Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

The role of Dad in your hunting/fishing life

With Father’s Day fast approaching, it seems like a great time to recognize and salute all the men who have played important roles in our lives as hunters/anglers.

Chris and Dad huntingI can say with unabashed enthusiasm that my first, best hunting partner didn’t own a stitch of camo beside a John Deere baseball cap, only “scouted” for deer season while moving cattle from mountain meadow to mountain meadow, and had the worst case of buck fever I’ve ever seen (despite qualifying as an expert marksman in the Marines).

My Dad, though he’s never been a hunting fanatic, introduced me to the world of guns, shooting, hunting and appreciation for the craft of being in the woods, and I’ll forever be grateful.

The attached photo is of myself and my oldest boy, Chris, on his very first hunt: chukar in east-central Nevada. That gun I’m holding was given to my by my great uncle, and Chris’s Red Ryder BB gun was given to him by, you guessed it, my Dad.

I want to hear from all of you, and see your photos of you and your Dad hunting and fishing together. It’s all part of a two-week celebration of Father’s Day, and the importance of the great dads, grandfathers, uncles, etc., who have given us the gifts that we so cherish as hunters and anglers.

Take advantage of our fantastic Father’s Day by clicking on this subscription special (seen on this page), or hit the California Sportsman Magazine Facebook page, or email me at

And thanks, Dad.

A New “Sportsman” …

June issue kicks off unique new outdoors magazine for California anglers, hunters, outdoorsmen/women

Amanda P CS June coverI am, always have been, and always will be a fan of magazines. I love the damn things. Love they way they feel in my hand, and the way they convey stories and informationin ways that even the super-awesome-fantasticness of the worldwide Web cannot.

My poor 9-year-old daughter knows that, as soon as we make it to the magazine racks at our local supermarket, we’re going to be there awhile, and that those racks are going to be rearranged, tweaked and rearranged again as Daddy studies. It embarrasses the hell out of her.

It struck me during one of my many such “study sessions,” while I was perusing an odd mix of men’s lifestyle, beer, muscle car and fishing/hunting titles, that the Golden State was in need of a fresh, new magazine that caters to all things that surround our fishing and hunting passions.

It just so happens that I’m in charge of a magazine, and that the publisher of said magazine is of a similar mind: There’s something missing in the fishing/hunting/outdoors magazine realm in California, and somebody should change that.

Welcome to the new California Sportsman.

The best info, the best entertainment: We’ve published this magazine for four years now, and have done our best to focus on the nuts and bolts of fishing and hunting in California. We’ve told you what lures to throw, what stretches of river to focus on, and which deer units will be most productive during archery season. That “go here, do this” information has been the hallmark of this company’s outdoors magazines.

And still will be. We’ll still tell you when, where and how to be successful in the field. You’ll still find the West Coast’s best writers, anglers and hunters contributing to these pages, and the most valuable inside information on everything from bass to billfish.

In addition, though, from this day forward, your California Sportsman will be flavored with the things that make your “outdoors lifestyle” complete. You don’t simply just fish or just hunt when you’re out in the field. You eat, drink, and enjoy the lifestyle.

Do you love food? Cool gear? Beer? NASCAR? Music? Trucks? Knives? Electronics?

So do we. And they all fit nicely into the world of fishing and hunting.

We plan to explore all of the above, and many, many other subjects that fall under the header of “fishing, hunting and outdoors lifestyle.”

What would you like to see?: The inbox is open, readers. I’d like to hear about other subjects that interest you. Feel free to drop me a line at

Trout limits weren’t the only things being … ahem … “caught” on the Eastern Sierra trout opener

It’s bound to happen, I suppose. Anytime you have a gathering of thousands upon thousands of new-ish anglers, there’s a better than average potential for some skirting of the rules. That said, percentages weren’t bad in the Eastern Sierra, where 17 California Department of Fish & Wildlife enforcement officers contacted an estimated 3,000 anglers during the end-of-April opening weekend: 60 ticketed violations, 43 warnings, and one arrest.

Here’s a story about the opener as posted on the DFW’s website:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers contacted more than 3,000 anglers while patrolling the local waterways in Inyo and Mono Counties during the trout season opener that started April 27. Over the opening weekend, 17 CDFW wildlife officers issued 60 citations, 43 warnings and made one arrest.

Violations included over-limits of trout, fishing closed waters, fishing without a license, use of prohibited gear and bait, fishing out of season, angling in a hatchery, snagging, boating without a fire extinguisher, no life jackets, boating under the influence, excessive speed and use of multiple poles.

Officers also conducted a wildlife checkpoint operation to promote safety, education and compliance with law and regulations through education, preventative patrol and enforcement.

On Tuesday, April 30, the southbound lanes of U.S. 395 were reduced to one lane and all vehicles traveling south on U.S. 395 were screened by the Department’s law enforcement officers.  Screening consisted of an introduction and brief questions.  Approximately 2,000 vehicles were contacted. Of those, 250 vehicles submitted to an inspection. A total of 14 violations were found which included 11 over-limits of trout, one driving without a valid driver’s license, one unregistered vehicle and possession of scales and drug paraphernalia.

Average screening took less than 20 seconds per vehicle and the average inspection took about 2 minutes, 20 seconds per vehicle.  If violations were found, the occupants were detained for an average of 28 minutes to conduct the inspection, interviews and issue citations.

Anglers found in violation of the trout limit were returned their legal possession limit of 10 trout per person; the excess trout above the legal limit were seized.  A total of 88 seized trout were donated to the California Department of Forestry conservation camp.

The Department provided informative literature about the invasive quagga mussel and New Zealand mud snail to help reduce the spread of these invasive species.

Southern California shooting-sports legend Mike Raahauge passes away

Southern California shooting-sports legend Mike Raahauge passed away May 6.

Southern California shooting-sports legend Mike Raahauge passed away May 6.

By Rachel Alexander / Editor, Western Shooting Journal

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Mike Raahauge, one of the legends of the West Coast firearms community.  Raahauge, son of the Southern California hunting/shooting legend Linc Raahauge, died at age 72 of esophageal cancer diagnosed in August.

His Raahauge Shooting Enterprises in Norco hosts one of the biggest gun events in the country every year, Turner’s Shooting Sports Fair, which is one of the few shows that allows participants to test firearms on the range before purchasing them. The fair, which California Sportsman has provided considerable coverage of in recent years, annually welcomes thousands of show-goers to the sprawling 1,200-acre ranch in Norco, and is one of the hallmarks of the shooting year in the United States.

Raahauge will be memorialized at this year’s Shooting Sports fair, May 31 to June 2.

Read more at The Press-Enterprise.

Salmon season approaches on Sacramento system: time to write letters about the state’s “no fillet” rule

Except as otherwise required, all salmon and steelhead taken in inland waters where a sport fishing license is required, must be kept in such a condition that species and size can be determined until placed at the anglers permanent residence, a commercial preservation facility or being prepared for immediate consumption. Also when required, the presence or absence of a healed adipose fin scar must be able to be determined until placed at the anglers permanent residence, a commercial preservation facility, or being prepared for immediate consumption. Personal residence means one’s principal or ordinary home or dwelling place, as distinguished from one’s temporary or transient place of residence or dwelling such as a cabin, tent, trailer house, recreational vehicle, or any hotel, motel or rooming house used during a fishing, pleasure or business trip.

Guide/blogger J.D. Richey with a piece of well-carved salmon flesh. Unfortunately, much of that beautiful red meat will likely be wasted as an after-affect of the state's new "no fillet" rule. (Photo courtesy

Guide/blogger J.D. Richey with a piece of well-carved salmon flesh. Unfortunately, much of that beautiful red meat will likely be wasted as an after-affect of the state’s new “no fillet” rule. (Photo courtesy

I wrote in an editorial a couple of months back that the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s new “no fillet” rule was “stinky,” or something to that onerous affect. But, I’m just a fish writer – I don’t make a day-to-day living handling fish, and dealing with clients who travel, and pay a good amount of money to fish with you.

Translation: I’m not a guide. But J.D. Richey is, and in typical J.D. style, he sums up the potential frustration of the state’s no-fillet rule in a recent blog in his site. I’m pretty good with a fillet knife, but it’s safe to say that the vast majority of people who fish with J.D. and the other professional guides working the Sacramento, American and Feather are a little less skilled when it comes to caring for their catch.

“As a guy who takes pride in making sure people end up with a quality product, this disturbs me,” J.D. writes. “I’ve always been of the mind that if I’m going to kill it, the animal at least deserves the respect of having its flesh handled properly and consumed. Sadly, I feel this new regulation is going to turn some salmon clients off and guides will lose business.”

Hear hear!

Go check out J.D.’s “Write a letter in opposition of …” blog, and do exactly that, if this rule smells as bad to you as it does to me.

Yes, J.D. went there: “Mythbusters,” fishing guide version, tests out the power of pop (soda)

Science at work! Courtesy

Science at work! Courtesy

By Joel Shangle /Editor

File this away under “Damn, I always wanted to try that!”

CS contributor and blog buddy J.D. Richey put a good ol’ urban myth to the test recently. The legend in question: can soda pop really clean your fishing tools? J.D. was posed that question by a surfer of his blogsite,

“Hey JD, can you really clean rust off a set of pliers with a can of pop?”

Well, Tom, at first I read your question wrong and thought I saw and extra “o” in the word “pop.” Eeewwww!

But then I re-read it and realized my error…phew! Oh…pop (soda to us in California)…I’m with ya now! As a matter of fact, a few years back, another guide I know had told me that the chemical agents in soda would indeed eat the rust right off but I had never gotten around to trying it until you wrote in. Here’s what I found…

Check out the final results of this scientific opus here!


How do you spell “apathy?” Apparently, with the letters “s-a-l-m-o-n” …

So it turns out that there aren’t 300 people in Northern California who give a damn about salmon? If you hadn’t heard, the scheduled April 26 Golden Gate Salmon Association dinner has been postponed until the fall because ticket sales fell well short of 300.

My buddy J.D. Richey sums it up pretty well here:

“I’m particularly hacked off at the owners of a few popular fishing stores around town that didn’t buy a single seat despite the fact that, collectively, millions of their sales are salmon-related. Many guides who kill hundreds of salmon annually for profit also didn’t chip in. Guys, ask yourselves one question: How much is it going to cost you if we have more years of salmon closures in the future? This apathy is disturbing. Everybody seems to want to voice their displeasure when fishing gets worse and the water mongers take more of our water, but when it comes time to support the group that has the best chance of standing up for us…CRICKETS. SILENCE. NOTHING.”

A smelly summer ahead for Sacramento Valley salmon anglers?

File this away under “fishing regulations that stink.” Literally. No, literally literally!

Don't fillet that salmon, don't do it! New regulations require anglers to change their fish-care practices.

As noted by California Sportsman reporter Steve Carson in the April issue (see “Coho out, Chinook in”), new regulations that kicked into effect in March now make it illegal for sport anglers to fillet their salmon or steelhead while on the river or on the riverbank.

The language of the new rule – proposed simply as “Filleting of Salmonids on Inland Waters” and now in the books as Add Section 1.45 of Fish and Game Codes 5508 and 5509 – states that all salmon and steelhead taken in rivers or lakes where sport fishing is allowed must be kept intact (guts not included) until “placed at the angler’s permanent residence, a commercial preservation facility or being prepared for immediate consumption.”

The theory behind this rule addendum is that it closes a loophole that could allow poachers to kill a wild salmon or steelhead, fillet it and dispose of the carcass while still on the river. Leaving the fish “in the round” from harvest to home allows for quick identification of the species, and of the missing adipose fin that signifies it a legal salmon or steelhead.

The practice and enforcement of the rule are a couple ‘nother balls of wax. Or, stinky barrels of fish carcasses.

“Can you imagine what it’s going to be like at the hotels?” asks Redding-based guide Kirk Portocarrero, who, like most other Northern California salmon and steelhead guides, routinely fillets his client’s fish at the end of the day. “Guys are going to go back to the hotel, fillet their fish and dump the carcasses in the trash. You’ll be able to spot the buzzards flying overhead.”

KP is only partly joking: the language of the rule states “at the angler’s residence” or “for immediate consumption,” but it’s not always realistic (or functional) to keep a 40-pound Chinook carcass on ice until you get it home (especially if you’re among the tens of thousands of out-of-state anglers who fish Golden State waters).

“I’m going to have to tell every guy who fishes with me now to buy an extra cooler to carry his fish in,” KP says.

And even if you live in, say, Reno, and fish the upper Sacramento or Smith or Klamath, you’re still theoretically bound to keep your fish intact until you get it home. I’m still not sure what “immediate” consumption” means (working on a clarification now), but I do know that anglers aren’t going to wait for 48 hours to fillet their fish if they’re overnighting.

Have you ever been in the upper Sacramento Valley at the peak of salmon season? In August and September? Hello, 100-degree heat.
My condolences to hotel janitors throughout the North State!

Thoughts? Send them to

Riding along with Joey E., part 1

He's at it again. One of Joe Everett's early season largemouth hookups. (Photo courtesy Joe Everett).

I’ve done a two-hour radio show every Saturday morning for the past 10 years, so it’s pretty rare that I spend a conversation about fishing – especially about trophy bass fishing – with my mouth shut for 45 minutes. That happens every time my cell phone’s caller ID reads “Joey E,” though.

Especially this time of year.

In case you’ve never poked around on the internet, read our magazine, or had even a passing interest in the sport of bass fishing, Joey E. is last month’s cover model, a frequent source for bass stories, and easily one of the most prolific trophy bass hunters in the world. He’s the only guy in the world who’s genuinely on the largemouth “world record watch” every single year,  and my personal best bet to unseat Manabu Karita as the International Game Fish Association’s all-tackle recordholder.

Besides, Joe’s interesting as hell, and very simply a good cat.

April issue preview: Chatting with Everett in the final days before he kicked off his current season, it was obvious that he was busier than usual. He had built a slick new casting deck on top of the existing deck on his spiffy new Sun Country TZX 170 Skeeter, taken delivery of a new Torqeedo 4.0 electric outboard, respooled all his Ardent/Phenix whuppin’ sticks and taken delivery of a slew of sick new baits that he and Brad Kowalski of Big Bait Brotherhood designed specifically for Everett’s world-record-class largemouth opponents.

Consequently, Joe was a little spooled up, and anxious to talk fishing.

“Dude, my hair is on fire right now,” Everett admitted as he made final adjustments on the new boat deck (which he designed and built himself) in preparation for his first scouting days on Mission Viejo Lake. “My world is so crazy now, you can’t even begin to understand it.”

And then I asked Joe a question about targeting trophy largemouth. Off to the races we went as the world’s foremost true world-record hunter held forth on everything from baits to line to boat positioning to Taco Del Mar to “fish psychology” to sunglasses to surfboards. It was all related, in a weird but oddly sensible way.

Listening to Joe Everett talk about largemouth bass is like listening to Gary Loomis talk about steelhead, and Lefty Kreh talk about casting a fly: there’s something in the way they communicate their passions that nobody else can match.

Finally, I stopped him: “Joe. Buddy. Write it down.”

And write it down he did, with his “I drank the Kool-Aid” piece that you’ll find here on the CS website.

I say it every year, and I mean it: maybe this will be the year that Joey E. finally catches the unicorn he’s been chasing since 1998. You’re welcome to follow along.
-Joel Shangle

Pay attention, Golden State hunters and shooters …

It’s been roughly two months since the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary – a very anxious, fractious, sobering two months.

Because of print deadlines and the holiday schedule, the January issue of California Sportsman required a super-quick Editor’s Note that I cranked off without really having an opportunity to chime in as the Second Amendment debates began to flare.  That’s probably a good thing, because as was evident in that last Note, my reaction would’ve likely been over-reactionary and pretty well flavored with emotion.

Somewhat cooler heads now prevail, and it’s time to take an honest, logical, productive look at the layers that surround this most personal of issues.

Clearly, this is not a black-and-white discussion, and not one that will be played out quietly. The President has put into motion a $500 million proposal that’s been hailed as “the most sweeping effort at gun control policy reform in a generation.” This in addition to more than 20 executive actions aimed at sturdier background checks, mental health guidelines and gun safety as a whole.

This is a matter that will occupy discussion at the highest levels of government for months to come.

Pay attention! It’s absolutely critical that it’s given adequate time and care by American gun owners, all of whom should be prepared to join the debate. They also should be prepared to filter through an avalanche of media misinformation about gun violence – one of the most popular online news sites identified grenade launchers as gear available for purchase at SHOT in Las Vegas! – and to help their friends and neighbors do the same.

We exist in a state with rigorous, unique gun control statutes, and in an environment where the Second Amendment is under siege almost constantly (Google “Barbara Boxer on gun control” for some … eh … interesting reading).

Whether you lean slightly right or slightly left, become a frequent surfer to the NRA website ( and to other sites like the Gun Owners of California (, and Be aware of the issues and of the tone of conversations about gun safety and Second Amendment restrictions

If you have additional resources that you’d like to share with Golden State hunters and gun owners, drop me a line at