Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What's better than a father and son enjoying hunting success

Joshua Lawrence, 12, and his first-ever buck

Is there anything better in the world of fathers and sons than spending their time outdoors, perhaps hunting or fishing? The bond that grows between a father and son is one that lasts forever. Here is 12-year-old Joshua Lawrence who shot his first deer --- a fine 10-point buck --- and he got it with a bow and arrow. Meanwhile, his dad, James Lawrence  (they live in Waldorf, Md.) nailed an 8-pointer.

The deer were bagged in the Charlotte Hall area of St. Mary’s County. As a friend said, “I’m sure that’s a day neither one will ever forget.”  That’s 100% certain.

Waldorf's James Lawrence and a fine 8-pointer.

Monday, October 29, 2012

While we're waiting out the storm, check this out about snakes

24 Venomous Snakes Recovered from Chesterfield Home

From the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries comes a report about Conservation Police Officer Kopelove and how he assisted DGIF biologists in the removal of 24 venomous snakes from the residence of the snakes' deceased owner in Chesterfield County. 

Chesterfield County Police and Animal Control requested help from the DGIF since they had no means to identify and/or transport the snakes. The man was found dead with what appeared to be a snake bite to his finger. The snakes included 5 dusky pigmy rattlesnakes, 1 canebrake rattlesnake, 1 western diamondback rattlesnake, 1 northern Pacific rattlesnake, 2 sidewinder rattlesnakes, 4 adult copperheads, 7 juvenile copperheads, and 3 green tree pit vipers. Possession of venomous snakes is a violation of the Chesterfield County Code of Ordinances. The canebrake rattlesnake is listed as an endangered species in Virginia and is illegal to possess. DGIF personnel are currently working to find new homes for these snakes at certified and licensed facilities.

Question: What is it that possesses a human to want to own deadly snakes? And you already read what happened to this particular snake lover.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bass fisherman says he'll wait until the threatening storm is gone

In full battle dress, this tidal Potomac River bass angler says he is "armed with weapons of bass destruction," but he's not even going to give it another shot until after Frankenstorm Sandy clears the area.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It all depends on the weather, says top-flight angler Dr. Julie Ball

Our favorite lady angler, Dr. Julie Ball, says the weather forecast for the weekend in the lower Chesapeake Bay and adjacent Atlantic Ocean is downright scary because of a character named Sandy. “Hurricane, tropical storm, nor’easter, and even ‘perfect storm’ are among the terms tossed around to describe the big weather event approaching our coastline. What this will mean for fishing along the mid-Atlantic is hard to say for sure,” reports Dr. Julie.

Dr. Julie Ball and a fine speckled sea trout from the lower Chesapeake Bay
In the meantime, speckled trout are pulling way ahead on the fishing wish list as the trout action continues to surge all over the area. If the weather allows, anglers will seek limits of respectable fish averaging to around
20-22 inches in most any protected body of water of the lower Chesapeake Bay and the backwaters of the Eastern Shore. Lures such as the Bass Assassins in cantaloupe, pink ghost, and red gold glitter colors are attracting the most strikes lately, says Julie. Plenty of willing puppy drum in these same areas are also competing for lures.

Cooler weather will continue to push water temperatures down, which means that the big striped bass are on their way. In the meantime, anglers are satisfied with a smaller class of fish. School-sized rockfish are responding all along the lower Bay crossings. Good action can be found on top water plugs around the artificial islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel at dusk and at first light, and along the light lines during night time hours. Rockfish pushing to around 34 and 36 inches are taking chunked menhaden off Fisherman’s Island.

Of course, all bets are off should Sandy smack the Chesapeake and Atlantic beaches.

Animal rights group PETA says people ought to break the law

There is no denying that the animal rights group PETA opposes hunting, but now PETA also is on record urging people to violate laws — make that hunter harassment laws.

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA) says in an October 9, 2012 blog posting, PETA urges its minions to: “Help counter the cruelty of hunting in your area: Post “No Hunting” signs on your land and that of sympathetic neighbors and friends, join or form a local anti-hunting group, protest organized hunts, and spread deer repellent or human hair (from barber shops) near hunting areas. Also, before supporting any wildlife or conservation group, make sure that it opposes hunting.”

Fortunately for hunters, these tactics constitute hunter harassment, a practice that is illegal in all fifty states and also on federal land.  The USSA championed the enactment of these laws during the 1980’s and 1990’s in response to a campaign entitled “Hints for Hunt Saboteurs” by the anti-hunting organization, Friends of Animals. The Sportsmen’s Alliance also helped defend state hunter harassment laws in both Iowa and New Jersey courts when challenged by the anti-hunting lobby. The result has been protection for American sportsmen and women from the exact sort of thing being promoted by PETA.

“It may be hunter harassment in itself for PETA to be encouraging others to break the law,” observed USSA president, Bud Pidgeon. “If indeed there are foolish people out there who follow the PETA directive to harass hunters, I would not be surprised to see the authors of this article charged as well as the perpetrators.”

Hunters encountering protestors, deer repellent or other items placed in their hunting areas should immediately contact their local Conservation Officer (game warden) or local sheriff’s department and report the violation.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Heads North -- is it the Perfect Storm?

 Perfect Storm for the Northeast? BoatUS Urges Boaters to Prepare

ALEXANDRIA, Va. October 25, 2012 -- She's just a day old - and even though no hurricane watches or warnings have yet been posted for the eastern US - Hurricane Sandy is getting some big time attention from forecasters because of unique circumstances that could make her more threatening. Some the forecast models predict Sandy will move into the Northeast next week, merging with another weather system with the potential to form a "Perfect Storm." Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says regardless of how the predictions pan out, boaters need to take heed.

"It gets more interesting as we get closer to the weekend," said BoatUS Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance. "A lot could change, but if you're a boat owner anywhere from the mid-Atlantic to New England, moving up your winter haul-out plans before the storm arrives would be a good idea." And if you can't, you won't regret taking some basic hurricane preparation steps now to help keep your boat safe if this storm touches down near you. "Regardless of whether Sandy meets up with the Great Lakes cold front for a storm of 'historical proportions' as one weather blogger put it, heavy rains and gusty winds could impact much of the Northeast," added Adriance.

Vessels in slips on open water with little wave protection are most vulnerable. The best plan is to remove the boat and store it on high ground. BoatUS has found that when storing boats ashore, using tie-downs secured from deck cleats to anchors embedded in the concrete pad or screwed into the earth with helical anchors can nearly eliminate most storm damage.

Trailerboats should be stored away from trees with the bow up and the drain plug out, with any loose gear removed, and a rope or strap cinched tight securing the boat firmly to the trailer. If a boat cannot be removed from a boat lift, the drain plug should also be removed and the vessel tied securely to its lifting machinery.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More Maryland trout stockings, including suburban locations

The Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources stocked the following locations with trout on October 23:

Rising Sun Pond (200 RB/GN)
                           Oct 23
Howards Pond (300 RB/GN) 
                           Oct 23
Big Elk Creek (700 RB/GN/BN)
                           Oct 23
Tuckahoe Creek (250 RB/GN/BN)
                           Oct 23
Great Seneca Creek (800 RB/GN/BN)
                           Oct 23

The following locations were stocked with trout October 24:

Wheatley Lake (500 RB/GN
                 Oct 24
Myrtle Grove Pond (500 RB/GN)
                 Oct 24
Hughesville Pond (300 RB/GN)
                 Oct 24
Hutchins Pond (250 RB/GN)
                 Oct 24
Calvert Cliffs Pond (250 RB/GN)
                 Oct 24
Casselman River - Delayed Harvest (270 RB/GN)
                 Oct 24
Bear Creek (270 RB/GN)
                 Oct 24

These and all updates are posted on the website at dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/stocking/ and weekly on the phone line 1-800-688-3467.  A press release will be issued to notify anglers when fall stocking is complete.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The catches continue in the tidal rivers and the Atlantic Ocean

Eric Crutchfield, of Bel Alton, Md., caught this beautiful rockfish trolling a bucktail south of Sheridan Point in the Patuxent River. Good show, Eric!

Virginia Beach angler Hunter Southall joined Dr. Ken Neill for a bit of rough-water offshore fishing. Look at that wahoo Hunter came up with.

Photo by
Dr. Ken Neill

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A note to our readers who fish the Shenandoah River: There will be no boat launching available from the Riverton public access ramp in Front Royal until around the first week of Nov. 2012. The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries is re-doing the launch ramp, so let’s give the state a round of applause.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Red-hot striped bass catches are coming from the Bay and rivers

“Rockfish are hot,” says Ken Lamb of the Lexington Park Tackle Box. “The stripers are breaking at Cedar Point, Cove Point, Point No Point and Hooper's Island. There are little ones and big ones all mixed with decent-sized bluefish tearing up the water feeding on baitfish and attracting huge flocks of seagulls.”

Johnny and Jacob Caldwell with Patuxent River stripers
Larry Jarboe with Potomac blue "cats"

Ken adds that the stripers are up in the Potomac River at Ragged Point, taking trolled bucktails in 18 to 30 feet of water. Live-liners are loading up on rockfish from the Calvert County Gas Docks to the Gooses to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. “Trollers are scoring on rockfish in the Patuxent River on the oyster bars at Cape St. Mary's, Broomes Island, Sheridan Point, and all the nooks and crannies in between. Rockfish are on the rocks and structure in the Cedar Point area of the Bay and inside the Patuxent smashing surface poppers on moving tides. All the rockfish are ranging from undersize to 24 inches,” reports the tackle shop proprietor.

In Potomac River Country, redfish are schooling from Smith Point to Cornfield Harbor.  Consistent catches of keeper reds (one per day between 18 and 27 inches) are caught at night all along the shoreline in the lower Potomac, but also up the Bay a little ways in the mouth of St. Jerome's Creek. The reds are mixed with spot (which they are probably feeding on).

Bluefish in the 2- to 3-pound size are active at Point Lookout State Park, taking cut baits in the surf. Some keeper-size red drum (redfish) are there, as well.

Spot are in the mouth of the Patuxent in 30 feet and will provide plenty of bait for rockfish live liners.

Ken finishes with, “The weather this week will soar into the 80's and the winds will be moderate.  This is a bonus week of summer and the fishing is great so fire up the boat, get some bait, and catch some fish!”