Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rhode Island Requires Anglers to Clip Fin on Harvested Bass - On The Water

Rhode Island Requires Anglers to Clip Fin on Harvested Bass - On The Water: The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that it has enacted new regulations to help prevent the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass. Read more →

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Legal vs. Ethical

Johnny "Bucktails" Contello has drawn quite a lot of fire from thousands of viewers on my site and others after posting a video of himself doing it "Johnny Bucktail Style" in which to a vast majority of viewers he appears to be culling fish. 
Contello has gone pretty quiet since yesterday evening, as I don't think his video has brought him the type of response he was hoping for. While a handful of folks have come to his defense, stating that the gills were still moving and the fish were alive, that he had done nothing illegal (questionable), and that you can't prove those fish didn't survive (true), I find it pretty damned hard to argue that his actions are remotely ethical. When I asked 2-3 charter captains that quickly jumped to his defense if this was the way they handled fish on their boats, their silence spoke volumes. This is not a debate about keeping fish or CPR, it's about the ethical handling of fish you will release and intent of regulations prohibiting culling.
When that fish comes over the rail, a brief period of unhooking and quick picks are OK, but it should be released as soon as practically possible. If you've got 4,5, 6 or more fish in a short time span, if you've reached your limit, it should be a matter of unhooking them and sending them right back where they came from. Once you toss them on the deck in a pile, to go back and discard smaller fish is definitely culling. While I'm mostly C&R, I have nothing against the guys in the video keeping fish, and if I've got folks on my boat who want to keep them, I'll encourage keeping smaller fish like those he's discarding. Better eating anyway. If you catch larger fish later on, too bad. Take a nice picture with your arms way extended, the camera right in front of the fish, post it to Facebook and be happy. Those fish may be "alive," but their survival chances are pretty much zilch. They'll be belly up.
For those calling for the full weight of the American justice system to be levied upon Johnny Bucktails, I doubt he'll face any consequences beyond the damage to his reputation. He wanted to be an internet sensation, and now everyone is talking about him. In the end, perhaps the best thing the guy can do is just issue an apology and consider being more of an ethical angler in the future.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Another One Slips Away

I'm always trying to work my fishing obsession around my full time Dad and job duties, so if I can kill two birds with one stone on the way to ballet lessons, I will. I needed a new #AFTCO roller tip top, so I decided to run by one of the better tackle shops in the state that happens to be about 15 minutes away from the studio. It's not my go to, as I'm never headed in that direction to fish, but over the years I'd purchased a few rods, terminal tackle and the like. The shop was a staple in the local fishing community, the owner not only stocking a range of quality products, but also supporting the growth of the sport and contributing to the community in countless ways. I was surprised to pull up and find the door locked, the shop empty and a sign on the door saying it would not be reopening. I've watched a number of local shops close their doors over the years, but I never thought this one was on the way out.

Two weeks prior I had driven up as there was a "40% Off Everything-Spring Cleanout" sale. I felt great having scored some deals on gear prior to heading to Florida. I'd have loaded up on a lot more had I not just bought a plane ticket, rented a boat and charged a bunch of other crap to my card. Now I just felt crappy.

I went home and checked online as word was just starting to spread across several fishing forums. Everyone expressed shock, lamented its loss, and wondered where they were going to get their bait from. Lots of questions were flying around. Now, I don't know the details of the store's closing, though the owner said he was exploring possibilities including someone else taking over. I sure the Cabelas built 15 minutes away a few years back and the Bass Pro opening in the state this year didn't help. Big Box Marts, Amazon and other online outlets make every retail business ultra competitive.

I can't sit here and bash people for buying from Cabelas, Bass Pro or Amazon without being a complete hypocrite. I get points for my Cabelas credit card which I never let go to waste, and have and Amazon Prime account. However, I rarely purchase fishing or shooting gear from Cabelas unless it's with points, on closeout, or isn't carried locally, and spend far more in independent tackle shops than in any large chain. Still, every dollar spent locally has far more of an impact than one spent in a large chain store. For a local tackle shop, a small drop (or increase) in revenue can be the difference in keeping the doors open or closing them for good. Is a $5-$10 difference a really big deal to you? Perhaps it is at the time, but then again maybe not. I believe we should all spend a little more time considering just where and on what we spend our money. Support your local retailers and manufacturers. Buy American when you can. Keep in mind that Cabelas or Bass Pro aren't going to hand out their CEOs private numbers and open that extra hour early for you when you really need bait.   

The irony is, I drove that additional 15 minutes to Cabelas to be told by a sales associate that they didn't carry roller guides, but they did have rods with roller guides that I could buy. Thanks for the help.      

Let's all try to Shop a little more Local, Buy a little more American!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ice-Chest Throwdown: 12 Top-End Coolers Ranked and Reviewed | Field

So you ask, "Which ice chest do I buy?" Let me start out by stating that I have an Engel Cooler​, and have been generally pleased with performance. While it was tied for second to the Cabelas Polar Cap in ice retention, ahead of Yeti, the Field and Field & Stream​ criticisms of the latch system are valid. Though I'm not worried about bear, I do stand on my Engel all the time and a latch sometimes comes undone due to compression. This really shouldn't happen. I do not believe any of their coolers are made in America anymore, and I really want to try and BUY AMERICAN whenever possible. This, first and foremost, is why I will likely look at the Pelican in the future. YETI Cooler fans, before you pat yourself on the back, there's a good chance your cooler is made in the Philippines, and you're paying $80 more for a lesser product according to a number of independent testers, so hey, #yeticoolers :) Yeti does a great job marketing, but that doesn't keep ice longer. Another cooler not tested here is RTIC Coolers​, which is making a name on the internet and claiming better ice retention at half the price of many tested in the article below. However, they are made in China, and when I contacted RTIC, found out that you get charged the full price to wait about 135 days to receive an order.  I will say that spending a couple of hundred on a cooler might seem a bit ridiculous to many, but once you have a nice one that holds ice for days, can take the punishment of 260lb. jumping up and down, and doesn't end up brittle and cracked after a season or two, you'll consider your $$$ well spent.  

Ice-Chest Throwdown: 12 Top-End Coolers Ranked and Reviewed | Field

Friday, March 25, 2016

Connecticut Fishing Report – March 24, 2016 - On The Water

Connecticut Fishing Report – March 24, 2016 - On The Water: Holdover striped bass continue to spark the interest of Connecticut anglers, and while crowds will be plentiful, so will the fish.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring Forward!

While there are times when I consider whether I could make a living fishing full time, the reality is, like many of you, I'm often reduced to the role of weekend warrior by the demands of family and my "full time" profession. (As a teacher, my wife repeatedly reminds me that I work a max of 186 days per year.) Winter especially becomes more difficult, as the days are short, local opportunities limited and Mr. Mom duties - thank God I at least drive a truck - mean that I'm often a few weeks between wetting a line. Friday evening dance classes for my daughter mean that getting a jump on a weekend trip to fish steelhead in upstate New York has become a rarity. I look at my calendar and for weeks rarely see an opening. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to miss out on doing this stuff, but seeing pics of some of my friends out all hours of the day and night fishing can be painful during these periods. Right now, I'm on a particular roll, not having fished in almost a month! Admittedly, I've passed on a few opportunities, choosing instead to attend some of the winter fishing shows where I've had the chance to catch up with friends, make some new ones, and BS endlessly about my favorite subject. However, the winter doldrums are just about over. This weekend I will set the clocks forward, put the Gemma Rose II in the water for the first time this season, and prepare to get my FISH ON! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wader Repair And Care Guide - On The Water

Last season was the year of the leaky waders for me.  Three pair sprung leaks within weeks of each other. One pair was warranteed, and the other two await repairs. If you've sprung a leak, check out this article.

Wader Repair And Care Guide - On The Water: When properly taken care of, a pair of waders will last for many years. Read more →