Friday, January 30, 2015

 
TOURNAMENTS
The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with FLW is pleased to host the 2015 Student Angler Federation (SAF) GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP on Sunday, March 22nd at Wildwood Park located at 3780 Dogwood Lane Appling, Georgia.

BOATING
The Altoona, Pennsylvania based convenience store chain Sheetz announced on January 21 that it would offer E15 fuel - gas containing up to 15% ethanol - at 60 of their North Carolina locations beginning in early 2015.

CLINICS
Join Half Hitch and Legendary Marine for a FREE, fun, and educational seminar in Destin Feb. 3

CONTESTS
Bass fishing fans may not have the opportunity to walk across the stage at the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, but they do have the chance to compete for prizes of their own as part of Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing presented by Toyota.

ENFORCEMENT
The lancha had 50 red snapper weighing 196 pounds, four people, and fishing gear aboard the vessel when it was stopped 40 miles offshore and 12 miles north of the border.

EVENTS
FlyBuy 2015, the sixth annual fundraising event of the Southwest Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers, will once again hold a packed day of its ever-popular garage sale, fly tying demonstrations, casting lessons, and a silent auction on Saturday, January 31st, from 9am to 4pm, at the Long Beach Casting Club (4901 East 7th Street, Long Beach, CA 90804).

INDUSTRY
This year, Matt Bley's efforts in promotion and sales of Arctic Ice throughout Washington and Alaska earned him the top award from sales management at Arctic Ice.

INSTRUCTION
Join MarineMax in Panama City Beach with host Bob Fowler and the U.S.C.G. Auxiliary officers for our very first Certified Safe Boating Course this season Feb. 7.

JOBS
Interested in becoming a deputy conservation warden and working the outdoor beat? You have until February 27 to apply for any of these approximately 20 positions.

MARINE RESEARCH
Not surprisingly, a study indicates dolphins that stay in shallow grass flats and live in large groups are less likely to be bitten than those that travel regularly in deep, open water alone.

PROMOTIONS
Minn Kota® wants to keep anglers locked on their most productive fishing spots in 2015 by offering a $100 mail-in reward with the purchase of any Talon shallow water anchor between January 1 and June 1, 2015.

RECOGNITION
The American Museum of Fly Fishing announced yesterday that Tom Brokaw will be honored with their 2015 Heritage Award. The celebration will take place on Friday, April 24, 2015 at The Racquet & Tennis Club in New York City. The Heritage Award will be presented by honorary event chair Lefty Kreh.

RECORDS
McCoy Fishing Pro Staff anglers Billy Skinner & John Galbraith competed in the TBA Teams Tournament January 17, 2015, finishing in 1st place with a NEW Lake Havasu Lake record limit for 5 bass weighing in at 29.45 Lbs. The record bag had a big bass weighing 8.02lbs. , and an average bass weight of 5.89 lbs.

RETAIL
Bass Pro Shops donates these used rods/reels to organizations like Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors to help kids get started in fishing.

SHOWS
The Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show docks at the Atlantic City Convention Center February 4-8 to give lifelong boating enthusiasts and novices alike the opportunity to shop, compare and find competitive deals on everything from sport fishers and performance boats to sailboats and family cruisers, plus thousands of marine accessories and activities for all ages.
For the 23nd year, Florida Sportsman Magazine will be hosting the extremely popular Florida Sportsman Expo at the Lee Civic Center in Ft. Myers over the weekend of January 31st - February 1st, 2015

STATES
February 1 marks the beginning of the fishing season schedule for 21 of Alabama's 23 state-owned public fishing lakes.
The Department of Natural Resources today announced that F.J. McLain State Park in Hancock, Michigan, has closed a total of 32 lakefront campsites due to unsafe conditions and extreme Lake Superior shoreline erosion.
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission has selected a new operator for the Lewis and Clark Marina near Yankton.
The proposed changes would remove the 'mountain' trout season and open all trout water to year-round angling.

TOURNAMENTS
The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with FLW is pleased to host the 2015 Student Angler Federation (SAF) ILLINOIS HIGH SCHOOL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP on Sunday, March 29th at the Mascoutin Access area on Clinton Lake.
The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with FLW is pleased to host the 2015 Student Angler Federation (SAF) LOUISIANA HIGH SCHOOL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP on Sunday, March 29th at the Grand Ecore Ramp in Natchitoches.
The new Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) Lucas Oil Redfish Opens presented by Cabela's offer saltwater anglers a unique, high-stakes team tournament with 100 percent cash payout.
The 2015 Pickwick Lake Catch-A-Dream Bass Classic is expected to draw a large turnout with first place paying $5,000 to the winning team based on a 80 boat field or prorated accordingly for fewer boats.

WORKSHOPS
A series of workshops are set for South Florida to cover bully netting for lobster, and commercial and recreational harvest rules for great barracuda.

Get hooked on Fun, Camaraderie of Ice Fishing

Today's feature, on what it takes to get started in ice fishing, comes to us from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.


Fishing is a year-round activity and when the thermometer plunges below freezing for prolonged periods, most anglers have little choice but to hit the hard water. Ice fishing becomes the go-to activity until spring.

For beginning anglers, ice fishing offers one significant advantage: access. Boat-less anglers, who otherwise are limited to shorelines or fishing piers much of the year, can often access entire lakes. That inspires some anglers to proclaim that ice-fishing season is their favorite time of year.

Fortunately, ice fishing can be relatively simple. All that's needed to start is a way to make a hole in the ice (an auger or spud), a way to clear the slush from it (an inexpensive scoop), and rudimentary equipment.

So how do you get started?

There's a good opportunity coming soon. Feb.14-15 is Michigan's annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend, when no license is needed to participate. There are hands-on educational events scheduled at a number of areas. In addition, the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac holds on-the-ice fishing events every Saturday at noon.

Novice anglers often can find assistance nearby. Tom Goniea, a fisheries biologist at the Department of Natural Resources, says finding a mentor helps shorten the learning curve.

"Ask around," Goniea said. "Ask the guys at work or the folks at church. Ice fishermen make up a community that's usually quite willing to introduce others to the sport.

"And most ice fishermen have enough equipment that they can get you started if you go with them so you can see what you need."

DNR fisheries biologist Christian LeSage agrees.

"There's a big social component to ice fishing," he said. "When you get out on the ice people are usually friendly - they're willing to tell you what they're doing, what they're using, and how they're catching fish."

Except for largemouth and smallmouth bass - bass season closes Jan. 1 and doesn't completely reopen until the Saturday before Memorial Day - anglers who ice fish can pursue all species they target the rest of the year. Ice fishing can range from fishing for panfish on a farm pond to making miles-long sojourns on the Great Lakes in pursuit of walleyes, lake trout or other top-of-the-food-chain predators.

LeSage recommends people start with panfish. He likes bluegills.

"You can try it on a small pond in a park," he said. "And you don't need extravagant gear. If you go places where people have been fishing, you don't even need an auger - you can reopen a hole with a hammer.

"Most veteran fishermen know that the best fishing is at dawn and dusk, but you can catch bluegills throughout the day. You can catch them in shallow water. You can catch a lot in a small area. And they're delicious."

What's nicest about bluegills is that they can be found almost everywhere and, as fishing quarry, are relatively unsophisticated. All you need is a basic gear. Small fiberglass rods with simple, spring-tension spoons can be yours for less than $10 and you will see accomplished ice anglers using them. Add some light line, a few low-cost tear drops (small weighted hooks) and a container of insect larvae (wax worms or spikes, the early life stages of bee moths or flies, respectively) and you're in business. Lower your bait to the bottom, begin slowly working it upward in the water column until you start getting bites, and then fish at that depth.

It can (and does) get much more complicated with expensive rods, sonar fish finders, and a plethora of other equipment. But many anglers never acquire all that gear and continue to enjoy productive bluegill fishing.

As you progress in the sport and explore other ice-fishing opportunities, the equation becomes decidedly more complex. Get addicted to walleye fishing and you'll be into snowmobile or quad runners, insulated ice shanties, GPS, underwater cameras - the list is endless.

But some factors never change: The first rule of ice fishing is to be safe.

Good, strong ice can support a semi-truck, but every year there are tragedies that often involve recklessness. Make sure the ice is safe. Even arctic temperatures won't guarantee it, especially if there's an insulating layer of snow on top. You can get up-to-date info from bait shops around fishing locales, but always make sure yourself. Carry a spud to test the ice in front of you as you venture forth. Don't approach ice that is discolored or has objects (such as vegetation or timber) protruding through it. Be especially careful of rivers (current can degrade ice quickly) or spring-fed lakes and ponds where warmer water can cause thin spots in an otherwise solid surface.

Always carry basic emergency gear, just in case. Ice picks (or homemade alternatives constructed of nails in dowels) will give you a way to get purchase on the ice should you break through. Carry a rope to toss to someone else who breaks through.

It's better - some would say mandatory - not to go alone. You certainly don't want to head miles off shore - at Saginaw Bay, say, or Little Bay de Noc - without a partner. Always make sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return. Carry your cell phone.

Make sure you dress for the weather. Dress in layers from head to toe - the best way to keep your feet warm is to keep your head warm - and a waterproof outer layer is advisable. Small luxuries - such as extra gloves and hand warmers - often pay large dividends.

Ice fishing isn't for everybody. But if you look around in the winter and see the huge shanty towns that spring up on some of Michigan's best fishing lakes, it's obvious that a lot of people are having a lot of fun out there.

It isn't that difficult to become one of them.

For more information on ice fishing, visit the DNR's website at www.michigan.gov/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.

Apr. 12 - Mar. 31: 2nd Annual Lund Boats LCI Champlain Basin Derby,
50 weeks, 15 species, $25,000! www.lciderby.com

Jan. 29 - Feb. 1: Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Exposition, Schaumburg Convention Center
Schaumburg, Illinois; www.SportShows.com.

Feb. 7 - Feb. 15: Great American Outdoors Show, Harrisburg, PA; www.greatamericanoutdoorsshow.com.

Feb. 7 - Feb. 15: Great American Outdoors Show, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, PA; www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.

Feb. 19 - Feb. 22: Bassmaster Classic. Lake Hartwell and Greenville, SC. www.bassmastermedia.com

Feb. 20 - Feb. 22: 51st Mid-South Sports & Boat Show. Agricenter, 777 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis, TN. midsouthboatshow.com.

Feb. 26 - Mar. 1: The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at
Oaks, Oaks, Pennsylvania: www.SportShows.com.

Mar. 4 - Mar. 8: Fred Hall Show, Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA www.fredhall.com

Mar. 5 - Mar. 8: World Fishing & Outdoor Exposition, Rockland Community College Field House
Suffern, New York; www.SportShows.com.

Mar. 20 - Mar. 22: The Saltwater Fishing Expo, Garden State Exhibit Center
Somerset, New Jersey; www.SportShows.com.

Mar. 26 - Mar. 29: March 26-29: Fred Hall Show, Del Mar Fairgrounds, San Diego, CA www.fredhall.com





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