Tuesday, July 26, 2016

 
BOATING
BoatUS has surveyed its BoatUS Dispute Resolution files to identify eight trouble spots that boaters needing work done should know.

CHEVY FLORIDA INSIDER TIP OF THE WEEK
The lobster diving sport season opens up the last Wednesday and Thursday in July, and then the regular lobster season in Florida opens the first Wednesday in August, so there's going to be a lot of people focusing on diving for lobsters over the next few weeks.

COAST GUARD
Vessels transiting within the vicinity of the Hawaiian Island harbors should seek sheltered waters until storm conditions subside and the COTP has deemed the ports safe to reopen.

CORPS OF ENGINEERS
The Army Corps of Engineers, Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office is temporarily closing the Okay Landing boat ramp because of low lake levels.

DIVING
Hopeful night divers are to take to the Florida Keys reefs for a chance to witness a delicate reproductive phenomenon that occurs when coral polyps release millions of gametes (eggs and sperm) in synchronized mass-spawning rituals.

ENFORCEMENT
A fisheries inspection revealed that there were four undersized snook and one undersized mangrove snapper hidden in a paint bucket.
The male occupant, who was the vessel operator, was taken to jail and charged with multiple lobster violations, undersized hogfish, reckless operation, interference with the duties of an FWC officer, resisting arrest without violence and a manatee zone violation.

EVENTS
Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart.
Events are slated for Arkansas, California, Colorado and Texas during October of this year.
The National Park Service (NPS) and the Smithsonian are celebrating the NPS centennial with the opening of a new photography exhibit, "100 Years of America's National Park Service: Preserve, Enjoy, Inspire," at the National Museum of Natural History on August 4, 2016.

FISHERIES
A series of public hearings and scoping meetings are scheduled for August including in-person hearings from Virginia Beach to Key West and online webinars. Written comments are also being accepted until August 19, 2016.
Stocking muskie is part of an effort to respond to a growing interest in muskie fishing. Estimates suggest that a significant proportion of the state's anglers either already target muskies or want to try muskie fishing.

GRANTS
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting grant applications for short-term projects through Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the next round of funding for the department's Aquatic Habitat Grant Program, which is focused on funding projects that protect intact aquatic habitat and rehabilitate habitat that's become degraded.

INDUSTRY
The start of Florida's Lobster Mini-season is July 27 and Boatsetter, an industry leading boat-sharing marketplace, is connecting those interested in joining the fun with seasoned captains to find the best locations for lobster hunting.
These four-day training events will focus two of the days on ABYC marine electrical standards and training, and two days on NMEA marine electronics standards and training.
Yamaha Marine Group today hosted the first of five Georgia Chamber Fly-Around events with Senator Johnny Isakson at Yamaha's southeastern headquarters in Kennesaw, Georgia.

INVASIVE SPECIES
The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in northwestern Minnesota's East Spirit Lake in Otter Tail County and central Minnesota's Lake Osakis in Todd and Douglas counties.

NEW PRODUCTS
"The rodsmiths start with fine S-Glass fibers laid uni-directionally over a scrim material that's blended with a toughened epoxy resin. This refined S-Glass prepreg is precision-cut and expertly rolled on our proprietary, IPC-engineered mandrel, creating a lighter, more responsive fiberglass blank

SHOWS
Nearly 100 first-time exhibitors, or exhibitors expanding their show locations, have signed contracts to demonstrate new merchandise at the 2017 Fly Fishing Shows, announced president and CEO Ben Furimsky.

STATES
Muskellunge will be released this fall in the Gull Lake chain of lakes near Brainerd and the Fairmont chain of lakes in southern Minnesota as part of an effort to establish new muskie angling opportunities throughout the state.
Marine rule changes will allow a very limited recreational harvest of cod from August 1 through September 30, thereby expanding opportunities for New Hampshire's recreational saltwater anglers.
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks has advised anglers on two central Montana rivers that fishing now closes daily from 2 p.m. to midnight until drought conditions improve.
Overlooking the Grand Canyon on Wednesday, multiple sportsmen's groups met with Sen. John McCain to discuss their opposition to designating the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument, which would greatly impact access to hunting and fishing, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department's ability to properly manage wildlife.

TOURNAMENTS
The Indigenous, skippered by Travis Dickens of Islamorada, garnered top honors and a $25,000 first-place prize at the Bacardi Oakheart Key West Marlin Tournament that ended Saturday off the Florida Keys.

Punchbaiting for Bass

By Frank Sargeant, Editor

As summer progresses, so does the weed growth on lakes around the nation, eventually "topping out" or meeting the surface in vast areas of shoreline and shoal water on many lakes, particularly in the Southeast and in the California Delta. Moss quickly forms on the topped out hydrilla and milfoil, forming a mat that can be over an inch thick in some areas--an insulating roof over the shaded water below.

As the mats form, a technique first devised in the California Delta but now popular throughout the southeast comes into its own; it's called "Punchin'", and it's one way of putting big bass in the boat during the dog days of summer when not much else works.

Punchin' is sort of an advanced form of flippin'. Rather than dropping the lure into pre-existing holes and seams in the weed mat, the punchin' technique allows dropping it anywhere--the rig simply crashes through the weedy roof into the open water below.

Most anglers who specialize in this technique use a weight of 1 to 2 ounces, pointed on both ends like a rocket to better penetrate the cover. The Miller Punchin' Weight is sort of the prototype, and many anglers say it's one of the most effective. A few, like the Sizmic War Head, use a weight that clips to the bend of the hook, thus allowing it to hit the water ahead of the lure instead of behind it as in a conventional slide-on weight.

In any case, the idea is to use a lot of weight and a relatively small, streamlined lure like a beaver, craw or a tube that will go through the hole made by the weight--slinky worms and shad don't work for this duty.

While flippin' usually calls for putting the bait into the water gently, punchin' requires a more vigorous approach--the lure is flipped skyward and allowed to plummet straight down on a slack line. It's sort of like a penetrator missile--it slams through the mossy roof and drags the lure down after it into bass territory.

One of the many advantages of punchin' is that you can get at spots the flippin' anglers go right past because they can't get their lures through the moss. With a punch-bait, anglers can blast through just about anything. You can fish "fresh" water that has not been worked over, which can be a huge factor on hard-fished lakes around the country where the bass have seen it all.

The tactic can work anywhere there's 2 feet of open water or more under a weedmat, but it's probably most effective at 3 to 4 foot depths. The same tips that apply to flippin' and froggin' in terms of finding mats where fish are hanging out apply to punchbaiting: mats with lots of bream popping under them or shad flipping at the edges are likely spots, as are those with a bit of current flowing under them. Mats on points and island tips can be particularly good, while those in stagnant backwaters are usually less productive.

When a bite comes it's a mano a mano confrontation, sometimes with only 4 or 5 feet of line out the rod tip, so stout gear is a must. Most anglers use 65 or 80 pound test braid and powerful extra-heavy action 7'6" rods to set the hook and derrick the fish out. Extra strong flippin' hooks are also a must--standard weight hooks will straighten if you hook a big fish.

An Eagle Claw Bobber Stopper placed about 6 inches above the weight will assure that you can pull the lure down through the moss should it hang on the drop. Just shake the rod and it slides free--often right into the mouth of a watching bass. Long shank, wide gap 6/0 to 7/0 hooks are used to give an adequate bite through the lure.

The bait is yo-yoed up and down a couple of times on a given drop, then lifted and sent to the next likely spot. It takes patience and a lot of drops to start scoring, but once you find a moss bed where the fish are hanging out, it's likely to produce several quality fish--and also to draw more fish week after week.

It's not near the fun of tossing topwaters or buzzbaits, but for consistent production when not much else is working, punchbaiting can be the way to make things happen.

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. 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. www.BeachNBoat.com

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, www.fedflyfishers.org

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 www.c-quartersmarina.com for more information or call Mary Lawhon, Director 850.933.41660.933.4166

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

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. www.pcbtg.com

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

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

Sept. 24 - Sept. 25: Big Bass Tour at Lake Murray, hourly payouts;
https://bigbasstour.com/events/2016/2016-lake-murray-south-carolina





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