Friday, July 22, 2016

Since boating season started to ramp up in April, 11 boaters have died from drowning across the state. None of the victims were wearing a life jacket.

Nutrient loads that enhance the growth of algae and phytoplankton come from a number of sources, but the one source that we as citizens can quickly and directly have positive impact on is residential lawn and garden management.
Sending the water south where it went originally is one of the many steps that will be required to clean up Florida's water mess.

Chinook salmon don't particularly prey upon gobies, but brown trout appear to love them.

Casting for a Cure is a bass fishing tournament Sept. 10 to benefit The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day.

This is a grant program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that reimburses up to 75 percent of costs for projects that construct, renovate or maintain tie-up facilities and related amenities for recreational transient vessels that are at least 26 feet long.

For the sixth year in row, the company was awarded "Best of Electronics" by attending buyers and media who cast their vote for the Humminbird HELIX® 10 SI.
Frabill, makers of trusted gear for anglers since 1938, earned top honors in the category with their all-new I-Float Suit, an innovative set of cold-weather outerwear (jacket and bibs) designed for ice-fishing, but highly appealing (and potentially life-saving) in any cold-water fishing scenario.

"Frequent travel or visiting high-traffic areas can increase the likelihood of coming in contact with invasive plants, animals and insects, and that contact can easily lead to their spread, if you're not careful," said Ryan Wheeler, a terrestrial invasive species biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Expert Series addresses specific techniques by designing rods in conjunction with a recognized expert at that given technique--the new Ben Parker Series is the latest.

Duffy Kopf wins his second Capitol City Muskies Inc., plus lots more.

The Annapolis Boat Shows, a premier management company that produces four in-water boat shows each year, announced its 2017 spring boat show schedule today.

Respected fisheries expert Dr. Bob Shipp says their appears to be no remaining effects from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill six years ago on Alabama's coastal fisheries.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hosting several mutton snapper workshops this August to gather public input on potential management changes in state waters.
The state's marine fisheries division is reminding fishermen that license offices in Elizabeth City and Washington may experience unplanned, short-term closures due to a temporary shortage of personnel.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reminds the public not to swim at fishing access areas due to safety concerns. The fine for swimming at an access area is $162.
The Wolf Lake Fish Cam offers a real-time, round-the-clock view of Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, northern pike, northern muskellunge, walleye, largemouth bass, a variety of sunfish and two 6-foot lake sturgeon as they fend for food.
Redears or shellcrackers found here can get quite a bit bigger than the bluegills you might catch, with many larger than 10 inches.

Hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 50 of the world's best bass-fishing professionals casting for the sport's biggest award – $300,000 cash.
During the semifinal round of the Bassmaster Classic Bracket held on the Niagara River out of Buffalo, N.Y., Kevin VanDam defeated Koby Kreiger and Brett Hite defeated Dean Rojas to advance to the championship match on Friday. The weights will go back to zero and both anglers will fish six hours, from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. ET.
Exciting team-format competitive bass action of the Cabela's North American Bass Circuit comes to Wisconsin's legendary Lake Wissota July 30 for a regular-season qualifying tournament presented by Mercury.
Seamaster overcame sporadic engine issues to catch five blues and one white, for a total of 2,700 points and top honors including the Day 2 Billfish Release Jackpot worth $19,200, First Place Optional Overall Release Points Jackpot worth $36,450 and First Place Team worth $32,400 for a total winning of $88,600.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is offering 16 workshops, including two one-week camps for youth, in August.

Snook/Gamefish Foundation Calls for Unity on Florida Pollution Problems

By Brett Fitzgerald, SGF

Big chunks of our great state of Florida appear to be broken. What was once untamed and pristine is now a sprawling web of goop that threatens the entire fabric of what makes Florida beautiful.

Maybe the most alarming observation is that the people who want to see it fixed – good people who have fought to save/fix/repair/restore Florida - have drawn lines in the sand (and muck) that run in many directions, creating a mosaic of effort that often opposes former or would be allies. This has put conservation-minded citizens against other conservation-minded citizens, which puts us all in a bad place. Lots of well-intended folks, passionate as they may be, now seem to be pitted against each other when our only real hope is to figure out how to reshape the many Okeechobee and Everglades battle lines into puzzle pieces that fit, so we can create constructive plans that build a picture of overall success.

The overwhelming majority of watermen and women agree that the water north of Lake O needs to be hydrologically changed. Again. Stored, cleaned, and moved at a schedule that comes as close to historic flows as possible. Same goes for the water south of the lake, and east, and southwest. Historically, some of the water systems in that geographic range were within the Everglades most of us think of today – water that flowed from north to south, from Okeechobee to Florida Bay. Others areas were considered at least somewhat separate from the Everglades proper in their original form and moved water from different sources in different directions.

Doesn't matter – they are all one now. The Web of Goop has tied us all together whether we like it or not.

Fixing the whole probably means taking all of these components into account.

Here's where the internal conflict really takes form.

Some people believe the best path towards saving peninsular Florida moves through a series of engineering projects that attack the water issues in a broad range of areas. Water storage here, septic system revamps there, more storage there, controlled flows here, and so on. Generally speaking, the people in that camp agree that sending water south is also needed, but they might be of the mindset that getting water to flow south is either too far away time wise, or can't ever move the amount needed to be the end-all be-all cure, or feel that running it south too soon will end up kicking the problem of filthy water to some other place. So they are looking for functional wins now while the biggest win – as much clean water moving south as possible – is chipped away at in a methodical, safe, sensible way.

The other major camp of philosophy comes from those who believe that sending water south, lots of it and NOW, is the only way to accomplish what we need to do. The rest will work itself out, many of them say, or we can get to them later.

That there are two fairly distinct groups of people working towards fixing the Lake O and Everglades problems is not a tragedy in and of itself. The tragedy lies in the fact that these groups have become so locked into their own goals that they see the other side as another obstacle towards success. Why is that a problem, you might ask?

When one conservationist points a finger and labels a fellow conservationist an obstructionist or a shill for Big Sugar because they support a different water storage project, one thing is guaranteed to happen. We will fail at total Everglades restoration.

Take that to the bank people.

Scroll through social media platforms where rightfully upset waterfolk are venting. Someone posts an article that has scientific backing from a researcher at university X, interviews from local resident Y, and chronicles the economic hardship of fishing guide Z. Immediately following the article (which of course many of us won't actually read) the comments start. Some are in support. Some express a different opinion but do so respectfully. But many go the way of a kindergarten class on substitute teacher day – uncontrolled noise with name calling and not much constructive sense.

Let's take a step back for a minute and agree that we are moving forward with the idea that most sensible conservationists understand that all of our waterway problems need to be addressed. In other words, those who feel that the 'side projects' are important enough to warrant attention most likely agree, deep down, that sending water south is the ultimate goal and a big part of the fix. And those who clamor only "send it south!" surely understand that there are problems that won't be fixed by just that one objective.

The underlying problem might be the fear that success on one side means failure on the other.

And here is the point of why we will lose if we can't come together and attack this problem from every angle we possibly can.

So long as we battle each other, we become competitors. What are we competing for? Egos, of course. But political attention and money are what both sides need. So long as we fight against each other, we set up a finish line that allows for only one victor, and that is a big picture loss for all of us.

Instead of moving forward in competition, the battle lines need to move from between conservationists back to our unprotected flanks where it belongs. A victory for one needs to be a victory for all, and it needs to be treated as such. Same goes for a loss.

The perception that we are competing for slices of the same pie does not need to be the reality. Funding needs to support all paths towards Everglades recovery simultaneously.

There is no ounce of prevention anymore. That ship has long sailed. We're going to have to give up our pound of flesh and it is going to hurt. And if we don't fix the entire system now, that pound will turn into 15 before we know it, then 30.

Our suggestion? Follow your heart when it comes to getting involved with restoration. But don't belittle your mates who are focused only on moving water south. Nod in their direction, wish them the very best, and then roll your sleeves up and get dirty in the area that scratches your itch. And when your other neighbor says "yeah, but the septic tanks…" your job is to let them know that you are glad they are engaged, tell them you hope they don't stop working towards the best solution for that issue until it is solved, shake their hand and wish them the best. Then get back to work. And when your neighbor needs you, show up. And when you need him, ask him for the same. Protect your puzzle piece, but make sure you understand how it locks into the rest. I promise that the finished picture will be much prettier if we can remind ourselves of this as often as needed.

That's how we all win.

Snook and Gamefish Foundation

Position on Everglades Restoration and freshwater discharges:

In accordance with the mission and vision of the Snook and Gamefish Foundation, we understand that the issues of freshwater discharges and Everglades restoration are completely and obviously related, and that the long term solution for one depends upon the other.

Further, we believe …

  1. That redirecting of nutrient-laden discharges from one location to another is not an acceptable long-term solution;

  2. That the only acceptable long term solution to the discharging of nutrient-laden water includes addressing the issues at the source whenever and wherever possible, be it through local, state, or federal means;

  3. That sending water south through the Everglades is a viable long term solution but only in conjunction with several other projects and plans that clean water at the source(s), store water where feasible, and move (clean) water when and where appropriate;

  4. Those persons who put pollutants into the water should be responsible for cleaning the water.This includes land used for agricultural or dairy industry, outdated septic designs, residential run-off, etc.

  5. The State of Florida and the federal government both have a responsibility to move towards long-term solutions that include (but are not limited to) overseeing the quality of water throughout the entire Everglades system based on historic and contemporary hydrologic flow ways AND enforcing penalties against persons and parties responsible for the unmitigated contributions of polluted and/or nutrient-laden water;

  6. That each county and local municipality of peninsular Florida has a responsibility to adopt and enforce fertilizer laws and other measures that move towards local accountability of the waters that flow through populated lands towards our vital estuaries;

  7. That a combination of water storage and water quality improvements south and north of Lake Okeechobee is a necessary component of any comprehensive plan.

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Apr. 1 - Nov. 30: Jersey Shore Beach N Boat Fishing Tournament. Fish from Raritan Bay to Delaware Bay for 8 inshore species. Unlimited weigh-ins. Over 80 chances to win cash and prizes. Entry $20.

July 30: 16th Annual "Walk on Water" Fishing Tournament.  Over $10,000 in Cash, Prizes and Merchandise.  Go to www.stcmc.or/events for Boat entry forms and rules.

Aug. 2 - Aug. 6: International Fly Fishing Fair, Livingston , MT, workshops, tying and casting demonstrations, seminars and more,

Aug. 5 - Aug. 6: C-Quarters Marina Kingfish Shootout, Carrabelle, Florida, $20,000 Guaranteed Payout.  Over $805,000 raised for leukemia research in the past 12 years.  Visit for more information or call Mary Lawhon, Director 850.933.41660.933.4166

Aug. 6: Crappie Masters - Mark Twain Lake, Stoutsville, MO National Qualifier,

Aug. 15 - Aug. 19: Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament, Manteo, NC. Modified release format for billfish and weight divisions for tuna, wahoo and dolphin. $1M-plus in prizes.

Aug. 20: Crappie Masters, Truman Lake One Day National Qualifier, Clinton, MO

Aug. 20: 12th Contraband EXPO - Sponsored by the Contraband Fly Casters/Tom Nixon Chapter, Moss Bluff United Methodist Church, Moss Bluff, Louisiana;

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