Fish Post

Releases – August 2020

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The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council recently designated 30 artificial reef sites off North Carolina and four new sites off South Carolina as Special Management Zones (SMZ) that will now only allow fishing with hand-held hook and line gear or spear fishing. Anglers in the new zones will be allowed to keep a daily bag limit of fish.

The 30 sites designated off North Carolina represent all the sites currently permitted, so all artificial reefs in federal waters off the state are now SMZs reserved for those specific gears and limits. Likewise, the designation of the four new SMZs off South Carolina means that all artificial reefs in federal waters off that state can be fished only with hand-held hook and line gear or by spear fishing.

In previous years, CCA North Carolina had worked with at least two directors of the NC Division of Marine Fisheries to achieve the designations but without success due to conflicts on some of the artificial reef sites between industrial gear (black sea bass pots and gill nets) and recreational anglers. This time the initiative was spearheaded by the NC Division of Marine Fisheries and now the sites will be protected from over exploitation and provide better fishing opportunities for anglers.

“We are thankful the agency and its Director, Steve Murphey, recognized the importance of the AR sites to recreational fishermen and spearheaded the effort to protect them,” said David Sneed, Executive Director of CCA North Carolina. “We also want to thank the NC delegation to the Council—Anna Beckwith, Tim Griner and Steve Poland—for their support of this effort, and particularly recognize Steve for his work in building support through the public comment process.”

South Carolina’s artificial reef program has been in place since 1973 and includes just over 40 different sites spread along the entire state’s coastline. All of the reefs off the Palmetto State are now limited to recreational size and creel limits. The program continues to be popular with the recreational angling community, with funds for many of the projects allocated each year coming from the recreational saltwater license program. With the establishment of its Topwater Action Campaign in 2010, CCA South Carolina and its partners have created 10 new reef sites offshore in depths ranging from 50 to more than 100 feet.

“South Carolina’s artificial reef program is a valuable asset to both recreational anglers and the health and sustainability of our marine resources,” said Scott Whitaker, executive director of CCA South Carolina. “We are pleased to see regional efforts implemented to support and reinforce South Carolina’s stewardship.” 

Many artificial reef sites are wholly or partially funded by angler dollars, either through federal excise tax dollars, license dollars, fundraising efforts by local fishing clubs, or even direct donations. These sites provide structure and relief on otherwise sandy, barren areas and ultimately provide feeding areas for some species and breeding areas for others.

Learn more about the NC and SC artificial reefing programs at:

http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/artificial-reefs-program
http://www.dnr.sc.gov/artificialreefs/.

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) recently published a list of the top record-producing tackle manufacturers from 2019 in the newly released 2020 IGFA World Record Game Fishes book.

Listed below are the winning manufacturers in some of the respective categories and the total number of records compiled by that manufacturer.

Scales: BogaGrip – 103 records

Saltwater Rods: Shimano – 78 records

Saltwater Fly Rods: G. Loomis – 5 records

Saltwater Reels: Shimano – 130 records

Saltwater Fly Reels: Bauer/Tibor – 5 records (tie)

Saltwater Line: PowerPro – 30 records

Saltwater Tippet: Ande – 8 records

“On behalf of the IGFA, I’d like to congratulate these companies, and all tackle manufacturers, that are innovative and help anglers catch fish,” said IGFA President Jason Schratwieser. “Whether it’s a first catch, a personal best, or an IGFA World Record, we couldn’t do what we love without these great companies that give us the gear to pursue our favorite species.”

These lists are based on the number of IGFA World Records approved during the 2019 calendar year. This compilation of tackle used to catch approved IGFA World Records is not an endorsement of any brand.

To learn more about the organization and join the IGFA to receive access to the 2020 IGFA World Record Game Fishes, please visit https://igfa.org/join-today/.

Top honors in the ICAST 2020 Online New Product Showcase goes to Johnson Outdoors Watercraft for their Old Town Sportsman Autopilot.

The innovative watercraft was selected from the 30 Best of Category winners to take home the Best of Show award. The product took top honors in the Boats and Watercraft category.

The New Product Showcase, sponsored by Fishing Tackle Retailer/Decode, features the latest innovations in gear, accessories, apparel, watercraft, and other products that enhance the on-the-water experience.

The Best of Show and Best of Category winners were selected by credentialed buyers and media who vote in the New Product Showcase.

For ICAST 2020 Online, there were 434 new products entered by more than 180 companies.

This year, ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show, conducted business in a virtual, online environment, transitioning in April from an Orlando-based, in person show in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its 63rd year, ICAST is produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade organization that represents the sportfishing industry.

“My congratulations go to Johnson Outdoors Watercraft for winning this year’s top honors as Best of Show for ICAST 2020 Online,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes. “Millions of anglers across the U.S. enjoy the fishing experience from a boat or other type of watercraft. This year’s win helps to highlight that close connection.”

“I also want to thank all the winners and everyone who participated in the New Product Showcase. It’s always amazing to see all the creativity and ingenuity our member companies use to add curiosity, excitement, and discovery to the adventure of fishing,” said Hughes.

Hughes noted, “I want to thank our ICAST 2020 Online sponsors for their generous support and commitment to the show and to TakeMeFishing.org as our presenting sponsor.”

Best of Show – Johnson Outdoors Watercraft; Product: Old Town Sportsman Autopilot

Best of Boating Accessories Minn Kota; Product: Raptor Shallow Water Anchor

Best of Boats and Watercraft – Johnson Outdoors Watercraft; Product: Old Town Sportsman Autopilot

Best of Footwear – Under Armour; Product: UA Micro G Kilchis

Best of Eyewear – Costa Del Mar, Inc.; Product: Ferg

Best of Technical Apparel – Warm Weather – AFTCO/American Fishing Tackle Company; Product: Diffuse Air-0 Mesh® Fishing Shorts

Best of Technical Apparel – Cold Weather – AFTCO/American Fishing Tackle Company; Product: Reaper Windproof 3-Layer Softshell Jacket

Best of Soft and Hard Coolers – YETI; Product: Roadie 24

Best of Electronics – Humminbird; Product: CoastMaster Charts

Best of Cutlery, Hand Pliers or Tools – Line Cutterz as Seen on Shark Tank; Product: Line Cutterz Dual Hybrid Micro Scissor

Best of Terminal Tackle – Rapala; Product: VMC CROSSOVER RINGS

Best of Tackle Management – Plano Synergy; Product: Plano EDGE FLEX

Best of Fishing Line – Pure Fishing, Inc.; Product: Berkley FluoroShield

Best of Saltwater Soft Lure – 13 Fishing; Product: The Mullet

Best of Saltwater Hard Lure – Shimano; Product: SP-Orca 150 Flash Boost – Blue Sardine Color

Best of Category – Fly Fishing Rod – Pure Fishing, Inc.; Product: Hardy Zane Pro

Best of Saltwater Rod – St. Croix of Park Falls; Product: Mojo Inshore JIC79XHMF

Best of Rod & Reel Combo – Pure Fishing, Inc.; Product: Abu Garcia Virtual Casting Combo

Best of Category – Fly Reel – Pure Fishing, Inc.; Product: Hardy Ultradisc UDLA Reel

Best of Saltwater Reel – Pure Fishing, Inc.; Product: PENN Battle III Reels

CCA has long identified menhaden as a priority species in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) management process. Over the past three decades, huge strides have been taken to remove industry control of the fishery. With the help of countless other groups and anglers in the conservation community, the ASMFC is finally at the critical moment to manage menhaden for their true ecological role – as a keystone forage species that helps drive the intricate food web on the Atlantic coast.

At its August 4-5 meeting, the ASMFC’s Menhaden Management Board will have the chance to adopt Ecological Reference Points (ERP) for menhaden that account for their ecological role. This means that, for the first time, the models used for management will not focus just on the health of the menhaden population. They will not focus just on the amount of spawning stock necessary to meet the population goals set for menhaden in a vacuum – or on the bare minimum number of menhaden that should be left in the water to satisfy one company’s ability to harvest millions of tons every year.

Instead, the models will take into account menhaden’s role as a critical forage species and determine the relationship between menhaden abundance levels and the abundance of the predators that feed on them, particularly striped bass. A win in August means that management will finally recognize that menhaden are one of the most critical, keystone species for a host of important predators, from bluefish to whales to osprey – the list goes on.

You can help push this landmark decision over the goal line in August by telling the Menhaden Management Board that you support ecological reference points for menhaden and ask them to do the same.

This has been a long, often-frustrating battle, but our conservation goals are in sight. Please take a few minutes today and urge the ASMFC to adopt Ecological Reference Points for menhaden and help us set a new course for conservation-minded management of the forage base.