May 9, 2008
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With apologies to Tom Petty, the waiting really is the hardest part. Here are three states around the country where you can work that first spring bird in March:
Hawaii [ Read Full Post ]
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Deer hunting virtues like patience, perseverance, and dedication are often rewarded for those willing to stay in the treestand, especially during the magical November rut. Jared Horner of Blanchester Ohio spent three years of his life chasing a giant non-typical buck that routinely haunted his dreams. During this period, he had several close encounters with the top-heavy bruiser, but the buck always managed to make all of the right moves. [ Read Full Post ]
As the weather gets colder, ice fishing is heating up on Lake Erie. Lisa Green at Happy Hooker (www.happyhookerbaitshop.com) in Buffalo, New York, reports that Burtus Bay is covered with 5 to 6 inches of ice and anglers are already reporting steady catches of perch and bluegill. Lisa said that the hot bait has been a wax worm, maggots mousies on a jig. “A lot of guys will pop the eyes out of a perch and use them for bait,” she adds. Guys setting tip up rods with golden or emerald shiners are landing some nice-sized walleye. Walleye and muskeye fishing will get better as the ice gets thicker, Lisa told us. “We’re expecting some real cold weather over the next couple of days,” she said, “we’re really excited.” Brrrr.
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.
“We have a rare situation on Lake Martin,” reports B.J. Barnett at Fish Tales in Alexander, Alabama. He explained that abnormally warm weather has kept the striped bass active on the lake. “They are still schooled up and feeding on the surface,” he said. B.J. suggests fishing out of Wind Creek State Park. “Guys are marking bait and fish as they idle away from the launch ramp,” he said. Most anglers are trolling live shad or black salties behind planer boards, but B.J. said that lucky fishermen are finding the striper feeding on the surface. “Guys are going crazy,” he said, “using bear-hair bucktails or Zara Spooks.”
“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.
Utah is a winter sports paradise and the fishing is as good as the skiing, snowmobiling, and hunting. Dan Smith at Fish Tech (www.fishtechoutfitters.com) reported a buffet of species available for anglers who venture out on the ice. “Lake Mantua and Lake Utah are holding bluegill, perch, trout, walleye, and largemouth,” he said. Dan tells us that that each of these species will respond to a 1½-inch tube jig tipped with a wax worm. Anglers fishing Lake Mantua are setting up around weed beds, while the marinas in Lake Utah have been the most productive locations. Dan also point anglers to Flaming Gorge Reservoir where burbot are eating everything in sight. “They’re ferocious and the law requires anglers to keep all the fish that they catch,” Dan says. He suggests fishing the shallows with a glow tube jig and chunk of sucker meat. He added that Strawberry Reservoir has produced rainbow trout to 11 pounds for guys dunking wax worms and tube jigs directly off the boat ramp. “The ice is thick and the fish are biting.” —Ric Burnley [ Read Full Post ]
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If you're like me, you need something to get you through winter to that first game-time gobble. Here at the Strut Zone we’ll do our best to share what’s new in turkey gear for this coming spring season. Today’s post highlights three recent offerings from Knight & Hale Game Calls: [ Read Full Post ]
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Last week, a Boone & Crockett Club scoring panel confirmed that the massive non-typical bull elk taken on Monroe Mountain in central Utah by hunter Denny Austad in September 2008 as the official the new World Record for the category and species.
The panel determined the “spider bull,” (a nickname bestowed upon the animal because of the tangle of antlers it carried), scored 478 5/8 non-typical, 93 inches above the B&C minimum score for non-typical American elk and more than 13 inches larger than the previous World Record.
Tracking official scoring data dating back to 1830, the bull’s gross score of 499 3/8 inches makes it the only elk in history that has ever come close to reaching the hallowed 500-inch mark.
But the massive bull, the hunt, and the B&C World Record title itself continue to be the subject of a heated debate within the hunting community. [ Read Full Post ]
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After years of watching videos of bucks with beef-cow bodies and head ornaments that looked like rocking chairs, I was finally going on my first Kansas hunt. My cousin Tyler and I were so excited before the trip that we could barley sleep the week before our flight. It was mid-November and the bad boys were strutting around the open prairie land with massively swelled necks and nasty attitudes.
The rut was in full swing and we decided to film our first hunt in the legendary big-buck state. We both took five days off from work and made a pact to only shoot a giant. This agreement would put a serious strain on our relationship as the last day of our trip quickly approached. Over the course of the week, we had passed on several nice 140- and 150-class bucks. During this time, we had stayed locked in the small platforms of our hang-on stands from daylight until dark fighting the cold and sometimes unbearable wind. [ Read Full Post ]
Here's an important lesson for anyone who uses those Internet social-networking sites like MySpace: be careful what you say or post online—especially if you’re a game law violator!
Agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recently tracked down a teenager who illegally killed three deer on one day--including two spotted fawns--and then posted the photo of the deer on his networking Web page. [ Read Full Post ]
Fishery researchers, funded by a federal grant to determine the most expedient method for eliminating invasive lake trout from Yellowstone National Park, have come up with a variety of scientific and highly technical options.
Al Zale, Leader of the Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at Montana State University in Bozeman, suggests the use of ultrasound, microwaves and electroshocking to help protect the native cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake from the illegally introduced, non-native fish. [ Read Full Post ]
At least two factors contributed to this year’s sharp decline in the number of deer donated to Wisconsin’s primary venison donation program, not the least of which are the economic hardships being felt by many Americans, including deer hunters. [ Read Full Post ]
Promised to post some photos of the horrendous New England ice storm of December 12. Here are a shot of the road out in front of my camp. Know that there was a flock of turkeys roosted up behind the house in the days leading up to the ice—what's become of them is anyone's guess. [ Read Full Post ]
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Any animal that is cornered or threatened can be extremely dangerous and deer are no exception. Under the right circumstances, Bambi can easily transform into a fire-breathing widow maker with a deadly medieval weapon mounted on its head.
Just ask Randy Goodman of Missouri how fast a rut-crazed buck with a massive rack on its noggin can change your whole outlook on life. During the Missouri gun season, Goodman made what he thought was a lethal shot at a heavy-racked bruiser that was chasing two does. The loud roar of the .270 sent the buck into a summersault, but amazingly the animal was able to get back up. The hunter steadied his aim for a quick follow up shot which dropped the buck in its tracks. The hunter cautiously approached his downed trophy and noticed the buck’s tongue was hanging out and [ Read Full Post ]
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It's Christmas time again and holiday cheer is in the air. It also seems like some people, including Santa, have too much time on their hands. In this case the time was well spent to put a smile on everyone’s face in Wisconsin and across the nation. Although Santa seems to have ample horsepower with his ATV, I’m sure Rudolph and the other reindeer don’t mind the extra boost in sleigh power. This is especially true since they seem to missing the most important part of their motion gear, their bodies. But Santa has to move ahead with the times and the ATV along with sunglasses fit the modern era. Merry Christmas and may this sleigh visit your house this Christmas season!—Mark Kayser [ Read Full Post ]
In a recently published interview, legendary bluesman and rock guitarist Eric Clapton said he credits shooting and hunting with helping expand his social activities.
"I'm not really that gregarious," the 63-year-old said in an interview with The Art Newspaper. "And shooting with groups of people up and down the country has taught me a lot about how to get on with my fellow human beings." [ Read Full Post ]
Our inbox runneth over with deer photos of every kind—especially during deer season. They range from pics of ridiculously huge bucks to the absurd. Here are a few of wildest from just the past few days.
Chris Wood of Des Moines, Iowa took this giant of a non-typical a couple of weeks ago. The 33-pointer scores in the mid-250s [ Read Full Post ]