Every five years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases the findings of a national survey on fishing, hunting, and wildlife-related recreation. Preliminary figures on fishing from the most recent FWS survey, conducted in 1985, indicate that a record 58,851,000 Americans went fishing during that year.
I thoroughly and absolutely disagree with Doug Painter in his May “Sit Tight for Turkeys” when he says that hunting accidents are caused by experienced hunters. Experienced and knowledgeable hunters don’t shoot until they know what they are shooting at.
In an afternoon a man may rediscover the ancient instincts that lie deep within.
I had a zebra on my mind. Actually, I was looking for a greater kudu, but it grew on me that we hadn’t even seen a zebra for the last few days. I chatted about this with my hunter, and he lifted his hands in the common gesture of “that’s the way it goes.”
Down in Missouri, “birds” mean quail. It ever was and ever shall be. We have other gamebird species— pheasants, grouse, woodcock, doves— but they are merely prelude or interlude to Bird Season, an event of great significance. When I was a kid, about a thousand years ago, each child was issued a single-shot shotgun at birth.
Save your valuable outdoor maps in this easy-to-make plastic holder.
HUNTING, fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing, and similar outdoor activities usually require the use of several maps. Storing these maps so you can easily find the ones you want and at the same time protect them from damage can be a problem.
Human beings have an infinite capacity for wishful thinking, but all too often what they wish for is not what they get.
Nature doesn’t seem to know what to do with her most marvelous creature, man. She has endowed us with amazing intellect but insufficient instinct. She has given certain individuals wonderful talents but denied the species adequate commonsense to ensure long-term survival.
When I was a small boy, my father often speculated about my future. “Yessir, son, you’re destined for great things,” he liked to say. “Someday you’ll grow up and make all of us proud. Maybe you’ll be a doctor or a famous scientist. Heck, maybe you’ll even be President someday.”
IF YOU chew tobacco, do not throw away the plastic can. If you do not chew, ask your buddy to save his for you. These cans make great tippet dispensers. Perhaps the most difficult step in this half-hour project is removing the label. Acetone would probably work best at removing the adhesive.
I have never met a trout fisherman east of the Mississippi whose casting arm didn’t itch to fish the booming rivers of the Rockies. Likewise, it’s hard to find a Western angler who doesn’t have a yen to stroke the gentle streams of the East, where legend has it that trout were given spots and taught how to swim.
In case you’re not familiar wtih Kirt Darner’s record as a mule deer hunter, let me recap it briefly. He killed his first buck at thirteen; since then he has taken close to a hundred deer. He took his first Boone and Crockett buck at twenty-three; since then, he has added eight more.
Often isolated, usually uncrowded, these small spots can offer fishing at its very best.
Last summer, an angler ordering a copy of my bass fishing book sent along a short note that read: “Please rush! Having a terrible season so far.” I don’t know what kind of water that person was fishing, but in retrospect I realize I should have written him a note suggesting he focus his attention on small waters.
In the 105-degree heat of Lake Powell in southern Utah, you don’t need an I.Q. half as high as the temperature to see the difference in the insulative ability between two 5-gallon water jugs. We found the difference quickly. Both jugs had been filled to the top with ice cubes and then enough water to fill the rest of the space.
Hard, frantic strikes characterize these powerful gamefish whose babies are known as snappers, a proper nickname, as anyone who has witnessed their frenzy during an attack on forage fish could attest. Bluefish are common from Florida to Cape Cod and north into Maine when the water is warm enough.
Sometimes when it seems most important for everything to go right, you luck out, and everything does.
As I staggered down the driveway under a load of oars, life jackets, fishing rod, tackle box, an empty 5-gallon gas can, and a 16-pound striped bass, I was greeted by a familiar voice: “So there you are! I’ve been wondering where you’d gone. I thought you were supposed to help me fix the roof today?”
Some or the most persistent unfounded myths of the hunter’s world involve my favorite big-game animal, the American pronghorn. As a lover of truth and Antilocapra americana I’d like to help put these misconceptions to rest. I'll begin with the number 8, as in “pronghorns have eyesight equivalent to a human using 8-power binoculars.”
Ever since the invention of the dry fly, anglers have gathered at streamside to await the predicted swarms of insects and the rise of trout that they bring. But frenzied surface feeding periods are the exception rather than the rule—even during the height of spring’s best-known hatches.
Experience is a great teacher, but sometimes its greatest lesson is that, on occasion, all bets are off.
There is a small lake I know very well. Boats are not allowed on it, and all fishing must be done from shore. You cannot wade it; the bank drops off steeply into 8 feet of water, and it gets deeper as it goes out, shoaling briefly about 50 feet out where some weedbeds have established themselves and where the bass congregate.
It was a situation that most elk hunters can only dream about: to the east an October sun appeared to rise directly out of the Montana plains. To the west the jagged crest of a great limestone ridge pierced the sky as the first amber rays of morning marched down its face toward the basins, ridges, and draws that flanked the mountains’ base.
I was first exposed to high-speed fishing boat riding nearly a dozen years ago at the hands of a demon driver who took a fairly flat-hulled bass boat as fast at it would go across a choppy Texas lake. Fluid streaked out of the corners of my eyes, little bugs zapped into my face, my teeth ground against each other.
A catfish enthusiast once asked why so many fishermen look down their noses at his favorite species. “Trout fishermen!" he said. “Mostly they scorn catfish, yet trout and cats have much in common. They’re both almost slick skinned. They both pull good.
I’ve always loved trading. I don’t mean trading the way the word is used by economists, as in “world trade" or “trade deficit," or by vocational teachers, as in "learning a trade." I mean downright swapping—my thing for your thing. It’s even more fun if some sweetening in the form of cash, “boot" money, is involved.
It’s April in July on the waters of the high-country West, as the trout give fishermen a repeat of the fun a new season brings.
A WORD ABOUT MAPS
July is the start of difficult times for many trout fishermen. Their streams warm (with some exceptions), and as the early summer eases into the 90’s, the best times are an hour or so after dawn, and evenings. Yet there is still a vast region where every season the calendar is turned back a couple of months, seemingly for the benefit of trout chasers.
Is there a limit to your options in optical equipment? From what we can see, no.
MORE SHORT SHOTS
DAVID E. PETZAL
No sooner do I think that I’ve done my journalistic duty and brought you up to date on all the wonderful optical equipment that’s out there when a whole new batch comes along. Therefore, without further ado .... In optics, as in life, there is no free lunch.
On many of the big rivers across the country there are long stretches custom-made for paddle-powered boats. These waters may run swift with riffles or minor rapids, but they’re easily negotiable by the intermediate paddler and free of difficult rapids.
For a water its size, Alaska’s Karluk Lagoon packs a powerful punch, offering some of the hottest gamefish action to be found.
As estuaries go, Alaskas’ Karluk Lagoon is on the diminutive side. Only 3 miles long and at best ¾ mile wide, this fabulous lagoon on the west end of rugged and scenic Kodiak Island possibly packs more gamefish into a smaller area than anywhere else on earth.
Despite what is being billed as “the return of the big cars," interest in smaller packages that deliver the most for the least remains high. One such entry is Subaru’s new Justy minicompact, a multipurpose “package" that can serve you well, not only as an inexpensive to buy and operate second car, but also as a surprisingly roomy and versatile field vehicle.
THE next time you fish for panfish with a jig, add a size 10 or 12 wet fly or nymph to a short dropper a foot or so above it. You may be surprised at how often the bluegills or crappies go for the fly instead of the jig. You’ll probably hang a few doubles, too.
Fish have an annoying habit of hanging out in the midst of weeds, which can quickly mess up your fishing—unless you know how to beat the system.
AQUATIC vegetation is like a good news/bad news joke. The good news is that weeds harbor gamefish and the creatures upon which they feed. The bad news is that they also snag and gum up all the lures, baits, and flies that anglers toss at those fish.
This California showcase offers a wealth of trout lakes, but it takes some homework to find the best spots. Here's your first lesson.
TOP 10 YOSEMITE SPOTS (NUMBERED NORTH TO SOUTH)
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP
WILD SOCKEYES RETURNING IN WASHINGTON
CANADA INCREASES SALTWATER LICENSE COSTS
Mysterious Marlin Studied
ANGLER PRAISED for Releasing World-Record Fish
THE UNKINDEST CUT
BASS FISHING TRIP SUGGESTIONS
BIG BIDS FOR BIGHORNS
HUNTERS REWRITE RECORDS
Yosemite Valley is one of the great showpieces of the world, but the park's wilderness backcountry hides some of the best trout fishing in California's high Sierra Nevada. Some 3 million people visit Yosemite every year, and like John Muir in the 1870's, most are attracted to the main valley.
There was a booming halibut fishery off the Washington coast a few generations ago, but the scant catch of recent decades depicted a depleted resource. Not any more—the good old days are back. A reversal of the trend began in 1982, with recreational halibut catch numbers averaging a 100-plus-percent growth rate ever since
Last August, Lawrence Hudnall of Hammond, Indiana, set a world record with a 53-pound sheefish taken from Alaska's Pah River, a tributary to the Kobuk about 230 miles east of Kotzebue. And that was just one of many monsters taken by a small but growing number of sport anglers willing to travel far into the bush for a trophy.
Early-season hunts are hot affairs; your dog needs conditioning to beat the heat.
Noel Coward told us, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun." The gist of his message indicates that the late message indicates that the late English playwright would not have joined us for an early-season teal or dove shoot.
No room in your compact car? Try making this carry-all.
MAN has gone to the moon, conquered polio, and invented computerized fishing reels, but what has been done for the fisherman who likes to fish farm ponds, gravel pits, and secluded lakes and owns a subcompact car? Gone is the big trunk that used to carry and hide his tackle, motor, and gear.
When I bumped into Bob Langlie on Fifth Avenue the other day it was the first time I'd seen him in six or seven years, and so I steered him into a 52nd Street gin mill and plied him with booze and questions. “It’s a long story,” Bob said, “but I’ll cut it down so you’ll only miss one train.