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BigOutdoors
04-08-2010, 05:41 AM
Outdoors: Now is time to stock up on new, necessary fishing gear (http://www.norwichbulletin.com/sports/x1664798637/Outdoors-Now-is-time-to-stock-up-on-new-necessary-fishing-gear)


By BOB SAMPSON
For The Norwich Bulletin (http://www.norwichbulletin.com/)
Posted Apr 07, 2010 @ 08:09 PM

The show season from January through March is when many fishermen and hunters get the chance to see, handle and buy the newest toys on the market.

They may be toys to some, but they’re necessities if fishing or hunting is in your blood. During the course of every season, there is wear, tear and losses of terminal tackle that must be replaced.

Now, as anglers begin preparing for the trout season opener on April 17 and fishing for bass, pike and panfish in local lakes not stocked with trout, is the time to survey the tackle box and buy replacement lures and line.

But, for anglers, being kids at heart, with woodlands, lakes, streams and the ocean as playgrounds, some line items on the annual tackle budget are non-negotiable, while others are optional.

It’s always fun to pick up new lures to test, experiment with new lines or upgrade a rod-and-reel combo. Now is the time to do it, with many tackle shops holding sales in honor of the rapidly approaching opening day.

It’s a shame for local small tackle business owners that the world is in such a state of economic uncertainty.

Wall Street is still the monkey on the backs of Americans, who sweat and soil their clothes to earn their wages, rather than leach off the world.

Through the years, I have accumulated a small armada of aluminum boats, ranging in length from an 8-foot car topper to a 20-foot Lund Alaskan.

Each serves its purpose during the course of a fishing season, with the little carry-in boat often serving double duty, this time of year when its used to fish shallow bass and panfish lakes throughout the region.

Even the largest is a small boat, so space is at a premium. For this reason, storage and condensing tackle into reasonably sized systems is important.

Size matters

One of the major problems on any small boat used to catch fish that can’t be jawed or lifted in is where to store a net.

The car-top boat never has a net in it, because everything that might be hooked can be grabbed or swung aboard.

My other two boats are used in fresh and saltwater on species such as northern pike, which could be 40 inches or more in length, and hard-to-land summer flounder.

An important fact: If you want to land a fish, even if it is to be released, use a net for insurance or risk not getting that hero photo or filleting it for supper.

That’s why the “Wishful-Thinking Net” is on the bottom of the boat, for when anyone on board might hook a fish we really want to land, for whatever reason.

I wish that someday, we catch a fish that fills this oversized net to its rim.

Problem is it’s always in the way, a constant aggravation that has been netting me more frequently than large fish for more than 20 years.

It is a great net that goes to Canada with us every summer in case it’s needed to land that 50-inch musky and a great net for doormat fluke. But it is overkill for most of the fish Connecticut waters have to offer.

One of those toys I plan to put in the budget for this year for use in all my small boats is a folding landing net made by Frabil, a long-standing producer of nets, ice-fishing gear and other tackle.

This revolutionary net is big enough to handle all the freshwater fish I’ve caught in our waters — fluke, blackfish and anything up to about a 25-pound striper — with ease.

The net handle is a 53-inch-long piece of tubular aluminum with a sliding soft handle, that when pushed forward spreads a net frame of heavy, multi-strand steel cable that locks into place.

This net, which is longer than 6 feet when extended, takes up about as much room as a hard fly rod case in the bottom of the boat. No more getting caught in that huge net.

The “Wishful-Thinking Net” will still be tripping me from the bottom of the boat when that 50-inch musky is the prime objective during trips to Canada. The folding Frabil will be on the boat, but out of the way and not underfoot for the rest of the fishing season.

The license rollback

Sportsmen have been pushing their legislators to roll back last fall’s doubling of sporting license and permit fees.

During a recent conversation with Bob Crook, of the Connecticut Coalition of Sportsmen (ccst@comcast.net), he noted that unless there is some sort of miracle in Hartford, the price of a fishing, hunting or combo license won’t be reduced any time in the near future, almost certainly not before the April 17 general opening of the Connecticut trout season.

For this reason, my suggestion is, buy a license to be legal before doing any fishing, fresh or saltwater. Computer purchases make it possible to buy a license and print it at home minutes before hitting the water.

Hold off as long as possible, but don’t go fishing (or hunting) without a license.

Cal45
04-08-2010, 04:43 PM
I think the leguslators know people are waiting til the last minute to get licenses so they are sitting on their dead arses and are in no hurry to roll the prices back. I'm not even going to get a fresh water license this year. I may not even get a salt water one. The DMV has not sent back my boat registration yet. I sent it in Feb 16th. As for fresh water I fished once for about an hour last year as I did the year before. It's just not worth it. As for equipment I bought a ton of salt water stuff last fall including tackle and new reels. I just bought a bunch of bass and pike lures last month. I really don't know why if I don't plan on a license. As for boats I'm like you Tom. My back yard is full of boats. Only three of them are mine. The rest belong to my son. He accumilates them and leaves them here.