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    Stories

    Social Distancing and Urban Kids Fishing

    Social Distancing and Urban Kids Fishing

    It seems like everything coming across our screens today is a grim reminder of our current global pandemic. That being said, this is, unfortunately, our reality. We need healthy time killers and positive distractions.  Many of us live in urban settings and escaping to the wilderness to recreate isn’t always a realistic option. Mountain lakes and clear running streams will always be my first choice when taking a fishing trip, but when the mountains are out of reach, I’ve found a suitable, actually downright fun, alternative.

    Most cities around our country have robust fish stocking programs for urban ponds and lakes. Depending on your location, this can consist of a variety of species: catfish, bass, bluegill, and trout are the usual suspects. In our city, catfish are stocked throughout the summer month followed by trout in the winter. Most of these stocking programs are put-and-take. Meaning, fish are stocked with the intention of anglers taking them home to eat. Of course, there are still legal regulations set in place to limit the number of fish that can be taken. The importance of following these regulations is not only to keep you legal but to also ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the resource.  

    My kids and I have a secret method we use that makes us the envy of the pond more times than not; we’re going to share it with you. This is a European carp fishing method that takes some special equipment and bait, but it’s worth it for a couple of reasons. One, the pride on a seven-year-old boy’s face when he hears neighboring fishermen trying to figure out how they are being out fished by a kid. And two, the opportunity to hook into bonus carp that regularly get above ten pounds and with fish in the twenty-pound range not uncommon. These carp might not always be the first choice when it comes to table fare but they will give a child the fight of their life.

    The center of our method is aptly named “method lead." A quick Google search will get you a better visual than I can describe here. You’ll also find inexpensive options for ordering them and videos showing how to rig them. In short, the system is comprised of a lead that’s designed to hold a pack bait (see recipe below) with a short three to four-inch leader and a hook baited with a couple of kernels of corn. We will take a handful of our bait and tightly pack it around the method lead followed by pushing our baited hook right into the top of the whole mess. We’ll then gently cast the fist-sized ball of bait wherever we think the catfish will be waiting. When the bait ball has settled to the bottom, it will begin to disintegrate leaving an irresistible cloud of fish attractant with your baited hook lying right in the middle. The catfish (and carp) can’t resist it and when things get going, it can be difficult to keep three rods baited and in the water in between hookups.


    Pack bait ingredients:

    Panko bread crumbs X 2 boxes

    Strawberry jello powder X1 box

    Canned corn (drained) X 3

    Canned hominy X1

    Place all ingredients in a bucket, or another similar container, in the order listed above and mix thoroughly. It's best to do this the night, or at least a couple hours, before your fishing trip to help with consistency and holding together.

    While this method takes a bit more effort than just gobbing a nightcrawler on a hook, it will pay you back ten-fold in crispy golden fried catfish filets and some much-needed distraction from our current state of affairs. 

    Strange Times - A Sportsman's Thoughts on COVID-19

    Strange Times - A Sportsman's Thoughts on COVID-19

    I found myself walking the store just observing, and eventually in the meat isle. In front of the rotisserie chickens, a good 20 people anxiously waited for dinner to be pulled off the rack and put in their cart when it hit me hard…Thank god I’m a hunter and an angler. The line between dependent and independent was laid bare.   Back at home, I am fortunate to have a modest lineup of fish, foul and beast sitting in my freeze, a bank of security in the midst of what I am starting to feel is a generational event that we’ve never experienced in my short time on life.   The anxiety that I felt around the store that day was palpable. 

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    Heavier Than Steel: Non-Toxic Shot for More Efficient Waterfowling

    Heavier Than Steel: Non-Toxic Shot for More Efficient Waterfowling

    Non-Toxic Shot for More-Efficient Waterfowling

    There has been much ado in recent years about non-lead ammunition - and for good reason - it's a conservation conversation well worth having. Currently the conversation around lead-based ammunition is largely framed in terms of ecological and personal health in the big game hunting arena. For water-fowlers though, shooting non-lead has been a foregone conclusion for nearly 30 years. 

    Thankfully, renewed hunter interest has spurred ammo manufacturers into offering more options in bismuth, tungsten, and mixed-media duplex loads that promise more devastating downrange effects.

    Only recently have the big ammo manufacturers began to broaden their use of these heavier-than-steel non-toxic options, making them far more accessible for the average hunter. Of course, these premium products garner premium prices, but are they worth it? If they’re actually more effective, then the answer could be a surprising yes.

    Ambassador Tristan Henry, with help from Leland Brown of The North American Non-Lead Partnership embarked upon a grade-school style science experiment. They tested a range of shotgun ammunition and evaluate it for efficacy on two criteria: pattern density and penetration. Then, they would take our findings to the field where we could see if our expectations for terminal performance carried any weight.

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    Wild Game Cooking: Essential Hardware

    Wild Game Cooking: Essential Hardware
    When it comes to wild game, choosing the right “weapons” in the kitchen is almost as critical as choosing the right weapon in the field… almost. Investing wisely in good cookware doesn’t have to break the bank, but choosing the right items will make a big difference in DIY processing and cooking. Our Wild Game Cooking: Essential Hardware list will set you up with everything you'll need!

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    Mountain Meadow Elk Story

    Mountain Meadow Elk Story
    We lose wild places every day, some in small swaths, and others in such grand scale that it makes me wonder what will be left in 100 years. And yet I think there is hope. The elk still holds a spot of mysticism in the American ethos of the West and their larger than life reputation lends itself to a fanaticism I believe and hope will end up saving them. So many individuals, groups, and even industry businesses are taking a lead in the conservation of our wild places and the wildlife that inhabit them. It takes a small dedicated outspoken few to keep this movement going, imagine how that would change if rather than “The few”, we had “The many”.

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