Often, I think about how lucky I was to fish in the golden age of freshwater fishing. Having the opportunity to fish Internationally for over 30 years, I have seen many fisheries come and go. Gone are great lodges such as Nejalini Lodge in Northern Manitoba where monster lakers and pike were landed. Lake Guri Lodge, and the Casiquire systems in Venezuela have either closed or are off limits to Americans due to political conflicts. Here was great peacock bass fishing and payara. The Rio Unini is perhaps the best river for monster peacock bass is off limits to fisherman due to it being designated a national park by the Brazilian government. When I started peacock bass fishing in the early 90s, 100 peacocks per boat with many exceeding 15lbs were caught daily. Very few fishermen were hunting peacocks at the time and the majority could be landed on topwater woodchopper type lures. Today, with hundreds of outfitters hitting the river systems, the pressure was more than the peacocks could handle. They have become use to the noise of choppers and are now caught on jigs. Days of large peacocks daily are gone and if you land a 20lbs during the week you are one lucky fisherman! Weather patterns such as rainfall have changed in the past few years which cancelled a few years due to high water. That along with the raising and falling US dollar has made it very tough on outfitters. Prices on these trips have rising drastically! The years of monster Masheer in Nepal are practically over due too much harvesting of the big ones! The best tigerfish can be landed in Tanzania if you want to pay a house mortage to get a booking or the Congo if your brave enough. Char fishing on great places such as the Coppermine, Chantley Inlet, and the majority of rivers on Victoria Island are a thing of the past due to expense! Massive Great Bear Lake in the Canadian NWT is now down to 2 full time lodge and a few have closed in the past 10 years again due to expenses. La Zona on the Uruguay River on the border of Argentina/Uruguay is still redhot for golden dorado. How long will this last? Only time will tell. Thailand is a safe cheap option for monster fish if you do not mind fishing in stocked ponds. The majority of these species are practically impossible to land in the wild. Alaska offers many opportunities but the days of great monster king salmon are over. Often the Kenai River is closed due to a limited amount of kings entering the river system. Arapaiama fishing in Guyana was redhot for about a year, but now many places are government protected. The days of landing 200lbs+ Nile Perch are gone due to over harvesting. Murchison Falls in Uganda still offers a decent shot at a 100lbs+ but who knows how long this will last. The silver salmon fishing on the Alaska Peninsula is second to none, but few lodges exist. Gone are the days of camping at Amber Bay. Today, Gary LaRose's Pumice Creek Lodge is one of the best remaining lodges on the Peninsula and Gary only knows how long the lodge will remain in business. Suriname offers practically unfished opportunites for monster Lau Lau and wolffish. Once the crowds invade who knows if the fisheries can handle them. The monster bass lakes in Mexico such as Lake Huites have come and went. Plus, I don't think Mexico is the safest place on earth these days! In the United States, the majority of state fishing licenses are at all time lows. Many fishermen are still in the practice of keeping every fish landed and now with restrictions on harvest have given up and just went to the fish market. The average age of most fishermen who buy a license is in his mid 50s! Guess youngsters are too busy texting or playing games on their IPod. I was so lucky that my mom would take me every weekend to our local pond and dad would take us on yearly family fishing vacations to MN or WI. However on a positive note, the Great Lakes fishery are the best of times. Monster musky, walleye, smallmouth and others are in its heyday. Great fishing still exists in LA for big bull reds. So, I am sure glad that I grew up in the Golden Years of International Freshwater Fishing. Only God knows what the future holds!
Monday, July 13, 2015
Each and every year something new comes out which catches my eye thinking it can be of use on my fishing trips. Recently, I saw an ad for the new Leatherman Tread Stainless Steel Bracelet. It more or less is a leatherman multi purpose tool worn on the wrist. It comes with a bottle opener, screwdriver, box wrench and many more options up to 25 usable features. On my next visit to Cabelas I plan on checking them out.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Each year beginning in the middle of May, the towns of Valdez and Homer offer thousands of dollars for those fortunate to catch a monster halibut. The Derby's in these towns run through September 6 in Valdez and September 15 in Homer. Seward offers a June only halibut derby. The current leader in Valdez is a halibut weighing in at 194.2lbs while Homer scores a 199.8lbs halibut. The winner for the Seward derby was a monster weighing in at 291.2lbs. I have fished out of each town numerous times. Normally if the seas are calm, Montague Island is a hotspot for all to catch a monster. I was lucky years ago to land a trophy estimated at 300lbs out of Valdez. Unfortunately, the halibut did not even place on the leader board that year. Halibut derby tickets can be bought in each town and you cannot win without a ticket! Halibut are perhaps my favorite table fish either deep fried or smoked. The delicious white filets are somewhat sweet to the taste plus you get an abundance of filets off a monster halibut with the cheeks being perhaps the best quality. So if you venture to Alaska this summer, make sure to buy a halibut ticket and win thousands!
Monday, July 6, 2015
" Friend Gary Clark along with a few friends fished with Capt. Keith Kennedy of Born to Fish Charters out of Venice, LA for monster bull redfish. Here is Dr. Clark's report "Boy, was it hard to believe the marine forecast for the first day of our latest trip to Louisiana to fish with Captain Keith Kennedy of Born to Fish Charters. Waves of 0 to 1 foot, which is simply unheard of! But, sure enough, that's precisely what met us when the Captain reached the spot he wanted to fish. Within moments, everybody was hooked up to a big redfish all going in different directions! For the next several hours, to have triple and quadruple hookups, all it took was having that many baits in the water. When the dust settled---or rather, the water calmed from all the action---45 bull redfish to 28 pounds (Jeff Stagg) had come over the rail. As always, with that kind of fishing on the first day, you just can't wait for the second day. Then, as so often happens, what a difference a day made. Trying his best to put us into fish early, the Captain made our way all the way down to the Head of the Passes on the River. At that point, storms on both sides of us made it very clear that the prudent course of action was to return to camp, and that's precisely what we did. Late morning we headed out again, but the second day's fishing was nothing like the first day. We fished really hard for a total of two bull reds! Then came the finale! On the third day, we returned to the original scene of the crime, and it was game on all over again! Another storm caused us to seek shelter, but after it passed, the Captain made the right decision to return to where all the action had been, and sure enough, doubles and triples were on again! We finished the last day with a total of 40 redfish, and David Fields nailed the big one of the trip at 34 pounds . I managed a nice red with more spots on both sides than I have ever seen. Before I reveal the best lures for this outing, let me just say that this latest trip exemplifies why it's so good to book Capt. Keith's 3 day, 4 night all-inclusive package. Booking only 1 or 2 days can be very hit or miss. With 3 days of fishing, it's usually for sure that at least one of those days the weather and the fish will cooperate. It's not uncommon for 2 days to be good, and if you get all 3 to be good, you can consider yourself to be very fortunate. Now for the lures. As has been so often the case, the Boom-R-Ang saltwater fluke bait in Foxy Fred color was just exceptional. Bomber mudminnows in white with chartreuse tail also did their thing. A new wrinkle developed by the Captain calls for two H & H queen cocahoe minnows to be arrayed on the same 8/0 circle hook, and this produced quite well. Jeff Stagg upped the ante on this rig by replacing the minnows with two 6 inch twister tail grubs. On the last day, all he had to do for an immediate hookup was to get this rig close to the water! And I must mention that the Captain caught a very nice bull red, field testing his new lure creation, the Rag Tag. No doubt you will be hearing big things to come of this innovation!
As always, I hope all our fishing buddies can enjoy this fantastic fishing with the Captain for about 1/5 the cost of our international travel!
I can attest for Gary's statement saying that Captain Keith's is absolutely a great fishing bargin! Contact Keith at 504-908-3108