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Australia & New Zealand Fishing : Australia: Yak angler bags world record barra

on 2011/1/11 15:36:22 (557 reads)

In the wake of the devastating floods that continue to ravage south-east Queensland, comes some welcome good news from the region - in the form of a meritorious catch.

Click to see original Image in a new window

Denis Harrold (left) with his pending world record 134cm Lake Monduran barra.

In late December, legendary kayak barramundi angler Denis Harrold (and mate of Fisho's yak fishing specialist Dan Bode) landed a monster 134cm barra at Lake Monduran. The fish reportedly weighed in at 44.62kg, on officially calibrated ANSA scales. The huge barra's girth measured an incredible 107cm. The capture is currently a pending world record. If the record claim is verified, Harrold will have smashed David Powell's 1999 IGFA All Tackle barra record of 37.85kg by nearly 7kg. What's more, he did it from a kayak.

Boasting two weeks of red hot , pre-Christmas fishing action at Lake Monduran, Harrold and his 'yak fishing buddies landed dozens of barra over a metre using plastic baitfish imitations and recorded six fish over 123cm during a particularly memorable 48 hour period.

Congratulations Denis, that's a record that'll be hard to beat.

http://www.fishingworldmag.com.au/new ... r-bags-world-record-barra

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USA Fishing : USA: Dallas boy sets new record for Blue Catfish at Freshwater Fisheries

on 2011/1/11 15:30:49 (510 reads)

ATHENS—Ten-year-old Wyatt Ciccarelli of Dallas set two junior angler water body records for the casting pond at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) December 30.

Click to see original Image in a new window


Ciccarelli used cut bait and the rod and reel he got for Christmas to catch a 34.3-pound blue catfish that measured 43 inches in length and 34.5 inches in girth.

In addition to earning a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) big fish award, Ciccarelli also set new junior angler water body and junior angler catch-and-release water body records for Lake Zebco, TFFC's 1.5-acre casting pond.

TexasParksand Wildlife Department recognizes fishing excellence through its Angler Recognition Program. The program maintains state record lists for public and private waters and water body records for all public lakes, rivers, and bays. The program also issues certificates for other types of angler achievements.

For state and water body records, junior anglers (under 17 years of age) compete in a separate division. If a junior angler's catch beats an all-ages record, the young angler will receive recognition in both divisions.

http://www.kltv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13788924

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Australia & New Zealand Hunting : New Zealand: Police name hunter killed in glacier fall

on 2011/1/11 15:25:56 (513 reads)

Police have named the man who died while hunting near Fox Glacier on Friday as Ewan Richard Maxwell.

The 55-year-old, from Queenstown, died after he slipped and fell in a rugged mountainous area near the glacier in south Westland.

Constable Bill Parker, of Franz Josef, said Maxwell was hunting with a companion in the remote area when he lost his footing, and fell approximately 100 metres down the steep mountainside.

When the companion reached Maxwell he showed no signs of life, Parker said.

The next morning the companion was forced to tramp eight hours out to advise authorities of his friend's death.

Both hunters were "extremely experienced" and had been in the area since Tuesday.

Maxwell's body was recovered by the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter on Saturday evening.

Police are investigating the matter on behalf of the coroner who will make a decision at a later date as to whether an inquest will be held.

His family has been notified.

Parker said police are waiting for the provisional post mortem results.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/45259 ... er-killed-in-glacier-fall

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Africa Hunting : Gambia: President Jammeh gives D200, 000 to Ekun Baba Odeh Hunting Society

on 2011/1/11 15:22:34 (669 reads)

The Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh has donated a cash amount of D200, 000 to the Ekun Baba Odeh Hunting Society of Banjul.

The amount was presented to the Society on behalf of the president by the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, Saturday at a presentation ceremony held at the Women’s Bureau in Banjul. The gesture was part of President Jammeh's appreciation of the Society's proactive stance in the promotion of hunting culture in The Gambia, following its’ recent cultural display in the city of Banjul.

Speaking at the ceremony, Alpha Jallow, a senior member of the Society, disclosed that they have a current membership of 176 representing all ethnic groups in The Gambia. He said they have been involved in such activities for a long time until the president in recognition of their efforts honoured him with two distinct awards, something he described as immeasurable. He thanked the Gambian leader for his support towards the promotion of different cultures in the country assuring that they will be at his disposal to showcase their culture each time they are invited.

Aunty Louis Jobe and Aunty Fatoumatta Jah alias 'Aunty Matta Matta', all women councilors in Banjul expressed similar sentiments, and both acknowledged that they know the Society very well in Banjul. Aunty Louis Jobe said that they knew about hunting in the City of Banjul when they were young but that it got to a stage when the culture started to diminish gradually. She then thanked members of the Ekun Baba Odeh Hunting Society for their proactive stance towards reviving the culture back to life. The two lady councilors equally thanked President Jammeh for promoting Gambian culture in the country.

Aja Fatou Mbaye, the chairperson of the National Women’s Council who also doubles as the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, expressed gratitude to the Society for their efforts in promoting hunting culture in Banjul, adding that culture is very important in the development of any given society. She described Gambian culture as diverse and pointed out that people usually turned out in their large numbers to celebrate the different diverse cultures in an ambiance of peace and unity. The Women's Council chair thanked VP Njie-Saidy and through her The Gambian leader for their proactive stance towards the promotion of all cultures in the country and challenged people to educate their young ones about their culture noting that the president attaches great importance to culture.

VP Njie-Saidy on behalf of the Gambian leader thanked the Society for its’ efforts in promoting hunting culture in Banjul. She said that he [President Jammeh] is committed to the promotion of culture in the country and Africa in particular citing the International Roots Homecoming Festivals and others as examples. She thanked Alpha Jallow and his group as well as for the numerous supports extended to schools in The Gambia saying the Gambian leader is appreciative of their efforts towards cultural revival, thus donating a cash sum of D200, 000 to the Society.

The vice president observed that a lot of our culture is diminishing in the country and challenged Jallow to work with the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) to establish a hunting centre in the country. She recalled that Banjul used to have a very rich and diverse culture and added that President Jammeh is committed to reviving every culture in the country. She finally urged them to involve women in their groups, as according to her, women are the custodians of culture.

Aunty Nenneh Cooker and Papa Ebou Drammeh, both of the Ekun Baba Odeh Hunting Society, also thanked President Jammeh for the gesture. Ramou Cole Ceesay, permanent secretary No. 2, Office of the Vice President chaired the ceremony. The Ekun Baba Odeh Society was founded in 1968 in Banjul. The Society, according to its’ members, adopted its culture from their then great grandparents from Sierra Leone.
Author: by Sheriff Janko

http://observer.gm/africa/gambia/arti ... baba-odeh-hunting-society

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Africa Hunting : Tanzania: Man Suspected of Killing Rhino Dies

on 2011/1/9 14:11:17 (642 reads)

Serengeti — Police in Serengeti District, Mara Region, have reportedly killed a man suspected to have been among the poachers who killed a rhino in the Serengeti National Park (Senapa) last month.

The Mara regional police commander, Mr Robert Boaz, confirmed the incident yesterday, noting that investigations on the matter were still on-going.

Investigations carried out by The Citizen revealed that the suspect killed by the Police was among four who were arrested at Bonchugu Village in Sedeko Ward in the district.

The Bonchugu Village chairman, Mr Makena Mwikwabe, identified the man as Chacha Marara who was arrested together with three other relatives on Sunday at 2 am.

He said the four suspects were arrested at their home in connection with the killing of one of the rhinos that were flown into the country from South Africa last May.

The village chairman said the suspects were taken to Mugumu Central Police Station where they were reportedly tortured.

"It is believed that Marara was seriously beaten by the police, a beating which caused his death," he said, adding that the police claimed that the man died after he jumped off a vehicle that was ferrying him to the central police station.

Mr Mwikwabe said the relatives of the deceased, who he identified as Baru Marara, Mwita Marara and Mwita Philemon who were also under police custody, had told him that they were all beaten by the police but Mr Marara bore most of the torture.

He said relatives of Mr Marara have refused to collect the body of the deceased, calling for thorough investigations to establish the real cause of his death.

"I have deployed my investigators to Mugumu to establish what really happened... If the police are involved they will be punished," said the Mara RPC.

Last year, police in Serengeti District reportedly killed a secondary school student after he was implicated in the theft of a chicken.

The RPC said investigations on the incident have been completed and the report would be made public in the near future.

However, unconfirmed reports indicate that police officers who were involved in the killing of the student have been transferred from their duty station.

The rhino that was found dead in December, last year, with the horns missing was one of the five Eastern Black Rhinos brought into the country from South Africa mid last year.

The five rhinos were received with much fanfare and a huge PR campaign involving President Jakaya Kikwete, who travelled to the Senapa to witness the offloading of the five rare rhinos from the aircraft upon arrival from South Africa.

The minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Ezekiel Maige, said over the weekend that protection of the endangered rhinos against poachers in the Senapa would now be reinforced by aerial patrols.

More armed rangers have also been deployed into the vast park since the rhino's killing last month.

Mr Maige said the government was deeply concerned by increasing cases of poaching in the Serengeti National Park.

He admitted, when speaking to journalists in the park on Sunday, that the poachers posed a great threat not only to the rhinos but also to other wild animals under protection.

He said an operation to track down the rhino killers was underway and that already 10 suspects have so far been arrested.

He added that several measures were now underway to ensure such wanton killings of the country's wildlife heritage shall not happen again.

Mr Maige, who spoke to reporters after meeting Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, added that on foot patrols inside and around the park would also be strengthened.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201101050134.html

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USA Fishing : USA: Pro bass legend Rick Clunn is trying to recapture fishing magic

on 2011/1/9 14:06:20 (583 reads)

As Rick Clunn enters the twilight of his pro fishing career, he finds himself in uncharted waters.

For the first time, he is just one of the pack on the Bassmaster circuit, not the man to beat.

And for a guy who once dominated the sport like no other, that’s not always easy to take.

“I’ve always made my career living by Robert Frost’s words: ‘Two roads diverge in the woods. I take the one less-traveled,’ ” said Clunn, who will be the featured speaker at the Kansas City Boat and Sportshow this week. “I found success by taking the path less-traveled; doing something different than the other fishermen did.

“But that’s not as easy anymore. With the increased knowledge of today’s fishermen, they figure things out. And a lot of times you have to fish in a crowd if you want to compete. And I won’t do that.

“So, sometimes I pay the price.”

Clunn uncharacteristically finished in 70th place in the 2010 Angler of the Year standings and failed to make the Bassmaster Classic for the first time in recent years.

For a guy who once was on top of the pro bass fishing world, that was humbling. Clunn is the only fishermen to win the Bassmaster Classic four times, and he holds the record for most qualifications for the championship tournament (32). He was so good that he was chosen the greatest B.A.S.S. angler of all time in an ESPN poll of fans in 2005.

Today he battles the same challenges that sports greats such as Michael Jordan and Brett Favre faced. In the twilight of his career, he is no longer dominant.

“You get addicted to that rush of winning,” said Clunn, 64, who lives in Ava, Mo. “There’s a little ego involved.

“Once, I was the very best at what I did. And it’s hard to walk away from all of that.

“But you get down on yourself. Most athletes’ toughest critic isn’t the fans or the media, it’s themselves.

“And that’s how it is with me. Confidence is a fragile thing. And sometimes, that affects me.”

One thing that keeps Clunn going is that he knows that his decline isn’t as great as many think.

“People don’t realize that the difference between where I was and where I am now is a razor edge,” he said. “At this level, you’re constantly walking the tightrope between greatness and mediocrity.

“I know I can still catch fish, and I can compete at a high level. But the bottom line is that I have to prove it.”

Clunn attributes part of his struggles to B.A.S.S.’s new tournament format. Under the most recent setup, elite tournaments are held from winter into early summer, placing the pros at the hottest lakes at the best times of the year.

That’s fine — but it doesn’t play to Clunn’s strengths.

“My dominance was always from early summer into early winter, and we don’t have tournaments there anymore,” he said. “But I’m not making excuses.

“You have to adapt. And you have to be motivated.

“When I was at my peak, I would do anything to make it happen. I would use techniques that I didn’t necessarily like if that’s what it took. I don’t do that anymore.”

Even in Clunn’s low moments, others have been there to pick him up. He remembers a stretch in the mid-2000s when he was struggling, and his wife, Melissa, was there with encouraging words. She gave him a card with a quote from the “Lion King”: “Remember who you are.”

“I came home from a tournament where I had struggled, and she had all my trophies out and on display,” Clunn said. “She told me, ‘Every time you walk in here, I want you to think of who you are and what you’ve accomplished.’ ”

These days, Clunn is motivated by one factor: the fun of going bass fishing.

“As long as I launch my boat and I’m still intrigued by this mysterious puzzle, I’m going to fish,” he said. “There are no two days alike in bass fishing, and that’s what fascinates me.

“I still feel that I can compete. If I didn’t feel that way, I wouldn’t still be out there.”

Clunn finished ninth in last year’s B.A.S.S. Duel in the Delta in California in March and 13th in the Pride of Georgia tournament in May.

He is still considered a contender in every B.A.S.S. tournament he enters. He knows it, and so do other fishermen on the circuit.

“You can never count Rick out,” said Kevin VanDam, today’s most dominant fisherman on the pro circuit. “He can still fish at a very high level.”

And that’s what keeps Clunn going. He dreams of going out in a blaze of glory.

“I’d like to win the Bassmaster Classic one more time,” he said. “Years ago, when I won those first Classics, my daughters were young and it really opened their eyes. Dad really did have a job.

“Now I have young boys, and I’d like to have them see me win. That would mean a lot.”

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/01/08/ ... legend-rick-clunn-is.html

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USA Hunting : USA: Bear shot in cave sparks new hunting regulation

on 2011/1/9 14:02:54 (586 reads)

The Wildlife Commission has directed the Division of Wildlife to draft a regulation that would prohibit the hunting of bears in their dens.

This is following an incident in the fall in which a hunter near Craig said he tracked a large black bear to a cave, entered the cave and killed the bear sparking outrage amongst hunters.

Many hunters called the kill unsportsmanlike, though it's not clear whether the bear was actually hibernating or just in the cave.

Still, wildlife managers say a ban on den hunting would promote ethical hunting. Colorado hunting regulations currently do not prohibit hunting a bear in a den.

Commission Chairman Tim Glenn said the Commission considers regulations regarding hunting ethics on a case-by-case basis.

"This is a perfect example of the kind of issue that the Wildlife Commission needs to look at," Glenn said. "We talked about the importance of fair chase for maintaining public trust in what we do. That is absolutely critical, so for what it's worth, I certainly think we do need to address this issue."

Several commissioners wondered if the issue could be addressed by closing bear hunting seasons earlier, before bears would be expected to enter hibernation. But others noted that weather, elevation and geography all factor in to the timing of bear denning, which varies across the state.

As a result, the Commission directed staff to draft a regulation specifically aimed at prohibiting den-hunting.

Division staff will present a draft regulation for consideration by the Wildlife Commission at its March meeting in Denver. Commissioners could approve it in May. Commission also oversees Division of Wildlife land purchases and property regulations.

http://www.newsfirst5.com/news/bear-s ... s-new-hunting-regulation/

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USA Hunting : USA: Man hurt, dog killed while hunting at Guana

on 2011/1/9 13:58:16 (527 reads)

A Jacksonville hunter and his dog were shot Saturday morning by another hunter who mistook the dog for a deer, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Stephen Rodgers, 52, was hunting waterfowl at the Guana River Wildlife Management Area in St. Johns County when he and the dog were struck.

The dog died; Rodgers was airlifted to Shands Jacksonville and was treated in the trauma unit, according to the wildlife commission. He was listed in fair condition Saturday evening.

The shooter was Thang Lian, 19, also of Jacksonville, who was not wearing hunter orange and had not taken the required hunter safety class, the commission said. It is currently small game season, and not legal to take deer.

The commission is investigating whether to file charges against Lian.

Kate Howard

http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/20 ... illed-while-hunting-guana

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USA Fishing : USA: Texas Youth Reels in Record Largemouth Bass

on 2011/1/11 15:32:41 (654 reads)

Nathan Peña-Alfaro did not expect to catch a Toyota ShareLunker when he went fishing with his family at O.H. Ivie Reservoir New Year's weekend, much less a fish that would garner him two junior angler records.

Click to see original Image in a new window


The 13.59-pound largemouth bass he landed became the new water body record for O.H. Ivie and the new junior angler state record for largemouth bass caught from public waters as well as Toyota ShareLunker 506.

A video interview with Peña-Alfaro is at www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.

Peña-Alfaro's catch was not the largest ever landed by a junior angler in Texas. In 1993, Chris Leslie, age 13, of Emory caught a 14.27-pound bass from Lake Fork, but at that time separate records were not kept for junior anglers.

In 2007 Jesse Roberson, age 9, of Goldthwaite caught the current junior angler record for private waters, a 15.54-pounder from Lake Merritt.

Peña-Alfaro, a student at Western Hills High School in Benbrook, attributes his catch to the fact that he did his research before going fishing. "We heard they were catching big fish from O.H. Ivie on live sunfish," he said. Bobbie Gayle of Millersview used a live sunfish to catch the season's first Toyota ShareLunker, also from O.H. Ivie, on December 15, 2010.

Both fish were caught from about 15 feet of water.

Researchers with rods and reels might want to take notice.

The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.

http://www.worldfishingnetwork.com/ne ... argemouth-bass-48513.aspx

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USA Fishing : USA: North Carolina striped bass record broken twice in one week

on 2011/1/11 15:29:08 (603 reads)

Apparently the North Carolina fishing record for striped bass was broken last week at Oregon Inlet. Then, it was broken again.

Click to see original Image in a new window


Believe it or not, two NC state record stripers were decked in some furious striper fishing at Oregon Inlet last week.

On Wednesday a striped bass weighing 63 pounds was caught by 12-year-old Stephen Furlough while fishing with guide Charles Haywood aboard the boat Rigged Up just outside of Oregon Inlet.

The feel-good story of young Stephen’s catch lasted only two days, however, as on Friday angler Keith Angel pulled in a 64-pound striped bass while fishing with guide Devin Cage on The Poacher.

Both of the huge stripers were weighed in at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center where the paperwork was filled out for the state records.

Young Furlough indicated he wanted his fish mounted, while Angel wanted the paperwork processed fast so his fish could be filleted.

"I'm taking it home to eat!" said Angel.

According to Cage, the big striper Angel caught hit a blue-headed lure trolled on a parachute rig.

"There was another lure on that rig, and Keith also had a fish hooked on it," said Cage. "The second fish weighed about 15 pounds, so he was fighting 79 pounds of striper all at the same time.

Angel's 64-lb striped bass measured 53 1/4 inches in length and 33 3/4 inches in girth.

"I thought the fish (Furlough) caught a couple days before might remain the state record for 20 years," Cage said. "Now, after Angel's fish, and seeing how many monster stripers are out there, the 64-pounder might not hold up for a week."

The previous record NC striped bass was a 62-pounder taken at Oregon Inlet in 2005. The world record striped bass is a 78 ½ lb fish caught in Atlantic City, NJ in 1982.

http://www.examiner.com/fishing-in-ch ... ord-broken-twice-one-week

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Europe Hunting : Sweden mulls tougher laws against illegal wolf hunting

on 2011/1/11 15:24:12 (542 reads)

Stockholm - The Swedish government wants 'tougher' legislation against illegal hunting of wolves, Environment Minsiter Andreas Carlgren said Monday, on the eve of this year's licensed wolf hunt.

During the month-long hunt that opens Saturday, hunters will be allowed to shoot 20 wolves.

The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention has estimated that between 25 and 35 wolves are killed illegally each year.

In an op-ed article Carlgren observed that illegal hunting was 'extensive' but only a few cases are brought to justice. A gross offence, as is always the case in illegal wolf hunting, carries a jail term of between six months and four years.

Carlgren later told Swedish radio news that legislation planned to be in place by 2012 would allow police to search hunting cabins and vehicles if they suspect illegal hunting is being planned.

'At present they have to wait until the crime has been carried out (to do so),' he added.

Last year the licensed quota was 27 wolves, when the Scandinavian country held its first licensed wolf hunt in four decades.

Conservationists have criticized the decision to allow a second licensed hunt, saying it threatened an endangered species.

There are believed to be around 200 wolves in Sweden.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/new ... inst-illegal-wolf-hunting

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USA Hunting : USA: Guided duck hunt set for women

on 2011/1/11 15:20:20 (479 reads)

A Becoming an Outdoors-Woman duck hunt will be held Friday and Saturday at the Williams Wilderness Unlimited Property in Colusa County.

The hunt is for women who want to learn to duck hunt or are just beginning and want some excellent instruction. Wilderness Unlimited has partnered with BOW, California to offer a guided duck hunt for 10 women. Two hunters will hunt with a professional guide and dog. Shotguns, ammunition, waders and boots will be provided.

The hunt is limited to 10 participants and the cost is $200.

Participants will meet at the club house between 4-5 p.m. for dinner Friday evening, sleep at the RV park in one of the trailers, and rise early Saturday morning to get out to the blinds. A continental breakfast will be provided. Participants will need their hunting license with both the state and federal duck stamps. Sign up on line at www.bowca.org or call Susan Herrgesell at (530) 347-0227 for more information.

http://www.chicoer.com/sports/ci_17061924

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Australia & New Zealand Fishing : Australia: Fishermen furious over snapper ban

on 2011/1/9 14:07:45 (533 reads)

COMMERCIAL and recreational snapper fishing will be banned in Queensland between February 15 and March 31 as the State Government looks to preserve low stocks.

The six-week ban announced last month is in response to State Government reports from 2006 and 2009, which show a steady decline in snapper stock.

The plan will be temporary while the State Government decides what course of action to take in future, with an annual ban and the introduction of snapper fishing permits tipped as possible options.

However the plan has not been welcomed by the commercial and recreational community, with many calling for the plan to be abandoned.

One of those is Joe Palermo, owner of Menniti Seafoods at Tweed Heads, who said the plan was unrealistic and poorly thought out.

“They would never be able to police it,” he said.

“Who is going to patrol the border and decide where you can and can't fish?

“Which species of snapper is going to be banned?

“I can name 20 species off the top of my head. Will they all be banned or just some of them?”

Mr Palermo was particularly concerned about the impact a ban could have on local fishermen who would have a forced six-week holiday.

He said with Queensland snapper unavailable, stock would need to be imported from elsewhere and prices for the consumer were likely to increase as well.

“They talk about supporting the local industry, then they go and make stupid rules like this,” he said.

“Our best-selling fish is Queensland goldband snapper – we would sell 500-1000kgs of it a week and restricting access to it is only going to lead to higher prices for the consumer and more imported goods.

“It's a loss for everybody,” Mr Palermo said.

With the Queensland Government unlikely to reverse its decision, fishermen will be looking to make the most of the next five weeks as seafood shops look to load up with Queensland stock before the ban.

http://www.tweednews.com.au/story/201 ... fishing-tweed-government/

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USA Fishing : USA: How I learned to appreciate fishing guides

on 2011/1/9 14:05:22 (670 reads)

I had convinced myself I could do it before I first discussed the idea with my two friends.

They had never fly fished, but they had been talking about wanting to try.

I thought to myself, why not rent a drift boat and float the Yakima River? They could be the clients, I would serve as their guide.

I had been on a number of trips with fishing guides before, on famed trout rivers in Montana and chasing salmon in the ocean. I had watched as the guides dealt with the changing moods of the water and their clients, and I had listened to their advice for improving our results and their stories of trips good and bad.

How fun would it be to spend a day on the river fishing for trout? I asked my buddies.

They were in before I could finish asking.

After a flurry of e-mails, I made arrangements to rent a boat from Red’s Fly Shop on the banks of the Yakima south of Ellensburg. I sent out lists suggesting what clothes they would need and what gear they should bring, if they had it.

Given their lack of experience, I had suggested leaving the afternoon before our float trip. That way we could hit a riverside park in Ellensburg to practice casting and maybe toss a few flies in the river.

As so often happens, life got in the way, and our departure was delayed. We arrived in town well after dark – but we had stocked up on snacks and drinks during a stop in Cle Elum. So we checked into our motel, grabbed a burger and a beer at The Tav and talked fishing and life. A good start.

It was a cool morning when we arrived at the shop, but we were raring to go. We did the perfunctory pre-trip shopping for the must-have flies and some last-minute gear. After getting some suggestions from the staff, we opted to float from the Ringers launch back to the shop.

As the driver drove us to the launch, he pointed out good places to hit as we floated back downstream. It wasn’t until we reached the launch that I realized the places I was trying to memorize were viewed while traveling upstream and from above river level. I wondered if the driver could toss out some markers on his way back to the shop.

As the driver pulled away, I realized it was just me and my buddies. They stood there looking at me, their enthusiasm reflected in their smiles. Suddenly, my confidence took a hit. Did they know what they had gotten themselves into?

I knew we had to practice before making any serious attempt at catching a fish. Fortunately, there was a nice gravel island across from the launch. I hauled on the oars and got us across the river – the boat feeling like it weighed at least 10,000 pounds.

From my own experience, I knew a beginning caster needs plenty of room. I had Dave set up at the low end of the island and Bill at the top end. I walked between them, showing them my technique, making corrective suggestions as they cast and offering praise as flies flew farther into the current.

It wasn’t long before I could tell my charges wanted to try their luck. We boarded the boat, Bill pushed us into the flow and I started pulling on the oars. And pulling, and pulling, and pulling … all while watching the far bank and the branches of a tree hanging over the water get closer and closer and closer.

“Uh, look out, I think we’re going under that tree,” I said in feeble warning.

The current, far more powerful than I expected, swept us through the branches. I was relieved not to have heard “snap” or “splash” – aural evidence that a rod broke, or that something or someone got swept overboard.

Later, on the drive home that night, I realized I let us go under the only tree hanging in the water – less than 100 yards from the launch.

Anyway, I had Dave in the front with Bill behind me. I got the boat positioned, made sure they were ready, went over the casting instructions one more time and let them have at it.

As we floated downstream, I realized I missed something vital while fishing with a guide before. Somehow, they had managed to hide the fact that they have eight arms, eyes in the back of their heads and necks that turn 360 degrees to accomplish all they do so effortlessly.

I found myself changing flies, watching downstream for any hints of rising fish, keeping the boat positioned the right distance from the bank, offering encouragement when casts when awry and praise when casts went where intended, watching for other boats, grabbing for the net, untangling crossed lines, avoiding mid-river obstacles, pointing out the location of fish, heaving on the anchor rope, and plucking wayward flies from jackets and a cheek. And that was in just the first 15 minutes – or so it seemed.

I wish I could report we caught lots of fish. But so much conspired against us that day. We had to contend with cold weather, a stiff upstream wind for much of the day, occasional rain, river water tinted by the dirty inflow from a drainage ditch, uncooperative fish and the lack of a real guide.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find the right fly to consistently attract the fish, even though I changed flies more than a model changes outfits at Paris fashion show.

Still, we had our moments of success. We all caught plenty of small fish, those in the 10-inch and less range. But we did have to pull out the net for a few fish willing to take our offerings.

The crowning moment – when everything came together in a confluence of skill, patience and luck – came when Bill hooked and landed a beautiful 16-inch rainbow trout.

Somehow I managed to unleash a nonstop stream of instructions and encouragement, all while holding my breath that we wouldn’t lose what looked to be a good fish by the bend in the rod.

When we had the fish in the net, I don’t know who was happier, Bill or me.

In retrospect, our plan was solid, the execution just needs some tweaking.

And, for some reason, Dave and Bill said they’re willing to go again.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640 jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure
http://www.theolympian.com/2011/01/09 ... o-appreciate-fishing.html

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USA Hunting : USA: Hunting quail the old-fashioned way

on 2011/1/9 14:00:02 (625 reads)

Demas Boudreaux must be an old soul. How else to explain his love of traditional Virginia quail hunting?

Boudreaux is only 30, so he can't know what it was like when the bobwhite quail really was king of upland game birds in the Old Dominion, when every hedgerow held a wild covey and gentlemen farmers spent afternoons with their trusty setters or pointers kicking through thickets, coming home with enough birds for a hearty dinner. The nostalgia is enough to make the eyes go sepia-toned.

Boudreaux, like many of us too young to know the glory days of quail hunting, has heard older Virginians glorify those times, heard them talk about Mr. Bob White as if he were an old friend.

"What you do is you bust up the coveys and hunt the singles!" they say. But few of them have been able to do it for years.

The state's quail population has declined more than 75 percent since 1970. That mirrors a nationwide decline, as farming practices and landscape-wide habitat changes have pushed Colinus virginianus to the brink of obsolescence as a game species. Today, just five percent of Virginia hunting license purchasers identify themselves as quail hunters.

For Boudreaux, that old picture — the hunter, his dogs, shotgun raised, bird on the wing — is too powerful to forget. Like many Virginians, the Hampden-Sydney graduate wants to bring it back.

Last week, I experienced Boudreaux's contributions to quail restoration, and the restoration of traditional quail hunting in his beloved home state. Along with Charley Gates and Brad Simpson, I went on an afternoon quail hunt with Commonwealth Birding, the quail hunting outfitter that Boudreaux and partner Bradley Hancock, 26, started three years ago.

After meeting at Virginia Tech — Boudreaux a graduate student, Hancock an undergraduate — their conversations inevitably turned toward the things they loved: dogs, guns, hanging out with friends and that old way of upland hunting. The partners grew up hunting on commercial bird preserves, and both agreed "There's got to be better hunting than this."

Said Boudreaux: "We got to thinking, what can we do to start a business that'll give us fulfillment? What do we like? Well, we like bird hunting and we like Virginia. We like hanging out. If you can turn that into making a living, then there you have it."

As a quail hunting outfitter, CB can stage hunts anywhere in the state, but most of their hunts take place at a working farm and private preserve in Amelia County called Coverley Plantation.

That's where we met with Boudreaux and Don Reevey, whose German shorthaired pointers would lead us into the field that day. The goal, Boudreaux explained, is to recreate the quail hunting experience of 60 years ago.

"We don't have little food plots, and we don't plant birds in the middle of the field where you're going to get an easy shot, and the dog is guaranteed to stub his toe and flush a bird. We do hedgerow hunting and we do those [drainages], those natural grassy-type areas — where quail live anyway. We do some management stuff; we disc and we burn, but beyond that, it's really a traditional hunting experience."

We set out with Reevey down a row of mature cedars with barbed wire running along them. The retiree from New Jersey would scold his dogs as they bounded through the barbed wire, hoping to catch the scent of a quail. It didn't take long to see how well trained they were, going rigid with the whiff of a quail but not getting so close as to flush them.

When you bird hunt with great dogs, you realize how much fun it must have been for a farmer to hunt his own property years ago, dog at his side, quail flushing from the field edges.

We hunted up and down the row, hitting most of the birds, missing a couple. When we scared a red-tailed hawk from a cedar above us, we realized why some of the birds were difficult to flush: They figured they'd take their chances with our aim rather than the hawk's. I guess I can't blame them. The hawk hunts for a living.

Later we found a covey on a part of the property that Reevey said birds hadn't been set. Pen-raised birds, they were reverting back to their naturally wild state, and they flew like it. One we never found despite an hour of trying. That's the way it should be. That's hunting.

Commonwealth Birding (commonwealthbirding.com) is one of many groups trying to reclaim the glory days — groups like Quail Unlimited and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, with its recently instituted Quail Action Plan. For CB, the goal is a commercial one, but it's also one born out of wistfulness, a nostalgia for a Virginia landscape and hunting ethos that many lament have been lost. I never knew those days, but after an afternoon with Boudreaux's outfit, I can see why so many feel the pull.

athompson at

outdoors@timesdispatch.com.

(804) 649-6579

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/sports/ ... -fashioned-way-ar-762323/

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