Minnow Costs Going Up
Inside the Outdoors, February 10
, 2012

When word was received that anglers were catching big walleye up the Allegheny near Kittanning, there seemed to be some negativity in the tone of voice when my correspondent told me about what bait was used, and how it cost this year. The subject about which he was talking was minnows. Not only are the wholesalers prices on the rise, but they reflect what the small business will charge.

But when it comes to catching big walleye averaging 18-26 inches at night, that bait was certainly the ticket and none other.

So why the increase, the question may be asked?

In talking to Jean Oakley, co-owner of Mostly Minnows, Inc., Spartanburg, South Carolina, “Wild caught minnows are on the decline and almost all the- wholesalers are going to farms that raise these baitfish in ponds. That is where the price increase begins,” she pointed out.

“They have to buy trucks, fuel them and man each vehicle with two occupants. That costs money,” she said. “In addition, hauling and transportation fees are added. That accounts for the reasons prices have increased.”

Oakley explained that dealers get their minnows from farms located in Arkansas. Even though the fish are raised in mass, the overall expense of shipping them through the United States is very costly. That would have a definite effect on the price of the minnows.

So, anglers, if minnows are going to be the choice bait in the future, be prepared to pay a little more. Don’t hang heads low and sulk. If they help catch those lunkers out there, be happy they are available!

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Trout anglers, there is a new bait on the market which just might interest you. “It is said to attract fish much better than real bait.” That’s what Eric Naig, marketing representative of Northland Tackle told me in a phone conversation recently. “Impulse Reactionary Baits are said to be 143% more effective because of a baked-in MicroPlankton attractant.”

This seems to be a sign of the times, for many companies are making plastics with scent to lure fish of a variety of species. Kelly’s, Berkley and Zoom have all done it over the years, so this isn’t anything new.

But what makes this so outstanding is that Northland partnered with a Minnesota university to study and develop a softbait formula that “revolved around scent, color and action.”

Naig said, “The university researched dozens of formulations and hundreds of live fish laboratory taste tests around fishes’ sense of sight, taste and feel, until the scent was discovered. Formulated with all natural products, the water based baits work to urge the fish’s instinctual desire to bite and hold the fortified baits in its mouth longer allowing anglers to catch more and bigger fish.”

Of the 17 new scented baits, the one that caught my eye was the Impulse Waxy Grub. Available in eight colors, it will be one bait you will find me using on Latrobe’s Frank Moff’s invention, “The Bobber With A Brain.” It actually sizes out to look more like a maggot than a waxworm. So, using this imitation should last longer and easier to stock.

All Northland baits can be obtained at Gander Mountain or by logging onto www.northlandtackle.com

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I received an email from Latrobe’s naturalist Tim Vechter, very well known in this area for knowledge of wildlife, not to mention Westmoreland County. He told me he watched a red-tailed hawk attack and devour a Kingfisher right below the Kennametal Bridge that goes over the Loyalhanna Creek next to the old Chestnut Ridge Bottling Company.

I guess that fits into the plan of the survival of the fittest. To many of us who enjoy watching birds fly over and around the waters, it is somewhat disturbing to hear this type of news. On the other hand, as one friend would probably say to me, “Pee Vee, get a grip!” Sometimes that’s hard for nature lovers such as myself.

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Congratulations to Monty Murty, president of Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited whom was recently chosen as Pennsylvania Council’s elected representative to Trout Unlimited National Leadership Council. This body is made up of more than 30 councils plus one of America’s Indian nations, located in Oklahoma. Murty is a resident of Laughlintown.

Don’t forget, FTTU’s banquet ticket purchase deadline is Feb. 27. Tickets available at The Angler’s Room, Ligonier Mountain Outfitters. An application form may be found on its website: www.forbestrailtu.org.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.