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  • March 28, 2013

    Aliens Gone Ice Fishing In Upstate New York?

    By Joe Cermele

    I'm trying to think spring thoughts, by which I mean trying to put memories of hardwater and winter steelheading behind me. But, alas, despite what the calendar says, it's just not feeling "springy" all over yet. In fact, in Upstate New York, ponds are not only still frozen, but apparently they're the preferred ice fishing digs of E.T. It's like the "X-Files" meets "Bill Dance Outdoors." Mostly laughable, but a little freaky, too. What do you think made these ice circles?

  • March 27, 2013

    Reel Customization (And Other Things I Wish I Had The Talent For)

    By Joe Cermele

    Here's a confession: I secretly wish I had the talent and money to restore old cars. It's been a life-long dream of mine to buy a '77 Bronco and rig that sucker to the nines. But the truth is I can barely change the batteries in my keyless entry remote let alone fix an engine or paint a truck body. I'd have no choice but to pay top dollar for a Bronco someone else has already restored, and that's not on the short list of things I can afford. The same goes with custom reels. Try as I might to pick up cheap flea market junkers and turn them into mean, modern fishing machines, I inevitably lose a spring or bend the shaft while tinkering. 

  • March 26, 2013

    Two Bull Shark Heads Tear Away More Flesh Than One

    By Joe Cermele

    Did you know that bull sharks have one of the highest testosterone levels in the entire animal kingdom? That explains why they're the culprit in more attacks than any other shark species. If you've ever hooked one, it also explains why they put up one of meanest, nastiest fights you likely ever experienced (I once watched a bull shark bite a metal gaff handle so hard it almost cut it in half). As if a regular bull shark isn't intimidating enough, now they come with two heads.

  • March 25, 2013

    Why Fishing Local Bass Ponds Will Make You A Better Angler

    By Dave Wolak

    There's a small cluster of pads and grass in the back right corner of my favorite pond (below) that only grows in summer. That’s where I always get a bite on a red worm. The runoff pipe from my neighbor Jim's yard is good for a fish, especially on rainy days, and his little dock is worth a skip or two with a wacky worm as long as it's sunny and the brim are around. In winter, I'll spot a couple fish swimming by the rocks at the dam only on the warmest days, and every once in a while I get one to hit a small jig or crankbait. In the spring, I've caught two five pounders on back to back buzzbait casts against Jim's lawn. Last year, the water got so high I even saw "Grumpy" (that's the pond's alpha female) spawning in his kid's sandbox. If this pond sounds familiar, it’s because most bass anglers know one just like it. 

  • March 22, 2013

    How Much Lighter Can Fishing Gear Get?

    By Joe Cermele

    The reel pictured below is the brand new Abu Garcia REVO Mgxtreme, one of which just landed on my desk for a field test. Though I haven't fished it yet, I can tell you it's a work of art, constructed of the latest and greatest alloys and carbon fibers. Most impressive is that it weighs only 4.9 ounces, which Abu boasts is a full .5 ounces lighter than the generation before it. Thing is, its predecessor wasn't released that long ago. This new offering is keeping in line with the biggest trend I've ever seen in fishing: make it lighter. Whenever I'm at a tackle show and ask a company how this year's reel, rod, shoe, jacket, line, etc, differs from last year's version, "it's lighter" is undoubtedly part of the answer. The question I have is how much lighter can you make stuff?

  • March 21, 2013

    Vintage Tackle Contest: Creek Chub Fly Rod Bug Wiggler

    By Joe Cermele

    This week's vintage tackle contest winner has me day dreaming about a local pond I love on a summer's evening just as the sun is going down and the bluegills are sipping the surface. It comes from Steve Neher, along with this great back story:My wife's great Aunt Freda worked at Creek Chub Bait Co. in Garret, Indiana, in the 50's and 60's. When she found out I fished, her gift to me was a bait from Creek Chub every Christmas. The last bait she ever gave me was this Fly Rod Lure, and she apologized because all she had was a small bait for that year. The bluegill is my wife's 10-incher for size comparison.

    Well Steve, per Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog, the last bait Aunt Freda ever gave you might be the best.

  • March 20, 2013

    New Hook Shots: Falcon Bass in the Borderlands

    By Joe Cermele

    Hopefully wherever you are, it's starting to feel like spring. It's certainly still winter here in the Northeast and I'm sick of it. So instead of kicking off the 5th season of "Hook Shots" on the ice or a frigid river, I ran for the Texas-Mexico border to fish Falcon Lake. I was told the bass grow big at Falcon and the Mexican drug smugglers and pirates never bother a bunch of gringoes in a flashy bass boat loaded with expensive camera gear. What I learned is that if you have a really fast boat it's OK to fish the Mexico side, if you want big prespawn fish on Falcon you'd better be able to flip a jig (which I suck at), and if you listen to enough club music, you kinda start to like it. A huge thanks goes out to 25-year-old hot shot guide Nathan Fields, who is one incredible angler. If you want to catch Texas bass with someone keyed in on the latest techniques who is not a grumpy old dude, Nate is your man. Enjoy the show, and many more adventures, foibles, documented shortcomings, and hopefully a few moments of glory to come this season.

  • March 18, 2013

    Catch The Biggest March Bass By Sleeping Late

    By Dave Wolak

    Go early, stay late. It’s a mantra that most hardcore anglers live by. But I can tell you when it comes to bass, it’s not so applicable in March. This month it’s more like sleep in, stay late. Or get up early and tell fish stories at the diner over 19 cups of rot gut coffee, go shoot the breeze at the tackle shop for a few hours, then get out on the lake. Fact is, the bass bite is far better in the afternoon in early spring, and that’s because the activity level of the entire ecosystem is going to be at its peak during the warmer afternoon. As far as staying late, I don't mean wear night vision goggles and throw Jitterbugs in the dark. Although Fred Arbogast would be proud, it’s not time for that yet. Just stay until dusk, then head home to watch some college basketball before the temperature starts dropping again. Here's why.

  • March 14, 2013

    Vintage Tackle Contest: Allcock Arrow Spinner

    By Joe Cermele

    Here's an interesting entry into the vintage tackle contest from Joe Rudolph, who wrote: I dug up this spinner in the basement of my uncle's house at the Gatineau Fish & Game Club in Point Comfort, Quebec, underneath a workbench in a pile of sawdust. The house was built in 1924 and the club was founded in 1894 by my great-great grandfather, Franchot Jerome Tone. Per Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog, this spinner is an example of a British design taking hold in the U.S., which ironically is happening again today as European-style carp fishing gets more and more popular on American soil.

    Dr. Todd says:

    "This is a great piece of British fishing tackle manufactured by Samuel Allcock & Co. of Redditch, England. The firm was founded around 1800 by Polycarp Allcock, and taken over around 1858 by his son Samuel. In the 1860s and 1870s it became one of the largest tackle makers in the world. What you have is an "Arrow" spinner, as it was called in America, or an "Otter" as it was sometimes called in Britain. 

  • March 13, 2013

    Would You Rent a Lure for $160 A Day?

    By Joe Cermele

    If someone told you they had a lure that was so revolutionary, so potent, and unlike anything fish had ever seen before, would you be willing to pony up a $160 security deposit to rent that lure for the day? Me neither. But according to this very interesting little story in the New York Times, that's exactly what anglers were willing to do to fish a Rapala Minnow in the early 1960s, long before these Finnish imports were readily available. That rental fee factors in inflation. The real deposit back then was $20, but after Life magazine called the Rapala "a lure fish can't pass up," fishermen apparently would do anything to get their hands on one.

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