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OUR LATEST POSTS

4

Sportfishing as a commercial enterprise first started in Southern California. In the early 1900s, adventurous Southern California anglers boarded boats headed to Catalina Island (about 35 miles offshore); the target of these early sportboat outings was frequently the giant black seabass (Stereolepis gigas). The fish can grow to immense proportions with the world record rod and reel catch being in excess of 500 lbs.

Both commercial and recreational fishing in California for black seabass was ended in 1982 (they can still be taken in Mexican waters). As a result, they seem to be making a comeback. However, there isn’t any reliable data to support that notion. Find out how marine biologists are trying to get a handle on the population of this mighty giant.

bsb_oldUC Santa Barbara researchers are asking recreational divers to participate in a giant sea bass census this week. According to researchers these fish can grow to more than 600 pounds and are making a comeback from the brink of extinction.

The species, sometimes called black sea bass, were heavily fished around Catalina Island in the 1890s. Although they are making a comeback, no one really knows the size of their population. So UC Santa Barbara researchers are asking recreational divers and snorkelers to report sightings of giant sea bass up and down the California coast during a week when the fish are likely to be in shallow water.

Milton Love is an associate research biologist with UCSB’s Marine Science Institute and he wants the public’s help to determine the size of the population.

Photos: Swimming With Giants (top); Library of Congress (above)

15

I have to admit, I’m something of an elitist when it comes to fishing. My preferred fishing occurs in saltwater, and the reason is the big, hard fighting fish we target as saltwater anglers.

There are certain species of freshwater fish that intrigue me, however. Fish that I’d like to experience fishing for and catching. One of those fish is pike. It’s a big, fast fish with scary teeth; what’s not to like?

Recently, Women’s Outdoor News writer Anietra Hamper ventured to Ireland to target this prized gamefish. Read her post to find out how she was able to catch a trophy pike on the Emerald Isle.

ireland-deadbaitWithin the first few minutes of tossing my line into the water, I am wrestling one of the top sport fish of Ireland. In a burst of extreme energy, the large pike launches into a deep and aggressive nosedive below the boat. Suddenly, she lets-up and swims slowly and gracefully to the surface, as if to impress me with her rainbow iridescent body. Seconds later, just as I begin to think the fish has tired, she plunges again in a fierce struggle. Her long, lean frame launches her like a torpedo with preciseness and stealth speed. Controlling her direction requires every ounce of strength I have until she slows again, raises to the surface and poetically appears in close range. This pattern continues several times, and finally she is close enough to the boat to land in my net.

My guide, Richie Johnston, of Guide Fishing Ireland, takes great care removing the hook as the pike’s razor-sharp teeth cut his hand. This 18-pound female is impressive, although in Ireland, these fish can grow to a hefty 40-pounds. We return her to the water, since pike are a protected species. Regulations allow 1 small fish to be kept for eating, but all large fish must be returned alive.

Photos: Richie Johnston for Women’s Outdoor News

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There are some species of animals that spend their life cycle as both male and female. For example, the California Sheephead is a fish that starts out as female. Then certain environmental conditions occur that spark some of them to become male in order to continue the reproduction of the species. Most species of fish are distinctly male or female, with each gender having its own particular role in reproduction.

Largemouth bass is a species of fish that’s supposed to be distinctly male or female. However, the U.S. Geological Survey has made a startling discovery in some of our nation’s waterways — male bass carrying eggs! Find out what may be causing this disturbing trend in this article from Fishing Tackle Retailer.

agriculturalchemicalsScientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have unearthed an astonishing trend in America’s rivers—male bass are carrying eggs.

The discovery was reveled three weeks ago in a Washington Post report that highlights bass populations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. That watershed encompasses some of the nation’s most well-known rivers in the Delaware, Ohio and Potomac Rivers. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass in those rivers are, according to the USGS, becoming “intersex” organisms.

That means the fish have two genders. And it’s an alarming sign of industry’s affect on fisheries.

Dissections of intersex bass in the Susquehanna river near Hershey, Pennsylvania uncovered a 100 percent margin of smallmouth bass carrying eggs. Following the research in Pennsylvania—scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found female germination cells in 82 percent of the smallmouth and 23 percent of the largemouth bass near the Blue Plains water treatment facility in Washington, D.C.

Photos: Florida Heritage (top); Fishing Tackle Retailer (above)

53

I stopped taking billfish (such as marlin or sailfish) several years ago. It’s not that I’m some sort of ultra-conservationist, I just believe that apex predators like billfish don’t reproduce as quickly as other species of fish. I think the reason is that they don’t have many natural predators. Slower reproduction is nature’s way of preserving that balance.

On the East Coast, commercial fishing pushed swordfish to the brink of extinction. Fortunately, they have staged an amazing comeback due to successful fishery management. Today, there’s a thriving recreational fishery for them and they’re one billfish I might take (and enjoy eating).

Florida is a hotspot for targeting swords. This article from The Outdoors Guy details how to catch Florida swordfish.

sword2guys-300x225Visualize this, we leave the dock about 2 hours before dark and run due south from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. We then head out with the aid of satellite navigation and radar into the Gulf Stream and to depths over 1000 feet of water. We then set lines and drift our way back home. We fish live bait, squid with light sticks (as seen in the perfect storm), really whatever it takes to get them going. When the reel goes off, there is nothing more exciting than being out on the ocean at night battling it out with such a powerful yet delicious fish.

There has been quite a bit written about sword fishing lately and for good reason, North Atlantic swordfish populations, which had been severely depleted by the 1990s as a result of over fishing, have staged a stunning recovery, as reported by the international regulatory group (ICCAT) charged with overseeing their protection. Sport fishermen from South Florida are now able to catch this mighty adversary, if properly prepared.

Photos: Nature’s Wallpaper (top); Outdoors Guy (above)

49

Check out this video as a grouse hunter kills two birds with one arrow.

Killing two birds with one stone is how the saying goes, but the grouse hunter in this video from Solvid FIY puts a little spin on it by using one arrow instead.

Now, it may not be exactly what you are thinking as the hunter does not kill two grouse with one shot, but… well, I’ll let you see what happens for yourself.

After bagging one bird with his first shot, the grouse hunter spots another one roosting nearby after moving forward to retrieve his first bird. Acting quickly, the hunter simply grabs the arrow that he had killed the first grouse with off the ground and nocks it on his bow before making another great shot on the second grouse.

Although taking two grouse with one arrow in one shot would have been an incredible sight to see, taking a second animal with the same arrow that was just used to bag another bird in such a short period of time is pretty darn cool as well.

Have you ever been archery hunting for grouse or any other game bird? How was the experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

49

Dove season is just around the corner, one of the more fun and social hunts in the country.

In many areas offering liberal bag limits, the weather is warm and hunting is limited to the afternoon, eliminating the early morning rise.

The challenge of dove hunting is hitting these evasive targets. Most shooters take a couple of boxes of shells (probably more than 100 rounds) in the hopes of bagging a limit.

Like any type of hunting, the right gear can make your hunt more comfortable and successful. Bill Miller suggests these must-have items in an OutdoorHub post.

dove-hunting-041211[1]For the devoted wingshooting hunter, spring and summer are filled with clay target shooting. Doves represent the first real hunting opportunity of the fall. Satisfying as a smoked clay target can be, it’s never a 100 percent substitute for real feathers on real birds that can make erratic, evasive maneuvers—and result in terrific table fare. That’s why the traditional early September opening of dove season is such a big deal.

Except for turkey hunting—which is a whole different shotgunning ballgame—you likely have been away from the hunting field since the spring goose seasons ended. Are you ready to enjoy opening day?

Here are some things to put on your checklist to enjoy the opener to its fullest.