Thursday, September 29, 2016

Last of a kind.

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Toughie, the last Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog known to exist in this world, has died and his species is now extinct. You may recognize him from the OPS documentary film Racing Extinction. I had the honor of meeting Toughie twice and I wrote this article about meeting him: The Loneliest Frog in the World:…/the-loneliest-frog-in-the_b… He was a small, brownish frog with hands that looked like Gollum’s - appropriate, because he too, was precious.... I know

 Toughie was not majestic in the way that elephants, polar bears, orcas, tigers and some other endangered creatures are. But to me, and to Mark Mandica (his caretaker), Toughie was as majestic as they come. Meeting him was like meeting a little unicorn - the last of his kind.

 My dear Toughie, I am so sorry we couldn’t save you and your kind. Your sad story will be a voice for the other frogs in danger of extinction. May the four winds blow you safely home where you will forever glide from treetop to treetop like the tiny little brown superman you are. Goodbye little frog prince.

IFA Kayak Tour Championship Set for Panama City, Florida

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
Championship features increased payouts

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – The IFA Kayak Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing will visit Panama City, Florida, for the 2016 championship event, Oct. 7-8. The two-day event will feature increased payouts and contingency prizes while bringing together the best inshore kayak anglers from Texas to the Carolinas.

"We are thrilled to have the most skilled kayak anglers competing together in our rich waters," said Jennifer Vigil, president and CEO of Panama City Community Development Council, Inc. "This season's IFA Redfish Open held here in April was a great success and we want to show the kayak anglers the same hospitality and let them experience all that Panama City offers."

The championship event will begin with registration on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 5-7 p.m. at The Shrimp Boat Restaurant (1201 Beck Ave., Panama City, Florida 32401) followed by the captain's meeting. Anglers will launch Friday and Saturday from the location of their choice with the weigh-ins set at Sunjammers St. Andrews (1129 Beck Ave., Panama City, Florida 32401) Check-in times will be announced at the captain's meeting on Thursday.

All anglers who entered at least two regular-season kayak events and competed in one event will qualify for the $50 entry-fee championship. First-place prize at the IFA Kayak Championship Presented by Hobie Fishing, regardless of field size, is a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak valued at $2,549. Second and third place finishers will be awarded cash prizes of $1,500 and $750, respectively.

In addition, the Divisional Anglers of the Year will square off during the championship for the Overall Angler of the Year award. The winner will receive $1,000 and paid entry fees for 2017.

IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Hobie Fishing, Ranger Boats, Cabela's, Lucas Oil, Yamaha Outboards, RAM, Berkley Gulp!, Berkley Gulp! Alive!, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Power-Pole, BoatU.S., Amphibia, Arctic Ice, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, SuperClean, Valley Fashions, ENGEL Coolers, T-H Marine, ATLAS, G-Juice Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, The Shrimp Boat Restaurant, Sunjammers St. Andrews and the Panama City Community Development Council.

For more information or to become a member of the IFA, the fastest-growing inshore fishing tournament series in the United States, go online to To discover more about kayaking and Hobie Fishing go to

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

B.A.S.S. Raises Maximum Rod Length To 10 Feet In 2017

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The 40-year-old rule that has limited Bassmaster tournament competitors to rods that were 8 feet or shorter will be changed for 2017, allowing competitors to use rods as long as 10 feet.

The new rule will apply to all B.A.S.S. trails, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens and all B.A.S.S. Nation and youth events.

"This is something that the anglers wanted," said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. "After discussing it during our annual rules committee meeting, we saw no reason not to expand to 10 feet."

The rule in question is tournament rule C8, which currently reads in part: "Only one casting, spin casting or spinning rod (8-foot maximum length from butt of handle to rod tip) and reel may be used at any one time."

Bassmaster Elite Series angler Skeet Reese of California said during the ICAST trade show in Orlando, Fla., in July that he planned to suggest a change to the rule, believing it would help the sport grow. The change was formally proposed and discussed during last month's Elite Advisory Board meeting in Waldorf, Md.

"You can fish a 16-inch swimbait with a 400-pound-test leader if you wanted," Reese said. "There are no reel-speed restrictions. Having the length limit makes no sense. It's antiquated."

Some rod makers agreed with Reese about the rule change's impact on the industry.

"St. Croix is excited about the change B.A.S.S. is making to increase rod lengths," said Jesse Simpkins, marketing director for St. Croix Rod. "It grows the market and broadens product lines. It will be interesting to see what this opportunity does in the hands on the world's best bass anglers. Ultimately — as it has always been — it will be the anglers who drive the development process."

Restrictions on rod length began in the West, and they were the catalyst for the development of the popular and effective "flippin'" technique. Dee Thomas of California, the "Father of Flippin'," began winning tournaments in that state by "dipping" jigs in stands of tules with a 14-foot surf casting rod. When competitors complained, Thomas developed the flipping presentation, which delivered the lures to the same spots with a 7 1/2-foot rod.

The 8-foot maximum was added to B.A.S.S. rules by B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott and Tournament Director Harold Sharp in 1976. Back then, competitors were paired by random draw and took turns controlling the boat. There were no pro anglers and co-anglers; everyone was fishing for the same prize, two to a boat.

Scott and Sharp believed a rod longer than 8 feet gave the angler operating the boat a distinct advantage over the other.

Today's Elite Series events pair one angler with a marshal or cameraman who is not fishing. Opens tournaments involve a pro angler or "boater" who is fishing for a larger prize and a co-angler or "non-boater" who is restricted to the back of the boat.

With the format changes, anglers like Reese have long wished for a change to the rule.
"It has bothered me for years," he said. "I've never understood it. I've always wanted an 8 1/2-foot spinning rod for fighting smallmouth in open water. With a longer crankbait rod, we could cast a lure longer distances and get the rod down further to help it dive. Think of what you could do with a longer punching rod — that kind of leverage over the fish would be amazing.

"I don't see any disadvantage, and it would give the industry new products and new techniques."

An article in the September 2016 B.A.S.S. Times Magazine — written well before the rule change was formally proposed — noted that some tournament circuits in the Western United States began allowing longer rods years ago to accommodate the growing popularity of large, heavy swimbaits. Elite Series anglers also like longer fishing rods for smallmouth bass techniques, including the float-and-fly method, which is impractical with a rod shorter than 9 or 10 feet.

The float-and-fly technique involves using a 1/8- or 1/16-ounce jig suspended 10 or more feet beneath a plastic bobber on line as light as 4-pound test, and it is particularly popular on smallmouth fisheries during the cold winter months. That means it could come into play early, as the Bassmaster Elite Series begins its 2017 regular season on Tennessee's Cherokee Lake, Feb. 9-12.

Weldon said he is pleased with the rules committee's decision regarding rod length.

"We always listen when anglers make suggestions or express concerns," he said. "Obviously, we can't accommodate all of the requests. But this was one that made sense, and we think it's a good change."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Gauvin and Wilde Win Bronze at Archery World Cup Final

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
ODENSE, Denmark - The Archery World Cup Final began today with compound finals, where Crystal Gauvin and Reo Wilde racked up bronze finishes for the U.S. The Archery World Cup Final culminates a long summer of qualifying events as the top seven archers in each division plus one archer from the host nation in each category are invited to this prestigious, annual showdown event.

Gauvin faced USA teammate Dahlia Crook (Piedmont, Kansas) in the sixteen year-old's World Cup Final debut for the first match of the day. Crook is the youngest of the archers competing this weekend and made a strong run at the quarterfinal, but Gauvin took the win with a six-point margin. "I've been watching this event on YouTube for years," commented Crook. "It's so cool to be here, just to actually be in the World Cup Final. It's a great experience to be competing with the best eight archers of the season."

Gauvin continued to the semifinal against eventual gold medal finisher, Italy's Marcella Tonioli. Gauvin posted a second 139 of the day to Tonioli's 144 to move on to the bronze final with Turkey's Yesim Bostan. Guavin opened with a strong lead, up three points by the second end. Her lead slipped to only one point when Bostan scored a perfect 30 in the fourth end, but with a tied score for the final three arrows, Gauvin clinched the win with her strongest score of the day 144-143.

"I was really mad about my second match," Gauvin told World Archery. "I went and watched the boys shoot, tried not to think about it too much. I came here to win, I thought I had a really good shot. I'm happy with the bronze, but it's definitely a disappointment. I have the world field next week, so on to that."

Wilde has competed at seven World Cup Finals since the event's inception in 2006, which he won. Since then, he has competed each year from 2011-2016 and has picked up two silver medals and including today, two bronze finishes. In the 2015 Final Wilde fell first round to Turkey's Elmaagacli, and this morning faced Turkey's Evren Cagiran. The outcome went his way today as he clinched the win 144-143 after retaining a one-point lead from the second end in a very tight match.

In the semifinal, South Africa's Seppie Cilliers bested Wilde 144-143 after a perfect 30 in the third and fifth ends gave him a slight edge in the score. Wilde came back with his strongest scores of the day, posting only four arrows out of the 10 ring to clinch the bronze win 145-144 against Croatia's Domagoj Buden.

Competition continues tomorrow with the recurve finals where 2016 Olympic medalists Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) and Zach Garrett (Wellington, Missouri) take the stage. Garrett makes his World Cup Final debut, while Ellison makes his seventh repeat appearance as history's most decorated World Cup Final Champion with an unprecedented three titles. Complete scores from the competition can be found at and live video is available at

About USA Archery
USA Archery is the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of archery in the United States. USA Archery selects and trains Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup teams, as well as developing archery at the grassroots level across the United States. For more information, visit

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fish stories: Reeling in bass from Beavertail

Posted by Wayne G.Barber

“Since the haul of bass at Beavertail, fish stories have been as thick as mosquitoes, and a person can safely divide by 10 what he hears,” reported the Newport Journal in August 1887.
Perhaps the editors were thinking of the reported 72-pound striper, which old-timers say was caught in 1881 from the Beavertail rocks. In the days before easily snapped photographs and calculated weighing, accurate sizes were harder to record than today.
Many of the striped bass caught in Jamestown in the late 19th century were taken from one of the fishing stands anchored to the rocks around Beavertail Point. The one-man piers, mostly maintained by private fishing clubs, brought fishermen over deeper water where bass were more plentiful. D.R. Watson, a summer visitor staying at the Champlin House, caught a 40-pound bass from one of the stands. According to the Newport Daily News in August 1883, the fish “was captured after an exciting struggle of half an hour.” He used rod and reel, the newspaper reported.
As early as 1900, avid fishermen were complaining that fewer fish were coming into the bay. Some of clubs fell into disrepair. “A few bass are still caught by the local fishermen each year at this point, but not as many or as large,” commented the Newport Daily News in January 1906.
Fishing for stripers at Beavertail still remained popular from late August through early November. While the number of captured bass went down, fishermen continued to land big fish from the rocks.
In late summer 1935, Leon Murphy of Howland Avenue caught a 50-pound striped bass, the largest recorded locally at that time. He didn’t hold the title long. On Oct. 21, 1936, Arthur Clarke, fishing at Hull Cove, caught a striped bass weighing 65 pounds. The fish was 54 inches long and had a girth of 33 inches. It can be seen today at the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum.
BELOW: Arthur S. Clarke with a town record 65-pound striped bass he reeled from Hull Cove in October 1936. Photos courtesy of the Jamestown Historical Society
Clarke’s catch still is the largest striped bass caught from the Jamestown shore. Despite its size, it was never a world record for stripers caught on rod and reel. According to “The Complete Book of Surf Fishing” published in 2008, there was a 73-pound striped bass caught Aug. 17, 1913, off Cuttyhunk Island, Mass., by Charles Church.
The number of Atlantic striped bass in Narragansett Bay and Block Island Sound began to rebound about 2000. Although some are caught from shore, most are landed from charter boats. The b
ag limit is one striper per fisherman.

Although the species is not endangered, conservationists support catch and release, especially for the larger fish. Females grow bigger than the males. A striped bass over 20 pounds is probably a female, with the potential for producing up to 3 million eggs each spring.
Environmentalists suggest fishermen take a picture. Let the photograph be the trophy.

50 years ago — Sept. 26, 1966 (Newport Mercury)
A section of Beavertail owned by the U.S. Navy has reopened to fishermen, U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell told Rebelle Felice, the owner of a bait shop on North Road in Jamestown.
The area was closed in April for security reasons after 12 radio antennae were erected at the naval transmitting station. During the closure, Felice asked Pell for an update, which led to a letter from Rear Adm. F.J. Brush indicating the Navy had completed its site review. Felice was given a photostatic copy of the admiral’s letter.
Source:  Rosemary Enright and Sue Maden  , Jamestown Press

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Gerald Swindle Wins Second Angler Of The Year Title At Mille Lacs

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Ala., clinched his second Angler of the Year title since 2004 at the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota.

A total purse of $1 million was paid out to the Top 50 Bassmaster Elite Series pros, along with berths to the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro. Swindle collected $100,000, and the remaining 49 anglers earned shares of the remaining $900,000.

The Top 39 anglers at this event will be competing in the Classic next March on Lake Conroe near Houston, Texas.

Swindle, a 15-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, struggled to catch competitive limits on Mille Lacs Lake during the first two days of the championship, but he figured out the fish on the final day of the championship today, bringing in a five-fish limit of smallmouth bass that weighed 22 pounds.

"The last thing I wanted was to win this title without catching the kind of fish that Mille Lacs is known for producing," Swindle said. "I left the docks this morning with the full intention of going out and catching them how I wanted to catch them. I threw a jerkbait and a vibrating jig and had an awesome day. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut."

Swindle said a 7-pound largemouth he caught during the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., in late April was the turning point for his season.

"When I caught that fish, I knew that I was back in the AOY race, and I decided right then and there to ride that momentum to the end of the season," he said. "Of course it was long from over at that point, but looking back, that fish changed the season for me."
An emotional Swindle, with his wife LeAnn by his side, explained how humbled and grateful he is for the opportunity to earn a title of this magnitude.

"My parents were in the crowd to watch me win AOY," Swindle said. "And my wife has stuck by me, through thick and thin — she's kept my head in the game and helped me stay focused when it was most important. I'm so thankful for the support I receive from her and my family. This is a team sport for the Swindles, and it's a victory we all get to celebrate together."

While Swindle was surrounded by media, LeAnn talked about how much this title means when compared to the 2004 AOY title.

"Honestly, I really had no idea back in 2004 how hard it was to win Angler of the Year, and how highly respected the title is," she said. "He puts his heart and soul into this sport, and not because he has to, but because he loves it. We're so blessed to be here, and no one is more proud of him than I am."

The objective of any bass tournament is to catch the most and the biggest bass, but this tournament was won by points accrued throughout the season.

However, Seth Feider of Bloomington, Minn., wowed his hometown crowd after producing an enormous limit of smallmouth bass that weighed 26-2 — his largest limit across the three days, and the best performance of the tournament.

"After the Potomac River event in August, I wasn't sure fishing this tournament was going to be a possibility," Feider said. "It's really a dream come true, and I'm very proud of Minnesota for showing off the best smallmouth bass fishery in the world."

Last week, Feider was able to make a solid comeback during the Plano Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Favorite Fishing out of La Crosse, where he finished in second place.

"To beat these guys anywhere is an accomplishment not to be overlooked, but to do that at home on two fisheries I care deeply about means the world to me," he said. "Having my friends and family here made it even sweeter."

Feider caught all of his bass on a drop shot rig near large rocks. He said the key was being patient and fishing slowly.

"There were times I'd leave my bait on the bottom for several minutes and not move it," he said. "It took time, but thanks to my Humminbird electronics, I knew the fish were there."

Rounding out the Top 5 in AOY points were Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, (881); Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., (852); Jacob Powroznik of Port Haywood, Va, (830); and Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., (830).

The Top 5 in weight at Mille Lacs included: Feider (76-5); Brent Ehrler of Newport Beach, Calif., (69-13); Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa, (67-12); Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., (67-5); and James Elam of Tulsa, Okla., (67-3).
Feider earned the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500 for leading on the second day.

The Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award of $1,500 was presented to Ehrler for weighing in the overall biggest bass of the event — a 6-10 bass caught on Sunday.

Ehrler earned the A.R.E. Top Angler Award of $1,000 for being the highest placing angler using A.R.E. products.

The Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 was given to the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program. The second-highest-placing eligible entrant received $2,000.

Dick Cepek Rolling Forward Award of $1,000 will be presented to the angler who makes the largest gain in Toyota Angler of the Year points from tournament to tournament.

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley, GoPro, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats
2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Power-Pole, Rapala, Shell Rotella, Shimano, Academy Sports + Outdoors, A.R.E. Truck Caps, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization's fully integrated media platforms include the industry's leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Nation, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

1 Gerald Swindle Guntersville, AL 908 294-11
2 Keith Combs Huntington, TX 881 290- 5
3 Randall Tharp Port St. Joe, FL 852 285-13
4 Jacob Powroznik Port Haywood, VA 830 303- 1
5 Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA 830 300- 0
6 Jordan Lee Grant, AL 829 300-14
7 Chris Zaldain Laughlin, NV 808 282- 7
8 Justin Lucas Guntersville, AL 802 294-12
9 Ott DeFoe Knoxville, TN 797 289- 7
10 Jason Christie Park Hill, OK 780 279- 1
11 Drew Benton Panama City, FL 774 279-11
12 Edwin Evers Talala, OK 770 289-15
13 Hank Cherry Jr Maiden, NC 768 278- 2
14 Steve Kennedy Auburn, AL 763 285- 0
15 Alton Jones Lorena, TX 763 275- 9
16 Takahiro Omori Emory, TX 761 274-14
17 Brandon Palaniuk Rathdrum, ID 759 287- 0
18 Michael Iaconelli Pitts Grove, NJ 753 283- 6
19 Bobby Lane Jr. Lakeland, FL 750 286- 7
20 Dean Rojas Lake Havasu City, AZ 749 271-13