Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

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 jshangle@media-inc.com.

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 (NRA.org) and to other sites like the Gun Owners of California (gunownersca.com), and CalGunLaws.com. 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 jshangle@media-inc.com
-JS

Gone steelheadin’ …

Dear Friends, Family and Loved Ones

This is where I'll be this winter ...

I wish I could explain it all to you, why myself and so many of my crazy-ass little band of misfits fall so far off the radar this time every
year. No, we don’t suffer from the dreaded holiday depression. No, we don’t all go away on sabbatical. No, we don’t have second jobs as secret agents

A handful of you – Bill, Nick, Ade, Squires, Martin, J.D., etc. – know the story. Hell, you’re probably not even reading this letter. You’re
standing right next to me. Can I borrow your leader roll, please

For the rest of you, though (especially those of you living outside the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes), I’ll do my best to explain.

To my bass-fishing buddies (listen up Luke Clausen, Brandon Palaniuk, Kent Brown, Joe Everett, Mike Long, etc.), the next four months for
us are like the longest pre-spawn you’ve ever seen in your lives. I know how every one of you get when that time comes around and you start catching 10-plus-pound largemouth: you lose your freakin’ minds. You start to talk in gibberish. Your eyes get sunken, you lose weight, and your families start to think seriously about calling a help line.

Some of us will suffer from that same affliction for the next four months.

To my tuna-fishing buddies, I’ll give you this: You understand what it means to suffer some discomfort to satisfy your affliction. You’ll
travel miles and miles and miles offshore and get your butts whipped by both Poseiden and a fish that swims 50 miles per hour.

Kudos to you. Still, most of you scratch your head about this wintertime disappearing act that many of us pull.

My dear mother, God rest her soul, would start worrying around Thanksgiving and eventually stop fretting around Easter. She never understood it, and Lord knows, my exes certainly didn’t understand it, either.

So, dear loved one, maybe I can’t explain where I’ll be, who I’ll be hanging out with, or why I’ll be there between now and late March. Just do
your best to be patient with me. I’ll check in when I get out of the Canyon.

Sincerely,

Gone Steelheading

P.S. If you’re similarly afflicted and on a different system, share your pictures with me: jshangle@media-inc.com