Thu04242014

Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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Rare deer harvested in King George County

Dec. 23 dawned quite chilly with the remains of the previous week’s snow still covering the ground in many places at Lambs Creek Farm. The cold did not deter Rabah Sbitani from climbing into a deer stand that he had taken the time to hang on his father’s farm.
Sbitani, an educator at Massaponax High School, had taken the time to do some shooting with a slug gun the previous week and was determined to get a deer. He had done some scouting to find out exactly where to hang the stand and be within range of deer crossings. His homework paid off.

Read more: Rare deer harvested in King George County

A day on the boat, reeling in freight trains

The salt air blew across my face as porpoises eased out of the water at the inlet near Rudee’s. Little did I know that less than a few hours later I would be horsing in a freight train on a reel the size of a bass-casting reel.
Our captain, Ryan Rogers, normally charters out of Smith Point, Va., but takes his boat down to Virginia Beach each June to put clients on tuna, amberjack, dolphin, spadefish and whatever else suits him. This trip I was invited on had a rendezvous with an aquatic freight train. I will never forget the trip as long as I live.
The crew included friends of Captain Rogers and his first mate, Kenny Nance. The group had fished with each other before and although I was the newcomer to half of them, they welcomed me as if I had

Read more: A day on the boat, reeling in freight trains

Subtle changes can make better results

Who would have ever thought that slowing down a retrieve on a small jig tipped with a curly tail grub would result in twice as many fish caught? I know that changing retrieve speed can help you catch more fish — but twice as many?
Last week I had to get some photos for a magazine article, and I ducked into Old Mill Park for an hour to get some shots. While there I carried my ultra-light spinning outfit with a few jigs in my pocket. The shad were running hard and hot and I wanted some roe. The first few casts resulted in nothing. I saw fish breaking and swirling, and I noticed one other guy catching some, so I knew they were willing. After 20 minutes of casting and taking only one buck shad I knew I had to change things up. On a random whim I cut my retrieve speed in half. Every two to three turns at half speed I put a twitch in the jig and WHAM! The second fish of the day was on. That big roe shad was hefted into the bucket and another cast was quickly made with the same results. Within minutes I had seven fish in the bucket and was either getting a hook up or a fish on nearly every cast. Just to prove to myself it was not a change in tide, sunlight or whatever, I sped up the retrieve keeping the twitch in it and was back to getting plenty of arm and hand exercise. Switching back to half speed earned an immediate strike. Interesting!

Read more: Subtle changes can make better results

VDGIF opens comment period for outdoorsmen

 

VDGIF has an open period on regulatory processes for fishing, wildlife and boating. Check out http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/regulations/issues2010/ to see what there is in the works to change in our state.
Notably of interest for many local anglers is a proposal to take another look at the regulation stating only one catfish over 32” per day may be creeled. According to biological data only 2 percent of the population is truly a trophy and the remaining fish are sub-trophy fish. One trip to our local river backs that up. You can catch 50 catfish less than 20 inches in a short period of time if you know what you are doing. Try to catch a trophy blue catfish (which were introduced in 1973 to the Rappahannock and James) and you might be on the water for a long time. This is primarily true in the Rappahannock River where growth rates for catfish are very low. The James River is still seeing a boom in the growth of blue catfish. Fish up to 100 pounds have been caught in the James in the past few years.

Read more: VDGIF opens comment period for outdoorsmen

Turkey season is right around the corner

Although biologists predict a slimmer season this spring for turkey hunters, there still seems to be an adequate amount of turkey being seen locally. The season opens up for youth hunters April 3. The regular season opens up the Saturday after that.  
Each season presents its challenges. Some of us have great seasons and some of us have tougher seasons. I think this is natural, but interesting.
While many hunters I ran into last spring were complaining about not hearing that many gobblers and having a tough time getting any response from those they did hear, I somehow had the best season I have ever had.
No, I am not that great a turkey caller. I don’t have very good places to hunt. The one place I used to hunt is always busy with other hunters, and I never have any idea where the other guys are so I have steered clear the last few years out of courtesy. The two places I can hunt are very small and don’t hold that many turkey on the norm. I suppose it was just my year or, possibly, I just adapted well and paid attention to what I had gleaned from others over the years.

Read more: Turkey season is right around the corner

Waterfowl hunters: Remove your expired blinds, stakes

Duck blinds are part of the scenery that is often viewed as boaters take rides up and down the local waterways. However, when blinds become an eyesore and are not kept up, they become a hazard to boaters and anglers too.
If you are a waterfowl hunter, you should know that off-shore waterfowl blind stakes must be removed 15 days after the waterfowl season closes. For all intents, our area is now closed to waterfowl hunting. There are some snow goose opportunities on the Northern Neck via the Snow Goose Conservation Order Season; however, by the end of the month even that season closes. Therefore all waterfowl blind stakes must be removed no later than April 12. This is noted on the blind license application and in our waterfowl pamphlet. Waterfowl blind stakes are legal and used in Essex, King George, Richmond and Westmoreland.

Read more: Waterfowl hunters: Remove your expired blinds, stakes

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