Lake Washington Coho

Ever since I moved to Lake Washington last year I have been anxiously waiting for the opportunity to fish coho in the lake.  I have fished coho in the lake a few times in the past with some success but I also know how frustrating this fishery can be when you see silvers jumping all around the boat and not one of them is a biter.  That's okay though because I'm a determined fisherman and I decided to call everyone I know that fishes LW and to do all of my research on the web, so by the time September 16th rolled around I wold be even more dialed.

 

The first stop I made was Google.  I searched LW coho, fishing for coho in LK Wa, and every other combo I could think of and came up with very little if anything.  That's just fine though, what does Google know about fishing anyway?  I went to Gamefshin and Piscatorial Pursuits next, surely one of those sites would have what I was looking for! Negative, nada, zip, zero, nothing that I had not heard or read before.  Undaunted, I decided to call Tom Pollock from Sportco in Fife.  Tom is Mr. Go-to-Guy when it comes to fishing Lake Washington.  If there is an answer, Tom has it and is always willing to help.  Well imagine my surprise when Tom told me he doesn't fish for silvers in LW and in his recollection is that he'd never even caught one in the lake  before.  What?!!  Anyway, Tom told me that he knows a guy that guides on LW and that I should give him a call.  Call him I did and if I was surprised when Tom said he didn't fish for coho on LW, well I was incomplete shock when the LW guide gave me the exact same answer.  What is going on here?  Is this one of those great fisheries that nobody wants to talk about?  Is there a conspiracy to keep this quiet and only let a few guys in on the secrets?  Well if it is, I am about to let the cat out of the bag.

 

It is true that these fish can have lockjaw once they enter LW.  That being said, I have also had days when I have fished for half an hour, caught my fish and then enjoyed a great fall day cruising around LW.  One of my favorite of these days came when former Seahawk teammate Grant Wistrom was supposed to go with me on our day off.  His wife called an audible so I left his dock only to return forty-five minutes later with two really nice coho.  Oh the joy of rubbing it in!! 

Carl Lopez (my friend and agent) displays one of the lakes nice bonus catches.

Anyway, back to talking about how we catch these fish.  A lot of the guys that I have talked to that fish this fishery use standard trolling gear.  Flashers, dodgers, hootchies, herring, anchovies and flies.  That's right, the same thing you use in the salt.  I saw a guy this past weekend net two inside of two hours using a dodger set-up.  Heck, I even saw some guys anchored up and mooching.  For me however,  I like to pull noisy plugs off my downiggers.  Wiggle Warts in red and black or orange and black have always been a favorite.  The action on these plugs and the noise that they make can draw a strike when other techniques aren't producing.

 

Scent is also a vital part of getting these fish to bite in the lake.  All of the usual suspects can work just fine but I like to use Mustad Activate Slow Release Gel for Salmon.  Mustad uses pherotech technology that combines pheromones, fish oils, and attractants.  This combination really stimulates feeding and I wipe it on everything.

These areas are great starting points when fishing LW for coho but don't be afraid to venture out into the open water as well.

No doubt LW coho fishing can be frustrating at times but for those willing to put in a little time, it can be rewarding as well.

Northwest Writers Columbia River Rendezvous!

Last week I had the opportunity to head down to the Columbia River above the Dalles to participate in an annual outdoor media "junket".  As this was my first such event I really didn't know what to expect.  Our host, longtime Columbia River pro Ed Iman puts this event together every year to showcase the wide variety of fishing available on this magnificent stretch of river.
 In addition to the fishing, several manufacturers were on hand to introduce some new products heading into show season….

I didn't go down there for the shopping….

What was on tap on the fishing front? How about chinook, coho, steelhead, sturgeon, smallmouth bass and walleye?
The Deschutes river joins the Columbia in this stretch and as I arrived Ed Iman was hosting John Posey of Lamiglas for some steelhead action at the mouth of the famed river.


Ed Iman works the mouth of the Deschutes as John Posey watches his rod.  

 

There must be a bunch of smallies in this stretch for me to pick one up while working prawn rigs for steelhead!  

 

Back at camp, I marvel at the size and organization of the camp "kitchen". Yes, that is a line of propane cookers and barbeques  on the right!  

 

Other anglers arrive back at camp and Editor of The REEL NEWS, Jim Goerg reaches into the live well and pulls out this dandy smallmouth!  

 

Check out the sturgeon gear on this rig! Oversize were on the bite and the gang from EZ Marine Products were on the prowl.  

 

After the magnificent dinner of marinated Cornish game hens and dutch oven cornbread we got to speak to some of the manufacturer's representatives that were in attendance. Mac's tackle EZ Marine and Camp Chef all checked in with new products, but Columbia sportswear stole the show!
At one point the Columbia rep invited us to do our best to soil the new PFG Performance Fishing Gear. You have never seen people move so fast to grab condiments, fish guts, bait and anything else they could get their hands on! Columbia's  new stain resistant fabric technology line is said to be "Blood 'N Guts proof and we put it to the test…

Our test subject laid on the grass and we did our best (worst?) to stain the new gear. No product representatives were injured in the making of this blog….  

To our surprise, the gear came clean as a whistle simply by rinsing in cool water! Pretty cool stuff, especially when you consider that Columbia has a PHG or Performance Hunting Gear line which will allow hunters to control scent effectively even in their deer or elk camps.
All in all, the indelible impression made upon me is the magnificent fishing and hunting opportunities that exist along the entire length of the Columbia River.  Quite possibly, there is no better time to experience this abundance than the early to mid-autumn season. Don't miss out! We will be featuring many of these fishing and hunting hotspots every Saturday, so tune in and get "dialed-in" to the Columbia basin this fall!

Short Attention Span

I just read something on the interwebs about the ever-shortening attention span of online users and how they/we need to have our information in less than 2.5 seconds or we're click, click, clicking away to the next mountain of media. I hate to admit it but my daily life is no different and it's getting worse all the time with Facebook, Twitter, and Outdoor Line Videos that keep my already short attention span hovering around 1 second, or basically as fast as my bloodshot eyes can move. The only thing that seems to work and seems to ground me, is fishing and hunting. Outside of that any semblance of focus is simply gone!

Sooooo, in keeping with the times here are some pics, videos, and thoughts from this past week that will definitely not help your attention span in any way.

The westside rivers have had glimpses of glory after every shot of rain for the past several weeks and we're not talking salmon here. Summer run steelhead aren't getting much attention this year because there are just soooo many options for salmon. Die-hard steelheaders like myself and a few other buddies have been sneaking around, under the radar, targetting these smoking-hot fish for the last several weeks. I get messages and texts from these junkies that always start with "Duuuude…call me right away," or "3 for 5 in 45 minutes". Eggs, prawns, spinners, and jigs have all taken fish depending on the day and the water conditions. If we get another good shot of rain in the next week or two you can bet I'll be chasing summer runs again on the west side. We haven't even talked about Eastern Washington yet…a HUGE run is making it's way up the Columbia right now. That's a blog in itself.

Long and light leaders with a tiny cluster of Pautzke cured eggs does the trick 


Lead box, Mustad pre-tied leaders, and a small container of eggs.

Fishing junky Scott Sypher with our limits of hot summer steelhead on a rainy September day. 4 for 8 on this particular day.

Scott was kind enough to take dad and I along last week and dad grabbed his first westside summer run on a #5 blue and silver Vibrax first thing in the morning after the fish swung and missed on my spinner. Fun stuff!

The "Roe-Bot" from Over the Edge Tackle. This one caught my eye at Outdoor Emporium and I didn't just buy one, I bought all of them. Just the right size for low and clear water and tipped with a finite piece of cured prawn this is deadly. A 14 pound buck ate this little bugger!

Tuna time! That's right…tuna. We made a 70 mile run offshore in Robbie Tobecks boat on Sunday with Charlie Wray from "Fishful Thinking TV", based near Toronto, and Mustad national sales manager Bob Funk. Tobeck gave them the option of "sure-thing" salmon fishing or a swing-for-the-fence trip offshore and all the guys opted for the we-might-not-catch-anything-but-we'll-go-anyway home run swing. Even the waitress at the diner said, "You boys are going offshore today? There hasn't been tuna in weeks and it's salmon season now!" Tuna-freak Tobeck found the tuna at 1:30 in the afternoon and the bite went OFF, grabbing 11 albacore tuna from 15 to 25 pounds in 45 minutes before making the brutal 3 hour run home in heavy seas. The guy knows tuna! A show in the bag for Charlie Wray and I got to check albie's off the bucket list. Trolling and Butterfly jigs were the only thing working on this particular day!

Charlie Wray from Fishful Thinking TV in Canada. 19 years and running with a television show…that's impressive. 

These chrome missiles can really move!

The Funk-meister with a phat alby!

"Oh, there's some fish on the Deschutes. What time do you want me there?" From the tuna grounds to the Deschutes River in Oregon, again with Bob Funk, Charlie Wray, and long time Salmon Trout Steelhead advertising rep Dave Eng. We spent a great day with guide Jeremy Toman, ending up 7 for 12 with two chrome Chinook and 5 steelhead. Very impressed with Jeremy Toman! From his fishing knowledge to the way he handled our fish…very professional. My only complaint is that he wouldn't let me eat fried chicken on his boat. Too funny…more on that later!

Bob with a chromer Deschutes Chinook. I cast to this fish no less than 40 times before walking away. Bob made one cast…fish on!  

A bonus king that bit my purple Beau Mac jig first thing in the morning. Jeremy hollers "Endsley you gotta cast into the heavy stuff. Listen to your guide. Where's the love man!" I listen, cast into the heavy stuff, and whamo! Steelhead eluded me on this particular day, which just means that I need to go back!

The "Nightmare" jig, aptly named.

This Deschutes River king is headed for the freezer, complete with salmon belly strips (aka BTN)

Videos, videos, videos! The video page on the Outdoor Line website has taken off nicely of late with a great mix of videos on all the channels. Here's a few of my favorites…at least for the next few seconds.

The Most Inspirational Fisherman Ever!

Whatcom County Early Goose

Methow River Steelhead

It took me at least 30 minutes to complete this blog, the longest I've stayed focused in well over two weeks. I have a wedding to attend this weekend that will really test my attention span. Thankfully there will be a bunch of fisherman to talk to!

Rob Endsley 

The Electronics Advantage

I can still remember dad and I trying to read the graph on our old Sitex paper sonar as we toodled around the Puget Sound in search of salmon, bottomfish, shrimp, crab, and scuba diving spots. Other than seeing what the bottom looked like and possibly a hapless bait ball once in a while, the graph was all but useless. My how these machines have changed!

Nowadays the dash on my Alaskan charter boat is consumed by two 10 inch Lowrance units that do everything but cook lunch and wash the boat. My "old" unit is a Lowrance 113 that displays my GPS and mapping data and when the fog rolls in I split the screen to show both radar and GPS. I say "old" because the 113 was only a year old when the new HDS hit the market. Next spring we'll be installing the new Lowrance broadband sonar onto the charter boat that will allow both the GPS data and radar to be overlayed, and it will also give me the ability to ping VHF's that share the same Digital Selective Calling network. Once the DSC system is in place the boats in our fleet will only need to key their mic's and their position will show up immediately on the GPS.  VHF commications will cease to be like this, "Well, we're across the street at that "one" spot we talked about", or "you know, that spot we caught the kings at yesterday."

The latest position-tracking technology may allow us to find a fishing spot, but once on location the real electronics advantage is in the sonar unit. A brand new Lowrance HDS broadband unit resides next to my 113 and all it displays is sonar…a full screen of nothing but sonar, sonar, and more sonar. The new HDS is more like an office computer than one would think, with built in broadband sonar, GPS, radar, Sirius satellite radio and weather, SD memory card slots for uploading and downloading data, and layer upon layer of settings for each and much easier to use than the home computer.

With fast trolling, slow trolling, surface clarity, noise rejection, and numerous other settings the sonar can be set to pick up a grain of sand passing under the boat and adjustments can be made on the fly as conditions change. Bottom-hugging salmon, rockfish suspended over structure, baitfish, and even halibut don't slide by un-noticed. When we're fishing amongst a bunch of boats I can quickly fine tune the sonar unit to reject noise from nearby transducers and as depth and conditions change the sensitivity can be quickly changed to paint everything that passes under the transducer.

The sensitivity on my sonar is usually set at around 92%, but for one reason or another I'll sometimes need to drop the sensitivity down into the high 80's or perhaps turn it up. On a near-daily basis I will run the sensitivity up or down as large masses of bait or marks appear on the screen that could be salmon. Adjusting the sensitivity up slightly will sometimes paint fish with a much clearer hairline arch and will give color to the body that wasn't there before. This "practice" with my sonar, so to speak, has gotten me comfortable with identifying marks on the screen and knowing for certain what they are.  

What's Going On Down There?
Here's a few pictures I've taken of my sonar the last couple of years that might further explain what I'm talking about:

Here's a no-brainer for ya!  The screen contains multiple schools of feed with countless silvers mixed in gorging themselves on the bait. The mark on the bottom right of the screen is two kings which promptly jumped on two cut plug herring that we dropped on mooching gear, making for an exciting double-header. 

This bait ball was 100 feet thick at it's broadest point and around 100 yards long. On the bottom left corner you can make out the easy to use sensitivity button on the bottom of the Lowrance HDS unit. Adjustments can be made very quickly with this easy to use button on the front of the machine.

This mark was very subtle until I turned the sensitivity up to 92% on the HDS unit. This is actually two 20 pound kings swimming very close to one another. We quickly dropped cut plug herring to these fish, landing one and losing the other. There is also a school of bait just noticable on the lower left of the screen.

The bottom zoom on the HDS was picking up schools of silvers in this relatively shallow water. This school resulted in a quadruple hookup on silvers between 10 and 14 pounds. After we landed these fish I quickly turned the sensitivity to 95% and began picking up fish on the full screen, as well. And yes, silvers respond very well to "Boston", seen on the Sirius satellite reciever. Sorry, fishing was just too fast to get any more pictures!

 

Capt. Rob Endsley

www.princeofwalessportfishing.com 

Wooldridge 29 Pilot

I received a call from Glen Wooldridge of Wooldridge Boats a few weeks ago inviting me for a ride aboard the new Wooldridge 29ft Pilot.  Having never had the opportunity to get on board one of these new offshore boats by Wooldridge I jumped at the chance to get something on the calendar.  Glen promised me a great handling and fuel efficient boat and let me just say that he delivered.

 The plan was for Glen to pick me up at my house on Lake Washington.   The first thing that I noticed about the boat as it came around the south end of Mercer Island was how fast it got to me.  This boat was obviously built for speed and I couldn't wait to test it out.  As Glen approached the dock I noticed they had included a hatch in the design that easily allowed me to step from the bow to the house without having to hold the grab rail and walk around. 

 After seeing how fast the boat was on it's approach and then boarding the boat I was surprised to see that it was only powered by twin 150 Yamaha 4-strokes.  I knew that this boat was gong to be every bit as fuel efficient as Glen had promised and to prove it we hooked up a flow meter and did some testing.  To me the highlight was seeing the boat cruise to 32 mph at 4800 rpm on 1 engine while using only 14.1 gph.  With both engines we reached a top speed of 48.2 mph with a comfrtable cruise of 37.8 mph at 4500 rpm.  At this speed we only burned 17.3 mpg for an incredible 2.18 mpg gallon.  This boat will get you out to the tuna grounds in a hurry and not break the bank at the fuel pump.

 

After the testing was all done it was my turn to get behing the wheel and really test this boat out.  As I eased the throttle down I colud see out of the corner of my eye that Glen was a little disappointed, he really wanted me to put this boat to the test.  I decided to take him up on it and when I did I found myself with the feeling of driving a formula one race car around the track.  Not only was this boat fast but it handled and turned like it was on rails.  I can honestly say that I have never been on a boat that was as responsive as this one. 

 

I was also very impressed with the layout on this boat.  The pilot house was roomy and had everything that you would need to live aboard for the weekend while chasing salmon in the San Juans or wherever you might want to go.  The deck had all kinds of room and huge fish boxes as well as plenty of rod storage.  Glen also mentioned that he would customize a boat to meet anyone's needs.  If you are looking for a fast, fuel efficient, trailerable boat that is still big enough for the entire crew then you need to take a look at Wooldridge's 29 Pilot.

 

 

Let’s be careful out there!

You can't help but notice.

It's as obvious as a leaping salmon.

Fish and fisherman are in the news.

This ongoing salmon season – we're talkin' Southeast Alaska to Buoy 10 here-  has been one of the best in recent memory and has brought anglers out of the woodwork!

Enter the media.

 Predictably,  habitually and constantly the mass media seeks out negative or controversial news. The news room mantra dictates "if it bleeds, it leads" and regional fishermen's image has been "bleeding" profusely as of late.

It started with a WDFW news release regarding the wide open salmon bite out at Sekiu. Chinook, coho and pinks were on tap and the tap was flowing freely.
The Sekiu fishery for coho and chinook is "selective" meaning that wild fish with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed. However, once the chinook sport fishing quota is reached, the fishery closes to chinook retention.
In their haste to fill their four-fish pink salmon limit, anglers were inadvertently keeping juvenile, fin-clipped chinook.
WDFW fish checkers at the Sekiu docks, brought the situation to the attention of local anglers with little effect. It was only after WDFW issued a press release essentially threatening a complete closure and enforcement personnel started writing citations that anglers sat up and took notice.

Anglers fishing the Skokomish River at the southern end of Hood Canal near Shelton, Washington have been described as infamous and this seasons events did little to "clean-up" their reputation.
The "Skok" saw a strong run of chinook this season and was literally elbow-to-elbow with as many as 2,000 anglers a day plying the waters. Unfortunately, the sanitary facilities provided at the WDFW access were not adequate to serve the crowd of anglers and "elbow-to-elbow" fishing resulted in "cheek-to-cheek" conditions in the woods bordering the Skokomish.
Unfortunately, the Skokomish estuary harbors a very productive and lucrative shellfish fishery immediately downstream of the, uh, numerous "indiscretions".
State Department of Health Shellfish Manager Bob Woolridge ordered the closure of the Tribe's oyster harvest at the mouth of the Skokomish. There is so much visual evidence and reports of human waste on the banks of the river, and since people eat oysters raw, Wooldridge said the health department felt it only prudent to close the harvest.


The tribe was not amused.


“The fact that the Skokomish Tribe must close an important shellfish harvest area as a direct result of non-Indian activities that are authorized by WDFW is an outrage and violates the tribe’s treaty rights,” said Skokomish Tribal Chairman Charles “Guy” Miller.
Once again, sportsmen "soiled" their reputation in the eyes of the public.

Just this past Friday, September 11, 2009, Bryan Johnson of KOMO 4 News, filed this report:

Fishermen spat leads to Puyallup River closures

PUYALLUP — A huge run of pink salmon, also known as humpies, has fishermen crammed into available space on the Puyallup River.

But if they come back Sunday, these fishermen could face fines of $109.

The lower reaches of the Puyallup River were ordered closed to recreational fishing between noon Sunday and noon Tuesday after an angry confrontation last Sunday between sport fishermen and tribal fishermen who were using driftnets.

John Orton said he was fishing the river Sunday when a driftnetter dropped a net just a few feet behind a group of recreational fishermen.

Orton said one of the fishermen yelled, "What are you after, fish or people?"

Angry words followed and Orton says the tribal fishermen circled around him and others effectively trapping him in the net. Orton said he was able to jump clear but one man had to cut his way out.

He immediately filed an assault complaint with Puyallup Police. But since the river bed is actually on reservation land, the investigation was turned over to Puyallup tribal police.

Tribal spokesman John Wimer said the incident is still under investigation, but he said normally, tribal fishermen warn recreational fisherman as they head up the river and they yell out as they drift down with the net.

The recreational fishermen say they heard no such warnings.

The State Fisheries Department says the incident Sunday appears to be isolated, but others say there were angry words both Sunday and Monday.

The tribe and the state Dept of Fish and Wildlife agreed Friday morning that the lower reaches of the river would be closed to recreational fishermen during the Indian net fisheries time, which for the next three weeks are from noon Sunday to noon Tuesday.

The recreational fishermen will be able to fish above Freeman Road and North Levee Road.

The tribe says it will post the areas with warning notices. Wildlife agents say they will patrol both sides of the river asking people to leave, warning that if they don't, they face fines of $109.

The above story and associated video can be found on komotv.com

While it could be argued that, at least in the Puyallup incident that it takes two to tango, the fact that sports anglers are in the news is far from "good news".
As sports anglers we owe it to our children and the resource to know the regulations and treat the fish, other user groups and each other with respect.


There are those in the general public (PETA, ELF and the Humane Society) that would just as soon not see us fishing…at all.


We have a constant battle with government agencies (NOAA and the proposed San Juan closure) and we have to fight for our allocation of salmon each and every year at the North of Falcon season setting process. In this day and age, we need to do it better, cleaner and in a more positive light than ever before. As a user group we must have the honesty to know and follow the regulations, the compassion to treat each other fairly and the integrity to do all this even when no one is looking.

All I am saying is: Let's be careful out there!

A Line in the Sand

With the 2009 Alaska charter season a little over a week behind me and
the big move to Gig Harbor nearly complete it's high time to get my
head wrapped around NOAA's proposed closure of
the west side of San Juan Island to vessel traffic. Since I chartered
in the San Juans for five years in the mid-90's and spent more than my
share of time plying the outside of San Juan Island for salmon,
bottomfish, and halibut the proposal hit me like an anvil. I got one of
those I-can't-believe-I-did-that hangover headaches that you can only
get from, well, drinking, and secondly from imaging your once beloved
state becoming nothing more than a look-but-don't-touch goldfish bowl.
Advil, I need Advil!   

"Vessel traffic" means everyone right? WRONG! The proposal, meant to
eventually increase the population of ESA listed Southern Resident
Killer Whales, would exlude all but commercial vessels and local
residents from operating in the waters off the west side of San Juan
Island. The goal of the proposal is to reduce vessel noise in the area,
which may or may not hinder the whales ability to feed, navigate, and
nurse their offspring. I say may or may not because the evidence seems
to be very inconclusive on the matter of vessel noise and it's effect
on the killer whales.

Soooo, we're going to turn this area into a "no-fly zone" for
recreational boaters and allow commercial boats and local residents
continued use of these waters. Huh??? My only thought, outside of
wondering why my head hurts so bad, is that someone in a high-backed
leather chair must feel like they need to uphold the value of limited
entry commercial purse seine and gillnet permits. The commercial
interests are well funded and well organized. Exclude these vessels
from some of the most productive waters in the state and well, that
brings up another round of funding and a bag of excrement that will
really, really complicate things. The recreational anglers, the
discumbobulated low hanging fruit, will go down without a fight. Not so
fast!

If recreational anglers are going to squabble, bicker, or complain we
need to do it in a constructive and unified manner by calling our local
Congressman, Senators, or Representatives and respectfully
communicating our opposition to NOAA's proposal. We may need to
negotiate on this matter, but we simply can't roll over on our backs
and play dead. Click on the links below and either email or call your
local legislator and voice your opinion. We all spend time in vehicles
during the day and a simple phone call is all it takes. 

Congressman Rick Larsen-2nd Congressional District

Washington State Legislature District Directory

Members of the 40th Legislative District (Skagit, Whatcom, and San Juan Counties)

Here's another way to help:

The Fisherman's Coalition is a grass roots organization started by
Larry Carpenter, owner of Master Marine Services in Mount Vernon. When
something like the recent NOAA proposal pops up in the North Sound
Larry's phone is generally the first to ring and this time was no
different. He's had the backs of recreational fisherman for almost
three decades and has spent just as much time duking it out with
government agencies for improved sportfishing seasons and increased
angling opportunity as he has on the water, if not more. When the news
came down that NOAA was proposing a complete closure of the west side
of San Juan Island to all but commercial fisherman and local residents
you can bet Larry's phone was jumping off the hook. Larry is quickly
rounding up the funds necessary to pay heavy-hitting lobbyist and
former Northwest Marine Trade Association employee Frank Urubeck to
play the heavy on our behalf. While some money has already been
collected, much more is needed with all of the funds going directly to
Frank Urubeck, who like Carpenter has a long history of covering
recreational fishing rights. To donate to the Fisherman's Coalition
contact Larry Carpenter at 360-336-2176 or stop by and visit him at Master Marine Services in Mount Vernon, WA.    

It’s Time to Join the Fight!!!

I can remember a time as a kid growing up in Florida that I didn't give a second thought about having a license, catch card, barbless hook, circle hook, open or closed season, or what marine area I was fishing. 

 Back then, if you were fishing in salt water everything was fair game.  My how things have changed!  Don't get me wrong, I don't support the idea of a free for all like we had back then but we are way past reasonable fisheries management in this country.  We have so many groups in this country that want to take away your access to fishing that it is coming at us from all directions. 

 Environmental groups, commercial groups, government agencies, bleeding hearts you name it.  It seems that everyone has an agenda nowadays.  What once was a great American pastime has become a political power grab at every opportunity.  Gone are the days of people not participating in your activity because they don't like it, today they want to take away your oportunity to do it as well.  The problem as I see it is that we as sportsfishman have become defensive and reactionary as opposed to aggressive and assertive.  It is time that we become pro-active in defending our freedom to fish and pass down our favorite pastime to the younger generation.

We have brought up quite a few issues over the past few months on the show but it hit me this past week when I was flying back to New York.  As is my custom when I am flying, I grab every fishing magazine that I can get my hands on.  The one thing that really struck me was that every magazine I read had an article about fisherman losing rights and access.  The really scary thing was that none of the magazines had an article about the same issue!

  Here on the show the last few weeks we have been talking about the proposed closure of the west side of San Juan island from May thru September to recreational fishing (see Tom's article in this month's issue of The Reel News).  In Florida Sportsman they were talking about proposed gag Grouper closures and Red snapper closures. In Salmon Trout Steelheader there was an article about commercial bycatch being the oceans worst offender and wastes a quarter of all commercial landings.  Pacific Coast Sportfishing had an article about MPA's in Cali.  Word on the street is that these same MPA proposals are coming to the Puget Sound and San Juans just like California and Oregon. Saltwater Sportsman discussed the lack of uniform rules and how confusing that can be.  I could go on and on but you guys know what I am talking about.   

I have repeatedly said on the show that if you are a fisherman and you are not actively involved in some sort of fishing rights organization then you are missing the boat. 

 Your opportunity is being chipped away every day and to stand by and let it happen is a travesty.  I know all of the excuses but I do not care to hear any of them.  I have four active kid's, three jobs, time for charity, and still try to make as much time as I can to contribute to groups such as CCA and PSA.  If you say you still don't have any time then maybe it is money, even $25 a year to become a member in one of these or the many other worthy organizations.  Membership is one of the main things that get's politicians and the like to sit up and pay attention.

It's time to get up and get involved.