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The kids are out of school and the water is warming up at your local lake. When the water warms, the fish get more active. This time of year signals that it’s time to dust off your tackle box and find your topwater lures. Some of the oldest, most popular lures to target a bite on top are poppers. The reason they’re so popular is that watching a big fish attack it from below and break the water’s surface is maybe the most exciting way to catch fish.

Captain Mike Gerry, a professional guide from Lake Guntersville, Alabama, talks about how and why the popper is one of his favorite bass baits.

Popper_lmbAs we turn more toward the top water bite that happens every summer no presentation goes further back in history than the infamous popping lure like the Pop-r. There are more than 30 versions of this popping lure, as manufacturers from all phases of the fishing world have made some version of this lure. The attraction is very clear, it catches fish!

The popping lure is the musical rendition of an on the water piano, with all making a unique sound, a unique cadence and capable of creating an explosion over the top of structure. Name your cadence, pop, pop, pop pause, or pop, pause, pop it even gulps, pops, and pauses, you get the picture; make your popping count, make it different or walk it like a dog and you will catch fish, the key is to establish a rhythm. This will help you find a cadence that creates a bite; once you do you’re having fun as bass of all sizes attack your lure with a vengeance.

Photos: In Fisherman (top); Fish Assist (above)


Buying a firearm for a youngster deserves all of the research and attention you can muster.

My first shotgun was a Stevens over/under 20-gauge that my father purchased from Sears for my 11th birthday. I still have and use the shotgun, even though it wasn’t a good first shotgun; every rabbit or bird that flushed got an immediate two-shot burst.

Although I eventually overcame the need to pull both triggers, that process took a while. A single shot .410 or 20-gauge would have taught me to take my time and make one shot count.

A first rifle or shotgun should fit the shooter’s smaller frame, a match that will greatly facilitate enjoyment and initial success. Most firearm companies offer a few guns for young shooters. Mossberg features more than 40; take a few minutes to peruse their online catalog.

MD Spring Turkey 09 071 - CopyO.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc, throughout the company’s 95-year history, has been a leader in the development and design of firearms for younger and small-statured shooters and promoting responsible gun ownership and safety training for all gun owners. In the recently-launched Mossberg 2014 Youth Catalog, 45 shotguns, rimfire and centerfire rifles feature the company’s innovative EZ-Reach™ forends (pump-action shotguns), Super Bantam™ stock spacer adjustment system (shotguns and rifles) and Mossberg’s ground-breaking FLEX™ TLS™ (Tool-less Locking System). Adding these dimensional design features provides for proper fit and balance for younger shooters or individuals who require more compact firearms with shorter lengths-of-pull (LOP).

Photo (top): A Hunter’s Tales


The John Dory fish is a benthic (bottomfish) predator resident to the coastal waters off Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. The unusual-looking fish has a dark spot behind the gill plate that is thought to confuse its prey and scare off potential predators. Legend has it that the dark spot is the thumbprint of St. Peter, which is why the fish is also called the St. Pierre or St. Peter’s Fish. The fish is highly prized on the plate, a favorite of high-end chefs for its mild white flesh.

Recently, New Zealand angler Brett Arnold caught a large John Dory. Eat it or certify as a possible IGFA record? Find out what Brett did.

johndory_arnold_NZLanding a New Zealand record John Dory was so surprising it knocked the lucky fisherman’s friend off his perch.

Inglewood man Brett Arnold said he caught the big one – weighing in at 4kg – while fishing with mates about 25km off the coast of Patea on Sunday.

“We caught about 50 or 60 sharks and then I pulled that out of the water and said ‘holy hell’.”

“It was shark after shark after shark until then.

“The boys were surprised all right, one fell off his seat and ended up on the deck he was so excited.”

Arnold said he caught the fish using 10kg line and squid for bait.

“Even that was a surprise because they usually go for live ones.”

Photos: Samantha Muir, BBC (top); One News (above)


You may be aware that former President George H.W. Bush is an avid angler. I understand that our 41st president’s favorite fish is tarpon, but that his range of fishing extends to fly fishing, too. Recently, when interviewed at a charity bonefish tournament in Florida, President Bush stated, “It’s a combination of hunting and fishing, because the excitement when you see them coming across the flats with the tails in the air and the noses in the mud and they stir up the mud… It’s the closest to hunting and fishing together that I’ve ever done. And I’ve done a lot of fishing since I…became unemployed. Put it that way.”

Few people are aware, though, of how the former president helped our sport while in public office. Recently, he was honored by the American Sportfishing Association for his work. Read the ASA’s press release to learn more.

george bush fly fishingYesterday, several of the nation’s sportfishing industry and fisheries conservation leaders met with former President George H. W. Bush to honor his lifelong efforts to conserve our nation’s fisheries and their habitat. The delegation, led by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, met with Bush at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine, a week after Bush celebrated his ninetieth birthday.

The American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) President and CEO Mike Nussman presented the former president with the inaugural KeepAmericaFishing™ Lifetime Achievement award on behalf of the recreational fishing industry and our nation’s 60 million anglers. The award, named for the former president, recognizes Bush’s leadership and lifelong personal commitment to recreational fishing and the conservation of our nation’s fisheries and wetlands. Launched by ASA in 2010,KeepAmericaFishing was established as a way for anglers to get involved in advocating for clean water, abundant fish populations and plenty of places to go fishing. In addition to this award, ASA presented its inaugural Fisherman of the Year award to Bush in 1986.

“During his administration, President Bush, an ardent angler and outdoorsman, was responsible for signing into law some of the most important legislation ever drafted to conserve our nation’s fisheries and their habitat,” said Nussman. “Today, the sportfishing industry and anglers recognized his lifelong commitment to our nation’s natural resources with the first KeepAmericaFishing Lifetime Achievement award for his extraordinary efforts to advocate for fisheries conservation and habitat restoration.”

Photos: Keys Discovery (top); Great Lakes Angler (above)


Browning has been making quality outdoor apparel for decades. Their Hell’s Canyon line is one of my personal favorites, and it wears as well as it looks.

Now, Browning introduces a line of clothing with a hint of pink fashion, a more feminine fit, and the same tough quality that fans of the famous “buck mark” have come to expect. If you’re a gal who hunts in cold weather, you’ll want to take a special look at the jacket with PrimaLoft, an incredibly light and well-insulating material. Here’s the information from Browning.

Hells Belles Ultra-Lite PantsTo keep the serious huntress warm, dry and concealed on her next hunting trip, Browning has introduced the line of Hell’s Belles clothing. Each item was designed to fit a woman’s shape while remaining highly functional in the field. Included in the new Hell’s Belles line are the Soft Shell Jacket and Pant, Ultra-Lite Jacket and Pant and the PrimaLoft Jacket. Each item is available in Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity or Realtree Xtra and feature pink camo contrast blocking.

The Hell’s Belles Soft Shell Jacket and Pant feature a mid-weight shell fabric that is windproof, highly water resistant and breathable. To help control human odor, the soft fleece lining uses Browning’s revolutionary Addvanced Scent Control. The Soft Shell Jacket has stretch nylon adjustable cuffs with hook and loop closures to eliminate drafts, zipper closure handwarmer pockets and an inside security pocket with zipper closure. The Soft Shell Pant has a fully constructed waist with belt loops, hip pockets and a thigh pocket on the right side to carry gear. Available in sizes S-2XL. Suggested Retail value for the Soft Shell Jacket $212.00 and $200.00 for the Pants.

For warmer weather or high activity hunting, the Hell’s Belles Ultra-Lite Jacket and Pant uses a lightweight shell fabric that is water and wind resistant while still being highly breathable. The Ultra-Lite Jacket and Pant also feature Addvanced Scent Control to help control human odor. The Ultra-Lite Jacket has a full-length YKK front zipper and on-seam handwarmer pockets with zipper closures. The Ultra-Lite Pant has a fully constructed waist with zippered fly and belt loops. The pants feature hip pockets, one rear zippered pocket and open cuffs with zip-to-knee openings. Available in sizes S-2XL. Suggested Retail value for the Ultra-Lite Jacket and Pants, $173.00 each.

For cold weather the Hell’s Belles PrimaLoft jacket uses lightweight PrimaLoft insulation throughout the entire jacket for ultralight warmth and comfort. The jacket has a featherweight shell that is highly water and wind resistant. The Hell’s Belles PrimaLoft Jacket has Lycra® cuffs for added protection from the elements, zippered hand warmer pockets and an inside zippered pocket for valuables. Available in sizes S-2XL. Suggested Retail value for the Hell’s Belles PrimaLoft Jacket, $212.00.


It’s not new to hear older anglers talk about how good fishing was “back when I fished in the day.” Typically, I hear these anglers cite how the fish are smaller now as evidence of the declining fishery. I’ve never heard anglers complain that there aren’t enough small fish.

Well, that’s exactly the problem that’s happening in the famed fishing lakes of Minnesota in the muskie fishery. A vigorous hatchery stocking program and the raising of the take limit to 54″ inches are some of the reasons guides and biologists are saying there are more big trophy-sized fish to be caught, but less fish overall. Is this a bad thing? Read this article from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press and form your own opinion.

muskie_joebucherWhen Minnesota muskie anglers take to the water this weekend, they’ll be chasing bigger and bigger fish — but apparently less and less of them.

That’s the emerging suspicion of state biologists monitoring populations on a number of Minnesota’s roughly 100 lakes with strong populations of muskellunge. What they’ve seen is that as the population of muskies ages and fish grow larger — a trend almost certain to continue as the state adopts a 54-inch statewide minimum next year — densities of muskies are falling.

The phenomenon — suspected to be the result of big muskies eating smaller ones — is eye-opening to researchers because numbers of the fast-growing, voracious fish are naturally low to begin with.

For example, 6,581-acre Lake Bemidji is now believed to have a mere 500 to 600 adult muskies in it, according to a two-year population estimate completed last month by the Department of Natural Resources. “You’d think there’d be room for more than that,” said Gary Barnard, the DNR’s Bemidji area fisheries supervisor.

Photos: Twin Cities Pioneer Press (top); Joe Bucher (above)