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  • Bill Barlow of West Grove, PA writes:

    RE: Phil Hunt's baits – I enjoyed the story about keeping balsa baits alive. When I started bass fishing back in the 1970s, the Bagley balsa baits were what I used with great success. Glad to see this type of craftsmanship continuing. I definitely bookmarked the website.

  • Frank Tennity of Honey, NY writes:

    RE: Balog on new Florida regs – I have to agree with Balog. I have spent the past 12 winters in Florida both guiding and fishing with mixed results. Florida waters are very pressured due to the year-round fishing. Although I have experienced some great fishing in Florida, it pales in comparison to New York, for several reasons.

    New York has a shorter season, 12-inch, 5-fish-limit and strict enforcement. The major reason is catch and release during the spawn period, which helps protect the reproduction cycle.

    I have read the graphs from Florida showing bass numbers and growth rates and it is obvious that spawns are generally good, growth is good, but when the bass reached 14 inches there was a huge drop in the population. That is why so many 13- to 13 7/8-inch fish are caught and why the drop in numbers due to harvesting.

    Protect the bass during the spawn, issue waivers for tournaments and establish a possession limit of no more than 2 days' catch.

    A possession limit for crappie and other species should also be considered. I have seen out of state fishermen take home huge coolers of fillets.

  • Steve Henderson of The Villages, FL writes:

    RE: Hibdon undergoing chemo – This is always upsetting when I see that someone has colon cancer when it's one of the most preventable diseases and can often be stopped by having a colonoscopy. Whether Guido did or didn't isn't the issue - the man has cancer and needs our prayers. And let's not forget Stella, his wife. God bless them both and I wish them all the best.

  • Bill, Billy, Bill III Schroeder of Paducah, KY writes:

    RE: Hibdon undergoing chemo – Guido, Stella, Dion – our prayers are with you.

  • Gary Stiles of Spokane, WA writes:

    RE: New Florida regulations – The flip side of Florida's move can be found in the states of Oregon and Washington, where DFG has removed all bass and walleye catch requirements on the Columbia River. You are now allowed to catch and keep as many spiny-rays as you can/want, regardless of size. It's truly a shame. While the general public will never eradicate these populations, they can and eventually will destroy a trophy fishery. To these states it's all about the salmon, but even more, it's all about the money they receive from the feds relative to the salmon restoration mandates.

  • Jim Ogstad of Caldwell, ID writes:

    RE: Hibdon undergoing chemo – Guido, we wish you the very best. I have loved watching your whole family fish for a living. Godspeed, my friend.

  • Lonnie Johnson of Grants Pass, OR writes:

    RE: New Florida regs – I live in a state where low limits are essential. We do not have bass hatcheries, nor can you find bass just anywhere. With increasing populations of humans, we need to allow everyone access, and that requires strict limits.

  • Xavier Heard of Little Rock, AR writes:

    RE: Classic Bracket event – Why do this one particular tournament's Top 8 participants qualify for a bracket tournament for a Classic berth? What about previous 2016 tournaments and remaining tournaments? Weird!

  • Mark Trego of Viola, IL writes:

    RE: New Florida regs – Bass are not a sacred creature. Selective harvest of smaller fish and releasing the larger prolific spawners on most bodies of water will sustain a renewable resource.

  • Jeff Holland of Winter Springs, FL writes:

    RE: Boyd opinion – To clarify, the new regulations allow licensed anglers to keep one bass over 16 inches, so your statement about "zero trophy bass" is incorrect. More 4- to 6-pound bass are inadvertently killed by our state guests in "photo-mortality".e.g. in keeping fish out of water for 10-plus minutes for photographs. Those were our trophy bass, and now Texas and California surpass Florida with our own species! Glad to see the new regs.

  • Randy Verran of Colorado Springs, CO writes:

    To answer the questions posed by Balog, "What makes it right for managers to move in this direction? How is it acceptable for regulations that group all users into one category." This happens all the time in real-world scenarios. City, state, and government leaders/officials/groups make decisions every day to regulate all kinds of things in the best interest of certain resources and its usage. Some decisions won't always be popular with the people who live under this regulation. However, in most cases, these decisions are well thought out, typically work well, and only in rare cases turn out to be disasters.

    In regard to fisheries, every fishery no matter how large or small has various factors in play. However, for me, a general rule of thumb can be applied, if it's a small fishery like a specific small river or small lake that churns out very large bass and these bass happen to be northern largemouths living in a geographic location that has short warm seasons, then regulate the heck out of it. It takes this type of species years to reach trophy-size status. For larger fisheries, the same parameters apply and the driving factor, for obvious reasons, would be how quickly can these trophy caliber fish be replenished throughout the system.

  • Jake deBin of Chattanooga, TN writes:

    RE: Balog on new Florida regs – Definitely not an overstep. Four 2-pounders and your choice of kicker. Want more? Bring a buddy. Want even more? Bring an ultralight spinning outfit and fill the remaining cooler space with panfish or catfish.

    So what makes it right? The idea that it's almost zero risk, with the assumption that it has the potential to bring about greater good, both economically and recreationally. It's just a good move.

    If the conversation is about food for those who fish to eat, and that this could ultimately lead to starvation on their account of conforming to a rule change on one species that represents five out of the 77 fish they can legally keep in a day – well, that's not a very good argument.

    A bold move is a risky move. Risk for who? In this case, it's the harvester. This is about harvest limits. The argument is nowhere else. The study that backs up the argument is linked on the state e-reg page. It states that the majority of the bass aren't over 16 inches to begin with in most Florida lakes. So an angler, by the numbers, is likely going to harvest mostly 2-pounders to begin with, whilst within the legal limit. So on most days, according to sampling and harvest records, he's going home with 10 pounds of bass. Add in 50 bream and you're looking at another 15-20 pounds. Now shove another 25 crappie in the cooler and you've stacked on another 10-15 pounds.

    Those 20 stripers will need their own cooler – there's another 20-40 pounds, maybe more if you take home your legally permitted 24-plus-incher. Cooler No. 3 will hold 30-35 pounds of your two peakocks and 25 eel (tasty?). So at the end of the day, if you're by yourself, you have to drag 100-plus pounds of fresh table meat back to the truck.

    So on the average, with the new regs, you take home your 10 pounds of bass. Prior to July 1, 2016, that could have been 13-14 pounds. So the argument is centered around 4 pounds out of 100 pounds of fish you could have kept in a day, or 4 percent of potential table fare for our hungry fishermen. Four percent already seems low-risk, but considering what the family can consume in one day is a fraction of the daily limit harvest cap, you're knocking on near zero effect on anyone's livelihood.

    That's pretty low-risk. And in absolutely no sense is it bold.

  • Jim Liner of Pintlala, AL writes:

    As a biologist who specializes in largemouth bass, I totally disagree with Joe's "A Step Too Far?." Florida wants to be known once again as the bass capital of the country and the way to do this is size limits. The FWC is totally correct on this new ruling. Small bass eat better than large ones, anyway.

    And another thing: Fishing pressure is a whole lot more now than in your father's or grandfather's day. We have more people chasing those" little green fish" now and with our high-tech equipment we can find them. Florida makes a lot of money on tourists coming to catch their largest bass ever. The replica mounts available today are beautiful and the correct way to go. That way no 10-year-old bass will have to die.

  • Kyle Dennis of Kalispell, MT writes:

    RE: Balog on new Florida regs – Joe, I don't think that is an unusual regulation, is it? Obviously, I'm in a northern state and bass grow much, much slower here, but most bass lakes have five-bass limits, with only one over 12", and five bass in possession. Montana fisheries managers could honestly care less about bass, and yet we still have these regs. Just a thought ... really like your articles.

  • Johnny McLean of Little Rock, AR writes:

    RE: Balog on new Florida regs – Good article. Joe, and I guess at the end of the day the final decision comes down to the almighty dollar. I personally like the rule because as a biologist, I always think about all the obstacles a fish has to overcome to survive to be 16 inches – as you know, most people have no clue. Also, possibly it signifies that in a country with over 300 million people and growing, we are evolving and becoming more conservation-minded.

  • Skip Bennett of Texico, IL writes:

    RE: Balog on new Florida regs – I personally think the size limit in Florida is doing is fine. Since I live in rual America, there is no better-eating fish per pound of cleaning than a 12- to 15-inch largemouth bass. I think the 3-pound plus fish don't taste as good. And like some states allow people to harvest deer year round as long as they don't possess more than one in their freezer, maybe there should be some kind of hardship law allowing those less fortunate to keep what they need. I wouldn't want some guy to be restricted on feeding his family due to a slot limit.

  • Lynda Main of Del Rio, TX writes:

    RE: Brauer's Cup chance – I know this guy personally and he's the toughest man I know. Honored to be his friend and get to fish with him.

  • John Gaulke of Ithaca, NY writes:

    RE: Balog on Hackney – far as I know, it isn't against the law to fish in marinas in New York state. Maybe I'm incorrect on this, but there are plenty of marinas that don't seem to mind people fishing in and around them. Most state park marinas prohibit fishing during the regular boating season, likely to keep people off of and away from docked boats/yachts and keep fishermen from interfering with boaters. I don't agree with it, but I understand it. But manmade marinas that are connected to the lake can be posted, so if I own a few acres and dig out a pond and it connects to a lake, I can post it. Hibiscus Harbor on Cayuga Lake is one such place. That doesn't strike me as being too unreasonable.

    Power loading is prohibited at NYS park boat launches as well as Michigan's. Tickets are not issued, but the state discourages it. Why? Because the cavitation of the motors' props eventually destroys the concrete and also creates large depressions. Some of these depressions off the ramps are steep enough to dislodge a trailer axle.

    The Elite anglers clearly had a great event on Cayuga Lake. Everything lined up perfectly for them again. You had a delayed spawn from a cold spring, full moon during the week, drought conditions so that muddy water wasn't a factor, weather patterns improved as the week went on and wind wasn't a huge factor. A week after the tournament, we now have a big algae bloom which has seriously diminished visibility.

    My one concern with this event was the taking of bass off of their beds. The smallmouth bass population remains down on Cayuga Lake and we now have a tremendous round goby population. There's zero doubt in my mind that a lot of fish beds were lost to goby predation.

  • Steve Smith of Commerce Township, MI writes:

    RE: Hackney's day-1 DQ – No excuse. The rules have to be followed.

  • Tim Cody of Charleston, TN writes:

    RE: Hackney's day-1 DQ – First, I want to say how sorry I am for Greg losing the AOY race this way. Also, I admit I've never been a marshal but I have been a co-angler in the pro/co-angler events and I also made a point to know the rules as well as my pro. Surely there's more to being a marshal than just riding along for the day. At least twice this year pros have been DQd for on-the-water actions that could have been avoided if the marshal knew the rules as well. Ultimately, I know it's the pro's responsibility due to how much they have to lose, but marshals need to read the rules and know them as well. Just my opinion.

    BassFan says: Marshals are there to watch and ensure that the rules are followed, not to counsel competitors on potential rules violations. Marshals who render aid to a competitor in that manner can have as much influence on the outcome of a tournament as one who directs an angler to an out-of-the-way dock that harbors a slew of 5-pounders. The marshals are observers, not advisors.

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