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What's So Wrong About Catch—And Eat?

January 28, 2009

[dme:image size="large" side="right" title="Catch and Eat [nid:1001309595]" index="-1"/]

While I am a huge advocate for conservation, I think we’ve taken catch-and-release too far. My friend, Jeff put it in perspective for me the other day.

He called the other night to invite me to go fishing on Martin Luther King’s birthday. Jeff’s a serious fishing writer, but when the two of us get together, things can get crazy.
We bought some frozen shrimp, small hooks and egg sinkers for about 10 bucks. We obtained free chum by raking oysters and barnacles off bridge fenders with the anchor. Then we anchored up in a sheepshead hole and proceeded to catch those delicious but wily “convict fish.” While we fished, we talked about the folly of throwing everything back.

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  • January 18, 2009

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  • January 16, 2009

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  • January 10, 2009

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    Even if the weather has been cold, anglers fishing the Mid-Atlantic will stay warm through the winter by cranking on big fish. Action out of South Eastern Virginia has been on fire from offshore to inshore to the backwaters. Believe it or not, even during the deep freeze anglers are still finding speckled trout and red drum in the skinny water. Winter fishing often produces some of the biggest speckled trout for guys who are patient enough to wait out the cold at any of the local speck holes. The warm-water discharges from the local power plants are favorite hang-outs for gator trout and live mullet are the favorite bait. Both are difficult to find, but when everything comes together die-hards are scoring trout over 10 pounds. Luckily, striped bass are easy to find. Crews trolling plugs, parachutes, umbrellas, and spoons from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the Eastern Shore of Virginia are catching impressive numbers of striped bass averaging between 38 and 43 inches with some bigger fish mixed in. Even though striper season in Chesapeake Bay is closed, striper junkies can still catch and release fish through the winter. With fewer anglers on the water and more monster rockfish in the water, it is a perfect time to drop live eels into the pilings of the bridge on a three way rig or under bobbers. Tog are also biting on the CBBT and nearshore wrecks. Last weekend, Captain Craig Paige (www.paige2charters.com) took a personal day and landed an 18-pound tog—which is his personal best. Even though the tuna and marlin have headed to warmer waters, there is still plenty of fish to catch offshore. While most anglers were chasing rockfish along the beach, some crews are electing to target black sea bass, tilefish, and grouper on the deep water wrecks and live bottom. Farther south, anglers fishing out of Hatteras have been catching blackfin tuna with butterfly jigs until their arms hurt. For links to all the fishing action in the East, check out (www.thefishingblitz.com)  No matter how cold it gets this winter, Mid-Atlantic anglers are sure to break a sweat cranking on big fish.

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    Midwest

    “Plenty of ice, plenty of snow, and plenty of fish,” is how Scott VanValkenburg at Fisherman’s Corner (www.fishermanscorner.com) described fishing out of Duluth, Minnesota. Scott told us that anglers have already plowed roads across Pike, Fish, and Grand Lakes. “There are already 100 permanent ice holes and guys are fishing every day.” Scott says that Pike Lake has been one of the hottest perch lakes. He says that the perch are biting best between 9 and 3 in the afternoon. Early in the morning and just before dark, crappie and walleye go on the feed. “Fish Lake has been the best lake for crappies up to 12 inches,” he added. Scott says that a glow-in-the-dark Demon jig has been the ticket for these slabs. Bluegill are responding to wax worms and Gulp! maggots.

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