“Anyone can get lucky and catch a winning or trophy fish. What separates the men from the boys is consistency.” - Bill Burton
The best anglers I know have a solid grasp of three basic elements. The first is a willingness to learn and change behaviors or techniques when necessary. That means incorporating the latest technologies and staying on top of the best research. It also includes sorting through the folklore to pick out the very best practices and discarding the nonproductive tactics that bog us down. Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, it’s time to change. There are not many fishermen who have perfected their skills to the point where they are successful every time. The handful who have could teach us all something. These are the guys who need to write a book. I know I’d buy it. Fishermen with the right stuff are continually seeking opportunities to learn – to step outside of tried-and-proven comfort zones to find what works.
The second element is enthusiasm. Good fishermen eat, drink, smoke, and chew fishing. When they aren’t fishing, they’re thinking about fishing, and they’re probably planning their next fishing trip (or two). They seek out new information and pour over every tidbit of data they can find that might improve their skills. They surround themselves with like-minded people who share their passion for the sport. They also work to conserve the species they enthusiastically pursue. Read More!
1. When your wife or girlfriend asks, “You aren’t going to fish in the rain are you?”
Well, yes I am, and in the sleet, and in the snow, and in the fog, and any other time the other guys are at home sitting on the couch.
2. Or when she wonders, “Why do you need another fishing rod, you already have three?”
And that puts me in the lower five percent of all the other fishermen I know who each have at least sixty.
3. Or how about, “Will you be home by dark?”
No, I’ll fish until dark, and if the fish are biting I’ll keep fishing until they stop or at least until my muscles become so stiff they have to pry my rod out of my cold wet fingers.
4. And, I hope you haven’t heard, “My old boyfriend caught one bigger than that.”
I don’t care. Okay, I do care, but I don’t want to hear about it! And that reminds me, don’t say:
5. ”Cute little guy.”
Not about a fish, not about anything, not ever! Read More!
I may have found the best fishing spot in the Chesapeake Bay. I discovered it completely by accident a few years ago. I was zig-zagging across some ledges in the Mid-Bay when I saw something on my fish finder that looked like a miniature underwater forest. My first thought was that I was seeing small tree trunks or the remains of fence posts coming up from the bottom. Then I thought maybe I was seeing a shipwreck, but the more I explored the area, the more it became apparent that my sonar was pinging over more natural structure. I was seeing the sonar returns of oysters, and lots of them.
When oysters are left to grow, they form highly complex and irregular reefs. This is a result of the natural reproduction process by which larvae is set onto existing shells. These new shells clump together with older ones, and grow upward toward the surface. When the reefs go unharvested, they grow into mounds or plumes. When they’re left alone for a long time, the mounds can reach the surface of the water and be visible at low tides. In regions where oysters are plentiful, they call these mounds “oyster rocks.” That’s a term you don’t hear too much in Maryland because there aren’t any oyster rocks left. Read More!
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Have you seen this yet? Lenny Rudow asked me to join him and his sons David and Max as they filmed an episode for his internet-based fishing show, Got Bait?. Sponsored by Boats.com, the series is professionally filmed and produced by Paul Cronin Productions. I was pumped about the invitation for several reasons, not the least of which is that I would get to fish with Lenny. He and I move around in similar circles, but we’ve only had one brief opportunity to fish together. I’m a big fan of Lenny’s informative How-To books about fishing the Chesapeake Bay, especially his iconic and aptly titled Rudow’s Guide To Fishing The Chesapeake. Additionally, I’ve heard great things about Max and David, so this would be my opportunity to finally meet them. To make the invitation even better, my friend Gary Reich would be joining us as assistant producer.
On the morning of the filming, I launched my 27′ Judge Center Console Thunder Road at Matapeake and zoomed by Thomas Point Light to our predetermined rendezvous point outside the West River. The plan was to use my boat as the chase boat for filming, and Lenny’s PowerCat for fishing. As I jumped on board with Lenny and handed the boat keys over to Gary, I pointed out that the weather was great and all signs pointed toward a successful fishing day. That might have been what jinxed us. Read More!
I hang with a lot of fisheries guys. If I had to guess at the backgrounds of the people I’ve fished with most frequently, it would be (in order) coaching baseball, cutting meat, and studying fish. My brother is a fisheries biologist as are many of my friends. I was thrilled recently when a young fisherman who is still in high school reached out to me about his career plans, “I want to be a fish scientist,” he said. “I want to make a difference.” Obviously, I appreciate those guys and the science in which they work.
I looked up the term Fisheries Management and found this: Fisheries management draws on fisheries science in order to find ways to protect fishery resources.
I like the phrase, “draws on fisheries science.” As a fisherman and a conservationist, I want management decisions based on facts, not politics, pseudoscience, or hearsay. I am a student of the collective knowledge acquired by fishermen. There’s nothing I’d rather hear than the recommendations of a seasoned angler or the sage advice of an experienced waterman. On the other hand, I work in a scientific profession, so I recognize that good science trumps folklore on every occasion. Read More!