Now that Oklahoma is licensing fishing guides, could a hunting guide license be far behind?
It seems only logical that if fishing guides are going to be required to buy a license and a minum of $500,000 liability insurance – plus mandatory CPR, first aid and boat safety training and pass an annual vessel inspection – that hunting guides would have to do the same.
But the only reason state lawmakers passed SB 277, requiring a state license for fishing guides, was because of the U.S. Coast Guard’s threat on Lake Texoma striper guides.
After a drowning on the lake in early April when a striper guide boat capsized, the U.S. Coast Guard announced its intent to make all guides obtain a captain’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard.
State lawmakers rushed to pass SB 277 in hopes the U.S. Coast Guard will be satisfied with allowing the state to regulate fishing guides on Texoma.
No such hammer is being held over the head of the state to create a hunting guide license.
However, Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, told state wildlife commissioners at this month’s meeting that he sent over language for SB 277 that would have included a license for hunting guides.
That language was removed but Richard Hatcher – who soon will become state wildlife director when Duffy retires at the end of the month – said the agency still would pursue it.
State wildlife officials will present the idea to a legislative task force that has been created to study hunting and fishing licensing issues, Hatcher said.
The task force will meet this fall.
“We can run it up the flag pole there,” Hatcher said. “We would definitely recommend it. The devil is in the details in trying to figure out who is a hunting guide and who isn’t.”
Some states distinquish between outfitters and guides as far as licensing, he said.
Another question is whether anyone who receives money to allow hunting on their land be exempt or included on any licensing requirements, he said.
“We’re sure going to offer it up as a possibility,” Hatcher said of licensing hunting guides. “We will present it to the task force and see what their thoughts are.”
Get a sneak peek at Lowrance’s new fish finder called Structure Scan on the company’s Web site.
Lowrance is promoting it as the new edge in picture-perfect bottom viewing of ledges, channels, drop-offs, brush and all the other great other fish hidey holes.
It will be introduced at the ICAST show in Florida on July 15, according to the company’s Web site.
The Oklahoma City Gun Club will be the site Saturday of the state Youth Hunter Education Challenge.
Open to anyone age 18 or younger who has completed a state certified hunter education course, the Youth Hunter Education Challenge is a test of skills in simulated hunting conditions.
It’s a great program that teaches safe hunting and introduces kids to the shooting sports.
Young hunters compete in eight challenges – marksmanship in small bore rifle (.22), muzzleloader, archery and shotgun plus orienteering and wildlife identification.
They also are given a hunter safety exam covering regulations and ethics as well being tested on a hunter safety trail where they are led through simulated hunting scenarios.
They must not only determine when it is legal to harvest game, but they also must make the correct decisions about whether to shoot at all.
Prizes will be given to each participant. Cost is $35.
Registration forms can be downloaded from www.yhec.org.
Many Oklahomans travel to the Gulf waters off the Texas coast to enjoy saltwater fishing.
On May 30-31, five Newcastle anglers fished with Capt. Johnny Williams and Capt. Shawn Clark on a 36-hour overnight tuna safari out of Galveston’s Pier 19.
Several stops were made at production platforms and rock formations during the late morning through mid-afternoon in water from 50 to 90 feet deep.
These various stops produced a 25-pound kingfish, an assortment of grouper, vermilion snapper and red snapper from 8 to 20 pounds that were vented and released, since the red snapper fishery in federal waters didn’t open until June 1.
Around mid-afternoon Saturday, a run farther offshore began for overnight tuna fishing. The destination was the Gunnison Spar Platform, located about 125 nautical miles off Galveston. This structure is a fish magnet where yellowfin and blackfin tuna were the primary target.
Numerous drifts from near the platform to over a mile down current during the overnight period produced many blackfin tuna and five yellowfin. Fishing methods used were chrome diamond jigs, butterfly-type jigs in assorted color patterns, freelined Spanish sardines, chunk baits of bonito or blackfin tuna and various topwater poppers.
The big fish of the deepwater drifts and the trip was a shortfin mako that was estimated to weigh 300 to 350 pounds. It ate a bonito strip right at boatside.
A little after sunrise Sunday morning, the run inshore began through a calm gulf as the boat fished its way in the direction of Galveston. Stops produced vermilion snapper, grouper, barracuda, tilefish and shark.
Of the 40 anglers on board the party boat, the five Okies – Hunter Reilly, Kelly Jones, John Hibdon, Kirk Reilly and Anthony Lemigs – caught the only yellowfin tuna on the trip, five fish weighing from 35 to 43 pounds.
For information about saltwater fishing with Johnny Williams, call the Galveston Pier Office at (409) 762-8808 or (713) 223-4853.
The flood gates finally closed Sunday on Broken Bow Dam and state wildlife officials have resumed putting trout in the Lower Mountain Fork River in McCurtain County.
Trout was stocked in the river Thursday and fishing has resumed, although severe flooding has changed the stream.
“Not all the areas on the trout stream are easily accessible, but people can get to most of the places they are familiar with,” said Paul Balkenbush, fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Flooding wiped out two foot bridges and a highway bridge that allowed anglers to reach main fishing areas. Pools that held trout are gone or changed.
Balkenbush said it is a “high priority” for state wildlife officials to return the popular trout stream to its previous condition, but he is unsure how long that will take.
“Spillway (Creek) is basically a whole new stream,” said Donny Carter of Stratford, who fished the Lower Mountain Fork on Wednesday, his first trip there since the flooding.
“It’s still the fast running stream it’s always been, but all, or nearly all the previous pools and holes are gone or changed.
“The walk bridges are gone but what was left were some very deep and large pools. Getting to the stream is a little more difficult due to the trees and the banks being scoured. The stream itself has really been scoured.
“The stream bed used to have a darker coloring to it. Now it’s very light or even yellowish-red color. If anything good comes out of this, the rocks are not near as slick. I didn’t get baptized once this trip.”
Lost Creek – built by the state Wildlife Department just three years ago – is lost again, Carter said. The creek is completely filled in with rock and gravel.
However, the fishing was fantastic on Wednesday, Carter said.
“I caught trout, and large trout, all up and down the creek. It was pocket-water fishing at it’s finest. Any marginally-sized pool at all held trout. I was throwing in pockets no bigger than a bathtub and only knee-deep.
“From the Spillway down to where the Cold Hole Bridge used to be, they’d hit just about any fly you threw in there as long as it wasn’t too big.”
Oklahoma’s state record blue catfish, on display at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, died Wednesday.
The fish was caught in 2004 at Lake Texoma by B.J. Nabors of Madill at an area called Murray 23 on the Tishomingo arm of the lake, a catfishing hotspot, and weighed 98 pounds.
The aquarium had been pumping antibiotics in the fish in an attempt to keep it alive.
The fish will be offered to Nabors to see if he wants to mount it, state wildlife officials said.
The fish was the state record blue cat in the rod and reel division, but the state record in the unrestricted division (trot lines, jug lines, etc.) is even bigger.
In 1988, Dan Grider caught a blue cat weighing 118 pounds, 8 ounces on a jug line from Lake Texoma.
I was having lunch at the Cracker Barrel with my wife and two daughters today and it once again cost me a small fortune.
That’s because a trip to the Cracker Barrel for my family not only involves eating, it also involves shopping. What a gimmick. But the grub is good.
However, I can’t blame the wife this time. I was the shopper. I went to the cash register with the intent to pay only the bill but next to the counter was the product of my addiction: baseball cards.
But not just any ole’ baseball cards. Cracker Barrel was selling Topps Heritage with the 1960 design.
I immediately became 10-years-old again. Almost every day after school, I would walk to town with a dime in my pocket and bought a pack of baseball cards from Hubert Claunts, the old man who owned the Stigler Five and Dime.
The store was like treasure chest to me. I can’t tell you the thrill I felt as a boy opening a pack of cards and getting a Bob Gibson or a Johnny Bench.
The kids in Stigler didn’t have a better friend than the Five and Dime and ole’ Hubert. He made sure they were outfitted with all the proper school supplies each year, which included Big Chief notepads. Those I will never forget.
Hubert and kids were like peanut butter and jelly. They were stuck on each other.
Thank goodness my mother didn’t throw away all the baseball cards I had bought from the Five and Dime when I left home. I thought I had outgrown them when I left home for college but she realized one day I would want them again.
This is a long-winded way to the point of this story, but I started wondering why aren’t there bass fishing trading cards?
I am a sucker. I would buy a pack of cards hoping to get a Kevin VanDam, Ken Cook, Jimmy Houston, Edwin Evers, etc.
They could even include trading cards of fish species, vintage lures, best bass baits and lakes, etc., with info about each on the back of a card just like a baseball player’s statistics. Kids might even learn something.
Maybe this has been done before and I don’t realize it, but I am thinking about pitching this idea to Topps or BASS.
Who wouldn’t want to feel like they are 10 again?
Commercial fishing guides in the state must buy a license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation by July 31, according to rules passed Monday by state wildlife commissioners.
However, the requirements for possessing a fishing guide license such as boat safety training, CPR training, $500,000 liability insurance and an annual boat inspection will not be mandatory until Jan. 1.
The regulations passed Monday are emergency rules only. State wildlife commissioners will have to revisit the rules next year after public hearings on the issue.
The cost for the state’s commercial fishing guide license will be $66 for the remainder of the year. Then it will be $132 annually beginning Jan. 1.
Operating as a commercial fishing guide without a license will be punishable by fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 or a jail term of not more than six months.