Archive for June, 2011

Pete Longo Jr. & Sr. With A Big Peacock!

June 30, 2011

Pete Longo Jr. and Sr. pose with a Matupiri trophy. The father and son duo fished together on our Fall Yacht Trip.

Pete Longo Jr. and Sr.

Pete Longo Jr. and Sr.

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Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter

June 29, 2011

Stay on top of everything peacock bass-related by signing up for our email newsletter! We promise a lot of interesting and entertaining news, information and insights. We also won’t clog your inbox … our newsletters are sent out every couple months.

To sign up, click here and thanks in advance!
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The Not-So-Humble Shad

June 28, 2011
by Paul Reiss

The author and a fat Delaware river shad

The author and a fat Delaware river shad

The little Daiwa UL7 reel started singing as soon as the line popped off thedownrigger.  Jenny, my 17 year old daughter, grabbed the rod, raised it up high and held on.  The four pound test monofilament line traced an arc from straight behind the boat all the way to the middle of the river.  As we watched, the line rose  and suddenly the four pound quicksilver flash on the end was airborne. I scrambled to clear the lines and cables at the back of the boat, and then, as surely as Murphy’s law was written, the fish headed right back toward us at lightning speed.  Within seconds, the gear trailing the boat turned into one big tangle and Jenny’s shad was free.  Her look told me I’d better get to work untangling the lines so that we can  hook up again, and soon.

New Jersey is not usually thought of as a hotbed of freshwater fishing, but there is no better locale to fish for the American Shad than New Jersey’s beautiful portion of the Delaware River .  The shad, a lesser known, migratory member of the herring family returns to its birthwaters each year in the early spring.  They come at the beginning of April when the water temperature  begins to top the 50 degree mark.  At first just a few at a time, then in small pods and finally, when the run is in full swing more than a million shad work their way up the Delaware river.  The three or four pound bucks aggressively seek to spawn with the four to six pound roe filled females.   Shad become the fishing royalty of the river until the end of May, when they have assured the existence of a new generation and then, spent, succumb to the cycle of their species.

To read the full story, please click here.

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Photo: Trairao

June 23, 2011

A scary looking Trairao … check out that mouth …

Trairao

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Fish of the Week: Arapaima – Pirarucu

June 20, 2011

ArapaimaOur “Fish of the Week” is Arapaima – Pirarucu. They are the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world. Arapaima over 600 pounds and over 12 feet long were said to be not uncommon in the past, before they became a favorite of urban fish gourmets. Now a mainstay of pisciculturists, wild populations are recovering in several protected areas. Arapaima are obligatory air-breathers, periodically surfacing to gulp air. Oxygen is absorbed by a vascularized air bladder while CO2 is exchanged via their gills. Their mouth-brooding, fry-protective behavior has allowed them to succeed as transplants outside of the Amazon.

The arapaima’s enormous size, flattened head, terminal mouth and large silvery scales with bright red patterning are distinctive.

The extremely large scales are edged in bright red pigmentation forming an array of fine, diagonal, stripe-like markings. Light silvery white anterior, darkening to a steel grey, highlighted by bright red to purple markings posteriorly. They can grow up to 650 pounds (4 meters). The arapaima is truly one of a kind and not likely to be mistaken for anything else in the Amazon.

Arapaima are difficult to catch with artificial lures. Most non-targeted encounters are by peacock bass anglers who see the big beasts surfacing in a lagoon. What generally occurs immediately afterward is that two anglers will quickly whip the water into a froth, hoping to entice a hook-up. Although arapaima will occasionally strike a lure, most often the sighting leads to nothing more than an exciting interlude.

Anglers can be more successful when targeting arapaima with cut bait, or even better, live bait. Small whole fishes on a wide gap circle hook work well, especially if a small piece of foam is inserted in the gills to keep the bait near the surface. The take is very visible. Anglers should allow the line to go tight and then point the rod tip at the fish, so the circle hook can do its work. A “J” or treble hook is usually more difficult because the angler must drive the hookset into the arapaima’s bony, hard mouth. The fish at left, weighing approximately 180 pounds, was caught using a live “tamatoa” (a small armored catfish) as bait.

Once hooked, they tend to make runs appropriate to the location. In small lagoons, they tend to run to a bank or up to a heavy structure object and simply stop, perhaps they’re not yet really sure they have a problem. Once the pressure returns, they’ll leave that spot and run to another. The resulting fight consists of a series of short, albeit unstoppable runs, continuing until the fish tires. In more open water, a large fish is capable of rapidly spooling an angler. Once a run begins here, guides must quickly fire up the boat and follow or watch the line disappear into the sunset. These more sustained runs will help to tire the fish more quickly. Once the fish is at the boat (or perhaps better stated as the boat is at the fish), the real fun begins. Just because they’ve stopped running, doesn’t mean they’ll let you manhandle them into the boat for a photo. Even when tired, a fish this large and this strong can be unpredictable. It’s probably easiest to simply join the tired fish in the water for a photo (as was done at left) making for a less stressful capture (and release) for all concerned.

Arapaima

Arapaima

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Photo – Redtail Catfish

June 16, 2011
Redtail Catfish

Redtails act like submarine freight trains once anglers set a hook in their rubbery mouths. It takes a lot to stop a 100 pound aquatic train.

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Father’s Day Idea!

June 15, 2011

No idea what to get Dad for Father’s Day? How about a new fishing hat, polo shirt or lure kit, all available in our online store … (Happy Father’s Day in advance to all the great dads out there!)

Acute Angling Fishing Hat

Acute Angling Fishing Shirt

Acute Angling Baseball Cap

Acute Angling Polo Shirt

Acute Angling Luggage Tags

Tackle-Box.net Website

High Roller – Riproller Lures

Peacock Bass Rattle Jig

Blackwater Explorer Lure Kit

Rio Tucano Lure Kit

Rio Trevessao Lure Kit

Acute Angling Polo Shirt

Acute Angling Polo Shirt

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Fish of the Week – Redtail Catfish (Pirarara)

June 14, 2011
Our “Fish of the Week” is redtail catfish, also known as pirarara in Brazil. One of the most ubiquitous of the giant cats, it appears to have very few habitat limitations, just as happily living in acidic, blackwater lowlands streams as it is in alkaline highlands rivers. They can be found in all parts of clear (blue) water, blackwater and whitewater (sediment carrying) rivers, including small tributary streams.
Redtail Catfish

Redtail Catfish

Their unique markings and bright coloration makes them very easy to identify – their bright tail is an instant giveaway. Their dark upper body contrasts sharply with a cream to white segment below the lateral line posteriorly. The mix of contrasting colors highlighted with red makes this catfish one of the most striking of the big cats. Its body color is dark olive to shiny black, its abdomen white and lower fins red. Its dorsal fin and adipose fin are fringed with red.

A very powerful fighter, redtails are known for a sustained, line-pulling initial run and the ability to find a tangle of submerged logs at the end. Adults can grow up to 60 inches and can weigh more than 100 pounds (the IGFA world record is 113 lbs, 9 oz. caught in the Rio Negro). Found in the Amazon basin in Brazil, their seemingly endless appetite makes them easy for anglers to engage. They’re ominvores, as they feed on fish, detritus, crabs and fruit (we’ve actually caught them on pieces of watermelon!). They’ve been landed on everything anglers use, ranging from free-swimming live bait to a Wooly Bugger fly (cut bait is easiest, for practical purposes).
An entire head of a traira on a circle hook is a durable and widely accepted bait for redtails. Use an Amazon rig, configured as follows: “For Redtail Catfish, a large (14/0) circle hook haywire twisted to 12 to 18 inches of strong (120 – 220 lb. test) wire then twisted to a heavy (180 lb. test swivel. A two ounce (or heavier – as current demands) egg sinker is allowed to run freely on heavy line (50 pound or greater) braided line. This wire reinforced ‘Amazon’ rig helps keep piranha away from the actual running line and minimizes the loss of hook, line and sinker.”
Set up your road according to your preferences. Try a woodchopper rod (medium-heavy baitcaster or spinner) equipped with heavy braid (50- to 65-pound test). You’ll have fun catching these guys on light tackle – they’re very durable fish that don’t tire easily.
Several types of water are usually productive. In a river without a lot of features, a curve will often suffice. Drop the bait into the deeper, channel side. If deep pools with eddying water are available, select these types of water. Often, piranha activity on the bait is followed quickly by a take, which may summon the redtail. In any case, the traira head is a great bait even when almost entirely denuded. Let the piranha have their way and wait for your quarry. If there is a redtail there, you’ll usually meet up within 15 minutes. If not, move on.
To succeed with this tackle, you must survive the first run. Make sure your boat is ready to move upon the hookup. The “take” is usually a no-doubter – redtails grab forcefully and move on. With an open bail (or clicker on), allow line to be taken until you’re certain the fish is moving away from you and has had a chance to engulf the bait. Point the rod tip upward, engage your reel and allow the rod to be pulled downward until it points at the fish. With resistance occurring, a redtail will usually react with a screaming run, hooking himself with the circle hook in the process. This method is highly recommended because it will unfailingly result in a safe hookset in the corner of the fish’s mouth, never in its gullet or stomach.
Depending on the size of the fish and the underwater structure, anglers with light tackle can be spooled on the first run. Make sure the boat stays with the fish and you keep a reasonable reserve of line. Don’t try to stop him with a thumb or a tightened drag – you’ll probably just break him off. Let him burn off that first blast and then you can start to fight back. The key to landing a big redtail on light tackle is to get him off the bottom. If possible, get nearly over him, but offset at an angle, and work him upwards. If you can lever him into the water column, you gain the tactical and mechanical advantage and can probably land the fish quickly. If he is able to remain on the bottom, he will seek cover or structure and even though you may have survived the difficult first run, you can still lose him to an unforgiving snag. Once at the boat, redtails can be easily lifted from the water by their heavily boned pectoral fins. He’ll talk to you the entire time you take your pictures. Put him back to fight again.
If you’re record hunting or simply want to land the highest possible percentage, a heavier rig (i.e. – an Ambassador 7000 sized reel with a stiff, short and heavy Ugly Stick rod) can be used with line up to 100 lb. test. This is enough to slow down the runs and then muscle all but the biggest redtails off the bottom, the key to landing them.
John With Big Redtail

John With Big Redtail

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Bill Dance Bloopers

June 10, 2011

Happy Friday! Kick off your weekend with some laughs, courtesy of Bill Dance …

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Implementation Techniques for an Optimized Catch and Release Sport Fishery as a Tool for Sustainable Harvest

June 9, 2011

By Paul Reiss

(Complete Study: http://www.acuteangling.com/Reference/C&RProposal.html)

Introduction

Catch and release fishing has been demonstrated to be an extremely effective aquatic conservation and environmental protection mechanism. Widely used as a tool for the preservation of fish fauna, catch and release has been studied in great detail for nearly a half century. Shown to be more environmentally effective than the simple closing of aquatic areas, catch and release fishing is used in most environmentally advanced societies (1).

Aquatic fauna in any region, whether or not man is present, vary in population success over time, primarily due to a range of external factors and conditions. Natural factors define a fishery’s capacity to support fish of all types, for instance: Rapidly variable weather and water level changes directly affect the fish’s survival medium. Food supply and predation create an additional impact, typically cyclically raising and lowering specific species populations. Migratory behavior causes exposure to varied water types, conditions and hazards. Man, with his attendant environmental effects, such as commercial fish harvesting and pollution (water quality) can act as significant modifiers to these natural variables and incrementally affect the natural capacity of a fishery.

With few exceptions, in an unrestrained or undammed river system, man is unable to control natural factors. Therefore, uncontrollable natural conditions will continue to be primary defining factors of a fishery’s overall characteristics and capacities. Man’s artificial impact, whether minimal or extremely adverse, can, however, be controlled. Where an area is subject to significant human impact because of uncontrolled poaching, substantial improvements can be made by the introduction of low impact catch and release fishing programs. Increased surveillance of the river by catch and release fishermen can lead to significant reductions in poaching. Further, sport fishing produces regional economic benefits, resulting in greater community stewardship of the aquatic resources by the local population. Human impact can be made decidedly positive by substituting an intelligent program of non-consumptive, catch and release fishing (a form of sustainable harvest) for pre-existing, uncontrolled, haphazard exploitation.

This paper discusses the positive effects and applicability of the concept of catch and release fishing, using carefully selected techniques appropriate for the natural conditions and species make-up of a region. By using techniques that assure minimal environmental impact and very low mortality on fish fauna, sport fishing, with its associated tourism, can significantly increase the economic benefit to a region while simultaneously decreasing the incidence and negative impact of commercial fishing, poaching and meat hunting (100% mortality). A properly implemented program of catch and release sport fishing can create a human accessible fishery maintained in a natural state, protected by the alternative economic benefits brought to what might otherwise be an adversely impacting regional human population.

Specifically, this paper analyzes the potential environmental and economic benefits of applying a program of catch and release fishing on remote river systems on the fringe of the Amazon basin. Observations were made on a highlands river in the northern fringe of the Amazon basin to assess the sport fishing potential of the waters of the region. The species present, their sport fishing characteristics, spawning activities and the present effects of human activity were examined. These findings led to an analysis of the scientific literature available for the purpose of assessing potential catch and release mortality. Those results demonstrate that a catch and release program designed specifically for the observed fishery would create minimal environmental impact. (See the related paper, “Catch and Release Effectiveness and Mortality“.)

Observations of the result of implementing controlled catch and release fishing programs elsewhere in the Amazon basin show that such activities have resulted in the reduction of preexisting negative impacts on the environment and have created net environmental benefits. (See the related paper, “Observations of the Effects of Catch and Release Fishing in the Amazon Basin“.) Simultaneously, significant economic benefits have been observed in the regions involved as a result of controlled, selective, sport fishing tourism activity.

Understanding the environmental importance of Amazon fringe forest/savannah environments as a protective buffer zone of the Amazon basin as a whole and recognizing the value of the existing research performed in these unique ecosystems, as well as the future research potential, puts the necessity of protecting these regions into stark relief. The implementation of specifically designed catch and release sport fishing programs offers the potential of enhancing the protection of these regions as well as creating additional research opportunities relating to the regions’ aquatic resources.

To read the complete study, please click here.

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