Author Archives: ronniegarrison

Guatemala Sailfish by Kayak

Guatemala Sailfish by Kayak
from The Fishing Wire

Anglers fish “Billfish Capital of the World” in Old Town Predator PDL kayaks

Old Town, ME – Angler David Hadden’s eyes light up when asked about kayak fishing Guatemala’s Pacific Coast, what many consider “The Billfish Capital of the World.”

If big game fishing in world-renowned billfish waters wasn’t enough, Old Town’s David Hadden and Sport Fishing editor Doug Olander took it one step further, hauling Old Town Predator PDL kayaks some 40 miles offshore, “mothership fishing” from one of Casa Vieja’s charter boats under the expert direction of Captain Chris Sheeder.

“It was a life-changing experience,” says Hadden. “For anglers, it’s the zenith of the sport. You get out there in the blue with big fish and it’s heaven. The first day Captain Chris took us right to a ledge, we dropped the kayaks in the water, and within 30 minutes we were doubled up.”

Although Hadden’s no stranger to big fish like tarpon and tuna, his first Pacific Sailfish pushed the limits of what he’d accomplished from an Old Town Predator PDL kayak.

“I fought that first sail like I’d fight any big fish from a kayak, and it took me all of twenty minutes. The first couple runs a sailfish makes are part sleigh ride, part acrobatics display, but after five to eight minutes, the combination of warm water temperature and lactic acid buildup run down the fish. Captain Chris pushed me to lock down the reel and get it done. With a single swipe of the tail they can go 10 feet in any direction, but you don’t want to completely exhaust the fish.”

Drag tightened and a quick fight routine dialed in, sailfish releases from the Old Town Predator PDL jibed well with Casa de Vieja’s catch and release conservation program.

“Casa Vieja takes the ‘The Billfish Capital of the World’ designation seriously, protecting all billfish to fight another day. That was the beauty of Predator PDL kayaks; we could hold the bill with one hand and pedal and revive the fish after the fight. That might have been the most satisfying part,” says Hadden.

And many successful releases there were. Hadden, Olander, and two other kayak anglers fished for three days, doubling up on countless occasions, with double-digit fish totals some days. “I was able to fight, land, and release every fish that bit. At the end of the three days, I went seven for seven. But I had to work for them. We pedaled up to 10 miles a day in 90-degree temperatures with high humidity while deploying baits, re-rigging, fighting fish… It was very physical and very rewarding. We always kept the mothership within range and Captain Chris and crew kept a close eye on us.”

Along the way, Hadden and crew planted their flag in some new angling territories, including being the first anglers to fish sailfish from pedal-driven kayaks 40 miles off Guatemala’s Pacific coast. And on the last day, they pioneered a unique play that merged charter boat outrigger teaser bait tactics with precise kayak angler boat control and bait placement.

Sailfish anglers will often use long outrigger poles when trolling to place baits high in the water column off both sides of the boat. When a sailfish is teased up on an outrigger bait—essentially used as a decoy—they’ll quickly pull in the outrigger and line and use a rod to flip a bait to the fish.

“On Day 3, Captain Chris yells from the charter boat to me, ‘Get right next to me!’ So I pedaled to stay right with the moving boat, and sure enough, he yells ‘Behind you! Behind you!’ and a sailfish had emerged right behind the boat to the outrigger bait. At the last minute Captain Chris swings the outrigger off and tells me to swing the kayak in with my bait. As I came off the wake and into the spread, the fish surfaced right behind my bait! It was so close, but the fish didn’t eat. Still, it was the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”

Hadden eventually caught the lingering sailfish, but catching the fish on the fly in a seamless choreography is his future goal. “That moment when you’re pedaling and then slip the kayak over the wake and into the spread right next to a high-rising sailfish is pretty magical. Those fish are fired up and ready to attack. I know Captain Chris and I could get the same scenario to work on the fly.”

Familiar with the latest in kayak fishing tactics, techniques, and trends, Hadden believes he and Captain Chris were the first to attempt precise pedal-driven kayak boat and bait placement in tandem with a trolling charter boat on an outrigger-teased sailfish.

GEAR

While Johnson Outdoors Watercraft manufactures numerous kayak models suitable for saltwater big game fishing, the Old Town Predator PDL has quickly become a favorite with anglers.

“It all comes down to the hands-free fishing experience the rugged and efficient Old Town PDL Drive provides. Especially with fighting any kind of big billfish species, having forward and reverse right at your feet is a huge asset for controlling the fish. Trolling and deploying baits is also made that much easier than having to work a paddle. Of course, the PDL Drive itself is built for saltwater use and the 10.3:1 gear ratio allows speeds up to 5.5 mph for reaching and returning from distant spots quickly and efficiently,” says Hadden.

In terms of tackle, Hadden and company fished live blue runners on circle hooks with 80-pound Seaguar braid main line and an 80-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader.

“Live bait was definitely the way to go for multiple fish days. I paired Accurate reels with St. Croix Mojo Salt rods, which had plenty of backbone to put the wood to fish after I locked up the drag. I held the rod and line in my hands so I could feel the take and drop back. A couple guys were just free-trolling. My thing was having a rod that was sensitive to feel when the bait got nervous—the calm before the storm.”

TRAVEL & LODGING

Logistically speaking, Hadden says the trip to Guatemala’s Casa Vieja Lodge couldn’t have been easier. “I flew from Portland, Maine to Atlanta, right into Guatemala City. The whole trip took about six hours. I was greeted at the airport by Casa Vieja staff and we were bused right to the gated lodge. Seamless, safe, and super professional.”

Once to the lodge, Hadden and crew were met with first-class accommodations. “The lodge was as nice as anything in the Bahamas. Fine cuisine and a great beer, scotch, and rum selection. Five-star all around, but what really impressed me was their staff.

From the servers to the guides, I can’t imagine a better operation. Every morning they came to your room with coffee, a really nice touch. And Casa Vieja guides are as good as they get. Captain Chris Sheeder is the best blue-water guide I’ve ever fished with. It was an honor to learn from one of a handful of anglers who’ve released 20,000 billfish.”

To learn more about Guatemala’s legendary billfish angling, visit www.casaviejalodge.com.

Want to win a brand new Predator PDL, St. Croix Legend Tournament Inshore rod, plus lots of other St. Croix and Old Town gear seen in the video?

Enter here:

#AdventureLivesHere

About Old Town:

JOHNSON OUTDOORS is a leading global outdoor recreation company that inspires more people to experience the awe of the great outdoors with innovative, top-quality products. The company designs, manufactures and markets a portfolio of winning, consumer-preferred brands across four categories: Watercraft Recreation, Fishing, Diving and Camping.

JOHNSON OUTDOORS WATERCRAFT RECREATION includes Old Town canoes and kayaks, Ocean Kayak, Necky kayaks, Carlisle paddles and Extrasport personal flotation devices. Old Town canoes and kayaks have created genuine watercraft with innovative designs for over 100 years.

Visit Old Town canoes and kayaks at www.oldtowncanoe.com

Visit Johnson Outdoors at www.johnsonoutdoors.com

Brady Bunch Efforts to Ban Guns

he latest email from the Brady Bunch begging for donations crows that they are suing the ATF as well as sellers, marketers, and manufacturers of “bump stocks.” This is a tactic long used by gun banners to try to eliminate everything related to gun manufacture, suing them out of existence and making it impossible for citizens to buy guns.

This tactic got so ridiculous a few years ago that congress passed a law making it illegal to sue gun manufacturers and sellers unless the gun was defective, placing guns in the same category as all other things we can buy.

Using this illogic, Ryder trucks, rental truck centers, truck manufacturers, fertilizer sellers and producers would have all been sued after Timothy McVeigh used a rental truck filled with fertilizer to bomb a federal building and kill 168 people and injure more than 600 in 1995.

Look for more and more efforts to “do something” about guns, even though folks making those efforts will admit, if forced, that nothing they are proposing would have made any difference at all.

Those wanting to end your civil right to own a gun will do anything to overturn the constitution.

Can Spawning Fish Influence River Profiles?

Sex that moves mountains: Spawning fish can influence river profiles
By Eric Sorensen, WSU News
from The Fishing Wire

fishPULLMAN, Wash. – It turns out that sex can move mountains.

A Washington State University researcher has found that the mating habits of salmon can alter the profile of stream beds, affecting the evolution of an entire watershed. His study is one of the first to quantitatively show that salmon can influence the shape of the land.

Alex Fremier, lead author of the study and associate professor in the WSU School of the Environment, said female salmon “fluff” soil and gravel on a river bottom as they prepare their nests, or redds. The stream gravel is then more easily removed by flooding, which opens the underlying bedrock to erosion.

“The salmon aren’t just moving sediment,” said Fremier. “They’re changing the character of the stream bed, so when there are floods, the gravel is more mobile.”

Alex Fremier, associate professor at the WSU School of the Environment and author of “Sex that moves mountains” in the journal Geomorphology, with a rainbow trout on Lake Pend Oreille.
The study, “Sex that moves mountains: The influence of spawning fish on river profiles over geologic timescales,” appears in the journal Geomorphology.

Working with colleagues at the University of Idaho and Indiana University, Fremier modeled the changes over 5 million years and saw streams with spawning salmon lowering stream slopes and elevation over time. Land alongside the stream can also get steeper and more prone to erosion.

“Any lowering of the streambed translates upstream to lower the entire landscape,” said Fremier.

Different salmon species can have different effects, Fremier said. Chinook salmon can move bigger pieces of material, while coho tend to move finer material. Over time, this diversification can lead to different erosion rates and changes to the landscape.

The paper is another way of looking at the role of living things in shaping their nonliving surroundings. Trees prevent landslides; beavers build dams that slow water, creating wetlands, flood plains and habitats for different trees and animals.

In 2012, researchers writing in Nature Geoscience described how, before the arrival of trees more than 300 million years ago, landscapes featured broad, shallow rivers and streams with easily eroded banks. But tree roots stabilized river banks and created narrow, fixed channels and vegetated islands, while log jams helped create the formation of new channels. The new landscape in turn led to “an increasingly diverse array of organisms,” the researchers wrote.

Similarly, said Fremier, salmon can be creating new stream habitats that encourage the rise of new salmon species. On the other hand, streams where salmon drop in number or disappear altogether could see significant long-term changes in their profile and ecology.

“The evolution of a watershed can be influenced by the evolution of a species” Fremier said.

Read more like this at Washington State University News here

Lake Martin Tournament

Lake Martin produced a lot of fish, as always. Although it was very hot and the lake was full, the first time I have seen it full in October since I started going over there in 1975, we still had a lot of fun.

In the two-day tournament 25 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters, Flint River Bass Club and Spalding County Sportsman Club landed 194 keeper bass longer than 12 inches that weighed a total of 268 pounds. There were 31 five fish limits and everyone caught at least one keeper.

Raymond English won with ten weighing 21.58 pounds, I placed second with ten at 18.46 pounds, Lee Hancock caught ten at 17.64 for third and Kwong Yu was fourth with ten at 17.33 pounds. Gary Hattaway had big fish with a 3.16 pounder.

I went over on Wednesday and set up camp in my van in my usual spot at Wind Creek State Park, got my boat in the water and relaxed. That night I had to run a fan blowing on me all night but still did not sleep well due to the heat. I should have taken my air conditioner.

Before daylight Thursday morning I was on the water and landed three nice spots on a spinnerbait just as it got light. Then I caught a few more trying different things, but it got tough with the bright sun. I was afraid that was an indication of things to come, and it was. The lake was totally different with the full water.

Friday morning, I slept in and then tried a pattern a guide had told me was working. I landed six fish throwing a rattletrap but they were all small so I did not think it would be worth fishing in the tournament. That afternoon I took up money and we drew boat numbers for take-off.

I went out first Saturday morning and ran to the point where I had caught three on Thursday, but did not get a bite. On another point nearby I watched as a six pound plus bass followed my spinnerbait to the boat then turned away. I guess he could identify my bait as fake in the very clear water.

By then I was already frustrated. My pattern was not working so I went to things that had worked in the past, fishing brush piles and docks, and landed my first small keeper at 9:00. Fishing hard for the next eight hours I managed to land ten keepers on a jig and pig and a shaky head worm, but my best five weighed only 7.5 pounds. Raymond shocked us all with five weighing 13.15 pounds that day.

Sunday I was last going out and ran to another point where I had caught fish in the past. Within minutes I had landed three good spots, two on a spinnerbait and one on a jig and pig. I have no idea why it was so different. As the sun came up I kept throwing a jig and pig and landed five more bass, the biggest a 2.69 pound largemouth.

My best five weighed 10.99 pounds and I won for the day, and my largemouth was second biggest fish, missing big fish by only .05 of a pound. It had gotten very tough after 10:00 and all my best fish hit before 8:30 that morning.

I was so worn out after not sleeping good for several nights that I decided to stay another night and woke to rain Monday morning. I went out and bass were easy to catch, just like in the past. I swear those bass know when it is the weekend and quit biting!

I’m already looking forward to the trip next October!

Golden Time for Fall Fishing in Wyoming

Now is the Golden Time for Fall Fishing in Wyoming According to the WGFD.
from The Fishing Wire

Cheyenne – October is the golden month for fall fishing. The fish are active, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department fish managers around the state agree it’s the best time to get outside with your rod.

Brown trout spawn in autumn so expect good action. A trip to the North Platte never disappoints, and there is plenty of public access. The Miracle Mile, Cardwell, Gray Reef and Saratoga reaches of the North Platte are all Blue Ribbon waters, holding more than 600 pounds of trout per mile. Anglers can expect to catch fish on streamers, nymphs and dry flies this time of year. The Miracle Mile is especially popular with fall anglers since October is when large brown trout from Pathfinder Reservoir begin moving into the river.

Brown trout seekers who visit the Salt River near Jackson will be rewarded with strong populations through December or January. The Salt River runs almost entirely on private land, but there are numerous public access areas for fishing. The Green and New Fork rivers are good options, too, that offer plenty of fishing access. Dry flies such as grasshoppers are still working during the day.

Some smaller North Platte tributaries near Laramie will also be rewarding. Laramie Regional Fisheries Supervisor Bobby Compton recommends visiting Big Creek, Brush Creek, Douglas Creek, French Creek, or the lower Encampment River. And, as usual, the Laramie Plains lakes will be hopping as temperatures cool. Good fishing is predicted at Meeboer, Gelatt Lake, Twin Buttes and Lake Hattie. Wheatland No. 3 is also expected to be hot again this season. At Hattie and Wheatland 3, anglers should watch for fall-spawning rainbow trout populations that swim close to the shore.

Rainbows are also flourishing and growing large in Boysen Reservoir this year. Game and Fish is stocking almost double the amount than in year’s past, and people have noticed an increase in quality and numbers.

For an all-around good trout experience, the North Tongue River, Middle Fork Powder River and Sand Creek are northern destinations not to be missed. Also, the Green River below Fontenelle Dam will have plenty of rainbow, Snake River cutthroat and Bear River cutthroat trout eagerly feeding on nymphs, San Juan worms and minnow patterns. The Finger Lakes near Pinedale are a good destination for lake trout — try Fremont, Boulder, Halfmoon and New Fork. Lake trout will move into the shallows starting in October as the nights dip into the 30s. Soda Lake continues to fish well and will be open to fishing until Nov. 14. Healthy looking browns and brook trout over 16 inches are common.

Anglers who target warm-water species should plan to head to waters around Sheridan, Casper and Lander. Healy Reservoir, near Buffalo, is a great destination for bass, with some largemouths over 20 inches and 5 pounds. Keyhole, in the northeast, has good water levels and the summer treated the fish well. Casper and Lander area waters should hold active walleye thanks to higher-than-normal flows from good snowpacks around the state.

“At Glendo, the main forage fish in the lake — gizzard shad — begin to die off in September and October, and the walleye and channel catfish really key in on this,” said Matt Hahn, Casper regional fisheries supervisor. “Anglers should plan on trolling crankbaits that resemble shad or vertical jig schools of suspended fish with jigging spoons.”

Hahn also points walleye-seekers to Pathfinder and recommends casting large swimbaits to the shore, especially in the upper end of the lake.

Farther west, Boysen Reservoir cleared in the late summer and Craig Amadio, the Lander regional fisheries supervisor, has heard excellent reports from the field.

“Walleye fishing is the best it’s been in a long time, and I expect that to be the case this fall. Walleye in Boysen are feeding on bigger fish now — perch and rainbow trout. A lot of anglers will troll open water using crankbaits and planer boards,” Amadio said.

October isn’t too late for an adventure. Many alpine lakes offer quality golden trout and cutthroat trout if you’re prepared to fish in the snow. Higher elevations are known for storms as early as September. Thumb Lake and Atlantic Lake are a couple good golden trout waters, and the Wind River Range has goldens in the Sweeney Lakes and Hobbs Lake. Chasing tiger trout is an option for anglers wanting to reel in something different; visit Upper Silas Lake, Willow Park Reservoir and Cow Lake.

An added bonus of fall fishing is the solitude. Many avid sportsmen and women have exchanged rods for rifles by October. For those looking for a peaceful angling trip, visit Grayrocks and Hawk Springs in the southeast for walleye, crappie and bass. Boysen is also expected to be less crowded as hunters head afield. Robb Keith, Green River fisheries supervisor, reminds anglers that the Hams Fork River downstream of Kemmerer City Reservoir is home to a variety of trout species and has public access through a Game and Fish fishing easement along the river in a stretch of private land below the reservoir. Bring your streamers as the fall progresses, dry flies and grasshoppers won’t do here.

If elbow room and aggressively feeding fish sound like a good combo, the Shoshone River below Buffalo Bill Dam should be on the list. Between Buffalo Bill Dam and Willwood Dam there are 2,500 trout per mile and relatively good access for both wading and floating. Big Horn Lake and the Bighorn River will also be less crowded and the sauger big and active — the biggest tipping 5 to 6 pounds, with an average of 2 to 4 pounds. Sam Hochhalter, Cody regional fisheries supervisor, recommends everything from jigs and crankbaits to night crawlers and live minnows to bring in a big one.

Fishing and Hunting Traditions

Fishing and hunting have always had traditions that have been passed down generation to generation. Many of those traditions are threatened by a huge variety of forces. Will any of them survive?

In 1974 Jim Berry got me in the Spalding County
Sportsman Club and I fished my first bass tournament with him that April. Although I had never been competitive in anything, I fell in love with tournament fishing and am still fanatical about club tournaments 43 years later.

I did not play any sports in high school, never was much for games of any kind and liked solitary, contemplative activities like hunting and fishing. But something about bass tournaments changed that and made me want to compete in what had always been a different kind of recreation.

Bass tournament have grown to a huge business over the past 40 years. Top pros win millions of dollars over their careers and appear on TV and in advertising like any other pro sports figure. They are looked up to by many youth as role models.

As much as I love tournaments, I fear we have lost something. Fishing has become a media spectacle with live coverage of tournaments, interviews with pros, some of whom are cocky and showy, and way too much glorification of their skills.

Growing up I sculled wooden jon boats for my uncles, paddling quietly so they could cast their lures in farm ponds. Those were learning times for me, with quiet conversations discussing everything from fishing methods to the mysteries of life. Catching fish was fun and I loved it when I got a turn to fish, but it was about so much more.

Now bass fishing consists of screaming around a lake in a bass boat, often at 70 plus miles per hour, working hard to get a bite rather than relaxing, and showing off with everything from fist pumps to dancing around on the boat, often with exclamations that would make you think catching a bass was the same as scoring a touchdown.

It takes skill to catch bass consistently and there is no doubt good fishermen are skillful. But to listen to some fishermen when they catch a fish you would think they have achieved some great victory. It is like they overcame some huge handicap to do something no one else could do.

Tournament fishing did change something else. In the past most fish caught were eaten. Catch and release has become a religion for many bass fishermen, with anyone keeping bass to eat condemned. But some of this religion only extends to show.

One tournament trail bans nets for several reasons but one often used is that netting a bass harms it, removing the protective slime on their bodies and lowering their chances of survival when released. But in those same tournaments fishermen are shown “boat flipping” bass they hooked.

Boat flipping is getting a bass near the boat and pulling it out of the water with heavy tackle. The bass flies through the air, slams into the carpet in the bottom of the boat and thrashes around until the fisherman can pick up.

There is no way that does less damage to the fish than a net.

Most tournaments have become about money and fame. That is why I like club fishing. So far, my clubs don’t make it about money, although some want to raise entry fees and turn it in that direction, with higher payouts. There are some bragging rights in doing well in those tournaments but most of it is low key with few show-offs.

The Federation Top Six tournaments have moved in the wrong way in my opinion. When I started fishing them in 1979 there was competition, mainly for the right to move up to the regional tournament but some between clubs for bragging rights, not individual glory. At the first regional I fished with the state team in 1983 the 12 of us worked together, sharing information every night and trying to help everyone do good and finish high as a team. Our team won.

The last one I fished in 2010 it was everyone for himself, with little information sharing on the team. It was so bad that one night when I told the team of a small pattern I thought I had found another team member told me I could not fish those places, those were his fish. Our “team” finished near the bottom.

In the past you fished with someone from another club and shared the places fished during the day, with each of you having half a day to run the trolling motor. You had to qualify for the Top Six by doing well in your club the year before.

I fished the Federation Nation Top Six at Lanier this past week, after this was written. Now, with that Federation, clubs still send teams but others can “buy” in, paying to enter the tournament even if you didn’t make the club team. It a pro/am format, with the boater having control of the boat all day. Entry fees have gone up and it has become more cut-throat.

If it went the way I am afraid it will go, it will be the last one I fish.

I will continue to fish club tournaments as long as I am able. Maybe its my age, I am not keeping up with the times, but I hope I never see the changes locally I am seeing at the state level and up.

Something about fishing has been lost. There is nothing wrong with tournaments, but sometimes I miss sitting in the back of the boat, sculling for an adult while they fished and shared their life experiences and knowledge with me.

Clam Chowder Recipe

Our Coast’s Food: The Best Clam Chowder
While turkey is the undisputed table champion on Thanksgiving, most of us who have spent our time around the water would not mind starting off the big meal with a bowl of clam chowder–here’s a look at a few of the ways this great coastal dish can be prepared, from Coastal Review Online.

by Liz Biro, Coastal Review
from The Fishing Wire

Down East clam chowder is always made with mostly clams. Photo: Vanda Lewis/North Carolina Sea Grant, from “Mariner’s Menu”
Most Americans would say that the United States has two clam chowders, the creamy New England-style and the tomato-based Manhattan kind. They know this in a large part due to the Campbell’s Soup company bringing both chowders to the masses. Who didn’t grow up with Mom pouring a can of clam chowder into a pot?

I would argue there are three types of clam chowder in America, the third and best being North Carolina’s own. Some people call it “Hatteras clam chowder,” others call it “Down East clam chowder,” but most locals just call it “clam chowder” because no matter where you’re from on the N.C. coast, it’s always made with mostly clams.

Agreeing on a clam chowder recipe is no small deal. In New England, where those other two chowders are from, cooks constantly quarrel over which recipe is correct. Milk- or cream-based New England-style with potatoes and onions might be thick or thin. Manhattan-style seasoned with garlic and often soup vegetables such as carrots, onions and celery has many variations. Long Islanders add milk or cream. Floridians include hot chilies. In New Jersey, cooks stir in light cream, creamed asparagus and celery powder.

It was all too much for one Maine legislator to take. In the mid-1900s, New England clam chowder devotee Rep. Cleveland Sleeper was so offended by Manhattan-style chowder that he kept drafting bills to make putting tomatoes in clam chowder a crime. Offenders would have been forced to dig a barrel of clams at high tide.

The issue was supposedly finally put to rest in the so-called “Maine chowder war of 1939.” It was a chef-to-chef battle, New England vs Manhattan. New England won, and Sleeper gloated. “If a clam could vote,” he said, “I would be elected president.”

Debate, however, never ended.

Maine Rep. Cleveland Sleeper believed that the tomatoes in Manhattan-style clam chowder polluted the stew. Photo: Wikipedia
Sleeper thought, as other Manhattan chowder haters still do, that tomatoes polluted the stew. So does milk or cream, as far as native coastal North Carolinians are concerned. They put nothing but clams, potatoes, onions and water in their clam chowder because they like chowder that tastes like fresh clams. What’s more accurate than that?

Food historians think the word “chowder” derives from the French word “chaudière,” meaning “boiler,” or a large iron cooking pot. When early French settlers landed in what are now Canada’s Maritimes, they found the region’s native Micmac peoples cooking clams in hollowed out tree trunks, Alan Davidson writes in “The Oxford Companion to Food” (Oxford University Press, 1999). Water was poured into the tree trunks and fire-heated stones were dropped into the water. When the French introduced their chaudière, it seems chowder was invented.

The word chowder, showed up in North America in the 1730s. Today, it means seafood stew, but it may have originally referred to any soup or stew cooked in a large pot to feed a crowd. Back then, there was no such thing as an “authentic” chowder recipe.

The oldest chowder formulas were water-based fish soups containing root vegetables, potatoes among them, Food Timeline has found. Wine, cider and spices added flavor and hard bread or crackers bulk. Nary an ounce of milk went into a recipe billed New England Chowder in the 1847 cookbook titled “The Frugal Housekeeper’s Kitchen Companion or Guide to Economical Cookery.”

Mid-1800s recipes suggested flour to give the chowders body. Around the same time, Rhode Island cooks were adding tomatoes, thanks to Portuguese immigrants introducing the state to their country’s seafood stews.

New England-style clam chowder includes milk or cream. Photo: Wikipedia
By the end of the century, New Englanders were leaving out wine, cider and spices in favor of onions, potatoes, salt pork and milk from the dairy cows that took well to the Northeast’s cooler climate.

Meantime, tomato-based chowder became known as Manhattan-style for no exact reason. In “The Book of Chowder” (Harvard Common Press, 1978) author Richard J. Hooker tells of famed New York restaurant Delmonico’s 1894 recipe for Chowder de Lucines made with pork, parsley, thyme, onions, potatoes, clams and tomatoes.

None of the debate mattered to working families living frugally along the North Carolina and other state coasts. They made clam chowder with what was available. The humble version favored in North Carolina also took hold in Delaware, where cooks added butter. Salt pork went into some North Carolina pots for seasoning. Cornmeal dumplings floated on top added the extra bulk men and women needed for the hard work of fishing, farming and tending homesteads.

Coastal North Carolina families still love that basic chowder. Many tourists visiting the state’s beaches wouldn’t think of a fried seafood dinner at a restaurant without a first course of Hatteras clam chowder. It never goes out of style, and it never comes in a can.

Down East Clam Chowder

¼ pound salt pork, sliced
1 quart coarsely chopped large chowder clams
1 quart water
½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups diced white potatoes

In a large saucepan, fry pork over medium heat until crisp. Remove pork. Add clams, water, onion, salt, pepper and, if desired, chopped pork to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer slowly until clams are tender, about 1½ hours. Add potatoes and onions, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Source: Adapted from “Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas” (North Carolina Sea Grant, 2003)

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report

Check out these weekly updated reports for selected lakes in Georgia and Alabama Lakes Fishing Report. If any guides or fishermen do weekly reports and would like them published on my site please contact me: ronnie@fishing-about.com

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 11/18/17

It has been a long fall run into the best fall fishing of the year but it’s finally here; the bass are
active and chasing and we should see this for at least 3 weeks before the bass turn back to
suspending for the winter. Fishing is less than 3 ft. of water has been the key for me and
fishing reaction baits.

My old faithful Tight-Line swim jig got its life back this past week fishing over grass and
working it erratically with a constant change of speed is what triggered bites. I added a
Missile bait Shock Wave swim bait and had my best bait set up for the week. We also worked
Picasso Chatter Bait “Shock Blades” some along the deeper edges for more vibration. We still
continued our use of the Missile bait “48” stick bait and added some fish with it. Fishing is
good and the fun is here on Guntersville.

Come fish with me no one will treat you better or work harder to see you have a great day on
the water. I have days and guides available to fish with you; we fish with great sponsor
products, Duckett rods and reels, Vicious Line, T&H Marine Products, Ranger Boats and more.

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service

Email: bassguide@comcast.net
Phone: 256 759 2270
Captain Mike Gerry

Reds Run Deep

When Reds Run Deep
By David A. Brown
from The Fishing Wire

Mention redfishing and a lot of folks will envision technical poling skiffs or a kayak sneaking up on skittish tailers. If that’s not your jam, maybe you like Chatterbaits to marsh pumpkins; or launching topwater baits toward schools of bull reds rumbling across a coastal bay.

What’s the common denominator here? Shallow water — the default choice for redfish anglers from Carolina creeks to Northern Gulf marshes. That’s because redfish are often a visual target; they either show themselves directly or with obvious movement (pushes, boils, wakes) or they reveal their position by scaring the heck out of baitfish and shrimp, which dimple the surface and flip skyward as auburn gluttons approach.

Fishing pressure, weather extremes and feeding opportunities are the common motivators for redfish moving deep.
However, this is not the only option. In fact, a bounty of redfish revelry awaits anglers with the ambition, aptitude and technical savvy to seek a deeper playing field.

For clarity, it’s well known that those adult “bulls” spend their lives outside the marshes and estuaries of their youth; so it’s not unusual to find these jumbos patrolling coastal and offshore reefs, Northern Gulf drilling rigs, etc. But the younger “slot” fish also occasionally seek deeper habitats; and that can present a bounty of opportunity.

DEEP THOUGHTS

Spawning activity typically occurs in deeper, offshore waters; but for those sub-adult slot fish, heading to greater depths within their inshore/coastal zone often makes a lot of sense. Raymarine pro Capt. C.A. Richardson said fishing pressure and extreme weather events will push redfish to deeper, more insulated waters, but the allure often involves the prime motivators: food and water temperature.

“Most of the time, they’re on those deeper spots because the food source in undeniable,” Richardson said. “When I use my Raymarine RealVision 3D or SideVision and see giant schools of baitfish it’s hard to think that predator fish won’t be there.”

Not only does Raymarine RealVision helps anglers locate fish off both sides of the boat and below, it reveals exactly how deep in the water column.
Indeed, from rock jetties to bridge pilings, to the debris piles dumped near a bridge, deep habitat with greater warmth and feeding opportunities often goes overlooked by anglers fettered with a one-dimensional mindset. Another example: oyster reefs that never see direct sunlight. Outgoing tides expose a lot of shallow shell mounds, but those below the mean low tide line remain covered.

“In colder months, redfish aren’t going to be on the flats at 8 o’clock in the morning; often times, they’ll be on those inlets and those passes and bridges when it’s really cold in the dead of winter,” said Richardson, who runs a Raymarine eS12 Hybrid Touch and a 12-inch Axiom Pro unit on his bay boat and a 7-inch Axiom on his poling skiff. “As soon as we get to midday, they’ll often move up to a nearby flat to warm up and feed.

“As an angler, you always gravitate to those zones. Anytime you have fertile shallow water with a history of producing fish and there’s a deep water relief nearby, it’s always worth scanning that stuff with your Raymarine unit.”

As Richardson notes, the evolution of CHIRP sonar simplifies the search by providing ultra-clear returns with verifiable target separation. Other words, wishful wondering is a thing of the past.

Anglers can easily customize Axiom/Axiom Pro split-screen views to suit exactly where, how, and what they’re fishing.
“There’s no guessing; a lot of times the Raymarine CHIRP sonar technologies will show the outline of a fish,” Richardson said. “You can see ‘That’s a tarpon. That’s a bigger, fatter fish; that’s probably a grouper. That’s a longer fish, that’s likely a snook or a redfish. You can literally see a signature on the screen and have a pretty good idea what you’re looking at.

“If there’s a pretty good wad of (baitfish) there looking for a thermocline where they’re going to be more comfortable, those predator fish are probably going to be close by.”

Wherever redfish run deep, you’ll be wise to keep a diverse selection of baits handy so you can dial in their preference. Lead head jigs with shad or curl tails are always a good bet, as are the flutter spoons and slender blade jigs, which dance in the water column like wounded baitfish. Deep diving crankbaits, Carolina-rigged plastics and a beefed-up dropshot will also tempt these fish.

CANAL CORRAL

Richardson describes one of his favorite scenarios for redfish, as well as a mixed bag of cast-worthy species. When cold, blustery weather turns the shallows uncomfortable, he looks to the deep residential canals, especially the ones where yachts or big sailboats mean at least 8-15 feet of depth in front of their docks.

“I’ll idle my skiff through those areas with my Raymarine SideVision and DownVision on and look for the bait schools or the fish that are piled in there,” Richardson said. “Especially the first day after a cold front, you’ll see them stacked up and that’s when I start fishing with very small Z-Man Ned Rig jig with a Z-Man Slim SwimZ or Finesse ShadZ or fast-sinking MirrOlures (32M, 4M or 52M).

“Let your bait go all the way to the bottom and then just barely flick them off the bottom. You’ll get a really soft bite; it will almost be like there’s some weight there and you just lift your rod tip and start cranking down as fast as you can to come tight on them.”

Richardson suggests a slow, measured pace controlled with light rod tip motion. Employing this technique, catches redfish, snook, trout and the occasional doormat flounder.

“The action on this technique is so much fun,” Richardson said. “You catch so many fish that you don’t care if the fish aren’t all big. It’s just the fact that you’re coming tight on something every other cast.”

In the Northern Gulf, drilling rigs commonly attract the larger bull reds.
Here, again, Raymarine’s ultra-clear CHIRP sonar plays an invaluable role in the angler’s time management. Rather than hitting every dock in a canal and hoping he’ll run into a few fish, Richardson looks before he casts.

“You don’t have to guess which canals have fish; you just turn on your Raymarine and slowly idle until you find a canal that’s stacked up with fish,” he said. “Then, you think about why the fish are there. Maybe it’s a east-west canal that doesn’t have the cold north wind blowing into it. Maybe the fish are in a corner that faces south and it’s on a northern seawall that absorbs the sun’s heat all day long.

“Some people just go in there with a shrimp on a split shot rig, and go from canal to canal, hoping to catch a fish. But when your Raymarine unit tells you there are fish there, you have the confidence of knowing ‘I’m going to catch fish here.” You just have to figure out how.”

Granted, it can be much easier to find redfish in shallow areas — sight fished, or not; but the deep stuff merits a spot in your game plan. For one thing, the fish are almost always biting and you’ll rarely have to worry about company.

So, shhhhh — don’t tell anyone.

Captain C.A. Richardson is among the featured speakers at the Reel Animals Boat Show and Fishing Expo today through Sunday at the Florida State Fairgrounds east of Tampa. Visit www.reelanimalsboatshow.com for schedule and other details.

Georgia Bass Nation Top Six At Lake Lanier

Unfortunately, my biggest catch at Lanier in the Georgia Bass Nation Top Six last week was a cold that just won’t seem to go away. In five days on the water the weather went from windy and cool to pouring rain to very cold with strong winds. And fishing was tough.

I met fellow club and team member Dan Phillips at the ramp Wednesday morning after camping out the night before in my van. We stood around for more than an hour waiting to register the team, then went fishing. The wind blew and it was cool all day.

Dan showed me a good hump in the mouth of Wahoo
Creek he liked to fish but we got no bites there. By 3:00 PM we had fished many places we both liked, working down the lake to Browns Bridge. As we fished around a shallow secondary point I noticed some rocks out in 12 to 14 feet of water. They showed up on my Humminbird 360 Scan depthfinder.

A cast to them with a jig and pig produced a three pound spotted bass, our first keeper of the day. I went looking for similar places and a nearby point with rocks at a similar depth produced another keeper. By then it was time to head back to the ramp. I hoped I had found a little pattern that would work in the tournament.

Thursday morning was cooler and foggy. I launched alone and started fishing up the river, finding it very muddy not far about Clarks Bridge. One small creek was full of shad flipping on the surface but all
I caught there was a 13-inch spot, too small to keep, that hit a spinnerbait.

Fishing around another small creek up the river I cast a jig and pig to some brush out in front of a dock and caught a 15-inch keeper spotted bass. A little further another one that size hit the jig in a tree top, then I caught a two-pound largemouth beside a shallow dock on a shaky head worm. By then it was time to head in to get ready to go to the meeting to draw partners.

I drew boat #11 out of 77 meaning I would go out near the first on Friday morning but near the end on Saturday. Order of take-off is reversed on the second day. My first day partner was a first time Top Six fisherman from Clayton County and my second day partner was from north Georgia. I had met him and been on a state team with him in the past.

That night my chest started feeling congested but the next morning I was ok. I met my partner early since we were going out early and there were also 40 boats in the College division fishing and I was afraid it would take a long time to launch.

I should not have worried. We were in the boat ready to go by 6:45, expecting to take off around 7:25. Due to a fog delay we finally blasted off at 9:38! We ran 15 minutes to the two points where I had caught fish on Wednesday but got no bites. That was the pattern.

At noon I finally caught a keeper, and my partner lost a nice bass that hit a topwater plug. At two o’clock we decided to go back up river to Wahoo Creek since he had caught some fish there, and I got my second keeper on the hump Dan had showed me. We stayed in that creek the rest of the day and my partner broke his line on one big fish and landed a three-pound spot, but I never hooked another one.

Saturday morning I woke to rain drumming on the van roof. We took off on time and my partner and I decided to make the short trip to Wahoo Creek and stay there all day since he liked to fish it. The first stop on the hump Dan had showed me produced a three-pound spot for me on a spinnerbait.

My partner caught a keeper spot on a nearby point, and I landed three more keepers on a jig and pig on rocky banks by noon, but neither of us hooked a fish the last three hours we had to fish. I came in 32 out of 77 boaters with six weighing 11.47 pounds, not as good as had hoped. It took ten bass weighing 21.44 pounds to win.

The only bad thing I saw with the pro-am format that I had been worried about was some of the boaters bragging that their no-boaters did not catch a keeper all day. That was stupid. Boaters did not compete with no boaters and I wanted my no boaters to do good each day.

Sunday morning I met “Lanier Jim” at a ramp. He spent about an hour on the water fine tuning my deptfinders, making them show much better results. The wind was howling and it was very cold. I was glad he did it quickly. By the time I got home that afternoon my chest was very congested and I had a runny nose, that is still bothering me on Friday!