Friday, February 17, 2017

 
EDITOR'S NOTE
President's Day Holiday on Monday
In observation of the President's Day federal holiday, we will not be publishing any wires on Monday, February 20. We'll resume our normal schedules on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

COAST GUARD
Boaters should watch for debris in the water as swift currents can quickly turn adrift vessels and gear into hazards.

CONSERVATION
Genetic analysis will show the extent to which the Keys and other bonefish populations are local, self-sustaining populations or rely on populations in other regions.
Anglers, guides and conservationists are planning to visit lawmakers to call for Everglades restoration on April 11--join them.

FISHERIES
With the so-far mild winter, with near- or above-normal water temperatures, the shad season is off to an early start.
The closure is necessary to provide the hatchery with as many returning fish as possible to minimize the shortfall this year.
MREP Southeast was created by fishermen for fishermen. It specifically runs through the fisheries science and management processes, demystifies the acronyms and vocabulary, and equips fishermen with the tools to engage with tough issues facing the managers of our wild fisheries.

HONORS & AWARDS
Active Interest Media received 18 awards, including seven first-place awards, and Jim Flannery, who writes for the AIM magazines Soundings and Anglers Journal, received four awards.

INDUSTRY
Ranger® Boats' all-new 2360 Bay Ranger will debut at the 2017 Miami International Boat Show, Feb. 16-20, at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin on Virginia Key.
The line pulls inspiration from Ranger's acclaimed Reata series of fish and play designs and features the same quality and unmatched features that consumers have come to expect from a Ranger boat.
The Mr. Crappie Hydrowave H2 model has 8 sound patterns specifically designed for crappie fishing.
Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), today announced that Yamaha Marine Group has selected the Garmin 7-inch GPSMAP® multi-function display (MFD) platform to power its new CL7TM multi-touch display.
Flir announces the launch of M100 and M200 marine thermal cameras, which brings the world of thermal vision to more recreational boaters. The benefits of thermal cameras include enhanced awareness while fishing, sailing, or cruising at night.

INVASIVE SPECIES
Nowhere is this more evident than with the spread of lionfish, an invasive, non-native species that is threatening the marine ecosystems across the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species training to owners of lake service provider businesses, so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

LITIGATION
LiT Coolers, known for its patented Night Sight technology, filed an action in U.S. Circuit Court in the Northern District of Alabama against Visual Promotions, LLC and Wildwood Trading, Inc. (formerly known as Frio Coolers, Inc.) alleging infringement of LiT Coolers' U.S Patent No. 8,931,910 for a Container Apparatus.

NEW PRODUCTS
Yamaha Marine Group began the 2017 boat show season with the announcement of eight new outboards, Set Point™ boat positioning function for Helm Master®, and several new propellers and rigging options.

ORGANIZATIONS
BHA has consistently opposed transfer of public lands and control of their hunting and fishing access to the states.

RADIO
We'll be telling you about two destinations here, both offering some great saltwater fishing for salmon, halibut and groundfish.
Tune in on Saturday, February 18, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET on RURAL SiriusXM Channel 147 to catch this exclusive interview and experience the excitement of the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

SPONSORSHIPS
Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), makers of Evinrude E-TEC outboards, has re-joined the Cabela's National Walleye Tour (NWT) as an official sponsor for the 2017 season.

STATES
A recent influx of snow and subsequent run-off is giving many Flagstaff area lakes a refill.
Included on the agenda are an update on the annual Boating Accident Analysis and Fatality Summary Report, amendments to regulation Section 105.3 (Unacceptable Boating Practices) relating to motors for wake surfing, and a presentation by Volvo Penta.

TELEVISION
World Fishing Network viewers will get valuable information and fishing tips from the most famous fishermen and women around the world during the week of February 20–26.

TOURNAMENTS
The 48th annual world championship of professional bass fishing will be held March 16-18, 2018, in Greenville and on Lake Hartwell at Anderson, S.C.

Peak of Float-and-Fly Fishing

FRANKFORT, Ky.– Although we've seen many warm fronts this winter with temperatures in the 60s just this past weekend, the water in our highland reservoirs is still cold.

Water temperatures are in the high 40s in Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow and Laurel River Lake. Once water temperatures drop below 50 degrees for extended periods, threadfin shad begin to suffer from the cold water.

"Threadfin shad get thermally stressed by winter water temperatures, especially in late winter," said Jeff Ross, assistant director of the Fisheries Division for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "They begin to twitch and spasm as they try to fight off death."

Smallmouth bass, as well as spotted and largemouth bass, instinctually know to eat these weakened baitfish. The float-and-fly technique imitates stressed shad in cold water as good as anything.

"Many bass lures, such as jerkbait, use twitching movement to draw strikes," Ross said. "The little fly twitching in place is irresistible to a smallmouth in the winter."

Born in the deep, clear lakes of east Tennessee and inspired by crappie anglers complaining of big smallmouth bass breaking off tiny hair jigs fished deep in the winter months, the float-and-fly technique employs long, light to medium-light power spinning rods and 4-pound line to present small 1/16-ounce to 1/8-ounce jigs under a bobber.

The tiny jig is the "fly" in the float-and-fly technique. For generations, smallmouth anglers in Kentucky and Tennessee call hair jigs "flies."

The long spinning rod, from 8 to 11 feet in length, is necessary as you suspend the diminutive jig 8 to 14 feet deep. Casting such a presentation on a rod shorter than 8 feet is nearly impossible. Fly anglers use 8-weight rods to suspend 1/32- to 1/48-ounce jigs under large strike indicators, employing light fluorocarbon line as the tippet. The lighter 1/48-ounce jig is much easier for a fly angler to cast with a leader and tippet running at least 8 feet long.

The "flies" are made of either craft hair or duck feathers or a combination of both. The float-and-fly technique has grown so popular that national outfitters carry rods designed for it. Tackle shops in the Lake Cumberland and Dale Hollow Lake region sell them as well. Float-and-fly rods also make excellent crappie and panfish rods.

All you do is load the spinning reel with 4-pound co-polymer or fluorocarbon line and clip on a 7/8-inch pear-shaped plastic bobber 8 feet above the fly. Adjust the depth of the fly until you get a "pull down" on the bobber from a fish. There are specially weighted foam bobbers designed for the float-and-fly technique that grant better casting distance. The internal weight in these bobbers makes them roll over on their side if a big smallmouth hits the fly and moves shallower.

Lake Cumberland presents an ideal opportunity to catch smallmouth bass, as well as fat, healthy spotted bass and even hand-sized bluegill on the float-and-fly right now. During the drawdown of Lake Cumberland to repair Wolf Creek Dam several years ago, trees grew on the exposed shoreline. Now with normal water levels, these trees are at the perfect depth to offer shelter for big smallmouth and spotted bass as they await a school of baitfish to ambush.

The quivering fly hovering just above the sunken trees pulls these fish out of their lairs to strike. Female smallmouth bass need to feed in late winter to power the development of the eggs in their abdomens they will drop into nests later this spring.

The best flies on Lake Cumberland are craft hair jigs in combinations of blue, chartreuse, grey or white. White, sky blue and pink craft hair jigs also work well on this lake.

Duck feather jigs with wisps of red or pink craft hair seem to draw more strikes on Dale Hollow. These colors work well at Laurel River Lake, too. Both Dale Hollow and Laurel hold trout and some anglers believe their presence makes these fly colors work better in these lakes.

Fish the float-and-fly near the main lake in winter on these reservoirs. The best fishing occurs when your back faces lots of big, deep water.

Remember to allow your fly to strike the water's surface on the back cast. This provides resistance on the forward cast that loads the long spinning rod, leading to much improved casting distance.

Applying a petroleum jelly-based shad scent, called "fish dope," improves the delectability of the fly to smallmouths. Tackle shops and retailers in the Lake Cumberland or Dale Hollow region sell fish dope, but any petroleum jelly-based shad scent will work. Those with glitter in them are best.

On bright days, trimming a fly to match the bend of the hook and heavily applying dope to where the fly resembles a small stick often makes the difference between being skunked or catching fish.

A month of good float-and-fly fishing awaits anglers until warming waters puts big smallmouth or spotted bass on the prowl and willing to chase lures. This technique also fools huge largemouth bass on farm ponds and small lakes in late winter.

Remember to buy your fishing license soon. Feb. 28 is the last day of the current license year in Kentucky.

Author Lee McClellan is a nationally award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.

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 frank@thefishingwire.com.
Outdoors Calendar

» Got an event you'd like to see posted here? Send it to frank@thefishingwire.com.

Feb. 16 - Feb. 19: Western Hunting & Conservation Expo. The Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Feb. 16 - Feb. 20: Miami International Boat Show, Miami Marine Stadium, Miami, FL; www.miamiboatshow.com.

Feb. 17 - Feb. 19: Mid-South Sports & Boat Show. Agricenter, East Memphis, Tennessee.

Feb. 17 - Feb. 19: Mid-South Sport and Boat Show, Memphis, TN; www.memphisboatshow.com.

Feb. 18 - Feb. 19: Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan waters for both residents and non-residents; www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

Feb. 18 - Feb. 19: New York Sportfishing Federation Fishing Show and Auction, Freeport, NY; www.nysf.org.

Feb. 23 - Feb. 26: Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks, PA - http://www.sportshows.com/philadelphia/

Feb. 24 - Feb. 25: Crappie Masters National Qualifier and Louisiana State Championship on Lake D'Arbonne, Farmerville, LA  www.crappiemasters.net

Mar. 2 - Mar. 5: World Fishing & Outdoor Expo, SUNY Rockland Community College Field House, Suffern, NY - http://www.sportshows.com/suffern

Mar. 2 - Mar. 5: World Fishing & Outdoor Expo. SUNY Rockland Community College Field House, Suffern, NY. http://www.sportshows.com/suffern

Mar. 3 - Mar. 4: Crappie Masters National Qualifier and South Carolina State Championship on Lake Greenwood, Greenwood, SC www.crappiemasters.net

Mar. 3 - Mar. 5: Panama City Beach Boat Show; http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/event/emerald-coast-boat-%26-lifestyle-show/21131/

Mar. 17 - Mar. 19: The Saltwater Fishing Expo, Garden State Exhibit Center, Somerset, NJ - http://www.sportshows.com/somerset

Mar. 18 - Mar. 19: California B.A.S.S. Nation State Team Qualifier #1, Lake Oroville, Oroville, CA, www.calbn.com





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