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July 2003

Back to Basics

BACK TO BASICS - by The Bandit

This column, as our dedicated readers know, is designed to provide basic tips and techniques in a compact format. It is hoped that through the information provided here, the readers time spent on the water will be more fruitful and thus more pleasurable. Unfortunately there are a few folks who share our waterways whose pursuit of pleasure eclipses the needs of others, at least in their minds. It is for those irresponsible individuals that this month’s column is aimed, with the hope of a small measure of enlightenment.  Here are a few tips, to be a more considerate angler or boater: If you fish from shore, never leave food containers, drink cups, bait containers, old line or any other trash behind. Always carry a plastic bag with you for any waste material you may have, and if you spot anyone else’s junk, why not pick that up too? Can it hurt?

If you like to troll, as I sometimes do, make sure not to get too close to any anchored or drifting boats. These anglers are attempting to fish a small amount of water, so give them a chance. Also, never troll planer boards in any navigational channel. Not only does this provide an obstruction to boat traffic flow, but also can create a deadly potential for a boating accident as boats try to go around the boards, often against the incoming traffic. When trolling around piers or docks, remember that the anglers fishing from them can only fish in one direction, away from the structure. Give them room, at least double the normal casting range. Hey, they don’t have the mobility a boat provides; use yours to give them plenty of room.

If you enjoy fishing derbies, as I do, don’t use the fact that you are in a derby as license to encroach upon other anglers who are already working a portion of water you want to try. Nothing irks me more than quietly drifting into a spot, quietly lowering the anchor and plunking out some bobbers, only to have some BoBo in a bass boat motor up and try to fish every inch of water around my boat. Boy! The things you see when you don’t have a gun! (Only kidding) And lastly, if you have a p.w.c. or other “pleasure” craft or are into such things as skiing or tubing, please remember: The anglers use the whole water column, not just the surface, and while you may be enjoying the “wheee, look at me” aspect of water usage, doing so too close to someone who is fishing may spoil their action and thus their sport.

Well, that’s enough venting for me, at least in this column. I hope all you decent considerate folks will continue to be so and don’t become soured by the handful of individuals who have “a need for courtesy”.  Have fun and fish safely. 

The “Bandit”


Soon, every species of gamefish will be open for their respective seasons. If you include the non game species, such as Carp, Panfish, Bullhead and Catfish, then anybody, and I mean anybody who can get their hands on some fishing gear, should be able to catch a fish. New York has thousands and thousands of miles of lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds and reservoirs, and if it has water in it year round, you can be sure something is swimming in it.

What’s more, if you’ve never tried fishing before and think you’d like to give it a shot, you won’t even have to buy a license to fish if you go on the weekend of June 28th and 29th. Hey, they let you test drive the cars at the auto dealership, right? Well, here’s a chance for you non fishers to test drive fishing! Take the whole family out and catch some fish. If none of you have fished before, bring along a friend or relative or neighbor who has fished, to help you get started. Have a picnic lunch by the lake, and those who discover that fishing just isn’t for them can still have a good outing of it.

I want you all lto welcome Jim Jared aboard. Jim is going to cover the Chenango, Otsego County area for the magazine. It’s been quite some time since we’ve had any coverage in this area, and now you can get the skinny on what’s hot and what’s not in places like Otsego Lake/Cooperstown area, Cherry Valley, Canadarago, Norwich, the Upper Susquehana, Unadilla, Chenango Rivers, Crumhorn Game Management Area, the Eastern Delaware and more...

If you’ve got any good fish or game pitures you’d like us to print on these pages, send them to Jim, or send them on to us. The address is at the top left of this page.

Next month we’ll be celebrating our independence, as well we should, but many of us will be celebrating with fireworks. Fireworks can be great fun, but they can do great harm if not used carefully and wisely. I’ve been working as a firefighter for many years now, and I’ve worked the Fourth of July more often than not, so I’ve seen a lot of  tragedies and near tragedies, so I know of what I speak.

I could take the standard line over this, and say they are illegal so don’t get or buy any, but I know better. The explosions that send every dog and most of the cats cowering in the evening light are not my imagination. Lot’s of people, OK, it seems like most people, are setting them off, legal or not. So I’ll simply say, please be careful. Even if you are not going to set off fireworks, (and many of us do not) there are still a few basics to keep in mind.

First of all, I mentioned Fido and Felix a few minutes ago. Almost all dogs and many cats are scared spitless by all those explosions. Put them in the house. They may still be cowering or nervous, but at least they will feel a little safer closed up in a familar place.

Secondly, no matter how much your children beg you, tell them that you alone are going to light the fireworks. Children tend to panic a little quicker than adults. Let them watch, don’t let them light.

Thirdly, make sure your garden hose is hooked up and you know exactly where it is. If you have a fire extinguisher, keep it close by too. Have your phone and a list of all emergency numbers laid out nearby where you can reach them quickly. Keep your fireworks in a large, open area, away from brush, trash, debris and buildings. Keep all others away from this area. If you are in a more urban area, sometimes neighbors, will be shooting off fireworks, and often times they are too close to your house, or garage, or the dead, dry brushpile you’ve been building for bird cover. Sometimes the more moronic of these folks will actually be aiming their fireworks for specific targets. My recommendation is to simplly call the police, but many of you will not. If you must speak to them yourselves, ask them politely to move the operation a little farther from your property, but only ONCE. Do not argue with them. Simply call the police and let them deal with it.

My last point is probably the most important. I don’t wan’t to be sitting in the emergency room at 1 a.m. I’m sure you don’t want to either. If nothing else, think through what you are going to do, before you do it. With a little forethought, you may realize that the great idea you had about how to set off the next round of fireworks isn’t really such a great idea after all. I recall when I was about ten, a certain child who kept throwing a sparkler in the air, despite being told numerous times not to. When it landed in the upper branches of a nearly dead juniper, the branches ignited, and the cedar shakes on the house were catching. A nearby ladder and a garden hose solved the problem quickly. The Fire Department was called, but the fire was out. Better safe than sorry. Disaster averted. No more sparklers for the ten year old. Grounded for two weeks. I got over it eventually. So you see, I really do know of what I speak. Have a safe Fourth of July. See you next  month.

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