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OUR LATEST POSTS

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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)

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I’m a huge fan of River Monsters with Jeremy Wade on the Animal Planet channel. Wade is a biologist by training, but his job, as host of the show, is to fish for unusual, dangerous fish around the world. As an angler, who wouldn’t love to travel the world to exotic destinations, in search of big-game fish? I dream of crossing off various bucket-list fish around the globe some day.

Jeremy Wade isn’t the only one who gets to live the dream fishing life. Remember, there are fishing guides that take those of us who go out looking to catch our bucket-list fish. Jako Lucas is one of them. The Venturing Angler takes us into Jako’s world.

jako_tigerfishJako Lucas is living the dream – chasing exotic species on the fly in exotic locations throughout the world!Captain Lucas recently sat down to take on some questions for the Venturing Angler:

1. Where in the world have you fly fished?

I was pretty much born into fishing. I have been fishing (or let’s say playing in little pools next to the ocean) since I was 4. My father and grandfather were avid fisherman and I was soon to follow. From a very early age I was fishing whenever I got a chance and fished a lot for big sharks on our coast line. Then fly fishing took me to many different premier, fresh and saltwater destinations around South Africa, whether it be sightfishing for yellowfish at Sterkfontein Dam to Garick in Jeffery’s Bay. I have also fished some other great fisheries around Africa, like the Zambezi for tigerfish and around the Mozambique coastline. I then moved to the United Kingdom and worked for Farlows of Pall Mall, where I continued fishing many UK fisheries including the prestigious River Test. In 2007 I joined the FlyCastaway team and have been guiding full time ever since. I have guided the notorious outer atolls of the Indian Ocean, namely Cosmoledo, Providence, Astove, Assumption, Farquhar and St. Brandon’s. I have spent a large amount of time guiding for tigerfish on the Zambezi River as well as for South Africa’s indigenous Largemouth and Smallmouth Yellowfish on the Vaal River, which is my local water. I have also guided five full seasons in Norway for the infamous Atlantic salmon. I have also completed two full seasons guiding in Mongolia for monster taimen…. a fish which has seriously captured my attention.

Photos: The Venturing Angler

Clover is a powerful wildlife attractant and a favorite food of whitetail deer throughout the year. The tiny seeds are expensive, though, and getting a food plot to produce year-round and not succumb to disease or weeds takes know-how. Fear not; you don’t need giant pieces of farm equipment to protect your investment of time and money. Instead, simply keep these four tips in mind.

Ohio Deer 2010 064Most companies will claim a lifespan of three to five years on their perennials. However, if you care for them properly a perennial stand can last for many years. Perennials like red and white clovers, alfalfa, trefoils and chicory provide dependable nutrition and attraction and are especially important for antler growth, fawn rearing and early hunting season attraction. If you follow these words of advice you will get the most out of your perennial stand.

1) The soil that you begin with will be significant in how long your perennials will last. The pH of your soil needs to be fairly neutral (6.2 to 7.5) if you want longevity from your stand. If you have acidic soil (or a low pH) it doesn’t mean that you can’t grow perennials, it just means that you need to incorporate some lime into the soil to raise the pH and reduce the acidity. With an initially neutral pH a perennial stand can grow-on for eight to ten years or more.

2) Perennials should be mowed periodically during the growing season (at least three times). Mowing not only helps to keep broadleaf weeds and grasses at bay, but it also promotes new, more attractive, palatable growth on your perennials. Many people want to plant perennials because they believe they will be less work since you only plant them once and they last for years, but perennials actually need more “tractor time” than annuals. Perennials are less expensive for the production that you receive, but with the maintenance required they will take a bit more work than annuals if you wish to do it right.

3) In most regions of the country you may also find the need to treat your stand with a grass herbicide. Mowing will usually take care of broadleaf weeds, but in severe deer in velvet2569cases there may also be selective herbicides that will deal with the broadleaf problem, depending upon what type of plants are in your perennial stand. There are numerous brands of grass herbicides that will work over perennial blends like Clover Plus or Non-Typical.

4) It is also important if you want longevity from your perennials to feed them from time to time. It’s best to fertilize with what your soil test results recommend. Most often it will be a recommendation similar to around 300 lbs of 0-20-20 per acre annually. Many choose to fertilize at planting time and then during the spring annually thereafter. Some also believe that a boost of potassium during the late summer in the north, or early fall in the south, can increase cold hardiness of the stand. About 200-250 lbs of 0-0-60 per acre should suffice.

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Bluefish

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Bluefin tuna

Atlantic Salmon

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Atlantic Sturgeon

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

White Perch

White Perch

Monkfish

Monkfish

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Striped Bass

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Atlantic Cod

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Mackerel

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Haddock

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Pollock

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Smelt

Atlantic Wolffish

White hake

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Cusk

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American Eel

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Do you know this person? I call them “count chasers.” They only go out if it’s “wide open.” Now don’t get me wrong, checking the count is a daily activity for me, but I’m not a count chaser. Let me explain. A count chaser is someone who sees a big hit on a boat, and then goes fishing. I get extreme satisfaction when the chasers are told, “You shoulda been here yesterday.”

While the counts help guide my fishing choices, at the end of the day, I’m going to go fishing. Field & Stream writer Joe Cermele has a similar attitude. Find out why he never asks, “Are they biting?

facebook-phishing-scamPerhaps I’m an odd duck, but when I travel to fish I don’t often ask the guide or whoever I’m fishing with how the bite’s been. Or if I do, I very rarely let the answer alter my plans. If you have a Facebook account, log on right now. I bet you’ll find loads of up-to-the-minute fishing reports in your news feed. Anglers have become so glued to reports thanks to the Net, so reliant on them in terms of deciding to fish or not fish, that it drives me mad. I always laugh when I ask someone to go fishing and they’re first question is “what are the reports?” or “have they been getting them?” My answer is always, “does it matter?”

The best advice I was ever given by a guide came from my good friend Josh Stevenson in Minnesota. The first time we met, we had a precious 3 hours to muskie fish in the most miserable cold front conditions ever. Long story short, despite my severe lack of hope, we caught 2 big muskies and lost a third in 30 minutes. Nobody else was fishing. Josh said, “you know, if you’ve got time to fish, just go fish. Don’t worry about conditions or reports or barometric pressure or anything. Just go, because if you don’t it’s a 100% guarantee you’re not going to catch anything.” It feeds right into the old adage that if you wait for the perfect conditions, you’ll never go fishing. On that note, while I can’t speak for everyone, I would also certainly rather fish and catch nothing than mow the lawn, go to Home Depot, wash my truck, or do any of the other things I often do on non-fishing days.

Photo credits: Medicine Stone (top), Field & Stream (above)

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Group ShotThe hunt or shoot isn’t over until the barrel is clean.

Disposable cleaning patches have been the staple of this function for decades, yet Bore-tips may be an easier and more effective way to keep your firearms in tip-top condition. Instead of cleaning the bore and throwing the product away, Bore-tips will capture the fouling and then can be washed or blotted to remove the dirt and fouling, making the tip reusable.

To swab a barrel, apply solvent to a Bore-tip, which attaches to standard cleaning rods. Then brush the bore and use a second Bore-tip to remove fouling, with a final one to dry the bore.

Bore-tips come in five popular calibers and three gauges for rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Pretty cool, huh? Check them out at bore-tips.com.