Thursday, September 09, 2004
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: Hooked for life
Bill Cochran's Outdoors
- Virginia’s hunting totals produce mixed results
- A good trade: Virginia trout for Kentucky elk
- Forget the odds-makers; Salem’s John Crews believes he can win the Bassmaster Classic.
- The good and bad of the 2012 saltwater fishing season
- Column archive
Bill's Field Reports
- Virginia General Assembly goes soft on outdoor issues
- Quail Unlimited calls it quits
- Field reports archive
Trevor Ruble sees a direct relationship between fishing and faith. It’s not a new concept. Jesus made the connection.
Ruble directors an organization he calls “Hooked for Life Ministries.” It is a nonprofit effort based in Roanoke that helps Christian anglers use their love of fishing as an outreach through their church.
“We are located in Roanoke, but our ministry reaches across the United States,” said Ruble.
The ministry has developed lesson plans that teach a basic fishing skill and contain a biblically based application, Ruble said.
“The ultimate goal is to help participants make meaningful and lasting connections between fishing and faith and to build Godly stewards of the resource,” he said. “Our goal is to reach as many Christian anglers and churches as possible around the country.”
The Web site is hookedforlife.org.
DGIF HEADQURTERS FLOODED
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries spends much of its time dealing with water, but it would prefer those effort not include water in its headquarter buildings. During the recent flooding in Richmond caused by the remnants of Tropical Depression Gaston, DGIF had water in several of its Broad Street offices.
Carpets and other items were damaged or destroyed and a bevy of new computers being readied for deployment were lost. Power was off for a lengthy time. The disruption came at a time when the agency is busy with the opening of several hunting seasons.
“But nobody got hurt and the rest can be put back in order,” said Charlie Sledd, DGIF program development director.
Calls and internet requests for HIP numbers, required of migratory game hunters, were not disrupted as they peaked on the eve of the dove and goose seasons, Sledd said.
“HIP was not impacted by the storm that hit us since that is handled by a company in New York,” he said. “From what we understand, HIP did get overloaded on Saturday, but that was not storm or us related.”
HE COULD MAKE A PROP OR LURE SING
Larry Blankenship was part of a group of anglers from the Ridgeway/Martinsville/Henry County area who ushered modern bass fishing into Virginia more than 30 years ago. He also pioneered in developing a method of polishing stainless steel motorboat props that, as Ed Rhodes says, “could make a boat prop sing.” The name of his marine company was L&B Props, headquartered in Ridgeway.
Following his death, Jan. 30, the 2004 General Assembly honored Blankenship in a Senate Joint Resolution (No. 208) that commended him as an angler, conservationists and innovator. Sen. Roscoe Reynolds and Del. Ward Armstrong recently presented Blankenship’s widow and co-worker, Joan Holmes Blankenship, a copy of the resolution.
Blankenship helped organize the Henry County Bassmasters, the first bass club in Virginia, and was president of the Old Salt Bassmasters. He was active in Virginia BASS Federation functions, including youth and conservation work.
One of his loves was winter bass fishing at Philpott Lake. I recall one frigid day reaching the lake and finding the boat ramp covered with ice. “Good,” I thought. “We have an excuse to go home and sit by the fire.”
But Blankenship gathered some large rocks and rolled them down the ramp to break the ice so he could launch his boat. We caught bass that day!
FRESHWATER: Too much rain can spoil fishing, but it also can improve it in some cases. Kerr Lake is an example of the latter. When water is roaring through the gates of the dam striped bass and sometimes walleye and catfish, are attracted upstream to the tailrace. Good catches can be the result.
That has been the case recently, according to Hugh Hamby who operates the nearby Castle Heights Store. Anglers fishing from boats and from the banks have caught stripers weighing up to 25.5 pounds. Productive lures have been Pencil Poppers and bucktails. Catfish up to 25 pounds also have been caught.
Success for catfish has been better in Kerr Lake, where Nana Zost, of Roxboro, N.C., won a recent catfish derby with a 41-pound flathead. Second was Glenn Hughes of Oxford, N.C. who weighed a 38.64-pound flathead. Dary Dawson of Halifax was third with a 37.86-pound catch.
Striped bass action in Lake Anna has been excellent, the best and most consistent ever seen, according to guide Glenn Briggs.
Danny and Cindy Price of Richmond were using crickets to catch bluegills in the Chickhominy River when they caught a 30 pound blue catfish on a cricket!
SALTWATER: Offshore anglers will be waiting out Francis to see if she ends what has been a recent surge of excellent marling fishing for boats out of Virginia and North Carolina. According to Ken Neil, of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, the marlin bite "is nothing short of red hot!" White marlin have been most plentiful, but there also have been plenty of blue marlin.
Sustained winds of at least 20 mph have disrupted fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. “Twenty isn’t that much wind, unless it lasts for several days,” said Capt. Ferrell McLain of Bayfish Sport Fishing Charters. “Then the waves just keep getting bigger and bigger.”
Croaker catches have declined and flounder have scattered, McLain said. Trolling is yielding plenty of bluefish and stripers are providing catch-and-release action.
SMITH RIVER REPORT
Saturday afternoon I fished along the upper end of the hayfields of the Smith River near Basset. I started casting to a run that routinely produces a double-digit catch and this time hooked a single fish. It was a nice brown trout, which measured 14 inches.
This turned out to be the largest fish for the weekend. By the time I reached a good exit point I had struggled to catch eight fish.
I guess success has spoiled me. A few years ago I would have been very pleased with that number of fish. But the number and quality of my catch Saturday compared poorly to a month or so ago. Fishing has definitely slowed on the Smith River.
Sunday morning I was the first angler to fish up through the riff area at the lower end of the Special Regulations Section. I was by myself and took my time. I went a long way before catching my first fish. Things did not get much better. I threw caution to the wind and experimented with a double nymph set up. That didn’t last long, because I don’t have the patience to untangle the inevitable tangles.
By the time I reached the easy get-out point adjacent to the old filed, I had caught 18 trout. Not bad, but not good either.
I was surprised to see that at least one-third of the fish I caught were rainbows, which were holdovers from last spring’s stocking. It was disappointing to note that at least half of the browns were less than 6-inches long. The water was very clear both days. I noticed the beginning of the leaf drop, which makes for frustrating fly-fishing. Good thing deer season is just around the corner.
>Humane USA has endorsed John Kerry and blasted Bush/Cheney. The organization is one of the largest foes of hunting in the country.
>Information on Ducks Unlimited events in Virginia, including dove hunts, can be found on its Web site.
>BASS founder Ray Scott will receive one of the highest honors in fishing on Oct. 26 when he is inducted into the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.
>The Boone & Crockett Club has organized a Hunt Fair Chase Campaign, which is an effort to emphasize the importance of hunting ethics and sportsmanship. Check huntfairchase.com.
>Yamamoto, best known for its bass lures, is out with new lures designed for crappie, perch and other panfish.
VIRGINIA SALTWATER FISHING TOURNAMENT
There are new leaders in the dolphin, pompano and tuna (non-bluefin) categories of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Here are the standings:
BLACK DRUM: 95 pounds, Joseph Roub, Baltimore, Md., Hog Island Bay.
COBIA: 88 pounds, James Neill, Lanexa, lower-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
CROAKER: 5 pounds, Jarvis Taylor, Richmond, lower York River.
DOLPHIN: 50 pounds, Jereme Wilson, Chesapeake, off Virginia Beach.
FLOUNDER: 14 pounds, 4 ounces, Betty Smith, Chesapeake, lower-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
GRAY TRIGGERFISH: 4 pounds, 12 ounce, Justin Hurst, Suffolk, lower-western Chesapeake Bay.
GRAY TROUT: 12 pounds, 12 ounces, Greg Thayer, Gloucester, upper-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
KING MACKEREL: 52 pounds, Cecil Smith, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
KINGFISH: 1 pound, 14 ounce, Bobby Smith, Portsmouth, lower-western Chesapeake Bay.
POMPANO: 3 pounds, 6 ounces, Arlon Stith, Petersburg, lower James River.
SEA BASS: 6 pounds, 14 ounces, Mark Fueller, Rio Grande, N.J., off Virginia Beach.
SHEEPHEAD: 19 pounds, 3 ounces state record, Jeff Hutton, Virginia Beach, lower eastern Chesapeake Bay.
SPADEFISH: 13 pounds, 10 ounces, Jake Mapp, Franktown, upper-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
SPANISH MACKEREL: 6 pounds, Ann Barse, Cambridge, Md., off Eastern Shore.
SPECKLED TROUT: 13 pounds, 12 ounces, Walter Kellum, Hayes, Mobajack Bay.
SPOT: 1 pound, 8 ounces, Susan Davis, Petersburg, lower Your River.
STRIPED BASS: 63 pound state record, Carolyn Brown, Virginia Beach, off the Virginia Coast.
TAUTOG: 22 pounds, 9 ounces, Julie Ball, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
TUNA (BLUEFIN): 164 pounds, Matthew Abell, Pocomoke, Md. off Eastern Shore.
TUNA (OTHER): 241 pounds, Mike Wolf, Sterling, off Virginia Beach.
WAHOO: 107 pounds, Chris Miles, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
Eastern Regional Championship of Virginia Big Game Contest, Sept. 11 and 12, for deer, bear and gobblers taking east of the Blue Ridge during the most recent hunting seasons, Southampton County Fairgrounds, details on vpsa.org.
Smith River Trout Unlimited meeting, 7 p.m., Sept 13, Rania’s Restaurant, Martinsville, program by Ben Cochran, executive director of the Central Piedmont Development Corporation on revitalization of Smith River fishery. Visitors welcome. More information from Ted Tomczak, 276-629-2962.
Return To Nature fundraiser banquet, features NASCAR driver Ward Burton and “Survivor” all-star “Big Tom,” Sept. 14, Lynchburg, tickets $60, information and tickets from www.ballowax.com.
Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoors Festival, Sept. 17-19, Richmond/Petersburg, information from dugof.com.
Virginia Outdoors Weekend, Sept. 17-19, for families, Westmoreland State Park, information from dgif.state.va.us/events/.
Western Regional and State Championship of Virginia Big Game Contest, Sept. 25 and 26, for deer, bear and gobblers taken during the most recent hunting seasons, Rockingham County Fairgrounds, information from vpsa.org.
Pentagon DU Chapter banquet, 6 p.m. Sept. 25, Fairfax Volunteer Fire Department, Farifax, $55 single; $95 couple; $15 junior, tickets from Ray Kinsley, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Striped Bass Show & Super Seminars, Sept. 25 and 26, Airtime Watersports, Virginia Beach, proceeds fund CCA VA programs, admission $3.
Smith Mountain Striper Club fall tournament, Oct. 9., information from Rex Smith, email@example.com.
CITGO Bassmaster Open tournament, Oct. 14-16, Smith Mountain Lake.
Roanoke Valley Friends of NRA Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Oct. 16, Salem Civic Center, $30 single, $50 couple, mail ticket requests to Roanoke Valley FNRA, P.O. Box 463, Daleville, VA 24083, information from Dennis Mizack, 540-774-2289. Special bonus for purchasing tickets prior Sept. 13.
Got an event? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org