HOW TOUGH IS NEW ENGLAND TO HUNT ?

HOW TOUGH IS NEW ENGLAND TO HUNT

Recently I have seen a lot of content pertaining to the best states to hunt in contrast to the worst. The general consensus throughout the country is that New England is the worst part of the country to deer hunt. Although I understand where these ideas are coming from as the data does show New England at the lowest percent for success rates in Whitetail hunting, I want to clarify a bit of New England pride.

For the record, I have in fact hunted throughout the United States, and for even a stronger base line I have harvested my fair share of Pope & Young Class bucks. What my experiences have taught me is this.

If you have harvested a buck no matter what size in the state of New Hampshire you deserve a trophy. If you have challenged the unforgiving swamps of Maine to put meat on your table, then you are accomplished. If you have concurred the Green Mountains of Vermont or any mountains of northern or western New England then you are tough.

If you have experienced the mecca of suburban deer hunting in the southern New England states like Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, then you take pride in your accomplishments. This is because despite the odds being stacked against us at every corner- we continue to do the impossible. Even the influx in suburban hunting that has put many trophies in the Northeast Big Buck Club is still far more challenging than the big buck paradises of the Midwest and South.

So what are the hard facts of success rates for deer hunters in New England? The most complete statistics I was able to come up with were from data collected by the federal and state governments in 2011.

The most successful state for New England deer hunters is Connecticut for the 50,000 hunters, 12,897 deer were harvested. That puts the ratio at 25.7% between number of hunters and deer taken. At the lowest end was Maine, with 181,000 hunters and 18,839 deer harvested it drops their ratio to 10.4%. This only exasperates the continued struggle with the Maine deer herd and the economic impact associated with it.

The ratio’s for hunter to deer harvest for the rest of New England is as follows. Rhode Island – 12.1%, Vermont – 13.4%, Massachusetts – 19.9%, and New Hampshire – 20.7%. So how does this data relate to the rest of the country?  If you hunt Texas you can take comfort in a deer harvest to hunter ratio of 150%! In fact Texas posted statistics claiming over 58% of the hunters in 2011 harvested deer.

The south eastern state of South Carolina has a deer harvest to hunter ration of 89.1%. Missouri comes in at 50.9%, Wisconsin at 38.8%, and Ohio at 39.2%.

To put it plainly if you hunt New England the odds are significantly stacked against you. The deer harvest to hunter ratio for the region averages out to 17%, which is almost three times less than even the worst Midwest states.

I also feel it is necessary to mention our Northeast sister states of New York and New Jersey. New York comes in at a 27.7% ratio with 823,000 hunters and 228,000 deer harvested in 2011. The state of New Jersey came in as the place to hunt in the Northeast with a 53.3% ratio for deer harvest to hunter’s ratio.

So the next time you hear someone bash New England on deer hunting, or make comments about the size of a deer. Remind them, that not only is New England breeding the toughest hunters in the country, but every deer is a trophy in its own right.

- A.J. DeRosa

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

http://www.urbandeercomplex.com/

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THE ADVANTAGE OF WALKING TRAILS

THE ADVANTAGE OF WALKING TRAILS

I have listened to plenty of hunters express a general level of frustration when it comes to hunting areas with heavily used walking trails. Discouraged at the sight of “extreme” outdoor enthusiasts power walking past a heavily beat up deer run that we were banking on for some hunting success. Although these everyday humans are trampling our suburban hunting paradise, when approached at the correct angle they actual pose a huge advantage.

Suburban and urban deer have a certain level of tolerance for human traffic in their woods. That all steaming from the fascinating process of classic conditioning, the subject at the fundamental core of my book ‘The Urban Deer Complex’. Whitetail’s recognize and process the difference between threatening and non-threatening human behavior.

That being said, plenty of us have experienced witnessed deer from a treestand watch the “extreme” outdoor enthusiasts walk by with just a casual alertness to their presence. I have written a lot on the topic of walking trails, as a method of modern still hunting, urban camouflage and in the series ‘The Science of Fear- Flight Distances’. What I care to concern ourselves in this article is using walking trails as a non-invasive method of treestand access.

There are a couple things to consider with using heavily used walking trails for treestand access. The first major advantage is wind direction, or more lack a lack of having to worry about wind directions during walks to and from stand locations. Whitetail deer, (even mature bucks) have come to expect that scent blowing off the walking trail maybe a 100 yards off their bedding sanctuary. In fact, they take a level of comfort in knowing where we are.

I try to position my treestand with least amount of invasive assess to “virgin” ground. That virgin ground is the soil one step off the walking trail, where our behavior (in the eyes of a Whitetail) turns from “extreme” outdoor enthusiast to predator. If I have to walk an extra half mile around walking trails- so be it. At that point all we are to a Whitetail is the next spandex wearing circus for entertainment while chewing on some acorns.

The second thing to remember with these heavily used walking trails is how much they actually do not impact a Whitetails movement. Yes, they will stop to the let the human walk by, and stay still from detection, but they will still in fact cross the trail and continue on their way.

As a bow hunter, more than once the people walking on trails have made it possible for me to draw back on my prey. That distraction is one more unique weapon in the arsenal of the suburban hunter, one that can in fact make the difference between harvesting our buck of a lifetime.

Although we all understand the slight frustration from people on walking trails breaking the silence of a calm wilderness, remember outside ruining that serene moment there are benefits to these walking trails. We need to consider them an advantage with treestand setups, distractions for drawing our bows, and as mentioned in my book and other articles, a vicious cover for aggressive still hunting tactics.

 

- A.J. DeRosa

https://www.facebook.com/bpsfoxborough

http://www.basspro.com/foxborough

http://urbandeercomplex.com/

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3 Surburban Deer Hunting Mistakes You Can't Afford To Make

Old Sign Can Be a Good Sign

Like any deer, suburban deer seek to live as normal and habitual life as possible. Unfortunately, suburban deer are subjected to a wide array of unpredictable human interferences that can make patterns look more like chaos rather than habitual behavior. As suburban deer hunters we often find ourselves frustrated, finding an area full of sign that suddenly went cold. Many of us will chalk up this potential suburban deer hunting mecca as a lost cause.

What we often do not realize is that Whitetails, like most creatures, want to continue a normal life that often becomes interrupted. These human interruptions lead to what actually appears as random behavior, when truly the constant is that they do in fact want to live a scheduled life. This can make an area with old sign not a symbol of days gone by but rather a potential for a major future hot spot.

Eventually suburban deer will return to the location and it’s better to be there before, rather than always changing up spots to only find ourselves one step behind. One thing to always keep in mind is that the deer still do need a reason to come back, so be aware of whether there is food, bedding, travel routes, or whatever makes the property still of value to a suburban Whitetail Deer.

Just Because You Cannot Hunt Somewhere Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore It

One of the most common mistakes suburban hunters make is limit the areas they scout and gather intelligence. We find ourselves limited to the areas we have permission to hunt, making the big picture more perplexing than ever. The fact that suburban hunting areas are often so limited makes it very important that we reach outside our comfort zone (to surrounding properties no matter how small). If we find ourselves unable to find bedding areas, rub lines, or some bit of information on a deer you know is there, this will put us on the right track.

I hear from so many suburban hunters that they just cannot figure a deer out. If that happens we need to step back and reassess the situation. Suburban deer hunters need to leave the camo and weapon at home and scout the small patches of woods (that abut your hunting property) you never considered, the backyards that may hold keys, and whatever other small piece of the puzzle around your hunting spot, that can help us figure a deer out. It will change the way we hunt the properties we do have permission to be on. 

(Be aware of local trespassing laws, even when scouting without a weapon.)

Do Not Hesitate To Use Aggressive Tactics

Suburban deer hunting is just plain different from big woods hunting. It isn't about one being better than the other; it is about adapting methods that are relevant to the areas we hunt. Traditionally, many of us have used much more conservative methods of hunting classic rural settings. One thing I have learned particularly in suburban buck hunting is that some bucks are only killable through aggressive tactics.

Now I do not mean illegal tactics. What I mean is such bold moves as hanging up in a treestand directly into a bucks bedding area (before it beds), driving a buck out into a huntable area, or hunting a deer hard and early in the season. We are subjected to so many factors in suburban deer hunting, that we often find ourselves out of options before we even had a chance to try.

If you are interested in more information on subjects like these, check out my groundbreaking book, ‘The Urban Deer Complex: Real Tactics of the Part-time Hunter‘.

- A.J. DeRosa

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&tab=3&storeID=58

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CRC and NPR Bringing You Sights and Sounds From the City

CRC and NPR Bringing You Sights and Sounds From the City

Recently we spent the day with Bob Oaks, the host of morning side and crew on the Charles River in Boston. Follow the link to experience a day on the water with CRC.

Reeling With A Real Skyline: Fishing On The Charles

BOSTON — Snaking 80 miles from Echo Lake in Hopkinton before meeting the Atlantic Ocean in Boston, the Charles is the city’s river of life — especially in the summer.

On its banks are strollers, runners, readers, bikers and sunbathers. And on the water, thanks to years of stewardship and a massive environmental cleanup effort, the river is a playground for sailors, rowers, kayakers, canoeists and duck boaters.

But it’s also increasingly a setting for urban fishing. And if you ask longtime fishing enthusiast Greg Miner — who in 2010 founded Charles River Charters, a one-boat charter fishing company — the river is home to some of the region’s best fishing.

So we decided to try it out ourselves. We launched Miner’s 19-foot bass boat from Community Rowing in Brighton and headed for downtown, to fish from the Storrow Lagoon along the Esplanade.

Interview Highlights:

On the great views:

Greg Miner: I mean, the views are wonderful — the experience of being out on the water in one of the most beautiful cities in the country is one thing — but to be able to stand down here and fish from the boat with the backdrop of the Prudential building or the Hatch Shell or you name it, it’s kind of a surreal experience.

On giving city dwellers a new perspective:

You’ve got folks that live all up and down the river, from you know Brighton into downtown, and you see it every day and you sort of take it for granted.

But once you get out on the water, and you sort of experience the feeling of being surrounded by the city on the level with the water, it really truly is something that you can’t quite describe until you’re out here.

On what you can lure in:

Mostly we’re catching largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. But the river — believe it or not, even out here in Boston — is home to calico bass, which is also known as black crappie, and yellow perch, pickerel, there’s big carp in here.

I can’t recommend eating anything, just by virtue of where we live. Even though the river has come a very long way from what it used to be, it’s still a bit dicey.

(The latest fish consumption advisory from the State Public Health Department agrees.)

http://www.wbur.org/2014/08/08/charles-river-urban-fishing

https://www.facebook.com/CharlesRiverCharters?fref=ts

http://charlesrivercharters.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/reeling-with-a-real-skyline-fishing-on-the-charles/

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If You Are Against Hunting, You Are Against Conservation

Hunting and conservation are one in the same. Many would love to debate that statement, but at the end of the day facts are facts. These are the top three reasons that if you are against hunting, you are against conservation.

The Bill for Wildlife

On a state level, over 90% of the money raised to maintain local Fish & Wildlife programs comes from the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. Maybe you do not like that, but the truth is that politicians see more “election value” in other social issues, like building highways, expanding industry, and creating jobs. The irony is that the creation of the National Parks Service was to help create jobs and pull us out of the great depression. Can you imagine a politician in the 21st century proposing the creation of jobs to aid our natural resources?

Hunting Conservation

We all know about the National Audubon Society, The World Wildlife Fund, Green Peace, and other local, national and international organizations. They have done some great things for wildlife and helping protect nature. What you are not told is that there are far more powerful and successful conservation groups, and they are hunting organizations.

Today you can thank Ducks Unlimited for protecting more wetlands to secure migration roots of waterfowl than any other organization. This hunting organization has conserved 13,206,088 acres of land in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and influenced programs and assistance in another 105,217,572. With a war chest of over 3.9 Billion dollars raised in the U.S. alone with 81% going directly into conservation you can thank them when you go feed the ducks. (Feeding ducks is bad for them by the way).

So if the ducks aren’t enough to prove hunters are conservationists, let’s talk about the American Turkey. After many failed attempts by the United States government to repopulate the, at one time, threatened American Wild Turkey, they finally gave up. Hunters, not ready to face the end of a species that they coveted as an American pastime, took action. In 1973 a group of hunters created The National Wild Turkey Federation.

Assisting local, state, and federal governments with funding and man power the NWTF helped rebound the Wild Turkey population from 30,000 birds to over 7 million today. In fact the very birds I hunt in my home town are a result of 21 birds released in 1988 by the NWTF, and now people complain there are too many.

With the NWTF new, ‘Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt’ program they have pledged to raise 1.2 billion dollars (yes billion, not million) to the future of the Wild Turkey. I could write volumes on all the hunting conservation organizations like The Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and even the hated National Rifle Association- just to name a few.

The Ultimate Sustainable System

In a recent short film posted by HunterGreen.Org, entitled ‘The Original Red Meat’ they draw the direct parallel between sustainable practices and deer hunting in the United States. With the bold statement, “I do not recreationally use the outdoors, I am not a tourist to the trees, I am a participating member of a sustainable ecosystem. A 100% organic system of life.” This very real and untold reality is why hunting is seeping into the green movement.

The self-contained system relies on well-maintained laws and hunting seasons to regulate populations with close scientific monitoring. Despite the distorted mainstream belief that hunting is about killing, it is more about the preservation of a species to maintain the future of our passion. With the utmost respect for our prey, hunters do not rely on the smoke and mirrors of supermarkets and the meat industry to sell them a pretty packaged lie.

This is about moral responsibility of our food, our wildlife, and the future of this planet.

A.J. DeRosa of DANGEROUS COW PUBLISHING, LLC and HunterGreen.Org

https://www.facebook.com/dangerouscow

http://www.dangerouscow.com/

Bass Pro Shops: Foxborough, Massachusetts

 

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Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 2

Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 2

by Captain Jim Barr

of www.skinnywaterchartersri.com

Go Barefoot in the Boat- If the weather/water is warm, going barefoot in the boat helps the angler to avoid stepping on their fly line. Footwear of any kind provides enough insulation to prevent you from being able to feel that you are stepping on your line. Many a cast has been ruined and a fish lost by a pinched line on deck.  Bare feet can also present a slipping hazard on a wet deck, so you be the judge. Alternatively use a stripping basket to hold your fly line. Also, remember to stretch your fly line, preferably before you board the boat, and if that's not possible or you forget, strip the fly line off the reel into the wake of the boat as you relocate. Water pressure applied to the fly line will stretch the line and remove any twists and coils. If you do not cast in a relatively straight plane, but have a circular or "oval" rod rotation, this will add twists to your line causing it to kink.

Fluorocarbon or Monofilament Leaders- I have a couple of simple rules on this subject.

1. First, I don't spend stupid money on monofilament and fluorocarbon tippet material. For fluorocarbon I buy "Vanish" manufactured by Berkley. For monofilament I buy "Berkley Trilene Big Game" in Clear.I buy spools of this quality line in different tests. For Fluorocarbon, typically 17 and 20 lb and for Big Game, typically spools in 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 lb. test. I tie my own tapered leaders thus the reason for buying multiple spools of different test. Ultraviolet rays combined with the effects of saltwater degrade these lines, so annually I throw out the leftover spools and buy fresh material.

2. When it comes to what lines to use. My simple rule is if I am using a floating fly line with a floating fly pattern because I want the fly to be on the surface or just below the surface, my leader and tippet system is made entirely of monofilament (nylon) line. On the other hand, if I am fishing deeper waters, particularly around cover such as heavy seaweed, ledge and boulders, the first four feet of my leader is 40lb monofilament, but the balance of the leader system is Fluorocarbon material. Fluorocarbon is nearly invisible under water and it is made of a heavier density copolymer... so it sinks. It's valued for its refractive index which is similar to that of water, making it less visible to fish. Mono floats/Fluro sinks- easy to remember.

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Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 1

Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 1

by Captain Jim Barr

of www.skinnywaterchartersri.com

Hook Set- Many fly anglers new to the salt environment utilize the same fish striking (hook set) they do when striking a trout taking a dry fly. This is an overhead, high rod tip motion with the butt of the rod somewhere between the angler's waist and shoulder. If you use this technique when striking a saltwater fish (Stripers, Bluefish, Bonito and False Albacore to name a few), you're going to miss a lot of fish. The proper technique in saltwater is to keep your rod tip low to the water during your retrieve, and even putting the tip under the water's surface is perfectly acceptable. The retrieve has the fly line loosely pinched between the forefinger or middle finger (or both) of the rod-hand and the fly rod grip as the angler strips in line with the line-hand in a fashion that best imitates the swimming motion of the bait you are imitating. As the line is stripped over the fore-fingers of the rod hand the angler applies more pressure to the pinch point so that if the fish strikes the fly as the angler drops the line to pick it up again for the next strip- the line will stay tight helping to hook the fish. As the angler repeatedly strips line imitating the swimming motion of the bait, when the fish strikes the fly, the angler is in a position to "strip-strike" the fish keeping the rod tip low. The strip-strike has the angler pulling the line with force with the line-hand as he releases pressure at what was the pinch point on the rod-hand. The fly line will go tight immediately, and the rod will begin bouncing under the pressure and head-shaking action of the fish. Typically the hook is set in the fish's jaw, however it's perfectly acceptable to strip-strike the fish again with a good degree of force to "seat" the hook. The angler then raises the rod to play the fish.

 

Rod Positioning While Playing a Fish- After the angler has set the hook and is now playing the fish, care must be taken to land the fish. I see many anglers who engage in hand-to-hand combat, "fighting" the fish as if it's a 200 lb beast. It's unnecessary, and I typically coach new anglers engaged in this life and death struggle, to Relax. Yes, keep pressure on the fish, don't allow a slack line and when the fish wants to run, let it. If the fly reel drag is set properly, it will do the work of applying pressure and slowing the fish's run. Typically there is no need (except for the macho photo shot) to rear-back and bend the fly rod in half as you play the fish. The drag and the spring action of the fly rod will do the lion's share of the work. When the fish slows and you can turn it, do so, but keep a tight line and if the fish makes a run back to the boat as Bonito and Albies typically do, reel like a mad person to maintain a tight line/contact with the fish. If the fish pulls to the right, apply pressure to the left, and vice-versa- this will tire the fish more quickly. It's also OK to the turn the fish from side to side to tire it. Remember, for toothy fish, each time you reverse direction the leader is being pulled across the fish's teeth. In the case of Bluefish particularly, a steel leader should prevent being cut off.

Never put your line hand on the rod blank above the fly rod grip to apply additional leverage. A fly rod is meant to flex deep into the handle and putting pressure on the fish with your hand positioned on the blank above the grip may very well cause the rod to break. Additionally, try not to bring the butt of the rod above your waist while fighting a heavy fish. A high rod position exerts significant pressure (bend) on the tip section of the fly rod which may result in breakage.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

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Five Common Casting Problems

Five Common Casting Problems

by Captain Jim Barr

1.      Why isn't the line straightening in front?

You may have forgotten to start every cast with the line fully extended on the water or ground, straight in front of you with no slack.

You may be pulling the rod too far back during your back cast. This will cast the line down toward the ground or water behind you and, consequently higher up on the next forward cast. To fix this, attempt to bring your rod to an abrupt stop nearly vertical (near your ear) during the back cast. Your next forward cast will have a much better chance of straightening out.

You may be pausing too long before you start your forward cast, which allows your back cast to fall near the ground or water. This sends your forward cast up high, and makes it fall in a heap. Open your stance and watch your back cast to understand the timing for bringing the rod forward.

You may be accelerating to a stop with too much force, causing the line to bounce back after it has fully extended in the air.

You may be starting your forward cast with too much speed, which sends the line up high in the air, and then into another heap. Remember to start slowly, then smoothly accelerate to the hard stop. Pretend you are flicking paint off a brush on your forward and backwards stops.

2.      You hear a noise like a snapping bullwhip during your forward cast.

This happens when you start your forward cast too soon, before the line in your back cast has had time to fully straighten. To correct this, pause a bit longer between the back cast and forward cast.

 3.      The line keeps hitting you or the rod.

This usually happens because there is a crosswind blowing the line into you or the rod on either the forward or back cast. To fix this, rotate your body so the rod is on the downwind side of your body (off shoulder cast). Also, be sure to cast with the rod tilted slightly off to the side, away from vertical.

 4.      You hear a "whooshing" noise during the back cast.

You are probably beginning the back cast with too much speed. Start slowly. Remember the rod goes fast only at the end of the cast, not at the beginning. You may also be moving the rod through a very wide arc. Keep the casting arc narrow by stopping your back cast just barely beyond vertical. The more line you have aerialized the wider your casting arc needs to be in order to maintain line speed and to prevent the line from dropping.

5.      Your casting hand is getting tired.

You are working too hard. Take a break. Massage your casting hand with your line hand. This may be a good time to start living dangerously- try casting with your other hand.

 

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12 Steps Guaranteed to Make You a More Accurate Bowhunter

  1. Never dry fire any bow….. There are great amounts of energy stored in the limbs and bowstring. When you release the string with a properly spined arrow that energy is transferred through that arrow and forces it down range. The energy has to go somewhere. Without an arrow that energy would transfer through the string to the cams and limbs forcing the bow to literally explode.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart so if you were to draw a line from your back toe to your front toe, it would continue and point to your target.
  3. Make sure not to grip the bow with the palm of your hand. Holding the bow this way will create torque in your grip forcing inconsistency in your shot.
  4. Instead place your hand parallel to the ground, bring the bottom center part of your palm to the bow as if to say “STOP” and your finger tabs (not fingertips) to the front of the bow. Keep your thumb pointed at your target. Do not squeeze the grip. Loosely hold the front of the grip just enough so the bow does not fall from your hands. .
  5. Every arrow has an odd vane or fletching. Which way that is indexed will be determined on the type of rest you shoot off of. To nock an arrow, turn the bow parallel to the ground placing the string against your hip. Always grab your arrow 1/3 of the way up the shaft so the odd vane can be determined and also so that your release mechanism does not get in the way or caught up. Place the nock on the bowstring in the center of the D loop. Push until you hear a click when the nock properly seats on the string.
  6. When adjusting an index trigger release mechanism on you wrist make sure you pull on the release jaws with your hand open so that the end of your jaws sit between the first and second knuckle of your index finger.
  7. Always make sure you face the trigger of the release away from you before you draw the bow. Also keep your index finger pressed up against the rear of the trigger until you are ready to fire.
  8. Draw the bow with your bow arm extended out toward your target and your release arms elbow tucked tight into your torso. Utilize more of you back muscles instead of your shoulder until you reach the let-off at full draw.
  9. Bring your release hands index finger knuckle up to the back of your jaw and place it under your earlobe. The elbow of your release hand should point in the exact opposite direction of your target.
  10. Anchor point. THE most important step of shooting accurately and consistent. The string should be placed in the corner of your mouth and also should touch the tip of your nose. Tip of your nose, Corner of your mouth.
  11. With both anchor points in place, look through your peep sight and line up your front sight in the middle of it.Place the correct pin on your target. Bring your index finger over the trigger and feel where it is. Don’t squeeze. Take a breath and exhale. Halfway through your exhale, pause, and gently squeeze the trigger.
  12. Your follow-through is also very important. DO NOT watch the arrow. Instead, Try and keep that pin on the target until the arrow hits it. This will force the habit of keeping your bow arm up for a perfect follow-through.
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Spring Fly Fishing in New England

           

At last winter is behind us and another open water season is at hand! Here in Southeastern Massachusetts the stocking trucks started rolling the week of March 24th. You can get a report of stocking progress on the Mass wildlife website. Stocking reports are updated every Friday. Early season Stillwater trout fishing activity is mainly close to shore around rocky shoals, sand and gravel bottom coves, inlets and outlets and edges of weed beds bordering deeper water. If you don’t see rising fish, keep casting and moving and moving until you locate fish. Even though they may not be rising, cruising fish are often looking for something to eat. Some good prospecting flies include woolly worms and woolly buggers as well as traditional streamer flies such as the Grey Ghost, Black Ghost, Mickey Finn and Black-Nosed Dace. After locating some fish, if the action slows down, switching over to nymphs and wet flies often continues the bite until the fish quit hitting or move on. Old standbys like the Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail, Prince and Midge larva imitations all take fish.              

            In rivers and streams early season fish are tight to cover to avoid fighting the main current flow. Targeting rocks, logs and other current breaks as well as back eddies and slower pools and runs will help you locate fish. Stream fishing is usually slow until the water warms a bit and the flow is more manageable. As streams warm toward the end of April and early May, streamers, nymphs, wet flies and dries all take fish. The same nymphs, streamers, and wet flies which work in ponds work in streams also. In addition, Hendrickson and Quill Gordon dry flies imitate early season mayflies. An excellent reference for hatches and the flies that imitate them is A Hatch Guide for New England Streams by Thomas Ames Jr. Small Black Gnats, Mosquitoes, and Griffith’s Gnats work well when stream or Stillwater trout are rising to midges.

            Right after ice-out dark bottomed ponds and some isolated coves in lakes begin to warm and become attractive to largemouth bass, pickerel, crappies, perch and bluegills. The best areas are coves, set-backs, swampy areas- especially those with stumps, blow downs or other woody cover, and slow moving inlets and outlets. Largemouth bass congregate in these up until spawning time when they spread out more for the spawning ritual. An accurately placed Woolly Bugger, Bunny fly, Deceiver, hackle fly like the Seducer as well as crawfish imitations will all take these shallow water bass. A light landing streamer fly won’t spook as many fish as hardware in the shallows. Bass of all sizes will eventually use these shallow areas, but some are real bruisers and a big bass tearing up the shallows can be exciting.

            Spring weather can be quick changing, with vernal cold fronts often frequent and severe. Stretches of warm weather gets the food chain started and a couple of warm days before a front comes through can really jump start the fishing. As the front comes in and the storm begins the fishing can be great. After a few hours of cold rain and wind things begin to shut down, and a northwest wind and clearing skies after the storm signals slow fishing until things warm up a bit. A day or two of warm sunshine will get things back on track, though.

            Toward the end of April and early May Stripers will return and begin to work their way North. Estuaries that are beginning to warm and support Herring runs will eventually attract bigger Stripers intent on taking advantage of all the groceries. Spring and early summer is a great time for wading and inshore saltwater fishing. Deceivers, Clousers, Bucktails and Surf Candies will get you into Spring Stripers. Check your backing and fly lines, attach a new leader and get there!

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8 Ways To Catch A 25lb Striper

8 Ways To Catch A 25lb Striper From Your Boat This Spring On Cape Cod

Part 2

 

5)  Troll A Tube Down Along The Elizabeth’s

The tube and worm is a great way to catch a big bass, especially if you are new to a specific area. Down along the Elizabeth Islands the tube and worm has caught big bass for decades.

Some guys will get in tight to the rocks and troll, but if you’re paranoid about the house-size rocks you can troll a bit farther offshore while casting plugs in towards the beach.

It’s a good way to cover water and survey the coastline. Without a doubt my favorite tube is a 24 inch red un-weighted.

6)  Ditch The Boat And Walk The Flats

I really enjoy seeing bass in skinny water. On a bright sunny day it’s almost like fishing in the tropics.

If you have a boat at your disposal you can motor to an unoccupied area of the flats, ditch the boat and fish the area on foot. Of course just be sure to keep an eye on the tide!

This is one of my favorite ways to catch stripers and the best part of all is that you can usually get away with using really light tackle. On the flats it’s usually all sand for as far as the eye can see, which means you don’t have to worry about the bass cutting you off on a sharp rock or barnacle.

Any sort of lure that mimics a sand eel is usually a good choice. Fresh dead sand eels can be lethal, as can crabs and other prey items which you may stumble across as you walk the sand bars.

7)  Take A Ride Off The Outer Cape

Vast schools of bait fish, stripers, bluefish and tuna swim just offshore Outer Cape Cod during the spring. Some guys will even catch tuna, stripers and bluefish during the same trip.

Fishing this area is a long ride from just about any port on Cape Cod. This means you will probably have some space to yourself which is good, but it also means that you are going to have to work to find the life.

Keep an eye out for diving gannets, which will show you the way to herring, mackerel and other large prey items.

Humpback whales can often be found feeding in this area. Where you find whales you will usually find large concentrations of bait, which of course can draw bass, bluefish and bluefin.

8)  Fish A Live Pogie

Each year is different, but we’ll sometimes catch a dozen or more live pogies from various Cape Cod harbors and bays during the spring before sunrise. I can’t throw a cast net to save my life, but fortunately for me gill nets do the trick.

A big pogie is pretty irresistible to any striper of more than 25 pounds. If you can stock your live well full of pogies, then I think you will have an excellent chance at bagging that first real cow striper of the season.

Where do you fish the pogies after you catch them?

If I had the choice I would choose a spot with some swift current, or in tight along many of the Cape’s boulder strewn coastlines.

What do you think? Let me know by commenting below.

Tight lines and take care,

 

Ryan Collins - http://myfishingcapecod.com/

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

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8 Ways To Catch A 25lb Striper (Part 1)

8 Ways To Catch A 25lb Striper From Your Boat This Spring On Cape Cod

Part 1

If you are like me then you are really starting to chomp at the bit. Spring is right around the corner and so are the fish.

The first migratory striped bass will be on the small side, but soon thereafter we’ll start seeing much larger stripers. Each spring on Cape Cod bass as large as 50 pounds (I’m sure there’s a 60 in there as well) move north to the Cape.

Spring is a phenomenal time to target big bass from your boat. In this post I’ll share with you 8 different ways you can catch a 25lb or bigger striper from your boat this spring on good ole’ Cape Cod.

1)  Drift A Fresh Dead Whole Mackerel Somewhere With Current

You hear a lot about fishing with live mackerel or chunks of dead mackerel. However I really recommend testing out fishing with whole fresh dead mackerel.

During 2012 I vividly remember one spring trip where fresh dead whole mackerel out produced live mackerel. The trick is finding an area with current, and then allowing the fresh dead whole mackerel to drift and bounce along the bottom.

Use as little weight as possible and hook the mackerel through both lips so that it flutters through the current naturally. Schoolies will occasionally engulf an entire dead mack, however you can target the larger fish in the area by fishing with huge dead macks (14 inches and larger).

2)  Cast Topwater Plugs In Buzzard’s Bay

If you are really on top of your game you might be able to intercept a big school of bass in Buzzard’s Bay before the fish move into the Canal.

These bass are voracious and hungry from the long swim north. At this time of the year the water temperatures in Buzzards are on the cool side, which means you have a good chance of finding topwater action.

I feel like spring is prime time if you fish Buzzard’s Bay.  One of the keys is finding the birds which often lead the way to the topwater blitzes.

If you’d like to make life easier on your boat try crimping down the barbs on your treble hooks. Crimping down the barbs also helps minimize injury to these fresh from the ocean stripers.

3)  Bounce A Bill Hurley At Billingsgate

I love fishing Bill Hurley jigs because they work so well. They aren’t renown for their vertical jigging prowess but I was fortunate to experience some nice success last spring vertical jigging with Bill Hurley’s at Billingsgate Shoal.

One of the traditional methods at Billingsgate is to jig wire when the bass are paving the bottom. Last year I opted to “sit” on top of the fish and slowly jig Bill Hurley’s as we drifted through the area that other boats wire jigged.

This was the first time I tried this technique and we caught some awfully nice bass up to 30 pounds. To get the jig a little extra attention try rigging a Red Gill Teaser a couple feet up the line.

4)  Pick A Nantucket/Vineyard Sound Shoal And Give It A Shot

There are many shoals and rips throughout Nantucket and Vineyard Sound. During the spring some of these rips become inundated with squid and other bait fish.

Unlike July and August, the water here during the spring is still cool, which means you can find some really nice bass. The stripers will often be chasing squid which means topwater plugs, rubber, parachute jigs and fresh dead squid are a go-to.

It can take years to figure out what tides fish the best, and what shoals the bass are most attracted to. However during the spring you can find success by moving around and fishing as many shoals as you can in one trip.

If you login the time and cover enough water you’ll eventually find some life.

What do you think? Let me know by commenting below.

Tight lines and take care,

Ryan Collins - http://myfishingcapecod.com/

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

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Day Dreaming of Spring

Anyone who loves fishing as much as I do, knows that by mid-winter we really start itching to get back out on the water and need fishing related activities to satisfy our craving. This is the time of year when spending some time diving into the books can be super beneficial. All season long I am constantly reading, learning, testing and practicing, but in the winter it is a little bit easier to sit and absorb the material without distraction. With all the ever changing baits, styles, natural forages, weather patterns and presentations of today, it is important to learn as much as you can to be prepared for situational fishing. Don't get me wrong, the joy of fishing can be found by just heading down to the lake, grabbing a rod, tossing out any old bait at any old time and catching some fish, but for those of you who are looking to take it to the next level or just want to know more about the patterns and cycles of your fish, putting in the time is crucial. This winter, take a little bit of extra time and pick a topic that you would like to be better at. Study it; memorize it and when the spring comes put it to the test. Just like when we were in school, if you put the time in and get good results, you will be rewarded right away and with that, you will be Hooked.

Something else that every angler should be looking forward to and equally as important is to organize and prepare you gear for the upcoming season. Depending on your skill level, all of this information may not pertain to you, but if you spend as much or more time on the water than not, most of these tips will ring true. Lure preparation is very important. I like to make sure that all of the old line is clipped away from the split rings and adjust any of the rings as needed to make sure the bait is running true. It is also very important is to check the hooks on your lures. Many times it is a good idea to change them out season to season or more often depending on the style of fishing you do. Dont forget to check the paint job. On many of our lures that are beat up, it is possible to do some touch ups of our own, and it is a good way to refurbish your supply without spending a fortune on new stuff. Another important aspect to preparing is going through your terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jig heads and the myriad of other peices we have should be inspected and organized accordingly for the upcoming season. Organization of your gear is very important, especially on the water because it puts what you need in your hand quickly and allows you to get your line in the water faster. Speaking of line, this is perhaps the most important thing I would recommend doing in the off season. I like to strip all of my old line off from the season before and re spool everything. Now, that may not be necessary for you to do especially if you only fish a couple times a week or even a handful of times a season, but for me, I am on the water every day, and I go through a ton of line. By the end of the season, the line still on the reel has been used and abused. I will spend some time oiling and greasing my reels, and then I will put all new line on before the start of the new season. There is nothing worse than heading out for your first fishing trip of the season, targeting some big pre-spawn bass and hooking a monster only to have your old line from last season fail. It will really start you off on the wrong foot for the year and put you in the wrong frame of mind as a fisherman. Hopefully some of these tips will help you to ride out the winter a little bit easier and be better prepared for an outstanding fishing season in the spring.

 

Greg MinerCharles

River Charters

508-560-2496 

http://www.charlesrivercharters.com/

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

 Enter here for a chance to win the Bass Pro Shops Ultimate Tackle Give away!  http://bit.ly/1geOze9

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Satisfy Those Winter Cravings

Satisfy Those Winter Cravings

 

Every year right around this time, the urge to feel a tug on my line becomes too much to ignore. Even though the temperature has been exceedingly cold and the conditions are tough for fisherman, there are still some exciting and fun fishing opportunities for anglers thru the ice. The first and most important thing is to research the ice that you plan on fishing as thoroughly as you can, most importantly, ice safety. Check with other fisherman, or even your local police or fire station may have information on ice thickness. Once you determine that the ice is safe, you’ll need to make sure you have all your gear ready to roll before you head out so you don't get stuck out there with non functioning gear.

I like to head over to Bass Pro shops in Foxboro. They have everything I need from hand warmers to ice augers, jigging spoons to ice fishing tip ups. They have it all and that makes it super easy to grab what I need and go. After our pit stop at BPS we head out for a great day of fishing. Last week before our latest bout with snow, a few friends and I tried our luck at a small pond in Natick, MA.

The pond is known for its clarity and depth so we brought a combination of tip ups and shiners as well as jigging rods. Armed with Swedish pimples and little Cleo's (all of which are available at BPS I believe) we spent a good portion of the day jigging over deep holes. Of course we set a few tip ups just to increase our odds of hooking up with something and to feel the excitement of racing over to the trap not knowing what is on the other end.

The first hit of the day came from a nice yellow perch. Man was it fun to feel the fight on my light tackle jigging rod for first time in a long time. After that, we hit some crappie and pickerel. Nothing too big but we did see some really nice yellow perch a little later in the day right before we left. We spent about 6 hours out on the ice that day and caught more pan fish then we could count. We caught and released everything of course, back to their icy winter world in hopes of seeing them again in the warmer months ahead. 

If you haven't had a chance to get out on the ice this season or ever have never tried ice fishing before, there is still time for you to get out and experience the excitement. There are so many people and places with information that are happy to share and help get you in the best position possible to catch some fish and have a safe and fun time doing it. 

 

Greg Miner

Charles River Charters

508-560-2496

www.charlesrivercharters.com

“Life is better on the river"

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

 

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Not So Fast! Preparing your fishing equipment for the off season:Part 3

Not So Fast! Part 3

Suggestions for preparing your fishing equipment for the off season.

by Captain Jim Barr- www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com- Bass Pro Shops, Foxboro, MA- Pro Staff- 10/23/13

 

Fly, Spinning and Baitcasting Rods:

Use an old but clean toothbrush and with hot soapy water clean the reel seat, the fittings  that secure the reel to the reel seat and the screw threads of the reel seat. Clean around all of the guides and the tip top. If the cork grip is discolored, or slick with an oily residue- use a very fine grit sandpaper or 0000 steel wool and carefully rub down the grip to restore it's color and smooth surface. (Use masking tape to cover the rod blank and the reel seat immediately adjacent the cork grip to guard against scratching). If there are cracks in the cork or sections where the cork filler dislodged, mix cork dust (sand a wine bottle cork and collect the fine dust) with waterproof glue (Elmer's), and using a flat wooden stick or coffee stirrer, push the paste into the cracks and pits. Wait 24 hrs to allow the cork/glue slurry to cure and then carefully sand the grip with fine grit sand paper to return it to nearly new condition. Wipe down your rod sections with a clean cloth soaked in hot soapy water (use a mild soap). I like to then polish each rod section with a furniture spray wax such as Pledge. Spray the wax onto a clean dry cloth and polish each rod section. For multi-piece rods, apply beeswax, bowstring wax (or paraffin wax at a minimum) to each male ferrule of the rod sections. (The wax keeps the rod sections from coming loose after repeated casting). For fly rods, store the rod sections in a rod sock and secure everything into the appropriate rod tube. (If your rod tubes have a description of the rod on the exterior make sure you've got the right rod in the right tube, otherwise you might be in for a surprise when it’s time to fish. Pay attention to the details. Store the tube in a cool and dry environment. For one-piece rods, several storage related products are very helpful in organizing and protecting your investments. Most anglers will store their rods with the reels attached and that’s fine as long as it’s done carefully. Most however roughly gather the rods together and prop them in a corner of the basement or garage so they are stacked on top of one another. I have several suggestions:

 

  1. Remove all terminal tackle and wind all the line onto the spool and secure the line with a rubber band or ladies hair tie.
  2. Slip rod socks over each rod to protect the blank and guides from damage. Most of our rods these days are constructed of graphite. If these rod blanks are scratched or nicked they can easily fail under the load of a fish or during the casting process. Protect your rods with simple covers: Bass Pro Shops Rod Sock
  3. Rather than propping the rods leaning against one another, develop a system for storage, whether it’s overhead or standup design. I recommend vertical storage systems in rod carousels. They don’t use much space, and they rotate making it very easy to remove specific rods without sorting through the “pickup sticks” type storage.
  4. Where necessary, replace worn or broken guides on your rods. The following link will take you to a You Tube video that explains the repair process. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki0GviM6WI0

 

Zippers: Take particular care with any clothing items and gear bags that have zippers. Zippers exposed directly to salt water and salt air can get encrusted and lock up, and when you forcibly try to free them because you're in a hurry, the zipper head or slide will often break. The following link will take you to a blog on my website that offers tips on how to remove salt, clean and maintain zippers exposed to the salt environment. http://www.skinnywaterchartersri.com/SWC-Blog.html?entry=zip-it-up

 

These suggestions cover much of what anglers should pay attention to as they prepare to put their equipment away for the winter months. Like your car or your house, regular maintenance will help ensure that your equipment will last longer, look better and be ready for next year’s fishing season.

For additional tips, suggestions and announcements from Skinny Water Charters, visit my website at www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com.

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David's Fishing Poem

Shared with us by Greg Minor of Charles River Charters

 

David is 10 yrs old and quite a little fisherman. After a couple of trips with CRC, he was inspired to write this poem for a school project. I think its great and it speaks to the passion these young kids have about our sport. Makes me feel good about the future! 

 

I held my breath as I cast, 

Releasing it as the bait hit the water.

I waited with anticipation,

For nothing else at the moment mattered.

 

The line tightened upon the water,

As the current pulled it downstream.

To catch a big ole fish today

Was my wholehearted dream.

 

I felt a tug, and then another...

I waited for the perfect time,

To set my hook and catch my prize.

The moment was so sublime.

 

The big bass fought with all her might

To loosen herself from my hook,

But I was determined and held my rod high.

My job was not forsook.

 

My heart was racing, I squealed with glee

As I watched the big girl fight. 

She lept from the water, did a quick dance 

And escape, she hoped she might.

 

I smiled with pride as I lifted my prize

And admired her natural beauty.

I then returned her to the river,

For this, I felt was my duty. 

 

Greg Miner

Charles River Charters

508-560-2496

www.charlesrivercharters.com

 

“Life is better on the river"

 

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

 

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Not So Fast! Preparing your fishing equipment for the off season: Part 2

Umpqua-Glide-Fly-Line-Dressing-KitBaitcast Line WinderNot So Fast! Part 2

Suggestions for preparing your fishing equipment for the off season.

by Captain Jim Barr- www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com- Bass Pro Shops, Foxboro, MA- Pro Staff- 10/23/13

 

Fly Lines and Backing:

Inspect your fly line backing closely. Dacron and Gel Spun backing is very durable however it can become damaged from exposure to the elements or if a fish takes you deep into structure during the fight and rubs the line against abrasive surfaces. If it is frayed in spots or simply has not been replaced for some time, replace it with fresh backing… it’s cheap insurance to prevent losing the fish of your life. In most cases 30 lb Dacron backing is perfectly adequate for saltwater fishing. (Use 20lb for freshwater). If you desire a thinner backing that will allow more line to be added to your large arbor spools, Gel Spun is a good choice, albeit a bit more pricey. In most cases, 200 yards of backing is plenty for stripers, bluefish, false albacore and bonito. For other faster and longer running fish, best to consult with an expert shop or guide who can advise what’s necessary. 

 

Inspect your fly line closely, particularly the first 30-40 feet, for cracks in the plastic coating. Repeated casting and exposure to salt, sand, and the sun’s UV rays will take a heavy toll on fly lines. If your line has cracks, it will likely be to the “head” section of the line and the line should be replaced.

(You may want to cut off the head section of the fly line and retain the running line portion for fashioning shooting head systems.)  If the fly line is undamaged clean it with warm soapy water and apply a dressing.  Regular cleaning and dressing of your fly lines is absolutely critical in preserving your investment.

 

Rather than rewinding your fly lines back onto the spools, coil the lines in large coils and secure the coils using pipe cleaner ties. Label large plastic re-sealable food bags with the specifics of each line (line type- floating, intermediate, fast sinking etc, and weight) and store the lines in a cool, dry location. Keep these lines stored until spring when you will wind them back onto the reel and spools using your line winder or by hand. Storing lines in large coils will mitigate line memory so that come spring you are not dealing with "slinky toy" coiled lines resulting from being tightly wound on your spools during the off season. I would also suggest that you discard all leaders/tippets tied to your fly lines and await the arrival of spring to replace them with fresh material.

 

Spinning and Baitcasting Lines:

As a fishing guide the lines on my spinning and baitcasting reels take a beating. I go back and forth between using monofilament and braid. Both have good and bad qualities. Monofilament is inexpensive and tangles less frequently than braided line. Mono’s primary downfall from my perspective is that it does not cast as far as braid and has too much stretch. Braided line permits very long distance casts, it’s strength to diameter ratio is a real plus, it does not stretch under load and it creates a super sensitive connection between the angler and the fish, however it is prone to easily developing wind knots and it is prohibitively expensive to replace each season. As for monofilament line maintenance, I simply replace it with fresh line on all reels after each season. As for braid, I replace it when I need to.

In both cases for removing old line from reels, I use empty line spools and attach them to a variable speed drill using a “MacGyver”-type bit or the line winder mentioned earlier in this article. On the spinning reels I secure the open bail with a hair tie to prevent it from accidentally tripping while the line is being rewound onto the waste spool or line winder. In both cases the use of a line winder for adding new line makes the job infinitely easier. Remember to recycle your lines to prevent injury to animals and the environment.

Baitcast Line Winder: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-XPS-Aluminum-Line-Winder-for-Baitcast-Reels/product/104172/

Spin casting line winder: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-XPS-Aluminum-Line-Winder-for-Spinning-Reels/product/20677/

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Not So Fast! Preparing your fishing equipment for the off season: Part 1

Not So Fast!

Suggestions for preparing your fishing equipment for the off season.

by Captain Jim Barr- www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com- Bass Pro Shops, Foxboro, MA- Pro Staff- 10/23/13

Ardent Reel Clean KitBass Pro Shops Reel Tote

Now that the 2013 northeast saltwater fishing season is at an end for most anglers, excepting the “die hards”,  don't be so quick to put away your equipment for the winter months in "as is" condition. End of the season maintenance of fishing equipment used in saltwater requires careful cleaning to avoid ugly surprises when spring arrives and you’re ready to get back on the water. The following suggestions will help you “wind down” from what I hope was a great fishing season by helping you prepare your equipment for its winter slumber. Another reason to clean and prepare your equipment now is for that unplanned opportunity that may arise to fish in the southern climates this winter. If your stuff is ready to go, it’s one last set of chores you need to deal with when you’re getting ready to wet a line. The process of cleaning and organizing your equipment now can also be helpful in identifying those items you’d like to add to inventory or replace that can go onto your personal holiday wish list (to avoid the socks you don’t want and the stale fruit cake!)


The following is a review of what’s critical:

 

Fly Reel & Spare Spools:

Use a line winder and remove all the fly line from your reels and spare spools (or carefully coil the fly line by hand). Anglers Image makes a simple, low cost line winder. Preferably use a high speed line winder with an electric drill to remove the fly line and the backing.

Once the lines (and backing) are removed, thoroughly clean the reel and spools using hot water, mild soap, a spare tooth brush (mark it so you don’t end up using it later to brush your chops) and a clean rag. The following YouTube video by Captain Bruce Chard may assist in the steps for both a short and longer term cleaning regimen.

I keep my fly reels and spools organized in compartmentalized reel cases. As a fly fishing guide I have several of these and they are great for keeping equipment organized and protected. I have separate cases for fresh and saltwater reels and spare spools. You can easily overspend in this category and it’s totally unnecessary:  A very good choice is Bass Pro’s Reel Tote.

For fly, spin and baitcasting reels, purchase a reel cleaning kit that contains the simple tools, solvents, oil and grease your reel needs to say healthy.  Always save your reel’s maintenance instructions that become very helpful in knowing the specific lubrication points for your equipment. If you’re not the type of angler who likes to personally maintain your equipment, find a local shop that is professional and get your equipment to them sooner than later while they are not busy.

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Thanksgiving on the Charles

Life is better on the river

 

Charles River Charters

Every year for a long time now my brother and I slip away for a few hours on Thanksgiving morning in an attempt to work up an appetite by hooking into a few fish. Usually the water is freezing and the wind is wiping but the thought of keeping the tradition alive for another year keeps us warm enough to key in on a few Bass. After yesterdays tropical weather system giving way to bright blue skies Today is no exception. With cold wind and freezing temps we are definatley earning it today. Our traditional trip over to Bass Pro shops in Foxboro armed us with everything we need to give it our best shot. We threw everything from blade baits to soft plastics and jerk baits to drop shots… but finally we found them. Its always a great feeling when you put the right plan together and can land a few fish but what feels even better is maintaining a tradition. As usuall after landing a couple Turkey day Bass we will make our way to the ramp and start the journey home feeling satisfied that we did it again for one more year. Returning with cold faces and fingers we will be greeted with the aromas of Turkey in the oven and the smiles of friends and family and the warm feeling of succeeding in our yearly quest.

 

Fishing in Massachusetts can stay exciting for a long time into the cold weather months. If you would like to start your own tradition whether its Turkey day lunker hunting or just a yearly cold water mission Charles River Charters is there for you. Consider starting your own tradition and experience the feeling of a yearly ritual that is rewarding and exciting!

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Tree Stand Safety

While it might not be the most popular topic in the world tree stand safety is extremely important and should not be ignored. All too often we adopt the attitude that falling out of a tree stand only happens to someone else. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Not only is it important to make sure that you are properly secured when you are in your tree stand but it is also important to be properly secured while you are climbing up to your tree stand or climbing down. Last year I had a hang on stand  I was using in connection with a special conservation hunt in the town where I live. I had a couple of climbing stick sections that I used to get me up to where it was easier to use the tree branches to climb the rest of the way up to the stand. One day as I reached the top of the climbing sticks the sticks pulled away from the tree with me falling over backwards hitting the ground flat on my back. I was lucky that other than being stunned from the fall I had no injuries. I was extremely lucky. Two major mistakes on my part, one, I should have been tied to the tree while climbing and two; I should have checked the climbing sticks to make sure they were securely attached to the tree. Someone had undone the straps and made it look like they were still tight to the tree. Unfortunately we do have to be concerned about the anti hunters who will sometimes go to extremes.

Always make sure that your climbing sticks and your stand are secure before you climb up. It is also a good idea to check the condition of your stands each year before you put them up, something we often overlook to do.

Some of the items that are a necessity for staying safe while using a tree stand are as follows:

  1. A safety harness to be worn and used all times when you are in the tree.

Pictured here are some of the more popular safety harnesses all are designed to provide you with a safe connection to a safety rope which is firmly tied to the tree. The first pictured is a Gorilla G Tac Ghost safety harness. Next is the Hunter Safety System HSS Alpha Harness and the last one is another Hunter Safety System model.

 

  1. A safety rope is also a critical part of your safety gear.

The first safety rope is the Big Game Platinum Collection safe line. The second one is G-20 Gorilla Gear safety harness and the third item is Hunter Safety System Life Climbing line.

  1. A sharp knife should be in an easily accessible place in case you have to cut yourself loose in an emergency. You will eventually black out if hanging unsupported so it is important that you can cut yourself loose if you have to.

 

  1. You should also have a cell phone where you can reach it to call for help in an emergency.

 

One final suggestion is that you try out your safety gear under a controlled situation just high enough off the ground so you will be hanging free. Ideally, this should be done with someone there to help if needed. This will give you a chance to prepare for an emergency if one does occur.

Bass Pro Shops is the perfect place to pick up your tree stands and your safety gear and our expert hunting associates are there to answer any questions and offer suggestions and advice on being safe in your tree stands.

 

Hunt safe,

Don Nelson

Bass Pro Shops

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

 

 

 

Hunting associate

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