New in equipment
Anglers, boaters and others who have a need to keep digital cameras, GPS units, two-way radios, and other sensitive gear dry around the water might want to check out the latest versions of the OtterBox. The OtterBox is a plastic carrying case. What makes it special is that each one features customized silicone gaskets that create a waterproof seal. They are crush proof and airtight. Available in a variety of sizes, each OtterBox has easy-open latches, floats on water, and is brightly colored so that you can find it easily should you drop it overboard. All of the various models have wrist lanyards to make them easy to carry; two of them, the 8000 and 9000, come with belt clips. Suggested retail prices range from is $11.49 for the OtterBox 1000, the smallest model, to $28.49 for the 35000 model, the largest in the family. For information: visit www.otterbox.com or call 888-695-8820.
Lure of the week
Spider Legs Popper
Company: Accardo/Peck's Poppers (225-355-0863).
Lure type: Popper fly.
Sizes and colors: Available in various sizes in four colors: chartreuse/black/chartreuse, white/black/white, yellow/black/yellow, and orange/black/orange.
Target species: Bass and panfish.
Technique: The body design features a concave face to kick up water to attract game fish. The round rubber legs jiggle and twitch on the water's surface for realistic action. Cast out, let the fly sit, then "pop" it in short bursts to attract fish.
Suggested retail price: $1.49 each.
Notable: The smaller the water, the smaller the popper you should use. A five-acre farm pond would call for a size 6 or 4. The smaller sizes are also appropriate when very calm conditions exist because, in still waters, big disturbances can scare the fish you're trying to catch. Sizes 1/0 and 2/0 are the best choices when prospecting for big bass in large lakes and rivers, especially if they have a little chop on the surface.
Tips & Tactics
Few fish are as mysterious and intimidating to the novice angler as a catfish. All kinds of tales abound about their poisonous stingers and barbs. The truth is, catfish are not hard to take off a hook, provided you handle them correctly. The thing you have to be careful of with catfish are their spines. They have one located on the dorsal fin on their back and two located on their pectoral fins.
To avoid them and release a small catfish without hurting it, slide your hand up its back from the tail, placing your fingers behind one side fin and the thumb behind the other. That will put the webbing between your thumb and forefinger right behind the dorsal fin as the same time, keeping all three spines out of your way. Once you've got the cat in that position, you can use pliers to remove the hook.
If you do get poked with a spine, clean the wound with an alcohol swab, rinse it thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide, and apply a triple antibiotic cream and waterproof bandage.
Recipe of the week
Campfire Baked Bananas
peanuts or Reese's Pieces candy
With a knife, cut a three-fourths-inch, V-shaped channel into the top (or inner curve) of the banana and remove flesh. Place mini-marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, or what have you in the banana. Replace the slice of flesh so that banana is stuffed. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil and place it in the coals of the campfire. Roast each side of the banana for five minutes. Remove it from the fire with tongs and enjoy a tasty campfire dessert.