, particularly in spring and fall.

"A 9-foot, 9 or 10 weight Imperial Fly Rod," says Belanger, "gives you the power to punch pinpoint casts with 6 to 10 inch streamers, all day. Keeping your fly in the water longer than anyone else is still the deal. And there's something magic about the natural, rhythmic action of a big streamer. Not a lot of folks have the chutzpah to fly cast for more than a few hours. But in a world where every muskie sees a thousand different lures, an organic looking fly can be a total difference maker."

The Fishing Wire welcomes your comments and actively solicits letters and guest editorials from readers as well as fishery managers, scientists and industry experts in boating, fishing and related equipment. Please send your comments and suggestions to
Outdoors Calendar

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June 2 - June 4: BLADE Show 2017. Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta, Georgia. Lori Hallman,

June 3 - June 4: California B.A.S.S. Nation State Team Qualifier 2, Lake Oroville, Oroville, CA;

June 5 - June 11: Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, Biloxi, MS. $1.5MM+ in cash prizes;

June 8 - June 11: Saltwater Slam:

June 21 - June 25: Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, Sandestin, FL. $1.5MM+ in cash prizes;

June 23 - June 25: Yellowtail Shootout, San Diego, CA;

June 24: Swan Island Family Field Day on Maine's Kennebec River;

June 24 - June 26: Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) Annual Meeting. Duluth, Minnesota. 406-728-7434,;

June 24 - June 26: OWAA Annual Conference. Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, Duluth, Minnesota.

June 24 - June 26: Outdoor Writers Association of America annual convention, Duluth, Minnesota;

June 29 - July 1: European Fishing Tackle Trade Expo (EFFTEX) in Budapest, Hungary;

July 8 - July 9: California B.A.S.S. Nation State Team Qualifier #3, California Delta, Oakley, CA,

July 11 - July 14: ICAST Convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida;

July 11 - July 14: ICAST, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL;

July 11 - July 17: Blue Marlin Grand Championship, Orange Beach, AL. $1MM+ in cash prizes;

July 12 - July 14: ICAST. Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.


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