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New This Week & Where To Find It

Kayak Evolution: The ‘Ultimate Fishing Machine’

Record Breeding Duck Count, Average Water Pave the Way for Good Fall Flight

Interviews from July 4, 2015

Gene Larew Lures acquires Crappie Pro

Ducks Unlimited going racing at Daytona this weekend

Fishing’s Future Announces Catch-Photo-Release Contest For Youth Anglers

St. Croix Rods: Some Legends are timeless … but not all are “Elite”

Vote for Delta Waterfowl’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year

Humminbird® HELIX™ 7: Jaw-Dropping Screen Brightness, Speed & Value

Plano A-Series Quicktop Tackle Bags

Interviews from June 27th, 2015

Park Visitor from Colorado Finds 8.52-Carat White Diamond

New TWRA Announcements

Aqua-Vu® expands popular line of hand-held underwater cameras

Rogers Hoyt Jr. elected First Vice President of Ducks Unlimited

Theresa Vail to Host 'Limitless'

Knot2Kinky: The Best for the Big Bite

Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge Will Reopen July 1

The Brilliance of SmartStrike

New MDWFP Announcements

Chattanooga Tech Teams Are Finalists in Global Competition

Urgent Media Correction—HSS Gear Hooks

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The Show

"Outdoors with Larry Rea" is in its 14th year on the air, broadcasting from Entercom Studios in Memphis, TN.

The show's host, Larry Rea, is an expert in Outdoors media, having been the Outdoors Editor for the Memphis Commercial Appeal prior to his move into radio.

The show, as well as its website,, has consistently won awards for excellence in broadcasting, most recently at the annual Southeastern Outdoors Press Association conference.

Airing on Saturday mornings, the show features a broad list of segments, including interviews with the most interesting and accomplished Outdoorsmen and women in the U.S. and beyond, but offers a local flavor as well.

Larry and his team of show contributors cover the latest news, reports, products and events.

In addition to the radio booth, the show hits the road to cover some of the most prestigious events in the industry, such as the Bassmaster Classic, the National Field Dog Trials and more.

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USDA Seeks Partner Proposals to Protect and Restore Critical Wetlands in Mississippi

Jackson, Miss. – The United States Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Kurt Readus announced the availability of $17.5 million in financial and technical assistance nationwide to help eligible conservation partners voluntarily protect, restore and enhance critical wetlands on private and tribal agricultural lands.
“USDA has leveraged partnerships to accomplish a great deal on America’s wetlands over the past two decades, Readus said. “This year’s funding will help strengthen these partnerships and achieve greater wetland acreage in Mississippi and throughout the nation.”
Funding will be provided through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), a special enrollment option under the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program’s Wetland Reserve Easement component. It is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Under WREP, states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes collaborate with USDA through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with willing tribal and private landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their properties. WREP was created through the 2014 Farm Bill and was formerly known as the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program.
Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to successfully enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. The voluntary nature of NRCS' easement programs allows effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to the local and rural communities where the wetlands exist.
Proposals must be submitted to the NRCS state office by July 31, 2015. Projects can range from individual to watershed-wide to ecosystem-wide.  Under a similar program in the 2008 Farm Bill, NRCS and its partners entered into 272 easements that enrolled more than 44,020 acres of wetlands from 2009 through 2013.  Most of these agreements occurred through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Through partnerships, MRBI identifies high-priority watersheds where focused conservation on agricultural land can make the most gains in improving local, state and regional water quality.
The new collaborative WREP will build on those successes by providing the financial and technical assistance necessary for states, non-governmental organizations and tribes to leverage resources to restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat.
Through WREP, NRCS will sign multi-year agreements with partners to leverage resources, including funding, to achieve maximum wetland restoration, protection and enhancement and to create optimum wildlife habitat on enrolled acres. WREP partners are required to contribute a funding match for financial or technical assistance. These partners work directly with eligible landowners interested in enrolling their agricultural land into conservation wetland easements.
This builds on approximately $332 million that USDA has announced this year to protect and restore agricultural working lands, grasslands and wetlands.  Collectively, NRCS’s easement programs help productive farm, ranch and tribal lands remain in agriculture and protect the nation's critical wetlands and grasslands, home to diverse wildlife and plant species. Under the former Wetlands Reserve Program, private landowners, tribes and entities such as land trusts and conservation organizations enrolled 2.7 million acres through 14,500 agreements for a total NRCS and partner investment of $4.3 billion in financial and technical assistance.
Visit NRCS’s ACEP webpage to learn more about NRCS’s wetland conservation options.

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Record Breeding Duck Count, Average Water Pave the Way for Good Fall Flight

Annual breeding population survey estimates 49.5 million ducks

BISMARCK, N.D. — North America’s spring duck population is at a record high, but returning birds initially found a lower pond count in key areas of the breeding grounds, according to the 2015 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey released today.

The annual survey, which has been conducted jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service since 1955, puts the breeding duck population at a 49.52 million, slightly higher than last year’s population of 49.15 million and 43 percent above the long-term average.

The survey marks the highest estimates ever recorded for mallards and green-winged teal. Mallards increased 7 percent to 11.64 million, 51 percent above the long-term average. Green-winged teal populations grew by 19 percent to 4.08 million, 98 percent above the long-term average.

“This year’s population estimates are not due to great conditions this year, but high because of several consecutive years of great production,” said Dr. Frank Rohwer, president of Delta Waterfowl. “All the stars aligned in 2014: There was water in all the right places and at all the right times. Despite the declining pond conditions, the data indicates great population carryover from the last few highly successful breeding seasons.”

The May pond count registered 6.31 million — 12 percent lower than last year’s soaking wet conditions, but still 21 percent above the long-term average. In the U.S. portion of the prairie pothole region, which consists of eastern Montana and the Dakotas, conditions were drier than previous years until significant rains fell in May and June. The Canadian portion of PPR, which encompasses much of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, also saw reduced pond estimates. But unlike in the United States, a lack of rains later in spring led to deteriorating conditions for breeding ducks.

Drier wetland conditions can impact duck distribution and production. Several species — notably pintails — will overfly the prairie if their preferred small wetlands are dry when they are settling in spring.

“When birds pass over the prairie pothole region and settle farther north, they typically do not have as high of reproductive success,” Rohwer said. “Pintails and mallards tend to continue north when they don’t find sufficient seasonal and temporary wetlands on the prairies.”

However, ducks that did settle in the Dakotas were likely able to capitalize as wetland conditions improved later in spring. Rains in May and June improved wetland conditions, which should aid duck production in many areas of the U.S. prairies.

“The rains we got in May and June across the eastern Dakotas will probably benefit late nesters like blue-winged teal, gadwalls and scaup,” Rohwer said. “It’s also likely to spur renesting attempts and aid in duckling survival.”

By contrast, most areas of prairie Canada have not received the timely spring rains that occurred in the U.S. prairies. As a result, pond conditions have declined.

“The widespread drier conditions in prairie Canada later in spring will negatively affect duck production,” Rohwer said.

In addition to record highs among the breeding populations of mallards and green-winged teal, the gadwall estimate (3.83 million) is the second highest in survey history, and the blue-winged teal estimate (8.55 million) is the species’ third highest ever. Population estimates for wigeon (3.04 million), canvasbacks (757,000), redheads (1.2 million), and scaup (4.4 million) are similar to 2014.

Northern shovelers showed the greatest decline, falling 17 percent to 4.39 million but remaining 75 percent above the long-term average. Pintails continue to be a source of concern, declining for the fourth straight year to 3.04 million birds, 24 percent below the long-term average.

The survey data is a reminder that this is a fine era to be a duck hunter.

“While we anticipate decreased production and fewer young ducks in the fall flight, hunters should look forward to a strong fall flight,” Rohwer said.

For more information, contact John Devney, vice president of U.S. policy (701) 471-4235,, or Dr. Frank Rohwer, president (888) 987-3695 ext. 217,

Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit

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Two Chattanooga Tech Teams Are Finalists in Global Competition...Show Your Support for Fishackathon Participants By Voting Online

Chattanooga, Tenn. (June 24, 2015) – Our oceans make life on land possible by producing most of the oxygen we breathe and supplying the greatest percentage of the world’s protein in our diets.
More than 3.5 billion people depend on the ocean for their primary source of food, but unfortunately 80% of the world’s fish stocks are already over-exploited. These numbers can make sustainable seafood challenges seem mind-boggling, but even in land-locked Chattanooga people are rising up to help solve some of the challenges through technology and making wise seafood choices.
Prior to World’s Ocean Day on June 8th, the Tennessee Aquarium was one of only 12 locations in the world that hosted “Fishackathon,” an initiative led by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships.
A group of computer coders, developers and designers gathered at the Aquarium for 24 hours to devise solutions to needs that were identified for the event.
“Coders are being asked to put themselves in the boots of the men and women who work in small-scale operations and think about the challenges they face,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a video welcome message sent to the Fishackathon participants. Secretary Kerry noted that, “New technology has an enormous potential of applications that have not yet been explored.”
During the first Fishackathon last year, mobile applications were developed that make it easier to report illegal fishing, register boats and to accurately track catches. All of these projects ultimately help fishermen and governments manage fish populations.
Chattanooga has a growing reputation as a technology hub and local coders showed they’re among the world’s best by overcoming some daunting challenges to produce three impressive tools during this year’s event.
One team created an easy to use interface, based on the popular “20 questions” game, that helps fishermen quickly and accurately identify species that are caught anywhere in the world.
Another group focused its efforts on the consumer’s role in promoting sustainable seafood. Its prototype website, “Sustainable Suppers,” was inspired by the Aquarium’s Serve & Protect programseeking to guide people to more diverse and wiser seafood selections.
This project caught the eye of organizers of the National Aquarium’s Fishackathon event.
Chattanooga team mates Michael Daily and Ben Schnell were then asked to remotely present their project, along with Baltimore coder Logan Bair, for judging. Sustainable Suppers won the Baltimore competition, becoming a finalist for the international Fishackathon prize.
The third Chattanooga team (Sean Brewer, David Duncan and Matthew Chapman) won the Chattanooga Fishackathon event, also qualifying as one of the global finalists. “Flood Plain Projector” was developed in response to the problem statement submitted by the Tennessee Aquarium.
Fish farms will play a larger role in food production as the global population swells to seven billion people in the next 20 years. However, aquaculture operations are increasingly susceptible to inland flooding, climate change and sea level rise. The Flood Plain Projector promises to be a great tool to help developers choose the best sites for aquaculture around the world – whether raising Channel Catfish inland or Bay Scallops along the coast.
Out of 12 host cities around the world, only one city came out with a two finalists. The two Chattanooga teams are now competing for a pair of international prizes – the People’s Choice Award and the Judge’s Choice Award.
Chattanooga’s teams need votes from our community to clinch the People’s Choice Award. Everyone is encouraged to go online and vote for Flood Plain Projector and Sustainable Supper now through July 8th. The winning team in the People’s Choice category will earn a trip to the Our Ocean Conference in Valparaiso, Chile in October. Voting online not only lends support to our local tech community, it also signals Chattanooga’s commitment to sustainability before a global audience.
Vote for “Flood Plain Projector”
Sean Brewer
David Duncan
Matthew Chapman
Michael Daily
Ben Schnell
Logan Bair – Baltimore
An international panel of expert judges will determine the winner of the Judge’s Choice Award. That team will earn a trip to the GSMA Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain with the opportunity to showcase their app on a world stage.
Winners for both the People’s Choice Award and the Judge’s Choice Award will be announced on Friday, July 10th.
The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder, appreciation and protection of water and all life that it sustains. Admission is $29.95 per adult and $18.95 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $9.95 per adult and $8.50 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $35.95 for adults and $24.95 for children. Excursions aboard the new River Gorge Explorer depart daily into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” Cruise tickets are $32.00 per adult and $24.50 per child (3-12). Advance tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities.
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Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge Will Reopen July 1 Following $9.6 Million Renovation and Expansion

Popular inn on the Talimena National Scenic Byway will offer upgraded accommodations, large windows in the public and guest rooms that frame the views from Arkansas’s second highest mountain, and many other enhancements.
(MENA, Ark.)—Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge on 2,681-foot Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak, will reopen on July 1, 2015, following a $9.6 million renovation, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts. “The improvements to this lodge that opened by the state of Arkansas in 1975 should receive rave reviews when it reopens,” said Butts. He noted the lodge will feature all new windows that will be larger to frame the views from Rich Mountain of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains. Butts emphasized, “Enjoying the panoramic scenery from the mountain is an important part of the Queen Wilhelmina State Park experience. Our visitors are going to enjoy the more wide open views from all the lodge’s public rooms, including the restaurant and all the guest rooms.”
The exterior of the lodge features shingles and stonework. The lodge was expanded from 25,881 square feet to 37,029 square feet to include the addition of a new hearth room with wood-burning fireplace, two additional guest rooms increasing the total to 40, and more space within all the rooms. Two guest rooms on each floor at the west end include gas fireplaces and spa tubs. Three are barrier-free to meet the needs of visitors with disabilities. They include Queen, King, King with spa tub and gas fireplace, and King Suite choices.
The upstairs meeting facility increased in size and includes a balcony overlooking the south view from the mountain. Public restrooms are located nearby.
An elevator was added to the lodge, as well as more stairwells. A wrap-around porch on the building’s south side will provide visitors with comfortable outdoor space. A new porch was added at the west end. And a new fire protection system covers the entire building.
Other improvements include a new energy efficient heating and air-conditioning system, energy saving lighting throughout, solar hot water, and other such features. A new laundry will serve the housekeeping staff.
The design consultant was The Borné Firm Architects P.A. of Little Rock, Robin Y. Borné AIA president. The architect’s consultants were Pettit and Pettit Consulting Engineers, Inc. of Little Rock (MEP), Engineering Consultants, Inc. of Little Rock (Structural), Hanson and McLaughlin Engineering, LLC of Little Rock (Civil), Development Consultants, Inc. of Little Rock (Landscape Architecture), Morris & Associates of Scott (Environmental), Grubbs, Hoyskn, Barton & Wyatt of Little Rock (Geotechnical), and Stellar Sun of Little Rock (Solar Hot Water System). TriMark Strategic of Coppell, Texas, was the consultant for the new kitchen. Jake Limberg of Arkansas State Parks, the park planner for Queen Wilhelmina State Park, developed the interior furnishings design.
The general contractors were Wade Abernathy, Inc. of Mt. Ida and Nabholz Construction Services of Conway.
The project was funded by Amendment 75, Arkansas’s Conservation Fund ($4,792,365), FY 12-14 grant monies from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council ($3,331,927), and State Parks Funds ($200,000). Furnishings and new kitchen equipment totaled $1,297,000.
Today’s lodge is the third hostelry to grace this same setting on 2,681-foot Rich Mountain. The first inn, opened in 1898 by the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (KCPG), was designed as a resort retreat for passengers on the line. The company spared no expense in constructing the luxurious hostelry of Victorian splendor. Since the KCPG was largely financed by Dutch interests, the resort was named in honor of the Netherlands’ young Queen Wilhelmina. Known as the “Castle in the Sky,” the inn closed in only three years.
The second Queen Wilhelmina inn was built by Arkansas State Parks and operated by the state of Arkansas from 1963 until a fire destroyed it in the fall of 1973.
Today’s Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge opened in 1975 to carry forward this lodging tradition on Rich Mountain. The just completed $9.6 renovation of this facility is what will greet visitors and guests when the lodge reopens on July 1. To make reservations, visit or call 1-800-264-2477.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge is one of the four hotel-like lodges in the Arkansas state park system. The others are historic Mather Lodge at Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge near Arkadelphia, and The Lodge at Mount Magazine in Mount Magazine State Park near Paris.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. In addition to the lodge, the 460-acre park includes a campground with 41 campsites and a bathhouse; picnic areas; trails; and a seasonal miniature train and mini-golf course. Park interpretive programs highlight Rich Mountain’s fauna and unique flora.
The park is on Ark. 88 (Talimena National Scenic Byway) 13 miles west of Mena. [For an alternate route from Mena or during inclement weather, go six miles north on U.S. 71, then travel nine miles west on U.S. 270, then go two miles south up Ark. 272.]
For additional information, contact: Greg Butts, director, Arkansas State Parks, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201. Phone: 501-682-7743. Email:
Looking for new attractions to cover in Arkansas? Check out updated story ideas, attraction lists, and “What’s New for 2015” at
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Theresa Vail to Host 'Limitless'

Theresa Vail Stars in New Outdoor Channel TV Series, "Limitless With Theresa Vail presented by Franchi"

WHO: Theresa Vail – Miss Kansas 2013, a 2014 Miss America top ten finalist, a Sergeant in the Kansas Army National Guard and an avid bowhunter – is joining forces with Outdoor Channel as the host of a new adventure-driven TV series: Limitless with Theresa Vail presented by Franchi(Limitless).

WHAT: Produced by Rusted Rooster Media, in association with Outdoor Channel, the new half-hour TV show epitomizes the bold character of its host and chronicles both Vail's flair for adventure and her love of the outdoors. Limitless presents her compelling story of an all-American woman on a mission to overcome stereotypes, break barriers and use her personal journey to redefine all the things a woman should, could and can be.

The pilot episode, "Stay the Course," blends Vail's adventure in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, where the rugged mountains provide a scenic and complex backdrop for a Katniss Everdeen-style bull elk quest, with a grueling 26.2 mile trek through the high desert terrain of the White Sands Missile Range. The trek is part of the Bataan Death Memorial March in New Mexico held in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippines during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives. Vail chose to carry an Army ruck sack filled with nearly 40 pounds of rice along the marathon distance to further commemorate the struggles of the soldiers.

Throughout the nine-episode season, Vail traverses North America in search of her next big expedition. She'll climb Wyoming's notorious "Devil's Tower," brave the rough waters of West Virginia's New River Gorge on a whitewater raft and dangle almost 40 feet off the ground on the Xtreeme Challenge high ropes course located outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. The series also captures her harvesting the biggest buck of her life on the picturesque prairies of Kansas – Vail's home state – and soaring through the skies behind the controls of a fighter jet.

WHY: In each episode, Vail will be in circumstances where she is constantly pushing her limits and testing boundaries. Audiences will see how she applies extraordinary grit and determination to these action-packed journeys and bold scenarios.

WHEN: Limitless premieres on Thursday, July 2 at 9:30 p.m. ET as part of the Outdoor Channel's summer programming lineup.

WHERE: Exclusively on Outdoor Channel!
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Park Visitor from Colorado Finds 8.52-Carat White Diamond at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park on June 24

Finder names the gem the Esperanza Diamond for her niece’s name and the Spanish word for “hope”
An 8.52-carat white diamond was found Wednesday (June 24) by Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park, according to park officials. Clear white and icicle shaped, this gem is the fifth largest diamond found by a park visitor since the state park was established at Arkansas’s diamond site in 1972. Twenty minutes into her search, she found the diamond in a couple scoops she had dug from a small mound of dirt. Oskarson was in the southwest corner of the park’s 37 ½-acre search field in an area known as the Pig Pen, aptly named because it is the muddiest part of the search area after a good rain. She named her gem the Esperanza Diamond, both her niece’s name and the Spanish word for “hope.” At this time, Oskarson plans to keep the gem.
Now in the park’s record books, this 8.52-carat diamond is topped in size only by these previous four larger diamonds found by park visitors: the white 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight found in 1975 by W.W. Johnson of Amarillo, Texas; white 8.82-carat Star of Shreveport found in 1981 by Carroll Blankenship of Shreveport, Louisiana; white 8.66-carat Illusion Diamond found in 2011 by Beth Gilbertson of Salida, Colorado; and brown 8.61-carat Lamle Diamond found in 1978 by Betty Lamle of Hitchcock, Oklahoma. [NOTE: The largest diamond ever discovered in the U.S. was unearthed at Arkansas’s diamond site in 1924 during an early mining operation prior to becoming an Arkansas state park in 1972. Named the Uncle Sam, this white diamond with a pink cast weighed 40.23 carats. Another notable gem found at the site prior to its becoming a state park was the 15.33-carat Star of Arkansas, a white diamond found in 1956 by Winifred Parker, when the site was operated by Howard Millar as a privately-operated tourist attraction.]
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said, “Ms. Oskarson and her boyfriend Travis Dillon saw the Crater of Diamonds State Park on an Arkansas highway map while in the nearby town of Hot Springs and decided to visit the park. And what a lucky first visit it was for her!” He noted that Oskarson found the diamond on Wednesday around noon hunting in the park’s 37 ½-acre search area that is the eroded top of the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in the world in surface area. “It was hot and sunny at the park, but Ms. Oskarson was staying cool by searching in a tree-shaded area when she found her diamond.” Park officials recommend that visitors bring drinking water and stay in shade as much as possible when looking for diamonds during the summer.
At first she thought it might be a quartz crystal due to its elongated shape, but park staff later confirmed that she had found a diamond. Cox said, “Ms. Oskarson’s eight-and-a-half-carat diamond is absolutely stunning, sparkling with a metallic shine, and appears to be an unbroken, capsule-shaped crystal. It features smooth, curved facets, a characteristic shared by all unbroken diamonds from the Crater of Diamonds.”
He continued, “Ms. Oskarson’s diamond is about three-quarters of an inch long and as big around as a standard No. 2 pencil.” It was found very near where Carroll Blankenship found the 8.82-carat white Star of Shreveport in 1981. “Now Ms. Oskarson’s diamond is a very special part of the Crater of Diamonds State Park’s history, too.”
Oskarson’s find is the 227th diamond certified by park staff this year. Cox noted that more than 30 other diamonds have been found on the surface of the search area so far in 2015, due in part to frequent rains this spring. “Rain, plus the regular plowing of the search field by our maintenance staff, increases visitors’ chances of finding diamonds in the search area.” Regular plowing loosens the soil and brings more diamonds to the surface, and then rain erosion plays its part. “Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, and they lack static electricity,” Cox continued, “so rainfall slides the dirt off and leaves them exposed. When the sun comes out, they sparkle.”
The search area at the Crater of Diamonds is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public. The park’s policy is finder-keepers. What visitors find is theirs to keep. The staff provides free identification and registration of diamonds. Park interpretive programs and exhibits explain the site’s geology and history, and offer tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
Over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed here at Arkansas’s diamond site since the first diamonds found in 1906 by John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned the land, long before the site became an Arkansas state park in 1972. Pictures and information about notable diamond finds from the site are featured on the park’s website at:
Another notable diamond from the Crater of Diamonds that has received much national attention is the 1.09-carat, D-flawless Strawn-Wagner Diamond. Discovered at the park in 1990 by Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, this white gem weighed 3.03 carats in the rough before being cut to perfection in 1997 by the renowned diamond firm Lazare Kaplan International of New York. The gem is the most perfect diamond ever certified in the laboratory of the American Gem Society. It is on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center.
Another gem from the Crater of Diamonds is the flawless 4.25-carat Kahn Canary diamond that was discovered in 1977. This uncut, triangular-shape gem has been on exhibit at many cities around the U.S. and overseas. It was featured in an illustrious jewelry exhibition in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1997 that included precious stones from throughout the world including the Kremlin collection, the Vatican, Cartier, and Christies. In late 1997, the Kahn Canary was featured in another prestigious exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York entitled “The Nature of Diamonds.” Former First Lady Hillary Clinton borrowed the Kahn Canary from its owner, Stan Kahn of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and wore it in a special, Arkansas-inspired ring setting designed by Henry Dunay of New York as a special way to represent Arkansas’s diamond site at the galas celebrating both of Bill Clinton’s presidential inaugurals.
Over 40 different rocks and minerals are unearthed at the Crater making it a rockhound's delight. In addition to diamonds, semi-precious gems and minerals, including amethyst, garnet, peridot, jasper, agate, calcite, barite, and quartz, are found in the park’s search area.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is on Ark. 301 at Murfreesboro. It is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
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Gene Larew Lures acquires Crappie Pro

TULSA, Okla. (July 1, 2015) - Gene Larew Lures has acquired Crappie Pro, a popular crappie fishing brand known for its quality jig heads featuring horizontal balancing, super
sharp hooks and durable color finishes.
Larew purchased the Crappie Pro trademark and related assets from Janice Russell, who decided to sell the business in the months following the death of co-owner and husband Larry Russell. They were a well-known couple in crappie fishing circles, having started Crappie Pro nearly 20 years.
"The passing of Larry left the kind of void in our industry that's hard to fill because he was tuned in to crappie fishing and passionate about the people who enjoyed the sport," said Larew President Chris Lindenberg. "We're grateful to Janice for allowing us this opportunity to continue the Crappie Pro legacy in his honor and we promise to make her and the crappie community proud in how we do it."
Both headquartered in Oklahoma, Larew (Tulsa) and Crappie Pro (Eufaula) had an existing relationship that began soon after Larew purchased the Bobby Garland crappie bait brand in early 2007. The Mo' Glo glow-in-the-dark jighead series has been a Crappie Pro exclusive within the Garland product lineup ever since.
Crappie Pro products will be incorporated into the Gene Larew Lures booth and alongside the company's Larew and Garland brands at the annual fishing tackle industry tradeshow called ICAST, scheduled for July 15 - 17, 2015, in Orlando.
"The panfish category has been a shining star for the industry in recent years and Larew's expansion into the crappie market has been a great move for us. Larry and Janice Russell had a wonderful vision many years ago and we'll keep it going," added Lindenberg.

For more information about the company and its products, visit
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Team USA Takes 14 Medals at World Archery Youth Championships

YANKTON, South Dakota - The finals of the World Archery Youth Championships had incredible highlights that speak to the growth of archery worldwide, but most especially in the United States, where 24 of the country's best young archers took home 14 total medals and two new world records on their home court. 
The American archers, cheered by an enthusiastic audience, won three world titles, seven silver medals, and four bronze medals in an incredible show of archery talent. 
The compound junior women's team of Paige Pearce, Danielle Reynolds and Emily Fischer earned their world title after a tough matchup with Colombia, a team featuring World No. 1 Sara Lopez.  
"None of us was better than the other," said Reynolds. "We were all consistent. If someone shot a bad shot, the other one made it up for all of us. It was like a give and take. We are all just super excited, we - me and Emily - won the last youth worlds as cadets, and as juniors wanted to win it again." 
Veteran shooter Pearce agreed: "We knew we three are consistent archers, all we can do was make the shots and expect the best. I was defending my title from last time... it's my fifth youth world champs and I have won gold every single time with the USA."
Likewise, both compound cadet teams delivered gold medal wins. "Dane shot insane and cleaned the whole thing," said Cole Feterl of teammate Dane Johnson. "It was an awesome experience!" Daniel O'Connor rounded out this squad, which won their world title after a close contest with Great Britain: "It was a total rush. First time any of us has ever been on a stage like that. We all shot great."
Not to be outdone, the compound cadet women's team of Dahlia Crook, Breanna Theodore and Cassidy Cox took their own world championship gold medal versus a strong team from Mexico. "It was really fun," Cox said. "We knew it was going to be tough against Mexico because they are good team, too. We fought hard."
Theodore explained the challenges the team had in their match: "The target was definitely darker to see and the first arrow I shot I was really nervous so I kept thinking to myself that I've just got to have good form. After that, they started pounding and I got my confidence back. It was so incredible to shoot with these two ladies."
For her part, Crook took medals of each color; not only was she part of the gold medal winning women's team, but she also earned silver with Johnson in the compound cadet mixed team event, and a hard-fought individual bronze medal. 
"It was nice to shoot in the field before my individual match," Crook explained. "The shoot-off was awesome! After I shot 26 in my first end, I kind of had to sight back in because the wind changed a little bit and the shot started to feel good. The shoot-off was the best part, I just love shoot-offs!" 
The compound finals also saw silver medals for compound junior archer David Houser in the individual event, as well as the compound junior men's team of Chris Bee, Steven Manfull and Houser in a close matchup with Turkey. The compound junior mixed team of Reynolds and Bee also won a bronze medal. 
In the recurve finals, Team USA showed strength and grace under pressure. Eliana Claps, competing in the recurve cadet women's individual event, won the bronze medal in a shootout with Tanya Giaccheri of Italy. 
"It's just a blessing that I was able to get up there and had the opportunity to shoot," Claps explained. "It's a fascinating feeling that with all the adrenaline through me, I was able to still stay strong and shoot my shot. I'm happy with my shooting and experience. It was just great shooting, good scores. It's amazing not only to get a medal here but in the States with all my family and friends supporting me." 
Both recurve men's teams earned silver medals shooting against tough squads from Korea. Ryan Oliver, Geun Woo Kim and Minsoo Kim all brought their A-game to the field but were just edged out by gold medalists Korea. Claps and Oliver will both also return home with bronze medals from their win in the recurve cadet mixed team event. 
"One of my goals this year was to win a medal at this tournament and I was able to accomplish that," Oliver said in a Facebook post. "I was so blessed to be able to shoot the way I did this week and I'm so thankful for all of the experiences here and the amazing team I was able to be a part of!" 
The recurve junior men's team of Zach Garrett, Collin Klimitchek and Caleb Miller came away as silver medalists from these World Championships, facing off against Korea in the final. The event was excellent training for Garrett and Klimitchek, who have also made the World Archery Championships team for next month's Olympic qualifier. 
Individually, Klimitchek and teammate Mackenzie Brown both came out with silver medals in the recurve junior division as well.  Brown met Chia-Mao Peng of Chinese Taipei in the final; while Brown took a solid initial 4-0 lead, Peng delivered a string of perfect 30s that were quite literally impossible to beat. Klimitchek took his own silver after a tough matchup with Korea's Byeongyeon Min.  
Thanks to the efforts of the entire team, the U.S. squad led the medal count for this World Championships event. National Head Coach KiSik Lee expressed his pride in the team's accomplishments: "On behalf of USA Archery, THANK YOU to all of the team members and staff! We made history for USA Archery with 14 medals! Wow! I am very proud of our team and thank you for all your hard work!"
See video of the finals, photos from the entire event, and all results at World Archery's website. 
About USA Archery
USA Archery is the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of archery in the United States. USA Archery selects and trains Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup teams, as well as developing archery at the grassroots level across the United States.  For more information, visit
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Toledo Bend Reservoir Leads Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes List

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The results have been tabulated after several months of research and the 2015 rankings for the 100 Best Bass Lakes in America have been revealed. For the first time since the inaugural rankings in 2012 when Falcon Lake in Texas was No. 1, a southern fishery has claimed the title of best lake in the country. Texas again gets the claim to fame, but has to share the national spotlight with Louisiana, as Toledo Bend Reservoir, named king of all bass fisheries for 2015, straddles the border of the two states.
“The rankings this year are more reliable than ever,” said Bassmaster Magazine Editor James Hall. “The past three years, we released the list in May. However, we waited to include it in our July/August issue so we could collect catch-rate data from the spring to evaluate the health and productivity of each fishery.”
For anglers looking for a current bucket list of bass fishing destinations, this is one-stop shopping.
The rankings were created by first polling the fishery agencies of each state to produce a current list of bass-rich waters. Next, the B.A.S.S. Nation was employed to chime in on the best fisheries they compete on across the country. All 630,000 B.A.S.S. Facebook fans were polled to make sure non-tournament lakes were considered, and then the B.A.S.S. Council, a 3,500-member panel of super-avid bass fishermen, helped put the lakes in order. Finally, after scouring tournament data from hundreds of bass fishing clubs and tournament organizers, the rankings were finalized by a 15-member blue-ribbon panel from the fishing industry.
“Although many rankings on the list required a lot of debate from our panel, Toledo Bend stood out to all as a clear No. 1 this year,” Hall said. “The 185,000-acre impoundment has never fallen below No. 15 in the rankings, and between May 2014 and April 2015, 79 bass over 10 pounds were certified. Plus, it typically takes more than 25 pounds to win a one-day event — sometimes more than 30 pounds.”
Last year’s No. 1 fishery, Lake Michigan’s Sturgeon Bay, dropped to No. 2. The No. 1 fishery from 2013, Michigan’s Lake St. Clair, took the No. 3 spot. The remainder of the Top 5, in order, are the California Delta and Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas.
“Although you’ll see a lot of the ‘usual suspects’ on the list this year, there are some historically great fisheries that didn’t make the cut,” Hall said. “California’s Lake Oroville, once one of the best spotted bass fisheries in the nation, is still suffering from a long drought, as is the typically strong O.H. Ivie Reservoir in Texas.”
Perhaps the most interesting part of the rankings has to do with fisheries that made the list for the first time.
“Brownlee Reservoir (ranked 59th) on the Idaho/Oregon border breached the Best 100 list based on the tremendous smallmouth being caught this year,” Hall said. “It took more than 28 pounds to win a March event there, and the big fish weighed almost 7 pounds. However, Louisiana’s Lake Bistineau (ranked 27th) had the most impressive debut in the history of the rankings, on the heels of a 34.09-pound limit weighed in this past spring. A 10.9 took big-fish honors and the average bass weighed in was 3.69 pounds. ”
Texas earns bragging rights with the most lakes ranked within Bassmaster’s 100 Best with a total of nine lakes. California and New York each may boast of six fisheries that made the cut; Michigan has eight on the list. For a complete listing of Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes, see the July/August issue of Bassmaster, or visit
About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by TNT Fireworks, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
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Arkansas Outdoors

Today’s topics:
29 Arkansans win elk permit permits at Jasper drawing
Three Faulkner men jailed on hunting charges from Illinois
How’s Your Habitat? Causing a Disturbance
Worms can be a byproduct of flood and rain cleanup work
29 Arkansans win elk permit permits at Jasper drawing
JASPER – Twenty-nine Arkansans are wearing broad smiles these days. They are winners of 2015 public land elk hunting permits.
Their names were drawn from several thousand applications during the Buffalo River Elk Festival in Jasper. The drawing was from a squirrel cage with youngsters picked from the crowd doing the drawings. Both the applications and the permits were free.
This fall will be the 18th year of elk hunting in Arkansas. Three more permits will be given in fundraising auctions, two of these for youths. The hunt dates are Oct. 5-9 and Nov. 9-13with youth hunters in action the Saturday and Sunday before these dates. Public land permit holders are required to attend an orientation on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 1 p.m. at Carroll County Electric Co-op in Jasper. Private land elk hunting with permits issued through landowners will be Nov. 9-13 in Newton, Boone, Searcy, Madison and Carroll counties.
Hunters are allowed to choose their weapons from archery, including crossbows, muzzleloaders, modern rifles, modern shotguns and handguns. Minimum specifications are set for these weapons. In the past 17 years, virtually all elk hunters have used modern rifles.
The public land hunting is on Buffalo National River, Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area and Bearcat Hollow Wildlife Management Area. Hunters are assigned to specific zones within these public lands.
The 2015 elk permit winners:
Oct. 5-9:
Zone 1, either sex: Shane Murphy, Perryville
Zone 3, antlerless: Leslie Williams, Brinkley
Zone 3, antlerless: Bob Lanius, Camden
Zone 1, antlerless: Derek Gellerman, Jasper
Zone 4, antlerless: David Keels, Yellville
Nov. 9-13:
Zone 1, either sex: Olivia McClelland, Enola
Zone 1, antler less:  Steven Miller, Searcy
Zone 1, antler less:  Joseph Crouch, Marion
Zone 2, youth either sex: Evan Ridenhour, Waldron
Zone 2, either sex: Ronna Rodman, Beebe
Zone 2, antlerless: Dustyn Loy, Perryville
Zone 2, antlerless: Matthew Gauger, Gamaliel
Zone 2, antlerless: Erica Starkey, Greenbrier
Zone 2, antlerless: James Chambers, Nashville
Zone 2, antlerless: Adam Reid, Amity
Zone 3, youth either sex: Ava Clark, El Dorado
Zone 3, either sex: John Rye, Lonoke
Zone 3, antlerless: Zackery Yancey, Peach Orchard
Zone 3, antlerless: Christopher Gage, White Hall
Zone 3, antlerless: Charles White, Hope
Zone 3, antlerless: Sam Philip, Centerton
Zone 3, antlerless: Jon Shelton, Jonesboro
Zone 4, either sex: Phillip Payne, Norfork
Zone 4, either sex: Michael Jaco, Vilonia
Zone 4, antlerless: Larry Gann, Hot Springs
Zone 4, antlerless: Larry England, Bentonville
Zone 4, antlerless: Jesse McMahill, Wideman
Zone 4, antlerless: William James, Benton
Zone 4, antlerless: Michael Cole, Cave City
Three Faulkner men jailed on hunting charges from Illinois
GREENBRIER – In a cooperative hunting violation investigation involving Illinois and Arkansas wildlife officers, three Faulkner County men were arrested June 24 on a total of 12 charges.
Randy McNew, his son Ethan McNew and Randy’s brother Danny McNew were taken into custody without incident.
Randy and Danny McNew were arrested at their homes near Greenbrier. Ethan McNew turned himself in at the Faulkner County jail after a phone call from his father.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers making the arrests were Capt. Brad Young, Lt. Tym Montgomery, Corp. Gary Don Stell and Wildlife Officer Jay Thomas.
Illinois officers said the charges grew out of a deer hunting visit to that state last fall. Arkansas and Illinois are two states participating in the relatively new nationwide Interstate Violators Compact.
Randy McNew was charged with felony resource theft, two counts of misdemeanor falsification of records and misdemeanor unlawful take of white-tailed deer. Danny McNew was charged with felony resource theft, felony unlawful possession of a firearm, misdemeanor fraudulent use of a deer permit and unlawful hunting deer with a crossbow. Ethan McNew was charged with felony resource theft, two counts of misdemeanor providing false harvest records and misdemeanor failure to report harvest.
The three posted bonds totaling $45,000.
How’s Your Habitat?
Causing a Disturbance
By Daniel Greenfield, AGFC Private Lands Biologist, East Central Regional Office
Wildlife habitat created by utilizing the Conservation Reserve Program, administered through the County Farm Service Agency, provides critical habitat to various wildlife species including deer, turkey, rabbit, quail, resident songbirds, migrating birds, and waterfowl.
CRP provides quality food and cover across the landscape that would otherwise be lacking. Land enrolled in the CRP program is improved through mid-contract management activities-basically causing a disturbance to the cover. Mid-contract management activities are required under contract guidelines and must be included in the CRP habitat plan under most conservation practices.
Landowners with contracts, without mid-contract management activities included in the conservation plan, can request this cost-shared practice through an amendment to the plan through their county Farm Service Agency office. The timing of the disturbances are also important and will be outlined in the plan. Approved disturbance practices to contracts may include shallow disking, prescribed burning, spraying herbicides and inter-seeding legumes, depending on the specific CRP practice.  
Why are these practices important? The previous mentioned practices cause a positive disturbance that would otherwise be absent.  Quality habitat can be maintained throughout the life of the CRP contract when these practices are utilized properly.  The disturbances are necessary to setback succession and control undesirable woody plant species and promote diversity in plant communities.  Without disturbance, invasive species such as Bermuda grass, fescue and sweetgum can spread and take over an area.  Periodic soil disturbance is necessary to promote short lived annual plant species that provide quality habitat.  Partridge Pea, a common annual encouraged through disturbance, can produce an abundance of seeds eaten by songbirds quail, turkey and a number of mammals.
Shallow Disking in CRP grass stands three-years-old or older can improve plant diversity and increase open ground beneficial to numerous game species such as quail, turkey, deer and other small animals.  Disking two to four inches deep and in strips no more than 75 feet wide is ideal.  Only one third to half of the total field should be disked in a given year. It is important to leave an area twice the size of the area disked for cover.  Fall disking can promote hard seeded plant species such as partridge pea and ragweed.  Spring disking stimulates annual grasses.  A properly disked field should consist of roughly 50 percent bare ground and 50 percent residual cover.  This practice will promote a balanced stand of annual and perennial plant species.  
Prescribed burning is a beneficial tool that can maximize habitat to its full potential in several ways.  Excess litter that impedes the movements of small animals such as turkey poults and quail chicks can be removed by prescribed fire.  Fire can also allow the germination of seed bearing plants, thus creating more plant diversity and food production.  Encroachment of undesirable woody species such as sweetgum can also be controlled with the proper use of fire.  Burns must be completed according to specifications of Natural Resources Conservation Service as outlined in a burn plan.
Spraying herbicides can also be used to remove unwanted vegetation such Bermuda grass, fescue and sweetgum.  The herbicide applications will also setback plant succession to improve habitat diversity.  The type of unwanted plant species you are treating will determine the type, rate and timing of herbicide application.  It may be necessary to spray a large portion of the field or simply spot spray depending on the condition of the field.
Inter-seeding legumes such as red and white clover or forbs such as Partridge Pea or Black – Eyed Susan will increase structural diversity in the cover and add a valuable food source for various wildlife species.   
Mowing may not be used as an alternative for any of these practices unless used in conjunction with one of the approved disturbance activities. Recreational mowing is not allowed according to FSA requirements.
CRP conservation practices available to landowners range from establishing bottomland hardwoods, wetlands, shallow water habitat, native warm season grass, pollinator habitat and other wildlife habitat. Mid-contract management activities are available depending on the CRP practice.  Landowners receive a 50 percent cost-share to off-set any cost for the management activity.
For more information on improving your CRP acres for wildlife and/or establishing and maintaining land for wildlife habitat, and programs to help, contact an AGFC Private Lands Biologist at:  Beaver Lake, 866-253-2506; Harrison, 870-741-8600 ext. 114; Hope, 877-777-5580; Calico Rock, 877-297-4331; Little Rock, 877-470-3650; Brinkley, 877-734-4581; Jonesboro,877-972-5438 and Monticello, 877-367-3559.
To locate the private lands biologist covering your county, go to our webpage at: and click on the Private Lands map.  
Worms can be a byproduct of flood and rain cleanup work
LITTLE ROCK – If you’re doing some cleanup from recent excessive rains and flooding, take along a rake and a plastic jug with some dirt and leaves in it, suggests the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Need for the rake is obvious – moving limbs and brush and putting a little distance between you and something unpleasant hiding, like snakes.
The jugs can be a worm container, and debris is a likely place to find both red worms and nightcrawlers, both of which are excellent fishing bait. Drop the worms in the jug with dirt and leaves, and they will be ready for use in the near future, for fishing or for dropping in new homes in your vegetable or flower garden.
Boating education class schedule
Click here for boating education information:
Hunter education class schedule
Click here for hunter education information:
What’s open for hunting
Click here for hunting season information:
Coming up in the outdoors
Click here for information on programs, meetings and other things to do in the outdoors:
For the latest in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission information go to or call the Wildlife Information Hotline, 800-440-1477.
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During the past week, we have had a rain event (about half an inch here in Cotter), hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose one tenth of a foot to rest at twenty two and five tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 661.5 feet. This is twelve and four tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell three feet to rest at one and six tenths feet above seasonal power pool and twelve and four tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell two tenths of a foot to rest at seven and six tenths feet above seasonal power pool and a foot below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had moderate to high generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake remained steady at eight and three tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 556.22 feet and fifteen and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had wadable water every day.

The water level for the top of power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to recent rains, the lakes on this system are above seasonal power pool.

On heavy generation, the best way to catch fish is to switch to longer leaders and heavier weight. On the White, the hot spot was the Catch and Release section at Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (San Juan worm with a prince nymph or copper John suspended below it).

Conventional wisdom states that hopper fishing begins in late summer. I reject this idea and fish them all year. I favor shorter leaders (seven and a half foot 3X) and a stiff six weight rod to proper deliver these weighty flies. My favorite flies are Dave’s hoppers (#10) and the western pink lady (#8). To increase hook ups I always use a dropper. I am currently using a ruby or root beer midge in size eighteen on a three foot or longer tippet (depending on the depth of the water I am fishing).

There have been several reliable sightings of the sulphur hatch. I was lucky enough to catch it on the Norfork one day before the water came up. This is our major mayfly hatch of the year. They are size fourteen and easy to see. Before the hatch, you should concentrate on fishing pheasant tail nymphs. When the trout key on the top but no insects are present, switch over to a partridge and yellow. When you observe trout taking adult insects from the top of the water column, you should switch over to sulphur parachutes.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off color. With the warm weather, the smallmouths are active. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

The Norfork River has fished poorly lately. The siphon is down and they are supplying the water necessary for minimum flow by running the generators on a load no load basis. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#14, #16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis).The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday. My favorite combination has been a grass hopper with a root beer or ruby midge dropper.

There is a major construction project at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. You can still access Dry Run Creek. It has seen more pressure with school out. It still fished well. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10).

The water on the Spring River is high and off color. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is in full swing and can be a nuisance to fishing. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.



I was scheduled for a guide trip last week. The forecast for that day was for a high temperature of ninety five degrees, a high level of humidity, sunny skies and little wind. All of this resulted in a projected heat index of one hundred and four degrees. That is hot!

My first thought was to make it a wade trip. You are much cooler on a wade trip because a portion of your body is immersed in cool fifty seven degree water. If you get warm, you just wade a little deeper. If you decide to forego waders and wet wade, it is even cooler. The prediction was for there to be no wadable water on the White and limited wading on the Norfork. We decided to float the White. In a boat, on a hot day, there is nowhere to hide.

The key to survival is to dress properly. I started with my choice of underwear. I chose silk weight capilene boxers. They are loose fitting and allow for air circulation. The silk weights are non chafing and they wick moisture away from my body. I did not wear a t shirt to keep my torso as cool as possible.

I selected a pair of loose fitting tropical fishing pants. They are loose fitting, highly breathable and dry quickly. They have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50, which means that they offer a lot of protection from the sun. I have these pants in a few colors. I chose the lightest colored pair, so that they would not absorb as much heat from the solar gain as the darker colors would. I buy pants with a lot of pockets. I always carry a wallet, money, car keys and a pocket knife and I need a secure pocket for them. I also want a cargo pocket for my IPhone. I carry it in a waterproof case. I need it to check the weather, water conditions and to let my wife, Lori, know when I will be home for supper.

I also chose a loose fitting tropical fishing shirt with an SPF of 50. Here again, I selected the lightest colored one that I had. I only buy fishing shirts with button flap pockets. I want to make sure that anything I have in my pocket doesn’t fall out when I bend over to net a trout. I find the pocket flap to be a handy place to clip my forceps with attached nippers when I am fishing. I use them often and the must be easily available at all times.

My hat is always a key choice. I generally carry half a dozen hats in the back of my suburban and I select the most suitable head gear, when I am at the access. On this day, I went for my soft straw cowboy hat. It is the most breathable hat I own and it has a chin strap to prevent its loss in windy conditions.

I wore my breathable fabric boat shoes. They are quick drying and provide secure footing on the wet deck of a river boat. I wore some light weight white capilene socks but would have been fine without them.

We started early and found that there was a dense fog on the river. It was difficult to see so we would move about very slowly to avoid boats and other obstacles. The fog was cool and when it burned off about 11:00 AM we began to get warm. We stopped at noon for lunch and took advantage of a picnic table under a big shade tree to escape the unrelenting sun.

After lunch it was really hot. We took a lot of extra water with us and drank constantly. It got so hot that I dunked a pack towel in the river, wrung it out and placed it around my neck to cool off. It worked for a while but required periodic dunking to keep working. The trout were unaffected by the heat and we managed to land around seventy five fish.

By carefully planning to wear the proper clothing, taking plenty of water and taking advantage of shade when we could, we survived a brutal day and had a great day of fishing.

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TWRA Announcements


NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission heard an extensive report from Mark Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, at its June meeting Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Ray Bell Building.
Duda, who is an internationally known analyst who specializes in wildlife/natural resources, covered several topics relative to today’s and future wildlife issues. He spoke to the commission about public attitudes toward wildlife and conservation.
He addressed hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation participation. He also detailed demographic trends of those who participate in outdoors activities, and funding issues faced by state agencies, such as the TWRA.
Duda has conducted several public surveys for several states, including Tennessee. He is currently under contract to assist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national survey which occurs every five years. The work of Responsive Management has reached all 50 states and 15 countries.
In other items at the meeting, TWRA Biodiversity Division Chief Bill Reeves brought forth an amendment to the rules and regulations of live wildlife. The commission approved the amendment to add non-native wildlife, the African clawed frog and the marbled or Marmorkreb crayfish, to the regulations because of their potential to be detrimental to native wildlife.
The TFWC approved the Agency’s recommendation to approve a budget expansion for an updated communications system.
There were also several presentations made during the meeting. Sen Lamar Alexander was presented a resolution for his efforts in helping secure the funding for the continued long-term operation of two federal fish hatcheries in Tennessee, Erwin and Dale Hollow. The resolution included the economic impact that the hatcheries bring Tennessee which is an estimated at $45 million. Evann Freeman, field representative from Sen. Alexander’s staff was present at the meeting to accept the framed resolution on the senator’s behalf.
Mike Lorance, a Murfreesboro resident who has been a writer and television host for more than three decades, was recognized for his contributions with a framed certificate of appreciation. He has continued his outdoor activities, primarily fishing, after losing his sight in his early 20s.
Steve Patrick, the TWRA Assistant Director of Field Operations, was honored for a career that began in 1976 with the Agency. A former Region II manager, he is retiring at the end of the month.
Jim Hall, Fall Creek Falls State Park Manager, was recognized for his work with helping establish a Wounded Soldiers hunt at the park. He was unable to attend the meeting and will be presented his framed resolution at a later date.
The TFWC’s next scheduled meeting is also a one day meeting on Friday, Aug. 21 in Morristown.
The June meeting can be viewed on the TWRA website at in the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission section.


NASHVILLE --- Due to an overwhelming response, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is announcing that the free seed packets for “Save the Monarchs Campaign” have all been distributed.
“We want to thank all those persons for their interest and their support in this project,” said Pandy English of the TWRA’s Environmental Division. “Unfortunately, we have sent out all of our available packets. Hopefully, we can have another similar type of effort in the future.”
The TWRA, along with the National Wildlife Federation, Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF), Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation (TennGreen), Mississippi River Corridor (MRC) and The Nature Conservancy are partnering with Roundstone Native Seed Company in an effort to save the butterflies.

For those persons wishing to purchase seeds, they can contact the Roundstone Native Seed Company at (270)


NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency desires to emphasize the availability of assistance to landowners and agricultural producers to create and enhance pollinator habitat already existing in conservation programs as increasing attention is being given to the plight of pollinators.
Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, beetles and bats are credited for providing one of every three bites of food eaten in the world, as they facilitate the reproduction of 90 percent of the world’s flowering plants. Bees are the most important single group of pollinators in North America. Habitat loss and excessive use of insecticides are the biggest contributors to pollinator declines.
One way to help restore and improve habitat for pollinators is by using a variety of native flowering plants, shrubs and trees in landscaping, agricultural and conservation plantings.  These plants can either be seeded directly or may be established from seeds existing in the natural soil bank if proper techniques are used.  Both large blocks and strips of pollinator plants as well as smaller backyard plantings can help. Many of the plants people often view as “weeds” produce attractive flowers that are important to pollinators, as well as many fruit and berry-producing shrubs and trees planted for food for wildlife and humans.
Many U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other state and federal conservation programs offer technical and financial assistance to restore pollinator habitat. Current opportunities exist in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practices such as CP42-Pollinator Habitat and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Native pollinator habitats also benefit many other wildlife species such as bobwhite quail, wild turkey and many other songbirds.  Other CRP practices including CP4D-Permanent Wildlife Habitat, CP29-Marginal Pastureland Wildlife Habitat Buffers, CP33-Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds, and CP38E-SAFE Bobwhite Habitat utilize diverse native grass and wildflower plantings that provide benefits to pollinators as well as other targeted wildlife.
Technical assistance on establishing and managing larger plots of vegetation (bigger than “backyard”) for pollinators is provided by the TWRA, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Quail Forever wildlife habitat biologists.  They can also help guide you to financial assistance available in conservation programs.  To find your local biologists and their contact information, visit or call your local USDA service center or TWRA regional office.
On May 19, 2015, the White House released the “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.” The 58-page document devised by the Pollinator Health Task Force identifies three main goals: reducing honey bee colony losses, increasing the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly, and restoring or enhancing 7 million acres for pollinators over the next five years.
Information about pollinators and their habitats, including garden plantings, can be found at and also through the Xerces Society ( and the Pollinator Partnership ( 


NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is announcing that a milestone has been reached with the 100,000th download of its mobile application.
The TWRA launched the “TWRA On The Go” app in early 2013. It has been very well received by the public as the usage numbers indicate. The app allows customers to perform many functions and keep up with all of TWRA’s latest news.
“The feedback has been tremendous,” said Don King, TWRA Chief of Information and Education. “We are pleased that our users are finding so much value in the app. We are happy to provide this tool to keep outdoor enthusiasts connected to our agency.”
Since the TWRA mobile app was launched, customers became able to purchase licenses, renew boat registrations, and report big game harvests right from their mobile device. There is also a button to view their harvest log and the ability to keep a hunter’s diary to remember those special moments in the field.
In addition, outdoor enthusiasts can use the app to find a TWRA Wildlife Management Area (WMA), check stations, fishing locations, boat ramps, and wildlife viewing areas, complete with driving directions. Mobile app users also have fingertip access to all TWRA hunting, fishing, and boating guides. Users can also stay connected to social media, and even upload their catch, harvest or wildlife photo to the TWRA Trophy Room.
The “TWRA On The Go” app is available for apple and android devices at both The App Store and Google Play. For a link to both, visit the TWRA website,

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MDWFP Announcements

Largemouth Bass Regulation Changes Approved for Flood Control Reservoirs, Lake Jeff Davis, and Trace State Park

JACKSON - The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Fisheries Bureau announced new largemouth bass regulations on Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis, and Grenada Flood Control Reservoirs (FCRs), Lake Jeff Davis, and Trace State Park. The new regulations take effect July 22, 2015.
The daily limit for bass at the FCRs and Trace State Park, located near Tupelo, is 10 bass per angler, per day.  At Lake Jeff Davis in Jefferson Davis County, the protective slot size limit is 18-24 inches, meaning that bass from 18-24 inches must be immediately released.  The harvest of one bass over 24 inches is allowed.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at or call us at (601) 432-2212. Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter

Leave Fawns Alone

JACKSON – With the official start of summer, white-tailed deer fawns begin to appear in Mississippi.  The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) wants to remind people to LEAVE FAWNS ALONE.  Many Mississippians will come across a newborn fawn this summer.  However, well-meaning people think the fawn has been abandoned or is sick, and want to take the fawn home to care for it.  “We tell people the same thing every year – please LEAVE FAWNS ALONE,” said MDWFP Deer Program Leader Lann Wilf. 
Mississippi law prohibits the capture, possession, or caging of any wild animal including white-tail fawns. 
Early in life, it is normal for fawns to be alone for most of the day.  Does take great care of their fawns and purposefully leave them bedded and hidden, returning several times a day to nurse them.  In just a matter of weeks, the fawns will be up following her and able to out-run predators.
Following a gestation period of approximately six and a half months, most fawning dates in the Magnolia State occur from June through August.  “Following deer breeding trends in Mississippi, the earliest fawns will be born in the northwest portion of the state, and the latest fawns will be born in the southeastern portions of the state,” Wilf said.  Please remember, if you encounter a fawn, do not pick it up…LEAVE IT ALONE.
For more information regarding deer or deer hunting opportunities in Mississippi, visit our website at or call us at (601) 432-2199. Follow us on Facebook or on Twitter at

Crappie Regulation Changes Approved for Flood Control Reservoirs and Eagle Lake

JACKSON - The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Bureau announced new crappie regulations on Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis, and Grenada Lakes, also known as the Flood Control Reservoirs (FCRs), and Eagle Lake.  The new regulations on the FCRs, which become effective July 22, 2015, consist of making the minimum length crappie that anglers can keep 12 inches, setting the daily creel limit to 15 fish per angler, and limiting the number of poles an angler can use to 4.  In addition, boats with 3 or more anglers will be able to keep 40 crappie per boat.  Daily creel limits in the FCRs’ spillways, including Sardis Lower Lake, will be reduced to15 fish per angler.  The new regulations for the FCRs will make the regulations uniform across all 4 of the lakes. 
On Eagle Lake, anglers can keep crappie larger than 11 inches with a daily creel limit of 30 fish per angler.  The rule change on Eagle Lake only will be contingent upon Louisiana adopting the same regulation, and will be effective October 1, 2015.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at or call us at (601) 432-2212. Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter

MDWFP Biologists to Present Asian Carp Program

Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) fisheries biologists will present a program about Asian carp at the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery Visitor Education Center (VEC) on Saturday, June 27 at 2 p.m.  Biologists will discuss how Asian carp became established, and how anglers can identify these invasive fish.  Efforts to control the Asian carp populations will also be discussed and biologists will answer audience questions.
The program is free with the price of admission. Admission is $2.50 for adults ages 18-59, and $2.00 for youth ages 3-17 and adults over the age of 60. For additional information, call the VEC at (662) 563-8068.
The VEC is part of the MDWFP’s North Mississippi Fish Hatchery and is located at Exit 233 east off I-55.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at or call us at (601) 432-2200. Follow us on Facebook at on Twitter at

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Clagett Talley Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Pickwick Lake Elevation 414
Water Temp. 75
Overall bass fishing has been excellent but to really do good I have had to focus on the morning hours. The first few hours of daylight can be really productive in the right areas.  Several guide trips have shown that between 6am and 9am we can catch better keeper fish than the rest of the day combined. If you have a slow start during those morning hours odds are you are going to have a tough day fishing.  I like to throw a surface bait right now only if I see bass busting the surface. By 6:30am I like to throw a Sexy Shad, Strike King Series 6 Crank Bait around main lake tapering points.  The larger size crank bait usually attracts bigger fish and do not count on it eliminating small fish because the smallest bass will try to eat it as well. One trip last week produced two smallmouth bass over five pounds the first hour of fishing on the Strike King Series 6 on two different main lake points. Make sure you use a medium action rod with a smooth reel to get the most action out of these crank baits.  I will fish with this same crank bait for the rest of the day but the action usually slows down after 9am.  Carolina rig some of these points for a few extra fish, if they are there they may hit the slower bait. 
White Bass
White bass have been running strong for a while now with no sign of slowing down any time soon. You can catch white bass on a number of baits, in-line spinnerbaits are popular and white grubs are very common and easy to use. On most of my guide trips I like using the smaller crankbaits because they are easy for a novice fisherman and I seem to catch the bigger sized white bass.  The most productive crankbait over the last few weeks has been the Series 3 Strike King crankbait in the Sexy Shad color because of its similarities to the baitfish as far as size and color.
Stripers are biting really well when the Dam is generating. Yellow tail minnows are running strong right now and accounting for a large number of fish. Fish these yellow tail minnows close to the bottom and drift down stream. If you fish during the morning hours or late afternoon you can catch a lot of fish on a King Shad by Strike King, this bait runs below the surface and is big and strong enough to hold up to big stripers. It is best to fish the King Shad in the new Sexy Shad color on 12 pound test line and throw it where there is a lot of current, because it is jointed its action attracts fish when you simply reel it back slowly with tight line. Just make a long cast and keep your line tight.  
I took a group out catfishing Monday to verify the catfish were still active and they definantly are.   We caught all of our fish in 20' of water.  We were able to catch all we wanted on live night crawlers but the bigger fish were caught on turkey liver and cut bait.  

Compliments of Clagett Talley 731-607-5266
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Pickwick Fishing Report /Forecast
June 14, 2015
Water clarity: good 4-6’
Water temp: low to mid 80’s
We have had some really good trips recently. There are more and more fish moving out to the ledges and the grass is growing. Look for the fish to really start relating to the grass, especially isolated clumps of it.  Fish it just like you would fish other isolated cover such as stumps.  Texas rigged plastics and jigs tipped with Rage trailers have been producing really well this week. We have caught them as deep as 27’ on the river. The bass are really feeding on crawfish, bluegill and big shad right now. I caught a 4+ lb largemouth this week that had a 1/2pound bluegill in its throat. Have several rods rigged up with different baits on. I have been alternating between a Carolina rigged Strike King Game Hawg, Jig and shaky head all week and having equal success on each bait. The shaky head will produce when the others won’t.  I have used every type plastic I have on the shaky head lately. I believe the plain green pumpkin super finesse worm from Strike King will work 12 months out of the year here on Pickwick.  As the grass really gets to growing, look for the bass to relate to it more and more. Top waters will really become a factor then. The bass are just starting to get on the topwater bite early and late as well as overcast days. Now is a really good time to come to Pickwick. We are catching good numbers and some good size fish mixed in on a daily basis. I haven’t heard much on the Crappie bite lately. Catfish are good on cut skipjack and cut shad as well as nightcrawlers.  Please be careful as the lake is really crowded this time of year.
Capt.Gary L. Harlan
31 CR 117
Tishomingo,MS 38873
US Coast Guard Licensed Fishing Guide
Roger Stegall's Professional Guide Service LLC
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Steve McCadams Kentucky Lake Fishing Report


Updated July 2nd, 2015

By Steve McCadams

    Kentucky Lake’s elevation is on the rise in the aftermath of heavy thunderstorms both here and to our south that have delivered a tremendous amount of runoff in the last few days.

    Anglers can expect lake levels to swell two feet or more by the Fourth of July holiday weekend as the reservoir was already above normal summer pool at midweek. Areas to our south and north have experienced a lot of rain and that will influence TVA’s ability to discharge high volumes of water in the next few days.

    TVA’ forecast for the weekend---which is changing on a daily basis---projects an elevation of 360.7 at Kentucky Dam and upstream at New Johnsonville . Normal summer pool is 359.

    There is a possibility the reservoir could continue to rise for several days so stay tuned.

    Surface temperatures this week actually fell back a few degrees from last week’s unruly heat and rested in the 83 to 85 degree range. Water color has been clear across the whole reservoir but may inherit some dingy water with the abundance of thunderstorms.

    Summer crappie continue to bite well as some nice stringers were taken lately by anglers working those midrange depths of 13 to 16 feet. Stakebeds and brushpiles are still paying dividends as are the edges of main lake drop-offs.

    Jigs tipped with minnows continue to produce but jigs tipped with Berkley power bait in the chartreuse color have worked too.

    Catfish have been prowling around the midrange areas too as crappie fishermen are tying into several each day. Rising lake levels usually stimulate a lot of movement from catfish too as they blitz toward shallow areas where fresh water enters and washes new food sources their way.

    Bass anglers will see an influx of fish in shallow bushes and island rims in the days ahead as the fish follow their forage and move up. Good schools of shad have been using the shallow grass, bushes and shoreline habitat lately and that will improve even more.

    It should offer some great action for pitching and flipping techniques in the days ahead, not to mention spinnerbaits and topwater. Once the reservoir jumps above normal summer pool elevation the bass suddenly have an abundance of shallow cover and they’re eager to pursue the opportunity as shad and bluegill are abundant around the fresh vegetation.

    Mayflies have been somewhat scarce lately but it’s high time a big hatch occurred. A big hatch traditionally occurs around the Fourth of July.

    Ledge fishing is still working and will continue to produce throughout the summer. However, current has not been present the last few days as TVA has really cut back on discharge through Kentucky Dam. No doubt that will change dramatically in the days ahead as the agency will pull a lot of water at some point in an attempt to get the reservoir back to its normal curve.

    A few bluegill were hanging around docks and beneath willows and various bushes awaiting mayfly hatches. Tossing a few crickets and worms beneath bobbers will produce some activity and fast fun.

    All anglers are watching the lake levels as it sometimes alters the fishing scene.

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Duck numbers remain high

Drier conditions on the prairies demonstrate importance of boreal forest habitat
Memphis, Tenn. – July 2, 2015 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today released its report on 2015 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, based on surveys conducted in May and early June by FWS and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Overall duck numbers in the survey area are statistically similar to last year and remain strong. Total populations were estimated at 49.5 million breeding ducks in the traditional survey area, which is 51 percent above the 1955-2014 long-term average and the highest count on record. Last year's estimate was 49.2 million birds. “We are fortunate to see continued high overall duck populations in North America’s breeding areas this year,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Though conditions were dry in some important habitats, we had large numbers of birds returning this spring and good conditions in the boreal forest and other areas of Canada. It looks like some typical prairie nesters skipped over the U.S. prairies and took advantage of good conditions farther north. This is an important reminder about the critical need for maintaining abundant and high-quality habitat across the continent. The boreal forest, especially, can provide important habitat when the prairies are dry. But the boreal is under increasing threats from resource extraction.” The main determining factor for duck breeding success is wetland and upland habitat conditions in the key breeding landscapes of the prairies and the boreal forest. Conditions observed across the U.S. and Canadian survey areas during the 2015 breeding population survey were drier than last year. Total pond counts for the U.S. and Canada combined were 6.3 million, which is 12 percent below the 2014 estimate of 7.2 million and 21 percent above the long-term average. “An early spring balanced with poorer habitat conditions was apparent in this year’s survey,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. “In addition to reduced precipitation over the winter and early spring, we have lost critical nesting habitat with the decrease in Conservation Reserve Program lands and continuing conversion of habitat to agricultural production across the U.S. prairies. Fortunately, these conditions had minimal impacts on this year’s overall breeding bird numbers, but hunters should be concerned about these trends and what they might mean in future years. We have experienced good moisture in the prairies and liberal bag limits for more than two decades. Continuing habitat losses and drier conditions have the potential to change this scenario in the future.” The spring surveys provide the scientific basis for many management programs across the continent, including hunting season dates and bag limits. The four flyway councils and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regulations Committee will meet in late July to recommend the season structure and bag limits for 2015-16. Individual states will make their specific selections within a federal framework of season length, bag limits and dates. Hunters should check the rules in their states for final dates. Species estimates are: Mallards: 11.6 million, which is similar to the 2014 estimate and 51% above the long-term average. Gadwall: 3.8 million, which is similar to the 2014 estimate and 100% above the long-term average. American wigeon: 3.0 million, which is similar to the 2014 estimate and 17% above the long-term average. Green-winged teal: 4.1 million, which is 19% above the 2014 estimate and 98% above the long-term average. Blue-winged teal: 8.5 million, which is similar to the 2014 estimate and 73% above the long-term average. Northern shovelers: 4.4 million, which 17% below the 2014 estimate and 75% above the long-term average. Northern pintails: 3.0 million, which is similar to the 2014 estimates and 24% below the long-term average. Redheads: 1.2 million, which is similar to their 2014 estimate and 71% above the long-term average. Canvasbacks: 0.76 million, which is similar to the 2014 estimate and 30% above the long-term average. Scaup: 4.4 million, which is similar to the 2014 estimate and 13% below the long-term average. Black ducks (Eastern Survey Area): 541,000, which is 11% below the 2014 estimate and 13% below the long-term average. View all the data and get a species-by-species breakdown at .

Ducks Unlimited News

Five years after the spill, settlement provides for meaningful restoration

BATON ROUGE – July 2, 2015 – Five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster that claimed 11 lives and dumped nearly 3.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, officials in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana announced an $18.7 billion settlement with BP. Ducks Unlimited views the settlement as a critical down payment on a sustainable Gulf Coast and believes that these dollars should be dedicated wholly to the restoration of the region’s natural resources.

“The Deepwater Horizon tragedy and the resultant investment by BP and other liable parties in coastal environmental and economic restoration is a down payment to a sustainable path forward,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. “The balanced and sustainable coast we envision as a fitting legacy for our children will only be such if we make wise use of this once in a lifetime windfall to invest in the planks that underlie a resource based economy.”

Those planks are the very marshes and mud that make the Gulf Coast a haven for millions of waterfowl each year. The new settlement will direct more than $750 million to Texas and more than $6.8 billion to Louisiana over the next 16 years.

“We must seize this moment and make wise restoration decisions while being mindful of the fact that this impressive investment is only a fraction of the required expense to once again find ecological balance along the Gulf Coast,” said Jerry Holden, DU director of conservation programs.

In the years since the spill, Ducks Unlimited has received $5.35 million in funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for projects to improve migratory bird habitat in coastal Texas and Louisiana, the two most important Gulf Coast states for waterfowl.

In 2013, two plea agreements resolving certain criminal cases against BP and Transocean established the NFWF-managed Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF). A total of $2.54 billion will fund projects benefiting the natural resources of the Gulf Coast. According to the ruling, Louisiana’s portion of the GEBF will be directed toward diversions and barrier island restoration. In Texas, Ducks Unlimited has received GEBF funds for projects providing shallowly flooded habitats on private lands and a project to restore Greens Lake Marsh in Galveston Bay.

In addition to the NFWF funding, DU has secured $17.65 million in North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants that were supported by BP funding following the spill to deliver important habitat projects for migratory birds impacted by the spill.

“Even this disaster has a silver lining,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “Since our founding during the Great Depression Dust Bowl era, Ducks Unlimited has been making the best out of bad situations for North America’s wetlands. While our focus is waterfowl, it’s important to remember DU’s conservation work makes a huge difference for all wetland dependent species, including people. Gulf Coast wetlands protect nationally important economic infrastructure and provide critical waterfowl, fisheries and cultural resources.”

Ducks Unlimited going racing at Daytona this weekend

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – July 1, 2015 – As it has since 2013, Bass Pro Shops will share the orange and black No. 14 Chevrolet with Ducks Unlimited during the Coke Zero 400. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car driven by Tony Stewart will race at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway Sunday night.
"Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops have always been great partners, and their generosity never ceases to amaze me," said DU CEO Dale Hall. "The fact that they support DU's mission speaks volumes about the company and their commitment to conservation. Thanks to Johnny Morris and Tony Stewart, millions of people will see the Ducks Unlimited name."
Morris believes in Ducks Unlimited and its vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.
"Conservation is the only way we can ensure our grandchildren and their children will have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors like our generation has, and Ducks Unlimited has been promoting conservation for the past 78 years," Morris said. "It's a tremendous organization with a great mission, and I’m proud to call myself a DU member."
The car will feature a DU duck head on both back fenders, along with "Ducks Unlimited" painted in large letters. The race is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. EST Sunday and will be broadcast on NBC.
“I love the outdoors and everything that goes into maintaining the outdoors,” Stewart said. “Nurturing the land is as satisfying for me as hunting and fishing. Giving back is something that drives me, be it in racing or with the outdoors. For racing to be sustainable, we have to have younger generations get involved. It’s the same with the outdoors. For hunting and fishing to be sustainable, our land and wildlife need to be managed and maintained, and that knowledge has to be passed on from one generation to the next. Ducks Unlimited does a great job in that regard, and we’re proud to have them with us at Daytona.”

Ducks Unlimited TV Kicks Off New Season June 29

Watch it on the Pursuit Channel and the DU website

Memphis, Tenn. – June 18, 2015 – Ducks Unlimited TV is back for its 19th season on the air, beginning June 29th. This season, viewers can catch all the episodes four times a week on the Pursuit Channel or any time on DU’s website at
DU TV hosts Wade Bourne, Field Hudnall, Zach Pederson and Ainsley Beeman are back this season with the best waterfowling action on television, plus tips and tactics and conservation news and information from the world’s leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation.
Among the adventures this season: Ainsley Beeman leads an all-women’s hunt at historic Beaver Dam in Mississippi. Zach Pederson visits Duck Stamp artist Richard Clifton at his farm and studio in Delaware. DU Magazine columnist E. Donnall Thomas Jr. hosts Editor Matt Young and artist Bob White in Washington. Field Hudnall hunts with family and friends at his home in Kentucky. Up-and-coming country music star Dylan Scott hunts teal in his native Louisiana and writes a new song about duck hunting. And we film a very special hunt with members of our armed forces in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.
Viewers will also get shooting tips from Phil Bourjaily, DU Magazine’s shotgun columnist; retriever training with Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels; cooking with Scott Leysath and Jennifer Chandler; and conservation news and insights from DU CEO Dale Hall.
DU TV airs four times a week on the Pursuit Channel: Mondays at 1:00 am, Tuesdays at 8:30 am, Wednesdays at 6:30 pm and Saturdays at 8:30 pm (all times Eastern).
DU TV is made possible by these sponsors: Drake Waterfowl Systems, Ram Trucks, Purina Pro Plan, Buck Gardner Calls, Honey Brake Lodge, Mossy Oak Camo, Mossy Oak Properties, Mossy Oak Biologic and Mossy Oak Nativ Nurseries.

DU Waterfowling Heritage Center welcomes more than 100,000 visitors

Interactive center inside Bass Pro Shops at the Memphis Pyramid teaches wetlands conservation, waterfowling history and more

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – June 17, 2015 – The Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center inside Bass Pro Shops at the Memphis Pyramid has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors since opening its doors April 29.

“Since its recent opening in April, the Waterfowling Heritage Center is already achieving our goal of educating visitors about DU’s vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today,tomorrow and forever,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “And with both the Bass Pro Shops and DU Waterfowling Heritage Center logos gracing the south side of the Pyramid, this partnership has very quickly become a tremendous and very visible boost to public awareness of our brand and mission. We are thrilled that Bass Pro Shops patrons and visitors to our home city are learning more about what we do for waterfowl, other wildlife, and our society.”

The approximately 4,600-square-foot Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center allows visitors to learn about Ducks Unlimited, wetlands conservation, waterfowl, the history of waterfowl hunting in North America and the important role that sportsmen and women have played in conserving our continent’s wildlife and habitat.
Designed to be an interactive educational experience, the Center offers exhibits and experiences for visitors of all ages, including displays featuring waterfowling collectibles, vintage firearms and original art. In addition, a small theater allows visitors to experience the excitement of an Arkansas flooded timber duck hunt.

“We are pleased with the number of people who have visited the Waterfowling Heritage Center since its opening,” said Ducks Unlimited Chief Communications Officer Tom Fulgham. “The feedback we have received from visitors has been overwhelmingly positive. The Center will continue to evolve and improve. In fact, next week we are partnering with Bass Pro Shops, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Postal Service for a special event on the first day of sale for this year’s federal duck stamp.”

Click here for more information about the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center.

Ducks Unlimited’s Rescue Our Wetlands campaign launched

Continental campaign aims to raise $2 billion for habitat conservation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – June 2, 2015 – Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico and Wetlands America Trust are committed to making DU’s vision of abundant wetlands a reality through the new “Rescue Our Wetlands: Banding Together for Waterfowl” campaign.  The $2 billion continental campaign was launched at Ducks Unlimited’s 78th annual convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 27-30.  To date, the campaign has raised $1.1 billion.
“We must all do our part to protect and restore North America’s most important wetland resources for future generations,” said Ducks Unlimited President Paul Bonderson Jr. “Funds raised through Rescue Our Wetlands will allow Ducks Unlimited to protect more of North America’s most vital, yet threatened landscapes. This is the largest wetlands and waterfowl conservation campaign in history, and we are confident our volunteers and supporters will help us achieve our $2 billion campaign goal.”
Rescue Our Wetlands is built on five components, vital to the survival of wetlands, waterfowl, communities, and ecosystems that rely on those resources.
The Breeding Landscapes component will support DU initiatives to protect and restore crucial but threatened breeding habitat across the continent, a key conservation priority for Ducks Unlimited.
The Wintering and Migration Landscapes component will support efforts to protect and restore wintering and staging habitat along North America’s coasts and the central and southern U.S.
Conservation Legacy, the third component of Rescue Our Wetlands, focuses on growing DU’s endowment to ensure a strong organization capable of sustaining critical conservation work for many decades to come.
“DU spends at least 80 percent of every dollar on habitat conservation and conservation education,” said Steve Maritz, president of Wetlands America Trust. “Planned gift commitments and endowment gifts generated through Rescue Our Wetlands will contribute to a strong, stable future for Ducks Unlimited’s mission and supporters. We have been at work for 78 years, and plan on continuing our conservation work for another 78 years, and beyond. We are in this for the long haul.”
Conservation Education, the fourth component of the campaign, will help educate the public about the importance of wetlands and engage the next generation of conservationists to carry on DU’s legacy of support for waterfowl and wetlands.
Waterfowl Forever, the final, core component of the campaign, recognizes that all DU members and supporters contribute directly to the success of the campaign and play a vital role in wetlands and waterfowl conservation. Event support and other sources of unrestricted revenue will provide the financial support needed to sustain DU’s highest conservation priorities.
“Every DU member, partner and supporter has a role to play in Rescue Our Wetlands, and can help us achieve our conservation priorities of protecting, restoring or enhancing critical wetlands habitat across the continent,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “The time to act is now, and doing something as simple as attending a DU banquet in your local community will make a difference through this campaign. Waterfowl Forever means we can all do our part, right now, to ensure wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.”
For more information on the Rescue Our Wetlands Campaign, visit or call Ducks Unlimited at (901) 758-3986.

Additional CRP Acreage Will Help Ducks, Other Wildlife

Minerals producer to provide financial support on three DU conservation initiatives

Memphis, Tenn. – June 1, 2015 – Officials from Ducks Unlimited welcomed an announcement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding an additional 800,000 acres that will be eligible for enrollment in theConservation Reserve Program (CRP). Vilsack announced the additional CRP acreage during the Ducks Unlimited annual convention in Milwaukee on Friday, May 29.
“These additional CRP acres are great news for ducks and hundreds of other wildlife species that benefit from habitat the program creates,” said DU President Paul Bonderson. “The Conservation Reserve Program has been one of the most successful wildlife conservation programs in history, and we are thrilled to hear that additional environmentally sensitive lands will be enrolled.”
Lands enrolled in CRP help reduce erosion and also provide habitat for many species of wildlife across the country. Established in 1985, the program has been especially important where cropland has replaced grassland on marginal soils. Across the plains of the central United States, grassland loss continues at alarming rates. These grasslands are vital habitat for nesting ducks. A 2013 South Dakota State University study found that more than 1.3 million acres of grassland were converted to cropland across the Northern Great Plains from 2006 to 2011.
“For 30 years, the Conservation Reserve Program has been a critical tool in conserving and maintaining North America’s waterfowl populations,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “At the same time, it has been an important tool for our farming and ranching partners as they continue to be good stewards of the land and our wildlife. On behalf of the members and volunteers of Ducks Unlimited, we thank Secretary Vilsack and our agricultural partners for their participation and expansion of this program.”
A general sign-up period for CRP will be conducted Dec. 1, 2015, through Feb. 26, 2016. For more information about CRP, read the USDA news release.

Ducks Unlimited Encouraged by Inclusion of Agricultural Exemptions, Science, in Final Clean Water Rule

Memphis – May 27, 2015 – Officials from Ducks Unlimited, the world’s largest nonprofit wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization, reacted to the final rule announced today clarifying which wetlands, rivers and streams in the United States will be protected by the Clean Water Act.
“Because this new rule has broad implications for many bodies of water that are important to North America’s waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited will be reviewing how potential changes might affect our waterfowl, their habitats and our agricultural partners,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “We strongly supported using science as the foundation for the new rule, and we were encouraged to see that all of the longstanding exemptions for normal agricultural practices appear to remain in place.”
Given the complexities of this rule, Ducks Unlimited will need time to review and analyze the complete rule and the accompanying information in order to fully understand the implications to waterfowl habitat and our conservation partners. 
The purpose of the new rule is to identify and clarify which waters will be protected by the Act and which will not. The new rule designates some areas in the Prairie Pothole Region, also known as North America’s “Duck Factory,” as places of special importance, not only because of their significance to waterfowl, but because of the extreme density of wetlands in the region and the benefits these wetlands provide to downstream flooding, water quality and other water-based issues.
“We appreciate the special consideration afforded the Prairie Pothole Region, and we will be looking at the final rule very carefully to understand the extent to which these important wetlands are protected,” said Ducks Unlimited Chief Scientist Dr. Scott Yaich. “We do appreciate the balance that must be struck between science and the law to end up with a regulation that is clear and pragmatic to implement.”

Ducks Unlimited and Unimin forge four-year conservation partnership

Minerals producer to provide financial support on three DU conservation initiatives
MANKATO, Minn. – May 19, 2015 – Unimin Corporation will continue to partner with Ducks Unlimited on three conservation initiatives in North America through 2018 totaling $230,000.
In March, Unimin’s Minnesota plants provided $50,000 to Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative, in addition to the $40,000 the company donated in 2014.

Beginning in May, Unimin’s Illinois and Tennessee plants will provide an additional $140,000 to  DU’s Big Rivers Initiative and America’s River initiative, respectively, through 2018.  
“We are incredibly thankful for Unimin Corporation’s support. This support helps ensure the safeguarding of wetlands and waterfowl for generations across three continentally important landscapes,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall.  “Because of private donors like Unimin Corporation, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres of wetlands.”

Since 2004, the Living Lakes Initiative has aimed to enhance, restore and protect shallow lakes and wetlands from central Iowa through northern Minnesota and provides aquatic food and habitat for migrating and breeding waterfowl.The Big Rivers Initiative focuses on restoring wetland complexes on public and private lands within the six states bordering the Mississippi River, plus Indiana and Ohio, where nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population lives.The America’s River Initiative conserves and protects the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, one of the most productive wetland systems on earth.

Unimin is in a position to uniquely understand the positive effects of lakes and wetlands, having operated two facilities in Minnesota for 45 years, several in Illinois since 1979, and in Tennessee since 1996.
“Our reclamation strategy fits together really well with DU’s goals, so it is only natural that we would seek to partner with them and help fund the initiatives” said Nathan Jungers, Unimin plant manager at Utica, Ill.
Unimin Corporation is one of North America's leading producers of non-metallic industrial minerals, including quartz, feldspar, nepheline, calcium carbonate, clay, kaolin, lime and limestone. Its products are the essential raw materials of nearly every manufacturing process.
For more information on Unimin’s sustainability program, visit

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Avery Outdoors Announcements

Greenhead Gear® Pro-Grade™ and FFD Specklebelly: Full Body, Shells & Floaters

White-Fronted geese, also known as the Specklebelly, have expanded their range and increased their numbers in recent years. Greenhead Gear® decoys have produced some of the best Speck decoys around for years, but have now decided to take that a step further. Additional feather detail and a low maintenance one-piece design combine with a durable and realistic finish to make this the ultimate Speck decoy. Those in need of a fully-flocked decoy will be pleased to have this option as well.  Active and feeder styles are equipped with motion systems. Greenhead Gear® applied the same look as their full bodied decoys to a new line of Specklebelly shells and floaters to cover all you Speck hunting needs.

Pro-Grade™ & FFD Full Body Specklebellies available at

Pro-Grade™ Full Body Specklebelly/Harvester Pack: $159.99 (½ Dozen)
FFD Elite Full Body Specklebelly/Harvester Pack: $219.99 (½ Dozen)

Avery Outdoors announces 2nd Annual Spring Break Giveaway

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors is proud to announce the 2nd Annual “Spring Break” Giveaway, taking place through Avery’s Facebook Page and affiliated social media outlets.  The company has partnered with K2 Coolers & Field Proven Calls to present over $600 worth of merchandise for the Spring Turkey lover.  Prize package includes:

  • K2 Summit 60 Cooler
  • Field Proven Twisted Triple Turkey Diaphragm Call 3 Pack
  • Field Proven Zebrawood Combo Slate/Glass Call
  • BuckBrush PowerSeat
  • BuckBrush Finisher Gun Sling
  • BuckBrush Mesh Back Cap
  • Black and White Mesh Back Cap
  • BuckBrush 8oz Oil Cloth Cap
  • BuckBrush XL Folding Floating Gun Case
  • BuckBrush Guide’s Bag
  • BuckBrush Fleece Hand Muff


The “Spring Break” Giveaway runs from Friday, March 20th until Friday, March 27th.  Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on the 27th.  Contestants must share the giveaway post and like the Avery® Outdoors page in order to be entered to win.

Avery Migration Reports

New Position Announcements at Avery Outdoors, Inc.

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors, Inc. is proud to announce the following new promotions within the Pro Staff team.

Mark Brendemuehl started with Avery® Pro Staff in 2003 as a Flyway Manager and was promoted to Territory Manager of the Mississippi Northern Flyway in 2011. This year, Brendemuehl has accepted a new opportunity with the company as Manager of Online Sales. He will be responsible for the company's websites management and product sales, as well as managing Avery® image distribution.

Arliss Reed joined the Avery® Pro Staff in 2010. After 5 years as a valued team member, Reed has been promoted to Territory Manager of the Atlantic Flyway. Reed is excited to lead the region's Pro Staff and continue building valued relationships with Avery's dealers and customers on the East Coast.

Bailey Ortley, an Avery® Pro Staff member since 2008, has been promoted to Territory Manager of the Mississippi Northern Flyway. With a strong background in sales and experience on Avery's Decoy Production Team, Ortley is enthusiastic about this new promotion within the company. He looks forward to managing the Mississippi Northern Flyway Pro Staff and continuing to advance Avery's dealer and consumer relations in the region.

Avery® Outdoors, Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog brands would like to congratulate the gentlemen on their advancements within the company, and look forward to their many successes within these new capacities.

Decoy Specialist Rejoins Avery® Outdoors

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors is proud to announce the return of Decoy Program Manager, Matt Vanselow, to the Avery® team.  While with the company from 2010 – 2013, Vanselow was instrumental in leading the prototyping, molding, research and design, and paint scheming of many innovative Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog products.  Vanselow started his career in the decoy industry in 2004 molding and painting decoys. He advanced his specialism by attending the Pennsylvania Institute of Taxidermy in 2008, an experience that propelled his mastery of decoy molding, sculpting and painting.

As Decoy Program Manager, Vanselow’s role encompasses a lengthy list of crucial responsibilities in the advancement of the company’s product lines.  From hiring world-class carvers, determining decoy poses, refining prototyping processes, developing paint schemes and painting decoys, to making sculpting modifications for blow-mold compatibility and enacting innovations on both decoy functionality and packaging, Vanselow will maintain a critical position on the Avery® team.   Vanselow was essential in the development of many GHG decoys, both established and new in the 2014 – 2015 season.  Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders, Honkers, Snows & Blues, Pintails, Gadwalls, Redheads, Canvasbacks, popular EZ Bird bumpers and many others decorate his experience with the company.  

As Avery® Outdoors, Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog refine and expand their brands in 2015, the addition of Vanselow comes at an opportune and exciting time.  Vanselow hopes “to continue building the best decoys on the market,” and to “keep innovating and improving in the future”.   Avery would like to extend a warm welcome back to a respected authority in the decoy industry, and looks forward to many more years of ultimate realism and attention to detail in the nation’s most diversified decoy product line.

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St. Croix Rod: Some Legends are timeless … but not all are “Elite”

Among today’s countless rod options, St. Croix’s flagship freshwater rods have earned near magic wand status with anglers across the globe. They’re the rods that stand steadfast on the mantle; an aspirational stick by which all others are judged.

Basically, when your passion drives you to fish only the best, the choice is simple … St. Croix Rod. 

And “the best” just got better.

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Never Phoo-Phoo the Original Flu Flu
The Flu Flu jig is still every avid panfish angler’s fine feathered friend

Coralville, IA (June 15, 2015) – The fishing is slow. No, not the catching, but the technique needed to get bit. Through trial and error you’re figuring out the panfish are fancying light-weight jigs with large profiles that descend ever so slowly toward the lake’s floor. Anything that falls fast might be getting noticed, but the fish won’t bite it.


Throughout the morning you’re also coming to the conclusion that “large-silhouetted jigs” and “slow descending” don’t always go together like you thought. Every petite yet bulky-bodied jig you’ve tied on so far was adorned with a hefty head, which made them plunge faster than what the crappie, sunfish, ‘gills and perch were willing to chase down. And the soft-plastic bodies of some jigs were so dense that they only added to the rapid sink rate, as well.


What to use. What... to... use...



Photo provided by Custom Jigs & Spins



At last you reach into your tackle tote and grab a Flu Flu— the old-school feather jig that’s been catching your eye for hours, yet, you’ve been snubbing. It’s not the newest, most innovative bait on today’s market. It’s not made from the latest space-age materials. It is, however, a lure that’s been trusted for decades; crafted from high-quality components since day one.


You make a cast. The feathers flare and then undulate underwater. The Flu Flu wavers leisurely through the water column. Through the tint of your polarized glasses you see that telltale white flash mere inches below the surface, indicating a fish has just opened its mouth, flared its gills and sucked it in.


And to think, you phoo-phoo’d the Flu Flu all that time when you instead could have been filling your livewell with fish. You promise yourself that won’t happen again.


“We purchased the original Flu Flu back in the mid 70’s,” says Bob Gillespie, proprietor of Custom Jigs & Spins. “It was a well established jig back then, found in the every tackle box of every avid angler. And still, these days, it’s the brand of feathered jig respected by passionate panfish and trout fishermen.”


Today, the ever-famous Flu Flu still comes in the three must-have sizes (1/64 ounce on a #-10 gold Aberdeen hook, 1/32 ounce on a # 8 and a 1/16-ouncer with a # 6), as well as 14 classic color combinations to cover every kind of water clarity. Also in the lineup are Flu Flus withluminescent heads in 10 different colors of feathered bodies, 10 with glow-red heads and five new Flu Flu Glitter Jigs tied with sparkling tinsel tied in for added flash. These later three all sport red, sticky-sharp Aberdeen hooks, and all Flu Flus are painstakingly hand-tied with premium feathers. Suggested retail is only $1.10 per jig.


Next time you’re out, don’t overlook the obvious - you know, the tried-and-true baits your grandfather used. Tie on a Flu Flu and find out yourself. There’s a reason they have been a staple in tackle boxes all these years.

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Plano, IL (June 5, 2015) – Plano’s venerable Model 1312 Field Box has been a favorite among hunters and shooters for decades.  The affordable workhorse holds 6-8 boxes of ammunition inside its tough plastic shell, and further protects its payload with a water resistant O-ring seal and a heavy-duty brass bail latch.  The stackable 1312 executes its primary mission with a soldier’s dedication.


The classic 1312 Field Box reaches a new level of utility with Plano’s release of the new Model 1312600 1312 Field Box Holster – a cleverly engineered ballistic Nylon wrap that transforms the 1312 Field Box into a fully dressed tactical field bag, creating the perfect companion for an afternoon at the shooting range.



The 1312 Field Box Holster comes complete with its own 1312 Field Box.  Load it up and go, or replace it with any 1312 from your own arsenal as specific needs arise.  The Field Box attaches quickly and securely to the Field Box Holster using simple built-in webbing loops at each end.  The top of the box remains exposed for fast and easy access to ammunition or other contents, as well as the box’s hinged heavy-duty handle.


Complete with a multitude of useful pockets, non-slip cleated feet and an adjustable padded shoulder strap with heavy-duty quick-connect hardware, the 1312 Field Box Holster takes on range duties with adroit adaptability.  A large, zippered outer pocket holds shooting accessories, tools or personal protective gear, while another large, covered side pocket is provided on one end for additional essentials.  Two specialized magazine pockets are found on the other end.  The back of the holster has an expansive and versatile mesh pocket for keys, staple gun or other goodies.


Plano® Model 1312600 1312 Field Box Holster

  • Large 9” x 2” x 4.25” Outer Pocket
  • Two 1.75” x 4.5” x 1.75” External Magazine Pockets
  • Large 4” x 4” x 1.75” Side Pocket
  • Back Mesh Pocket
  • Padded Adjustable Shoulder Strap
  • Cleated feet on bottom to prevent sliding
  • Plano 1312 Ammo Box Included
  • Exterior Dimensions: 11.625” x 5.125” x 7.125”
  • Interior Dimensions: 9.6” x 4.25” x 6.5”
  • Water Resistant O-Ring Seal
  • Hold 6-8 boxes of Ammo
  • Heavy Duty Carry Handle
  • Industry Leading Brass Bail Latch

MSRP: $34.99


Hunters and shooters who love their Model 1312 Field Boxes now have even more to appreciate with the added practicality of Plano’s new Model 1312600 1312 Field Box Holster. Learn more

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The M-POW-R REEL®, now paired with the innovative and versatile M-POW-R Harness, gives anglers with physical limitations even more angling options

Brainerd, MN (June 16, 2015) – Through years of research and development and advice from such angling luminaries as Al Lindner, Dan Sura, Dave Csanda and Jeff Zernov, as well as input from anglers with physical limitations, was born the M-POW-R REEL®

The M-POW-R REEL is an ingenious, motorized spinning reel which enables physically-challenged (especially one-handed) anglers to rediscover the joy of fishing. Powerful and versatile, the reel is designed to fit virtually any spinning rod, ice rod or fly rod, thanks to an innovative new M-POW-R Harness developed specifically for the reel. 

The new product package includes the M-POW-R spinning reel, M-POW-R Harness, 4 amp battery, battery charger, fanny pack, and a pulse width modulated speed control, which provides optimum torque throughout the motor’s power band. Anglers operate the reel with a thumb-actuated button attached to the rod (via the M-POW-R Harness). A spare spool, backup reel handle and a power point adapter plug are also included. This product package will complement the original M-POW-R REEL® and Rod Combo.

Initiated by Dr. Roland “Doc” Kehr, former co-owner of the Lindy Little Joe Tackle Company, the M-POW-R reel was developed for Doc’s son Nathan, who has cerebral palsy and is unable to use his left arm and hand.

“We’re very excited about sharing this new technology with other disabled anglers,” said Dr. Kehr. “It’s enabled my son Nathan to fully experience the thrill of fighting and landing more and bigger fish, and we’re confident it will empower many more people facing physical challenges to truly appreciate and enjoy this great sport.”

“I can do anything any other angler can do, it just takes me longer,” said Vandercook. “But the M-POW-R reel and harness now allows me to retrieve the bait or fight a fish without pressing the reel handle against my ribs to reel. For years I've focused on jig fishing and trolling, but the M-POW-R now makes it possible for me to fish bass, trout, whatever ... on the retrieve. As soon as that bait hits the water it's one push of the button and that bait is moving. In my experience, that's what gets strikes.” 

Although he’s a fan of the 6’ 6” medium-action graphite M-POW-R rod, he champions the versatility the new harness affords, which allows him use of the M-POW-R reel on any rod he chooses, typically a St. Croix AVID or Legend Elite. 

“Depending on what, where and how I’m fishing, I may want to use a longer, shorter, or heavier or lighter action rod. As we know, not every rod is perfect for every situation. The new M-POW-R allows me the flexibility and advantages of the M-POW-R reel no matter what.”

In addition to the new M-POW-R Reel® and Harness fishing package, the company

will continue to sell the original M-POW-R Reel® and Rod combo fishing package, which includes a two-piece medium action graphite rod to complement the reel and harness.

Visit the company website: to see all of the accessories included in both fishing packages.


M-POW-R LLC is owned by Dr. Roland E. Kehr, Jr. of Brainerd, Minnesota. Dr. Kehr has practiced in Brainerd since 1971. He was a part owner of the Lindy-Little Joe Fishing Tackle Company for 28 years and served as Chairman of the Board during the years leading up to its sale to PRADCO Outdoor Products in 2008.

Dr. Kehr guided Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock hunters from around the country and Europe for four years for his friend Steve Grossman of Little Moran Game Farm. He later co-authored two hunting guide books with Mickey Johnson, The Wingshooter's Guide to Minnesota and The Wingshooter's Guide to Wisconsin, published by Wilderness Adventures Press of Belgrade, Montana.

Shortly before the Lindy Tackle Company was sold, Dr. Kehr developed the Shake-E-Blade and Rouser lures for the company. He later developed the BaitPuck Plus for Strikemaster Corporation. The royalties from that product are paid directly to Central Lakes College of Brainerd on behalf of a perpetual Nursing scholarship named after his late wife, Patricia Ann Kehr, BSN.

His current project, the M-POW-R powered reel goes back many years. As it turned out, the delay, if one could describe it as such, allowed for input from a number of fishing industry individuals which enhanced the final product. 

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Aqua-Vu® expands popular line of hand-held underwater cameras
Economical Micro 5 PLUS Underwater Viewing System positively IDs your target species

Crosslake, Minn. (June 25, 2015) – While searching for fish with sonar, an unspoken uncertainty permeates the thought processes of anglers everywhere: The marks on my viewscreen look like fish, but how do I know they’re the right size… or even the right species?

Aqua-Vu® has been solving underwater mysteries and guiding anglers to livewells full of those “right fish” for two decades. The trend continues in 2015, as the leader in underwater viewing releases the Micro™ 5 PLUS, a powerful, portable and affordable viewing system that does one thing to perfection: Find the fish you want to catch.

Complete with a vibrant 5-inch color LCD and a patented high-resolution Micro camera, the Micro 5 PLUS delivers a crystal clear 1 million pixels of underwater real estate—live and in rich, realistic color.

The new tablet-sized viewing system also sports 100 feet of high-strength optical cable and both a viewing fin for slow trolling or drifting and a separate camera clip for use while ice fishing.

Activating the new Micro 5 PLUS is as simple as flipping open the LCD cover/sunshield, which auto powers the unit both on and off. Touch-key operation and intuitive on-screen menus guide the user through screen adjustments and basic functions such as 3X Zoom, sleep mode and infrared lighting.

Built for use in a wide range of conditions and air temperatures down to at least -20 F, the Aqua-Vu Micro 5 PLUS also features an IP67-rated waterproof LCD case. Fitted with a petite yet powerful internal lithium-ion battery, the unit runs up to 7 continuous hours on a single charge. Battery charger is also included, as is an RCA video-out cable for displaying underwater video on larger TVs and video-in equipped sonar units.

While prefishing a recent National Walleye Tour event, pro angler Tommy Skarlis utilized an Aqua-Vu Micro camera to positively identify walleyes on a spot that ultimately yielded 2nd place fish. “The Micro is an awesome tool for verifying or disproving what I’m seeing on sonar,” said Skarlis.

“During practice, I could drop the camera and determine the species, size and position of the fish—and see the exact habitat or forage that was attracting them. The Micro gave me needed confidence to stay on a spot and work it, so I could extract precious bites and earn a nice big check.”

Skarlis vocalized another advantage of the camera-sonar connection: “By using the RCA video cable included with the Micro, and a little two-dollar BNC video adaptor, I can display a live video feed right on my big screen sonar unit. The color, resolution and daylight viewability are incredible. It’s also huge for instantly comparing sonar signals with Aqua-Vu video, and dropping GPS digits on the sweet spots.”

Beyond enjoyment, education and ease-of-use, the new Micro 5 PLUS offers extras such as a USB port for connecting to computers, tablets and other devices. Another Aqua-Vu exclusive, a 3X Digital Zoom feature, allows for examining fish and cover up close. Further, integrated adjustable IR lighting illuminates deep and dark water.

As an bonus, purchase of a Micro 5 PLUS or any Micro Series Underwater Viewing System qualifies buyers—October 1, 2015 through January 15, 2016—to receive a FREE Pro-Vu Custom Softcase and a 12v Auxiliary Battery Charger/Car Adaptor ($60 value). For more information, or to request a catalog, please visit

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Tenzing: Pick Your Pack


PLANO, IL (June 23, 2015) - A hunting pack is a fundamental piece of gear.  Even the most spartan hunter has a bevy of core equipment and supplies they need to transport to and from the field.  A gadgeteer has even more gear and will require much more from a pack in terms of its capacity and organizational capability.

In addition to one’s proclivity for gadgets and technology, what and how he or she hunts also plays a significant role in determining their ideal hunting pack.

So, where does one begin?

Frame packs are capable of carrying extremely heavy loads, and are the only suitable choice for big game wilderness hunts. Photo courtesy of

Look at hunting pack selection as a three-step process.  First, consider five fundamental hunting pack designs.  Choose the style that best suits the way you’ll hunt.  Next, factor in your needs as they relate to overall capacity and choose the right size.  Finally, but equally important, consider features that increase comfort and functionality.

Traditional Backpacks

A traditional backpack is what most envision when thinking of a hunting pack.  It’s worn on the back and is supported with shoulder straps, which should be fully adjustable to modify the pack’s fit based on the wearer’s unique physique and the particular load being carried.  The best models also have a fully adjustable waist belt system and at least one chest strap for increased comfort and load balancing.

Traditional backpack-style hunting packs come in many sizes, from less than 1,000 cubic inches to over 6,000 inches of total capacity.  They typically contain at least one main compartment, which may include additional sub compartments to keep gear organized.  Additional pockets or pouches may exist on the front and sides of the pack for added utility.  Other additions may include D-rings, compression straps or other mechanisms for attaching additional pieces of gear to the pack’s exterior.  The best hunting models will also include a dedicated spot to safely carry a firearm or bow.

Traditional backpacks may be constructed over a rigid frame of aluminum or, in some cases, carbon fiber.  Packs lacking some kind of interior frame or internal stiffening components are less expensive, but will also be less comfortable to wear, as a frame helps support and distribute whatever load is being carried.  Frame packs, or those supported with stiffening splines, are a necessity for backcountry hunters who use their packs to carry an abundance of gear, game quarters or capes.

Traditional backpack-style packs are the kings of capacity and load carrying, and are typically favored by big game hunters.  The design is one of the most restrictive with respect to upper body mobility, however, and may hamper the wearer’s ability to shoulder a firearm or draw a bow.  This may be of little consequence to the tree stand or blind hunter, however, who typically takes his or her pack off when settling in and hangs it on a nearby limb or hook.

Waist packs offer great mobility and offer enough capacity for the stand or still hunter hunting close to camp or the truck. Photo courtesy of

Waist Packs

A waist pack is a great grab-and-go option for the stand or blind hunter, for archers, or for anyone who wants to travel light without an abundance of unnecessary gear or supplies.

By definition, these packs are worn around the waist and include at least one main compartment.  They may also include side pockets, D-rings, or other specialized pouches for carrying knives, rangefinders, ammunition or other essentials.

The waist pack’s belt system is of critical importance, as it’s the sole means of support for the pack’s weight.  Look for models with a wide, padded and fully adjustable waist belt and durable buckle that won’t loosen under a load.

Some waist packs offer additional functionality beyond load carrying.  The TZ 721 model from Tenzing is designed for core warmth; with an integral hand muff and built-in pockets inside the waist belt to accept chemically activated hand-warmer pouches – a thoughtful and welcomed feature for stand and still hunters.

The Tenzing Predator Pack sports 2,200 cubic inches of storage space in a true backpack with main and sub compartments, a separate detachable electronics or accessory pack, and zippered front/side compartments with centerfire cartridge and shot shell loops, and a foldout boot to carry a firearm. Photo courtesy


Lumbar Packs

A lumbar pack can be described as a hybrid of the traditional backpack and waist pack designs, and is a superior option for bowhunters, horseback hunters, or anyone who needs or appreciates full upper body mobility.

A lumbar-style hunting pack carries its load low around the waist like a waist pack, but is also supported by shoulder straps or a shoulder yoke.  The design minimizes binding between the shoulders and allows archers a comfortable and unrestricted draw.

Capacities are generally significantly larger than those of waist packs, with most models providing a variety of compartments and pockets with up to about 1,500 cubic inches of total interior space.

Lumbar packs are a relatively complex design.  Key features to look for include full adjustability of all waist, shoulder and chest straps, along with quality components and materials that improve durability and comfort. 


A traditional preference for upland game and turkey hunters, the hunting vest is more garment than pack.  Nonetheless, it’s designed to carry ammunition, electronics, calls and other essential gear, in addition to harvested game, and is a mainstay in most hunters’ wardrobes.

Standard upland hunting vest features include front pockets with built-in shot shell loops and a large rear game pouch.  Turkey models may also include specialized pockets for calls and other gear.  Materials cover the gamut, from inexpensive Nylon to oiled cotton to modern Dyneema-reinforced ripstop cotton.

As with other types of packs and hunting accessories, prices rise as features increase.  Premium models are available in multiple sizes, include high-tech materials, fully adjustable waist belts and chest straps, and various pockets and compartments for specialized gear.

Capacities and designs vary, but two of the more advanced are Tenzing’s TZ TP14 Turkey Packand TZ PP15 Predator Pack.  Both utilize an aluminum frame stay backpack design with adjustable, foldout aluminum legs and a drop-down padded seat.  The Turkey Pack incorporates a variety of specialized call and accessory pockets on its front and a large, expandable turkey pocket on its back. The Predator Pack is more generalized, sporting 2,200 cubic inches of storage space in a true backpack with main and sub compartments, a separate detachable electronics or accessory pack, and zippered front/side compartments with centerfire cartridge and shot shell loops, and a foldout boot to carry a firearm.

Regardless of design category, today’s hunting packs range in price from as little as $30 to as much as $900.  As one can imagine, price is a direct reflection of features, size, comfort and quality of construction.  Packs with quality zippers, thread, advanced high performance materials, full adjustability and extra features like hydration systems, compression straps and rain covers represent the top of the market.  Plan on spending $60 to $220 for a quality traditional hunting daypack that will hold up and perform for several seasons.  Quality backcountry hunting packs capable of carrying capes, quarters or a week’s worth of gear start at around $200. 

At least two truths become evident when researching and shopping for hunting packs today.  First, the range of styles, features and choices has never been better.  More options are available across multiple price points than ever before.  Second, no single hunting pack excels in every hunting situation.  Most avid hunters have multiple packs, so save your pennies, buy the highest quality, best-fitting packs you can afford, and take care of them.  They’ll take care of you, and you’ll be money ahead in the long run.

Packs with quality zippers, thread, advanced high performance materials, full adjustability and extra features like hydration systems, compression straps and rain covers represent the top of the market. Photo courtesy

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Humminbird® HELIX™ 7: Jaw-Dropping Screen Brightness, Speed & Value

New HELIX™ 7 boasts amazing features and brightest 7-inch fishfinder screen yet

EUFAULA, AL. (July 1, 2015) – This year the Humminbird HELIX™ 5 shattered all expectations for features and price, literally selling out at retailers across the globe. As anglers hit the water with HELIX, feedback was consistently positive … even passionate.

Now welcome the HELIX™ 7 Series, the latest addition to the HELIX family of compact-format fishfinders, which features a best-in-class, widescreen color display and powerful, professional-grade features. 

One look at the HELIX 7 Series and there’s no mistaking its Humminbird DNA. Packed to the gills with technology, the HELIX 7 is easy to use, dependable under any circumstances and unbelievably clear, bright and fast—not to mention built right here in the U.S.A.

“In Humminbird’s history there have been a lot of successes, but HELIX 5 was immensely popular, bringing anglers of all walks advanced features at an unprecedented price. HELIX 7 is all that andwith a larger, brighter and glare-free display. Our engineers really raised the bar with HELIX 7 in terms of features and value at this size. We feel the HELIX 7 Series will be equally popular,” says Humminbird Brand Manager, Jeff Kolodzinski

Even in full sun, the jaw-dropping 480x800 HD resolution and 1500 nit brightness glass-bonded display delivers a clear and precise picture of fish and fish-holding structure. Plus, the ultra-wide 16:9 ratio screen gives anglers ample room for split-screen views, making fishing and navigating even easier. The built-in quick-release gimbal mount makes angle adjustments and removal easy.

The HELIX 7 Series currently comprises five models to meet the individual needs of anglers and boaters. All units feature X-Press Menu System keypad control, 480Vx800H x 7-inch, 256-color TFT display, and allows for gimbal mounting, or in-dash mounting with optional kit. International models support 200/50kHz. Optional 50 kHz transducers are available for extreme deep-water use.


When what you need is a 2D look at the world directly below your boat, opt for the HELIX 7 Sonar model, featuring SwitchFire® Sonar for flexibility in challenging fishing situations, including outstanding target separation and clear returns of cover, structure, fish and even your bait.


When details matter, the HELIX™ 7 DI delivers. The 16:9 widescreen format lets you view two screens at once, making it an ideal choice for anglers who want to compare sonar returns. Split-screen views of Down Imaging® and SwitchFire® Sonar make for an unstoppable fishfinding combination, giving anglers an unparalleled view of fish and fish-holding structure. Down Imaging range good to an amazing 350 feet with add-on capability to 600 feet!


Locate fish, save their whereabouts and easily retrace your steps over and over again. The HELIX 7 Sonar GPS gives you the advantage of running split-screen views of sonar and cartography. You’ll see all that lurks beneath the surface on a clear, bright and 7-inch wide display. Internal GPS guides you back to as many as 2500 waypoints and 45 routes. A single, micro SD card slot runs Humminbird® LakeMaster®, AutoChart™ and AutoChart™ Pro, as well as Navionics® Gold/HotMaps. When “spot on the spot” fishing is the key to success, this is the ideal unit.


Discover fish and structure, then track their every move with the HELIX 7 DI GPS. See fish and vertical lure presentations by viewing Down Imaging® and SwitchFire® Sonar side-by-side on the wide, 16:9 display. The reliable, internal GPS offers 2500 waypoints and 50 routes, so you can return to your most productive spots time and time again. A single, micro SD card slot delivers Humminbird® LakeMaster®, AutoChart™ and AutoChart™ Pro, as well as Navionics® Gold/HotMaps. But features built-in UniMap™ for easy navigation right out of the box!


Sometimes, you need every possible weapon at your disposal. Days like these call for the HELIX 7 SI GPS and its full arsenal of amazing technologies, including Side Imaging®, Down Imaging® and SwitchFire® Sonar. The seven-inch widescreen is the perfect canvas for your choice of split-screen views.  The single card slot accommodates Humminbird® LakeMaster®, AutoChart™ and AutoChart™ Pro, as well as Navionics® Gold/HotMaps. Leading-edge technology has never been closer in reach. Finally, a mid-sized fishfinder unit that offers all the pros’ favorite features and performance, but doesn’t break the bank. 

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Kayak Evolution: The ‘Ultimate Fishing Machine’

Today’s Kayak Anglers Push the Boundaries of How To Catch Fish With An Amazing New Boat

Over a half century ago, fishing pioneer Buck Perry taught us that fish relate to structure – depth transitions along the underwater landscape – and within this structure, cover like rock, wood, vegetation and manmade habitat. In a nutshell, the proverbial fish-holding 10%.


Still, sometimes that 10 percent can be hard to reach in a typical 18- to 20-foot bass boat or multi-species rig. Think river backwaters, bays, coves, creek channels and small rivers.


But not for kayak anglers, whose easily-transportable vessels glide through skinny water, are easy to portage over land where necessary, and offer superior maneuverability.

Fact is, kayak design has evolved to the point where each year more anglers are turning to the small watercraft as a viable alternative to traditional boat designs. It’s not that kayak anglers can’t and don’t fish from larger boats – it’s just that they prefer the advantages of a kayak.

Again, kayaks are easy to transport, launch and load on hard-to-reach waters virtually untouched by anglers in larger boats. Like dumping right off a bumpy, dirt road into a bass-filled lake without a boat launch. Or near bridges where giant grouper wait like trolls … and tarpon shimmer in the sun. Or backwater or tidal areas where ravenous redfish fin through schools of bait, pouncing on anything thrown their direction.

And new kayak designs are stable in still or moving waters. I know this for a fact, having fished trout and salmon out of a kayak near the breakers of Lake Michigan. Its stability in rough water was impressive.

No water is impenetrable with a kayak. Outdoor writer Jim Edlund remembers fishing Lake Fork with a bass pro a few years ago when we spied two boats off in the shallowest, most timber-laden section of a cove. They could see bass far back busting bait – just past where they could easily maneuver.


Not only do kayaks put anglers right where the fish are, kayak anglers are taking full benefit of all the high-tech features of boats many, many times their cost – like Humminbird electronics with a full complement of technologies including 2D sonar, Down Imaging, Side Imaging and high-definition LakeMaster mapping.

Along these lines, there’s a lot of buzz on the water about Humminbird’s new Helix fishfinder family. Consider that the Helix 5 SI GPS brings anglers all these technologies for under $500. And with the Helix 5 Sonar GPS an angler can get sonar and GPS with a wide, high-definition display for under $300. Recently introduced Helix 7 is another great option for anglers who want a larger screen. Both the Helix 5 and Helix 7 offer functionality that would have cost thousands just a few years ago. 

Beyond high-tech electronics, it’s easy to accessorize kayaks for exactly the way you fish. Most fishing kayaks offer storage for tackle boxes, rods, rain gear … even a spot for a live well, mounting plates for Cannon rod holders, GoPro cameras, fishing electronics, various RAM-style mounts, etc.

Models like Old Town’s Predator Series are even engineered to accommodate stand-up fishing with an included assist strap or optional steady-stand bar. That means pitching, flipping – even fly-fishing– is possible from the right vantage.


The kayak that caught the attention of the fishing media at ICAST 2014 (where it won “Best Boat” and overall “Best of Show”) – is the Old Town Predator XL Minn Kota tri-hull fishing kayak, which at 13 feet long and three feet wide, has a whopping 600 pounds of carrying capacity.

Not only that, it’s designed for anglers to fish completely hands-free at will.

No, it’s not foot pedal controlled. It’s motorized.

And the power comes sourced from a company we’ve come to rely on over the years to salad-slice our bass boats through some pretty serious slop: Minn Kota.

It’s ingenious, really. The Predator XL Minn Kota is designed to accept any of three XL consoles that fit into the hull of the kayak cockpit. The most impressive of the three is the Minn Kota motor console, which provides 45 pounds of variable thrust, forward and reverse, and saltwater-grade power. Boat control is accomplished via a foot-controlled rudder system, which means you can move from spot to spot with ease, troll, and maintain precise boat control … without ever lifting a paddle. The motor was also designed with minimal operation noise, which means fewer spooked fish.

The motor console also includes Minn Kota’s Digital Maximizer technology for long battery life, dual kill-switches for safety, LED charge indicator, USB charge ports (helpful for charging smartphones), a sonar mounting plate, battery/cable storage, and integrated storage that can easily converted into bait/livewell, cooler, or tackle/dry storage, depending on your needs.

With regards to power, the Predator XL Minn Kota features pre-run wiring with trolling motor plug-in outlets fore and aft. There is ample space right behind the three-position Element Seating System to carry your favorite brand 24- or 27 group size 12 volt deep cycle battery for long days and nights on the water.

Minn Kota’s Battery Power Center is the perfect solution to house the battery from the elements and power your trolling motor battery and fishfinder via easy access external battery terminals. It also features a built-in battery meter that displays charge, two 12-volt accessory plugs (great for charging phones, GoPro cameras, or running your aerator, LED lighting, etc.), and two manual reset circuit breakers (10 amp for accessory plugs and 60 amp for trolling motor). At $65, it’s a smart investment for angler.  The Minn Kota Power Center comes standard with the Minn Kota motor console for the Predator XL.

Speaking of power, some anglers are going the route of less weight, more consistent power and faster recharge times via lithium deep cycle batteries, like those available from While their benefits are many, lithium technology is not inexpensive. 

For those who prefer paddles to motors, the Predator XL is available with two other problem-solving consoles. A motor-less large-capacity utility console makes a great baitwell/livewell – especially with the addition of a Frabill Aqua-Life Spray Bar aeration system – but will also function as a cooler, or storage for fishing electronics battery and tackle boxes. Or anglers can go minimal with the flush-to-floor Exo-Ridge console to maximize room for stand-up fishing.

Fishing industry PR guy Noel Vick is a passionate, arguably neurotic kayak angler. With an office located an hour north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, he is squarely situated amongst primo small to midsize lakes and manageable moving water. Kayak nested in his FLOE Cargo Max trailer, Vick not only puddle jumps locally, but also commutes hither and yon, considering his kayak as essential to travel as a toothbrush and clean boxers.

“The kayak is man’s best friend,” said Vick. “It goes everywhere with me. Last year alone that meant trucking from Minnesota to Arkansas, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Iowa and Missouri. And the boat doesn’t sit idly in my trailer, either. I’m fishing it at every opportunity – trust me.”

Vick is known to squeeze blood from turnips, laser pointing micro pieces of water in areas he’s conducting business, and launching immediately after the final handshake. “Never, and I mean never, have I been on the road and not been able to find fishable and kayak-able water. Nothing better than mapping prospective water near the hotel and then blasting fish before sliding the key card for the night.”


Ohio-based fishing writer and Old Town pro staffer Mike Mainhart is another diehard kayak angler who’s challenged the kayak fishing context, taking his Predator XL into some extreme situations.

This past year, Mainhart watched the December weather until it was possible to troll the break walls of Lake Erie for giant nighttime walleyes. Two days before Christmas everything lined up and he slipped the 13-footer into the world’s 11th largest lake.  

“The Old Town Predator XL is made for big-water conditions, but I also have all my safety equipment, including wearing a Mustang cold-water survival suit,” says Mainhart.

“The lure of trolling for hog walleyes along the piers and breakwalls of the central basin in late fall was one for my bucket list. Especially if I could pull it off with a kayak.  But the conditions were perfect – a light south breeze and waves less than one foot. The air temp at launch time was hovering around 50 degrees with a low forecast in the low 40s.”

Mainhart’s plan was to “practically scrape the paint off a Smithwick Perfect Ten” by flat-line trolling right against the breakwall.

“The water depth within arms’ reach of the wall was holding around 13 feet with humps and peaks up to eight feet – the perfect depth for late-season walleye after dark. The soft amber-glow view on my Humminbird’s Down and Side Imaging was showing some amazing imagery of the rocky bottom near the wall. You could actually see large fish (marks) tucked in-between the peaks and valleys created by the rock structure,” adds Mainhart.

He and fellow fishing writer Paul Liikala fished a few hours that evening from their separate boats, keeping in sight of each other’s lights for safety.

And Mainhart accomplished what he set out to do. One more bucket list item crossed off, thanks to the Old Town Predator kayak.

“Under the ramp lights, it was plain to see the true size of the hog. That first big walleye tipped the scales at 12 pounds with the second coming in at eight. For me, it was an amazing achievement with a kayak.”


Not only are freshwater anglers fishing everything from farm ponds to the Great Lakes, bluewater anglers are taking to the sport with zeal.

Case in point, the guys from Extreme Kayak Fishing Hawaii, who are using Old Town sister company Ocean Kayak boats to target giant yellow fin tuna, sailfish, ono and mahi mahi miles offshore the Big Island!

Meanwhile, back inshore, the Minnesotan Vick swears the stork dropped him off in the wrong zip code, even time zone – guy should’ve been born alongside at least brackish water. So driven by his saltwater DNA, he pounces on every opportunity to kayak and cast inshore waters.

“Honestly, it might be the absolute finest form of fishing. The control and accessibility a kayak affords fishing inshore waters is unparalleled. I immediately think about sliding through slivered spaces on Louisiana saltwater marshes to reach bull reds inaccessible by motor. Or deftly micro-managing around dock lights for snook. Or having so much boat control you virtually suspend in animation over seatrout a rod’s length from a bridge piling in a rip – something you’d never test riding fiberglass with a 300 in the back.”       

So, whether it’s fresh- or saltwater – kayak fishing is here to stay. Anglers across the globe are choosing to fish out of smaller craft because the advantages are many, not to even touch on the cost savings.

And that fish-holding 10 percent of the water? Old Town and Ocean Kayaks will get you there.

Imagine paddling a few miles to reach some secret spot, catching fish until your arms and shoulders are sore … and then realizing you can motor back to shore, nursing a cold bottle of water, relaxed and feeling victorious.

That’s the true power of the Old Town Pro Angler XL Minn Kota, the ultimate fishing machine – easily and infinitely customizable for exactly how and where you fish.

Call it the fishing kayak of the future … but it’s here today. 

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Plano A-Series Quicktop Tackle Bags





Plano, IL (June 29, 2016) – Plano revolutionized the tackle storage business over 60 years ago with the creation of the first molded plastic tackle box. Since then, the pioneers of practicality at Plano have innovated one new tackle storage solution after another – most incorporating their industry-standard, interchangeable 3600 and 3700 size StowAway tackle trays – giving anglers an unprecedented array of clever and componentized tackle storage and transportation options based on their specific fishing objectives and needs.





For 2016, Plano’s angling engineers have developed the A-Series QuickTop Tackle Bags from a totally blank canvas – an innovative hybrid soft/hard design, available in both 3600 and 3700 sizes, incorporating a range of pragmatic features that will help any angler maximize speed, efficiency and enjoyment on the water.


The A-Series QuickTop looks and functions like no other tackle bag ever built, thanks to its hybrid design, which places a durable and sleek, molded ABS lid atop a richly-featured soft tackle bag.


Operable with one hand, the two smoked, see-through lid covers unlatch on either side for slick access to the items anglers use most on the water, including mobile devices and top-performing lures. When closed, these items remain visible and fully protected inside.


“Almost every angler uses a smartphone while fishing for photographing their catch, viewing maps, surfing the web for angling intel, and social media,” says Plano Brand Manager, Ryan Olander. “The new QuickTop solves the problem of safe and accessible storage for mobile devices while also providing fast access to the preferred lures of the day… all built around a premium and full-featured soft tackle bag.”



Sandwiched between its ABS “thinking cap” and ruggedized, waterproof base lies an equally smart and excessively handsome soft tackle bag, crafted from an all-new, proprietary fabric that combines extreme yet lightweight durability with an adventurous aesthetic.  A reinforced carry handle and padded shoulder strap with heavy-duty ABS hardware ensures failsafe transportation, while the use of MOLLE  (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) webbing borrowed from the tactical industry provides additional functionality.


The QuickTop’s main interior compartment zips open from the top to house four included Plano StowAway utility boxes.  Extra storage for gear and accessories exists in a series of additional zippered external pockets – a total of four on the 3700-size model and three on the 3600-size – along with a large mesh back pocket secured by a Velcro closure. Sheaths suitable for pliers or multi-tools are integrated on the outside of each side pocket.  Additional Velcro straps hold tools tight.  The innovative QuickTop is wrapped in a classic and subtle shade of deep green, accented by its desert tan lid.



Plano Model No. 473600 and 473700 A-Series QuickTop Tackle Bags

  • Choice of two sizes: 3600 or 3700
  • Includes four StowAways in either 3600 or 3700 sizes
  • Viewable, fast-access storage in hard top lid
  • Proprietary polyester soft bag construction with water-resistant lining  
  • Molded, impact-resistant, waterproof base       
  • Exterior zippered pockets (4 in 3700 size, 3 in 3600 size) plus two tool holders
  • MOLLE tactical webbing
  • Reinforced carry handle and padded shoulder strap
  • MSRP: Model 473600, $69.99 / Model 473700, $79.99
  • External dimensions: Model 473600 / 16.5”x9.5”x9.75”, Model 473700 / 22”x11”x11”


A is for alpha.  Plano’s revolutionary new A-Series QuickTop Tackle Bags sit firmly atop today’s tackle storage hierarchy and anchor the company’s all-new A-Series tackle storage products family – a premium and distinctive line of innovative designs, each combining high-quality materials with clean and rugged aesthetics.  In addition to the QuickTop Tackle Bags, Plano’s new A-Series includes a Tackle Bag, Tackle Backpack, and a Tackle Duffel, providing the discriminating angler with a comprehensive system for tackle storage and transportation. Learn more


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Photos from the BASSFest Collegiate Division
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Things to See at BASSFest
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BASSFest Photos
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TWRA Fishing Rodeo
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Interviews from May 23rd, 2015
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What's Happening at Discovery Park!

Summer Burn Car & Bike Show 
FREE Jason Hamlin Band Concert on June 26th at 6 PM.
Concessions and beverages available on coolers, please.
June 27th- Car & Bike Show
Free Entry to the grounds all day!
Stop by Abernathy's for a $2.00 off coupon to Discovery Center 
Visit our website for more details! 
Thursday, Friday & Saturday
June 25th, 26th & 27th- Libation Station 5:00-9:00 
Sponsored by Davis Wealth Services, Williams Country Sausage, & Snappy Tomato Pizza.
Free snacks available and entertainment provided by:
 -June 25th*- Colby Watts
 -June 26th*- Free Jason Hamlin Band Concert on the Great Lawn
(Libation Station will be open)
 -June 27th*-  To be announced...
*Discovery Park grounds will also be open for walking and fishing
June 26th & 27th- Summer Burn Car and Bike Show
FREE Jason Hamlin Band Concert on Friday Night! Car and Bike show will be onSaturday, June 27th. (FREE entrance to the grounds on June 27th.) Click herefor more information.
June 27th- Hooked on Science Classes 
($3 members/$5 non-members)
Expand your knowledge while having fun at our Hooked on Science Classes!   
Hot Wheels Science Ages 5-12 (11:00 - Noon or 2:00 - 3:00)
Science Circus ALL Ages (1:00 - 1:45)
July 3rd & 4th- Storytellers in Mill Ridge
Learn about the Tennessee River by interacting with Storytellers at Discovery Park! We will have two shows each day at 12:30 and 3:30 in Mill Ridge.
July 4th- ALL Tickets are $10
Fireworks! Food! Music! Demonstrators!
Plan to celebrate with us! 
We have a great line-up:
Cowboy Dan:2:30-4:30 
Jon and Anna Eaton:5:30 -6:30 
Fireworks at 9
July 12th- Birds of Prey
Reelfoot Lake State Park will present an educational program about Birds of Prey! Free with admission.
July 17th- Wine & Paint Class- Mark your Calendar!
July 24th & 25th- Riders and Rockabilly Music Festival & Fish Fry
For more information on the Riders and Rockabilly Festival, click here.  
July 24th Music:
Joe Griffin  5:00 - 6:00
Bullet Town 6:30 - 9:00 
July 25th Music:
Boomer Nation  5:00 - 6:00
Chad Karnes and the Missing 5th  6:00 - 8:00 
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Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp offers free family summer activities

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp  features fun games for kids, and activities and workshops where families can learn the skills they need to enjoy great outdoor adventures together. And, it's all free! Family Summer Camp begins Saturday, June 27 and continues through Sunday, July 26 at 71 Bass Pro Shops located across the United States and Canada.
During the Family Summer Camp event, free workshops, conducted by experts, will be held every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday June 27 - July 26.  The entire family will enjoy learning the basics of camping, fishing, archery and hunting.  Other workshops include kayaking, water and travel safety, backyard adventures, and bird watching. All workshops are approximately 20 minutes in length and kids will get a free lanyard and then earn a free, collectible pin for every workshop completed (while supplies last).
Families can participate in the following workshops from June 27 to July 26:
Noon – Bird Watching: Bust out the binoculars and learn how to spot local bird species.
1 p.m. – Fishing: Get fishing tips and gear advice from the experts. Learn how to identify, find, and catch top species in your area.
2 p.m. – Archery: Learn all the archery basics, including the parts of the bow, shooting tips, and how anyone can get started.
3 p.m. – Kayaking: Learn the differences between canoes and kayaks, and how to stay safe in the water.
4 p.m. – Backyard Adventure: From digging night crawlers to chasing fireflies, learn how to have an adventure in your own backyard.
Noon – Archery: Learn all the archery basics, including the parts of the bow, shooting tips, and how anyone can get started.
1 p.m. –Hunting and Shooting: Learn how to trick the noses of deer and other wild game.
2 p.m. – Travel Safety: Don’t forget these safety tips before taking off on your summer adventure. Learn how to navigate emergency situations while on the road.
3 p.m. – Water Safety: Learn about the various types of swimming strokes, proper flotation devices, and swimming rules.
4 p.m. – Camping and Conservation Awareness: Enjoy games to learn more about different animals and about hosting a backyard campout.
Noon – Fishing: Get fishing tips and gear advice from the experts. Learn how to identify, find, and catch top species in your area.
1 p.m. – Water Safety: Learn about the various types of swimming strokes, proper flotation devices, and swimming rules.
2 p.m. – Hunting and Shooting: Learn how to trick the noses of deer and other wild game.
3 p.m. – Kayaking: Learn the differences between canoes and kayaks, and how to stay safe in the water.
4 p.m. – Bird Watching: Bust out the binoculars and learn how to spot local bird species.
Noon – Hunting and Shooting: Learn how to trick the noses of deer and other wild game.
1 p.m. – Archery: Learn all the archery basics, including the parts of the bow, shooting tips, and how anyone can get started.
2 p.m. – Travel Safety:  Don’t forget these safety tips before taking off on your summer adventure. Learn how to navigate emergency situations while on the road.
3 p.m. – Camping and Conservation Awareness: Enjoy games to learn more about different animals and about hosting a backyard campout.
4 p.m. – Backyard Adventure: From digging night crawlers to chasing fireflies, learn how to have an adventure in your own backyard.
In addition, kids can try free craft activities from noon – 2 p.m.
June 27-28 - Make a wooden wind chime
June 30 & July 2 and July 4-5 - Create a kite photo frame
July 7 & 9 and 11-12 - Color plaster turkey track magnet
July 14 & 16 and 18-19 - Turtle sun catcher
July 21 & 23 and 25-26 – Create a lady bug clip magnet
At the stores, kids can enjoy several free hands-on activities including:
• Fishing at catch and release ponds July 4-5*
• Casting at targets**
• Shooting arcade, archery***
• Daisy BB gun ranges****
• Carousel (not available at all stores) *****
• Souvenir photo July 4-5 noon-5 p.m.
Note: Not all special activities will be available at all stores. 
*Rocky View/Calgary, Alberta, and Anchorage, Alaska, stores will have casting ponds. Branson, Missouri, will not have casting pond.
** Branson, Missouri, will not offer casting challenge.
*** Branson, Missouri, and Miami, Florida, will not have shooting arcade.
****Branson, Missouri, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, will not have Daisy BB gun ranges.
*****Carousels will be available in Grapevine, Texas, Harlingen, Texas, Clarksville, Indiana, Denham Springs, Louisiana, Sevierville, Tennessee, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Mesa, Arizona, East Peoria, Illinois, and  Rancho Cucamonga, California.
About Bass Pro Shops®
Bass Pro Shops®, which specializes in outdoor fun, operates 93 stores and Tracker Marine Centers across America and Canada that are visited by more than 120 million people every year. Bass Pro Shops stores, many of which feature restaurants, offer huntingfishingcamping and other outdoor gear while their catalogs and website serve shoppers throughout the world. The company’s Tracker Marine Group® (, a leading brand of fishing boats for more than 37 years, manufactures and sells a variety of boats for fishing and cruising. Family fun is on tap at Bass Pro Shops resort Big Cedar Lodge® (, voted by Travel + Leisure as one of the top 50 Best Hotels for Families in the U.S. For more information, visit  To request a free catalog, call 1-800-BASS PRO.  Follow us on Facebook at
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Redbirds And BPS Partnering To Get More Kids Outside; Learning to Fish

Free Catch-and-Release Pond To Be Featured At Thursday’s Homestand Opener

WHAT: Media are invited to experience kids and families catching a fish for the first time at
Bass Pro Shops Memphis’s “Gone Fishing” event.

WHEN: Saturday, June 13, Noon – 2 p.m.
Advance interviews are available upon request

WHERE: Bass Pro Shops Memphis
6140 Macon Rd.
Memphis, TN 38134

The nationwide program is part of Bass Pro Shops’ commitment to inspiring young people to put down their digital devices and discover the outdoors. Last year, 100,000 people caught a fish at Bass Pro Shops, many for the first time.

The free events take place on weekends June 13-14 and June 20-21 from noon to 5 p.m. with the goal of introducing people of all ages to one of America’s favorite pastimes —fishing.

Free, in-store offerings include:

  • Catch-and-release ponds: Kids and families will have the opportunity to catch their first fish, learn easy techniques or fine-tune their fishing skills
  • How-to seminars: Local destinations, choosing the best gear & equipment, how to make fishing fun for the kids!
  • Giveaways: The first 100 customers per day to visit the fishing department will receive a special gift
  • Special discounts: Customers who bring in a used or new video game will receive a discount on a rod and reel combo

For more information, visit

WHO: Kids and families
Bass Pro Shops fishing experts

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Catfish & Comedy: A Fish Fry and Comedy Festival Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015 Wayne Jerrolds River Park Stage Savannah, Tennessee

Savannah, Tenn. (June 12, 2015) -----Let’s celebrate the catfish capitol of the world, Savannah, Tennessee at the first ever Catfish and Comedy Festival. This event will feature a mix of mouth-watering catfish and a side of Savannah’s southern sense of humor. You can relax on the banks of the Tennessee River and be entertained by an eclectic group of both well-known, and up-and-coming comedy performers from across the nation.
This one day of fun, Saturday, June 27, 2015, will showcase headliner Sara Schaefer. Sara is a critically-acclaimed stand-up comedian, writer, and producer currently based in Los Angeles. She was recently the co-host of MTV’s late night show Nikki & Sara Live. Sara has appeared on @Midnight, John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Best Week Ever, and Inside Amy Schumer. She won two Emmy awards for her work at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and has written for and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.
Festivities will begin on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., at the Wayne Jerrolds River Park in Savannah. Fans will experience hilarious, side-splitting humor from some of the nation’s best up and coming comedians. The performance line-up taking the River Boat stage includes ANDRE CHURCHWELL, BRAD HINDERLITER, BRANDON SAMS, MICHAEL BROWN, CHAD RIDEN, and FOUR IMPROVISERS FROM LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: SARA CRAVENS, JUDILIN BOSITA, DOMINIC BURGESS, IAN GARY.
Gates open at 3:00 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and appetites to enjoy this outdoor fun-fest with catfish food vendors, cool drinks and vendors of sorts sitting on the banks of the Tennessee River.
Hosting the event is Savannah Arts Commission. For more information and to purchase tickets on the Catfish and Comedy Festival, please visit Vendors may contact the Hardin County CVB at 731-925-2364 or the Hardin County Chamber at 731-925-2363. Presenting event sponsors are City of Savannah and Hardin County Resort Board.
SAC president Joseph Thomas says, “Our goal is to create a fun time for people to experience a taste of the Savannah and Hardin County area. Laughter is good for the soul and bringing people to our area is good for the economy.”
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The 25th Arkabutla Lake Physically Challenged Deer Hunt

Arkabutla Lake – Arkabutla Lake will hold its annual Physically Challenged Deer hunt in December of this year (2015).  The dates will be the 4-7.  There will be two hunts each lasting two days; 4-5 December and 6-7 December.  Applicant must be quadriplegic, paraplegic or ambulatory with the use of leg braces or crutches.  Applications are available now at the Arkabutla Lake Field Office.  The deadline for receiving applications is 3:00 PM, 28 August 2015.  A public drawing will be held on Wednesday, September 9th at 10:00 AM at pavilion #734 in the South Abutment Day Use Area.  If you have any questions about the hunt or need an application, please contact Ernie Lentz at (662)301-4561.

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Fishing’s Future Announces Catch-Photo-Release Contest For Youth Anglers

Non-profit fishing outreach organization to launch contest on Friday, June 26th … Lucky youth anglers could win dream vacation, boat and much more!

South Padre Island, TX (June 29, 2015) –  Non-profit organization Fishing’s Future has nearly 60 chapters in more than 15 states with the primary mission of getting kids and adults outdoors. In 2014 alone, Fishing’s Future chapters worked with over 100,000 participants – all by unpaid chapter organizers and volunteers. This year the organization anticipates reaching 250,000 youth anglers and parents.
Now, after 10 years of conducting FAMILY FISH CAMPs (FFCs), Fishing's Future is growing and gaining national recognition. Through unique concepts like parental inclusion, Leave-No-Trace philosophy, and environmental stewardship, Fishing’s Future has helped make profound changes in families and communities across the nation, while building the next generation of anglers.
“Positive people bring positive change and that’s what Fishing’s Future is all about,” says founder Shane Wilson. “All across America, families are turning to electronic devices to communicate. Family communication, as it once was, is decreasing and the human connection is slowly being replaced with digital neutrality. Our goal is to get kids and parents back on the water, forging bonds and creating memories that will last a lifetime!”
Along these lines, Fishing’s Future is proud to announce the launch of national Catch-Photo-Release contest for youth anglers on Friday, June 26th, 2015. The contest is not species-specific and is free for any youth ages 16 and under across the nation.
Contest requirements are simple. All a young angler has to do is catch a fish, photograph it, release it, and write a 200 word (or under) reflection on their angling experience, then submit the photo and mini-essay via Facebook between Friday, June 21th, and photo submission end, Friday, August 28th, 2015. On Saturday, August 29th, all submissions will be open to public voting. Be sure to SHARE your submission for public voting between August 29th and contest end on September 4th to compete for the grand prize, second prize and third prize packages!
Grand prize, second place and third place winners will be based on maximum votes via Facebook between Saturday, August 29th, and contest end on Friday, September 4th, 2015. Winners will be notified via e-mail and Facebook.  
Grand prize winner will receive a week-long, vacation at beautiful Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort on South Padre Island, Texas, for a family of four, airfare courtesy of South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. Grand prize package will also include Black Dragon Pirate Ship cruise, a guided shark fishing excursion and much more! Airfare, hotel and activity expenses covered; food & drink not included.
Second place winner will receive a 2015 Tracker Topper 1436 riveted Jon boat and trailer courtesy of the Tracker Marine Group!
Third place winner will receive a Humminbird Helix SI GPS and Old Town Vapor 12 Angler kayak with paddle and PFD.
And each week four random selected winners will be drawn from all entries to receive rod/reel and tackle prize packages courtesy of Fishing’s Future sponsors Shakespeare and Plano
For more information, please visit
Enter the contest here!
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Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Tips for July
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Tips presents free, seasonal how-to advice from Larry Whiteley, host of the award-winning Outdoor World Radio show. Each weekly tip offers practical advice to improve your skills.
Tips offered for July include:
Tricks for Boating Bass
Tips and tricks for hooking big bass.
How to Create Happy Campers
Get your family off the couch and into nature this camping season!
Tips for Bagging Big Cats
Location is the key to bagging big catfish this summer. Follow Larry’s favorite recipe for a delicious catfish dinner!
Where’s Walleye? Tips for Finding Their Summertime Hangouts
Follow these tips to find where walleye are lurking.
What Great Deer Hunters Do  
Deer season may seem far away, but great deer hunters are beginning to prepare now.

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Dr. Allan Houston: Here is bird number two …………

By Dr. Allan Houston

I had been after this bird before, maybe even last year; and if not him then an apprentice because he pulled the same tricks.  But I felt good this morning; optimistic in an unusual and unbidden way. Even before I left the house my socks and shirt seemed particularly suited, as if bought especially for this one hunt, lucky somehow and like I was going to Church and knew the coat and tie looked good. This morning’s outfit seemingly ordained for this particular morning and anticipating something.
I felt the ambience, the subtle but tangible encouragement from these inanimate things, but tried not to put much stock in the feeling. I sat aside from it like a team sits away from the pitcher when he is late in the game and throwing a no-hitter … afraid to jinx him.  I put it all down to the good weather, rising barometer, fair winds and sky.  A man feels good on such a day and thankful he is going to see it.
But, it was, indeed late in the game. The gobbling season was cranking down.
This bird had already pulled several tricks out of his bag.  I had him roosted one night, cold-sure to the single tree and I knew the route he’d use to get to it. And I knew where his hens were.  With luck, stealth and the moon behind a cloud I felt sure I could get nearly between them next morning, a shallow lover’s triangle with me at the apex.
And, I did.  As the eastern skies began to whiten he began to grumble a little on the perch, not the manic gobble of a desperate bird, but the low pitched threats of a mature bird not accustomed to being challenged.  It was a warning to everyone within earshot he was at the height of his game and not something easily defeated. The volume was mostly for his hens.  The tone was for everything else.
I should have listened.
The hens flew to the field and I heard him hit the woods behind me.  The best pathway to the field, the path of least obstruction and the open-wooded air turkeys like was all around me.  I called just enough to encourage him to use it and he answered.  Almost immediately I saw a head bobbing toward me, suspicious as a cat in the dog pound, but the hen came to me and then by me.  The gobbler was behind her, surely, not yet in sight, but everything I knew about turkeys was falling into line for him to come walking into the shotgun’s bead.
Then I heard a gang of hens cackling a fuss and I knew he’d been intercepted, fifty yards away and just ten more yards from sight. They led him to my right.
After a bit I moved slowly, several steps at a time and kicking the leaves to mimic scratching.  After about seventy-five yards he thundered in the woods, a sound so close and so intense I almost gobbled back.  I scrambled for a tree and sat facing the woods, the field at my back, everything perfect, everything as sure as it could be with spurs this big coming my way.
I called very lightly, more a satisfied purr as opposed to a suggestive yelp.
He is an acoustic genius, a magician with the airwaves and resonance; and he’d thrown the sound ninety degrees away from where I thought he was, a trick not too hard to perform on my slow ears, more-so nearly mere appendages now days as opposed to good receivers, easily fooled and generally unreliable.  He came behind me and stood, studying the woods with those goggle eyes, knowing within a few feet of where the call had originated and he waited still as a statue, a mere thirty yards away; he waited until I moved then he popped his victory and ran away.
He did this to me in one form or another and he’d done it two years running.
But this morning was different.  The omen of socks and shirt seemed solid.
I sat up opposite his side of the field.   I stopped short of where I thought I should be because I imagined a turkey sound ahead of me.  Bad hearing means you pay attention to sudden imaginations.
The tree I had to lean against was too little, not much more than six inches, but near enough the edge of the field, and I had a bit of a leafy screen in front of me.  I realized suddenly that he was already on the ground, a good fifteen minutes ahead of expected arrival, pacing back and forth the complete picture of a professional late for an important meeting and having to wait on someone. 
I called and he gobbled.  I waited until the sky had tinged with more light, gaining some color like a dead man coming gratefully back from the edge of death; then I showered down on the call, a new one made by a local craftsman, raspy as a crow and almost irresistible to a fired up bird. 
A hen’s head appeared at the edge of the woods and I decided not to antagonize her.  I purred and made a few soft clucks. It was clear the gobbler wanted to come this way. He ran to the hen and began to insist she hurry up.  Hen-like and maybe woman-like she ignored him until she could start without it seeming like she was in obedience as opposed to agreement. He thought she was late.  She thought she was on time enough.  But suddenly here they came, on a line and with him not so far behind that the hen would have time to discover me and scurry away.
The socks had been right.
Two hundred yards, 150, 100, 90 … then a gobbler from the right burst into the field, between me and the big bird.  He cast hurried looks at him and quick glances my way trying to find the hen.  He began to march across my line, too far out in the field, but purposely and with no seeming intent to stop, quick choppy gobbles.  He wanted to see around the corner.  I was at a quandary’s doorstep, should I shoot and if so when?  A little high-school geometry came to mind and I found the point where he would pass closest to the front of the gun. Slowly I pivoted the barrel and laid the bead on where his head would appear. 
He walked to the spot and as if on que, like a performer hitting his mark he stopped.  He grew exponentially nervous with each passing moment and turned on that dime turkeys have about them, the uneasy twirl showing the back of the head that says I may be about to run.  I pulled the trigger and he went down in a pile.  As I hurried out, I caught sight of the big bird and we made momentary eye contact before he ran.
It was clear and he wanted me to know it; he could see the entire field of battle and had clearly outmaneuvered me.  He’d sent a point man, a good one who had probably figured me out hunkered down in such a feeble hide.  But I sent a message back. 
Wars are won battles at a time.  And generals learn from each other.
And too … it was OK; after all, it was late in the game.
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Dr. Allan Houston: Turkey Season Recap

The turkey season has come and gone; and the red-rimmed, bleary eyes are perhaps clearing up after several weeks of trying to beat daybreak to the field.  As I went through the observation forms I could see that some of you had tremendous seasons and others had some hard luck.  That’s the way it goes.  I have never had the same turkey season two years in a row. 
The final tally was 25 mature gobblers.  The harvest is summarized below and represents our best guess at age classes.
Age                  Beard Length              Spurs               Weight
2-year-old       9”                                ¾”                    19.1 lbs
3-year-old       9.7”                             1.2”                 20.3 lbs
Hunting pressure was never very heavy; and there were days when only one or two people were afield.  Toward the end of the season, there were a few days when no one was on the place.  One hunter told me he walked half of Unit 4 and never saw another hunter … he did see 3 gobblers.
Of the 25 birds killed, Ames employees or guests killed 4 gobblers.  The rest were killed by Members or their guests.
We have already seen poults and I expect the cicada population should provide good nutrition for little ones and adults alike.  If my dogs are any indication, cicadas must taste pretty good.  Or, maybe they just give a fellow a little buzz.
I am sure some experiences were perhaps not the best, but the comments we received on the observation forms were always positive and some made for enjoyable reading.  The thing I noticed was a consistent thread of simple joy in being “out there.”  Some of the comments radiated a delight in not just the idea of killing and seeing turkeys, but being able to do get out into the “wilds,” seeing the once- in-a-lifetime events or places that are private and also universal.  They are private because they are so special and individually unique and they are universal because as you describe them my appreciation comes alive alongside something similar I once saw.
I remember several years ago sitting in an old graveyard in Unit 1, deep in the woods and listening to a gobbler grumble, both of us waiting for the sun to make its way up the hill and over the horizon.  It was cold, below freezing that night, and as the light slowly filtered through the trees, the place where I sat began to glow, all around me, like a fantastic movie where the plants come alive with eerie iridescence. Ice and frost had covered the periwinkle, a luxurious carpet of evergreen that was gleaming as if it were a sleeping Christmas tree draped in nature’s best imitation of icicles, literally a’glimmer and glittering like a lake in the dawn’s breeze.  I have no recollection about that morning’s turkey business, where he went or what I did about it; but I will never forget the platinum, ice-clad periwinkle in that graveyard.  
These are the small things that make being out there worth it.  Nowhere else on earth, on that morning, could I have seen anything so beautiful as was the shimmering graveyard, a gobbler making comment in the background and me wishing I had a camera to at least try to capture the scene.
These were the flavor of some of your comments, even if said in just a few good words.  Of course, some of you told about a morning’s shot and trophy.  Good stories all ‘round.  Do more.  I’ll put them here.
Parting Shot (once again, literally)
I had been after this bird before, maybe even last year; and if not him then an apprentice because he pulled the same tricks.  But I felt good this morning; optimistic in an unusual and unbidden way. Even before I left the house my socks and shirt seemed particularly suited, as if bought especially for this one hunt, lucky somehow and like I was going to Church and knew the coat and tie looked good. This morning’s outfit seemingly ordained for this particular morning and anticipating something.
I felt the ambience, the subtle but tangible encouragement from these inanimate things, but tried not to put much stock in the feeling. I sat aside from it like a team sits away from the pitcher when he is late in the game and throwing a no-hitter … afraid to jinx him.  I put it all down to the good weather, rising barometer, fair winds and sky.  A man feels good on such a day and thankful he is going to see it.
But, it was, indeed late in the game. The gobbling season was cranking down.
This bird had already pulled several tricks out of his bag.  I had him roosted one night, cold-sure to the single tree and I knew the route he’d use to get to it. And I knew where his hens were.  With luck, stealth and the moon behind a cloud I felt sure I could get nearly between them next morning, a shallow lover’s triangle with me at the apex.
And, I did.  As the eastern skies began to whiten he began to grumble a little on the perch, not the manic gobble of a desperate bird, but the low pitched threats of a mature bird not accustomed to being challenged.  It was a warning to everyone within earshot he was at the height of his game and not something easily defeated. The volume was mostly for his hens.  The tone was for everything else.
I should have listened.
The hens flew to the field and I heard him hit the woods behind me.  The best pathway to the field, the path of least obstruction and the open-wooded air turkeys like was all around me.  I flipped on the tree, easing around as quietly as possible and called just enough to encourage him to use “this way” … and he answered.  Almost immediately I saw a head bobbing toward me, suspicious as a cat in the dog pound, but the hen came to me and then she went by me.  The gobbler was behind her, surely, not yet in sight, but everything I knew about turkeys was falling into line for him to come walking into the shotgun’s bead.
Then I heard a gang of hens cackling a fuss and I knew he’d been intercepted, fifty yards away and just ten more yards from sight. They led him to my right.
After a bit I moved slowly, several steps at a time and kicking the leaves to mimic scratching.  After about seventy-five yards he thundered in the woods, a sound so close and so intense I almost gobbled back.  I scrambled for a tree and sat facing the woods, the field at my back, everything perfect, everything as sure as it could be with spurs this big coming my way.
I called very lightly, more a satisfied purr as opposed to a suggestive yelp.
He is an acoustic genius, a magician with the airwaves and resonance; and he’d thrown the sound ninety degrees away from where I thought he was, a trick not too hard to perform on my slow ears, more-so nearly mere appendages now days as opposed to good receivers, easily fooled and generally unreliable.  He came behind me and stood, studying the woods with those goggle eyes, knowing within a few feet of where the call had originated and he waited still as a statue, a mere thirty yards away; he waited until I moved then he popped his victory and ran away.
He did this to me in one form or another and he’d done it two years running.
But this morning was different.  The omen of socks and shirt seemed solid.
I sat up opposite his side of the field.   I stopped short of where I thought I should be because I imagined a turkey sound ahead of me.  Bad hearing means you pay attention to sudden imaginations.
The only tree I had available to lean against was small, not much more than six inches, but near enough the edge of the field, and I had a bit of a leafy screen in front of me.  I realized suddenly that the old boy was already on the ground, a good fifteen minutes ahead of expected arrival, pacing back and forth, the complete picture of a professional late for an important meeting and having to wait on someone. 
I called and he gobbled.  I waited until the sky had tinged with more light, gaining some color like a dead man coming gratefully back from the edge of death; then I showered down on the call, a new one made by a local craftsman, raspy as a crow and almost irresistible to a fired up bird. 
A hen’s head appeared at the edge of the woods and I decided not to antagonize her.  I purred and made a few soft clucks. It was clear the gobbler wanted to come this way. He ran to the hen and began to insist she hurry up.  Hen-like and maybe woman-like she ignored him until she could start without it seeming like she was in obedience as opposed to agreement. He thought she was late.  She thought she was on time enough.  But suddenly here they came, on a line and with him not so far behind that the hen would have time to discover me and scurry away.
The socks had been right. Maybe.
Two hundred yards, 150, 100, 90 … the hen grabbing a bite as she walked … then a gobbler from the right burst into the field between me and the big bird.  He cast hurried looks at him and quick glances my way trying to find the hen.  He began to march across my line, too far out in the field, but purposely and with no seeming intent to stop, he was worried and making quick choppy gobbles.  He wanted to see around the corner before the big bird got there.  I was at a quandary’s doorstep, should I shoot and if so when?  A little high-school geometry came to mind and I found the point where he would pass closest to the front of the gun. Slowly I pivoted the barrel and laid the bead where his head would appear.  Forty full yards.
He walked to the spot and as if on que, like a performer hitting his mark and he stopped.  He grew exponentially nervous with each passing moment and turned on that dime turkeys have about them, the uneasy twirl showing the back of the head that says I may be about to run.  I pulled the trigger and he went down in a pile.  As I hurried out, I caught sight of the big bird and we made momentary eye contact before he ran.
It was clear and he wanted me to know it; he could see the entire field of battle and had clearly outmaneuvered me.  Again. He’d sent a point man, a good one who had probably figured me out hunkered down in such a feeble hide.  But I sent a message back. 
Wars are won battles at a time.  And generals learn from each other. Next … would be another year.
And too … it was OK; after all, it was late in the game.

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A Furry Crown: What is Velvet?

Antlers. They have fascinated man since the beginning. Going back thousands of years, one can see man's love for animals with antlers etched and painted on the walls of caves. Antlers were a trophy in a different way before they were used to decorate walls of our hunting camps and game rooms. Before modern civilization, antlers were used to make tools, ceremonial wear, and weapons just to name a few. So how do these intriguing bones grow? What are they made out of?  How do they go from this soft looking, furry velvet, to a durable set of rock hard fighting gear?
Antler genesis is an amazing process and is one of the fastest growing tissues known. The antler growing process for whitetails is an annual event and is regulated by hormones which are controlled by the photoperiod or length of day.  The primary hormones responsible for antler growth are testosterone and IGF (insulin like growth factor). The rise and fall of testosterone levels initiates the peeling off of the velvet and the casting or shedding of the antlers, while IGF that is produced in the liver promotes actual growth. The longer days correspond with a drop in melatonin production; this kicks off the hormone cycle for antler growth. You can get very scientific and complicated with all the glands and organs involved in this process, but basically a buck's brain measures the length of day by the amount of melatonin produced. This in turn influences testosterone and IGF levels. If you have ever noticed the bucks that are late in the velvet shedding process are often the yearling bucks and older bucks that have survived and are past their prime. This is directly related to the lower levels of testosterone output.
To fully understand antler, and more specifically, velvet antler growth we need to start at the beginning. In a whitetail's case, the beginning would be the pedicel. The pedicel is the base from where the antlers will form and are located on the frontal bone of the skull. Buttons begin to grow from the pedicels somewhere around 6 months of age in male whitetails. During the growing season (spring& summer) a whitetails antlers are covered in a very fine and soft membrane most commonly called velvet. Underneath this furry membrane, the antlers are supplied by a very rich supply of blood and nutrients by veins that run on the outside of the antlers and back down to the base. During the growing stages, antlers are high in water and blood content and low in dry matter. The dry matter at this stage is around 80% protein and 20% phosphorous and calcium. Conversely, in the hardened stage, antlers are about 60% phosphorous and calcium and 40% protein. While in the velvet stages, antlers feel alive and warm to the touch because of all the activity taking place inside. I was lucky enough to feel this first hand while helping raise whitetails for a couple years.
When antlers are in velvet, they are very vulnerable to being injured. Bucks seem to be very aware that they have this fragile treasure on their head and are very careful in their actions through antler genesis. Bruises, cuts, or tears to the velvet can all have an impact on the formation of the antler. These injuries often result in abnormal points or in serious injuries complete deformation.  It is worth noting that leg and pedicel injuries can also lead to deformed antlers. Vehicle collisions, bullet or arrow wounds, and fighting injuries to the legs, shoulders, or hind quarters can be seen sometimes in the following season's antler growth by abnormal points or deformed main beams. Injuries on the rear legs affect the opposite side antler, where front leg or shoulder injuries will affect the same side. Research shows this oddity may be from the buck's ability to pull or redirect nutrients for healing the injured leg. Pedicel injuries can happen during the numerous fights during the rut causing part of the pedicel to shed with the antler. If the pedicel injuries are bad enough, they can sometimes affect antler growth for several years.
With the days of late summer getting shorter, testosterone levels begin to rise and the growth cycle begins to slow down initiating the process of hardening or mineralizing of the antlers. So how does the velvet come off?  The velvet ceases to be fed by blood by the formation of what some call the base or the burr on the antler. When the buck grows this burr at the end of the antler cycle, it puts a "kink in the hose" so to speak, cutting off the blood supply to the velvet. In as little as a few hours, the drying velvet is rubbed off on trees and bushes the buck is left with a blood stained rack that he will continue to polish for several days. I think many early fall rubs that are seen are areas where bucks use sapling trees and bushes to scrub the drying velvet from their newly hardened set of headgear.
There are rare cases where a buck does not shed his antlers, and instead keeps a velvet covered rack that continually grows throughout the year.  The condition is referred to as cryptorchidism. These "cactus bucks" are the result from an injury or castration of the testes at some point which alters their testosterone levels. The age at which the injury occurs will determine the severity of antler deformation or interruption in the normal antler cycle. Fawns that are castrated will likely not develop a pedicel and therefore never grow any antlers. An older aged buck that has a testes injury or castration while he is hard antler will likely shed his antlers early due to the sharp decrease in testosterone production. The following season the buck can grow a rack that is permanent and stays velvet covered and growing.
The antler growing process is very interesting and one of the most unique cycles in the animal kingdom.  Whether it be whitetail, mule deer, or elk, antlers are a large part of hunters fascination with these big game animals.
Would you like to learn more about improving your hunting and get discounts on the products you need? Learn from the experts by joining the new Mossy Oak GameKeepers Club at
or call 662-495-9292
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Ty Dyer's Blog

Time with Ty
Hello – I’m Ty Dyer from Lexington, Tennessee.  I’m currently a sophomore at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, majoring in Business Administration.  I’m fortunate to have a deep passion for the outdoors.
My first introduction to the outdoors came from my father as he took me hunting and fishing at a very early age. We spent our winter weekends hunting ducks and deer. During spring mornings I learned to turkey hunt. I am extremely thankful for all the positive lessons instilled in me through my outdoors experiences. 
I learned to respect nature and adhere to high morals in the pursuit of any fish or game. As I recall, I was introduced to fishing around the age of two on the Tennessee River. My first memories of fishing are spending days on the river bank fishing for stripe or white bass with family. From that first trip on I was completely overtaken with a passion to fish. 
I continued to fish recreationally with my friends and family until my sophomore year of high school when it was announced that our school would have a fishing team coached by Kenny Dunavan. I will always be grateful to him for providing my first opportunity to fish competitively.
I immediately felt a love for the competitive side of the sport.   My senior year I received the Angler of the Year Award. The high school team allowed me to make many great memories and lifelong friendships. I am extremely thankful for the positive influences of my coaches and fishing partners.
It is through my high school team that I met my two lifelong hunting and fishing partners, Hunter and River. 
My relationship with college fishing began my junior year in high school when I signed a letter of intention to pursue my passion at the colligate level with Bethel University.
As I started the spring semester of my freshman year I competed in my first tournament – the Cabela's Big Bass Bash on Kentucky Lake where I placed second with a 7-pound, 4-ounce largemouth.  Success at my first tournament deepened my passion for the sport. 
My post college aspiration is to pursue a career in the fishing industry. A successful professional angling career would be the pinnacle. I also have a strong interest on the public relations and journalism side of the fishing industry.
Entering my sophomore year at Bethel I was selected to be a member of the 2015 traveling team. My partner is Joseph Huggins. We will be fishing the following tournaments: Cabela’s’ Big Bass Bash on Kentucky Lake, FLW College Open on Kentucky Lake, BASS College Eastern Regional at Lake Norman, Cabela’s’ College tournament at Lake Chickamauga, Cabela’s’ National Championship at  Pickwick Lake, Triton Boat Owner’s Tournament on Kentucky Lake and the BASS Wild Card tournament on Lake Barkley.
Since the beginning of my collegiate fishing coach Garry Mason has taught me to give back. I’ve grown to enjoy teaching others what the outdoors is all about and to promote the fishing industry. I had the opportunity to meet my girlfriend, Morgan, who had never set foot in the outdoors as a hunter or angler. 
Over the past winter I introduced her to squirrel hunting and this spring to turkey hunting. Her next lessons will be in the boat where she will learn to fish. I also enjoy teaching and talking about fishing to all that have an interest.
As a competitive angler I've been very fortunate to have gained several sponsors. First and foremost is my mother Kay Jackson, who is my No. 1 sponsor.
My other sponsors are Lew’s, Peanut Craft Lure Company, ACS Marine and Artic Ice. I am deeply appreciative for all the support and encouragement I receive from my sponsors, family and friends.
In ensuing articles I’ll be sharing about my tournaments; things I’ve learned and tips that can hopefully help you. Also, I’ll occasionally be on the Outdoors with Larry Rea radio show on ESPN-790 in Memphis.
Until next time, practice good water safety and tight lines.
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Day of Fun

An impatient wait for the month of May
Brought the lake water temperatures up.
So I hauled myself up to Reelfoot Lake
Being as anxious as a playful pup!

My goal was to find some bluegills
As well as shellcrackers in the lake.
Then drop a line into those bream beds
And see just what they would take.

I rigged up my faithful old cane pole
With some trusty monofilament line—
A light split shot above the hook
And I looked forward to some action time!

Instead of a red-and-white bobber
I used a veteran porcupine quill
Which responds very well to nibbles and bites
And a well-hooked bull gives quite a thrill!

I trolled out to some cypress knees
Under some towering cypress trees
In hopes of finding a bed or two
Around lilly pads and some floating leaves.

After finding the bed of bluegills
They went after three kinds of bait!
They hit crickets, waxworms, and redworms—
For awhile they were caught at a steady rate.

I forgot all about the time of the day
And I didn’t even notice the hour.
In just a short time I caught ten or twelve
Enjoying their fight and feeling their power.

Later that evening shellcrackers were hooked
As I offered them crickets to eat.
I even hooked three on a bream killer “fly”
With my fly rod which proved quite a treat!

I trolled back to shore, my ice chest full,
And the fish were now frozen and stiff.
What fun I did have with those feisty bream
But my hands now gave off a fishy whiff!

Charlie Covington     May 19, 2015

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Big Bass Lessons From An Offshore Whiz

Western Bass Pro Brent Ehrler ‘Messes With Texas’ -- Wins Toyota Texas Big Bass Championship

EUFAULA, AL (May 29, 2015) – Redlands, California-based Humminbird pro Brent Ehrler thrives on fishing deep – beautifully demonstrated on the proving grounds of the recent Toyota Texas Big Bass Challenge on Texas’ famed Lake Fork.

The win typifies how offshore know-how – Ehrler’s dangerous blend of intuition, fishing electronics know-how and full fathom five experience – can manifest big weights and payout. Not only did Ehrler win the tournament, he captured the Tundra Big Bass of the tournament, a 10-11 stud, earning him a $35,000 Toyota Tundra, in addition to first place winnings. 

“Growing up fishing bass in California teaches you a lot about clear- and deep-water fish. We’re typically fishing offshore in 20 to 30 feet instead of 5. Sure, we have some shallow water stuff, too, which makes West Coast anglers versatile. But me? I’m most comfortable in clear, deep water, especially with finesse tactics.”

But Ehrler says the deep-water situation he encountered on Lake Fork had little in common with his West Coast waters. For starters, his offshore program involved looking for high spots: humps, points, and the ends of long, extended points.

“When the bass finish the spawn on Fork they move out onto long, extending points near deeper water where there’s food: shad, bar fish, gizzard shad. But not just any long, extending point. You couldn’t just scratch one or two off every point. You might have to try 50 points, then one point would hold 50 fish!”

Utilizing the Depth Highlight feature on the LakeMaster chart view of his Humminbird ONIX 10ci SI, Ehrler found his best fish in the 18 - 25 foot zone. “I’d zoom out my map, run down the lake and pull up on what I thought looked good. LakeMaster made dialing into the right areas incredibly fast.”

He continues: “I’ve been a fan of LakeMaster mapping since the start. What I see via LakeMaster is better than anything out there. Plus, I can highlight what I want to highlight and make the map do what I want it to do, especially for offshore fishing. You can find fish faster by running to those colors.”

Ehrler credits the Humminbird ONIX for helping him take his game to the next level.  “Overall, the ONIX is better and more clear than anything I’ve ever used. The 2D sonar has the best picture and clarity I’ve ever seen.”

He adds that the latest 2.300 software update has taken performance through the roof, including the GPS, which he says is  “super clear and very true.”

“I really relied on the GPS during the TTBBC. I had to stay true on my spots. I would judge my distances with casting rings on 1199, but then the boat would blow a bit, yet I knew exactly where I was by watching my trail on my ONIX’s LakeMaster map. I knew exactly where I needed to cast.”

Those familiar with Ehrler know that Humminbird 2D sonar and Down Imaging are integral to his “video gaming” techniques for vertical-fishing deep-water structure and cover. He footnotes this technique when talking about the new ONIX transducer, which has dedicated crystals for Down Imaging, Side Imaging and 2D sonar.

“The Down Imaging on the ONIX is perfect. Humminbird did exactly what they needed to do. We now have a true Down Image and Side Image. On Lake Fork I could idle through the trees and see the schools of the crappies plain as day. If I was a crappie fisherman, it would be ugly. Seriously, if I lost everything, I would never go hungry on a lake with crappies. I can hardly wait for a tournament where there’s deep-water drop-shotting. It’s going to get real.”

Recounting the TTBBC, Ehrler says the Memorial Day win exceeded all personal expectations.

“Last day of the tournament I had one specific spot that I was catching fish on and I told myself that I’d fish there all day and hit one more spot later in the day. When the first spot went stagnant I ran down the lake and eased in real slow to my second spot. Then my line jumped and I set the hook on that little swimbait. It was a giant! 10-11! I knew I needed to catch a giant fish or two bigger fish to get over 30 pounds for a shot at the win. Just proves that any cast on Lake Fork can yield a fish big enough to win a Tundra! I went from 23 pounds to 29 pounds in one cast … pretty amazing!”

Ehrler says what’s even more amazing is what happened right after he boated the tournament’s biggest fish.

“Right after I got that fish in the boat, I slid off the spot a little bit and quickly reeled in my swimbait, then glanced at my ONIX. My jaw kind of dropped when I saw two big marks swimming back down to the bottom. Based on that behavior, I knew right then and that they didn’t want to bite but could turn on later. So I ran and fished another spot for 20 minutes, came back, and on my third cast I caught a 6 and got rid of my last 3 pounder. That wouldn’t have happened without my ONIX.”

Although Ehrler had experience and technological know-how on his side, he’s quick to point out the serendipity of his win.

“Everything just came together. I made the right decisions, but the way it came together, it’s not something you can do everywhere. Pretty difficult to duplicate. I’m very thankful.”

He adds: “I caught a glimpse of Keith Combs’ TTBBC ring before the event and thought, wow, that would be cool, but never thought it was something I’d win. It’s like being a Super Bowl champ. I’m incredibly humbled.”

Ehrler’s advice for anglers looking to sharpen their offshore game?

Electronics: “Humminbird sonar is crucial … and get a LakeMaster map card. If you want to find and catch fish deep, you need the tools to see what’s down there. I run split-screen 2D and mapping from the bow on an ONIX 10ci SI and 1199 SI with my transducers set to 200kHz. The factory settings are right about where they need to be. I don’t do anything radical; pretty much turn it on and go.”

Deep-Diving Cranks: “Get out your deep-divers. My favorite is the Lucky Craft 3.5XD, which dives 18-20 feet. I use it to fire up schools into biting. I like standard forage colors and throw it on 12-lb. Sunline FC Sniper Fluoro.”

Swimbaits: “Deep fish eat baitfish, so add swimbaits to the list. I take a ¾-ounce BOSS jighead and thread on a 5- or 6-inch Basstrix or Yamamoto saltwater swimbait – I don’t use the crazy big swimbaits. Then fish on a slow roll.”

Pigskin: “The football jig is your friend. I always have a rod tied with a ¾-ounce BOSS green pumpkin football jig with a 5-inch green pumpkin Yamamoto Double Grub.”

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Best Paddling Towns: Memphis, Tennessee

With America’s great riverine artery pulsing through, Memphis (pop. 653,000) has always been a river town. The Mississippi carried influences from north and south, and stirred the pot that gave us such cultural delicacies as barbecue and the blues. The Big Muddy, with its intimate back channels and quiet tributaries like the Wolf River, also makes Memphis a first-rate paddling town. Each June, the city plays host to the South’s biggest paddling event, the Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race. The 34th running takes place June 20, with organizers expecting more than 500 people in everything from SUPs to war canoes. In the event’s trademark mass start, Olympic gold medalists rub gunwales with first-time paddlers, and everybody has a good time. — Katie McKy


This story will appear in the June 2015 issue of Canoe & Kayak.

Photo: Joe Royer

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When Big Baits Are Best for Bass
When Big Baits Are Best for Bass

How up-sizing can work magic on heavily-pressured waters, especially during “heat fronts”

By Steve Pennaz

Fish studies confirm that bass can become conditioned through continual exposure to baits. Especially on heavily-pressured waters, bass do learn to avoid baits. Berkley’s Dr. Keith Jones covers the subject in his book Knowing Bass: The Scientific Approach for Catching More Fish. In it, Jones discusses research evidence that suggests bass remember lures for a long time – “for at least up to three months and perhaps much, much longer.” 

The challenge for the angler is staying ahead of the curve. One of the best ways is to fish outside of the box, choosing baits the fish have probably never seen before. Or fishing baits that have fallen out-of-favor for newer, trendier baits.

Or simply up-sizing the same baits we already know are effective.

I remember fishing a river system one spring day. We had started early to avoid the crowds, then battled skyrocketing temps throughout the day. I know a lot of anglers like to be on the water during those warm spring days, but I prefer more stable conditions.

Fishing was predictably slow under the changing conditions so I slowed down like you do during a cold front and went to smaller baits while casting to timber and current seams along the bank. We landed four bass running between 1.5 and 2 pounds.

There was another boat working the same bank behind us…with a lone angler in the bow. I saw him hook up a couple times, but didn’t think much of it at the time.  

Later, back at the launch, I asked the other angler how he had done. He said he caught five fish, including a 3-pounder and two 4-pound fish flippin’ the same river timber I had fished ahead of him.

I asked him, “What bait where you flippin’?”

His plaintive response: “Power Lizards.”

I hadn’t thought to go larger with my presentation and so this information was striking. But the more I thought about it, the logic behind it was too strong to ignore…how many other anglers would go in this direction during difficult situations like cold fronts or what I call “heat fronts”?

When you get a week of average temps and all of a sudden the temperature sky-rockets into the 80 or 90s (or higher), water temps change drastically. It’s like what happens during a cold front, but in reverse. And the effects on bass and other fish are the same; their movements slow. If you monitor the water temps on your electronics, there are situations where increases can be as much as 8, 10 or even more degrees in a day. Where I live, going from 40-degree overnight air temps to 80 degrees by late afternoon is not uncommon!

When faced with drastic temperature increases, I often hold off fishing my best spots until late in the day when temperatures stabilize somewhat. By this time, the biggest fish with the most mass will have had time to acclimate to the change and will be more active.  The bass that do feed during these dramatic shifts in water temperature often look for the biggest meal with the least amount of metabolic effort. Like any host of large amphibians, salamanders and the like.

Still, a lot of anglers are hesitant to fish lizards, thinking they’re only big-fish baits. In reality, a lizard doesn’t appear too large to bass, which typically track prey from behind. The visual cue is only part of the equation. What can really stimulate their feeding or attack response has to do with how they feel that bait. With its many appendages, a lizard displaces more water and produces more vibrations, which the bass picks up via its lateral line.

An angler needs to ask a few questions:

How big of a bait can I get away with on a given body of water? And secondly, what will be most appealing to the biggest fish in a school?

At times it makes sense to start smaller, but there are times when going large is the right move.  

If the waters have big fish and lots of pressure, I may start bigger because I can. And for the past couple of years, I’ve been fishing lizards … a lot.

Why more anglers aren’t fishing lizards is a real head-scratcher. But I can relate. The past decade we’ve seen so many new and effective creature-style baits and worm designs hit tackle shelves that it was easy to forget the proven performer.

Lizard Rigging Tips

When rigging lizards, hooks can make or break your day. I learned long ago that while great for compact, creature baits, EWG-style hooks are not the best choice for Texas-rigging lizards or big worms.

Instead, I use a 5/0 or 6/0 offset worm hook that provides great hook-up ratios and allows the baits to move fluidly, as designed.

Historically, my favorite lizard is the 6-inch PowerBait Power Lizard, although I’m starting to catch a lot of bass on the Gary Klein-designed Havoc Boss Dog, too. But given that bass will often grab lizards and big worms in the middle – rather than inhaling the entire bait – the PowerBait formula really puts the odds in your favor. They simply hold on to the bait longer, giving you more time for a solid hookset. 

In terms of color, my favorite is pumpkin with a chartreuse tail, which is based purely on nostalgia; it produced my first giant bass years ago and still works great today. But I also carry black/blue, black, green pumpkin and watermelon.

In terms of line…I fish 10- to 15-lb. Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon in clear waters; 15- to 17- lb. for stained conditions. And in waters with double-digit bass, I’ll go even heavier. I like the sensitivity you get with fluoro, the fact it sinks, and the near invisibility factor. 

Another cool thing about fishing heavy fluoro with lizards or big worms is it decreases the amount of tungsten or lead weight you need to use. You get some sinking factor with the line itself. That means I’ll often fish lizards or big worms weightless in shallow-water (1.5- to 2 feet) situations. Plus, the Berkley PowerBait Power Lizard is pretty bulky in the body. All this adds up to long casts and easy fishability.

Rod & Reel Setup

One of my secrets to fishing lizards is upping the speed. Rather than the typical “lift-drag” Texas rig retrieve, I’ll use a twitch-twitch-reel-reel-shake and repeat. This gets the appendages really pushing water. To those ends, I like a higher-geared baitcaster like the 7.0:1 Abu Garcia Revo MGX

Speaking to that reel, it weighs around 5 ounces, which means when combined with a feathery 7’6” fast action, medium-heavy power Abu Garcia Veracity, you can easily fish these big baits all day without fatigue. Plus, fishing lighter rods and reels gives you better sensitivity…important for detecting bites on the drop. 

Parting Words

This season pay attention to drastic temperature swings and fish them like cold fronts in reverse. Size up and try lizards for more and bigger bass, even during difficult situations on pressured waters. 

About Steve Pennaz

Steve is one of the most trusted voices in fishing. From 1988 until 2012, he served as Executive Director for the North American Fishing Club, including North American Fisherman magazine, and the club’s daily enewsletter “Fishin’ Informer.” He’s also hosted several television series, including “North American Outdoors,” “North American Fisherman,” and “Fishing Club Journal.” Pennaz launched Knot Wars, now a successful app on iPhone and Droid. He excels at finding and catching fish on new waters, a skill that now drives “Lake Commandos.”