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As an angler, it’s interesting to me how seemingly very different types of fishing actually have very strong connections.

An example of this connection in the saltwater fishing that I do is how in-shore calico bass fishing translates to offshore fishing for pelagic species like yellowtail, dorado, and tuna. How? Well, a key skill to in-shore calico bass fishing is learning how to flyline a sardine. Picking a good bait, properly hooking it, and becoming proficient in casting it out and away from the boat directly translate to successful offshore fishing.

Flyfishing for trout and bass fishing seem very different. Flyfishing for trout is all about stealth and finesse. Bass fishing is often noisy and flashy. In this Field & Stream article, read how a tournament bass angler gained an edge from his background growing up flyfishing for trout.

davewolakI grew up in Northeast Pennsylvania, which in many respects is far more synonymous with trout fishing than bass fishing. Some of my earliest fishing memories are actually of browns, bows, and brookies on the fly. At first glance it might seem like flyfishing for trout and conventional fishing for bass aren’t very similar. Bass often hit big, bulky, shiny things, even under some of the most pressured situations, while catching trout on the fly often requires the utmost finesse and precise presentation in order for them to even think about biting. That’s why there are probably some master trout fly tiers out there that would look at a bass guy’s well trimmed, homemade jig like a modern day surgeon being forced to evaluate a hack job civil war leg amputation. Truth is, though it took years to realize, understanding the trout fly game has made me a much better bass angler.

You sort of have to look at this through a wide-angle lens to see how these two very different methods compliment each other. For starters, bass fishing can be just as much about matching the hatch as trout fishing. I’ve had the most finite skirt modifications to a massive one-ounce spinnerbait be a game-changer during tournaments. I wouldn’t have put as much weight on little tweaks like that if I didn’t flyfish. I’ve used my past knowledge of how trout set up while feeding in current endless times in my national bass fishing pursuits. I can honestly say bass act very similar to trout in most cases, and that prior trout knowledge was extremely valuable in identifying where and how bass feed in all levels of flow.

Photos: Field & Stream (top); Bassmaster (above)


A few years back, I took my son up to Oregon to fish for salmon on the Columbia River. Our guide was Captain Dan Porter of Dan’s Guide Service in Warren, Oregon. We had a great trip. I caught my first steelhead and my son Jacob caught what is still his personal best fish, a 31-lb. chinook salmon.

I remember asking Dan to take a picture of me with my catch. I posed, and he took the pic. Then he said, “Okay, now pose my way and let’s compare the pictures.” I agreed, re-posed his way, and we took another picture. His picture was better.

It’s tough to take the perfect hero shot when you’re by yourself. This article from Orvis has some great tips on how best to capture those memorable solo moments on the water.

salty_steelheadFly fishing with a friend, family member, or loved one can be a great way to spend some quality time together, and it does have some other advantages. You have someone there to lend you a hand when needed, whether it is netting a fish for you or taking a photo of you with your catch. While that kind of camaraderie is always enjoyable, there is just something therapeutic about going out on your own. Fishing by yourself allows you to just put all of the cares of world aside and get out and enjoy nature. Since a large majority of fly fishers practice catch-and-release, we now rely on taking photos of our catch to show others what exemplary fishermen and fisherwomen we are.

This can be a little difficult when you are fishing by yourself. There are a few things I have found that can assist in getting that great photo while keeping the fish safe. I like to use my iPhone 4S to take photos while I am on the river. The photos the iPhone take aren’t professional quality, but they are pretty darn good. I put my iPhone in a Lifeproof case, which keeps it safe from the elements while fishing.

Photos: Orvis (top); SoCal Salty (above)


LMB_Apr13I’m primarily a saltwater angler. As such, I don’t know as much about freshwater bass fishing. I do know that largemouth bass can’t resist a live crawfish.

In fact, the only largemouth I’ve caught in the last three years was on a live crawfish. I tied a Carolina rig, pinned on a crawfish, and flipped it next to a dock piling.  Before it hit bottom, I got crushed!

On that particular outing, the live crawfish was provided by a buddy who knew of a little shop that stocked them. Those shops are hard to come by, so I was kind of excited to run across this article in Wiki How that shows you how to make your own crawfish trap.

Here’s a video on how to make a fancy one. Still, I like how easy it is to build the one featured in the above-linked story, since you can construct it out of common household materials.

Photos: Wiki How (top); SoCal Salty (above)


I think most anglers, regardless if you are a devout bass fisherman or a salty guy like me, love the Animal Planet TV show River Monsters. In the show, host Jeremy Wade travels the world in search monster fish. Typically, we see Wade in exotic destinations like the Amazon, but one of my favorite episodes was when he traveled to Texas in search of a monster alligator gar. He caught a gar, but it wasn’t a giant.

Maybe Jeremy had the wrong guide. Brent Crawford lives on Lake Corpus Christi in Texas. He’s lived on the lake for more than 20 years. Crawford bowfishes and recently shot a fish he’ll never forget. Read his story in this article from the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

gar_rivermonsterIt was a Saturday morning Brent Crawford really didn’t intend to spend fishing.

He had work to do.

This was a day to sweat, while taking advantage of low water at his Lake Corpus Christi home. Crawford and his neighbor Jim Costlow had a pier to build.

But a second neighbor had other ideas. Damon Carrell planned to take advantage of Crawford’s good nature and his extensive insight on fishing his home waters. Carrell stopped by for advice and possibly more.

Crawford gets that a lot. And generally he’s happy to help.

Crawford has been bow fishing since he was a kid growing up on the Nueces River. And he’s lived on the lake with his wife, Olivia, for 20 years.

Photos: Corpus Christi Caller Times (top); Animal Planet (above)


As thousands of troops return from Afghanistan, our society needs to embrace their courage and provide opportunities that bring them back into the mainstream.

Some men and women have physical injuries, while other suffer mentally from the day-to-day trauma of war.

Natalie Krebs relates an excellent example of how our favorite pastimes can do so much good for our nation’s heroes, in this post from the OutdoorLife blog:

When Marines Tony Mullis and Michael Boucher lost their legs in Afghanistan, they turned to hunting and fishing to help them recover. Then the Georgia sportsmen created Amputee Outdoors to share their rehab recipe with other veterans.

Nisson AK 1 051Outdoor Life: Lots of outdoor programs cater to injured vets. What sets you apart?
Tony Mullis: I’m only starting to hear about the hundreds of programs out there, so I can’t say what we do is completely unique. But from my experiences attending sponsored hunts while recovering, the difference is we do normal hunting. We don’t hunt from a truck bed or behind high fences.

OL: Why is that important?
TM: When these guys go home to their families and their normal life—when they don’t have hospital-sponsored hunting trips anymore—they need to be able to hunt or fish by themselves and feel like they did before. Our goal is to help them realize that.

OL: What’s your own experience?
TM: While on hospital leave for Christmas, I asked my father-in-law if I could hunt in his woods. I sat on the ground for a bit but didn’t really enjoy it. When I went back to the house, I found a ladder stand on the ground. I set it up in a tree, and after some work, I realized I could climb it. The next day I went back in the woods, climbed up again, and sat there by myself. It opened another door to my independence.


My Core heated gear is new to the market, yet the timing of their introduction couldn’t have been better for me.

I learned about the product on the eve of a South Dakota deer hunt, where conditions would be more like the Arctic than the Great Plains.

I arrived in camp an hour ahead of the FedEx delivery and was excited and grateful to be able to test a heated garment in such frigid conditions.

SD Deer Crow Creek 2 053Temperatures the first morning were three below zero, with a 15 mph wind. I wore just a base layer and a shirt under the jacket to test its performance.

Although I didn’t get a deer that morning, I hunted until noon and was toasty warm. I allowed others to try it on, and the response was always the same: “Ahhhh!”

My first impression when putting on the coat was its quality. The Mossy Oak parka would make for a great hunting garment, even without the heating ability. The outer fabric was soft and quiet and the tail of the coat dropped below the waist, so there were no drafts while climbing or bending.

To charge up the heating elements, you plug the coat in, like a cell phone, the evening before the hunt. When fully charged, it offers six hours of heat on high, nine hours on medium, and 12 hours on low. I used the parka on the “high” setting and recharged it when I came in for lunch.

If you’re a tree-stand hunter and hate to be cold, this gear is for you. It warms your wrists to help keep your hands warm, and it strategically warms your core.

The My Core website has an informative video that will answer many questions. As for me, upon first trial, I’m sold!