Wednesday, December 13, 2017

 
CONSERVATION
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke vowed to use his clout to fast-track coastal restoration projects during a Saturday visit to Louisiana.

FISHERIES
The Bonneville Power Administration's Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program offers anglers $5 to $8 for every northern pikeminnow taken from the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Green Sticking involves mounting a long fiberglass rod, tinted green, on the boat to drag squid lures above the surface of the water, somewhat like kite fishing.

FISHING SPOTS
While outdoor recreation opportunities across many U.S. states shut down during the season of freeze, Arizona rolls on with trout stockings and water temperatures just warm enough to convince fish to bite during the holidays.

GRANTS
This month, the world's premier Waterlife Outfitter awards $1,500 grants to 25 nonprofit organizations dedicated to youth Waterlife adventure, education and stewardship.

INDUSTRY
Phoenix Boats, which currently has around 100 employees, would need to hire an additional 150 to 200 employees for phase I, which is being planned to accommodate saltwater boats to increase the company's scope in the marketplace.

INVASIVE SPECIES
Boaters who had their watercraft inspected by Game and Fish and completed an online survey were entered into a raffle for a variety of prizes.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists have classified Lake Georgetown as infested with an established, reproducing population of invasive zebra mussels and have also changed the status of Lake Livingston to fully infested.

MARINE MAMMALS
While NOAA's review states that the most recent population is about 458 whales, up from around 270 in 1990, it also notes a steady decline from an estimate of 483 in 2010.

NEW PRODUCTS
Streamlight® Inc., a leading provider of high-performance lighting, introduced the MicroStream® USB, a USB rechargeable version of its popular MicroStream® flashlight.

ORGANIZATIONS
The Modern Fish Act, which addresses many of the challenges facing saltwater recreational fishing in federal waters, is gathering steam, but needs support from the industry and anglers.

SEA FOOD
Here's a winter staple in the south, done to perfection by a growing restaurant chain that originated on the Gulf Coast.
The Blue Crab can be a bit of a challenge, but if you've got plenty of time and you're good with your hands, a crab feast can be both a fun and delicious experience.

SPONSORSHIPS
Realtree Fishing announced today a partnership with bass professional Jacob Wheeler, bringing together the hottest new brand in fishing with one of the top professional fishermen on the tournament trail.
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's will serve as a primary sponsor for the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

STATES
Conditions placed on contests may help to minimize fish mortality, regulate harvest, reduce user conflicts and/or require additional access site maintenance when needed.
Beginning January 1, 2018, the recreational bottomfish fishery will re-open to all-depths with a 5 fish daily bag limit.
Escambia County Public Fishing Lake (Leon Brooks Hines Lake) will reopen on December 14, 2017, under the operation of new lake managers Allison Lee and Doug Devine.
The Department's online licensing system offers the convenience of purchasing from home, camp or office and allows the opportunity to print out multiple copies of licenses.
Members of the public have the opportunity over the next several weeks to voice their concerns or support about proposed changes to the administrative rules that govern hunting, fishing and operation of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Texans can help the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department keep the state's rivers healthy and flowing through their purchase of the Texas Rivers conservation license plate, available now at www.ConservationPlate.org/Rivers.

TELEVISION
Visit Panama City Beach is pleased to announce that Travis Holeman has joined its award-winning television series, "Chasin' The Sun," as co-host of its third season. New episodes will premiere on Saturday, January 6, 2018 on Discovery Channel.

TOURNAMENTS
A star-studded field of 111 professional bass anglers — including a mix of rookies, legends and veterans from other tournament circuits — will make up the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series field when competition gets underway on Lake Martin, Alabama, in February.

WILDLIFE
Alligators have been reported to survive frozen into the surface of a pond for several days during strong cold fronts, then swim free when the ice melts, according to the Alabama DCNR.

WORKSHOPS
Learning how to participate in an outdoor activity can be challenging, and ice fishing is a good example. Knowing this, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has scheduled a series of ice fishing clinics for first-timers and those who would like to learn more about hard water fishing.

YOUTH EVENTS
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) and Auburn University Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures Department are offering Fish Camp—five days of intense fun and hands-on activities blended into a creative learning experience that provides the broadest possible exposure to natural resource careers with an emphasis on aquaculture, fisheries, and aquatic ecology.

Top Tips For Maximizing The Chilly Weather Bass Bite

Bassmaster Pro Ott DeFoe Shares His Autumn Insights

By David A. Brown

Fall is transition time for largemouth bass; it's a time when the fish have fully departed their warm season haunts, but they're not quite ready to drop into their winter retreats. No, the calendar's tail end is all about stuffing bellies and packing on the weight that'll sustain the fish through winter's leanness.

The bass are on the move and it can definitely be a here-today-gone-tomorrow deal; but the bass' seasonal instincts also heighten the likelihood of banner days. Few times of the year will see gatherings like the fall gorge fest and savvy anglers can enjoy the kind of action that'll have you pining for your next outing.

"Once you get to November and beyond, the later fall period brings the opportunity of finding big schools of fish," said Bassmaster Elite Series pro Ott DeFoe. "They're starting to get grouped up into their wintering places, but they're still feeding pretty good. You have the potential to catch a lot of fish when you find the right deal.

"The good thing about fall is that the bite could be in really shallow water or it could be in deep water. It's not like summer where you only find big groups of fish deep; they can be grouped up shallow too.

So, how does the accomplished angler from Knoxville, Tennessee make the most of this opportunity? Truth be told, the exact game plan varies day to day; nevertheless, DeFoe suggests following these four guidelines for maximum seasonal success.

FOLLOW THE FOOD. Noting the importance of locating and staying near schools of shad, DeFoe says: "Fall is hands-down the time of year when baitfish matter the most and that relates to the bass' preparation for winter. Baitfish are the most important thing in the fall. Cover doesn't matter as much; in fact, you'll catch them around 'nothing' banks, as long as the bait is there."

LIVETARGET Magnum Shad Crankbait is a top fall and winter bass producer.


Ott DeFoe relies on the Rapala DT (Dives-To) Series autumn bass.
Baitfish are generally migrating to the backs of creek and coves, but the schools are constantly moving. Covering water is the key, but DeFoe has a couple of strategies for narrowing the search.

  • Fish the windy side of the lake, as the wind pushes baitfish into predictable areas.

  • Watch for wading birds grouping on the bank, or hovering and diving over open water. Both point to baitfish concentrations.


KNOW THE NEIGHBORHOOD. A big part of the hunt for fall bass and the bait schools they follow comes down to recognizing the productive areas. Bluff walls that typically occur on the deeper side of a creek can be one of the most consistent fall producers, as the vertical structure provides a holding spot where bass can quickly adjust their depth to find the right water temperature by ascending or descending in the water column.

This is the sure bet; the place that typically produces some level of activity throughout the day. DeFoe values the bluffs, but he points out another consideration with day-making potential.

"In a creek arm with a steep side and a flat side, I look at both as having their own set of options," he said. "The bluff is the safeguard. In the fall, I can go to a bluff and catch some fish and I may find a group of them. I can throw a shallow to medium diving crankbait or a jig and run across places throughout the day and put together a decent (5-fish) limit.

"On the other hand, I may fish flats half the day without catching a fish; but once I find them, I'm liable to catch 15 pounds in 15 minutes. So, it's a matter of which do you want to focus on: Do you want to focus on the bluffs where you can pick up a fish here and there, or do you want to focus on the big groups of fish that have the bait pushed up there on the flats and are actively feeding?"

Timing has a lot to do with this; specifically, how far we are into the fall cooling. If the water temperature is in the high 50s to low 60s, DeFoe expects the flats to produce a good morning bite followed by a solid afternoon rally. However, if the water's in the low 50s, he knows it's mostly an afternoon deal, as the shallows will need several hours of sun to reach a temperature the baitfish can tolerate.

BUFF Pro Series Angler 3 Glove
WATCH THE WEATHER. Speaking of weather, DeFoe knows that cold fronts bring major impacts that demand consideration. Before and during the front's passage, fishing can be off the charts, as falling barometric pressure, cloudy skies and blustery winds can whip up one ferocious feeding frenzy. On the flip side, post-frontal conditions can be a real head-scratcher.

Here, the high pressure, cloudless skies, intense sunlight and lack of wind create an eerily still scenario in which bass tuck tight to shady cover and hunker down until conditions stabilize. This is generally considered "lock jaw" time, but bass still have to eat — they simply adjust their methods.

"Before and during a front, I expect those fish to be active where I can catch them on topwaters and other moving baits," DeFoe said. "Once you got to the post-frontal period, you can fish something like a squarebill crankbait close to cover to try and get a reaction bite out of those fish, or you can fish something like a jig or a shaky head to pick up bites with the less-active fish."

BUFF Midweight Merino Wool Hat
STAY CAST-READY. In closing, DeFoe points out that fall weather can take its toll on an angler's performance. Certainly, chilly temperatures will tap away at one's endurance, while the bright sun of post-frontal conditions unleashes solar harshness on one's skin.

To keep himself in good physical and mental form, DeFoe won't launch without his BUFF Multifunctional Headwear — possibly a Merino Wool or Polar model, as conditions dictate — and an appropriate pair of BUFF gloves.

"I like not only the sun protection and wind protection I get, but also the warmth around my neck," DeFoe said. "Also, BUFF's Merino Wool hats and the different models of gloves complement the Multifunctional Headwear. Having items that make you more comfortable on the water will relate to more casts per day and more fish in the boat."

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.

Dec. 20: Final Editions of all Wires for 2017. .

Jan. 3: First Editions of 2018. .

Jan. 15: MLK Federal Holiday No Wire Distributions. .

Jan. 31 - Feb. 2: International Marina & Boatyard (IMBC) Conference, New Orleans; www.imbc@marinaassociation.com.

Feb. 3 - Feb. 11: 2018 Great American Outdoor Show. Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org





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