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Hunter

Hunter’s Corner: Format change a hit at fishing derby

This year’s Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby was an overwhelming success in terms of increased participation. This was, perhaps, the highest number of entrants ever and the reason is the second year of the changed format replacing the tagged rainbow trout to seven species in which any species can win. Who would have predicted that an 11-year-old with a 25-inch pickerel would be the top prize winner?

My friends fished Winnipesaukee on Saturday and Winnisquam on Sunday. Robb and longtime hunting and fishing partner in crime Bill fished Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on both days. The weather gods were kind to us, providing great fishing weather both days.

On Day 1, a man fishing with his 8-year-old grandson was having trouble with their power auger. Robb drilled them five holes through the 24-inch ice. Even with the 3-HP Jiffy with a 10-inch head, it was a chore. They ended up catching three rainbows, with the 8-year-old landing a 19-inch rainbow. He was some proud of his catch.

The fishing gods weren’t so kind with no hits, no runs and no men left on base for us and for those who fished Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam. With ice depths ranging from 20 to 24 inches and a solid insulating blanket of snow, don’t count on an early ice-out.

We gave a fellow fisherman the grand tour of my Quick Fish 4. He has a fixed bob house on Pleasant Lake and wanted something that would enable him to fish the big lakes and get out of the elements. He was impressed with our unit and shared some lake knowledge. The fish are very mobile and if you catch them in your area, you are in for some quick action. As it turned out for the weekend, they were elsewhere.

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My seasons change with Cabela’s catalogs. The first to arrive this year was the specialized catalog for turkey hunting followed closely by Fishing, Boating, Spring, and Men’s Clothing. This past week, one of Cabela’s co-founders, Dick Cabela, passed away. Dick, his wife, Mary, and brother Jim founded Cabela’s inauspiciously with the purchase of $45 worth of hand-tied fishing flies he purchased in Chicago while on an inventory purchasing trip for the family furniture store in Chappell, Neb., in 1961. His first sale was the result of an ad in a Casper, Wyo., newspaper. His next ad was in Sports Afield offering five hand-tied flies for 25 cents for shipping and handling. Eventually with more fishing inventory, they attached a three-page mimeographed catalog with every order. In 1969, the business was relocated from the family furniture store to a 50,000-square foot facility in downtown Sidney, Neb. In 2013, Cabela’s generated more than $3.6 billion in sales with a worldwide catalog and internet business with 50 stores in the United States and Canada.

Dick garnered numerous accolades in this lifetime, including induction into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 1994 and Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2001, Dick was honored with the Safari Club International’s prestigious C.J. McElroy Award for his dedication to preserving and promoting the heritage and tradition of hunting. In 2007, Dick and Jim were honored by Outdoor Life magazine as being among the top 25 “most influential people in hunting and fishing,” according to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

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Maine emailed me my 2014 moose lottery application. There are 4,085 permits to be issued. The permit fee for residents is $52, $585 for non-residents. With an estimated moose population of 76,000, Maine offers the best chance to tag a moose if you get a permit. The deadline for mailing in an application is April 1, internet applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on May 14. The application fee is $15 and non-residents can have multiple entries in addition to the points acquired from not having been drawn.

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I was pleased to see that Phil and Al Robertson will be at the Capital Center for the Arts on March 8 at 7 p.m. The Robertson family is an amazing entrepreneurial success story, better known as Duck Dynasty. The family business is hand-making duck calls. It is difficult for non-hunters to comprehend the emphasis in the South on duck hunting.

Stuttgart, Ark., is home to an annual duck calling contest that garners national attention. The Robertsons have taken what was a cottage industry to new heights and then came the creation of Duck Dynasty, which turns out to be the Arts and Entertainment channel’s most popular show with millions of fans. Most acts sell CDs of their work during intermission. I would be surprised if the Robertsons didn’t sell autographed duck calls.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at hunterscorner@aol.com.)

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