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By STEVE MERLO, Contributing columnist
Dove hunters will be very pleased to discover that the California Fish and Game Commission voted to increase the 2014 daily limit on mourning doves from 10 per day to 15 per day beginning Sept. 1. That's good news for hunters who have long clamored for larger limits because of a decades- long increase in mourning dove numbers across the US and California.
The commission, after receiving a ton of backlash from sportsmen and bird lovers, also voted to allow unlimited, all-year hunting of Eurasian collared doves. The unprecedented move should gladden the hearts of environmentalists and sportsmen alike in finally getting the upper hand on the non-native birds.
These are Steve Merlo's opinions, and not necessarily The Californian's. His column appears every Friday. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
During the Aug. 6 meeting, the commission also voted to retain the limit on white-wing doves to 10 per day. Fortunately, the Southern San Joaquin Valley has few white wings to shoot, so we're not affected here at all.
The new laws go into effect on Sept. 1, opening day for doves.
While I laud the new laws, I hope hunters understand that too much of a good thing might actually shorten their overall fun. Increasing the limit by 50 percent could have a detrimental effect on the number of birds staying in the area and actually shorten the shooting opportunities for the early, first-half, two-week-long season.
College fishing classes
Even with the recent passing of Dr. Norman Levan, USC professor of medicine and longtime Bakersfield physician, the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning will continue in his footsteps at Bakersfield College because of his generous donations. The program's objective remains to provide classes for the Baby Boomer generation, teaching interesting and useful learning experiences for those adults 55 or older.
The "Let's Go Fishing" class, taught by yours truly, provides prospective anglers with the knowledge they need to go out on their own and actually catch fish, and also be able to teach their kids, spouses and grandkids easy-to-use techniques that work for the whole family.
Basic fishing skills are taught but not limited to knot-tying, hook selection, putting line on reels, proper gear selection, baits, lures, places to fish, and keeping up with state laws in an easygoing classroom atmosphere, with no tests.
Contact Miriam (661) 395-4431 for more information or sign up at email@example.com. Cost for the class is only $20 per student; the money used for classroom supplies.
Aqueduct stripers on rebound
Yes, it's going to be hot out there, but for those willing to get up early and fish during the relatively cool mornings, the striped bass fishing has rebounded positively at the California Aqueduct. Anglers are catching the linesiders on a variety of baits and lures, and a good portion of the catch are keeping-size 18-inch-or-better fish.
My wife and I ventured out this week to one of the gates down south and found flowing waters and decent fish eager to eat our artificials.
Using Gitzits and enough weight to keep them near the bottom, we landed three nice-size fish each that weighed from 2-4 pounds, a definite jump in size from last year.
We kept the four largest, including a 23 and 24-inch fish, returning the other two, both decent 19-plus-inch fish, to the concrete canal.
While we had our luck on jigs, other anglers are taking some nice fish on bait, drifting cut sardines and anchovies in the current. Some anglers are also catching some nice catfish to 10 pounds fishing at night and using chicken livers and crickets for attractants.
Mexico cancels bluefin season
After reaching the commercially allowed quota on bluefin tuna of millions of pounds of the prized catch, the Mexican government recently closed the country's territorial waters to the take of all bluefin, including sport-caught fish for the rest of the 2014 calendar year. While the overall impact, good or bad, remains to be seen, fishermen must release any and all bluefin caught in Mexican waters.
The San Diego sportfishing fleet continues to report huge schools of the popular, great-eating gamefish moving into southern California waters, where the fishing has been excellent for some fish going over 100 pounds each.
The fish have been close enough to reach on one day-trips out of the popular landings from Long Beach south to the border.
The new law does not affect other species.