Outdoors: Free fishing day set for Saturday
by Charles Johnson
Jun 04, 2013 | 2120 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Saturday, anglers can hit the lakes and rivers for a free fishing day. Each year, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources sets aside one day in which a fishing license is not required. This is in conjunction with the National Safe Boating Week, which runs through June 9.

Since a license is not required, it is a perfect time to introduce someone to the world of fishing. There are plenty of areas where families and anglers of all ages can wet a hook. There may be some cases where user fees or permits are required. On private lakes, anglers will need the owner’s permission to fish.

Bass, bream, catfish and other species have been biting, and there is not a better time to get outdoors. When mentoring a new angler, it is best to keep it simple. Live bait, such as worms or crickets, is perfect for bream catching.

Some anglers may want to try for catfish. Chicken livers, cut up shad or prepared baits are good choices. Many anglers prefer artificial lures for bass. Soft-plastic worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are easy to fish for beginners and will draw strikes from wary bass.

If dealing with newcomers or children, keep it simple. Allow some time for a break from fishing and grab a snack. Depending on the lake, early morning or late afternoons are probably the best times. Don’t forget to bring along some sunscreen and insect repellant. The main thing is to have fun.

About this time of year in 1932, a man name George Perry went fishing. A farmer living in a rural part of south Georgia was trying to feed his family. Perry and his fishing partner, Jack Page, set out to catch a few fish to feed their families. Fishing was not considered recreation during the depression.

With only one rod, reel and lure, the pair would take turns fishing and paddling the boat. Perry was casting when he noticed a whirl near a stump. Directing the old Creek Chub minnow toward the stump, the fish hit. Perry’s first thought his was hung and didn’t want to lose the only lure.

After a short battle Perry and Page hoisted the huge bass into the boat. It was the largest fish either man had ever seen. Back at the general store and post office, Perry had the fished weighed. The fish racked the certified postal scale to 22 pounds, 4 ounces. A patron in the store mentioned a big fish contest in Field and Stream Magazine, and Perry mailed off the registration form.

A few years later, Perry’s largemouth bass was recognized as a world record. That record held until 2009 when a Japanese angler caught a monster bass equal to Perry’s.

Could there be another world record? It may be swimming in a lake around the corner from your house. That next cast might be the one. Saturday is your chance to find out, and your license fee is covered.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com
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