Top blogs and columns from 2009:
Summary: We grabbed a diverse group of saltwater experts from all the coasts of the United States and had them report to us three to five times a month on what is happening in their area. The group includes both established and respected guides and established and respected outdoor writers.
The reports started coming in September, and we've been offering an open look at the pulse of saltwater fishing ever since.
Here's a sample from a recent report:
Coastal Texans this past week endured a nasty winter storm that caused temperatures to plummet to nearly 50 degrees. That's hardly a true measure of the season by Northern standards, of course, but it serves to illustrate how slowly change takes place this far down the continent.
As some folks awake to frost on their lawns and reach for their mittens, Texans for the most part are just wondering when they'll need their long-sleeved T-shirt more than an hour past dawn.
The season is changing. Make no mistake about that. But the gradual nudging aside of fall by winter may last well into January. And until that happens, fishing will continue to be excellent.
Summary:This is two years in a row that Don Barone has come on late in the year with a great Christmas story. Last year it was Javier, this year it was a soldier in Iraq.
Here's a sample:
Ding. The sound of e-mail. I look up at the computer screen and all I see on the subject line is this: Thank You.
It's not colored in brown so my computer doesn't think it's junk mail … me, I'm not so sure.
But I open it … as I do so, behind me Andy Williams is singing "Silent Night" in our living room.
And it's an e-mail from an infantry soldier in Iraq.
Corporal Will Bennett.
A team leader for B. Company 1-252 out of Smithfield, N.C.
I have no idea who this guy is.
But he writes this: "The way you write gets me through some tough days … " Full story
Summary: Until recently, threats to fishing access have been so diverse and so scattered that they have not raised collective concern among anglers.
Why should fishermen in Maine worry that the state of California has closed waters around the Channel Islands? Why should Texans be upset that the National Park Service blocked surf casters from reaching the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina?
With the recent creation of a federal Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, however, anglers should be genuinely concerned about the future availability of their favorite waters — whether freshwater or salt — according to leaders in the recreational fishing industry.
"It's time for fishermen to pay attention," said Chris Horton, national conservation director for BASS. "Right now, this is all an administrative directive with no accountability or oversight and no real public input, and that's scary."
President Barack Obama quietly created the task force with a June 12 memo. Staffed with "senior policy-level officials" from Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, Homeland Security and other departments and agencies, the task force provides a structure and a mechanism for closures of sport fisheries not only in the blue and coastal waters of oceans, but inland, starting with the Great Lakes. Full story
Summary:Never before have we had a more in-depth look at a professional bass angler's $100,000 tournament win. As Short said, "Here it is, straight from the source. Right from the horse's mouth.
"No reporters in the middle who don't know the difference between a 'slew' and a 'slough.'
"No legend busting me out because I failed to shave on the final morning of my first Elite Series win. Just me telling you what happened." Full story
Summary: The 36th week of 2009 will forever be known as "Trout Week" in North America.
We had trouble picking one of Mike Suchan's blogs out above another, so we're just throwing them all together.
If you're not familiar with Suchan's style, here's a sample:
It took me a minute.
Ok, I was curious. I thought, just what is the Ozarks Sitters Society?
I played the video. With a scenic waterfall and rocks showing, a very professional sounding announcer starts in:
"Adventures aren't all standing on top of mountains. Some happen sitting on your behind."
With all the niche activities out there, it still took me a bit to realize is was a spoof, a clever ad campaign on Columbia Sportswear's Web site under the title Featured Pioneers.
I was looking at the outfitter's boot selection and the tagline just caught my eye.
If I had read this copy first, I mighta known.
"Meet Todd & Shelly Twilbeck, pioneers of sitting. They founded the Ozarks Sitters Society to unplug from civilization and connect their keisters with nature."
Ok, well maybe not.
This is what did it. Midway through the minute video, Shelly, or an actor portraying Shelly, sits on a rock in a stream while saying, "The cross leg sit is a classic, and one of my favorites … although you need good socks."
I immediately got it. I mean, c'mon, socks? You need comfy pants to enjoy sitting. Geez, Shelly.
The minute video did leave me chuckling out loud when Todd explains that you leave it how you found it and that "I enjoy a good sit." Full story