Monthly Archives: February 2014


Spring turkey season is just down the road, and it’s time to be thinking about the best places to hunt. Weather and available food sources are two key ingredients. You can be proactive in providing the kinds of early spring foods turkeys will eat. You don’t have to worry about food choices between gobblers and hens, since “old tom” is in total breeding mode and has his feeble mind on other things. If you can attract hens, the gobblers will follow. Sam Parrish speaks to his experience of actually camping out near a food source and interviews biologist Brian Lovett on the food choices for spring turkeys in this post from the Whitetail Institute.

Ohio Deer 2010 064Meteorologists must not turkey hunt. Well, maybe some of them do, but not most. If they did, they’d surely lobby their respective state game agencies to ensure that spring turkey season opened when the weather was warm and comfortable. If you’ve turkey hunted much, you know that’s not always the case.

I experienced that firsthand last spring, when Wisconsin’s second turkey period coincided with howling winds and sub-freezing temperatures. Although I didn’t enjoy dressing like I was on a late-season duck hunt, I was fairly optimistic. Sure, the birds would still be wadded up in large winter groups. Yes, they probably wouldn’t gobble much. And of course, I wouldn’t be able to sit for more than an hour or two without being miserable. However, a friend’s foresight had given me an ace in the hole: an early-season food source…


File this one under “Extreme Fishing Adventures” Few people go out on their kayak to target a marlin. Most would consider this apex ocean predator off limits for such a small vessel. When kayak angler/dentist Tommie Strydom launched his yak off the New South Wales coast of Australia, he didn’t go out with the intention of catching a marlin. He was slow drifting a live bait when it just happened. Such is the allure of ocean fishing.

In this article, read all about Tommie’s once-in-a-lifetime thrill ride, which he was lucky enough to catch on video as well.

kayakmarlin2It was the one that didn’t get away — a monster marlin which came off second best after a one-hour tussle with a kayak-paddling dentist off the northern NSW coast.

But the estimated 90kg catch still lived to swim another day — lucky it wasn’t considered a more flavoursome fish by its captor.

Tommie Strydom was coasting in his kayak near Coffs Harbour earlier this month with fishing buddy Paul Pallet nearby when the line suddenly started flying off his reel.

The local dentist, who has been fishing in the waters for about the past five years, told the Telegraph his first thought was that a shark must have got a bite on his live bait.

“I picked up the rod and the next minute there was a marlin,” Dr Strydom said.

Photos: The Daily Telegraph


Say what? Mountain lions in Nebraska? But they don’t have mountains!

As crazy as it sounds, Nebraska has opened practically the entire state to mountain lion hunting on a limited-quota basis. Although the season is limited by permits and a resident-only policy, the hunt is evidence of an expanding cougar population across the USA. I’ve met persons who swear they’ve seen mountain lions in Iowa and West Virginia, so don’t be surprised if rumors of a sighting occur in your state. Here kitty, kitty…


I remember seeing a Cabela’s catalog as a kid for the first time. It was as though a world of wondrous fishing opportunities was opened. Who knew if I’d ever have the money to buy any of the magical goods inside, or have the opportunity to ever use them in exotic fishing locales, but it certainly inspired me to dream.

Dick Cabela’s dream came true and inspired many an angler and outdoorsman — practically anyone who got their hands on that catalog, or later on walked into one of the many Cabela retail stores. Richard Cabela, co-founder of Cabela’s, passed recently. My San Antonio remembers him.

cabelas_dickRichard Cabela, a co-founder of outdoor outfitter Cabela’s, died Monday. He was 77.

Cabela, who went by Dick, died at his home in Sidney, where the company is based, said spokesman Joe Arterburn.

The company that sells outdoor gear and sporting goods got its start humbly in 1961 when Cabela bought $45 of fishing flies in Chicago. When the flies didn’t sell quickly at the family’s furniture store in Chappell, Neb., Cabela started selling them through the mail with his wife, Mary, and brother, Jim.

Dick Cabela’s first successful ad in Sports Afield magazine offered five free fishing flies as long as the buyer paid 25 cents shipping and handling. That led to the development of the Cabela’s catalog. Today, the company has 50 retail stores across the U.S. and Canada. Last year, it had $3.6 billion in revenue.

Current Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner said Dick and Jim Cabelamade it possible for people to find quality outdoor gear no matter where they lived.

Photos: Texas Hill Country (top), AP (above)


Turkey season is opening soon (Thank God!) and we stumbled upon this video on YouTube going over the details of preparing your bird for the table.

Particularly for those first-timers out there, this covers all the bases… but might also be a solid refresher for you old-dogs as well.

We’re sure everyone out there has their own ways of doing it… let us know if you have tips and tricks of your own!


We just can’t get enough jerky recipes around here… Our friends over at Wide Open Spaces have put together a great top 5 recipes.

1. Whole Muscle-Cut Style Venison Jerky

Every now and then something pops up on our Facebook feed that just blows us away, and this recipe happens to be one of those instances. We love being able to tear into a hunk of meat that is salty, sweet, and just the right amount of toughness to put up a fight. This recipe is on our “must-do” list, but take it from the hoards of folks who helped this recipe go viral – if it’s worth sharing, it must be good.

Best-venison-jerky-recipeImage and Recipe via: Living Ready Online


  • Venison
  • Salt (for soak)
  • Commercial Curing Mix (available at sporting goods stores, should contain either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate)
  • Seasoning Rub (if commercial curing mix comes unseasoned)

View Instructions.

2. Smoked Venison Jerky

Much like the previous recipe, this jerky comes in the whole-muscle cut style, but could easily be tweaked to be thinner like its more popular brethren. We love getting natural smoke flavor in meats, especially jerky, so this recipe was an instant winner during our quest for the best.

ready-venison-jerkyImage and Recipe via: Napoleon Grills


  • 1 venison roast, at least 2 lbs.
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. Bone Dust Barbecue Seasoning and Rub
  • Sriracha to taste
  • freshly ground salt and pepper

View Instructions.

3. Teriyaki Venison Jerky

Everyone loves a little sweet to their spice, and that flavor comes easily with a nice teriyaki marinade. This recipe calls for a smoker, but we think you could achieve similar flavors and texture by adding some liquid smoke and using the oven method, or even a dehydrator if you prefer.

image.axdImage and Recipe via: Team Traeger


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin or sweet cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 “coins” of fresh ginger (each about 1/4-inch thick), or 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds trimmed venison

View Instructions.

4. Black Pepper Jerky

For those who like a good kick to their meat, we recommend this delicious recipe which also includes a hearty helping of our second favorite ingredient, beer. We’re imagining a thick, dark stout could add a nice subtle flavor to your venison on this one. Note: the original recipe uses beef, but can easily be substituted for venison.

201006-r-pepper-jerkyImage and Recipe via: Food & Wine


  • 3 cups amber ale or lager
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns, plus 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper, for sprinkling before drying the meat
  • 2 pounds trimmed venison round or bottom round, about 1 1/2 inches thick

View Instructions.

5. Cidered Venison Jerky

“Cidered, eh?” is more than likely what you’re thinking right now, and I can’t blame you. Prior to discovering this recipe, it had never crossed my mind to add cider to a jerky marinade, but considering how amazing it tastes in every other recipe, I’m game to give it a try. This recipe strictly calls for a dehydrator, so if your only option is an oven it may be best to tuck this one away until after you open up that dehydrator you asked for for Christmas *cough cough*.

cidered_venison_beef_jerky2Image and Recipe via: Yankee Kitchen Ninja


  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds venison, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (smoked salt will also add another level of flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried mushroom powder

View Instructions.


In North America, fishing regulations were implemented well before the turn of the 20th century. For example, season closures for some marine fisheries were implemented as early as the 1600s and by the time of the American Revolution, numerous statutes were in place regulating fish harvest. Since the 1960s there has been a broad trend toward more restrictive harvest regulations including the reduction in the number of fish that can be harvested and the use of restrictive length limits. Additionally, water and species-specific regulations have become common throughout the United States. Whereas seasonal closures and creel limits were often the only regulations implemented at the turn of the 20th century, slot length limits and length-based creel limits are now used more widely to control harvest.

Fishing regulations are implemented for many reasons. In Maine, fishing regulations are implemented to improve fishing quality or to maintain population viability, to alter community dynamics, or to encourage the control of exotic species from certain waters. In addition, fishing regulations can be applied for public safety concerns, such as consumption advisories due to contaminants (e.g., lead, mercury, PCBs). Regulations may also be implemented for social reasons, such as accommodating the desires of individual user groups. Both social and biological data are used by our Fisheries Division when implementing or altering fishing regulations and policies. Suffice to say, developing, maintaining, and changing fishing regulations is no easy task! With any regulation, careful design and regular monitoring are essential in order to be effective.

If you’ve fished in Maine then you may recognize that state-wide there are a diversity of fishing regulations that all anglers must follow. Fishing regulations are as diverse as the people of Maine and are based on many factors, including the water body, location, water quality, species composition, and the desires of anglers. Below are some fisheries management techniques that we hope define and explain why certain regulations exist.


General Law: This regulation provides basic protection to stocked and wild fish. General law encourages early harvest where angler pressure is moderate to high which can maximize growth rate potential of individual fish not harvested in the fishery. This regulation can provide good catch rates and harvest opportunities

Low Bag Limits: Lower bag limits are intended to distribute the catch over a longer period of time and among more anglers. Low bag limits usually coincide with restrictive regulations such as high minimum length limits.

Slot Limits: These regulations are bound by the upper and lower length limits with the intent of directing harvest to specific parts of a fish population while protecting others. A slot limit may be used to “thin out” smaller fish to allow remaining fish to grow faster and enable large fish to be caught and released or kept. The protected size slot protects fish and allows them to continue to grow and reach a larger size class. Anglers are important with this regulation! Without harvesting fish of a given size, the regulation does little for management of the resource.

Catch and Release: This regulation is intended to return fish to the water alive, thus giving them the chance to grow larger and be caught again. This regulation may be effective on waters where natural recruitment and population size is very low and growth rates are excellent, or on waters where there is a strict need for conservation (imperiled or endangered species, for instance).

Fly Fishing or Artificial Lures Only: These “terminal tackle” regulations are applied to reduce mortalities in released fish and are often an effective and necessary companion to restrictive bag and length limits.

No Live Fish as Bait: This regulation is typically applied to reduce the risk of establishing unwanted bait populations in landlocked salmon or brook trout waters, while still allowing the use of dead baitfish or artificial lures.

Photo: Jackman, Maine (top)


It’s often difficult to combine hunting and fishing in the same day, yet the annual Muzzy Bowfishing Classic in Alabama offers the best of both. Aside from the chance to win thousands of dollars in prize money and rid the waters of some nasty creatures, this event is a total southern hoot. It’s so much fun, don’t be surprised to find a new TV show called Carp Commanders. Here’s how to join in:

bowfishing[2]Registration opens today for the 15th Annual Muzzy Classic & Alabama State Championship bowfishing tournament, which will be held April 26-27 at the Lake Guntersville Harbor and Marina in Guntersville Ala. With guaranteed prize money of $3,500 for first place and more cash prizes paid based on number of entries, this is one of the most popular tournaments in the region.

The primary tournament is a Big-20 format with boat limits of three grass carp and 15 buffalo fish. No catfish are allowed, and there are no exceptions on the catfish. Prizes will also be awarded for bringing in the heaviest carp, the longest gar, the heaviest grass carp and the heaviest buffalo. This is a two- or three-man tournament with $150 entry fee. Potential payouts, not including prizes, are: second place $2,500; third place $1,500; fourth place $1,000; fifth place $750; and sixth place $500.


Soft plastic baits are becoming increasingly popular when fishing for a variety of freshwater fish. However, many are concerned that too many of these discarded baits are ending up on lake bottoms or in the bellies of fish.

You can do your part to make sure that these baits are handled p

roperly. When done fishing, never discard these used baits into the water. Keep a small ziploc bag with you and dispose of your plastic baits properly at the dock or at home. Fish can ingest these baits off the bottom, and they can impact fish health.

You can also extend the useful life of your plastic baits quite easily. For those who like to fish soft plastic baits “Wacky” style, use a small o-ring in the middle of the bait, and place your hook right under the o-ring. That way, if your hook pulls through the bait, the o-ring will retain your bait.

yay_the_baits_that_we_all_love_optAnglers say they get a much longer life with their plastic baits when they use this method. You can purchase an o-ring tool at tackle stores. This tube-style tool allows you to roll the o-ring right to the middle of your bait. Anglers can even use zip ties instead of an or-ring. Just cinch a small zip tie right in the center of your bait, and slip the hook under the zip tie.

If you fish your plastics Carolina or Texas rigged, you can utilize an instant glue that will repair your plastic baits quickly and extend their life. Many tackle shops carry this instant glue for soft plastic baits, and it will pay for itself in no time.

Perhaps the best thing you can do is inspect your soft plastic bait frequently. After catching a fish, make sure your bait is still intact. If your bait is worn and will likely fall off, replace it with a new bait, re-hook it, or repair it.

Soft plastic baits can help you catch more fish, but if you want to ensure the health of future fisheries, please make sure to dispose of your plastic baits properly, and discard or replace any worn baits while fishing.

Photo: (top)


Sturgeon are a crazy, prehistoric-looking fish. Their hard, bony sideplates (aka diamonds) make them somewhat resemble an alligator. Not a lot is known about these fish, as they live quiet lives in dirty, brackish water feeding on the offerings of the muddy bottom.

Recently, I had the opportunity to learn firsthand about these awesome fish when I traveled to San Rafael, California to fish with salmon and sturgeon guide Captain Sean Daugherty. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has enjoyed this little-known fishery this month. In this article from the Marin Independent Journal, reporter Alastair Bland recounts Daugherty’s further exploits in San Pablo Bay.

brown-sturgeonFishing, some will say, is a test of patience. The pastime can build character and it is not always supposed to be easy. Fishing may involve more watching of birds, marine mammals, traffic on a bridge and waves on the water than it might of interacting with fish.

Fishermen expect to be skunked at times, which makes the successful days all the more notable and gives meaning to “big fish” stories. All this tends to be especially true of sturgeon fishing, which can require a dozen or more slow and tedious hours of watching the rod tip before it dips toward the water — a bite!

But in the early days of 2014, sturgeon fishing has been unusually productive. San Rafael fisherman Ken Brown, along with his 15-year-old son — also named Ken — spent three days fishing together during the younger Brown’s holiday vacation. The teenager caught a fish per trip, including two sturgeon as big as an angler can reasonably expect to catch in San Pablo Bay. One was an ideal — and legal — size to bring home and share at the table with his mother in Fair Oaks. One was the size of a man. One was even bigger.

Photo credits: SoCal Salty (top), Marin Independent Journal (above)