- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Right from the start, let me say that whoever it is you pick in the voting booth this November is your business and no one else’s.

With that out of the way, did you know that 76 percent of sportsmen say it matters that their president hunts or fishes. Teddy Roosevelt hunted and fished; Franklin Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower enjoyed fishing, as do Jimmy Carter, President Bush and his father.

Do you remember former President Bill Clinton going duck hunting, which turned into a big photo-op even though he was not known as a particularly good friend of hunters and anglers?

According to a survey by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, people who hunt and fish seem to like Sen. John McCain but neither he nor Sen. Barack Obama is known to be great fishing enthusiasts. However, both candidates said in a Field & Stream magazine interview that they have fished. McCain, in fact, said, “I fish all the time.”

That’s news to many who watch the Senate, but if true it might help because nine out of 10 anglers and hunters are registered voters.

“Politically engaged sportsmen see John McCain as a supporter of their concerns,” said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which helped underwrite the survey. “To sportsmen, I would say, don’t be fooled. Make it a point to know where the candidates you’re considering for office truly stand on hunting and firearms issues.”

A majority of polled sportsmen said that in spite of the economy, homeland security and the war in Iraq, it is important for candidates to share their views on hunting and fishing issues. That means it is essential for a candidate to support gun rights, clean water initiatives and sustainable energy development.

High school fishing tournament-The Broad Run High School Fishing Club will have its first-ever fall fishing tournament Oct. 18, starting at 7 a.m. (registration, 6:30 a.m.), rain or shine at Alder, Beech and Cedar lakes in Ashburn Village, Va. This is for high school students only and it departs from regular fishing contests by being a “paper” tournament, conducted from land. All the fish caught must be measured with a ruler given to each angler, recorded, and released immediately. Adult fishermen will be walking around the lakes to offer advice if asked.

The participants’ top five fish measurements will be added to determine a winner. The top three will receive plaques, as will the student who catches the biggest individual fish. Also, there will be a fishing gear raffle at the conclusion of the event.

All contestants 16 or older must have a Virginia freshwater fishing license.

If you wish to get in on this fun event, get in touch with club president Charlie Hill at [email protected] or 703/729-6425.

Upper Potomac receives poor grade - The Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) has placed the Potomac River on its 2008 Endangered Fisheries List because of continued pollution and sewage discharges, as well as agricultural runoffs.

Because of unchecked pollutants, the upper Potomac sees occasional fish kills, fish with various body lesions and some that display altered sexual development now known as intersex. The FFF hopes its sounding of the alarm will motivate governments and local private groups to do something about the much-abused Potomac.

The heavily polluted Shenandoah River enters the Potomac around Harper’s Ferry and no doubt contributes to the Potomac’s problems, some of which are caused by chemicals and pharmaceuticals in the water.

“Keeping a constant watchful eye on the waters of the Potomac and its tributaries has allowed us to see unfortunate changes in the fish populations over time,” said Ed Merrifield, executive director of the Potomac Riverkeeper. “The recent impacts on the fishery bring a new urgency to ensure the Potomac remains a lifeblood to the region.”

cLook for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. Also check out Gene Mueller’s Inside Outside blog on washingtontimes.com/sports.

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