By: Larry W. Walthall
Now that spring break is over, we look back and see how the weather controlled what we did. Folks still went camping, fishing, and looking for turkeys but mainly enjoying the OUTDOORS in ARKANSAS. We said last week that we would talk about some new fishing lures and turkey products. Then we will talk TURKEY.
First a little fishing report from around the area. I was sitting in Frank’s Barbershop last Friday and heard Frank and one of his customers talking about fishing. It was Jason Little and when I saw his phone come out I knew it had to be pictures. So we looked at his picture and this was one I wanted to share. Jason is fishing a lot of crappie tournaments and does very well doing that. I asked him to share some information that we could pass along to our readers. Jason was fishing in Shoal Bay, which is part of Lake Dardanelle that is also part of the Arkansas River system. The fish were caught using the “spider rig” method. He had located the fish in 25ft of water but they were suspended around 12 to 15 ft. Jason was using a Bobby Garland 3” slab slayer jig that was “electric chicken” (pink/Chartreuse).
There are several NEW fishing products out on the market now. The big ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show that the fishing industry has each year will be introducing several new products. This year’s show will be in Orlando Florida, July 12 –14. I’m sure we will have plenty of new products to share with you after the show. But for now let’s look at some already out in fishing stores now. One would be from a local Arkansas manufacture. Yum has come out with a NEW 10” ribbon tail soft plastic worm, perfect for Texas or Carolina rigging. Another manufacture Rapala has come out with a NEW Popping Frog. It’s 2 1/2 “ and weighs 9/16 oz and is available in 16 colors. Both of these baits can be used from the bank or out of a boat. This is the prime time of the year for these two baits.
Now let’s talk Turkey. The first thing I would suggest is get a copy of the 2017 Arkansas Turkey Hunting Guidebook. These can be found at your local hunting store, mass merchant stores or wherever you could check in a turkey. I got mine at the local convenient store while I was getting gas. Make sure your license is up to date. You can purchase one at the same stores that carry the hunting book or you can now purchase your license online at www.agfc.com. A good tip is to make sure you store your license in water–tight plastic bag.
Special Youth Hunt is April 8-9. Only hunters 6 to 15 years old may hunt turkey during this hunt. Check the Arkansas Hunting Book about the Hunter Education and age requirements of those accompanying the youth. Youth may harvest one Jake as part of their two-bird limit during the season (including the youth hunt).
Regular Turkey hunting season will begin April 10th. Check the zone you are hunting for the last day you can hunt in the zone you are in. Statewide bag limits are 2 legal turkeys, no jakes. No more than one legal turkey may be taken per day. Hunters may not exceed any zone harvest limits. Know what is a legal turkey and how to identify a Jake turkey. If you get the Arkansas Turkey Hunting Handbook it has a section that shows you how to identify an adult gobbler. Think before you shoot. For those of you who might take a boat to turkey hunt and maybe fish a little afterward remember this, firearms MUST be unloaded and cased while transported by boat from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise. Wild turkeys may not be hunted over bait. Some turkeys this year will have a leg band or transmitter. You are encouraged to call the number on the band. Immediately tag your turkey before moving it and you can check it in by phone or online.
New turkey products - I called a friend of mine at Quaker Boy calls, Erine Calandrelli for something new. Ernie told me they have a NEW Trigger Box call, push pull type and it looked pretty easy to use. Sometimes simple is good. Next week I am going to talk about the Transitions of the Turkey Season. Until then, be safe and have fun in the Outdoors of Arkansas.