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The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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When we at Shotem and Caughtem were young our Dad took us to Aspen Colorado for Memorial Day Weekend.  While we were there he had planned a trip to one of Aspens great trout fishing lakes.  We hope that some other Dad's out there will be making the same kind of trip this Memorial Day Weekend.  Aspen Colorado has some of the best fishing lakes and streams in Colorado.  As we reported earlier last week it is a perfect time to go trout fishing with the recent caddis hatch and we wanted to give you a fishing report. 

To match the recent hatch it looks like the weather will be perfect for spring trout.  Temperatures all weekend look to be in the low 70's making some of the hikes needed to get to the best lakes and areas very comfortable.  Also, it will bring the fish closer to the shoreline during the mid day so the fish can warm their bodies and hunt.  

We at Shotem and Caughtem have a great trick for those of you that have never tried trout fishing in lakes.  Especially the ones that are rarely fished because they require a bit of a hike.  Just an hour hike can get you to some great lakes around Aspen.  Here is the tip.  With a small rod and reel, a handful of small hooks and weights, a couple of light weight bobbers, and a can of Jolly Green Giant Corn you have all the gear you need for fishing.  I was able to fit all this plus some survival gear in a small backpack weighing about 10 pounds.  

If you know of a great Aspen Colorado fishing lake and have some tips and tricks you use for trout fishing let us know in the comment section below.  As always share your Memerial Day catches in the Caughtem gallery and share you story.  Please check with local laws and regulations before your adventure.  

 

With Memorial Day weekend coming up which is the last weekend of Turkey season in Kansas we figured that many will grab their rods and reels and head to the lake.  This week we will be blogging about different lakes and giving a little fishing reports from lakes we feel people will be hitting here in the Midwest.  Though we don't want to leave out those to the east and west there are only four days to fit these reports into so we cheated this time and went with the lakes we know that are top fishing destinations here in the Midwest.  First we will look at the conditions that are predicted for Lake Texoma.  This lake sits close to the Texas and Oklahoma boarder and is known as one of the best lakes for striper fishing here in the Midwest.

Luckily for those that are traveling to this lake over the holidays it looks like it will be prime fishing weather.  Reports we read from the lake say the stripers are in full spring swing.  Many guide services from the lake said they we having trouble keeping up with all the catches happening in their boats.  Weather looks to be perfect in the mid to high 80's all weekend with only a 30% chance of rain on friday.  Monday and Tuesday this week will come with some high probability of severe weather but if it does not rain on Friday that means water should be clearing up for the start of the weekend.  Guides said that with the clearer water conditions last week they were having great luck using top water baits in shallower areas along the rocky banks of Lake Texoma.  This means you will get the kind of action we love when fishing for stripers.  There is nothing more excited than watching air striper hitting your lure!  Something to watch for is areas that have bait fish leaping out of the water trying to avoid being caught by the waiting stripers below.  It will be a good sign that the predators are in that area.  As always with the warmer temperatures many were having the best luck early morning and late evenings.  

If you plan on traveling to a lake this Memorial weekend and would like for us to do a little research on the subject leave us a comment in the section below. As always post your photos this Memorial weekend in the Caughtem Gallery and tell us your story.

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem love finding good deals when it comes to hunting and fishing gear.  Lucky for us we recently became aware of a site dedicated to our wants and needs and thought we would share our good fortune.  Buck Stone Creek is a website dedicated to flash sales of a host of hunting and fishing products.  Though you never know what the sales might include, they do work with an impressive amount of hunting and fishing gear providers.  They last for 3-4 days and after watching several sales can offer you anywhere between 10-40% off most comparable offers we were able to find on the world wide web.  As with many products it seems that the higher the retail value of the product the more they are able to save their members.  This is the catch with getting access to deals that they offer.  Membership is free for a limited time but you must provide your email address they can notify you of when sales become available.

Buck Stone Creek like us is fairly new to the scene but is dedicated to helping their members get great pricing and customer service.  They have worked with companies such as Bushnell, Pulsar, Wildgame Innovations, Carbon Express, Coyote Eye wear and Gorilla Gear to name just a few.  Their next flash sale will begin on Monday so we recommend you head over and become a member so that you can take advantage of the sale.  There is only a limited number of products available to sell at this price so if you see something you need take advantage quickly.  

We have given some helpful tips to Buck Stone Creek to share in their newsletter so let us know how you like them should you become a member.  Let us know if you have purchased something from Buck Stone Creek in the comment section below and post photos of your favorite gear in the gallery and tell us your story.      

 

Recently one of our members from Texas posted a photo of an Axis Doe he had the opportunity to hunt which got us thinking.  If you love to hunt and want a distraction from the usual game is there a potential answer in Texas?  Here is what we found to tempt ones mind at a fun hunting adventure at a reasonable price should you not want to afford a hunting guide or a hunting ranch (though there are many to choose from).  

The Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) of Texas offer a unique opportunity for the public to learn and experience the natural part of Texas and the systems that support life. WMAs are operated by the Wildlife Division of Texas Parks and Wildlife. Today, they have 49 Wildlife Management Areas, encompassing some 769,242 acres of land. WMAs are established to represent habitats and wildlife populations typical of each ecological region of Texas. Today, nearly every ecological region in the state is represented, with the exception of the Cross Timbers and Prairies in north-central Texas.

 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 18:42

War Veterans find Peace while Fishing

We at Shotem and Caughtem have read the reports that Veterans coming home from the war are beginning to find piece through programs that take them fishing and we thought we would add our two cents.  We have also been reading the twitter feeds that have had a lot of people talking ethics behind the recreational sports of hunting and fishing.  We think these two issues are somewhat intertwined.

As most of us dedicated hunters and fisherman and woman have known all along, mother nature can provide some great therapy.  Whether sitting in a stand, blind, dock or boat, moments with friends, family or with one's own thoughts.  Add being surrounded by mother nature and this can allow people a way to escape/cope.  In a world of constant stimulus the sports can allow those of us the time to unplug and reset our minds and bodies.  Some choose yoga, excercise or a massage.  We choose the outdoors.  I can remember some of my best times being outdoors.  Just last week I sat alone with my thoughts.  It gave me a chance to unwind.  After a little while with my thoughts I watched a couple of red tail hawks fight over territory, an armidillo tear up part of my field and a couple of turkey vultures play in the wind.  It gave me time to appreciate the things I have at my disposal.  The fact that I had a place to go and not think about work, my job, my family and all the stresses of life in general.  While watching those animals I realized that life can just be made simple.  Sure there are fights, things that could cause you to twist an ankle but at the end of the day a little time playing in the wind is all one needs.  I did not see or hear one turkey the entire day but I could not have left the field happier.  

I think this is what many find in these sports.  Many fail to realize the sports are not called shooting and catching.  Many a day is spent in the field or on the water to return with nothing but a smile.  Sure we run to these places in hopes we will return with that monster fish or trophy animal but most of the time we run to unwind and as a bonus we hope we get something to brag about.  This is why you will see many in the gallery with fish the size of minnows and a huge grin or a photo of hunters in their favorite gear, no dead animal but a grin on their face.  We always have a story even if we don't have an animal to go with it.  

These sports should be supported just like any other.  Respondsible hunters and fisherman/woman realize that inorder to have the outdoors we must respect and take respondsibility to make sure we have these places to go.  It is why we plant food plots, build ponds, plant tress and spend time off season creating habitats for all species.  We just love that therapy.  The fact we get to take a photo with a wall hanger is meerly a great bonus.  We at Shotem and Caughtem are pleased to hear our Veterans have found a way to unwind while enjoying the sports we hold dear.  We hope as the website continues to grow that we will be capable of connecting more and more people, those that want to learn more and the veterans of the sport that have so much to teach.  Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and keep bragging about your own Shotem and Caughtem life in the photo galleries. 

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem spent another weekend hunting Turkey.  As the season is coming to a close the weather is finally starting to cooperate.  Along with the nice Spring weather another one of our Nemesis's has come out of hiding.  Of course we are speaking of ticks.  This is especially a factor for turkey hunters as many of us choose to hunt the thunder chicken sitting in chairs or on the ground in dense woods or grasses which just happens to be where these blood suckers like to breed, hatch and hang out waiting to host on their prey.  Just last year I found out after picking off a good dozen of these little suckers that I had fallen prey to one of the diseases they carry, lime disease.  Unfortunately many of the diseases ticks carry can be confused with the common cold many of us get during the fluctuating weather conditions seen during spring turkey hunting season.  Since this last weekend I picked another half dozen of these guys off of me I thought it would be a good topic to write about since I have first hand experience.  I recently have purchased a chemical called permethrin and have heard that it is not only fatal to ticks but can prevent them from ever wanting to be around you.  It is sprayed on your hunting clothes 48 hours prior to being in the field and is not for skin contact prior to drying.  Way better than the Off with Deet that appears to have little effect on shying them away from me.  Let us know in the comment section below if you have had any experiences like mine and as always share photos of your prized hunts in the galleries and tell us your story.

Five Tick Diseases to Watch For:

Lyme Disease: Spread by the black-legged or deer tick, this disease is most common in the Northeast. Symptoms include a circular rash at the site of the tick bite, tiredness and neurological and facial muscular problems.  The rash literally looks like a bullseye (Tick bite site with a red circle around it).  My big tip off was that when I drank a glass of water it tasted exactly like aluminum (sounds weird but very true).

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Common to the Southeast, symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment it can be fatal.  This is the sleeper disease.  I have many friends hat have fallen prey to this and it can be very bad if not diagnosed.  Should you have been in the field and have cold like symptoms after going a blood test can rule out this potential and can save your life.  Well worth just running by your doctor and having a little blood drawn to rule it out.  

Ehrlichiosis: Common to the Southwest, this disease is spread by the lone star tick and is carried by dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Symptoms include a fever and swollen lymph nodes.

Babesiosis: This disease is carried by deer ticks and is found most often in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Symptoms include a nonproductive cough, headache and increasing malaise.

Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis: HGA is increasingly recognized as an important and frequent cause of fever after tick bite in the upper Midwest, New England, parts of the mid-Atlantic states and northern California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms include headache and malaise.


We at Shotem and Caughtem read the news that spring Small Mouth Bass fishing Season has been halted in Pennsylvania and we thought we would pass along the news.  Many fishermen and woman love small mouth bass fishing throughout the United States.  Noticing conditions that have caused the problems in PA might help other states react faster to not cause this type of cancellation in other states.  If you have witnessed some of your catches showing signs like the ones in PA please advise your state Wildlife and Parks division.  Noticing these types of signs early might help prevent declines or transfer of a potentially harmful disease to other fish species.  Let us know if you have had similar occurrences in your area as many states have fought algae blooms due to the recent drought conditions in the comment section below.  

Over the past decade, the decline of one of the most prized freshwater sport-fish species -- the smallmouth bass -- has puzzled anglers and scientists.

Populations that once thrived throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed -- including the lower Susquehanna River -- have experienced fishkills and perplexing illnesses, according to a recent report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The problems include lesions, blotchy skin, shorter lifespans and abnormal sexual development in which males grow eggs in their testes, said Harry Campbell, the foundation's Pennsylvania executive director.

A myriad of influences are coming together to threaten the smallmouth bass, Campbell said. Phosphorus and nitrogen pollution have been linked to spring algal blooms that create low-oxygen conditions that stress fish.

"These algae blooms occur when our smallmouth fry are most vulnerable to infection," said John Arway, executive director of the commission in a conference call hosted by the foundation.

Younger populations of smallmouth bass are dying at "unprecedented rates," Campbell said.

With shorter lifespans for adults and juveniles not living to adulthood, the overall population is feared to be near collapse, he said.

The loss of this species will have serious environmental and economic impacts, Campbell said.

In the Susquehanna River, smallmouth bass populations have plummeted, with catch rates of adults falling 80 percent between 2001 and 2005, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Subsequent studies by the commission have found that populations have not recovered.

This decline prompted the state agency to impose emergency regulations that prohibited fishing for the species in much of the river from May 1 to June 15, 2012, and again this year.

 
Friday, 10 May 2013 15:45

Deer Birth Control? Seriously?

We at Shotem and Caughtem built this website as a fun social network so that hunters and fisherman/woman had a place to come and brag about their experiences.  We have done our best to merely give our readers the facts and allow them to comment.  We never want this blog or website to ever become a place that begins to take sides so to speak.  However, when we heard that the Humane Society of America proposed a contraceptive device as a way to curb deer populations in the Washington, D.C. area we had to share our thoughts.  Here is what had been reported.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has recently offered their suggestion on how to cut an increased deer population in Washington D.C.- birth control.

Deer populations in Rock Creek Park in D.C. have increased to 3-5 times more than what the National Park Service (NPS) deems sufficient, causing the NPS to take action. Controlled hunting has been successfully used as a means to limit the population – something hunters are willing to do and even to pay for the opportunity.  But HSUS sees this as a “wasteful killing program.”

HSUS is pushing the NPS to administer a form of birth control known as porcine zona pellucida (PZP) that causes antibodies to bind to a deer’s eggs to block fertilization. Administering PZP is expected to cost taxpayers $340,000 for just the Rock Creek Park alone according to humanewatch.org.  HSUS has offered to pay for half of the program, leaving taxpayers “holding the bag” for the rest of the cost.

Hunting has been proven as an effective way to curb populations of certain species when the opportunity to do so is done with a fair cost to the hunter.  Many fail to realize or admit that the sport of hunting has gotten quite expensive.  (The equipment needed and also finding a place to hunt that does not cost an arm and a leg no pun intended) To get permitted to do so can cost a lot of money not to mention travel, processing etc.  I have never heard a hunter turn away from a chance to go hunting if cost factors are not outrageous.  Heck the TV Show Chasing Tail is based on this very premise.  Guys who like to hunt get access to ground in trade for some meat.  Happy hunter = Happy landowner.  If there were more who adopted this principal I would guess we might not have near the hog problem.  I know that if I saw a Craiglist ad that said WANTED/TRADE responsible hunter to come and help us out by getting rid of some hogs in trade for some of the meat.  Please send us references and resume, I would be all over sending my information.  

So instead of spending money, why would they not make a little money by selling decently priced permits and finding a way to give responsible hunters access to the areas that need a little population control.  Heck I know that the population of the needy is pretty high in D.C. how about this as a solution.  Take a weekend to interview hunters as a way to find good, responsible people who would hunt, tag (Give Tax Write Off) and take the deer to be processed by a local butcher willing to donate his/her time (Tax Write Off) to process the meat and then take it to the local shelters to feed the needy (Save Tax Payers Money).  Let us know your opinion in the comment section below and keep posting pics and sharing stories in the gallery sections.  

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem, like many, are getting to the tail end of our ability to Turkey hunt.  With spring hunting season coming to an end the Shotem and Caughtem life will begin to shift focus from the Shotem side of the brain to the Caughtem side.  Luckily for us this weekend marks the start of the spring hatching season for caddis and mayflies.  What does that mean for us?  It means that the predator fish are going to come to the surface to gorge themselves on the little bugs.  This means it is fishing season.  So dust off the fly rods and the fishing gear cause the trout will be in full attack mode.  So take advantage of not only the hatch but the fact that nothing says happy mothers day better than some quality time in the great outdoors.  Here are some fly tricks and tips to aid in your adventure.  As always leave your comments in the section below and post your catches in the Caughtem Gallery or start one of your own to share with others.

What is the secret? Efficiency. The principle is simple; the actual attainment of it is not. Many anglers flail randomly, their fly occasionally crossing those areas where vulnerable insects concentrate, catching fish only when their fly is in a prime area. The expert, however, changes his tactics as the prime areas change, and keeps his fly for as long as possible in the productive zone.

The key to anticipating, or “ambushing,” a caddis fly hatch requires breaking the common notion of what it is. Too many fishermen only recognize the peak of the action, the frantic surface feeding coinciding with the heaviest concentration of insects on or under the surface film, but these fishermen miss out on fishing before or after the peak — fishing that is sometimes even better.

The first time an angler encounters heavy insect activity, he cannot anticipate it. It is a blind situation — he is unprepared for the ensuing feeding spree. He fumbles in his fly box for some kind of a matching fly and casts to the rising trout with various techniques. If he fails to find the right combination with his hasty attempts, he probably ends up frustrated and fishless.

Even a regular on a stream, lacking an understanding of entomology, cannot fully master such a situation. He might have enough experience with a particular insect to use proper flies and tactics during the main hatch, his methods worked out by past trial and error, but he can still only take advantage of the activity he sees, the hour or so of actual surface feeding. He cannot take advantage of the subsurface activity he does not see.

The fly fisherman who understands the typical life cycle of stream caddisflies, however, knows the vulnerable subsurface stages. He discovers where, when, and how the concentrations occur during an emergence, which allows him to anticipate and prepare for the appearance of the insect. This knowledge also allows him to take full advantage of the predictable daily feeding schedule of the trout. Such an angler is not a member of a scientific cult, but simply a fly fisherman who is prepared to match his tactics and flies to the changing concentrations of insects. There are three areas in which caddisflies concentrate during a hatch.

1.  Usually, hours before the main hatch, some caddisflies begin popping out. The first of these random emergers often reaches the surface safely because trout are not conditioned to the occurrence, but soon fish take notice of the hatch. Even when they do start feeding, however, the trout seldom rise to grab a natural from the surface.

2.  Once out of the silk-lined, stone or vegetable cocoon, drifting freely in the stream, the swimming caddisfly emergent begins inflating its surrounding skin with gas bubbles and beating with hair-fringed legs, both of these actions lifting the insect up through the water. At the surface the adult hesitates, pushing against the underside of the meniscus (surface film) and struggling to shed the pupal skin.

3.  When the peak hatch is over and the surface of the river is blank, most anglers quit fishing, or at least stop trying to match caddisflies but there is still an hour of so of very exciting action left. There is one more concentration of insects that pulls fish, often the largest, into specific areas of the stream.

 
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 16:20

Hunting TV Show looking for Talent

We at Shotem and Caughtem have learned that the TV Show Addicted to the Outdoors is looking to expand their brand and their talent.  They are currently looking for the next great hunting couple.  Do you think you have what it takes?  Here are some details about what and who they are looking for as well as where to go for the potential selection.  Addicted to the Outdoors with Jon and Gina Brunson has unveiled a dynamic new program focused on shining a spotlight on family participation in the outdoors, and on couples who make the outdoors more than a hobby – but a lifestyle.  Basically Shotem and Caughtem kind of people.

 

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