Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Top 10 Bonehead Fishing Incidents of the Year

10)  You spend twenty minutes successfully picking out a backlash of expensive (but excellent) Suffix 832 braided line, while your fishing buddy is catching one bass after another, only to put too much oomph into your next cast and backlash again, even worse!

9)  You spot a hot looking piece of woody cover that just has to be a bass magnet, and as you cast you pick the most likely spot, a small pocket within the log jam that a big bass just has to hold on. You pitch your jig in there, but your cast is off by a foot to the right for whatever reason.  You reel up quickly to try again, and put your next cast in the exact same place, a foot to the right.  This can go on for another pitch or two perhaps.  It's like there's a force field preventing your lure from getting in there.  You get fed up and make a major adjustment in your mind and you eye a spot a foot to the left, only to actually pitch your bait a foot to the left!
I'll get that jig in there if I have to wade out and do it!
8)  You leave a Plano 3700 box full of soft plastics in your truck on a hot day only to find out the next day that the Strike King Perfect Plastic Rodents and Rage Craws have melted into a big mass of green pumpkin goo.

7)  After a long day of bass fishing out of your buddy’s boat, you place your rigged rods in your car for the drive home.  After you get home, you reach to pull out your fishing rods only to find that one of them rigged with a Lucky Craft Pointer has one treble hook firmly implanted in your car seat.

6)  When you tie up a Texas rigged version of your favorite plastic worm, hooked perfectly straight leaving you beaming with pride knowing that it will put some nice bass in your boat only to realize right before you cast that you forgot to slip the bullet sinker on the line first.

5)  You tie on your favorite spinnerbait and proceed to clip off the tag end of the line, but clip the main line instead, and your brand new Booyah Vibra Flex spinnerbait falls into the water...the water is gin clear and you can see it laying on the bottom in 15 feet of water.

4)  You go on a fly fishing trip to a secluded trout fishing hole.  You spend hours in preparation late into the night prior to your trip, meticulously packing your fishing vest with your fly boxes, tippet spools, accessories, tools and equipment, everything that you’ll possibly need.  You tie on new leaders and tippets, and pick the fly that you think will work best.  The next morning, after packing your fly gear and waders into your car, you drive to your favorite stream nearly two hours away.  You pull out all of your gear and don your waders, only to discover that you left your wading shoes at home.

3)  You find out after doing your laundry and pulling your clothing out of the dryer that you accidentally leave a bottle of Spike It Dip-N-Glow chartreuse worm dye in your cargo pants side pocket.  You think that the dryer drum and new tie dye clothing looks cool in chartreuse, but your wife doesn't think so.

2)  You proudly pose for a picture that your buddy is taking with his camera, lipping a nice four pound largemouth bass.  The next day after your buddy emails out a fishing report to all of your fishing pals complete with pictures.  You notice in your picture that your barn door was open…
Good thing the barn door wasn't open on this pic...
…and the number one bonehead fishing incident of the year…

1)  You get up at 4 AM Saturday morning and head to the boat ramp to meet your fishing buddy who is taking you out on his bass boat.  When you get there he’s not there.  After waiting a half your you decide to give him a call.  After the phone rings six times, his wife answers the phone, obviously groggy and out of it after you woke her from a deep sleep.  She grumpily hands the phone over to your buddy who, also very groggy, let’s you know that the fishing trip was planned for Sunday morning…
Disclaimer:  the incidents on this list did not happen to me.  No way.  Just sayin’.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Internet Fishing Resources - Part I - Internet Fishing Forums

Back in the good ol' days, anglers relied on their fishing intel from newspaper fishing reports, fishing magazines, fishing television shows, local tackle shop buzz, and word of mouth reports from fellow anglers at just about any spot a fisherman would hang out.  Those sources are still great ways to gather information.  But with the internet, fishing has changed forever in both good and bad ways, but mostly good.  Just about any type of information is at your fingertips and can answer questions within minutes or seconds depending on your internet connection speed. 

The fact that you've found this blog means that you probably are aware of all, if not some, of these fishing resources.  But maybe there is something out there that you haven't found yet and this could help point the way.

What types of resources are out there?  I'm going to discuss the following categories of web fishing information:  fishing forums, government websites, on-line tackle stores, magazine web sites, television web sites, blogs, personal websites, and on-line video sites.  In addition, I'll discuss great ways to find these sites on your own, and also will give you some links to my favorites.  This blog post will be Part I of a series of posts detailing these various resources, where I'll discuss internet fishing forums.

You can find fishing information for free or pay for it, and that's your choice.  I'm going to focus here on the information that you can find for free and avoid the pay sites.  Why?  Well, I'm cheap, and therefore I know more about them than the pay sites.

Internet fishing forums are one of my favorite ways to gain information.  Not only could they provide valuable information in general, but you can find regional and local information, and all the while it's possible that you could make a few friends in the process.  Web forums require you to register to post, and most of them are free, some appreciate donations to help pay for expensive costs of maintaining a web forum, and others require payment to join.
Internet fishing forums can lead to friendships.  Here are some buddies that I met on where a bunch of us met during a get together to fish and socialize on the ice in Wisconsin.  Pictured left to right are Bean, Polar Bear, John-Boy, and Carpcatcher.
Some web forums are very general fishing forums, others are either specific to a particular form of fishing or perhaps species specific.  Fishing forums target various audiences, so you may find worldwide, national, regional or even local forums.  In my opinion, each of them has their place.

Like the variety of forums that you may find, within the forums you'll find quite a variety of audiences.  Some members, like myself, tend to have diarrhea of the keyboard and post long winded messages (although I try to keep things organized and as brief as possible).  Posts that are too long winded often lose the reader, so when posting, like blogging, keep that in mind.
My good friend from Wisconsin founder of  His user name?  Iceshanty, of course!
Some members may not be quite as internet savy or type with the King's English, or perhaps even type in texting mode, so it's important to remember that it's not about writing skills but rather the exchange of information and comraderie.  When it comes to fishing, there are folks that may not type, write or spell particularly well, but are willing to share valuable fishing knowledge and experience with you.  Their posts or fishing reports might be brief, but expect them to be to the point.

"Lurkers" tend to join websites for the sole purpose of gathering information from them without any intention to contribute back to the website.  In most cases, this is frowned upon, but let's face it, they're part of any forum.  There may be reasons other than selfish ones that they don't post.  Perhaps they are embarrassed about their typing skills, just don't know what to write, or they don't want to sound redundant in a thread because someone else already posted their thoughts, or maybe just don't have the time to be much of a contributing member.  In some cases, lurkers eventually become contributing members.  Many forums require that you log in to see forum posts which reduces the number of non-registering forum users.
My good friend Polar Bear from Iceshanty and Myfishfinder forums posing with some iced crappie along with my brother Kyle.  Kyle was also a member of both sites.
Contributing members often fear the impact of lurkers on their local fishing opportunities, fearing that they'll find their secret honey holes and ruin their years of hard work finding those spots.  To protect their interests, they often post in vague generalities, and sometimes distort photo backgounds and landmarks that could give their spots away.  Are their fears warranted?  Yep, sometimes they are.  I've heard complaints about people posting too much information about their favorite fishing hole only to find that the next time they arrive to fish there, someone is parked on their hole. 
Fellow Iceshanty and Myfishfinder moderator adkRoy showing off some nice yellow perch caught through the ice.  Although we've never met in person, over the years you can develop internet friendships.  Often, moderators on websites go through more than the average forum member together, creating a bit of a bond.
Now, to be fair, people find fishing holes all the time from various sources.  Luck plays a roll, but sometimes just doing your homework can find you new fishing opportunities.  So, the fact that someone is on your spot doesn't necessarily mean it's from an internet post.  But you can certainly understand their concerns.  So, perhaps the best thing to do is to be careful what you post.  You may not want to give away your secret fishing spot or you wouldn't want others angry at you for doing so either.

How are most forums structured?  Many are organized by topic, with a "General Discussion" board being the most popular place to post.  Most of the time, the boards and rules of the site require you to stay on topic with your posts.  Some forums have "Off Topic" boards or sections for those that like the one stop shopping approach to web fishing forums.  Most fishing forums have topic boards about techniques, species, regional fishing reports or tackle.  Site layouts and design vary based whim of the site owner. 

Within each forum, topics are arranged in boards, which consist of threads (specific topics), which consist of posts from individual members.  Most forums have rules, codes of conduct, etc. that you have to abide by to maintain member status that you agree to upon your registration.  Often, you have to register and log in to post, but some web forums allow guests to post.  Some forums contain resources or links to other related websites.  Registered users on most forums can start threads and post on threads started by other users.

How about your identity?  On web forums, you have the opportunity to be known the way that you'd like to be known while keeping some measure of anonymity.  You can use your own name, or create a user name.  Some web forums have popular threads about why members chose certain user names, which can be quite entertaining.  My user name is Fat Boy on most of my forums.  I chose this while joining my first web forum,, naming myself after a popular ice fishing jig, the Fat Boy by Lindy Systems Tackle simply because it was my ice fishing flavor of the day.  That jig still ices a lot of panfish for me!  Well, the name stuck and a lot of folks know me that way, so that's why I retained its use for this blog.
I chose this jig as my user name, the Fat Boy, check out
the link if you are interesting in purchasing some.
You can tell your story on your "Profile".  Forum profiles allow you to say something about yourself that others can view at any time by clicking on your user name.  Often, profiles allow for "signatures" or messages at the bottom of each of your posts.  In addition, many forums allow you to use "avatars" or small photographs that show under your user name.  Profile information can be seen on each of your posts but some of it is only viewable when someone clicks on your user name.  Most of the time, the number of posts (and your forum status based on that), your join date, signature, and avatar are the items that other members can see on your posts directly.

How about forum ettiquette?  Most of that is covered in the rules but some is just plain common sense.  Basically, forum administrators or owners expect you to abide by the rules.  Those that don't are often banned from using the site either temporarily or permanently, depending on the severity of the violation or the discretion of the site administrators.  Most site owners have a moderation team consisting of members or, in some cases, paid employees, that have the responsibility of maintaining order on the forum.  They are the forum police basically.  Some have administrator powers, others have limited powers.

Basically, it's not advisable to type using only capital letters.  That's a good way to get folks angry on web forums.  On the internet, that's interpreted as yelling and is frowned upon.  Also, it's a good idea to be respectful of other users and not "flame" them.  Flaming is basically a form of bashing someone for some reason.  Again, these type of things vary from site to site, so the best thing to do is to know the rules of the forum that you plan on joining.

Fishing forums are basically an internet community created by someone (the administrator) for whatever purpose, made up of its members.  The vast majority of them are private, and I'd say that when it comes to fishing, that's just about all of them.  So, why do I bring this up?  Often, as a moderator on several web forums, I hear complaints about members not having "freedom of speech", as if it's their constitutional right to post anything that they please, and their posts are untouchable.  The truth is that, web forums are privately owned and free speech laws do not apply.  If you don't like being treated like that on any particular forum, you have the right to create your own web forum and exercise your right to free speech.

Web fishing forums are virtual communities, and as a member, you'll be a part of something that you share in common with other anglers.  The great thing about that is the free exchange of fishing information.  Web fishing forums are full of great tips, fishing reports, and just about anything that people want to talk about when it comes to fishing.  And, having so much in common with so many people, you're bound to make friends.  I regularly fish with friends that I've met on web fishing forums.
drobertsinMaryland from and showing off a nice largemouth bass.  I met Dave through these websites.  Even though they are national or even international in nature, they also have local sections for fishing reports and general discussion.
A pet peeve of web forum users or members about "newbies" is that they ask questions about topics that have been covered over time sometimes at nauseum.  So, here's a tip for you as a potential newbie to a web forum.  So as to not anger other members, use the "Search" function when looking for specific information about a fishing topic.  If you can't find what you're looking for, or the answer doesn't seem to exist, then by all means feel free to post your question.

Web forums offer some measure of anonymity often freeing people to post things that they may not say face to face to another person.  Be careful of this because "fights" often ensue on web forums and in some cases, actually become a reality in person.  This goes back to respecting other users that I discussed earlier.  In addition, posting on the internet or in email lacks emotion, and despite electronic attempts in the form of emoticons (smileys), words typed may not be taken the way that the writer intends.  The best thing that you can do is review and critique your post prior to clicking on that submit button, and ask yourself this question, "How would I feel if I read this post?"

Another nice feature on web fishing forums is that they offer Personal Messages, or PMs, that allow you to contact other members for any reason.  PMs are similar to email, but are maintained only on the forum website. 
Jim C, a guest author on this blog and from and with a nice Maine smallie.  After joining a forum, introduce your friends and get them to join.  Not only is it a great way to stay in touch and share reports, but they can make new friends too.  I met Jim long before I joined any internet forums and fished with him regularly.  After moving to Maine, these websites found some fishing buddies for him and allowed us another means to stay in touch.
Web forums also have other features, like chat rooms, or links to other fishing resources.  Some contain blogs, product reviews, fishing articles or even picture galleries where you can store and upload pictures or view those of other users.  Some have links to State or Territorial government departments of natural resources and fishing related links, tide charts, lunar tables, or river stages.  Others sell T-shirts, mugs, or other fishing products displaying their respective forum logos to earn revenue for forum maintenance and other expenses.

I'm going to list a few of my favorite web forums as examples to illustrate the ways that they are structured.  They are all free to join, and if you register to them, they don't share your registration information with anyone and you won't be spammed.

One of the first web forums that I joined many years ago is  This web forum is specific to ice fishing and is popular, as you'd expect, in the Northern sections of the United States and Canada.  There are members from other nations in Europe that also join and share in the ice fishing discussions.  I've personally learned a ton of information about ice fishing and have met a bunch of friends on this web site from all over the country.  Traffic on this web forum is much heavier in the winter than other times of the year, but as the site has grown, the off season has been much more active the past few years.  As a service to its members, Iceshanty created a "sister" site for open water fishing, and also a sister site for hunters,

Another website that I joined years ago,, targets a more specific audience, those anglers that love to fish for smallmouth bass in rivers.  It's a site with a national audience, but not much use for anglers where smallies don't reside.  Yet, for such a limited design, the site is quite popular, attracting some very experienced anglers. is a national forum about bass fishing with some regional flavor but specific to bass fishing.  I've found this website to be a good one as well. 

Eastern Pennsylvania Fishing Reports is a web fishing forum targeting anglers from Eastern Pennsylvania or those that fish lakes and watersheds in Eastern PA.  It has a great design, a bit different than others, but a nice contrast.  It has a large following from anglers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.

Virginia Stripers is a website designed to attached striped bass anglers that fish in Virginia waters.  This website initially was designed specifically for Smith Mountain Lake anglers, but has since expanded.  It still has that local flavor and friendly attitude, however and remains one of my favorite forums. 

FishDeepCreek is a website with a very specific audience targeting anglers who like to fish at Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland.  This website, with a small membership, gets a large amount of traffic and has a really fun local appeal.  The members are quite respectful and friendly, and the information on here is great for those fishing locally.  It's also very active during ice fishing season, and is one of my favorite sites to participate in.

Are fishing forums for you?  Find some that interest you, register, and try them out.  You may find some useful information, learn something about fishing, or even make some friends to fish with.  About a year ago, I started a blog based on a post on Myfishfinder by Bassjunky (Icejunky) talking about writing blogs.  He sparked my interest in writing and sharing stuff like this.  By the way, check out his blog titled, "Bass Junkies Fishing Addiction".

Who knows?  Maybe you'll be inspired to do something that you aren't doing today!