Monthly Archives: February 2022

Four Fishing Etiquette Tips Desperately Needed By High School Fishermen and Captains and Too Many Other Fishermen


One of the biggest pet peeves for many freshwater anglers is when they are having a good day fishing from a boat in a quiet spot on the lake or river and another angler comes along, pulls up right beside them and starts casting in the same area without asking first.

“It happens pretty much on a daily basis,” said Mercury Pro Team member Michael Neal.

If it’s a public body water, everyone is welcome to use the resource, of course. In most places, there are no written rules about how far you need to stay away from other boats and anglers. It’s within your rights to fish next to someone, as long as you aren’t harassing them (intentional angler harassment is against the law in many states). It’s up to each individual angler to decide what’s responsible behavior in terms of how much distance to put between your boat and theirs. Practicing good fishing etiquette means treating other anglers and boaters on the water with respect and giving them their space.

Neal, who fishes the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour and Pro Circuit, said it all comes down to following the Golden Rule. “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” he said.

“Communication is key. It’s the number one thing that makes your day on the water go smoothly,” added Mercury Pro Team member and Bassmaster Elite Series angler John Crews.

Here are four fishing etiquette tips from these two pros to help keep it friendly and fun for everyone on the water. What’s outlined here are unwritten rules that guide tournament anglers and serious recreational anglers.

  1. A “bent pole pattern,” indicating that an angler has a fish on the line, is not an invitation to take your boat to that angler’s position and start fishing right next to them. It’s probably better to go somewhere else, but if it’s a spot you had already hoped to fish, just wait it out. “My advice is to wait until they leave to go over to that spot,” said Neal.
  2. When another angler is fishing in a spot near where you would like to fish, stop your boat within hailing distance and let the person know your wishes. For example, if an angler is fishing partway back in a creek, and you want to fish all the way in the back, ask first if he or she intends to head deeper into the creek before you go there yourself. “If I go into an area where someone else is fishing, I ask them if they are going to continue, and if it’s OK for me to fish there. If they are having a bad day and they want to be rude about it, you don’t want to be fishing around them anyway,” Crews said. On crowded lakes, you’re likely to wind up fishing near someone. In that case, keep a respectful distance. “We usually have a mutual understanding: ‘Don’t get any closer to me, and I won’t get any closer to you,’” Neal said, referring to his fellow tournament anglers.
  3. Don’t pass too close to another angler’s boat. “Stay away from the side where their rods are; pass on the other side if you can,” Crews said, adding that it’s important to give other boats with active anglers a wide berth when you pass, if there’s room. “Two hundred to 300 feet is ideal; 100 feet at a minimum. Pass at speed and make a minimal wake rather than slowing down and pulling a big wake. However, if there isn’t room to pass far enough away, come off plane well before you get near the other boat and idle past.”
  4. Never, ever cross lines with another angler. “The number one no-no is to cast across somebody else’s line. I’ve had it happen to me personally. I decided to leave the spot to him. I figured, if it’s important enough for him to do that, he can have it,” Neal said.

Use common courtesy, and there should be enough space for everyone to fish in harmony. When in doubt, err on the side of being as respectful as possible.

“Most anglers are super cool, and as long as you can communicate with them, you can make it work,” Crews concluded.

Cutting Firewood For Fun and Warmth

    When I moved to Pike County in 1981 the house I bought had a functional wood burning insert in the fireplace.  I was young and dumb enough to decide to heat the house exclusively by wood that first winter.

    The house was two stories but the master bedroom and all the other rooms we used were on the ground floor.  I tacked sheets over the stairwell to keep the warm air from going up them, helping keep the lower level warm.

    Although I had never cut wood with a chain saw, I felt like I could do it.  I went to Sears and bought a mid-size saw and learned how it worked, always fearing it a little, especially after reading and hearing about accidents folks had with them.

    There was and old tree house in the edge of the woods and I tore it down and built a wood shed with the tin and plywood.  Then I started cutting down some of the trees behind the house.

    The four-acre lot my house was on was covered with trees with just a small front and back yard. I wanted a garden, so I started by cutting an area behind the house, trying to open it up enough. 

I cut about 16 big oak and hickory trees and a few sweetgum and popular, cutting each piece about 18 inches long to fit my insert, and splitting the trunks by hand with a maul and stacking the wood.

    I was much younger then!

    But I really enjoyed using the saw and splitting the wood. Those trees more than filled up my small woodshed so I expanded it some and had enough wood for the whole winter, keeping a fire going all the time.

    I learned a lot about wood that year.  The few sweetgum and popular trees I cut taught me popular splits very easily and has pretty colors inside, but burns fast and does “pop” while burning.  I had to keep the insert doors closed!  Sweetgum burned fast, too, and its twisted grains made it almost impossible to split. 

But I never wasted any wood, I burned the sweetgum and popular as well as any fast-burning pine I got during the day. At night I wanted slow burning oak and hickory.

    My favorite wood to split was red oak, its straight grains made it easy to split up into chunks just right for my fireplace.  Hickory was next since it split easily and burned very slowly. Whiteoak was fairly easy to split and also lasted a long time.  With any of them I could fill my insert at bedtime, shut the air vents and still have heat the next morning.

    For five years I heated exclusively with wood, even turning the pilot light off on my furnace.  Linda learned to bring in the wood and start a good fire with the kindling I kept in a big box, and she did a good job when I was gone on fishing trips.

    Then one spring I went to a Top Six tournament for five days. It was April and the weather should have been stable but a cold front dropped the nighttime lows below freezing and highs were only in the 40s.

The day I left there was a good supply of wood in the house and plenty in the woodshed.  But the day after I left Linda got sick and developed pneumonia, making it impossible for her to bring in wood and keep a fire going.

We lit the pilot light when I got home.

I continued to burn wood but never shut off the furnace again.  It was great supplemental heat and saved propane. But cancer three years ago weakened me to the point I have not tried to cut wood since then. I miss it and am going to get out my saw and try to use it.  I desperately need the exercise, and maybe I will do something I enjoy!

January On Lake Sinclair Was Tough for Me To Catch A Bass In A Club Tournament

Last Sunday 11 members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our January tournament at Lake Sinclair.  After eight hours we brought 21 keeper bass to the scales weighing about 27 pounds.   There was one five-bass limit and two people didn’t have a keeper.

Jay Gerson had the limit and it weighed 7.11 pounds for first place and his 2.94 pound largemouth was big fish.  Raymond English had four weighing 4.77 pounds for second and third was Robert Proctor with three weighing 3.28 pounds. Kwong Yu’s two weighing 2.86 pounds was fourth, beating my one at 2.52 pounds that gave me fifth place.

After catching four keepers the week before in the Potato Creek tournament I had some hope, but those four were on no pattern, just one here and there.  Will Mcclean fished with me, joining this club as well as the Flint River club, and we started trying to hook a fish after a very cold run first thing that morning.

At 10:00 neither of use had a bite after fishing four or five different kinds of places trying to find some kind of pattern.  We then made a cold ride to near the dam where I had caught my fish the week before.

After about 30 minutes the keeper I weighed in hit my spinnerbait near a grassbed in front of some rocks. I told Will I felt like you needed to catch at least three bass to establish any kind of pattern, but that one was all we had to go on.

For the rest of the day we fished similar places, making hundreds of casts around grass beds near rocks, but neither of us ever had another bite!

Why Should I Be Casting Crankbaits for Springtime Bass?


fromThe Fishing Wire

Casting Crankbaits for Springtime Bass

PARK FALLS, Wisc. – Any discussion of pre-spawn bass is bound to include the topic of crankbaits. Why? Put simply, of all the baits in the boat, cranks offer distinct advantages over most other lure types, especially in the springtime.

“Bass feed up in the early season before they spawn,” says Addison, Alabama MLF tournament competitor and St. Croix pro, Jesse Wiggins. “As water temps start to rise and baitfish get livelier, bass get used to chasing them.” That makes active presentations like crankbaits a favored springtime option in any angler’s arsenal.

Jesse’s brother, Jordan (aka Jordy) Wiggins, resides just 30-miles east of Jesse’s stomping grounds. The other half of the Wiggins Dynasty, Jordy – a BFL and Toyota Trail angler, St. Croix pro and 2021 Bassmaster Classic qualifier – agrees with his sibling rival’s assessment on spring bait choice. “I like cranks in the spring because they cover water and fish dingy water better than about anything else,” he says. Given spring conditions often involve rainy days and resulting runoff that creates the cloudy water Jordy refers to, cranks become a critical pre-spawn consideration.

Yet there’s more to spring cranking than ripping down the bank with big-billed wobble baits. The brothers Wiggins have some differing thoughts when it comes to the best approaches and effective details that contribute to a great springtime day in the boat. Much of the method to their madness is dictated by water bodies, clarity as already mentioned, but also cover and structure. They agree, however, that no matter the variables, anytime you’re throwing a crankbait come spring, you’re increasing your odds of contacting active fish.

The Approach

To be clear, the Wiggins boys don’t just huck hard baits with trebles because it’s an effective tournament tactic; they also do it because it’s fun. True, both anglers’ tournament successes have been heavily crankbait-centric; it’s a technique their dad – tournament angler, Craig Wiggins – taught them in their earliest days of fishing. “I just like actively cranking and feeling what the bait is doing the whole time,” says Jesse. “You feel exactly what that bottom or piece of structure is, and there’s no mistaking when the fish actually eats the bait. It’s a great way to get bit.” Jordy confirms, “If it’s spring, you’ll usually catch my brother Jesse throwing a square-bill whether close to shore or fishing off the bank a ways.”

Jordy continues, “I like to look for rocks and clay. As that water warms up faster, the crawfish are up in that clay especially.” Fishing near the bank then, becomes a matter of looking upslope and identifying likely lakeshore where clay and rock areas extend well underwater. “Bluff and sandy points aren’t as much in play for the lakes I fish,” Jordy adds. “It’s just not as productive as that clay is. The fish are where the forage are.”

Jesse takes a slightly different approach, biding his time away from the bank, at least at first. “I like outside channel swings,” he says. “Fish stop and concentrate here before they move up onto adjacent flats to spawn. If you think about it, it’s just another bank – but this one starts its break in a few feet of water and continues down to the bottom of the channel. I use the chart on my electronics and imagine a wall where that channel is. I fish down that wall on the deep side earlier in the spring, then focus on adjacent flats with stump fields as we get closer and closer to spawn.”

Both brothers feel strongly that there’s less chance to get bit in clean water; “clean” in terms of both turbidity and the amount of cover and structure present. “I need that lure to be banging into something. You simply have to come into contact with cover,” says Jesse. Jordan supports that statement, saying, “It just has to be hitting stumps, hard clay, rocks, laydowns, really anything.”

That contact and deflection off of cover is what makes squarebill crankbaits such an obvious choice in the spring, whether operating out from the bank, or nearly on it. “Squarebills just deflect so well,” says Jesse. “They’re pretty forgiving, and seem to ride through the thick stuff better, which is exactly when I expect to get hit.”

Jordy prefers running up and down the bank until he’s contacting the kinds of cover and structure he’s looking for or targeting main-lake points. “I’ll fish down the bank on that point, or across it, but some days I get more fish setting up on the point with a deeper diving bait,” Jordan says. “I’ll cast in deeper water out from the point, dragging it back up shallower and attacking the cover fish are in from different directions. Sometimes, the only way to extract more than one or two fish from a spot is to hit the same fish from a bunch of different angles.”

The Details

Both Wiggins brothers love squarebills during spring, with Jesse favoring a Jackyll Bling 55 for its distinctive deflective properties. “I just think it comes through cover better, and that’s all kinds of cover. Some baits work well in wood, but wedge in rocks, where this one seems to do well in a variety of cover types and has an erratic action that triggers strikes. Jordy throws the kitchen sink at spring fish, favoring a host of baits depending on the water body and depths he’s targeting. For deeper situations, a Rapala DT14, DT10, or Norman Little N gets the nod, where shallower waters call for a Strike King KVD Squarebill 1.5 in the bank-raider situations Jordy likes to target.

Color is a popular topic for any hardbait discussion, and the Wiggins both feel fish are highly selective based on the specific water body and its clarity. Crawfish in any hue is a big spring pattern which both brothers lean on heavily. “Fish definitely show a preference, and when they’re up shallow, it’s a lot of oranges and reds,” Jesse says. “Anything crawfish-looking and I’m throwing it.” But that changes as the water clears up, with Jesse opting for more natural colors at that point. “With clearer water I’m trying to imitate a shad,” says Jesse. “I just don’t go as bright or flashy and tend to stick to more whites and grays.”

Jordan notes a few exceptions, like Guntersville, where red craw patterns are in play even in clear water. “You get fish in grass systems and clear water and think that those bright colors may not work as well, but down there and a few other places they’re still the ticket,” says Jordy. “That tells you how important it is anywhere that bass are eating crawfish.” Whether fishing in heavy cover, or just near the bottom of the bank, both anglers agree that craw-patterned cranks are about as perfect as it gets come spring.

Jordy likes working the bank heavily, covering water as a matter of principle. “I like my trolling motor on 5 or 6, meaning I’m working harder to throw more baits to more water, while reeling faster to cover it,” he says. Older than Jesse by 18 months, Jordan utilizes a few extra weeks’ worth of wisdom to slow down once he does find pods of fish. Jesse likes covering water, too, albeit somewhat more methodically, and usually farther from the bank. “Those channel walls hold fish, and in deeper water you can usually see them well on the electronics. It’s just up to me to make the right choices that will get them to bite,” says Jesse.

Rigging Up Rods

With both brothers living so near one another, fishing the same lakes, and growing up fishing quite a bit in the same boat, it should come as no surprise that they rig up nearly the same. Each prefers baitcasting reels in the mid-to-upper speed ranges – somewhere between 6:1:1 and 6:8:1 – mostly on account of the speed required to keep up with a moving boat looking to cover water. Jesse feels he can more easily figure out a cadence with a faster reel, rather than fighting to keep the bait moving while on the hunt. “Sometimes, a small pause or faster pattern of reeling is what they want, and with a quicker retrieve I can still fish it slow, but I also have the option for quick burst,” he says.

The Wiggins boys are carbon copies when it comes to line choice also, opting to wind Seaguar AbrasX fluorocarbon in 12-pound test. Jordan offers, “I run fluoro because of less stretch and more sensitivity like other guys, but I also like how it keeps my baits at the deeper end of the dive chart.” Jesse adds that it’s important to re-tie often. “Because we’re throwing in cover and know to get bit we have to hit something most of the time, I’m a big fan of constantly retying knots. That, and pre-spawn fish get spunky as water temps climb, so you’re always rubbing rocks, stumps, and sticks when fighting fish. It’s a good habit to get into.” Both brothers tie fluorocarbon directly to the split ring of the crankbait. “I’ve gotten so quick at clipping line and retying that I think it’s as fast or faster than a snap,” Jesse says.

Of course, rod choice is important for a technique such as cranking, with Jesse outlining the basics. “All I’m looking for is sensitivity with forgiveness – the sensitivity to be able to feel what the bait is doing and what it’s coming into contact with down there and the forgiveness that’s needed to cushion the strike and keep the hooks in the fish’s mouth during the fight.” A demanding tournament angler like Jesse Wiggins knows what feels right, and in most cases that’s St. Croix’s 6’10” Legend Glass moderate action casting rod in medium-heavy power (LGC610MHM). While he appreciates the 7’2” and 7’4” Legend Glass models in certain situations, he prefers the nimbler 6’10” rod when beating the banks while traveling close and parallel to shore. “I’m casting under limbs and at targets with my rod right up against the bank,” says Jesse. “For back arm casts, and small flips, I can be more efficient and ultimately more productive with that slightly shorter rod.”

Brother Jordan prefers to wield the big stick, opting for the 7’4” (LGC74MHM) Legend Glass casting rod, noting the increased casting distance he can attain when out in the open. He concedes that the 6’10” (LGC610MHM) is about perfect for squarebills and other near-bank baits, while agreeing with Jesse on the power and action aspects of each of the Legend Glass rods. “I just love the extra power when fighting fish to lift them above stumps and laydowns,” says Jordy. “It’s tough to find that perfect balance of strength and sensitivity, feel and forgiveness, and these linear S-glass crankin’ rods deliver like no others.”

Honorable mention goes to the corresponding models in St. Croix’s Mojo Bass Glass series, as both brothers sing their praises. “You need a rod that won’t pull hooks, and all of the St. Croix Legend Glass and Mojo Bass Glass bass rods bow to the fish a bit with a parabolic, moderate action,” says Jordy. “Without that forgiveness you lose opportunities. Fish coming unbuttoned near the boat just can’t happen in a tournament situation, and we lose very few crankbait fish with these glass rods. Even skin-hooked fish we’ve got a good chance of landing with these rods.”

Jesse continues, “Once you use one of these rods – either the top-of-the-line Legend Glass or the more affordable but incredibly capable Mojo Bass Glass rods – you finally understand what a good crankbait rod is. Medium-heavy power to extract fish from cover, and truly moderate actions that don’t let fish throw hooks. Linear S-glass and continuous tapers from IPC construction deliver that ever-important feel that crankbait anglers need, too, while forming glass rods that feel surprisingly light, crisp and balanced in the hand. It’s so important with these smaller squarebills and tight-wobbling baits that you feel exactly what’s going on,” Jesse continues. “Not only to feel cover and strikes, but to make sure the bait is free and clear of debris, too. If that lure hangs on one tiny leaf, it’s not doing its job and that costs you bites that can be critical to winning a tournament. You just don’t get that sensitivity with other duller-feeling glass rods.”

Agree to Disagree

With both anglers putting down roots and spreading canopy over similar areas and disciplines, it might come as a surprise that they differ on certain important stuff. They actually disagree on the number-one presentation in the springtime. While both love crankin’ and say it’s a top-three springtime pattern, Jesse is all in on crankbaits, but Jordy is obsessed with chatterbaits. “If we’re in a boat together come spring, I’m almost always throwing a crank, and he’s probably throwing a chatterbait,” says Jesse. “That makes us fish well together when we do get out, each giving the fish a slightly different look.”

Jordy’s chatterbait fascination is the result of the distinctive lakes he fishes. “If I’m in eelgrass especially, I prefer a chatterbait over anything else,” he says. “Crankbaits can be good if you dial in the depth of dive perfectly, but I have more options to fish chatterbaits at varying depths in these waters, and they fish great in other systems too,” Jordy adds. Even Jesse concedes that chatterbaits and vegetation go together. “I throw them in some of the systems where weeds are the primary cover we’re fishing, for sure,” he says. It’s a keen observation for a technique that often involves letting that bait drop into grass before ripping it out, knowing that a strike can happen at any time.

Jordy says St. Croix makes his ideal chatterbait rod in both the Mojo Bass Glass (MGC72HM) and Legend Glass (LGC72HM) Series, the 7’2” heavy power, moderate action Rip-N-Chatter models. “That thing is a home run for throwing chatterbaits in grass,” says Jordy. “It’s got the heavy power I need to rip bladed jigs through the grass, but when a fish eats – just like with the crankbait models – that rod bows to it. I can put great hooks in fish without pulling them, yet still have the power to force them out of the grass. That’s hard to do in a single rod blank, but St. Croix got it done for me and every other chatterbait angler with these rods.”


For the Wiggins Dynasty, brotherly love often comes in the form of busting big bass on banks, together with crankbaits and chatterbaits, squarebills up against shore, or deeper diving cranks that hit those channel-swing walls. Remember, as springtime water temperatures climb, so does a fish’s ability and willingness to chase. That makes active presentations like crankbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits key weapons in a bass angler’s arsenal. As fish draw nearer and nearer to the spawn, anglers find themselves adjacent to stump flats and spawning shelves, slinging squarebills and the like to hungry pre-spawn bass looking to eat as many crawfish as it takes to fill the tanks.

Specialized equipment is the salve for a technique-specific bite like crankin’, where a rod and its rigging need to master certain specialized tasks. The forgiveness of a moderate action will keep help keep fish hooked and is a good start, provided you can get them to strike. That requires sensitivity, not to feel the strike itself, but to provide the angler with feedback on how the bait is running and what it’s coming in contact with. Without the sensitivity portion of the equation, it’s impossible to feel if your lure is fouled, or more importantly, if you’re even contacting the cover necessary to trigger the bite to begin with.

Pairing a lightweight blank with heavyweight glass performance solves the equation. Strength meets sensitivity; forgiveness is served, but with responsiveness and power. Fast reels, fluorocarbon, and color-specific cranks that feature crawfish anything are the other constants that will help earn success. So, take this information and hit the lake this spring, cover some water and find ‘em.

And don’t forget to call your brother.

Get These Five Baits for Ice Fishing To Catch Fish Through the Ice This Season



The Top Five Ice Fishing Baits You Need This Season

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi – With this year’s ice fishing season approaching, here are the top five ice fishing lures you should add to your arsenal. American Baitworks brands’ Freedom Tackle and STH Bait Co. have you covered with some of the best ice fishing lures available.

Freedom Tackle Minnow Jigging Spoon

The Freedom Minnow jigging spoon delivers a combination of flash, one-of-a-kind action, and bait-fish appeal that all species find irresistible.

Highly reactive, the Freedom Minnow can be worked with several retrieves to draw strikes, including a quick, attention-grabbing jerk and a slow stop-and-go. On the drop, the Freedom Minnow Spoon delivers a slow-falling flutter and an abundance of bite-inducing flash.

On the top and bottom of the center wire shaft, the Freedom Minnow Spoon is fitted with a metal bead and a glass bead that bang against the body to create a unique underwater sound. Armed with chemically sharpened hooks, the Freedom Minnow Spoon delivers a highly individualized presentation that will catch a wide range of species.

Freedom Tackle Turnback Shad – Vertical Jigging

The Freedom Tackle Turnback Shad is the perfect vertical jig for open water or through the ice. The lure features a full metal body that swings freely on the metal line tie shaft.

With a jerk of the rod, the lure will dart off in random directions, turn around and swim back the other way, covering more water and imparting a more life-like action. The Glass beads on the metal shaft offer a visual and audio attraction to compliment the beautifully sculpted metal body.

Available in 4 sizes (3/32oz, 3/16oz, 5/8oz, 1oz) and 8 colors, including natural, glow, and UV colors for any situation.

Freedom Tackle Blade Bait

The most versatile Blade Bait on the market, the Freedom Blade Bait is a three in one tool to get the job done through the ice. The lure features multiple ways to rig the hooks to match your desired presentation.

The Blade Bait delivers maximum vibration and flash that draws in fish. Designed with a unique feature, the ability to rig the double hook on the top of the lure head and lock it into place on the custom design hook notch.

STH Bait Co. Drifter

A legend for targeting walleye and whitefish through the ice, the Drifter is one of the best baits available for catching these sometimes-tight-lipped species.

A classic, handcrafted, and hand-poured bait with year-round application, the Drifter is 2.75”/69 mm in length. Super soft with 3D eyes gives the Drifter a life-like appearance, giving fish the visual cues and makes them think it’s real prey. Try rigging this bait as a drop shot or on a jig head to maximize its action and fish catching ability.

STH Bait Co. Dart Minnow

Uniquely designed to target panfish, walleye, and whitefish, the Dart Minnow delivers a lot of fish catching power in its relatively small size at 2.3”. Designed to be used on a jig head or as a drop shot, the Dart Minnow is a consistent performer and a must-have in your ice fishing arsenal.

American Baitworks Keeps You Fishing in Every Season of the Year

Undoubtedly, American Baitworks’ ice fishing lures will keep you pulling fish throughout the ice season. Carrying mix of vertical jigs, multiuse hard baits, and finesse soft plastics from Freedom Tackle and STH Bait Co. will give you more variety to throw at your target species this winter.

For more information about and to check out our full line of ice fishing products, please visit

Democrats Blame Guns For Crime

 I watched a video on the news showing a homeless person with a baseball bat come up from behind and hit in the head a woman walking down the street, knocking her out. The next several videos showed criminals looting stores as workers, owners and even the police watched helplessly.

    Then a democrat congressman came on and said we had to do something about the gun violence in the US, and that the Republicans had no plan to stop it. He then said voters are paying attention.

    Online, a paid ad from a group “Stop Gun Violence Now” promised to bring gun owners and victims together to stop gun violence. When I asked “Why just gun violence, do you now care about other kinds of violence?” I got no answer.

    Time after time in the crime and arrest articles in the Griffin Daily News you see the line “charged with possession of a firearm by a felon,” and “on probation for a previous crime.”

    Voters are paying attention – to the numbers of criminals given a slap on the wrist at most and released after being arrested.  That has got to be frustrating to law enforcement officers trying to get them off the street and prevent them from committing additional crimes.

    Currently there is a bill to allow “permitless carry,” also called “Constitutional Carry,” in Georgia. It would mean citizens could carry a concealed gun without buying a weapons license from the state to get permission to follow a constitutional right.

    The usual whine from liberal gun banners is ”crime will go up” and “Georgia will become Dodge City.” Problem with this cry of “Wolf” by them is it has never come true no matter how many times it is used.

One liberal group called for elimination of the Constitutional Carry law passed in Wisconsin in 2011, claiming murders went up after it was passed based on a “study” they did. Their own graph shows one year the “rate of gun homicides excluding justifiable killings of felons by citizens” went up ONE (1) per year maximum since then, and every year is still below the number from 2005.

To show their bias, their graph uses a solid thick red line showing all gun homicides, but a tiny, dotted line including justifiable killings of felons. Of course, those kinds of groups abhor killing felons or holding them accountable for their crimes in any way.

Don’t believe me, look up the “stuff” from and goals of “Center for American Progress” yourself.

To show the weakness of the anti-gunners arguments, only three states with permitless carry are in the top ten in homicides, the other seven with high homicide rates do not allow it.  There are currently 19 states with permitless carry and several more, including Georgia, are considering relaxing restrictions on this constitutional right.

Guns are tools.  I have dozens, each has its use. When I carry my pistol (and I do have a Georgi Weapons License, just renewed it this month, and carry everywhere I go) I am no threat to any law-abiding citizen.  The ones that are a threat carry their guns no matter what the law.

Catch Northern Pikeminnows for Fun and Profit in Washington and Oregon


from The Fishing Wire

Angler Paid $61,000 Reward for Catching Northern Pikeminnows

One angler is being paid $61,000 for the northern pikeminnow he caught in the Columbia and Snake rivers and turned into state fish and wildlife officials last summer. Next year he has the potential for an even bigger payout as the Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program plans to pay more per fish turned in when the season opens in May 2022. This year the program paid out almost $700,000 to anglers who registered for the program and then turned in the northern pikeminnow they caught each day.

That’s down from the $840,000 paid in 2020. That’s because river conditions were not ideal, including at one of the best places to fish in the Tri-Cities, the mouth of the Yakima River, said Eric Winther, project leader for the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife Pikeminnow Sport Reward program.

Grass and debris clogged the water when the pikeminnow fishing is usually at its best there in May and early June, he told the Tri-City Herald. About the same number of anglers participated in the program in Washington and Oregon this past season as the year before. But anglers did not do as well this past season, with about 89,600 fish caught compared to 103,100 the year before. To encourage people to keep fishing next season, the program plans to increase the reward paid per fish. Last season payments started at $5 per fish.

Next season it will pay $6 each for the first 25 pikeminnow; $8 each for 26 to 200 fish; and $10 for each after 200. In addition, specially tagged pikeminnow are worth $500.

Lake Lanier Did Not Produce for Members of the Flint River Bass Club in February

Last Sunday six members of the Flint River Bass Club braved the cold windy weather to fish our February tournament at Lake Lanier.  After casting from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM, we brought in five spotted bass that met the 14-inch size limit.  There were no limits and two members did not weigh a fish.

I won and had big fish with one bass weighing 4.04 pounds.  Alex Gober had two weighing 3.68 for second, my partner Will Mclean had one weighing 2.78 for third and fourth was Don Gober with one weighing 1.88 pounds.

Someday I will figure out the spots on Lake Lanier but it seems like not any time soon.  Like last year I went up three days before the tournament and camped at Don Carter State Park, a great campground.  At least it did not snow Saturday night like it did last year!

Last year I caught one bass in three days practice and zeroed the tournament as did everyone else except Brent Drake. He won with one keeper.  This year I did not hook a fish in three days practice. I mostly rode with my electronics looking for bass and bait.

Saturday afternoon I found some concentrations of bait – 80 feet deep!  Most of the local fishermen that know Lanier well say you have to be fishing around bait to catch winter spots, but I just cannot make myself fish that deep!

There are always some fish shallow and I told Will I felt like shallow fish were more likely to be eating.  So we were going to fish relatively shallow.  We went to a steep rocky bank and I kept the boat out in 25 feet of water. We cast up to a couple feet deep and worked out bait out to about 20 feet deep.

That seemed a good idea, Will caught his fish, his first tournament fish and also first spotted bass, on his fourth cast with a Texas rigged Senko.  I got three bites on a jig but missed all three, I think my frozen hands kept me from feeling the bites like I should, and Will missed two bites on that bank.

We tried a variety of similar places and I missed two more bites, and stupidly broke my line setting the hook on one fish. Usually I retie often, especially when fishing a jig on rocks, but my cold hands kept me from doing that. Will also missed a couple more bites.

I had just about given up at 3:05, with just 20 minutes left to fish, when I felt a thump on my jig and landed my keeper. We had gone back to where Will caught his bass and mine hit in almost the exact same place. We should have stayed there all day!

My motto is “Never give up!”

Fish Hatchery Technology – Follow A Fisheries Biologists Career


Valerie Gil

from The Fishing Wire

Get the Scoop on Fish Hatchery Technology

I first started my career in marketing, and it wasn’t long before I realized that it just wasn’t for me. So, I went back to school for a degree in fisheries biology. I worked with Pacific salmon in Washington and Alaska, and then in April of 2021, I moved to Utah to work with rainbow trout at the Springville Fish Hatchery.

What I love most about my job — and the main thing that got me interested in this field — is that I get to be outside and work with fish. I truly enjoy what I do and can’t see myself doing anything else. Our hatchery team is awesome, which makes going to work fun. And, we’re always working to improve hatchery outcomes and keep Utah’s fish populations healthy.

One of the most interesting parts of our job is how much we use technologies and equipment unique to — or specifically adapted for — fish culture.

#1: Egg picker

The egg picker has got to be one of the most interesting pieces of equipment that I have ever worked with. Although I have not used an egg picker with trout (yet!), I did get to use this tech when I worked with Pacific salmon. Facilities in Utah that use pickers are our broodstock hatcheries, including Mantua, Egan and Mammoth Creek.

Egg pickers are necessary because not every egg taken during spawning will successfully fertilize and eventually hatch. The “bad” eggs can grow fungus and become harmful to the viable eggs if left intermingled at the hatchery.

The way that an egg picker works is quite simple: All that it requires is some light.

We start by placing the eggs in a tumbler at the top of the egg picker. In the tumbler, flowing water feeds the eggs into the picking device. Individual eggs slide onto a disk that has precisely-cut holes that are the exact size of the eggs so that one egg fits perfectly into each hole. The disk quickly rotates the eggs in a way that allows each egg to pass in front of a light: Light passes through healthy eggs, while bad eggs are opaque and won’t let light through. A light sensor sorts the good and bad eggs into different chutes.

The machine we use at Mantua can pick 100,000 eggs per hour, and there are much faster ones used in hatchery work. As you can imagine, if a hatchery needs to screen millions of eggs for viability, this kind of device can save a lot of time and resources.

#2: Ultraviolet water filtration

At the Springville facility, we use a two-step filtration system to purify the water before it goes out into the raceways where the fish grow until they’re big enough for stocking. We pull water from a nearby pond, and it’s funneled into a treatment building where the water passes through a drum filter and an ultraviolet filter.

The drum filter screens out any debris that may have made its way into the treatment building, then the water flows through the UV filter. UV radiation is commonly used for industrial and medical settings — often for killing bacteria — and different UV wavelengths and intensities are used, depending on the intended purpose. In our hatchery, the UV filter consists of three banks (two of the three operate at any one time), and each bank has three sets of UV lights that kill any bacteria present. Through the combination of both the UV lights and the drum filter, the water that goes into the fish raceways is much cleaner than when it comes into the treatment building.

This filtration system prevents diseases and harmful bacteria from being transmitted to the growing fish. In addition, this ensures that the fish we grow — and the water they’re transported in — won’t spread harmful pathogens to Utah’s waterbodies when the fish are eventually stocked.

#3: Fish transportation and stocking

Each hatchery is in charge of stocking fish in different predetermined waterbodies throughout the state each spring and fall. During those two seasons, each waterbody is allocated a certain amount of stockable fish (typically measured in pounds).

Rainbow trout from our hatchery go to some community ponds in Weber, Salt Lake and Utah counties, as well as a few reservoirs such as Deer Creek and Spanish Oaks. As far as the transportation side of it goes, our trucks have either one or two fish-transportation tanks; we have one of each kind of truck here at the Springville hatchery. Most tanks are about 500 gallons, and can hold up to 750 pounds of catchable fish. That translates to approximately 3,400 8-inch fish.

Fish need sufficient and continually-circulating oxygen to be safely transported to the various stocking locations. Before we put the fish in the tanks, we fill up the truck’s oxygen tanks. There are also aerators inside the tanks themselves to help with water circulation and aid in the removal of carbon dioxide. We fill each tank with water based on the poundage of fish that we are going to stock. Once the fish have been funneled into the tanks, we turn on the oxygen and the aerators, and the fish are ready for transport and stocking. We use the same kind of equipment and processes for aerial stocking using airplanes, but the tanks and the fish are both smaller.

Fish hatchery technologies, equipment and best practices are constantly evolving. I have a lot of excitement about what the future holds in the field of fish culture.

Valerie Gil
Wildlife Biologist, Fish Culture
DWR Springville Fish Hatchery

Posted from the Utah DNR Wildlife Blog.

My Job Allowed Me To Fish Weiss Lake, the Mobile Delta and Lake Allatoona In One Week

  I love my job!  The past week gave me a chance to fish Weiss Lake, the Mobile Delta and Lake Allatoona.  Its tough work, but I’m glad I get to do it.

    Last Friday I drove up to Weiss and met Cal Culpepper and his dad Saturday morning to get information for a Map of the Month article that will be in the November of both Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News.  Cal is a high school senior and on the Harris County High School fishing team, and a very good fisherman.  Weiss is on the state’s borders and if popular with bass fishermen in both states.

    We had a good day, catching largemouth and spotted bass.  The best five we landed weighed about 13 pounds.  All were in shallow water around grass, docks and wood cover and hit chatterbaits, topwater and shaky head worms.

    On Sunday I drove to Mobile to meet Captain Dan Kolenich, a guide there on the bay, to get information for a saltwater fishing article.  I don’t fish saltwater much so I was looking forward to the trip, hoping to catch my first redfish. I knew I would eat some great seafood and I definitely accomplished that goal.

    Unfortunately, Monday morning the wind was strong and it was raining.  I talked with Captain Dan and we decided to try to go out Tuesday morning when the weather guessers said conditions would be better.

    Since I had the rest of the day with nothing to do I went to Battleship Park.  This military park has a variety of exhibits, including aircraft, a World War 2 submarine you can tour, and the battleship Alabama docked so you can tour it, too. I spent almost six hours there.

    Walking through the submarine I could not imagine being on a crew. The tiny, cramped work and eating areas were bad enough but the racks, or bunks, hung along the walls one over the other, would never have allowed me to get a good night’s sleep.  And I could just imagine the smell during missions.

    The aircraft fascinated me since I always wanted to fly a fighter for the Air Force.  One especially interesting display showed one of the fighters the “Tuskeegee Airmen” flew in World War 2 and a video had very good special effects.  It took me several minutes to realize I was not watching actual videos of the dog fights.

    Tuesday morning was clear but still very windy. We tried to fish but the wind made it very difficult so I did not catch a redfish.  Maybe next time.

    On Thursday Wyatt Robinson and his dad met me at my house and we drove through the horrible traffic to Lake Allatoona so I could show them what little I know about that lake.  Wyatt is A senior at CrossPointe Christian Academy and on the fishing team.  He is a very good young fisherman.

    I had a lot of fun and we caught several keeper bass and even more short ones under the 12-inch limit, on topwater plugs and shaky head worms.  But the catch of the day was a four-pound channel cat that thought my jig head worm was lunch. Turned out he became dinner. Although that trip was not really part of my job it was fun, except for the traffic going and coming back, and I was impressed, as I often am, with a young fisherman’s ability and knowledge.  It is kinda scary that high school fishermen often know more than I do about bass fishing.