Mississippi has a new state saltwater record — and most of us probably never even knew the species existed.

It is for an Atlantic bumper, and, surprise!, it isn’t our first.

No, the small 6.03-ounce fish caught April 27 by Thomas O’Brien of Pascagoula bumped the 3.45-ounce bumper caught last August by Donald Armes Jr. of Pass Christian.

Mississippi’s commission on Marine Resources certified the new record at its May 20 meeting.

Alcohol deaths fall on water

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics, the year ended with the largest decrease in the number of alcohol-related recreational boater deaths in the past five years.

From 2012 to 2013, there was a 31 percent decrease in the number of recreational boaters’ deaths where alcohol use was the known primary contributing factor.

While the decrease in the number of deaths is a great step forward, boating under the influence continues to be a major problem in the United States. Over the past five years, alcohol use has remained the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths.

To help draw public attention to the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs, the nation’s boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign, Operation Dry Water, will be conducted the weekend of June 27-29.

Another year without Lamar Bruce

One of Mississippi’s all-time favorite fishing holes, Lake Lamar Bruce at Saltillo, just north of Tupelo, still needs a year of fish growth after restocking before fishing can resume.

David Berry, the state lakes manager for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, confirmed this week that the 300-acre lake is scheduled to reopen in May 2015.

Lamar Bruce, long famous for its bluegill production that was extremely popular with fly fishermen, was drained in 2010 to repair the dam and water control structure.

Berry did say that Mississippians looking for a good state lake to fish should look about 200 miles southwest of Lamar Bruce and find Lake Mary Crawford at Monticello.

“I understand they are really catching some good bluegill, redear and crappie there,” Berry said. 

Pond workshop scheduled

The MDWFP Fisheries Bureau and the Mississippi State University Extension Service will co-host a free pond management workshop at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (May 27) at the Itawamba County Extension Office located at 304 Wiygul Street in Fulton.

“This workshop will allow biologists and private pond owners the opportunity to discuss management options to improve fish populations and habitat,” says MDWFP fisheries biologist, Tyler Stubbs. “We talk to people each year that want to manage their ponds effectively and this is a great way for us to provide how-to information that can help pond owners achieve their goals.” 

An hour-long presentation will include topics on pond design, fish stocking, harvest, vegetation control, liming and fertilization. A question-and-answer period will follow. Those interested in attending the workshop are asked to register by calling the extension office at (662) 862-3201.