May 9, 2008
A 73-pound striped bass caught off the Virginia coast this week has the Internet fishing forums and angling blogs buzzing.
Fred Barnes, 63, a Chesapeake, Va. telephone contractor, shattered the state’s rockfish record and came within five pounds of breaking the world record for the species.
The pending state record measured 52 inches in length and had a girth of 31 inches.
Barnes was fishing Wednesday with Capt. Pat Foster aboard the Country Girl out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center.
The Virginian-Pilot reports today that the huge striper hit a red and white Stretch 30 trolling lure. The fish was fought for about 10 minutes on a Penn 30 level-wind reel spooled with 50-pound test line.
Barnes’ behemoth is one of only a few rod-and-reel stripers topping 70 pounds. The current International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record--a 78-8 striper--was caught in 1982 by Albert McReynolds off a beach in New Jersey. The standing Virginia striper record is a 68-pound, 1-ounce fish caught in 2006.
A dedicated striper angler, Barnes landed a 58-pound, 13-ounce rockfish in 2005.
Does the fortunate fisherman plan to take his catch to a taxidermist?
Nothing... [ Read Full Post ]
“Hunters these days ultimately hunt memories as much as meat to put on the table. Memories feed dreams, and hunters must have dreams to keep them motivated. When you lose your dreams, you lose your mind.”
In Defense of Hunting, 1994 [ Read Full Post ]
In case you haven’t noticed, the shooting sports industry is experiencing a revolution in how it does business, and the 800-pound gorilla in the room is something called the Internet. Some manufacturers have recognized this sea change and have developed in-house strategies that allow them to take full advantage of the Internet. There are still, however, too many who refuse to upgrade their operations and fully embrace the web.
But one site that should really appeal to outdoorsmen is Leupold’s new Custom Shop website. Here, hunters and shooters can construct a preview of customized Leupold rifle, pistol and shotgun scopes—and then order it direct from the company. Visitors to the site can select from 11 series of scopes. Following scope selection, customers begin the personalization process by choosing model, finish and reticle. From there, users can add custom colors and finishes to select models.
Laser engraving is another available option. In addition to their name or initials, users can also choose from 21 animals to have engraved into a scope. Other custom options include ring and medallion, bullet drop compensation, parallax adjustment and adjustment dials. (In fact, the purple scope on the Hot Purple 10/22 that ran in the October 2007... [ Read Full Post ]
Nighthawk Custom is a small, innovative custom manufacturer of 1911 semi-auto pistols. I first saw their wares at a SHOT Show a couple of years ago. It’s good stuff. The samples I handled appealed to me in the same way that a Porsche 911 grabs the attention of the performance-minded automotive enthusiast. This car is not about ostentatious display—no wheel spinners, no garish cladding. Just sleek lines and the ability to outrun the competition.
So, if you’re a Porsche 911 owner, would you park it in the first available slot on the street? Of course not. Then why would you jam your custom-made model 1911 in some off-the-shelf injection-molded or leather holster? That’s the thinking behind Nighthawk’s premium Ostrich Companion full-quill ostrich holsters and magazine pouches.
Crafted with top-of-the-line materials and benefiting from the same strict attention to detail as its entire line of handcrafted model 1911s, the new holsters are designed to protect the semi-auto in high style. Available in a rich mahogany or deep black, the holsters are custom cut to fit Nighthawk Custom’s Government-, Commander- or Officer-frame sizes. Each holster is also reinforced stitched, ensuring years of reliable and comfortable use. $199.95
The Ostrich Companion magazine pouches are offered... [ Read Full Post ]
Golden Triangle Whitetail outfitter Mike Pavlick shared with me some of his success this past season, which led me to talk with Florida hunter David Castleberry. Castleberry and his hunting partners were looking for an Illinois hunt, Googled the topic and landed on Golden Triangle Whitetail and booked some of the last openings. How was the hunt? One of his partners had an encounter with a buck-fever inducing 200-class buck. Castleberry missed a 160-inch whitetail on the first day of the three-day season and on the second day he connected with the buck of a lifetime, a 210 5/8-inch gross-scoring monster.
Castleberry saw the giant buck from his stand at dawn on the second morning and was astounded by its long tines and chocolate-colored antlers. Unfortunately the buck was working away from the hunter across a green field.
“About an hour and half later I heard a deer grunting in a thicket in front of my stand. It was a deep, almost growl-like grunt,” explained Castleberry. “The sound was coming from the perfect location where the buck could monitor... [ Read Full Post ]
The Ruger Super Redhawk revolver chambered in .480 Ruger, specifically designed with the big-game sportsman in mind, is back. Production was suspended early last year to address a fired case extraction issue. After a complete analysis by Ruger engineers, it was determined that to provide easy and sure extraction, all .480 Ruger Super Redhawk revolvers, including the easy-to carry Alaskan, will now feature five-shot cylinders. They will also feature a Hogue Monogrip for added comfort. The Target Grey All-Weather version adds a low-glare matte finish preferred by hunters.
The .480 Ruger cartridge produces a muzzle velocity of 1350 fps, nearly one-third more muzzle energy than the standard .44 Magnum cartridge, but with substantially less recoil than the other big-bore hunting handgun cartridges. This cartridge, developed by Hornady, can be said to effectively “split the difference” between the powerful .44 Magnum and other super-powerful, heavier recoiling hunting cartridges.
–Slaton White [ Read Full Post ]
A duck hunter on the Mississippi Delta noticed that a pintail his retriever brought him on January 2 had a band attached to its leg, which is not an unusual occurrence on the waterfowl-rich flyway.
Freddie Scott took the banded bird over to a well-lighted corner of the blind so he could read the information contained on the metal tag.
The first word that caught his eye was different than anything he’d ever seen on a duck or goose band—far different.
It was the word: JAPAN.
“There was no phone number like you usually see on a band,” Scott later told the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger. “There was just a series of numbers and the words ‘Kankyocho-Tokyo Japan,’” he said. “I said out loud ‘this ain’t right,’ and I started thinking somebody was playing a trick.”
Two days later, returning to his home in LaGrange, Ga., Scott began doing some research on his well-traveled waterfowl.
He contacted USDA biologist Jeffrey Lee from the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Pearl, Miss., who subsequently was referred to Yamashina Institute of Ornithology Bird Migration Research Center in Konoyama, Japan. And thanks to the wonder... [ Read Full Post ]
As you can imagine, we get all kinds of letters and weird items sent to the offices of Outdoor Life, many sent to no one in particular or addressed to odd departments which may no longer be a part of the magazine or in more instances that you would think, never did.
While cleaning my desk up the other day, I came across a letter addressed to the oddest office destination to never exist. It was addressed to Outdoor Life's "Fable Department." It was about two snakes that ate each other. Go figure. Not sure how this one wound up on my desk, but I don't recall ever running any fables in the magazine...Ever!
I'm still looking for Aesop to see if he's interested. [ Read Full Post ]
Joshua writes, "I shot this buck at 20 yards with a Matthews Switchback XT. He is not as big as some of the bucks that are taken in the Midwest, but for Washington state, they don’t come much better. This buck is 5 1/2 inches at the bases and carries the mass through his beams as you can see in the picture."
Nice buck, Joshua, in a part of the country that most hunters don't think of when they think "whitetails." —Doug Howlett [ Read Full Post ]
A suit filed in U.S. District Court last week is challenging the interpretation of Kentucky’s law aimed at preventing the spread of chronic wasting disease.
The action, filed by a Tennessee elk and bison ranch and a national deer farmers’ group, claims Kentucky’s law that prohibits the transportation of live deer and elk into the state is unconstitutional on grounds that it interferes with interstate commerce.
Kentucky, like several other states, also strictly prohibits the transportation of intact deer and elk carcasses across the state line by hunters when the animal was taken in a state where CWD is known to already exist in the cervid population.
Attorneys for Two Feathers Elk and Bison Ranch in McMinville, Tenn., and the North American Deer Farmers Association claim that Kentucky is the only state that strictly interprets its law to cover the intra-state transportation of live deer and elk.
Kentucky has yet to confirm a single case of CWD in its wild whitetail or elk herds.
Named in the lawsuit filed in Lexington District Court are Jonathan Gassett, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, and Karen... [ Read Full Post ]
This image was sent to me without explanation. If you know anything about the unique find, please share it. The odds of two bucks becoming locked together are astronomically low when you consider there are approximately 25 to 30 million whitetails scattered across North America. The odds of three bucks ending up in an inescapable tangle have to be less than me winning the Powerball, which is low since I don’t even purchase Powerball lottery tickets.
In Leonard Lee Rue III’s book “The Deer of North America,” he cites one example of a trio of locked bucks found near Jamestown, North Dakota. The belief was that an eight-pointer and a ten-pointer were deep in battle when another eight-pointer joined the bout by leaping over the back of the two fighting. It’s suspected his rack locked all three together and he broke his neck attempting... [ Read Full Post ]
Any time the business of hunting, angling, boating and the shooting sports is recognized in the mainstream corporate world, it’s a good thing for the future of the pursuits we cherish.
Earlier this week, John L. (Johnny) Morris, founder of mega-outdoors retailer Bass Pro Shops, was named “Innovator of the Year” by the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association.
Morris was formally recognized by the NRF on January 15 during the association’s Annual Convention and Expo in New York City.
Morris opened the first Bass Pro Shops in his hometown of Springfield, Mo. in 1971, where the flagship retail facility remains today.
As an avid bass fisherman in the Missouri Ozarks in 1970, Morris said he was unable to find the fishing equipment he had seen while competing in bass tournaments there. He subsequently opened a room in the back of one of the liquor stores owned by his father and began selling new lures and innovative fishing tackle.
“I was looking for an excuse to stay close to fishing,” he said in a recent interview. “At the time, I was just trying to get the shelves... [ Read Full Post ]
A plumber working in a crawlspace under a rural cabin near Crested Butte, Colorado was able to safely and quickly reverse his forward motion after he encountered a snarling mountain lion in close quarters last week.
Josh Pierce said he thought he smelled a wet animal as he wormed his way into a two-foot corridor to check for some frozen pipes—and he hoped he wouldn’t come face-to-face with a skunk or coyote.
Then, after about 20 feet of belly crawling, he discovered he had company of the feline persuasion.
“After it hissed and spit at me, I realized I was looking into the eyes of a lion not more than five feet away,” he told the Crested Butte News.
Pierce, an experienced hunter and outdoorsman, said he knew that a key to defending oneself in a cougar confrontation is to stand tall and appear as large as possible. Unfortunately, he knew he didn’t have that option while crawling on his stomach beneath a house.
Without so much as a wrench to defend himself, the plumber slowly and deliberately backed out of the area and retreated to the safety of a... [ Read Full Post ]
If you’re a bow hunter, skier, diver, bicyclist, you likely won’t suffer being hassled when checking in your gear for an airline flight. Heck, I don’t have any trouble flying with firearms—you just do the usual show-and-tell at the ticket counter. But fishing tackle—oh, my. The TSA has pretty straightforward and not-too-draconian directives on fishing gear but individual airlines have the right to “improve” on the regs, and with one exception (American Airlines), it appears that the tackle-toting policies of our airborne carriers have been written by people who’ve been subjected to frontal lobotomies.
These regulations are also vague enough to allow individual interpretation by check-in agents who may be having a bad day or maybe dislike you on general principles because you’re going fishing.
Recently, Doug Olander, editor-in-chief of Sport Fishing magazine, one of Outdoor Life’s sister pubs, was slapped with a $100.00 surcharge for a Plano rod case he’s been flying with across the country and abroad, for years. A Delta agent at Los Angeles International examining Olander’s tube (in order to accommodate 7-ft. rods it was... [ Read Full Post ]
Hunting the mountain country of southeastern Kentucky can be very challenging to say the least. The entire area is basically composed of steep terrain with very little farming in the bottomland and intense hunting pressure from within the community. However, despite all of these obstacles a hunter still has a chance of tagging a bruiser buck from time to time if they do their homework and put the time in the stand.
This past season local bowhunter Robert Dunaway of Knox County, Tenn., found himself hunting an area he had logged countless hours scouting in the past. In fact, Dunaway and his hunting buddy had captured several nice bucks from their trail cameras from this exact area over the years.
During the opening weekend of the Kentucky archery season the conditions couldn’t be worse. Biting insects coupled with hot and muggy weather created a tough hunting environment, but Dunaway climbed in the stand hoping to have an encounter with one of the larger bucks he knew was frequenting the area. The stand was positioned in the middle of an oak flat... [ Read Full Post ]