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Outdoor Notes : Commission Puts Steel-Shot Proposals on Its Agenda

July 25, 1986

The Fish and Game Commission will meet in Eureka next Thursday and Friday to act on federal proposals calling for hunting with steel shot only on federal waterfowl areas in California during the next hunting seasons.

The commission is expected to decide whether to challenge U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requirements that nontoxic steel shot be used instead of lead shot. Many biologists believe that lead poisoning in waterfowl is caused by birds ingesting spent lead shot.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has set Aug. 8 as a deadline for the commission to concur with its requirements of steel shot-only hunts at federal waterfowl refuges in Lassen, Modoc, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama and Plumas counties.

Also included are four Sacramento Valley national refuges--Sutter, Colusa, Sacramento and Delevan, and the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta.

The only Southern California hunting area affected is the Cibola Refuge on the Colorado River, south of Blythe.

On April 25, the commission tentatively rejected the federal recommendations, and the federal service threatened not to open waterfowl hunt seasons unless the commission reversed itself.

Montauk Point, the eastern tip of Long Island, N.Y., is turning into a hot saltwater fishing site this summer. Last Sunday, several fishermen caught a 1,174-pound blue marlin. On Wednesday, six fishermen in a 28-foot boat returned to Montauk after a successful, six-hour fight with a 1,087-pound tiger shark.

The female shark was 14 feet long. The all-tackle world record for tigers is 1,780 pounds.

Said Ken Rafferty, one of the fishermen: "This thing could have swallowed a person whole."

Here's more on that record 58-pound 8-ounce blue catfish caught at Irvine Lake earlier this month:

--It took a second biologist's opinion to confirm that it was indeed a blue catfish, according to the Department of Fish and Game. DFG biologist Dave Drake pronounced it a blue after a 90-minute examination, but he asked for a second opinion from colleague Larry Bottroff, who concurred.

--The fish was 46 1/2 inches long and 31 3/4 in circumference.

--Fisherman Glenn Bell of Orange, who learned to catch catfish in reservoirs and creeks near his boyhood home in Great Bend, Kan., thought at first he'd hung his rig up on rocks. He was fishing for bass with a plastic worm.

--Bell's fish, if accepted as a world record by the International Game Fish Assn., easily breaks the current mark of 40-8 for eight-pound test. The all-tackle record for blues is 97 pounds, a fish caught in 1959 on the Missouri River in South Dakota by Edward B. Elliott and is the largest catfish ever caught on rod and reel, according to the IGFA.

--Freshwater fishermen wishing to see Bell's big blue should be able to see a mount of the fish in a few months at the Irvine Lake tackle shop.

Briefly For the first time in nearly 200 years, an Atlantic salmon, aided by cleaner water and new fish ladders over dams, swam from Long Island Sound to the White River in central Vermont, state wildlife officials said this week. . . . Forty desert bighorn sheep will be live-trapped soon near Lake Mead and transplanted to new Arizona range in the Bill Williams Mountains, southeast of Lake Havasu City. . . . The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, with 85 teams from 20 countries expected, is scheduled for Aug. 1-10 on the Kona Coast. . . . Texan Rick Clunn won the $50,000 first prize at the U.S. Open pro bass tournament at Lake Mead this week by catching 33.61 pounds of largemouth bass in the four-day tournament to defeat 223 other pros. Clunn, who also won the 1983 tournament, is the all-time leading money winner on the pro bass tour, according to U.S. Bass. . . . Fishing is up and hunting is down, according to license revenue data released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service said that state fishing license sales increased from 29,015,918 in 1984 to 29,673,190 in 1985. In the same period, hunting license sales dropped from 16,018,250 to 15,879,572. A spokesman explained that fishing and hunting license sales fluctuate yearly because of many factors, including economic conditions, weather, the availability of game and fish, and the changing of fishing and hunting regulations.

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