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HILLCOUNTRY OUTDOORS May 2013
In This Issue: Its Time To Plant Your Dove Food Plots Where To Find The Hot Water Catfish How to Make Your Own Homemade Dough Catfish Bait Outdoor Truths The 40% Myth Freediving Chevron Towers for Cobia New law adds wild hogs to population control program Toby Ann Bennett (kneeling) stuck this huge 355 lb. boar in Calhoun County while hunting with her husband Mike Bennett and friend Jim Warner. The boar was tracked and caught by their 9 running catch dogs.
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Vol. 4 No. 34
Editorial Its hard to believe that we are now into the month of May. Soon the lightning bugs will dance through the night air and the whippoorwill will send out its lonesome call to all who will listen. Mid-spring in Mississippi is falling right in our laps and for some not one minute to soon, especially older folks. Like my Grandpa for instance. Pop hated winter and longed for the long summer days and sultry nights. To him a sharp garden hoe and an acre of peas with some grass in between the rows, was about as good as it got. I guess all of us have our things we remember about summer but mine was not working in the garden. Summer nights as a youngster, meant to me, limb-lines and cane poles stuck in a pond or creek bank. Maybe you’ve fished at night, maybe not, but I can tell you for a fact its different. It doesn’t matter if its a cane pole, a Duckett rod, a $300 reel or a trot line, there is an element of excitement that you just don’t get in the day time. For instance, snakes are more active, mosquitoes seem more prevalent and setting in a boat at night causes the pucker effect to be all the more, when your boat is so small it’s about to sink and so tipsy, one sneeze would be the difference between dry clothes and wet. It was in 1979, at the Ingomar Baptist Church annual youth retreat at Camp Armstrong. Now, before some of my old pack reaches for their tranquilizers for fear of me telling off on some, I will put you at ease, by not releasing names of some to protect the guilty. The summer of 1979 was a great one. Summer church camp has got to be one of the most fun events there was back then. Swimming pools, volley ball, bullys who thought it was cool to beat up the nerds , smoke cigarettes in the woods, and then there were the college students, who just came along to boss us around or to try and look cool in front of the girls. The counselor we had was named Stanley. I seriously doubt if Stanley had ever been fishing before in his life, until he ran across a misguided child like me, with an agenda that could only be cultivated by such a fertile environment.
Stan, me and the Tutor boys were headed for the boat when two other kids ran up and protested that they didn’t get to go out in the boat the first time, So, I presumed since both of the them had good looking older sisters, Stan agreed to let them on board, thus leaving the two brothers. Their frustration was understood and I felt sorry while looking back, as we paddled off into the darkness. As we approached the lines, Stan let’s say, was not on his A-game. He let 4 catfish get off, one which was as long as my leg and I guessed to weight around 15 pounds. It looks like dousing the Tutor boys was the end of the good fortune for this boat I thought. After Stan lost his last fish and his cap, we headed for the shore. While paddling in, I saw a small gathering to welcome us. Unknowingly for them, it was a fruitless journey for us. The embarrassment was almost more than I could bear. Stanley had let us down by kicking out the lucky and the other two in the boat who just went along to take up space, splash water and act stupid. As we approached land, the Tutor boys began to yell at me from the bank, that they had made a fishing pole and wanted me to come see it. So, I did. It was a switch willow, about 5 ft. long, with a piece of fishing line they found on the ground and a old bent nail they pulled from a tree and made a hook from it. I wondered how this was going to work, since I had never seen Bill Dance fishing from his nice bass boat with one of these goodies they had to fish with. I ran to see the homemade rig. When I came around the bend, I saw the homemade rig was lying in the water and I told them they must have a fish on the line because it was lying in the water, “Naw man, it just fell down”, but when Rufus picked it up, it bent double and he ran up the bank with his catch. Rufus had just caught a 5 pound bass on his homemade pole, and also caught a perch, that had the nail in his mouth and the spent line, tied to the nail that had been there in the grass for how long I don’t know. That’s right, the small nail was threaded with a worm, that caught the perch, and the bass caught the perch and swallowed it all. Maybe Rufus really killed that woodpecker, flying through the woods at a hundred yards with a dirt clod after all. Maybe its better to be lucky than good. Looking back from 2013, if had it to do over, I would have just stuck it out on the bank, with the Tutor boys from Bald Hill and the can of Church Camp, Copenhagen.
There were others we will call sinister number 1, Rufus Tutor, and sinister 2, Mark Tutor, who were brothers. Neither of them were the bullys that I mentioned before, but were there to have fun. Two kid brothers from hard knocks and Bald Hill. Sinister 3 was me, and truthfully I can’t remember a 4, but maybe there was. Supper that night had came and went, so boredom had sat in. It was then that we corned our counselor Stanley at his table of college colleagues of female build. I think I was the one to try our plan first to convince Stan the man, to take a couple of us little kids’ night fishing. At first he didn’t go along with the idea, and then we began to taunt him saying he probably had never been fishing and neither had he ever put out trot lines before. Stuttering, “Sure I have”, he said, “So lets go”, we taunted and Stan fell into the net. As we sneaked to the old abandoned boat, with our night crawlers and night lights, we made up a few lines and some jugs. In no time at all we pushed the boat off into the water. As we paddled for the stump filled part of the lake, I saw the two brothers, who were 15 and 13 years old, passing a can with each pinching what looked to be black sawdust from the small can with a metal top. “Hey, what is that?”, I asked and they just looked at each other and passed me the can. “Copenhagen” they said, so I took a pinch for myself and passed back the can. So, here I was 11 years old fishing with a college boy, trying Copenhagen my first night at church camp, and riding in the back of the boat with the Tutor boys. All was well until I started seeing two of everything and suddenly everything Stan said was funny. After about an hour, our lines were set and we slid the boat back up on the bank. We all headed back to the camp for some needed preaching, then we headed back to the boat after the preaching. It was on the way back to the boat that I had an interesting conversation with the younger brother. “You see my brother”, Mark asked, as he pointed toward to his older brother Rufus, “he is the luckiest guy I know”. “Really” I said. “Yep”, I once saw him throw a dirt clod and hit a woodpecker as it flew out of a tree, and killed it. I let him know I was impressed, but when he said it was the length of a football field I swallowed a bug. “No way”, I said. “Yes he did, I saw it. If there is anybody that is going to catch a fish tonight, it will be my brother” he said. Not wishing to disagree with my new found fishing buddies, I nodded and moved on.
Its Time To Plant Your Dove Food Plots
Strip Management A popular approach to managing for and attracting mourning doves is what we call “strip management.” This simply refers to strips of grain crops and native vegetation established in 15- to 20-foot wide, alternating bands across a field. An excellent example is alternating strips of millet, milo, sunflower, bare dirt, and native forbs and grasses. Remember to leave 5-foot wide dirt strips between each band of grain crops or native vegetation. Periodically throughout the growing season (May through August) you need to control weeds in the dirt strips. For best results, either disk or pull a “do-all” through the dirt strips once every 2 weeks.
Habitat and Food Requirements Mourning doves in the southeastern United States are migratory game birds that may be residents or actual migrants from other regions of North America. Migrant doves begin arriving in the Southeast during early fall with migrations continuing through the winter. Doves are strict granivores and feed primarily on the seeds of forbs, grasses, and small grains with occasional use of berries and hard mast. Aey seek food by sight and prefer to land in areas where the ground is bare and then walk to a food source. Dove feet are not adapted for strong scratching on the ground for food. Aerefore, recently prepared/harvested grain fields and timber harvest areas attract doves because of the clean ground and scattered seeds. In addition to food sources, doves need areas in which to obtain “grit” and water. Grit is small bits of gravel and larger grains of sand. It is an important component of the dove diet because it helps grind food in the gizzard. A water source (such as a farm pond) within 1 mile of the food source is ideal. Doves prefer watering areas with little cover and few trees around the edges. Also, they rarely go directly to the water, but prefer to first loaf nearby in trees or on power lines.
Establishing a Dove Field Traditional agriculture fields are ideal places to hunt mourning doves. However, landowners and/or land managers can create their own dove fields for hunting. The following is a list of considerations when choosing a site to establish a dove field: • Hunting fields should be at least 5 acres in size; larger fields often will attract proportionately greater numbers of birds. • Connectivity between agricultural fields, thus increasing the chances of attracting more birds. • Near water: creeks, ditch channels, or farm ponds with exposed shorelines. • Fields with some type of vertical relief (such as swags or rises) throughout seem to increase the attractiveness for migratory birds. Page 4
Strip management is a popular practice for attracting mourning doves. It is important to plant summer grain crops no later than May 15 if you want to attract doves for September shoots. Crop production is maximized if drilled, but broadcasting seeds, followed by light disking and dragging, produces acceptable results. Begin harvesting or mowing portions of the field(s) 2 to 4 weeks before the expected shooting dates. Because the waste grain and bare ground are critical to attracting doves to the field, weekly or biweekly harvesting or mowing until the shooting date might help hold doves on the field. Including native vegetation in your strip management protocol is both cost-effective and highly attractive to doves. Native vegetation, especially the grasses, typically represents 90 percent of the mourning doves’ normal diet.
Recommended preparation and planting dates for dove field management.
Preparation & Planting Dates
Activity to Be Performed
April 7 – 15
Mechanical or chemical site preparation
April 15 –25
April 20 – May 1
May 15 – June 1
Plant Dove Proso or Brown-top Millet
(Continued on pg. 5)
Its Time To Plant Your Food Plots (continued from pg. 4) Also, in most cases native vegetation is already growing or its seed is present in the seed bank, thus saving time and planting costs. Once broadleaf weeds and grasses have become established in these strips, the next step is to manage for species you want to promote. The most common method is to monitor these strips carefully and apply an herbicide in the growing season that eradicates the less desirable broadleaf plants. If too many undesirable broadleaf plants invade these strips, use an herbicide application to deter broadleaf plants and leave only the grasses. Dove fields can easily be overharvested but can be retained by using a harvest schedule. Schedules might include shooting only in afternoon hours, regulating all-day shoots (if legal) to one per week, or stopping shoots at least 1 hour before sunset to allow doves time to feed and water before roosting. Mourning doves are federally regulated migratory birds, and you should pay very close attention to federal and state regulations regarding dove field management. Normal and acceptable agricultural practices typically have been considered legal dove shooting areas. However, consulting with wildlife biologists or enforcement officers helps avoid illegal field situations.
Where to find the HOT water catfish! By Chad D. Ferguson This time of the year, many of the local lakes see dramatic changes in water temp. Now that we seem to be past our several weeks of unusually cool weather and the heavy rains have passed, the area lakes will move into their hot summertime patterns. Many of the lakes and reservoirs see temperature rises as much as 20 degrees in just a few weeks, and our area lakes have reached very warm water temps as of this writing, and it will only go up until late September when the weather begins to cool. With this hot weather the lakes stratifies. Basically what this means is that in deep water, there becomes a point where the deep water is much colder than the more shallow water above. What this does is creates a deep layer of water that is cold, and has a poor oxygen content and the temperature decreases rapidly as the water gets deeper. The warmer water above it will have higher oxygen content. In deep water when the lake stratifies a thermocline is created. The thermocline is the point where the water has stratified, and will be an almost definite line where the water changes from the cold oxygen poor water, to the warmer oxygen rich water. You are probably asking at this point "what does this have to do with me and catching catfish?". Well the point if all this scientific rambling is that fish require water with high levels of oxygen. If you are fishing the area lakes this summer in the deeper water (15 or more feet) you need to have good electronics or "depth finders" on board to be on the lookout for the thermocline. The thermocline will present on your electronics like a hazy line down towards the deeper water.
There is no magic depth to know where it presents in every lake because it is dependent on water temperature and depth, but several things hold true, it will be in the deeper water, and if you look for it you will see it. Your electronics will display the bottom and top of the water, and somewhere in between you will see a definite line, this is the thermocline. With the stratified water and thermocline present, you will have to remember that the fish will not be feeding below the thermocline, because there is not enough oxygen present for them to survive. They may dive down into the deeper less oxygen rich water, but they will not stay there. The best way to fish this deeper stratified water is to cruise the deeper water and look for schools of fish on your electronics. Once you locate these
Where to find the HOT water catfish! (continued from pg. 5)
schools of fish, determine the depth of the thermocline and fish two to three feet above it, because this is typically where the fish will hold in these water conditions. Many people have the misconception that once the weather gets hot, all the fish move out into deep water and this is most certainly not the case. I come across more people complaining about not catching fish in the heat of the summer and then find that they are fishing in twenty-five and thirty feet of water below the thermocline, where the fish just are not holding. The catfish will in fact be in the deeper water during the heat of the day, because the shallow water will lose oxygen during the heat, but you can still fill your boat up with a hefty load of fish if you plan your fishing right. I fish shallow water year round and it is rare that you will catch me in more than ten feet of water. The reason being is I fish at night after dark in the heat of the summer, and during the day in the colder weather, and both times the fish will be feeding in shallow water. (continued on pg. 6) During this heat, the catfish will be best caught at night after dark in the shallow water. They will bite just about anything that moves or smells and if you do some chumming, you will help draw the catfish in a more concentrated area. Don't be afraid to move up in the shallow waters and fish right up towards the banks in just a few feet of water. The last several months have been producing nice catches of big fish for me in less then five feet of water. If you choose to fish during the day and endure the August heat, you can still catch fish in the heat of the day as well. The biggest drawback to this daytime fishing is it is much less comfortable for the angler. To locate the catfish during the heat of the day, rely on shadows, and just a bit deeper water. I will be looking for water that is 10-15 feet deep and has good cover. Looking for boat docks, standing timber and other such cover during the day will help you find the catfish lurking in the shadows. Stand out in the sun for 10 minutes in the August heat, and you will have a pretty good idea why these cats are up in the shadows. Fishing just above the thermocline will produce some nice fish if you work at it; the depth you fish is just a matter of preference. Getting ten serious anglers in a room to all agree on something can probably never be accomplished but understand the water and how the oxygen levels are affected by the heat will help you in making your determination in where you spend your day or night fishing.
How to Make Your Own Homemade Dough Catfish Bait
Mississippi Catfish often live in murky waters with low visibility. Because of this, they have very poor vision. They make up for it, however, with a powerful sense of smell. Baits used to fish for catfish then should be, by necessity, heavily scented. A variety of homemade catfish bait recipes are available today with an equally wide range of ingredients. One of the most recognized and commonly accepted baits for catfish is chicken liver. This recipe is a dough bait made with chicken liver that is both appealing to catfish and will stay on the hook.
Step 1 Place the chicken livers in a blender and puree them thoroughly. Pour the pureed chicken livers into a large bowl.
Step 2 Combine the garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, molasses and sugar, and mix thoroughly. Add this mixture to the bowl with the chicken livers and mix thoroughly.
I donʼt consider myself computer illiterate but Iʼm also not a tech expert. I fall somewhere in-between. I used to spend more time learning about new gadgets but now I sort of just maintain until Iʼm forced to adapt or be left behind. One of the things that Iʼm trying to adapt to is my digital camera. I know, I know, donʼt laugh. Iʼve actually had the camera for a couple of years but all Iʼve been doing is taking pictures the simplest way I could. I thought all of the buttons were there so they could sell it for more. (I feel the same way about my cell phone. Why canʼt they just give me big numbers, lots of volume, and plenty of light?) I digress.
Iʼve always wanted to take pictures while Iʼm hunting or fishing but I never knew how to set up the timer feature. So, this year, I was determined (forced) to learn. I was tired of looking at all my pictures and always having the check-in station in the background. It sort of lost the effect of the hunt. This turkey season Iʼve become a picture taking monster. I carry my bipod and my camera and have taken some really neat shots of me holding a turkey while in the woods. I love it. Now while Iʼve really enjoyed the more realistic pictures, they still donʼt tell the story of each hunt. Each photo still has only three basic features; me, a turkey, and the woodsy background. The story is up to me to remember and relish, and share. If I were to show you one of these pictures you would simply admire the bird but be clueless to the effort that was involved in getting that gobbler from the limb to the lens. You might have assumed that it was an easy and effortless hunt. And you may be wrong or right.
When you and I look at each other we often do the same thing. We take a mental picture and quickly add our own story, whether that story is accurate or not. We may assume that a person is rude or kind, arrogant or humble, aloof or approachable. However, most of the time, we just donʼt know. Life is so much better when we give others the benefit of the doubt. It seems that we all default to seeing the bad and the negative. Itʼs the first button we learn to use on our mental camera. Maybe itʼs time that we all realized that there are other features that may give us a better look. And maybe itʼs time that we learned to use them. Gary Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
Add the cornmeal and mix thoroughly. Continue to add cornmeal until the mixture reaches a doughy consistency. Package the dough in a plastic bag or container.
Things You'll Need 1 lb. Chicken livers 1/3 cup garlic powder 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese 1/3 cup molasses 1/3 cup sugar 1 cup corn meal
The 40% Myth
The figure gun-control advocates are throwing around is false. by John LOtt Gun-control advocates have recently been throwing around an impressive new number. President Obama used it last Wednesday, claiming “as many as 40 percent of guns are purchased without a background check.” Vice President Biden and everyone from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to USA Today repeatedly use it. That “fact” provided the principal support for his first announced gun-control proposal, “universal background checks.” But unless you include family inheritances and gifts as “purchases,” it is simply false. The Brady Act background checks currently prevent someone who buys from a federally licensed dealer from buying a gun if he has a felony, or in many cases a misdemeanor conviction, or has been involuntarily committed for mental illness. Prior to Brady, federal law merely required that people sign a statement stating that they did not have a criminal record or a history of mental problems under threat of perjury. Obama’s 40 percent claim makes it look like a lot of gun buyers are avoiding these checks.
We don’t know the precise number today, but it is hard to believe that it is above single digits. Nevertheless, even if few purchases avoid background checks, should we further expand the checks? It really depends on how the system would be implemented. We have to realize that the current system of background checks suffers from many flaws, some causing dangerous delays for people who suddenly need a gun for self-defense, such as a woman being stalked by an ex. In addition to crashes in the computers doing the checks, 8 percent of background checks are not accomplished within two hours, with almost all of these delays taking three days or longer. Obama made many other false statements during his talk. He asserted that “over the last 14 years [background checks] kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun.” But these were only “initial denials,” not people prevented from buying guns.
Actually, the number reported was a bit lower, 36 percent, and as we will see the true number of guns “sold” without check is closer to 10 percent. More important, the number comes from a 251-person survey on gun sales two decades ago, early in the Clinton administration. More than three-quarters of the survey covered sales before the Brady Act instituted mandatory federal background checks on February 28, 1994. In addition, guns are not sold in the same way today that they were sold two decades ago.
In 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms dropped over 94 percent of those “initial denials” after just preliminary reviews. Virtually all the remaining cases were dropped after further investigation by ATF field offices or the Department of Justice. Few of these “initial denials,” 62 people or about 0.1 percent, involved strong enough evidence to be consideration for prosecution. Just 13 pleaded guilty or were convicted.
The number of federally licensed firearms dealers (FFLs) today is only a fraction of what it was. Today there are only 118,000; while back in 1993 there were over 283,000. Smaller dealers, many operating out of their homes, were forced out by various means, including much higher costs for licenses.
Delays are undoubtedly just an inconvenience for most people buying guns. But for a few, it makes a huge difference in their ability to defend themselves against assailants. Indeed, my own research suggests these delays might actually contribute to a slight net increase in violent crime, particularly rapes.
The survey asked buyers if they thought they were buying from a licensed firearms dealer. While all FFLs do background checks, those perceived as being FFLs were the only ones counted. Yet, there is much evidence that survey respondents who went to the very smallest FFLs, especially the “kitchen table” types, had no inkling that the dealer was actually “licensed.” Many buyers seemed to think that only “brick and mortar” stores were licensed dealers, and thus reported not buying from an FFL when in fact they did.
Clearly, criminals are seldom stopped by the checks. That isn’t really too surprising because even when guns were banned in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, or even in island nations such as the U.K., Ireland, and Jamaica, criminals still got guns and murder rates rose after the bans.
But the high figure comes primarily from including such transactions as inheritances or gifts from family members. Putting aside these various biases, if you look at guns that were bought, traded, borrowed, rented, issued as a requirement of the job, or won through raffles, 85 percent went through FFLs; just 15 percent were transferred without a background check. If you include these transfers either through FFLs or from family members, the remaining transfers falls to 11.5 percent.
No amount of background checks on private transfers would have stopped the Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Colorado massacres. Expanded background checks might well be reasonable, but only if the current system is fixed. Passing laws may make people feel better, but they can actually prevent people from defending themselves. — John Lott is a former chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission and the author of the expanded third edition of More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, 2010).
Pensacola - Freediving Chevron Towers for Cobia While on the boat after our dive of the Oriskany, we noticed several large weed patches floating a few hundred yards away from the wreck. We kept an eye on the flow and Captain Dalton of Due South Custom Charters means what he says about a 'Custom' charter. He knew we were here to do some spearfishing and thought some dolphin (mahi mahi, not Flipper) might be cruising the weedline. We motored over gingerly and Armando sighted some blue and green torpedoes in the water. For the record, freediving after scuba diving is NOT advisable as the nitrogen bubbles dissolved in your bloodstream during scuba diving can collect as you descend in freediving and then expand into embolisms in your blood upon a rapid ascent in freediving. None of our divers swam more than 10 feet below the surface during our post-scuba freedives. For the most part, we were simply snorkeling at the surface. I slid into the water with my freediving gear and speargun and made my way over to the first weed patty. There two juvenile amberjack cruising just under the weeds, but no dolphin. I kicked over to the next patty and was absolutely stunned to see a school of approximately 100-200 juvenile or 'peanut' dolphin. They were perhaps one of the most beautiful sights I've seen underwater in quite a long time. I yelled to the boat that we had 'schoolies' and Ann joined me in the water a few minutes later. We both floated in awe as the entire school surrounded us and generally stayed right around us for about 15 minutes as the boat checked out the next patty over. There were rumors of cobia, but none to be seen... YET. Armando handed me his video camera and I shot some footage of the dolphin. Link Forthcoming. Each of the divers on the Colusa IV made their way into the water and over to watch the dolphin before we made our way to the next dive site. Just a few miles from the Oriskany are two towers, formerly Chevron petroleum platforms. The oil company cut the platforms off the legs and left them in place, the shallowest approximately 70 feet from the surface. Both are in approximately 135 feet of water. As we were locating the wreck, Dr. Jay and I made our way to the tuna tower on Captain Dalton's boat to look for a buoy marker temporarily left behind by another captain. While trying to spot the marker, I sighted three black and white masses near the surface - COBIA! We were hoping to see some cobia on this trip as their annual migration in the area is apparently coming to a close for this year. We had heard reports of fish over 70 pounds and were just hoping to see one or two on our trip. Armando and I suited up and dropped over the side in a splashless entry so as not to spook the fish. Dr. Jay stayed on the tower to direct us to the fish. Captain Dalton maneuvered the boat to keep them in sight and to keep us pointed in the right direction. I powered past Armando just under the surface to gain some ground on the cobia. When I cleared my snorkel of water, I didn't see anything but deep blue sea. I looked to the boat for guidance and Dr. Jay and Captain Dalton pointed us toward the fish. Within a half dozen kicks I
Reel for freediving, but the fish kept its distance. Strategically, I paused and put my head down in a passive posture. Within seconds, the cobia had turned and was swimming directly at me. At first glance cobia look a bit like a shark or a large Remora in the water. They have a head similar to a catfish flat, round, and bony. I knew a face shot would be iffy at best, so I patiently waited for the cobia to turn. As the fish closed in well within range, it slowly turned broadside. I ceased the moment and placed a perfect shot in the gills. Cobia are a very soft meaty fish and a body shot will typically tear through thus losing the fish. A gill shot is the most secure shot to make on a cobia aside perhaps from skewering it through the eyes or into the mouth. My shot found its mark and the fish drifted off toward the bottom. I pulled the fish smoothly toward me so as not to invite the barracuda in for a free lunch. The shaft had gone approximately half-way through the fish and the Hawaiian flopper tip opened exactly as it should. I grabbed the shaft and slid my hand down to pin the fish between my hand and the flopper. The fish didn't thrash at all until I pulled it's head out of the water so the boat could see I was ready for pick up. The Captain yelled to me to keep the fish in the water to attract the other cobia, but unfortunately, they did not make an appearance. Captain Dalton edged the boat toward me and I handed the fish into the boat. The cobia measured approximately 38 inches. Minimum size on a cobia is 33 inches, so this was no trophy by fishing standards, but it was the highlight of the trip for me. This was the first cobia I've ever seen in the water and certainly my first large fish while freediving in the Gulf. Absolutely Perfect! We located the buoy again and Clay-Doh's boat tied up to it. We rafted up behind them and Captain Dalton ran a tag line from his boat to the descent line. Our divers geared up again and made the plunge onto the Chevron Towers. The towers were well-crusted with corals, sponges, and teaming with sea life. Good-sized amberjack, a huge school of spadefish, and plenty of barracuda were guarding the site. I descended through the middle of the deeper tower all the way to the sand. On the bottom, I was greeted by red snapper the size of large grouper. There were plenty of fish on the wreck, but having just shot the cobia, I was very selective and didn't even pull the trigger on this dive. In fact, none of our divers boated fish, but we enjoyed swimming among the beams and legs of the tower and watching the schools of spadefish, red snapper, and amberjack circle the structure. I did return to the boat with a Penn 114-H fishing reel on a broken Senator rod that was laying on the bottom just off the deep tower. It hadn't been on the bottom very long and will make a great deep sea reel for my next line fishing trip. Special Thanks to Captain Dalton Kennedy of Due South Custom Charters (850-565-7247)
New law adds wild hogs to population control program
Mississippi Hill Country Outdoors Magazine
Big Buck Recipe - 50 lbs White (loose) Salt - 100 lbs of Trace Mineral Salt - 50 lbs of Dicalcium Phosphate Makes 8 Mineral Licks Dig hole 4 ft. X 4 ft. X 1 ft. deep Mix with fill dirt as you fill the hole back up with dirt. Replenish only once a month for the months of May - September. Don't forget to put a trail camera where you can see the site and the results.
Wild hogs reportedly roaming throughout the state are damaging crops and land, farmers and wildlife officials say. As a result, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that adds wild hogs to the state beaver-control program. Beginning July 1, a Beaver and Wild Hog Control Advisory Board will be created to come up with a program to control or eradicate beavers and wild hogs. The program will be administered by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture. When the bill was discussed in the Legislature, some lawmakers inquired about its need. “I haven’t seen any,” state Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, said of wild hogs.. Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson has reported wild hogs in the Old Byram Road area. Farmers in the Mississippi Delta also have reported a large problem. Last year, officials at Vicksburg National Military Park reported wild hogs were destroying the landscape where Union and Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War are buried. Ed Penney, director of the Wildlife Bureau for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said the most recent evaluations indicate that 38 percent of the state is occupied by wild hogs. That’s about 11.7 million acres of affected habitat. “This is an increase of 500,000 acres per year expansion from 1998 to 2009,” Penney said. Penney said damage to native wildlife habitats, agriculture and forestry is a concern nationwide. “While wild hogs have existed in many areas of the country and Mississippi for decades, the greatest factor influencing their rapid expansion across the country has come from transportation and release into the wild by wild hog sport hunting enthusiasts,” he said. Mississippi and most states have made such releases illegal, he added. Wild hogs are classified as a “nuisance animal” in Mississippi and, therefore, may be hunted and trapped year-round on private lands, with some restrictions. Penney said the legislation didn’t allocate funds to control wild hogs but it will increase the focus on the problem.
The Cats Are Purring
When fishing for catfish in April on Wilson Lake you only need to remember one word “bluffs.” For whatever reason this month catfish group up along bluff walls from one end of the lake to the other. Channel catfish will be spawning on the top shelves near the bank in 2 to 15 feet of water. When these fish go to their bedding areas you can fill a cooler quickly once they are located. To catch these fish I use a 7 foot medium action BnM spinning rod spooled with 8 pound Vicious mono and a Mister Twister weighted worm hook. I rig a small piece of shrimp, rooster liver, or prepared cheese bait on the hook weed less and cast it all the way to the shoreline. Let the bait remain still for about 30 seconds, if no strike, slowly raise your rod tip and move the bait a few feet and let it sit again. Repeat this action till your bait falls off the bluff ledge then reel in and cast again. Most often strikes occur immediately after the bait comes to a stop.
For blue catfish back away from the bank and search for them in 15 to 50 feet of water. As a general rule the fish in less than 20 feet of water will be near the bottom, while those in deeper water tend to be more suspended. These fish will average 1 to 10 pounds in size. Drive along the bluff until you locate good numbers of fish on your electronics. Make sure and note the depth youʼre seeing most of the fish. Once the average depth is established slow troll .2 to .5 mph back across the fish setting your baits at the depth you saw the fish on your electronics. This is where reels with line counters or line counters that attach to your rod are critical. For blues nothing beats fresh cut skipjack or shad. Fresh shad minnows will also work if their kept iced so they remain firm. Fish the bluffs on Wilson lake this month and there should be no shortage of fish for your next fish fry. For trip information contact Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.
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RecipeMonth of the
Texas Style Catfish
Total Time: 1 hr 25 min Prep...1 hr 10 min Cook...15 min Yield:...4 servings
Ingredients 6 eggs 3 teaspoons Texas champagne (hot sauce) 1/2 cup water 2 pounds catfish fillets 1 cup medium-grind cornmeal 1/2 cup flour 2 teaspoons paprika 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon black pepper Cayenne pepper, to taste Peanut oil, for pan frying
Directions Mix the eggs, hot sauce and water to make the egg wash. In a shallow dish, place the catfish fillets in the egg wash and refrigerate the fillets for at least 1 hour and up to several hours. Combine the cornmeal, flour, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a shallow pan. Pour enough oil into a cast iron skillet to reach halfway up your fillets. Heat the oil to 300 degrees. While the oil is heating dredge the fillets, in the cornmeal mixture one at a time, coating both sides well. Gently place a few pieces of fish in the skillet, frying them in batches. Fry the fillets a total of about 5 minutes per 1/2-inch of thickness, turning them once. Adjust the heat as necessary to get a deep golden brown crust and a flaky interior. Drain the fillets. Serve the fish immediately, with lemon wedges, pink tartar sauce, Texas Champagne sauce, hushpuppies, cole slaw, corn on the cob and a green onion and you have a tasty Texas style catfish.