Fishing Wire Ranger Boats ICAST
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

ACQUISITIONS
Southern Lure Company, manufacturer of the iconic Scum Frog and Bass Rat brands, has been acquired by American Baitworks Co.
ENFORCEMENT
LDWF agents recovered the body of Edward Ridgel Jr., 66, of Tickfaw, from South Pass Manchac this morning, March 14, around 7:45 a.m.
ENVIRONMENT
Environmental groups sued the Trump administration yesterday to challenge an oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico that will open up more than 78 million acres to offshore drilling without fully analyzing the risks to people, wildlife or the environment.

EVENTS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is excited to announce the fifth annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Festival May 18 and 19 at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar and HarborWalk Village in Destin.
FISHERIES
An earlier preliminary, but incomplete draft indicated that the stock was overfished and landings had decreased to their lowest levels in recent years.
Recently, a Wakulla County plantiff filed yet another lawsuit against the State of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to weaken or eliminate the constitutional prohibition on gill and entangling nets.

GEAR
Plano is releasing the future of Stowaway boxes with the Plano Rustrictor Stowaway. Using advanced technology, Plano has engineered a tackle storage system that blocks rust and stops corrosion 5x longer than a standard tackle box or the competition.
The HD-ORCA, the newest addition to Shimano’s ORCA offshore lure series, now being introduced by Shimano at fishing/sports shows nationwide including this weekend’s Saltwater Fishing Expo in Edison, N.J. - http://www.sportshows.com/saltwater/ - offers bluewater anglers the chance for incredible topwater action on big game fish.
INDUSTRY
Grow Boating has partnered with Heather Lutz of Findability University to offer a three-part webinar series to help marine industry businesses develop a findability and search engine optimization (SEO) plan to achieve the online results to boost your bottom line.

MARINE ELECTRONICS
The ECHOMAP™ Ultra series is a new line of keyed-assist 10- and 12-inch touchscreen chartplotters designed to bring professional sonar and navigation performance to inland and nearshore anglers.
NEW PRODUCTS
From the snap to the paint to the hook, every single component of this new bass pro-designed bladed jig is premium quality and serves a distinct purpose.
This weekend at the 2019 Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, TN, Lew’s relaunches the LFS Speed Spool, the ideal choice for the competitive weekend angler who demands quality equipment at an affordable price.

The new Z-Man® Bang StickZ™ will simplify and reinvigorate your soft stickbait fishing with a lure that's incredibly tough and long-lasting, yet amazingly soft and flexible.
The Wameku Shad 70 features a very high pitch knocking sound that is very distinct, and different from other rattle baits currently on the market.
PUBLICATIONS
 Game & Fish magazine, America’s only national outdoor magazine with a focus on local hunting and fishing, announces its April 2019 issue is now available on newsstands.
RADIO
This week, Outdoors Radio features walleye pro Max Wilson, dog trainer Tim Mader, TV host Jason Perryman and pro angler Duffy Kopf.
Host Rob Keck is spotlighting the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, the Super Bowl of bass fishing, taking place this weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee.
RETAIL
During this boat show, attendees will have the chance to tour an array of boats, yachts, and services in the comfort of their very own home, office, or anywhere.
STATES
These public hearing will discuss seasons, gear restrictions, length limits and bag limits to maintain sustainable harvest levels with anglers allowed to take catfish by hand, bow or crossbow.
Arizona’s boating season is on the horizon and in preparation, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and boating safety advocates nationwide are urging boaters to #KeepYourEdge by enrolling in a boating education course during the Spring Aboard campaign.
State regulations that require ice shanties to be removed are based on the average date when good ice still exists on waters, not on the actual thickness of ice.
Warmer weather and a bit of rain have combined for better fishing in many parts of the state, according to Oregon DFW.
The Army Corps of Engineers issues a small craft advisory for the Arkansas River downstream of Dardanelle Lock and Dam.
TELEVISION
This weekend on Discovery Channel, you’re not going to want to miss new programming from Scott Martin, Operation Fishing Freedom, Jimmy Houston, Silver Kings and more.
WASHINGTON
Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on improving access, infrastructure, and permitting for outdoor recreation.

Photo courtesy of Aqua-Vu

Four Late-Winter Tips for Catching More Panfish

Seek, Drill and Stay Mobile for Late Ice Crappies. In smaller, shallower lakes, crappies are typically located and caught throughout much of the winter season over main-lake basins. In large, deep lakes, however, they tend to avoid the deepest areas and use flats, humps and basins ranging from 20 to 40 feet deep. But crappies are also notorious for suspending. Depending upon conditions, they can be found anywhere in the water column, creating an additional variable in the angling equation.

 As the ice-fishing season nears its end, crappies transition from deep water wintering areas towards shallow bays, channels and river mouths in preparation for spawning. Depending on where and when you fish, concentrations of crappies will be present along a relatively straight line between these distinct areas.

During the late-ice period, take a stab at identifying some of these likely travel paths between wintering areas and spawning areas on the lake you plan to fish using the Fishidy app or map on your Sonar/GPS. Look for potential staging locations where cover, structure or current variations are present along those paths.

Once you’ve identified attractive areas, gas up the auger and get to work. Use your GPS to confirm your location on the ice, and pick a variety of sweet spots over the particular structure you plan to fish. A larger fishing party is beneficial because you can share the work of drilling holes and checking them for fish with sonar. Once you mark fish, take the time to drill more holes. It’ll save you time in the long run as you’ll waste less time fishing an unproductive hole when an entire school may be located just 10 or 15 feet away. 

 Once the crappies are located, hole hopping is the key to keeping busy catching them. Anglers willing to leave the comfort of their fish houses and use their electronics to fish from hole to hole are the ones who catch the most crappies. Keep moving if a hole doesn’t show a fish on your sonar. Keep drilling more holes if necessary until you get a sonar return. Then drop down, catch a fish or two and move on once the action slows.

Fish Fast for Late Ice Crappies. Crappies display a variety of moods, and their responsiveness to various presentations can change throughout the day – often rapidly. Late-ice crappie anglers should be prepared with a variety of offerings, from small tungsten jigs tipped with thin plastics to relatively large jigging spoons tipped with spikes, waxes or minnow parts. The key is being prepared and willing to show fish a variety of presentations and profiles to determine which one best matches their mood at that moment. Then it becomes a game of presenting the preferred bait to numbers of fish, which means moving on quickly from barren holes.

When a fish shows on sonar, try stopping the bait 4 to 5 feet above it and slowly working it down if necessary. You’ll often see the fish begin drifting up towards your bait immediately. If they do, slowly raise the bait while twitching it ever so slightly to make them chase it. Once you get them moving, they’ll usually charge it. If they refuse it, it’s time to try a different bait.

Fishing fast means fishing heavy. Getting down to a fish fast — hopefully before it leaves — is critical to maximizing opportunities. Tungsten jigs sink fast while retaining a delicate profile, and are the best choice when crappies show a preference for smaller offerings. Jigging spoons are great options anytime crappies are aggressive and eager to attack a larger profile. They easily punch through slushy holes and get back down to other fish quickly once one has been caught.

Photo courtesy of St. Croix Rod

Turkey Baster Panfish?. One surefire strategy for determining the types of wintertime foods preferred by bluegills, perch and crappies is to take a living, breathing sample. Fly fishermen use a small stomach pump (resembles a miniature turkey baster) on stream trout in order to match the hatch. It works with panfish, too, and it’s completely harmless to fish, other than depriving them of recent eats.   

Fill the pump with water with a quick squeeze, insert the tube into the fish’s mouth and a few inches down its pharynx, which leads directly to the stomach. Be gentle! Squirt the water into the stomach and release the pump, which vaccums up any recently ingested critters. Squirt said contents into your palm and have a looksee.

A fish’s recent meals reveal the anatomical details of each eaten bug, as well as plenty of the goo that represents zooplankton and other partially digested “whatnot.” You also learn potentially productive lure colors, and can quickly tie on something you know panfish will want to eat. Identifying specific prey items also suggests fruitful jigging cadences. Mayfly larva, for example, swim with undulating tail kicks that can be mimicked with various soft plastic baits. 

Photo courtesy of St. Croix Rod

The Strength of the Snell. While most ice anglers rely on one or two favorite knots, the truth is you can do a lot better than an improved clinch, Trilene or other customary line-to-jig connection. If you’ve never tried a snell knot, including versions such as the Marka knot or a Uni-Snell knot—you’re missing out on a ton of advantages for almost any jig presentation, particularly for panfish jigs and ultra-thin mono or fluorocarbon lines. Actually, the advantages of a well-tied snell overwhelm those of traditional knots.

One, a snell knot positions your jig at the ideal horizontal position—no need to reposition your knot, ever. Two, the knot is recessed and tied around the shank of the hook, so it rarely requires retying (you can often fish most of an 8-hour day with the same snell knot and jig.) Three, snell knots are almost bulletproof-strong. Finally, the knot itself acts as a form of soft plastics keeper, pinning the chosen bait tight to the jig collar. The plastic further protects the knot by sliding right over the top of it. Moreover, you can tie either version with traditional eyelet jigs, or Russian “through-head” jigs. Here’s a link to a few top ice jig knots (see #3, #6A and #6B).

About Fishidy:

Fishidy is a location-based fishing app and online community of over 1 million users that features interactive mapping technology, data-rich fishing maps, and social networking to help anglers identify the most productive water and head straight to the action. Users discover shared catches and local Fishing Hot Spots®, stay up-to-date with the latest fishing reports, and find detailed waterway information so that they are fully prepared for their next fishing trip. Learn more at fishidy.com.

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CONTACTS:

Josh Lantz
Traditions Media, LLC
josh@traditionsmedia.com
(219) 728-8996

Jim Edlund
Traditions Media, LLC
jim@traditionsmedia.com
(612) 481-7396

FISHING CALENDAR
March 16
Longest Trout All-Release Tournament

Tampa Bay, $25 entry, PowerPole Shallow Water Anchor as first prize, proceeds to Angling for Relief pediatric cancer relief, Salty Shamrock in Apollo Beach; https://www.facebook.com/fishingisrelief

March 22-24
Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic

State Fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C.; www.psc@dnr.sc.gov

May 16-19
Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament

Destin, Florida, cash prizes for most lionfish brought in; www.emeraldcoastopen.com

May 23-24
2019 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops

June 3-9
Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel, Biloxi, MS; mgcbc.com

 
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