Thursday, November 04, 2004
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: Was Busch Shootout a misfire?
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
What did you think of the Busch Shootout fishing tournament coming to Virginia the past weekend? Did you even know the Busch Shootout came to Virginia?
Probably not, if you depended on coverage from newspapers across the state. The event was virtually ignored by the press.
Not to worry. It was a made-for-TV production that is scheduled to be aired in the not-so-prime time of 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 on ESPN2.
The Shootout had been ballyhooed by BASS and was designed to build suspense and drama. Thirteen contenders qualified, by making the heaviest single-day catches in BASS events during the 2003-04 season. The field included some big names: George Cochran, Stacey King, Kevin Van Dam and Denny Brauer.
The contenders were put on an airplane and flown to a destination unknown-to-them, which is how Ray Scott did it during the early days of the BASS Classic.
Some of the contestants figured they would be headed to California or Florida to fish water invested with trophy bass -- until their plane landed in Richmond. From there it was a ride east to Williamsburg and Kingsmill Resort and Spa, a swank golf facility that happens to be owned by Anheuser-Busch.
BASS began calling outdoor media people like me on Thursday afternoon to say the Shootout had arrived in Virginia. The timing wasn’t exactly promising, considering it was a late October weekend with competition from the muzzleloading deer season, striper fishing, turkey hunting, football and NASCAR, not to mention hikes in the autumn-blazed woods.
I am going to guess that BASS did well even to locate some of the writers. Newspapers in Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke pretty well ignored the Shootout.
And so did the bass. The event included two half-days of fishing on the James River and its tributaries. Just a couple weeks earlier, Virginia tournament fishermen had met with Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officials to protest the sorry state of bass fishing in the James. The critics demanded a stocking program.
The Shootout contestants verified the concerns of local anglers. There were more anglers who failed to catch a single keeper than those who landed. a limit.
The final round was staged on a 35-acre lake at Kingsmill. At first glance, the cypress-studded impoundment looked highly promising. On his second cast, John Murray of Phoenix, Ariz. landed a 5-pound, 4-ounce bass. Twenty minutes later he had a 2-pounder. Wow!
But the next foru hours -- nothing. Finally, Murry landed a third bass, which gave him a total that was good enough to win the $100,000-top prize.
BUCHANAN NO LONGER TROPHYLAND
Remember the trophy bucks that were killed in Buchanan County several years ago when a buck-only season was opened following years of restricted deer hunting?
Most of them appear to be gone. There wasn’t a single Buchanan County buck in the top 100 of the State Big Game Contest in September.
“The population of mature buck was reduced dramatically by the opening of the buck-only hunting season,” said Allen Boynton, regional wildlife manager of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “The deer population in Buchanan County has continued to grow, however.”
KEEPING AN EYE OPEN FOR CWD
As far as biologists of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are concerned, Virginia is free of the dreaded Chronic Wasting Disease, known as CWD. But that doesn’t mean wildlife officials have dropped their guard.
DGIF is asking hunters to be on the lookout for “suspect” animals. That’s any deer or elk 18 months of age or older that is emaciated and shows signs that include increased salivation, tremors, stumbling, poor coordination, difficulty swallowing, excessive thirst and excessive urination. In summary, any deer that looks as through it is starving and appears to have neurological disorders.
The location of such deer should be determined and a call made to DGIF officials at 804-367-1258.
Samples of 1,200 deer have been tested the past three years, all of them proving to be negative for CWD.
TURKEY STOCKING NOW SYMBOLIC
Virginia began trapping and relocating wild turkeys in 1955, catching many of them in the Gathright Wildlife Management area of Bath and Alleghany counties and transporting them to sections in the state were the birds had disappeared. That was the start of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries modern management of the species and it worked well. There are turkeys in all areas of the state.
Releases nowadays are symbolic. That’s exactly what is scheduled Nov. 16, when the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Fairfax County Park Authority, and the DGIF are set to release several turkeys, just before Thanksgiving, at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria near Washington, D.C.
The turkey federation is calling it “a patriotic celebration of Thanksgiving and our American heritage.”
>In 2000, outdoor sportsmen worked hard to get an amendment to the state constitution that guarantees them the right to hunt. Four years later the amendment is getting its first real test, and that could have implications for other states who recently have voted in similar amendments. The test is taking place in Nelson County where the County Board of Supervisors has denied a hunting organization the right to shoot clay pigeons.
>It is going to be tougher to kill an elk in Virginia this year, but if you have that goal in mind think Wise County. Eight elk were reported killed in Virginia last season and all came from Wise County, which borders Kentucky, where elk stockings take place. Elk that wander into Virginia are legal targets during any deer season, but there are fewer elk in Virginia now than recent seasons, according to Allen Boynton, a Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist.
>Virginia is one of 10 states that will share more than $13 million in U.S. Fish and Wildlife grants to protect wildlife and habitat. More than $1 million will be used to protect Mark’s and Jack’s Islands on the Chesapeake Bay in Accomack County. The Nature Conservancy and Basic, Inc. will match the grant. The islands are important habitat for birds and fish.
>The Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area shooting range will be reopened Nov. 6, too late for deer hunters to zero their guns for the muzzleloading season. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries range had been closed while a movie was made in the area. The range is located in Charles City County. A complete list of DGIF ranges can be found on www.dgif.virginia.gov.
>The U.S. Department of Agriculture has enrolled nearly 1.2 million acres into the Conservation Reserve Program which will benefit a variety of wildlife. The program, established in the 1985 Farm Bill, offers payment to landowners who set aside their property for conservation and wildlife.
>If you would like the latest information on fishing tackle and related subjects, subscribe to a weekly email from Gary Yamamoto on www.insideline.net.
>Arbogast Lure Co. is celebrating its 75th Anniversary by offering an authentic replica of the Arbogast two-fin Tin Liz. The lures will be sold by Cabela’s for $29.99. If you think that is expensive, an original can be worth thousands of dollars.
>Maybe ducks don’t fly 150 mph, but that about how fast the Ducks Unlimited logo has been going on the Bass Pro Shops #8 car driven in the Busch Cup Championship by Martin Truex, Jr.
>Whitetail Journal magazine will be the official publication for the Archery Shooters Association beginning next year. The journal will expand its bowhunting coverage.
VIRGINIA SALTWATER FISHING TOURNAMENT
The standings of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament:
BLACK DRUM: 95 pounds, Joseph Roub, Baltimore, Md., Hog Island Bay.
COBIA: 103 pounds, 8 ounces, Vince Ainsley, Aylett, lower-western 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, 6 ounces, Patrick Quisenberry, Mechanicsville, upper-western Chesapeake Bay.
SPECKLED TROUT: 13 pounds, 12 ounces, Walter Kellum, Hayes, Mobajack Bay.
SPOT: 1 pound, 10 ounces, Wilson Haynes, Wake, lower Rappahannock 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): 180 pounds, 4 ounces, Okey Bolling, Pasadena, Md. off Eastern Shore.
TUNA (OTHER): 241 pounds, Mike Wolf, Sterling, off Virginia Beach.
WAHOO: 107 pounds, Chris Miles, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
Meeting of Smith River Chapter Trout Unlimited, 7 p.m. Nov. 4, at Rania’s Restaurant in Martinsville (147 E. Main St.), information from Shane Pinkston, 276-638-3757. Program by John Ross, the Virginia Council TU Chairman and author of the “Trout Unlimited 100 Best Trout Streams in America.”
Muzzleloading deer season west of Blue Ridge, Nov. 6.
Wilderness First Aid Class, Nov. 6 and 7, Blacksburg, 18 hour, two-day class, visit wfa.net. Additional classes, Nov. 13 & 14, Richmond; Dec. 4&5, Alexandria.
Quail season Nov. 8-Jan. 31.
Firearms deer season Nov. 13.
Virginia Ducks Unlimited Rockfish Tournament, Dec. 4, Bluewater Yacht Sales on Sunset Creek in Hampton, rules and other information from vadurockfishshootout.site-101.com.
SaltWater Sportsman Magazine National Seminar Series, Virginia Beach, Jan 15, 6 hours of instruction at Virginia Beach Convention Center, nationalseminarseries.com.
Bassmaster University, where pros instruction anglers on bass fishing, Jan. 22-23, Wyndhan Hotel Richmond Airport, Richmond, instructors include Kevin VanDam, Denny Brauer, Shaw Grigsby, Woo Daves, Zell Roland, Mike Auten. Information from 866-732-BASS.
Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, 50th anniversary, Feb. 5-13, State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, Pa., features Jimmy Houston, reported to be the largest consumer show of its kind.
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