In these Dog Days of summer, fishing in local waters often becomes slow due to high temperatures and low water conditions. All of which makes many fish lethargic. But instead of pursuing them with rod and reel, why not try a bow and arrow.
Since bowfishing requires a slight change in equipment, most bow fishers favor an inexpensive recurve bow or an old compound bow, outfitting it with a Zebco-type spincast or open reel to retrieve the arrows and land a fish, simple arrow rest and no sights as bowfishing normally requires instinctive shooting. Those, plus a small investment in heavy fiberglass arrows that are needed to penetrate the waters’ surface with fish-point broadheads.
The main quarry for bowfishers are carp. Decent freshwater bowfishing for them can be had in the shallow shorelines and coves of Lake Nockamixon in Upper Bucks County. Another prime place is the feeder creek for Ontelaunee Reservoir in Upper Berks County. This hotspot has several access areas with the closest (to Allentown) located off Route 662 west of Moselem Springs where it intersects with Route 222. You’ll pass Moselem Springs Country Club on the right and farther down McCardels Bar on the left. A short distance away there’s a pull-off near the bridge where you can park your car and walk in along the stream. Any area there is good but chest waders, or if it’s hot, old sneakers and swimming trunks, is all that’s needed to wade the stretch. There’s also an old railroad bridge abutment downriver where arrowing a carp is possible without getting wet.
In Lehigh County, there’s the upper Jordan Creek from the metal bridge and falls in Orefield on up into the Trexler Game Preserve (Trexler Zoo as it’s now called). Beware, however, of snakes up there.
Farther up in northern Lehigh County, Ontelaunee Creek near Leaser Lake is narrow and hiking the shoreline could provide some carp action. “The trick at these places is to look for shallow water near deeper, slow moving water,” says Bob Danenhower of Bob’s Taxidermy who grew up in this area and knows it well.
The Lehigh River and Lehigh Canal shouldn’t be overlooked. When bowfishing the Lehigh River either wade or use a small boat and cruise around the shallow shorelines that are, again, close to deeper water.
As far too many anglers consider carp trash fish, people in Europe and Asia consider them delicacies. Around these parts, bowfishers use them for fertilizer in vegetable and flowerbeds, and if you have a cat or two, they’d love a treat of fresh fish.
If you’re more inclined and are coincidentally vacationing around salt water, some brackish water and tidal flats, stingrays are plentiful and offer good bowshooting practice. Plus, they make good table fare. In fact, Landis Store Restaurant in Berks County usually has them on their menu around this time of year.
Danenhower and his family usually make a yearly visit to Chincoteague Island in Virginia for a two-day skate bowfishing hunt with native guide Randy Birch of Birch’s Outfitters. There they bowfish the tidal shores of Chincoteague Island, which is also a popular summer tourist attraction and famed wildlife viewing area.
In two days bowfishing and on the bow of Birch’s boat, Danenhower said he often spots upwards of 50-plus rays, including Southern, Cow Nose and Butterfly’s. In fact, one year he managed to arrow nine, the largest of which was a hefty 140-pounder that needed two shots to boat while in 3-5 feet of water.
So aside from shooting 3D targets to get ready for the upcoming bow hunting season, give bowfishing a try. It beats staying at home and watching the Phillies get beat.
We’re all familiar with the two major and dominate camo hunting patterns on the market. Well, Mossy Oak and Realtree have taken their traditional camo designs and changed them to reflect a fishing camo pattern. It’s been common knowledge among fly fishermen that to break the anglers’outline to spooky fish, be it in streams or the backwaters of saltwater areas, wearing clothing that doesn’t show your outline to a fish helps in luring them to hook.
As such, Mossy Oak unveiled its all-new Elements pattern line at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. Last week. The first in that line is Elements Agua, which was designed for the angling community.
“Elements serves as a reinforcing factor to Mossy Oak’s identity as the preferred outdoors lifestyle brand. The Elements line is designed not just as concealment, but as a form of expression to represent the wearer’s love for the outdoors. Regardless of the specific adventure, this all-encompassing outdoors lifestyle pattern family offers a relevant design pertaining to every region and every pursuit, whether on land or in water,” says Joedee Robinson for Mossy Oak.
She goes on to say that Mossy Oak believes the most effective patterns are created from the natural world. Staying true to those roots, Mossy Oak Elements is a family of patterns utilizing the three core elements of the natural world - earth, water and wind - at their most basic levels. These elements were fused together into three layers of multi-directional, photo realistic images that actively disrupt the human outline at any distance.
“If 30 years of making Mossy Oak camo has shown us anything, it’s that our patterns mean more than just a way to hide from critters,” said Toxey Haas, founder and CEO of Mossy Oak. “Instead, wearing Mossy Oak has become an expression of who we are. With Elements, we wanted to create designs that are completely different than anything we, or anyone else has ever done before without sacrificing our deep connection with nature. Like its name says, Elements is designed from the most basic building blocks of the natural world and represents an exciting new direction for Mossy Oak.”
It also becomes the official pattern of B.A.S.S. with Kevin VanDam being named Team Leader for Mossy Oak Fishing.
In January of 2017, Realtree announced the launch of its new Realtree Fishing lifestyle brand that also debuted at the ICAST sportfishing trade show.
Designed to complement the Realtree Fishing brand and the iconic hook/antler logo that is already taking the market by storm, the new Realtree Fishing pattern was developed using Bill Jordan's innovative method for blending background layers to give depth and texture to all Realtree patterns.
The Realtree Fishing pattern includes subtle Realtree branch and brush pile elements that interestingly mimic the bottom returns of today's depth finder technology, separating this unique pattern from the thousands of digital patterns on the market.
"Fishing has been a huge part of my outdoor life," said Realtree Designer and President Bill Jordan. "My father and family were in the boat business, I fished tournaments for years, and today I spend as much time as I can fishing with my children. It was just natural to extend the Realtree brand into the fishing market. So many hunters are just like me and my family and our Realtree employees. We enjoy all aspects of the outdoors. I wanted to create a camouflage pattern that connected outdoors people to the great sport of fishing, and by all indications we succeeded with the Realtree Fishing pattern."
Many of Realtree's more than 2,000 licensing and retail partners manufacture or market primarily to the 38,000,000 freshwater and 12,000,000 saltwater anglers in the United States. Even though Realtree's early success was rooted in the hunting industry, the company's influence now reaches into virtually every corner of the sporting world. So, it only makes sense for Realtree to offer a pattern for fishermen, since research shows that anglers also hunt.
"As a leader and innovator, Realtree Founder and CEO Bill Jordan is bringing Realtree's unique design technology and marketing expertise to the fishing market where vibrant, bright colors are popular with anglers," said Mike Swain, Realtree account manager and avid bass angler. "This pattern should resonate with hardcore bass and saltwater anglers, as well as fishermen who love the sport and want to reflect that passion everyday, whether on the water or off. Look for the Realtree Fishing pattern from our great licensees online at the Realstore and soon at retailers everywhere."
With the “dog days” of summer almost upon us fishing wise, local angling remains relatively good depending on where you fish.
Willie from Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon said Leaser Lake is hot. Anglers there are catching-and-releasing a mix of smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappies and muskies but no trout. Says Willie, “One new customer came in and said he caught and released over 300 muskies. And during a visit last Sunday, Leaser was jammed with boats, kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and anglers on float tubes. Parking too was at a premium because boaters with trailers took up two parking places each.
Willie added that before Saturday’s rain, Lehigh River was fishing good for 18-25-inch trout, smallmouths, fallfish and rock bass, but no Muskie. Most river trout anglers are using minnows or spinners.
On the Little Lehigh, Willie said he’s still receiving good trout reports from the parkway section that were loaded up with trout during inseason stockings and two fishing contests.
While on the subject of trout, members of Pioneer Fish & Game and Lehigh Fish & Game associations met Thursday at the Lil-Le-Hi Trout Hatchery for replenishment of trout fingerlings that will eventually get stocked in two years, predominantly in the Little Lehigh.
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commissions’ stocking truck from the Bellefonte Hatchery delivered over 16,000 fingerling trout of which 12,000 were brookies, 4,000 browns, some rainbows and 90-100 goldens. “These trout, said Jim Schneck of South Whitehall and a Lil-Lehigh Hatchery volunteer, will grow to 15-21 inches in two years when they’re ready to be stocked in City of Allentown park streams.” He goes on to say that the new fingerlings will be mostly pellet fed until they’re released and they usually grow about an inch a month during this period.
Willie also reports Mauch Chunk Lake is fishing quite good for bass and pickerel that are falling for Yamamoto worms.
As for the Delaware River, Mike, from Mike’s Bait & Tackle in Nazareth, said the Delaware is slow with only a few stripers being caught upriver of Easton. But he’s been getting good leftover trout reports from the Bushkill, Monocacy and Martins creeks. One customer has been clobbering trout on the Monocacy with lures while another customer using nymphs on the Martins recorded good trout numbers. As for the McMichael’s, Mike believes it’s a tough stream to fish with lots of posted property and deep waters that need chest waders not hip boots. One angler reported it’s also loaded with snakes along the banks and ticks in high grasses and brush.”
Chris from Chris’ Bait & Tackle in Mertztown reports Ontelaunee Reservoir is fishing good for largemouth bass for anglers willing to wade and cast towards the deeper parts (no watercraft allowed). Bass there hitting Senko worms, crankbaits and minnows. Ontelaunee’s great Crappie fishing died since the water heated up. As for Muskie, Chris says they’re in there but are only caught on occasion – and probably by chance while fishing for bass.
Chris fished Blue Marsh Lake on Thursday and did well on largemouths throwing blue tubes, black/blue Senko worms and 6-inch lizard lures. Bass ranged from 3-4 pounds. He also latched onto and released a 14-inch striper on a tube.
For anglers seeking catch-and-release muskies, he echo’s others who say Leaser Lake is the place to fish for them with very large shiners being the bait of choice.
CABELA’S BOWHUNTING CLASSIC UPCOMING
Cabela’s will help customers learn about archery and prepare for archery season with the company’s Bowhunting Classic event Saturday and Sunday, July 29-30. In-store activities offered during the event will include sales, giveaways, product demonstrations, guest appearances and hands-on seminars.
Visitors will have opportunities to learn about, and find deals on, the latest and greatest archery and hunting gear, including compound bows, crossbows, bow accessories, treestands, hunting blinds, optics and much more.
Drawing will be held for giveaways, including a Bushnell B-12 trail camera, a Badlands hunting pack, and a Cabela’s Insurgent compound bow. In addition, the first 50 customers through the doors on Saturday will receive a free Cabela’s beanie.
Cabela’s Pro Staff and in-store specialists, as well as visiting sponsors and guests, will offer visitors free insight and tips on archery equipment and techniques. Customers also will be able to put their new skills and gear to the test in the store’s indoor archery range while receiving guidance from industry experts.
Free, in-store activities offered Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will include:
* Fuel Your Archery Addiction
o Representatives of Bear Archery will educate customers about getting started in archery, building skills, and Cabela’s-exclusive products
* Game Cameras: Scouting Your Next Trophy
o Representatives of Bushnell will offer insights on advanced features and benefits of trail cameras
* Kids’ S.A.F.E. Archery 11-2 Saturday & Sunday
* Ladies Archery 101 11-2 Saturday & Sunday
* Kids’ 3D Archery Shoot 12-2 Saturday
* Adult 3D Archery Shoot 12-2 Sunday
* Can Cooker Cooking 11-1 Saturday & Sunday
Guest appearances will include:
* Brian “Pigman” Quaca 11-2 Saturday
For more information about Cabela’s Bowhunting Classic activities, visit www.cabelas.com/hamburg.
While local freshwater fishing is fair, most of the good fishing action is happening in saltwater.
On Sunday, July 9, Leaser Lake was being loved to death. Kayaks, canoes, inflatables, tube fishermen even two anglers with large Skeeter bass boats crowded the small lake. Parking was at a premium since SUVs and trucks with boat trailers took up two parking spots each. And the anglers we interviewed weren’t doing much. No trout, merely small muskies, bass and one angler claimed he caught a small smallmouth bass. Throughout the interviews many anglers were surprised the PFBC put in muskies this early as the consensus was that they eat the trout, small bass, perch and sunnies. But those lucking into a toothy Muskie loved the action.
From Bill Brinkman at Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philly, comes this fishing report:
“The upper Delaware river has been a different story. From the Trenton ramp up to Stockton the striper fishing has been great. Most guys fishing in bridges with live eels, white perch and plugs have been catching 20 to 34-inch stripers in decent numbers. Washington’s Crossing up to Lambertville, guys has been doing well with live eels, 6-inch twister tails, shad bodies and poppers. And if you’re not into the stripers, the smallmouth bass fishing has been great all up and down the river. Kevin has been doing great up at the Water Gap fishing live minnows, grubs, spinners and Senko worms. He said most days you could land 25-40 fish. JR down in the Lambertville section of the river, has been boating 30-50 fish each trip out. Minnows and grubs have been working best for him. Larry, fishing below the New Hope wing dam, picked up 15 decent bass wading the rocks. Further up-river, one customer fishing around Hankins’s caught 9 smallmouth bass, 2 walleyes and 16 river chubs. He was fishing Rebel crayfish, Rooster Tails and 3-inch pumpkinseed power grubs."
"Saltwater action was quite a mixed bag. Heavy winds last week kept most of the boats close to home. Anthony was down fishing the Cape May reefs catching 4 keeper fish on the boat. Frank fishing the old grounds, boated 11 keepers all with bucktails and Gulp grubs. Beach fishing from Cape May up to Margate has been awesome for kingfish. Dick, out of Brigantine, picked up 50 keeper kingfish all with bloodworms and Fish Bites. In this same water the brown shark fishing has been great with kingfish heads, chunk bunker, mackerel and live eels. One customer with a dozen eels fishing North Wildwood picked up a 4, 4, 6 and one bigger brown shark. The bigger fish they lost in the wash. When you get up to Brielle and further north the flounder fishing has been great, but lots of throwbacks. Some guys I talked to were catching 12 to one. Again bucktails and gulp mullet and grubs working best. Still some great numbers of giant porgies and sea bass being caught in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Clams, strip mackerel and bloodworms working best.”
From the Fisherman Magazine comes this saltwater report:
“After a heated week of Jersey Shore politics, state parks are once again open throughout the Garden State, with surfcasters back on the two-fluke, 16-inch limit at Island Beach State Park. A few stripers are still in the mix as are kingfish and fluke inshore, while sharks are taking up a position in the night surf. Meanwhile boats hitting some of the deeper reefs and wrecks are finding gangbuster action with jumbo ling and giant winter flounder while also picking away at the cod and enjoying the two-fish sea bass pickups along the way. A few bigger fluke are coming by way of the Old Grounds and inshore reef sites, while Raritan Bay doormat action is on the uptick as well. Offshore, reports have more yellowfin moving into the Lindenkohl, along with bigeye, for what’s being called a “mid-range bluefin bonanza.” This has big game hunters looking to the Chicken Canyon and Triple Wrecks for quick limits.”
From Capt. Howard Bogan’s 125’ New Jersey Jamaica charter, he reports “Fishing was very good. We’ve been catching some bluefish, lots of mackerel, and some sea bass. Everyone on the last trip caught plenty of fish. We read fish on the scope 40-50 feet thick at times and saw loads of fish swimming around the boat. We caught them on jigs and bait.
If big fish is what you’re after, head to the shore.
With the camping season now in progress, some folks prefer enjoying the outdoors in an RV or motorhome, while others prefer to rough it in a tent. If you’re in the latter group, you may or may not know how to care for your tent, especially if it was just purchased. As such, Coleman, the premier camping company, has offered these caring and cleaning tips for your tent be it big or small.
*Do not snap poles together. Expend poles section by section. Using care will greatly extend the life of your poles, aiding in splintering protection and keeping the structure of your tent sturdy. When collapsing your sock-corded poles. Collapse them near the center first to ease the stress on the cord. Try to avoid pulling the poles as this can tear the shock-cord or the tent body. Often it’s easier to push the poles through the pole sleeve.
*If your tent will be set up for a week or longer, it may be wise to place the tent where it will get an ideal amount of shade. In order to extend the life of your tent, avoid extended UV exposure. UV rays can damage all fabrics over time. If there’s no shade available, your rainfly will help protect the body of tour tent from damage by the elements.
*Sweep out your tent. Make sure rocks, leaves and dirt and branches are all out of the tent before packing it.
*If at all possible only take down your tent when it’s completely dry after a rainstorm or morning dew. Wait until it dries so you won’t have to worry about drying it later.
*You can use a sponge and mild soap to wipe off a dirty tent. Don’t use a washing machine to clean it. And always let it air dry before re-packing it.
*Your tent must be stored dry. If you must close camp in the rain, open your tent and set it up as soon as possible to avoid mildew and odors. When your tent is stored, a cool dry place is ideal.
*Depending upon temperature and climate, your tent may gather moisture inside. This can usually be avoided by opening the tent to ventilate by opening all nylon windows and screen.
*Under hard ground conditions, stakes may bend. Tent stake replacements are available but not necessarily at a campsite. Remember, a tent can also be tied using guylines, to rocks or other stable objects.
*Do not pull up stakes with the tent body or stake loops. Use a stake puller or the end of a hammer to remove stubborn stakes. Ripped stake loops can be repaired but be sure to seam seal the stitching.
*Open doors and windows to allow air to escape as the tent is collapsed. Doing this will make rolling and storing easier. Rolling the tent toward the open doors and windows will help too.
*When folding the tent, fold along the original lines. This may be more difficult as the lines fade after a few years. A good rule of thumb is to fold the tent about the same length as the tent poles before rolling it up.
And finally, roll the tent lightly and neatly with (bagged) poles and stakes rolled into the bent body. This uses the tent poles as a structure to help roll the tent. A slow, tight tent roll is the easiest way to compact the tent.
LV RUFFED GROUSE SOCIETY HOSTING HABITAT SHOOT
The Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society is hosting a habitat shoot in which proceeds will benefit young forest habitat projects on public lands in the region.
The shoot is set for Sunday, July 23 at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays in Coplay. Awards will be given to high overall, runner-up, third place, high lady, high youth (15 and under), high vet, high team and 4 modified Lewis class divisions.
Cost for a single shooter is $125, which includes 100 targets, shells, Lunch and refreshments and a RGS gift. There is also a 4-Man Team for $475, Mulligans $5 each and shell game for $5 a chance. Sponsorships are also available.
Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. with an orientation at 9:45 and shotgun start at 10 a.m. Golf carts are available by calling LV Sporting Clays (610-261-9616) to reserve a cart(s).
For more information contact Jim Boburka at 610-882-5977 or email him at email@example.com.
With the Fourth of July holiday this week, many Lehigh Valley folks take vacation and many go fishing. As such, here’s a rundown on what’s been happening on local waters.
Willie from Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon says the Lehigh River is fishing good for almost everything. Big trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, perch and fallfish. Sizeable smallmouth are readily taking leeches. In fact, Willie recalls taking his grandson down to the falls in Cementon last summer and every cast his grandson took a fish with a leech.
Willie also reports Leaser Lake is hot for catch-and-release muskies in the 40-inch range. On angler last week caught-and-released a 44-incher using a large shiner. Others are catching them on big lures like Rebel’s, Rapala’s and large spinnerbaits. Another angler reported releasing a sizable largemouth. Of course, only trout may be kept at Leaser. Willie predicts that once Leaser is open for everything, it’s going to a top Lehigh County fishery.
Mike’s Bait & Tackle in Nazareth reports the upper Delaware River has been slow and blames it on a warm-up. Before the water temps warmed fishing was good. But should return especially for stripers and walleye, the latter with leeches.
Chris’ Bait & Tackle in Mertztown reports largemouth fishing is hot at Ontelaunee Reservoir. Even crappies are starting to turn on after a couple slow weeks. For largemouths at Ontelaunee, shore fishermen (no watercraft allowed here) are throwing black and blue 5-5 ? -inch Senko worms, Cabin Creek worms and Spider Ticks.
Down at Blue Marsh Lake the same black and blue patterns are luring crappies. Chris reported some anglers are catching 40-50 a day using fathead minnows. Half the successful fishermen are fishing from boats while the half from shore with slip bobbers, particularly around cove areas.
And up at Leaser Lake, black and blue Senko’s are luring sizeable largemouths for catch-and-release enjoyment. Storm Twitch Strike and Red Fin lures are taking sizable musky, again for catch-and-release. Seems anything in black-and-blue patterns are working.
Bill Brinkman from Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philadelphia says the only lower Delaware River striper reports he’s getting are coming out of Trenton. The few guys fishing up in the bridges and down to the Route 29 bypass have been catching 12-25 stripers a trip using small eels and live white perch. The ones that stay through the night are catching fish with poppers, crankbaits and shad bodies. Most of these fish have been 22-34 inches.
Further up the river, smallmouth bass fishing has been really good. Fishing from Washington’s Crossing up to the Water Gap most guys have been catching 10-40 fish per trip. Minnows have been the hot bait but grubs, spinners and top water lures are also working. Kevin at the Water Gap, has been doing very well but said the river has been going up and down and that has affected the numbers. But most days he’s been catching 15-25 smallies with minnows and Zoom grubs. Tom, was up to New Hope catching a few bass but crushed the big catfish with chunked baits and minnows. Off the New Hope wing dam one fisherman picked up several 13 to 15-inch smaller fish but was happy landing three stripers 26-31 inches with large live minnows and Rebel minnow lures. He also had one small walleye. A few of the drift guys picked up 20-30 fish from Upper Black Eddy down to Bryan. Again, minnows were their hot bait.
And remember, July 4 is a Free Fishing Day when a fishing license is not needed to fish Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission waters.
CABELA’S WEEKENDER EVENTS
Cabela’s Hamburg is hosting several informative seminars and demo’s following the Fourth of July weekend. They are as follows:
JULY 8 & 9
Animal ID with Outfitter Tom
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Outfitter Tom will be at the mountain with his collection of animal hides and wildlife artifacts. Visit with Tom and learn how to identify different animals from both their pelts as well as the tracks that they leave behind. A fun filled and educational seminar for the entire family.
Bass Bustin Tactics
12:00 - 2:00
Stop and speak with our Fishing Outfitters and find out exactly what you will need to make your next bass fishing outing one you will remember. From the latest rods and reels to the hottest lures on the market we will make sure you have everything you need the most and more importantly, the proper instruction on all equipment plus tips on the hot waters for bass fishing.
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Stop by the Optics counter and find out all you need to know about binoculars, rangefinders, spotting scopes and all optics related products. No matter if your pursuit is the local birds at the back yard feeder or a once in a lifetime hunt to Alaska, our Outfitters will get you on the correct path to choosing the perfect optics that will match your needs as well as all needed cleaning and maintenance accessories.
July 15 & 16
Archery Bow Tune Up
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Archery season is just around the corner and now is the time to get your bow out of storage and make sure you are all set and ready to go for the upcoming seasons. Bring your bow in and let our Outfitters partner with you and make sure you have everything you need and all your accessories are in tip top shape. Feel free to use our range to get your bow correctly sighted in.
Introduction to Catfish & Panfish
12:00 Noon - 2:00 PM
If you are looking for a great way to spend a lazy summer evening fishing with the family, this seminar is for you. Not only are they easy and fun to catch but catfish and panfish make a tasty meal when cooked on the grill. Stop in the Fishing Department and speak with our Outfitters and find out exactly what you will need for this fun fishing adventure.
July 22 & 23
12:00 Noon - 3:00 PM
Stop in the Archery Department this weekend and shoot the new Ravin R9 crossbow. This new crossbow shoots bolts up to 390 fps with a frictionless flight system for unmatched accuracy. The Versa-Draw cocking system is built into the stock and includes a 100-yd. speed adjustment scope.
Black Powder Weekend
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Front of store
Join us this weekend as Jim Fulmer and the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association will be on site to present a glimpse back into history with black powder and primitive archery. They will set up a pre - 1840 camp with displays and will have seminars on cleaning traditional and in-line muzzle-loaders and loading muzzle loading rifles, shotguns, and revolvers as well as the firing of such. In addition, the art of primitive archery will be set up along with demos.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.