Tuesday, December 6, 2016

 
APPS
Stay warm and keep your skills sharp this winter by playing the free Rapala Daily Catch game on your iOS or Android phone or tablet.

BIG CATCHES
Equipped with only a small rod, Wilmington, North Carolina, resident Riahn Brewington struggled as he tried to pull out a massive catfish from Cape Fear River last week.

BOATING
A panel of 11 distinguished national boating leaders who serve as a sounding board for Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) gathered last week with the senior BoatUS leadership in St. Simons Island, Georgia, to discuss key issues impacting recreational boating.

FISHERIES
On Tuesday, Nov. 29, Mote Marine Laboratory scientists released 320 hatchery-reared juvenile snook into Phillippi Creek as part of an ongoing research project focused on finding the most effective methods to replenish and enhance wild snook populations.
A collective effort among agencies dedicated to the restoration of lake sturgeon populations in Michigan has produced a management plan for the species in Black Lake (Cheboygan County).
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is holding public hearings on setting ecologically based catch limits on menhaden, and on revising the harvest allocation.

GEAR
Huk Performance Fishing announced today that its Raid NXTLVL All-Weather Suit is now available.

GRANTS
A DNR grant program aims to grow the number of hunters and anglers, and groups that will help move people through the process of becoming hunters and anglers, or of continuing to hunt or fish, are encouraged to apply by Jan. 5, 2017.

INDUSTRY
Sometimes, the best of the best baits are great by virtue of more than one trait—profile, action, vibration, texture, color, taste . . . or some killer combination thereof.
T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., of Huntsville, Alabama, and Wave Away LLC of East Olympia, Washington, announce they have entered into an agreement that grants T-H Marine exclusive global rights to manufacture and distribute the Wave Away Sonar and GPS Screen Cleaner product line.

INVASIVE SPECIES
Water samples from Tiber Reservoir east of Shelby have tested positive for the larvae of aquatic invasive mussels, with similar tests from Canyon Ferry Reservoir near Helena showing "suspect" or inconclusive results, according to officials at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks .

JOBS
Responsibilities are to lead communication activities for the Peninsular Florida LCC and participate in a team of communication professionals to provide a broad range of communications and marketing expertise to the FWC's Division of Habitat and Species Conservation.

NEW PRODUCTS
Shurhold Industries' new Bucket Grate sits in the bottom of a standard five-gallon pail and allows contaminates to settle, keeping the wash mixture and tools cleaner.

PUBLIC LANDS
Wyoming sportsmen are commending a state government decision to reject a controversial land swap in the Wyoming Range that would have resulted in the loss of public access to thousands of acres of state lands.

RADIO
It's time again for our annual "Christmas Gift Giveaway Show" where we tell you about great outdoorsy gifts for the holidays and then give them away to our listeners!

SEMINARS
MarineMax Panama City Beach announced today that they will be hosting a free seminar on targeting and landing trout and other area bay and gulf winter species, December 10, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

STATES
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will stock trout in selected streams and lakes during the month of December, according to Paul Johansen, chief of the DNR Wildlife Resources Section.
Upper Red Lake and Mille Lacs Lake have winter walleye fishing regulations that went into effect on Dec. 1.
The state has closed the Stillaguamish River, North and South Forks of the Stillaguamish River, and Canyon and Pilchuck Creek, to fishing through Jan. 31, 2017 to protect the return of winter steelhead.
Elmer Davis Lake in Owen County will be closed to the public from Dec. 12-30 as part of an effort to eliminate gizzard shad.

TOURNAMENTS
Second-generation charter captain Paul Ross of Islamorada led his anglers aboard Relentless to the win at the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament that concluded Sunday, Dec. 4. The tournament kicked off the renowned triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship series.

WASHINGTON
Last week, state legislators from 30 states representing the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC) network joined the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) and others from the sportsmen conservation community in Biloxi, Mississippi for the 13th Annual Sportsman-Legislator Summit.

WORKSHOPS
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced registration is now open for a special winter activities Beyond Becoming an Outdoorswoman (BOW) workshop to be held next month, limited to 10 participants.

First Ice Safety

By Mike Gnatkowski
www.gnatoutdoors.com

When someone tells you "you're walking on thin ice" it's meant as words of extreme caution or warning. Ice fishermen need to take it literally. First ice produces some of the hottest ice fishing of the year and ice anglers are anxious to get on the ice to start the new season, but first ice also demands an extra level of vigilance and concern.

"First ice is a time that demands both stealth and safety," shared ice fishing authority Brian Brosdahl. "If you've ever went through the ice it's a ordeal that you won't soon forget and don't want to repeat. With that in mind, make sure you have a spud bar or ice chisel." A lot of guys may not even have one these days, but it's a must-have tool on first ice.

Call your favorite tackle shop or a local guide before venturing out and check on ice conditions. If you don't see others fishing or signs that other anglers have been on the ice, use extreme caution. I don't know of anyone that hands out awards for being the first one on the ice, but you might end up on the evening news.

"A spud bar is my friend!" joked Brosdahl. "A spud or ice chisel is going to allow you to check ice conditions as you go." Standard ice chisels, like Frabill's (www.frabill.com/standard-ice-chisel-592.html) 52-inch, 5.5-pound model, are an inexpensive price to pay for peace of mind when testing ice conditions. Use the spud systematically to check ice thickness every 10 to 20 yards or so while you gradually work your way out to where you're going to fish. "Be careful to not out walk your spud," advised Brosdahl. If you're in a group, don't walk all together in a straight line. Spread out so if you do fall through you don't all go down together. That way, the others can help you get out. Don't stand in a group until you're sure the ice is safe. Use a long rope to pull your shanty behind if you're using one so as not to add weight in one location and to keep from spooking fish.

A life jacket is a good idea. It might seem like the inflatable variety of life jacket would be ideal for the situation, but a conventional life jacket may be better. "Some inflatable life jackets have a cord you have to pull to blow them up," said Brosdahl. "The shock of going through the ice may leave you disoriented or confused or if you get knocked unconscious you won't be able to pull the cord. There is a pill that dissolves in the auto inflation models. If the pill doesn't dissolve you're toast and a regular, conventional life jacket works all the time." Once you're on the ice and are sure conditions are safe you can take it off.

Even better is a floatation suit like Frabill's new I Float Jacket and Bibs (www.frabill.com/apparel/ice-fishing-apparel/i-float-jacket.html.) Several manufacturers make foam-filled suits that are the ultimate life-saving devices. Not only do the suits float, but they also maintain your body temperature preventing hypothermia until help arrives or you can get yourself out. Flotation suits sport bright colors that can aid rescuers in finding you; they also have glow-in-the-dark patches or piping so you can be located after dark.

You can't always tell ice quality by just looking at it. Clear, blue ice is obviously the strongest, but just because there has been a week of sub-freezing temperatures don't assume the ice is safe. Mark some increments on your ice scoop and measure the ice thickness so you know exactly how much ice there is. Milky-colored ice or slush is never safe.

Remember that ice thickness can vary greatly from lake to lake. Smaller lakes and ponds will have safe ice first. If there's snow on the ice, assume that it's unsafe until you can check its thickness. Snow acts like an insulating blanket and slows the freezing process. Ice under the snow will be thinner and weaker. A snowfall also can warm up and melt existing ice. Keep in mind that ice thickness is not likely to be uniform. Current, springs, waterfowl, and debris on the ice can cause ice thickness to vary greatly from one location to another and in a very short distance.

There's one safety item that you should put on before you even step on the ice-creepers or ice cleats. Slick, glare first ice is an accident waiting to happen. Creepers provide traction and keep you upright. A nasty spill on the ice can result in a broken arm or elbow, torn ligaments or a concussion. Frabill's rubber ice creepers (www.frabill.com/ice-fishing/accessories/ice-creepers-for-boot-traction.html) pull easily over most winter boots. 10 carbide spikes (per creeper) contact and grip the ice to keep you upright and injury free.

Some other first-ice essentials should include a set of ice awls or picks, a length of rope and a cell phone in a sealed container or zip-loc bag. Several of the Frabill (www.frabill.com) suits that ice fishermen prefer come complete with ice awls that are at the ready. Should you go through, a set of ice picks can assist you in getting out quickly. Wear them around your neck where you can grab them. If you go through, try to remain calm. Don't remove your jacket or outer clothing. Clothing can trap air to keep you afloat and keep you warm. Dig the ice awls into the ice, kick your feet and try to roll out onto the ice. Keep rolling until you're on safe ice. Rolling will help distribute your weight until you're on safe ice and can stand up or crawl. Try and head back in the direction you came from. That's where the safest ice is like to be.

A cell phone can be used to call for help and notify authorities that you need help or that you made it out of the water and are safe. If you have a length of rope it can be used by others to pull you out while maintaining a safe distance.

The best policy is to realize that no ice is safe ice. Authorities generally consider 4 inches of ice to be a minimum for safe travel by individual anglers, 6 inches to be safe for group activities and 8 inches for travel via snowmobile or four-wheeler. Traveling on the ice is never recommended by car or truck, but a minimum of a foot of clear, hard ice is required for going on the ice in YOUR vehicle, but not mine!

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

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Dec. 9: Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30th - Beginning Fly Tying Classes, 6-8 p.m., Van Matre Senior Center, 1101 Spring St, Mountain Home, AR., fee $15; (870.321.2661) or hund1946@gmail.com

Dec. 16 - Jan. 2: Fishing Wire Holiday Break-- No Wire Services





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