Costa wants you to kick plastic

I can remember traveling through the south in my early twenties and asking the clerk at a roadside gas station if the store sold bottled water, only to receive in return a perplexed gaze and the helpful advice that "Hon, water's free." And that wasn't all that long ago. Even though my sore back, stiff knees and injuries that linger far too long cause me to joke about being an old man, still a few year shy of 40, I'm really not particularly ancient. But even for someone my age, it's easy to remember when bottled water was a niche product, scarcely available and only in 1 gallon containers. It was the stuff you picked up at the supermarket before snowstorms or hurricanes, or maybe filled your bomb shelter with. It wasn't the thing you grabbed every time you stopped at a convenience store, or every time you hit the trail for a run. These days, bottled water is ubiquitous to say the least and the plastic that contains it and other beverages, forms our grocery bags and so on is causing some serous problems.

Costa Kick Plastics Campaign

A new effort by Costa sunglasses is hoping to shed light on the issue, build awareness and get lots of us to kick the plastic habit. Costa has created a video to fuel its campaign, which shares these facts: each year over 200 billion plastic bottles are manufactured, 35 billion here in the U.S. Of that massive number of bottles, a whopping 10% end up in our oceans. That number goes a long way to explaining the 5 massive, floating garbage patches found in oceans around the world (which the video also discusses), some of which are twice as large as Texas.

RIO continues specialty line expansion with Tarpon Quickshooter lines

RIO has been steadily adding to its lineup of specialty fly lines, especially in the tropical saltwater arena. Over the last year or so, RIO has added its award-winning permit line and GT (giant trevally) lines to its specialty tropical saltwater offerings. Yesterday, RIO announced the addition of two new specialty lines aimed at tarpon anglers.

RIO Tarpon Quickshooter fly line

The two new tarpon lines, the Tarpon Quickshooter floating and Tarpon Quickshooter floating/intermediate join not only RIO's lineup of tropical saltwater lines, but also mark its second release of what it calls "Quickshooter" style lines (in addition to its Bonefish Quickshooter lines).

The One That Got Away

Dam removal in America receives a great amount of attention these days, thanks in no small part to a growing group of activists, filmmakers and other advocates that have been fighting to free rivers all across the country from the negative impacts of dams. Concerns about the impact of hydroelectric dams and other similar projects aren't only being raised here in the United States, however. In Europe, many of the same battles are being waged, with varying levels of success. The One that Got Away, a documentary film out of Austria, details the efforts led by a group of anglers, scientists and others that share a passion for the Mur River and its Huchen (or Danube Salmon), a threatened member of the salmon family that grows to impressive size.

The One that Got Away

Similar in appearance to the Mongolian Taimen, the Huchen is endangered throughout its limited range. The Huchen has been in sharp decline for the past 100 years, due mostly to habitat destruction and fragmentation. According to the IUCN list of threatened and endangered species, "The main current threat to the species is the flow regulation from hydropower dams which impact the species, and their prey's, habitat and pollution. Documented self-sustaining populations are very few."

Underwater Fishing Photography: Tips for Success

In order to be successful in any setting or locale, every photographer needs to be organized, thoughtful and have a plan in place for contingencies and situations that arise in the field. When working underwater, these needs are magnified thanks to the added gear, instrumentation and increased complexity introduced by the underwater environment and its interplay with the world above. Taking these unique considerations into account when planning your shoot -- from start to finish -- will maximize your chances of walking away with the goods.

Dorado Underwater Photo
Tangling with a dorado off the coast of the Baja peninsula. 17mm, f/6.3, 1/1250, ISO 800 (photo: Matt Jones).

This handful of tips should help you do just that.

Exposing the effort to seize America's public lands

When Montana Gov. Steve Bullock stood before hundreds of camo-clad activists who descended on the Montana capitol in Helena last week and said, “I don’t want Montana to be recognized for a half-baked scheme that would endanger our public lands and our economy,” the applause was thunderous.

Denver Public Lands Rally
Sportsmen and women gather at the Colorado Capitol in Denver to oppose efforts to transfer public lands from the federal government to the states.

But the “scheme” is pervasive.

Montana is but one of a half-dozen or so states entertaining legislative proposals, bills or studies that, should they succeed, could transfer ownership of federal public lands to the states for management. In Utah, the state Legislature has gone from entertaining the idea to actually passing a bill in 2012 to seize those lands, and to act on the new law by spending $2 million annually in taxpayer money to educate and litigate. Utah’s law likely won’t pass a constitutional litmus test, and the so-called “deadline” for the transfer to take place came and went on Dec. 31, 2014, without a single acre changing hands. But Utah’s law appears to have emboldened uber-conservative lawmakers in states like Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Washington, as they to try to achieve similar outcomes.