Monthly Archives: January 2015

What Is the Proper Spooling of Spinning and Baitcasting Reels?

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Proper spooling of spinning and baitcasting reels
from The Fishing Wire

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A family member bought you a nice spinning outfit for Christmas. Despite the cold, your desire to cast the new rod into water propels you to a local Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) lake to try to fool some winter rainbow trout.

Spooling Tool

Spooling Tool

A respooler like this one from Berkley makes line winding quick and trouble-free, but home systems, including a spool on a pencil, will also work with care.

Dutifully spooling on some fresh 4-pound test monofilament, you cast a red and silver in-line spinner a few times. As you move to a new spot and shoot a cast, you hear a sound similar to a flushing covey of quail and see a ball of spaghetti moving up the rod.

You now have a bird’s nest of epic proportions, requiring cutting off the mess, pulling out the loops and retying the lure. You curse the brand of line you bought.

In all likelihood, it isn’t the line’s fault. Properly loading fishing line onto a spinning or baitcasting reel is a skill many anglers take for granted, but often do incorrectly, greatly reducing the line’s performance. Incorrect line loading often causes tremendous line twist, the main culprit behind bird’s nests.

For spinning reels, first make sure the line you’ve selected matches the capacities of the reel. These capacities are always labeled on the side of the reel’s spool. Don’t load 10-pound test line onto a reel designed to accept lines from 2- to 6-pound test.

Begin by placing the filler spool onto a table or floor with the label facing up. Run the tag end of the line through the stripper guide – the largest guide closest to the reel – and to the reel. Open the reel’s bail and wrap the line twice around the middle of the reel spool, tie an overhand knot and tighten. Follow up with another overhand knot and clip the line about ¼-inch from the knot. Make sure to clip the tag line, not the main line leading back to the filler spool.

Reel some line onto the spool and stop. Lower the rod toward the filler spool. If the line begins to jump and twist, flip the filler spool over, placing the label down. Sometimes, the direction the line was spun on the filler spool at the factory and the direction the spinning reel places line on the spool are not in synchronization, which causes enormous line twist. Flipping the filler spool alleviates this problem.

If the line comes off the spool in big loose coils and doesn’t twist, keep reeling until you fill the spool to the thickness of a nickel from the spool lip.

Another way to load the spool involves a helper. Have the helper run a wooden pencil through the hole provided in the center of the filler spool housing. Run the line through the stripper guide and tie on to the reel spool. Ask the helper to hold the spool and pencil assembly perpendicular to the reel, similar to the way a wheel rotates on an axle, and apply gentle pressure to the filler spool with their fingers.

The line must come off the top of the filler spool toward the reel, not the bottom, or it incurs line twist.

Resist the temptation to overfill a spinning reel’s spool. If you’ve ever opened the bail on a spinning reel and line shot off it like a top, then you’ve witnessed the results of overfilling the spool. You can lose half a spool of line from twists, tangles and bird’s nests from overfilling a spinning reel.

Choices of Line

Choices of Line

There are lots of options in refilling a spool-just choose a line suited to the task, and respool frequently; good line is critical when the big one bites.

Manually closing the bail of a spinning reel with your hand after making a cast is one of the best ways to keep line twist at bay while fishing. Each time you close the bail by turning the reel handle, you apply twist to the line. Over a day of fishing, these twists add up and produce loops and tangles that eventually lead to a mess. After a few fishing trips, manually closing the bail becomes second nature.

To fill baitcasting reels, run the line from the filler spool through the guide closest to the reel and through the line guide of the baitcasting reel to the spool. You can simply run the line through the holes in the ported spools found on most baitcasting reels today and start reeling. Or, secure the line to the spool with an arbor knot. Both techniques work.

The pencil through spool with a helper technique works best on baitcasting reels. Again, make sure the line comes off the top of the filler spool, not the bottom. You can also do it by yourself by placing the filler spool on a table with the label up and checking for twist, but the pencil through the spool method works much better for baitcasters.

Fill the spool to within a 1/16-inch of the rim and, again, resist the impulse to overfill the reel.

Don’t let line problems stemming from improper loading ruin a day of fishing. Following these simple procedures will achieve the best casting distance for your spinning and baitcasting reels, keep tangles at bay, and extend the life of your line.

Author Lee McClellan is a nationally award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.

Why Should I Examine All Proposed Gun Laws?

Written several years ago, the idea you should examine all gun laws carefully apply even more today.

The reaction to shootings in public places has me shaking my head but I guess I am not really surprised. During the past several months there have been mass murders at Virginia Tech, malls and a church. At the New Life Church in Colorado an armed church member shot the murderer, stopping him and making him kill himself.

The reaction to these senseless killings? Many officials have promoted victim disarmament zones making it illegal for you to have a gun to protect yourself. It is unreal how those folk’s brains must malfunction. How do they think preventing law abiding citizens’ right to have a gun will stop insane murderers?

One of the most graphic examples of their foolishness was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show by co-host Mika Brzezinski. Talking about the New Life shooting, host Joe Scarborough said “One person with a gun can make a big difference.” He seems to get it.

His co-host’s response? “Oh gosh, no! No, no, no. No, no, no, no, no.” Scarborough then said: “One person with a gun in the right place can make a big difference.” Brzezinski responded “You know, that is the most inane statement I have ever heard.”

Not only is she inane, she is insane. How can any rational person deny that the murderer at the New Life Church was stopped by a person in the right place with a gun? I guess the rational part is the key. She is not rational when it comes to guns.

Here in Georgia we have some of the same kinds of problems. Last year the Georgia Legislature refused to pass a bill that would allow employees to have guns in their vehicles in open parking lots. The Legislature said it was OK if employers told their workers could not have guns. This bill did not even apply to gated, secure parking lots, just parking lots anyone could enter.
The NRA supported a bill to make it illegal for employers to disarm their employees. The Georgia Sport Shooting Association, the NRA state affiliate, opposed the bill, somehow finding property rights involved in open parking lots with unrestricted access by the public.

This bill is being presented again this year with a few modifications. I have been told the GSSA will support it. I look forward to seeing the bill. It had not been pre-filed as of mid-December.
The Georgia Legislature this year may go even further in supporting gun owners. The Second Amendment Protection Act has not been pre-filed but I understand Representative Tim Bearden, R-Villa Rica, will introduce this bill this legislative session. This proposed bill is being supported by the GSSA. It sounds good but I would like to see a copy of it before saying it should be supported.

The group is supporting legislation that removes restrictions on law abiding Georgia gun owners. It is unbelievable that a person in California with a state issued gun carry license is not as restricted as we are here in Georgia. In fact, Georgia is one of the most restrictive states in the nation when it comes to where carry permit holders are allowed to have their guns.
In Georgia it would have been illegal for the woman that shot the killer at New Life Church to have her gun with her, even though she had a carry permit. There may have been a way around it because she was considered on the security force at that church, but why is it illegal in Georgia for honest, law-abiding citizens with a carry permit to have their pistol at a church?

There are also other areas of the law that need to be changed. If you own a business and don’t have a carry permit you are still allowed to have a concealed gun on you in your home and at your business. But you can’t have it concealed in your car. So if you put a gun in a shoulder holster at home, drive to your store and go in, you have broken the law unless you took the gun out of the holster and put it in plain view or in a glove box.

That is strange. Citizens are trusted to carry a gun concealed unless in their car but they can still have the gun, it just must be visible or in the glove compartment. How in the world does that have anything to do with preventing a criminal from misusing a gun?

Watch the legislature as they start their session this month. Examine each bill carefully and make sure they support gun rights and don’t do things that further restrict law abiding gun owners.

Is There A Connection Between Climate and Fisheries?

Making the Connection Between Climate and Fisheries

There now seems to be no question as to whether Earth’s climate is warming, though whether it will continue long term and whether humans can do anything about it are still open for discussion in many quarters. But here’s an interesting take from marine scientist Jon Hare, director of the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center Laboratory in Narragansett, Rhode Island, on how the warming is affecting many coastal species of fish-as reported by NOAA Fisheries Science Writer Rich Press.

An interview with NOAA Fisheries scientist Jon Hare

By Rich Press, NOAA Fisheries Science Writer
Follow Rich on Twitter: @Rich_NOAAFish
from The Fishing Wire

Jon Hare with a video plankton recorder-

Jon Hare with a video plankton recorder-

NOAA Fisheries scientist Jon Hare with a video plankton recorder-a device that scientists use to measure the distributional patterns of live plankton.

As the climate changes and the oceans warm, fish populations are moving in search of cooler waters. That is part of the reason why New England fishermen have been catching black sea bass and longfin squid in the Gulf of Maine in recent years, far north of the animals’ usual range. In other places, it’s the absence of a species that’s notable. Just ask lobstermen in the Long Island Sound, who have had little to catch since the range of this valuable species that once supported them shifted north in recent decades.

These changes present a number of challenges both to fishermen, who might need to adapt their business strategies, and to fishery managers, who need reliable information to set sustainable fishing levels.

Jon Hare is the director of the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center Laboratory in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and he studies how physical conditions in the ocean affect fish populations. Hare is a fisheries oceanographer, and his work straddles two disciplines. “When I’m with fisheries people, I’m the oceanographer,” he says. “And when I’m with oceanographers, I’m the fisheries guy.”

In this interview, Hare discusses how fish are shifting their distributions in response to climate change and how those shifts ripple through the ecosystem. To adapt to these changes, Hare says, we need to increase our ability to forecast fish populations even as climate change drives them in unpredictable directions. That will require increased collaboration between fisheries biologists, oceanographers, and climate scientists.

You and your colleagues have been researching how fish respond to changing ocean temperatures. What have you found?

A number of scientists from NOAA and elsewhere have been looking at this problem, and multiple studies have found that about two-thirds of the fish populations on the Northeast U.S. continental shelf are moving northwards. Most of the earlier work was done on adult fish, but some more recent work has focused on the earliest life stages of fish, when they’re tiny larvae floating in the water column. We’ve found that in many cases larval distributions are also shifting northwards. So not only are fish populations shifting northward, but their spawning locations appear to be shifting northward as well. There are exceptions, but that’s the general trend.

Is the hypothesis that they’re heading north because they’re trying to stay within their preferred temperature range as the ocean warms up around them?

Yes, that’s the hypothesis, and it’s well supported by a study led by Malin Pinsky at Rutgers University. He looked at more than 350 species from all over North America and found that not only are fish moving, but that their movements track local temperatures very closely. Where temperatures have changed a lot, the movements on average have been greater, and visa versa. So at least some portion of the shifts are linked to temperature.

But we know from other studies that temperature isn’t the only factor. For instance, with summer flounder, a study led by Rich Bell at the NOAA Narragansett Laboratory found that changes in fishing pressure are also playing a role. In the 1990s, summer flounder populations were at low levels. Since then, a new management plan has been put in place that reduced fishing pressure, and today there are more older, larger fish out there. Those older, larger fish migrate further north, and so the range of the species has expanded north as the population has grown. In that case the northward shift is good news, and it shows that our efforts to reduce overfishing are paying off.

We’ve been speaking about the movement of individual fish species, but what does all this movement mean on an ecosystem level?

Each species responds somewhat differently to environmental changes. So as temperatures change, some species move out while others move in. Some are moving fast and some are moving more slowly. In any given location you’re shuffling the community of species in the ecosystem, and that creates a number of challenges both for fishermen and for managers.

For instance, many recreational and state-water commercial fisheries are managed spatially. In the case of black sea bass, to name just one, the total catch is divided among the states, with some states allocated more catch and some states allocated less. These allocations, however, are based on where the fish were in the late 80’s and early 90’s. But since then, the fish have moved north, and now New England fishermen are catching black sea bass in the Gulf of Maine. Those fishermen bump up against their catch limits very quickly, while fishermen from the Mid-Atlantic have to work much harder to catch their limit. That mismatch between the regulations and the distribution of the stock creates a lot of inefficiencies in the fishery.

When these regulations were designed, what happened? Did people not realize how variable things are?

We didn’t realize at the time how dynamic ecosystems are. People understood that ocean conditions varied from year to year, but not that things were trending in any particular direction. Today we understand that climate change and multidecadal variability is forcing the system in a particular direction, but those old assumptions are built into our management structure. So the question now is, how do we make our science and our management more adaptable to these changes that we know are happening.

If you look into the future for me, can you predict what our science and management will look like 20 years from now? What do you think is needed?

I don’t know what things are going to look like 20 years from now, but I can tell you what I think is needed. We need tools that will allow us to predict fish populations into the future under changing climate conditions. Climate scientists already have models that predict climate into the future. And fisheries scientists already have models that predict fish populations into the future without taking climate into account. We need to bring those two types of models together, and then use those coupled models when providing advice to managers. That’s going to require a lot more interaction between the traditional fisheries scientists, oceanographers, and the climate community.

What’s the cutting edge of research in this area?

On the climate side, the cutting edge involves scaling climate models down to the regional level. Today’s climate models predict future climate conditions over very large geographic areas, but fisheries are regional. What will ocean conditions be like in the Gulf of Maine, or on the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf? Currently we don’t have what are called downscaled climate models for this ocean region.

We also need to models that provide climate information in the 10 to 20 year time frame. Most climate models predict conditions 50 or 100 years out, and that time horizon isn’t very useful for managing fisheries. There are a lot of efforts underway to make reliable predictions during a 10 or 20-year timeframe. That doesn’t help when setting catch levels, which require a 1 to 3 year forecast. But if a fisherman is deciding whether to buy a boat or to invest in a permit to fish for a given species, or if a town is deciding whether to invest in infrastructure for a fishery, having reliable projections on the 10 to 20-year time scale could be beneficial.

The other cutting edge is on the fisheries side. Rising temperatures affect fish populations, and we can analyze those effects statistically, but what are the mechanisms that actually drive those changes? In other words, what is the physiological response of fish to higher temperatures? What is the ecosystem response when predator populations increase or prey populations decrease?

Those are the connections between climate and fish populations in the real world. When we base our models on those biological mechanisms, as opposed to statistical relationships, that will be a big step forward. A lot of scientists-both climate scientists and fisheries scientists-are working on these problems.

First Bass Tournament of the New Year

Last Sunday was the first tournament of the year for the Flint River Bass Club. Only six members showed up at Sinclair on a cold, cloudy day. There was only one limit but everyone caught at least one keeper. The 18 bass we brought to the scales weighed about 29 pounds.

After fishing from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM Lee Hancock won it all with a limit weighing 9.63 pounds and big fish with a 4.15 pound largemouth. My three keepers weighted 6.27 for second, Don Gober had four at 5.15 for third, and Jack “Zero” Ridgeway had three at 4.89 for fourth.
I started the day fishing a crankbait on a steep rocky bank. After an hour I was ready to leave but saw some brush sticking out of the water ahead of me and fished to it. I’m glad I did. A 3.7 pound bass hit by crankbait by the brush.

After fishing that area hard without any more bites I moved to a cove with docks in it. There is a rock pile between two docks where I have caught bass this time of year. The very first cast I made to it with a jig head worm I felt a tap and my line started moving back to the boat. When I set the hook my line broke.

After saying some choice words and trying to retie, my line broke every time I pulled it tight. Something was wrong with that line, I guess it had deteriorated on the reel. So I switched to another outfit and tied the jig head on it.

The next cast to the rocks produced another hit. My line started moving out, I set the hook hard and my rod bowed up on a heavy fish, and the hook came out of its mouth. That happened on four consecutive casts! I never hooked a fish there. I have no idea why I could not hook those fish unless there was a school of gar there and I could not get a hook in their bony snout.

After noon I ran down the lake to another place and caught my other two keepers by docks, then broke my line when I got a hit on some rocks. This time it was my fault, I had been fishing rocks and had not checked my line.

The Sportsman Club meets this Tuesday and our first tournament in this Sunday at Jackson. Time to join us!

How Can I Stay Warm While Ice Fishing?

Keep Warm On The Ice

by Bob Jensen
from The Fishing Wire

Ice Crappie

Ice Crappie

If you dress for the conditions when you’re on the ice you’ll enjoy ice-fishing even more, and you’ll also be more successful at catching fish through the ice.

It got cold again! That’s good and that’s bad. It’s good, because the ice is getting thicker and safer across most of the ice-fishing region. That means more anglers will be on the ice in the near future.

It also means that it’s easier for those ice-anglers to get cold, and usually getting cold is not a fun part of ice-fishing. However, it’s not necessary to get cold when you’re ice-fishing or doing anything outdoors this time of year. There is so much outstanding and affordable clothing that there really is no need to get cold outside unless you’re in unusually extreme cold. Here are some ideas for staying warm on the ice.

Remember, if you get too warm, you’re going to get cold. If you’re drilling a lot of holes in the ice, or walking from hole to hole a lot, you’re going to get warm. When we get warm, we sweat, and if that sweat gets trapped next to your skin, you will eventually get cold. We want to be wearing under-garments that will wick the sweat away from your body. Garments made from cotton are not the answer: Cotton traps the sweat. Cabela’s MTP and Polartec base layers are a great place to start.

My next layer is usually a hooded sweatshirt, and I then slip into water resistant bibs. I prefer the bib style because it offers more protection from the wind to areas that could be exposed, and I like the water resistant feature because there are times when I kneel next to the hole to land a fish. The water resistant feature keeps me dry, and therefore warmer and more comfortable.

Next goes on the outer layer: I like parka length because, again, it provides more protection to areas of skin that could be exposed to the elements. My favorite is Guidewear for both the bibs and parka. In fact, the same Guidewear that I keep in the boat for summer fishing works great for ice-fishing.

Round this out with a cap and boots. Wear a stocking cap or something of that nature. Heat escapes from an uncovered head. Set up your fishing position so your back is to the wind, and pull your hood up over your cap. If you’re facing into the wind and you pull your hood up, you get a swirling effect, and that can be not-so-pleasant.

If your feet get cold, you’re going to be cold and uncomfortable. Boots can be a personal thing: Some folks like big “pac” insulated boots that are very warm, but can also be heavy. They’re great for keeping warm, but they make walking around a lot of work.

There are lots of lighter weight boots available that do a great job of keeping your feet warm if you keep moving–several layers of wool socks can help a lot, but be sure to size your boots big enough that the layers don’t cramp your toes–cramped toes are cold toes.

And then, probably the best way to keep warm on the ice is to fish from a permanent shelter that has a heater inside. This year I’m spending quite a bit of time in an Ice Castle house. It’s warm, it’s comfortable, and it’s also very easy to move to follow the bite. Now, that’s really the way to go ice fishing.

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Lake Hartwell Is So Big It Offers Bassmasters Classic Challenges

As one of the largest lakes in the Southeast, Lake Hartwell has 56,000 surface acres and 962 miles of shoreline. This lake will prove to be a challenge for the 56-angler field competing in the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

Massive Lake Hartwell Presents Challenges, Opportunities For Classic Anglers
from BASS

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – When talking with one of the 56 anglers taking part in the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, Feb. 20-22 on Lake Hartwell, you can expect to hear the words “big” and “everything” a lot.

Serving as a border between Georgia and South Carolina, the lake has 56,000 surface acres and 962 miles of shoreline. That makes it one of the Southeast’s largest and most popular fishing destinations.

“It’s a lot bigger than I remember it being when we were there for the Classic that Alton Jones won (in 2008),” said Aaron Martens, who will be making his 16th career Classic appearance. “I don’t think I even saw half of the lake back then. It’s got a lot of acreage, and the amount of fishable water in that acreage is pretty large.”

The size of the lake combined with its diverse structure could make it hard for anglers to form a solid game plan that’s likely to withstand three days of the area’s often-erratic winter weather. The lake has everything from long, sloping points and underwater islands to standing timber, rocky banks, man-made brushpiles and deep underwater channels.

“There’s so much to look at – a little bit of everything, everywhere,” Martens said. “You can catch them shallow to deep. You have to be ready for it all, but that’s what we do. I think the fish will bite. But depending on the weather, it could be hard to present certain techniques to them.”

Along with diverse structure, Hartwell has two species of black bass that could both be helpful to anglers. First, there are the largemouth that have been the staple of most tournaments on Hartwell for decades. Then there’s the spotted bass that have steadily increased in size the past four or five years since making their way downstream from Lake Keowee, where they were introduced more than a decade ago.

Classic competitor Casey Ashley, who lives just 35 minutes from Lake Hartwell in Donalds, S.C., believes spots could play a major role in the outcome of the tournament.

“It could possibly be won off spots,” said Ashley, who won an FLW Tour event on Hartwell in March 2014. “The 3- to 5-pound spots are there, and there are a lot of them. I’ve just now gotten to where I’ll actually target spots. I wouldn’t in the past because for years, you just couldn’t win with spots. That’s just not the case anymore.”

Elite Series pro Stephen Browning of Arkansas, who will be appearing in his 10th Classic, isn’t sure the event can be won with spotted bass. But he believes they could make for an excellent “Plan B” if the largemouth prove too stubborn.

“Personally, with the exception of the Coosa River (in Alabama), I’ve never seen a lake where a guy can win a multiday tournament exclusively on spotted bass,” Browning said. “But mixing five or six of them in with largemouth may help you survive. I feel like if a guy gets to struggling, those will definitely be the fish to turn to.”

Those anglers and the rest of the field will be aiming to do more than survive — they’re gunning for the $300,000 winner’s prize and the almost instant fame and fortune that go with winning.

Weigh-ins will be held daily at the Bon Secours Wellness Center Arena in downtown Greenville, with the winner to be crowned there Sunday afternoon, Feb. 22.

Plenty of activities are available to fishing fans prior to the weigh-ins. For those willing to brave the morning chill, the Green Pond Landing at Anderson, S.C., provides a fan-friendly setting for watching the pros take off each morning. And one of the country’s largest consumer fishing shows, the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, will be open all three competitions days. All three venues are free admission.

The local host for the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro are VisitGreenvileSC, Visit Anderson, Greenville County, Anderson County and the state of South Carolina.

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

Crankbaits and Jerkbaits I Like and Use

These crankbaits and jerkbaits work well for me:

Rapala DT Series Crankbaits

Rapala DT Dives-To Series Crankbaits

Bomber Deep Fat Free Shad Crankbaits

Bomber Deep Fat Free Shad Crankbaits

Dives up to 19Tourney-proven actionSlim baitfish profileRsonant rattleBrilliant, fish-attracting finishesA 19 dive on one cast? That’s right. The Deep Fat Free Shad gets down to where the biggest bass lurk, and its tourney-proven action and slim baitfish profile draws the strike every time! And with a resonant rattle and brilliant, fish-attracting finishes, your cranking success is assured. Length: 3. Weight: 3/4 oz.

Strike King KVD 1.5 Flat Side

SPRO McStick 110 Jerkbaits

Deer Processors Are Different

The only reason I deer hunt is for the venison. I try to kill three or four deer each season for the freezer, and have dozens of favorite ways to cook the meat. One of the most important things about good tasting venison is what you do after shooting the deer and the way it is processed.

I gut any deer I shoot immediately and wash it down carefully. Then I take it to a processor. I like for the deer to hang for a few days before being cut and packaged. Hanging in a cooler makes the meat more tender and flavorful.

For the past several years there was a very good processor, Done Rite, out near my farm. I was very well pleased with the way they handled my deer but they did not open this year. The three deer I shot this year were taken to three different processors with different results.

I shot a 115 pound doe opening day of season. I weigh each deer I kill and then weigh the meat I get back. I carefully gutted and skinned the deer and saved the heart and liver. Yes, I eat both and they are delicious! I also cut out the rib cages to cook.
This deer I took to a processor near my house that shall remain nameless. To be fair about the weight of meat I got back I asked if they cut out the meat from the ribs and they told me there was not enough to mess with.

I got the usual cuts, cube steak, ground meat, butterfly chops and a neck roast and the ground meat was packaged in tubes, something I like. But the rest was in the same kind of trays and wrap that you get from the grocery store. That kind of wrapping allows freezer burn too fast.

From a 115 pound deer I got 28 pounds of meat, only 25 percent of its live weight. And they charge $70 no matter what size the deer.

The second deer I shot was small, only 60 pounds live weight. I took it to Huckabys near Senoia since I had herd they charged by the size of the deer and did a very good job. They did. The meat was vacuumed packed, a very good way to protect it, and the ground meat was in tubes. I got 22 pounds of meat, over 33 percent of the live weight, and it cost me only $35.

Huckabys did not take any deer after Christmas and I shot a 110 pound buck on December 26, so I took it to York in Barnesville. They came highly recommended, too, and they did an excellent job. I got 49 pounds of meat back, almost 50 percent. And it was wrapped in butcher paper with plastic wrap on the outside, a good protection.

They charge $75 no matter what size the deer but they get every bit of the meat. And that included skinning the deer. They also told me they would rather gut it themselves, but most places charge a lot to gut a deer and I would not get the heart or liver.

Next year I will carry any small deer I shoot to Huckabys but, since York is closer to me, I will take bigger deer to them!

What Are Electronically Aided Collisions?

Electronically Aided Collisions

Editor’s Note: Today’s feature on the Electronically Aided Collision designation isn’t a joke. As pilots and long-distance truckers have long known, too-much attention to the electronics and too-little situational awareness can have horrible consequences.

by Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire

Glass Cockpit

Glass Cockpit

A ‘glass cockpit’ like this one is a wonderful asset to offshore fishing and navigation, but boaters can sometimes be seduced into watching the screens more than they keep a lookout ahead.

“Electronically Aided Collisions”, EAC’s, sounds like a joke, but they’re an actual new designation of Coast Guard accident descriptors. USCG says so many accidents are occurring as a result of the electronics many of us now have aboard–ostensibly to help us avoid accidents–that it made sense to set up a category for it, and of course this being the Coast Guard, they gave it an acronym.

The issue is basically the same as for those ashore who are unable to restrain themselves from texting while driving a vehicle–distracted attention has unfortunate results when you are responsible for piloting several tons of moving mass.

Afloat, though, there is some reason for us to be playing with our electronics–they are usually our only means of navigation offshore, as well as our all-important fish-finding tool–absolutely critical in reef fishing, and very helpful too with pelagic species that often hang around major bottom breaks, sea mounts and other structure.



Radar makes it possible to operate safely after dark and in fog and rain, but a sharp eye ahead is always required when the boat is underway.

We depend on them for weather, for operation in low light and fog, to help us in locating aids to navigation (i.e. buoys), hazards and lots more–basically most offshore anglers would prefer to stay at the docks these days rather than attempt to fish or travel long distances without their electronic nav and sonar systems.

But in all this dependency, it’s easy to forget that the electronics are not a video game at home in the man-cave. A real-time lookout ahead every minute the boat is moving is a must to avoid consequences that range from just dumb–like running over a log and wiping out prop or lower unit–to catastrophic, like striking another boat or a fixed object.

The danger goes up exponentially with autopilots linked to the electronics. We quickly come to depend on them, in combination with the GPS, to drive the boat for us, avoiding the struggles with maintaining course that sometimes come in rough seas.

Radar and GPS

Radar and GPS

Radar overlaid on a GPS screen provides loads of information to the modern boater who can afford the full electronics package.

But, as an old skipper told me once, an autopilot has no brain, no eyes and no conscience–it will happily drive your boat right over a fleet of whale-watchers peacefully paddling their kayaks or a family pontoon boat out for a sight-seeking trip.

Don’t forget, too, that if you set the exact location of a marker as a waypoint, and then punch that waypoint into your autopilot and let the boat take you to it, the boat will very likely HIT the marker when you get there if you’re not alert.

Radar identifies ships and piers clearly, but may not mark–or may return a very dim echo–from a kayak–or a floating log.

Texting is less of an issue offshore where cell phones won’t work–but working to label a fishing site can also be an issue–best to simply “save” and then put in the descriptors when you’re safely shut down.

It’s also wise to remember that all electronics sooner or later break down. Constant exposure to the vibration, humidity and corrosion present around marine venues means they have a limited lifespan, and if you are depending on the unit to drive the boat at the moment when it gives up the ghost, you and your crew may be in big trouble.

Weather on Radar

Weather on Radar

Radar can also alert boaters to bad weather ahead, but there’s no substitute for eyes-on real-time information.

Sometimes, even when they’re working, they’re just plain wrong. My GPS invariably used to show me traveling right THROUGH a mile-long island when I drove down the Little Manatee River just off Tampa Bay.

They don’t keep track of their masters, either. Recently, former Miami Dolphins player Rob Konrad fell off his boat while fishing in South Florida. The boat was running on autopilot and promptly left Konrad behind. Fortunately, he was still a pretty athletic guy–he swam the 9 miles back to shore, arriving at 4 a.m.! The Coast Guard found his boat many miles away, still chugging along happily on autopilot.

Even far offshore, you can never take your eyes off the course ahead–boats show up out of nowhere. So do large chunks of floating debris, big enough to destroy your lower units.

Night operation is particularly hairy. I used to fish offshore occasionally with a great commercial reef fisherman who ran out there in a Cigarette type boat at 40 to 50 mph–at night! While he was perfectly happy to sit in the cabin and watch the radar at that speed, I was always a nervous wreck by the time we got to the ledges about dawn. (The decks would be littered with flying fish by the time we got there–they hit the cabin like baseballs as we sped along!)

Bottom line is that a “glass cockpit” is a wonderful thing, but our electronics are not yet even close to being set-and-forget; you are obligated, both morally and legally, to keep a lookout every moment your boat is underway, if you don’t want to become one of the Coast Guard’s EAC’s.

Terms Gun Ban Fanatics Use Proving They Are Irrational

The all out assault on guns, gun owners and the 2nd Amendment continues at an unbelievable pace. One of the main reasons it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion on guns and what needs to be done to actually make a difference in violence is this concentration on guns as the problem, and the misinformation and outright lies pushed constantly.

Assault weapon is a term you hear all the time. What is an assault weapon? I guess anything used to assault anyone, from pencils to a piece of rope can be called an assault weapon. The true definition of an assault weapon is an automatic weapon that will fire steadily with one pull of the trigger, or fire in three round bursts. All those guns are already tightly regulated and almost impossible for citizens to purchase or own.

The liberal media and gun ban groups seem to classify any semiautomatic gun as an assault weapon, since they usually say “military style assault weapons.” They usually mean a gun that looks ugly and holds more than ten rounds. That can include anything from my Remington .22 to the now famous Bushmaster AR 15. To ban “assault weapons” can mean ban any gun you don’t like.

High capacity clips are one of the biggest evils if you listen to the media. But many guns hold more than ten rounds. And even if bigger clips are banned, you can change clips in seconds, with little difference in the number of bullets you can shoot quickly between a smaller clip and a bigger one.

The National Rifle Association is demonized daily. The NRA is a gun rights organization that supports hunting and shooting. They also have many training segments, with over 1100 certified police officer trainers. The NRA offers safety training programs for schools and other groups, and insists on safe and legal use of guns.

The NRA has 4.3 million members. Yet the media claim they are a shill group for gun manufacturers and sellers because those businesses support them. Any group that supports an activity will be supported by businesses that sell to those kind of activities. The bass tournament trails are supported by fishing equipment manufacturers but they are certainly not shills for them, any more than the NRA is a shill for gun businesses.

More than 100,000 people have joined the NRA in the past six weeks. The biggest gun ban organization, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, has 28,000 members. That alone should tell you who citizens support, regardless of the claims by the media and gun ban organizations.

Cop killer bullets and hollow point bullets are another evil that gun ban organizations claim only the military need. But the military uses full metal jacketed bullets. Hollow point bullets and soft tip bullets are used for hunting. In fact, bullets that expand are required for big game hunting. So banning them bans hunting bullets. And cop killer bullets are usually defined as any bullet that will penetrate a bullet proof vest, which means any high power rifle bullet suitable for deer and other big game hunting.

Big bullets is a term many gun banners use to define the .223 round used in the Bushmaster and many other rifles. But the .223 is almost the smallest center fire bullet available, and just barely legal for deer hunting. My old 30-30 fires a round almost half again as big around as the .223, and is more powerful since it has more powder. All higher caliber big game rifles fire a much bigger and more powerful bullet.

You will hear about the number of kids killed by guns each year, but the huge majority of those are 18 to 21 year olds, not young kids, and many of them are gang bangers that shoot each other with illegal guns. Any kid killed is a tragedy but no gun ban or bullet ban will affect the number.

The misinformation goes on and on and only leads people like me to work harder to stop misguided laws that only affect law-abiding citizens like me.