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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2019

- EVENTS -
Spring Mill State Park is partnering with Spring Mill Inn and Lawrence County Tourism to host a craft spirits tasting experience on Nov. 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. in its Pioneer Village.
- FISHERIES -
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the results of the young-of-year striped bass survey, which tracks reproduction of the species in Chesapeake Bay. The 2019 juvenile striped bass index is 3.4, below the 66-year average of 11.6.
Anglers must immediately release any bluegill they catch while fishing at Steinaker Reservoir and Pelican Lake. The bluegill is a popular sportfish that’s relatively small and easy to catch.

- GRANTS -
Indiana DNR grants totaling $1,164,100 will be used to improve Indiana’s water bodies.
- HUNTING -
Youths 17 and younger who want an early chance to take a deer with a firearm can venture to the woods today through Sunday for the 2019 Youth Deer Gun Season.

 

Expect to find a few more birds to chase when the 2019-20 season opens Friday, Oct. 18. While there will be a few hot spots out there, hunters should prepare to put in the work to find them.
- INDUSTRY -
Huk Performance Fishing announced an expanded partnership with B.A.S.S. as the apparel and gear brand became the presenting sponsor of the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, sportfishing’s most iconic event.

Mc3 Stocks will be displaying at the upcoming National Association Sporting Good Wholesalers Expo at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, October 22-25.
Pietta USA/EMF manufacturers of the finest historical and modern firearms, is proud to be exhibiting at the 2019 NASGW Expo. This year, Pietta will be unveiling four new single-action pistols: the “Gunfighter,” the “R”, the “US Marshal” and the “Deluxe Grande Californian” all part of the Great Western II line of single actions.
Ian Steff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, presented Yamaha Marine Precision Propellers Incorporated (YPPI) with a certificate of appreciation honoring the company’s investment in the state of Indiana. The certificate recognizes YPPI as an international company making a significant contribution to the state’s economy.
Siren Marine’s aggressive push into the bass fishing and freshwater market continues with the announcement that premium bass boat manufacturer BassCat is now making the Siren MTC (Monitor|Track|Control) Connected Boat® System a factory option on its popular Jaguar model.

Meprolight USA will exhibit their lie of red-dot, thermal and self-illuminated sights for the civilian and professional markets at the 2019 NASGW Expo, Oct. 22 -25, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.
Dickinson Arms will be showing off several exciting new shotgun models during the 2019 NASGW Expo, October 22-25 in Orlando, Florida — perhaps none more exciting than the new Plantation Series Over & Under
Clenzoil has continued its strong trajectory this fall as evidenced by overwhelming growth within the company’s Field & Range line of products.
- JOBS -
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is currently accepting applications for the position of Fishery Outreach Specialist. Applications will be accepted through Friday, November 22, 2019.

- NEW PRODUCTS -
Frabill's new Fortress XL Hub Shelter features a space-saving design allowing you to conveniently store gear in generous corner compartments resulting in 55% more fishable space.
Laser Range, a leading provider of 3D training and simulation systems, announced the release of Laser Range – a firearms training simulator with professional features developed for the consumer market to significantly enhance the indoor training experience.
- RADIO -
Celebrating 25 years – and some upgrades coming soon – at Shootrite in Alabama. Plus, the Truth Squad in action, a new Smith & Wesson rebate you won't want to miss, and more, this week on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk® Radio.
- RECOGNITION -
Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) employee Berry Thomas, of Shubuta, recently received the Mississippi Forestry Association’s (MFA) inaugural Harold Anderson Award of Excellence.

- SPONSORSHIPS -
Blocker Outdoors, makers of Scent Blocker clothing and Scent Shield odor control products, has renewed their Whitetails Unlimited national sponsorship.
- STATES -
The general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Desert Zone” (Game Management Units 10 and 12B through 46B, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Yavapai County) begin today (Friday, Oct. 18) and run through January 26, 2020.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners has unanimously voted to approve special veteran’s waterfowl hunts to coincide with this year’s youth hunts.
Attend an in-person public workshop to share your input on potential rule changes for fishing in Biscayne National Park. After a series of public workshops in August, another round has been scheduled to gather additional input and feedback.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is holding two public informational meetings about Eastern coyotes which the department says have become well-established throughout Vermont and other northeastern states.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine joined governors from Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Minnesota in sending a letter to members of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources in support of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
- TELEVISION -
In this week’s episode, it’s opening weekend at the MOJO Funny Farm and there’s never a dull moment. Mid-September means blue wing teal are heading south and if the migration works out well, there will be plenty of action on the farm.

Winning the Production Division at the WAR Precision Rifle Series in Maryland, this week’s episode of Doug Koenig’s Championship Season highlights Doug running several of the twenty-two stages.

- WASHINGTON -
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies was pleased to witness Thursday's House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife hearing on two bills, including the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R.3742).
Yesterday, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the Recovering America's Wildlife Act and the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act, two bills of interest to the sportsmen's community. CSF has played a leadership role driving H.R. 3742, but expresses concerns for the sportsmen's community that are outlined in H.R. 2795.
The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) hosted Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Members, other federal policymakers, state agency representatives, leaders of both the wild deer community and deer farmers, and leaders of the broader sportsmen's conservation community for a bipartisan Capitol Hill Luncheon to discuss Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
- WORKSHOPS -
Women landowners and natural resource professionals interested in learning more about management and conservation of private lands are invited to attend one of three ForestHer NC workshops, which will be held across the state in November.
 

By Frank Sargeant, Editor

This is the time of year when, for an abrupt change of pace, some anglers might choose to go squirrel fishing.

At least, that’s what some neighbors have accused me of recently as I baited up with acorns to fool the resident grass carp in our North Alabama neighborhood lake. (I would never actually fish for squirrels, of course, though in my youth I did briefly try to fool robins into pecking at plastic worms crawled slowly across the lawn—until Mom caught me.)

Every year in October the giant carp, which are put in the lake to keep down aquatic weeds, turn from eating vegetation to gulping down acorns that fall into the water from overhanging oaks. The specialized feeding lasts for about a month, until the acorns stop falling, but while it’s on, the carp present a very interesting an unusual target for freshwater anglers not used to catching fish that frequently weigh 15 to 20 pounds. There’s probably a lake near you where the same species is doing the same thing—grass carp are now found in at least 45 states.

And while common carp have a generally poor reputation among anglers in the U.S. (they’re venerated in Europe) grass carp are a whole other critter. Bringing one in is very similar to battling a redfish of similar size—they’re strong and have far more endurance than most freshwater fish, and they occasional boil on top or even jump partway out of the water. Caught on anything short of 15-pound-test gear, they’re a real handful.

They’re also a whole lot more wary than common carp. They have very good vision, and are quick to spook if a boat or a bank-walking angler approaches too close. Getting a successful cast to them requires a slow and stealthy approach, and the bait has to come down just right, not close enough to scare them but close enough that they can hear it “plop” into the water.

It’s the sort of angling challenge that can add a bit of interest to anglers burned out on the slow action for late summer and early fall largemouths.  And for the charge that carp are inedible—more or less true—very few anglers kill and eat bass these days, either.

Handling these bruisers is not a light tackle game—I gear up with a spinning rod suitable for bull reds or king mackerel, a 4000-sized spinning reel and 20-pound-test braided line, which actually probably tests closer to 30. A couple feet of 25-pound-test monofilament acts as a leader, running to a size 1/0 octopus type hook in short shank. The hook has to be fairly heavy wire—the fish quickly straighten crappie-weight hooks.

The bait is a green acorn, without the cap. They like most types, but an acorn from a red oak is hard to beat. White oak acorns are often too large for them to eat, and they don’t like overcup oak acorns either.

Getting the hook through an acorn can take some doing—if you get into “squirrel fishing”, as I admit that I have, you’ll probably want to gather several acorns in advance, drill a tiny hole through the center and then push the hook eye through so that it’s just exposed—the thing looks like a fat bass bug without hackles. Otherwise, you have to force the hook point through the acorn, not an easy matter, though do-able. Use no weight—the acorn will sink slowly on its own.

Find an overhanging tree where the carp are feeding, slip up silently and make a cast. Free-line the bait all the way to bottom. Many times, the carp grab it on the way down. If not, let it sit on bottom for a few minutes.

When a fish takes, there’s no doubt about it—they gulp it down and take off like a shot. Set the hook and you’re in for maybe the most impressive battle you’ll run into in southern freshwater, with the possible exception of a monster blue or flathead catfish.

This is a pump-and-reel fight—you can’t just reel them in like you can most bass. It’s more akin to fighting a saltwater fish or a big landlocked striper. They also act a bit like cobia when you bring them to shore or into the boat, going bonkers for a time—best to stand back and let them run out of energy before removing the hook.

When the battle is over, grab a few quick photos and let the fish go back to doing what it was put into the lake to do, patrolling for excess weed growth. The stocked fish are sterilized and not capable of reproducing, a measure to make sure they don’t become invasive problems as their cousin silver carp have in many waterways.

Catching fall grass carp is an interesting diversion and a new challenge for many anglers. It’s assuredly unlikely ever to replace chasing largemouths, and I don’t see a million-dollar payout U.S. Carpmasters Classic on the horizon any time soon, (though there actually is a carp classic in France) but it’s a lot of fun while it lasts.

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