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TOP STORIES

  • Killer Frogs

    Frog baits can lose their potency over time if you keep using the same pattern. These 3 tweaks will turn on the bite.

  • Kayak Culture

    The second-largest kayak fishing tournament in the United States takes place in New York City. Here's what it's like.

  • What's Next

    We asked our experts to peer into the future of hunting, fishing, and conservation. Here’s what they see.

  • Best Reader Photos, March

    Check out the 25 best shots from our readers and submit your photos for the chance to win gear.

  • Bowfishing Gear

    The only required gear for bowfishing is a fish arrow tied to a line that’s tied to a bow. But good gear does make it more fun and productive. These items are definitely worth having.

  • The Real Fly Girls

    Meet seven women with the chops and attitude to infiltrate the industry boys' club and wade into the mainstream.

  • Bowfishing Rigs Test

    Don't trash your whitetail bow shooting carp, suckers, and gar. Get a dedicated bowfishing rig.

  • The Drone Report

    Some sportsmen have started using unmanned aircraft for hunting and fishing applications. But, where do we draw the fair-chase line?

  • Small-Stream Smallies

    If you live in bronzeback country, small streams could be your best chance at big fish. Here's how to target them.

 

Top Picks

  • May 19, 2008

    Who Wants to Fish With Us?

    3

    By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

    Unknown

    Seriously. Wanna hit the river with Tim and me? Full-day float down the Colorado River (or on the river of "what's happening now" in Colorado). And what's more, we'll take photos, write a mini-story, and post your exploits right here on Fly Talk, for the whole world (of web-surfing, Fly Talk junkies) to see. I'll be honest ... I'm already conjuring up headers like "Bob foul-hooks record quantities of whiteys" ... or "Susie sets world mark for slow reaction on dry-fly takes." But who knows, you might pull a stunner, and I'll be honest about that also. In either regard, I can promise it will be a very fun, interesting and informative day you'd enjoy and remember. You'll get our very best effort.

    We've donated this trip to an important cause, the Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska, which is working to stop the Pebble Mine that may ultimately threaten the last great wild salmon fishery on the planet. All joking aside, it is a very important issue worth your support, on any level. Fish with us, and you'll also pick up a pair of wicked-good Kaenon shades and other goodies ... like learning "Deeter's Death Rig" which will never be printed. And who knows, if you fall out of the boat, maybe Romano will track you with his "helmet cam." (See the current issue of F&S if you're wondering.) If you want to talk about writing...photography...we'll be your captive audience.

    Please check out the group's auction link RIGHT HERE to see a full slate of numerous quality trips and great items you can bid on to support a worthy effort. Or if you just want to cowboy(girl) up and go right for the Romano-Deeter ride, click THIS LINK HERE.

    We hope to see you on the river!

    Deeter [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 19, 2008

    So Who Knows? Politics, Presidents, and the Second Amendment

    By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

    I feel obliged, as the presidential race becomes somewhat clearer, to weigh in with whatever semi-useful insights I have.

    * Hillary is apparently finished as a presidential candidate. This is good news for us. All her Second Amendment b.s. aside, she despises guns and gun owners. A friend of mine at the National Shooting Sports Foundation ranks her and Chuck Schumer as the two senators who hate the Second Amendment most.

    * Barack Obama doesn't hate guns or gun owners, but he doesn't see why there should be guns or gun owners, and would vote for any anti-gun law that landed on his desk. He might consider special exemptions for bitter rural people, but who knows?

    * John McCain this past week went to the NRA Convention and revealed what a hell of a pro-gunner he is. However, if John McCain thought it would win him the election, he would go to the NRA and eat his grandchildren at the General Members' Meeting. The temptation, therefore, is to assume that McCain is just shining us on; however, he has the uncomfortable habit of speaking the truth every now and then.

    * On the other hand, when he does this, he immediately panics and changes his story. So who knows?

    * In 2009, Congress will almost certainly be controlled by Democrats.

    * However, Congress will remain just as gutless and feckless as it was under the Republicans. So who knows?

    * The Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment is due next month. Any laws proposed by Congress will have to take into account what the Supremes say, pro or con. So who knows?

    I am going off to look at photos of Ms. Jaime Pressley.

    ---

    In response to overwhelming demand, here is a photo of Ms. Jaime Pressly.
    Ms. Pressly has the power to cloud mens' minds. If you feel dizzy or faint,
    stop looking immediately and switch to a photo of Rosie O'Donnell until your
    system returns to normal.

    Jaime_pressly_is_sexy2_l [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 19, 2008

    John Gierach & Bob White 100th Column

    0

    By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

    Close_to_home2

    Our friend Bob White and John Gierach are celebrating their 100th column together in Fly Rod & Reel's July/October, 2008 issue.

    Check out the 100 Painting Retrospective on www.whitefishstudio.com

    Their first collaboration was in July of 1988, when Bob illustrated John's article, "East Big Fish." After Lee Wulff's tragic death in 1991, the editors at Rod & Reel asked John Gierach to write the magazine's closing column, and Bob White was asked to illustrate it. Their first regular column together, "The Sporting Life," was published in March of 1992. The illustration for the 100th column is a painting of John fishing his home water, and is titled "Close To Home." The issue with the 100th collaboration has just been shipped and this is the first time the image has been released.

    Enjoy,

    TR [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 19, 2008

    Discussion Topic: If Your Semi-Auto Malfunctions, Is It A Machine Gun?

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    It apparently is according to BAFTE and a Milwaukee jury who in January found David R. Olofson guilty of illegally transferring a machine gun. The National Guardsman has now been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

    From Guns Magazine:

    Olofson, you see, had loaned one of his rifles [to Robert Kiernicki], and it malfunctioned at a range, firing off short bursts before jamming. . . .

    [I]t didn’t matter this was merely a case of a “hammer follow. . . .”



    It didn’t matter the government had repeatedly failed to replicate automatic fire. . . .

    What mattered was the government’s position that none of the above was relevant because “[T]here’s no indication it makes any difference under the statute. If you pull the trigger once and it fires more than one round, no matter what the cause it’s a machine gun. . . .”

    Think about if your semiauto ever malfunctions. Because that’s how close you could be to becoming a convicted “gun felon.”

    To be fair, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

    Kiernicki testified Olofson told him the third position was for automatic firing, but it jammed, court records indicate. He also testified Olofson told him he had fired the weapon on the automatic setting at that same range without a problem, according to the records.

    No matter what Olofson knew, many feel the case sets a frightening precedent, allowing for criminal charges whenever a weapon accidentally fires more than once. Are you concerned? [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 19, 2008

    Gator May Have Drowned Florida Man

    5

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From Tampa Bay Online:

    A man found Saturday floating near an alligator that had been feeding on his remains drowned, according to an autopsy Sunday. . . .

    Though the man drowned, he still may be a victim of a gator attack.

    "That doesn't tell us if the alligator did it," said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    Alligators usually drown large prey, he said. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 19, 2008

    On Cops and Guns

    By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

    The county where I pay outrageous taxes requires that if you have guns in your car, they either be in a locked hard case or in a soft case with a trigger lock. It's likely that of every 100 people who drive with guns in this county (particularly if they're from somewhere else) no more than 10 know about the law, and of those 10 five actually care enough to obey it. This would make for a bad situation, except that most of the county cops don't know what the law is, and don't care about it either.
          
    Most people come to grief copwise/gunwise when they are pulled over for traffic violations or for speeding. Many police routinely ask if you have any weapons in the car, and if the answer is yes, I can assure you that what would have been a simple citation or a warning will go into a whole new dimension. It doesn't matter what you have, or how you're carrying it, or why, you now have trouble.
          
    That's part one. Part two is, although most police are indifferent to gun laws, if you mouth off to them, they will want payback, and if you happen to have a gun with you, you are in deep doo-doo. A shooting/hunting acquaintance of mine told me last week about being pulled over for something and cracking wise to the officer. Then:
          
    "He tore that car apart. He spent a half hour, going through the trunk, the glove compartment, under the seats, everything. If I'd had a gun, I'd be in jail right now."

    For more information, on the subject, see if you can find Chris Rock's excellent instructional video, "How To Not Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police" Good taste prohibits us from running it here, but I promise you it's worth your time. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 16, 2008

    Break the Chain

    0

    By Kim Hiss

         I apologize for going off topic again, but this is serious. I was just sitting down to start a blog post when I checked my email, and found a chain letter from a close friend. I now have 3 hours to forward the message to 10 people or someone I love could die in a freak accident.
         So here I sit, with 180 minutes on the clock, facing a terrible choice. Do I -- a person who's alreadyChain
    debilitatingly superstitious -- give into the e-paranoia, drop what I'm doing and send the email to 10 other addresses? Bear in mind that forwarding the message could save lives. Or, do I tell myself these emails are mere spam that prey on the insecurities of the recipient and should be deleted on sight? Not forwarding the message could spare 10 unsuspecting people from having to face this dilemma themselves. I still can't decide. And I'm down to 170 minutes.
         Do you delete chain mails the minute you get them, or obediently send them along? Say you're late for an appointment when one of these emails pops up saying you have one hour to forward it to 15 people. Doing so would ensure a beautiful 16-point that fall. Not doing so would mean a meatless season. Would you sent it just in case? Or would you take a stand against e-superstition, declare "This chain stops with me," and boldly hit delete? It's a moral test of the highest order, and I, for one, am still struggling through it.
         And I have 160 minutes to go. - K.H. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 16, 2008

    Jalapeno Poppers & Shark Surfing

    0

    By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

    Two videos that I couldn't let slide by without sharing. I know, I know they are not fly fishing but trust me you'll want to see them. The second was filmed by my bass fishing friend Johnny Q from Texas.

    Have great day and get out and try something different this weekend. Who knows, maybe it will work.

    TR

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 16, 2008

    Discussion Topic: On Polar Bears, Climate Change, And Oil

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From the Washington correspondent for the UK’s The Indepenent:
    Yesterday marked the first time the US Endangered Species Act was used to protect a species threatened by climate change. . . . [However, t]he bears will only be protected from the direct effects of hunting, and some other activities, because of limits imposed by the Interior Department. It invoked a seldom used loophole to make it easier for the energy industry to actually expand activities that already threaten the bears and their habitat.

    The Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, who spent much of his political life opposing the Endangered Species Act, said it would be "inappropriate" to use the polar bear listing "to regulate global climate change . . . ."

    Do you agree? [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 16, 2008

    New Jersey Wildlife Officials Capture “Bearzilla”

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    If Garden State sportsmen ever get their bear season back, there will be some truly giant bruins to be had.
    From the Star-Ledger:
    "Bearzilla" is real and living somewhere in West Milford.

    A 726-pound male black bear, the heaviest ever handled by New Jersey wildlife officials, was captured over the weekend in the northern Passaic County township. It was treated for a nose injury, marked with identifying tags and set free. . . .

    “Wait until it feeds all summer . . . . It could get over 900 pounds," said Len Wolgast, a member of the state Fish and Game Council and former wildlife biology professor. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 16, 2008

    Florida's Python Numbers Double In Two Years

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From AFP:
    Giant pythons capable of swallowing a dog and even an alligator are rapidly making south Florida their home, potentially threatening other southeastern states, a study said.

    From 2002-2005, 201 of the beasts were caught by state authorities, but in the last two years the number has more than doubled to 418. . . . [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 16, 2008

    A Little Bit of History

    By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

    One of the fringe benefits of hunting is that you get to see and hear some unforgettable stuff, and this particular scene was acted out some time in the mid-1980s in a restaurant in Gillette, Wyoming. I was hunting mule deer with Norm Nelson, who is a history buff of the first magnitude, and we were having lunch with a friend of his whose name I cannot now remember.

    Somehow we got around to the subject of the atom bomb and whether we should have used it. What follows, all these years later, is pretty much word for word from Norm's friend:

    "I can tell you something about that. I started World War II as a private, and I lived through four landings. By August of '45 I was a warrant officer, but I was so frightened I was useless as a soldier. I knew that if we had to invade Japan I was not going to live, and when they dropped the two bombs and Japan surrendered it was like I had been born again. Anyone who says we shouldn't have used the bomb, you send them to see me."

    For some reason that has stuck in my mind for all these years. I heard the same kind of story from an old outdoor writer, a newspaper reporter who made the D-Day invasion as an infantryman and survived. On D-Day plus one the Army, in its inscrutable way, decided it needed a reporter, saw in his 201 file that he qualified, and literally plucked him out of the hedgerows of Normandy and shipped him back to England.

    "The strangest thing about it," he said, "was making the adjustment to knowing you'd be alive tomorrow. It took me a long time to get used to that."

    Little bits of history that are vanishing every day. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 16, 2008

    Bass Destroys Thumb

    5

    By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

    Bassthumb [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 15, 2008

    Another Wildlife Official Caught Poaching

    3

    By Scott Bestul

    From Vermont’s Rutland Herald:


    A former member of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board from Northfield was convicted Tuesday of baiting deer.



    Michael Popowski, 65, pleaded no contest in Vermont District Court in Barre to the misdemeanor charge, according to the Vermont Attorney General's Office. He was sentenced to pay a $200 fine and had five points levied against his hunting license. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 15, 2008

    Minnesota Sharpshooters Kill 962 Deer

    1

    By Scott Bestul

    From The Star Tribune:

    Sharpshooters have finished for now trying to dramatically thin the deer herd in part of northwestern Minnesota plagued by bovine tuberculosis. . . .

    Eight of the 962 deer killed by sharpshooters are suspected of having bovine TB. Two have tested positive; results are pending on the others. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 15, 2008

    Whitetail News Roundup

    1
  • May 15, 2008

    Breaking News: Feds List Polar Bears As Threatened Species

    1

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From a U.S. Department of the Interior press release:

    Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced on May 14, 2008 that he is accepting the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The listing is based on the best available science, which shows that loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat.  This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future, the standard established by the ESA for designating a threatened species.

    Wrapped up in this decision are such contentious issues as U.S. policy on global warming and oil production in polar bear habitat. To wit, from the Associated Press:

    [T]he oil industry is bracing for some courtroom battles to maintain its stake in Alaska's oil-rich fields now that the Interior Department has listed polar bears as a threatened species.

    About 15 percent of the nation's oil is being produced in Alaska, and soaring prices for the commodity are pushing companies to look farther and farther offshore to the floors of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, which are frozen much of the year.

    For more background on the debate leading up to this decision see the following links, and then tell us what you think about the decision.

    Polar Bear Deadline Looms

    Pros Vs. Cons 1

    Pros Vs. Cons 2

    Editorial: Not About Oil [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 15, 2008

    The Guide Hatch

    By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

    Ah, spring. That wonderful time of year, when the rivers crest with snowmelt, and the byways and river towns of the American West experience that special phenomenon we affectionately call the “guide hatch.” The guide hatch is an annual migration of sorts, when a fresh crop of peach-fuzz-bearded newbies pours forth from eastern universities, hell-bent on applying those liberal arts educations to the most noble of all professions: being a trout guide. I am often asked by “hatchlings” what the secrets to successful guiding are. Not being a successful guide myself, I have scant few answers. But I have at least learned from experience 10 things not to say to clients on a guide trip. I offer these nuggets of wisdom as a public service to those intrepid young souls, who at this very moment are beating a hot path westward in an overstuffed Volkswagen with a used kayak duct-taped to its roof …

    Do not say:

    Man, Dude, Bro, Holmes, Chief, Buster, or Cuz to a total stranger. (Female client no-no’s include, Toots, Honey, Sugar, Baby, and Doll.”)

    “Hey, nice polarized glasses…did you steal those from Elton John?”

    “Maybe you should try the next cast with your dominant hand.”

    “Nice fish, pretty colors.” Ever.

    “This is where Tripper found the corpse.”

    “Sweet!” more than 74 times in one 8-hour float.

    “Wiggle that a few more times, the knot might come out.”

    “Wow, your daughter is hot,” unless you know for sure she’s his wife, and he’ll take that as a compliment.

    “How much are you thinking about tipping me?”

    “Holy crap, I bet you’ve never caught a fish like that before!” Even if it’s not meant as commentary on their fishing skills.

    Deeter [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 14, 2008

    Only In Texas

    8

    By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

    Castellrooster_2

    I'm not quite sure what to say about this, other than it made me spew water out of my nose after witnessing it. After running our shuttle on the Llano the other day Johnny introduced me to Randy Leifeste, owner of the Castell General Store in Castell. Randy has a rooster named Cockaroo that likes to perform what can only be described as "happy fun time" with Big Mouth Billy Bass.

    I'm not quite sure why the rooster has taken a liking to Billy, but he must do his thing with the fish a ton as there are a number of billy big mouth's hanging on a wall in the store that have been "retired" after heavy usage.

    Watch the youtube clip below and enjoy.

    TR

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • May 14, 2008

    Puff This!

    By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

    Nate Matthews, who runs this blog, has just returned from an excellent safari to South Africa where he shot well and killed everything. Before he left, I filled his head with all my African expertise, but I apparently neglected one important item of information, because he encountered a puff adder and did not make it a dead puff adder. His excuse was that there was no time to take its skin, but I think it was a simple lack of civic responsibility.

    Img_0377
    (The serpent in question).

    The puff adder is a short, thick viper that is responsible for more bites than any other serpent in Africa. It has long fangs, a bad temper, serious hemotoxic venom, and a very fast strike. It's fond of sleeping in the dust of footpaths, and when you step on it, it will bite you fatally and then go right back to sleep.

    Nate's obligation was to make adderburger out of it on general principles, and possibly even theological ones. It says in the Book of Mark that "thou shalt take up serpents," but I think this was mis-translated and originally read "thou shalt hack up serpents," which is why the hoe, the shovel, the pickup-truck tire, the shotgun, and many other excellent tools were invented.

    ***

    This may be the place to pass along my favorite serpent story, which I got from a 1920s edition of Field & Stream, where it was represented as the truth:

    It seems that back in the days of the Old West, New Hands in an outfit were subjected to cowboy humor, which got pretty creative at times. Anyway, one night this particular outfit decided to have some fun with its New Hand. The cowpokes collected a rattler who was frozen near-stiff from the cold, sewed its mouth shut, and put it down inside the New Hand's boot. (In them days, working cowboys wore stovepipe boots, very high and tight-fitting, and impossible to get on or off inside of 15 minutes).

    So morning comes, and the New Hand puts on his boot, and the serpent, thawed out by now and very cross, makes its presence known. The New Hand goes berserk trying to get the boot off, and unbridled hilarity reigns in the bunkhouse. Finally, the NH gets the boot off, and says:

    "What son of a bitch done this?"

    To which a grizzled cowhand says, "Waaal, I reckon it was me."

    Upon which the New Hand pulls his gun, shoots the man dead, saddles his pony and rides off into the sunrise.

    To me, that is a snake story with a happy ending.

    ***

    And a non-serpent note: In a previous blog, I referred to Cabela's Bell & Carlson Gator knife. This peerless piece of cutlery is jointly made for Cabela's by Gerber and Bell & Carlson, and is so good that none of you are worthy of it. It is not yet available, but will be in the big Cabela's catalog in August, and in their stores in September.

    Editor's Note: Per your requests in the comments section, here's a photo of the knife.

    Kniveswithsheath [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 14, 2008

    Discussion Topic: On Soaring Food Prices And Cheap Venison

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From the Michigan’s Jackson Citizen Patriot:

    With food prices rising sharply, the Department of Natural Resources is offering some relief for families that enjoy venison.

    Hunters this fall can legally kill up to seven deer each, which would provide 350-500 pounds of lean, high-protein meat.

    The Natural Resources Commission voted to increase the quota for antlerless deer from three to five per hunter in the 2008 seasons that start with archery season Oct. 1 in southern Michigan.

    What do you think? Should food prices factor into deer-tag quotas? Do you think you save money on food by hunting? [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 14, 2008

    Teenager Takes 7-Foot Gator For A Ride

    2

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    From Florida’s TC Palm:

    Police stopped the 1994 Toyota at Southeast Lennard and Blossom roads, and spied a roughly 7-foot alligator in the vehicle's bed. The gator had rope and tape around its head and mouth . . .

    The pickup driver [was] a 17-year-old boy. The passenger, 20-year-old Grayson Kyte, smelled of alcohol. Kyte, who is on probation, admitted drinking, though his probation conditions stipulate no alcohol or drugs. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 14, 2008

    Great White Shark Takes Surfer For A Ride

    5

    By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

    Check out this crazy video. It may look fake at first, but that’s only because . . . well . . . . [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 13, 2008

    Notice Anything New?

    3

    By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

    By the way, besides all those hot Texas bass picks from Tim, and the quizzes and teases I throw your way, some of you may have noticed the fancy window dressing (by way of banners and ads) we have on the Fly Talk blog now, courtesy of Simms.

    I've worn Simms gear for over 15 years; they've has taken care of me (knowingly or not) from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Feugo. We're proud to have them. Thanks, Simms.

    Deeter [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 13, 2008

    Flawed Argument

    1

    By Kim Hiss

         It's not hard to find anti-hunting messages on the Web. But the logic -- or lack thereof -- presented in this Adirondack Daily Enterprise letter to the editor caught my eye. The letter was written by Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting president Joe Miele, whose name pops up quite a bit at the end of such anti-hunting rhetoric here and there.
         Citing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data, Miele celebrates a decline in youth hunters, then claims that "nonviolent forms of outdoor recreation" such as bird watching are on the rise. He suggests that state conservation agencies take advantage of the situation to sever their budgetary dependence on the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, by instead putting a surcharge on binoculars, cameras and other equipment used by wildlife watchers. "By making these changes," he concludes, "both wildlife and people would benefit and we would bring about a less violent world."
         Interesting.
         While I concede the letter is barely worth acknowledging, I couldn't help but be amused by the flawed logic behind it. Just goes to show that it would take a far and blinded reach indeed to discredit the overwhelming contributions sportsmen and women make to resource conservation. -K.H. [ Read Full Post ]