The Rats Nest

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Situation With Licenses And What's Going To Happen.

As you read in my earlier blog there is legislation on the table in our lovely state of Connecticut that will increase the fees paid by hunters and fisherman for licenses. This seems to be the growing and inevitable trend as of late due to the state of our economy. I totally understand that over time costs should and will go up, but my gripes are fairly good questions. Why are resident costs going up almost equally to that of the non-resident? Also, as we have seen in the past, the new monies generated that are supposed to go into the fish and game funds, have not always been put back into the areas where they were intended, instead being allocated to the State's general fund which is a catch all for just about anything. If the money we cough up for these licenses is going back into the fish and game program to further support these program and provide anglers and hunters with greater opportunities I for one am all for it. But if they are used elsewhere I have a real problem with this misleading tactic to generate money for the state.
If you are as concerned about this as I am, read the link below, and write the Governor to veto the bill. If you are like me and fish in several other surrounding states each year, you will also be noticing in the months to come that other states have already followed suit. New York for example increased their out of state fees 75%, which equates to an out of state season license fee of $70, and if a combo Connecticut license is going to be $50, things will start getting pretty expensive for those who enjoy the outdoors.

Bill No. 6802


The Blue language is NEW; Bracketed is deleted.

Pistol Permits: See Section(s) 309 plus Other CSP licenses- Security, Private Investigators, etc. We wonder where the inner city low income people (who probably need self-protection the most) will get the money to exercise their Constitutional right.

Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, NWCO, Taxidermy and all others: See Section(s) 438 to 462.

Note in Sec. 443 the NEW Resident Salt Water License just passed Aug 3 @ $10 will now cost thirty dollars; the nonresident marine waters fishing license Passed at $15 will now cost sixty dollars. While we’re attempting to bring juniors into the outdoor sports, check their fee increases. While the combination licenses mitigate minimally the increases fees, the cost is still outrageous.

Sec. 458 & 459: Deer Permits/Bow hunting.

The bill is over 700 pages long and was issued today (Aug 31). We thought we had negotiated a 25% increase in sporting fees throughout the session, but when bills are developed behind closed doors with little or no input the result is obvious. Expecting that sportsmen will pay these fees is optimistic. These fees are well above virtually all other states, and will prompt us to visit there. What we may be confronted with is a reduction in all aspects of wildlife management, little or no enforcement which has been the norm, and little or no recruitment. Deer are severely overpopulated through much of the state, Bears, & Coyotes are problem species, Lyme disease abounds, all of concern to hunters and we provide much of the study data. With fewer hunters expected, data and population control will diminish. Salt water fishing is severely restricted (seasons, length limit, bag take) due to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries dictates, clearly a loss of revenue there. Fresh water fishing is well and improving, but with less funding/personnel that may also decline.

It appears the Environmental Conservation Fund (EC) retained money (T- 418) and also the Boating Fund (T- 419).

Bottom line: the fee structure is outrageous and will not benefit the state, wildlife/fisheries management, or CT citizens.

The bill passed the House at 11:55 on a vote of 103-45. The Senate just convened at 12:15 and is expected to pass the bill.


Contact Governor Rell & voice your opinion. Be blunt but courteous. Urge a veto! E-Mail or Online Form

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What Darkness Has Brought Thus Far.

As you well know I like the darkness, and what lurks in the river at night. This year has been quite the crapshoot with the high water and loads and loads of precipitation. In between the deluges, my trusty night fishing buddy Mike and I have snuck in some good outings, in various locales. The 2 foot mark has been broken this year, and once again fish in the elusive 30-30+ inch class have been located, hooked but yet to be landed.
We’ve been accused of catching Pickerel Trout, a species we both were pretty certain doesn’t exist, but I guess a small following of Farmington Experts deems they inhabit the river. We have yet to officially identify this particular species of trout, in fact we still are not convinced they exist, kind of like the old wives tale about the Yeti, Sasquatch or Bigfoot. Maybe the pictures in the above gallery will make us forget about the elusive Pickerel Trout. Enjoy the pictures, these are only some highlights of the summer thus far. We will still be looking for that elusive Pickerel Trout, maybe you can help us find him, I was told they tend to reside next to a vibert box full of Sea Robins.............CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

Simms G4 Vibram Wading Boots

So I have had mine now for a couple of months, and thought maybe some insight into the new boots and their new “vibram stream tread” technology may help out a few people who are on the fence about purchasing boots with this new feature. First things first, just to make sure we are all on the same page, don’t let your expectations get the best of you before you purchase a pair of boots with these new rubber soles, or any other soles for that matter. These boots will not make you superman on the river, allowing you to traverse the stream-bed like someone walking on water. No matter what, there isn’t a technology out there yet that will come even remotely close to this idea; felt, aquastealth rubber, and now vibram stream treads are all tread designs that assist you in wading, and do actually help decrease the amount of fumbling around while wading, but don’t let that give you a sense of false confidence. Wading a river is still what it is, difficult at times but with a staff, and the right footwear a little easier.
One word of advice, if you know you are wading a very slippery river, bring a wading staff, and use it. You have to take into consideration the whole concept design in this new sole, its purpose was to replace felt in an effort to combat invasive species that can be easily transported in the structure of felt. In that sense, the new boots score an A+, there really isn’t much of anything that appears to allow invasive spores to penetrate; they are easily scrubbed clean with a brush and solution and virtually seam proof, being molded together into a single conducive piece.
Second, comfort level. I give the boots a B+/A- rating. I wear a size 12 normally and have extra wide feet, I decided to purchase these boots in that exact size to see how they fared. The boots were extra roomy and after a full days worth of wading they never felt tight or constricting even with a liner sock and thick wool outer sock. I also have some very high arches and the construction of the inner sole provided me with plenty of arch support. The construction of the outer sole is very rigid and provides excellent support around your ankles, which is very beneficial if you happen to slip off of a rock and find your ankle wedged in between something on the stream-bed. The only thing that detracted from rating these a solid A/A+ was the overall weight of the boots. This is something personal, but I like fairly light footwear while wading the river. These boots aren’t sinkers by any means, but they are a bit heavier than I like, that being said I can deal with the weight issue based upon the other benefits I mentioned above.
Third, durability level A- rating. So far I have only had them for a couple months and time will tell if this will change, I will have to report about that at a later time. I put a great deal of stress on gear, and am kind of a recluse when it comes to boots and waders; briars, bushes, wading aimlessly and tracking on all types of surfaces. So boots usually last me a season and they are shot. So far so good, they are very rugged and are holding up pretty good thus far. The only downfall with these boots is they will literally eat up gravel guards made of neoprene. The lace hooks on these boots, like their predecessor the G3 are made of hard metal and will poke holes right through neoprene almost at the onset of donning them on your feet. I wear Simms waders too, and I may just put a second pair of gravel guards on when I wear these boots just to combat this problem.
Fourth, traction, B rating. Like I said earlier there isn’t a magic material out there that will allow the angler to literally walk on water, so drop that concept from your mental expectation of what to look for in a wading boot. For this reviews purposes I will compare them to aquastealth and felt, because that is truly all we have to compare them to. So, compared to aquastealth, I personally think they are a wash, with both being equally as effective. On rough bottoms, no problems. Round slimy rocks, use caution you will slip. The soles are very rigid as opposed to the aquastealth soles which are noticeably more pliable, so there really isn’t any room for give when you walk the river. Bear that in mind if you try to climb onto and over obstacles in the river, you may take a swim. In relation to felt, felt soles are a bit more forgiving, and actually grip the bottom better than the stream tread. Where this boot does however excel is on land. If you do much winter fishing, these boots have the sole of choice. Felt will collect snow while walking to and from the river, and will make walking very uncomfortable and difficult. The stream treads do not collect snow easily, and shed the snow with each step. Also, the soles on these boots are ideal for hiking and are a mergence of the best of both worlds in my honest opinion. If you are looking for a multipurpose fishing boot that is going to make your life easier on long treks to your favorite stream, look no further. My final word of advice for this category is this, if you want more traction on the stream, buy some of the studs that Simms sells specifically for these boots. There is no substitute for studded boots at this stage of the game, they offer much better footing and traction than plain old felt, or rubber so add a pair if traction is of utmost importance. So let me break it down to you like this; Gravel and sand A+, pea stone gravel bottom A-, grapefruit to bowling ball sized round rock B (beware these types of surfaces are where things get dicey, break out the staff!!)
Overall rating, A- in my opinion. The boots as a whole will definitely fit the bill, and for the average fisherman should last many seasons due to their construction. I will revisit this review later in the season as I put a thorough beating on them. I know that the boots are a bit pricey at over $200 dollars a pair, but the old adage you get what you pay for definitely holds true in this case, and they are a solid investment.

Is The End Near?

The past few weeks I have witnessed with my own two eyes a sign that the apocalypse is right around the corner. I am all about floating some of the larger waters that can accommodate larger fishing watercraft such as a drift boat. I for one own a full size drift boat, and float the Housatonic from time to time when the flows allow me to do so. I have also floated the Farmington in that same boat, but under extremely high water conditions of 1,500 cfs -2,500 cfs, a time when wading is not even an option. The only reason I would float the river at that flow is because even the skinniest of riffles are barely passable in a solid boat. The other thing is this, due to the rivers medium size, and bottle necked smaller size in some areas, floating the river in larger watercraft is really not something that should even come to mind to anyone, and floating the river at those above listed flows should only be done by those with some experience behind the oars, as a few areas of the watershed at that flow are pretty technical.
Before I lose sight of the purpose of this blog lets get back on point. Last week I witnessed the unthinkable, someone in their infinite wisdom decided to launch a full sized solid drift boat on the Farmington and float through the TMA at 550 cfs. I am very surprised that those who were on the river that day never commented about this as I am certain that this encroached upon several other anglers, and to be quite honest with you, is complete overkill for this watershed. I am certain that person probably will not take part in that activity again in the near future as I am pretty sure they beat up the bottom of their boat pretty good. Not only is this completely inconsiderate to those wade anglers who already, combined with all the other water enthusiasts the river gets this time of year, it probably sent every fish running to the hills after every knock, smash and thump that watercraft made as it traversed the broken water that day.
My suggestion, keep the larger watercraft off the Farmington at those flows, if a valuable lesson wasn’t learned that day, let this blog further prevent anyone else from doing the same as a monkey see monkey do mentality is all we need. The Farmington simply cannot support heavy drift boat traffic at those flows, and if this spawns a future flotilla of hard boats down the river you can basically spell the end to the fishery. Sometimes you have to use your head, and clearly this wasn’t the case.
I thought that I had seen it all when a paddle boat floated by me and a friend last week in the TMA. Then the drift boat episode took the cake. Word to the wise, keep the hard boats and larger fishing vessels to the bigger rivers like the Housatonic, or better yet the Delaware, unless of course the river is high and nobody is on it. My 2 cents.....

The Way I Like It.

So, once again got some time to get out and fish on my own. My main fishing partner has basically done his annual separation from water and taken to the woods as the deer season nears, and the thought of that big buck is all he is concerned about. The 20-30 mph winds on the shore took a total dump on my False Albacore trip, and I already had the day set aside so there was no way in hell I wasn’t fishing somewhere. Sick of the same old same old, I ventured out state and did some fishing on and undisclosed trout stream.
The alarm went off at 4:30, and I was on the road by 5:00 sharp. My lunch of 2 roast beef sandwiches, hot and sweet peppers, sharp Granville cheddar cheese and smoked horseradish sauce was packed and vacuum sealed the night prior, 3 dozen flies all neatly tied and in a line were waiting next to the coffee pot as they dried overnight. The drive in the dark was great, several deer seen and passed and I wondered if my buddy was seeing the same this morning as he drove to scout out his seasonal hunting spots.
So 3 cups of strong coffee later and an hour or so drive and Im stream side, streamer rod in hand throwing darts for eager browns. Let the photos depict the day, it’s nice to know that fall is around the corner. The picture above got me to thinking, especially in this time when some states are raising the fees for licenses. Is a catch and release license totally out of the question? I mean really, I don’t think it’s entirely out of the realm of possibility, especially in this time where there is an ever growing number of catch and release anglers out there. I propose the following; change the license structure to a $20 catch and release license for starters. If you want to keep fish, make it an extra $20 for a stamp to keep freshwater fish, and if you want to keep both salt and freshwater, make it a combo $30 so the top end the license could cost is $50. Sounds fair right? Why penalize the catch and release angler, if anything reward him.

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