Category Archives: Nothing to do with Fishing

Seduced by the menu Photo

menuburgerEating the damn things has never adequately explained our zest for rising before dawn and spending the day waist deep in icy water.

I’ve always assumed that as our ability to hunt and gather is trodden upon by the more Urbane branch of Homo Metrosexualis,  whose tiny dog barks menacingly from their apartment window, whose owner is indifferent to Nature as the call of handheld electronics is twice as compelling, forces us Outdoorsmen to funnel our aggression into stomping life out of things smaller than us.

An inconvenient truth, given how we’ve attempted to make our sport politically correct with the, “we don’t eat them anymore” mantra.

A decade of reality shows celebrating People Behaving Badly and more recently, Presidential debates that are anything but, suggest Man may have reached a tipping point, his intellect on the wane and his base nature rules the day.

The research into how fish interpret and integrate sensory information, led by School of Biomedical Sciences ARC Future Fellow Dr Ethan Scott, could improve understanding of how humans combine senses like sight, touch and sound to create a complete experience.

With science now examining fish and their senses to understand Man’s interaction with his surroundings, it offers anglers a unique insight into behavior they see from our quarry yet mirrored in society at large.

Like “schooling” on freeways, “bottom feeding”  the Internet for amusement, and “rising” at anything feminine at the bar; first at the unusually well formed insects, and as the hours and drinks pass, the classic “smutting rise” for spin-sters, cripples, and anything else described as,  “… a ten at two.”

Those of us not capable of stalking and killing our own food return from the field to hunt in restaurants.  It should be no surprise that both fish and humans prefer fast food, as a mayfly spun through a riffle is as elusive as the menu picture of a savory meal – both promise much and are elusive to capture …

Turgid tomatoes, lush green lettuce, crisp onion slices, melting cheeses, and bubbling meats buttressed by soft breads; things that exist at the peak of ripeness, rich in color, damp with moisture, and  lure us like a majestically tied artificial. Proportions perfect, torso chiseled and regal, dancing on the water prior to leaping skyward,  wings taut, upright,  and drying rapidly. …

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… and like our pellet fed surrogate, we fall for the SOB just just as hard.

Tasty awesomeness rolls over the lip to vanish in a dose of reality, as sodden paper bag borne of plastic tray delivers the congealing  lumpy turd through the driver side window.

Red tomatoes now mushy and pale, lettuce trending into the yellow-olive and drooping into the greasy unmentionable leakage from the patty of meat-like substance.

Our senses are fine, and while we recognize the lumpy thread whip finish or gleaming gold bead isn’t part of a mayfly, like the fish we’ll consume the gelatinous mass anyway. … hoping some hidden spice mixture alters “Powerbait” into a feast fit for royalty.

The rich reds, and damp greens of the menu vanish in favor of the the “well chewed” imitation – which arrives sandwiched between Clinch and Split Shot .. (or the canned peas and imitation Ice Milk.)

Assuming that pollution in streams is a rough approximation of  tomatoes grown for toughness rather than flavor, and vegetables picked green and ripened under the reefer’s fluorescent glare, there’s something fair in all this.

Learning of our willingness to suffer and explaining another’s plight in similar terms may shed light on the way we think, but the visuals aren’t so much the issue. Our willingness to settle may neatly explain both the well chewed fly and how anything made from Dog hair and Owl feathers rivals blister packed cheddar … or the attractiveness of an offshore-tied Parachute Adams.

My life as a female, or 50 shades of Bruce jenner

IDThiefBeen distracted of late.

Obviously my dissertation on modern fly tying and its reliance on synthetics has raised the hackles of organized crime, as my identity has been besieged ever since.

First it was all of my banking that was shifted to Anaheim, California. That got my attention quickly enough, and I was forced to backpedal on all those “Southern California lawn” posts.

Then all that extremely good credit I’d built up over a lifetime was leveraged with acres of new plastic, in both my name and my new feminine nom de plume, “Melinda Mendez.”

… and that might not be all bad. “Melinda” gives me that “cover” appeal that my Aging and Portly never achieved, and the angling world will hang on my every word.

Unfortunately, the only writing I’ve been doing is clearing what remains of my prior identity and swearing with great violence of late. I freeze credit, file police reports, put fraud alerts on all the credit bureaus, and then find my mail has been rerouted elsewhere.

As I’ve been on the periphery of this line of work for some time, I’ve been quite lucky. I already had a credit watchdog prior to the attack, and like all the other 80,000,000 Blue Cross-Blue Shield-Anthem Health users, I am finding out that Internet is not much of a pal anymore.

Internet 1.0 was porn, 2.0 was e-Commerce, and 3.0 appears to be Cyber war … so the festivities are just getting started.

It’ll take More than fries and a smile

The title appeared innocent enough, but its import sent a chill down my spine.

Inference and Science are never mixed without trouble, as inference is the opposite of scientific rigor. While I instinctively understood that my “connecting the dots” was a leap of faith, the conclusion was so hellish as to ensure our beloved pastime is threatened …

“ Female bats are fussier than males when it comes choosing where to eat in urban areas …”

Knowing that Mother Nature often shares her constructs across species, and buttressed by my personal experiences that Human Females share the same tendencies as  bats, suggest this behavior is present in  fish as well.

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For most this will be a yawner, but knowing most of the freshwater fish in the world live in environments rich in Estrogen and are steeped in female hormones, and noting Science has indicted the water treatment folks with their callous extermination of gonads of all types, suggests the bulk of our quarry are at minimum transgender … or are already female.

As such they’ll develop the rarified palate and be doubly difficult to catch.

What Science has yet to explain is whether a “sale” tag on the fly will make them eat more often, or whether they’ll simply browse your fly box without touching anything.

For those scoffing at my reach of the available facts, note that like Human males, male bats settle …

Males, on the other hand, seem to be less particular and are just as likely to be found settling for poorer-quality woodland patches next to built-up areas. (Via Physorg)

Both species having low self esteem in common, and don’t pay much attention to the quality of what they stuff in their gob …

In male cuttlefish, mated behaviour was not affected by female receptivity; however, familiarity with the female did affect male mating behaviour. Males exerted a strong preference for unfamiliar females ..  (Via Physorg)

Males settle … and in females, prefer some “Strange” …

I don’t make this stuff up, I infer it, which is way better.

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking …

An observant fellow notes a trout swimming in a Swiss lake appears odd, and discovers trout are evolving natural defenses against the local Osprey …

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While I don’t think the Timex watch is a Swiss invention, it engenders new respect for a heretofore fragile salmonid.

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I imagine the local Osprey are likely perfecting the Immelmann and how best to engage fish using, “Death from the Side.”

… and you hunch over to protect all the sensitive bits

While I’m not entirely certain what felled me, the romantic version involves the rushing of air overhead, a flash of yellow, and then the snarl of a bright yellow plane climbing for altitude. It’s the Brownliner’s version of hearing the squeal of skidding tires in an intersection, yet instead of the sickening crunch that follows, we get the oily vapors of some nameless chemical descending from above.

While crop dusters are part of the watershed, the guessing game resulting from being dusted ranges the full gamut. Plane screams by overhead and chemical follow; by midweek either the thinning spot on your head has filled in noticeably – complements of fertilizer, or is thinning further, due to Paraquat.

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You’re never sure whether the guy saw you and mashed the nipple to cover you in something he thought hilarious, or it’s your luck that made you emerge from the undergrowth just in time to take a shellacking.

I spent a week scratching most of my nether half, from crown to ankles, so the Math is fairly simple. Half the time it’s fertilizer and the other half is something to kill crop pests, and all the time they’re unwelcome.

Or it was that new concentrated purple-label Tide that smelled to high heaven. It’s even scarier to assume something that’s supposed to clean you up is more caustic than airborne Bug B Gone …

Decline in angling because fish doesn’t “taste like Chicken?”

Pigeon_ChickenWhile fly clubs focus recruitment to replace their declining ranks, and the Membership Chair attempts to lure any demographic other than aging Boomers, their issues may mirror an overall decline in anglers as a byproduct of the US population becoming “fish averse” and “chicken centric.”

Declining sales of seafood reflect a population leery of fish on numerous levels, including; elevated mercury, the pen-raised versus wild caught controversy, increased prices, and unfamiliarity with preparation.

problems include the confusion and mixed messages surrounding claims that certain types of seafood are high in mercury, fears stirred up by organizations opposed to growing genetically modified salmon, a lack of awareness of which types of fish are healthy, and a failure of the industry and supermarkets to better promote fish. MSN Money

Couple those issues with the information (or disinformation) prevalent with environmental issues, the perceived rape of third world coastal fisheries by developed nations and their fleets of factory ships, and the uninitiated may feel the entire fishing experience off-putting.

Fisherman have always hated the taste of fish so we’re not helping things either…

Seafood company officials aspire to emulate the chicken industry, where consumption has boomed to nearly 82 pounds in 2012 from 34 pounds in 1965. If the industry can ease consumer fears and develop more convenient products, John Connelly, president of industry trade group National Fisheries Institute, said at the Boston show that there’s "nothing to preclude us from having the kind of exponential growth the poultry industry had." MSN Money

While I adore an optimist, Mister Connelly’s note above suggests there are “exponential fisheries left unexploited” that he can use to supply all those new converts with chow. I would assume seafood harvests are now in decline as all known fisheries are under harvest.

Any thoughts of explosive growth in seafood consumption should likely be accompanied with a couple of new oceans, and a continent or two.

Only if you spell his name backwards will he disappear

I remember being horrified when I found out that Mister Mxyzptlk was able to stomp the guts out of Superman despite the dizzying array of superpowers The Man of Steel possessed.

Being an imp from the 5th Dimension, Mister Mxyzptlk was able to channel bad luck to his assistance. Every time Superman attempted to thwart his crime spree, the blow would decapitate some old lady in a crosswalk, or his super-heat-vision would fry some school bus full of kindergarteners…

… and I’m convinced I am firmly in the grips of something similar …

… broke a tooth Friday on the stone part of a “stone-ground” tortilla. Saturday, “Gopher Team Six” unearthed a monstrous rock just under the grass canopy of the rear lawn, and the mower was destroyed in an instant.

Having played this game many times I realize eventually the worm will turn and my ill fortune could turn into a monstrous day afield wherein everything below the water ate everything I tossed their way …

… but hanging off that large root above the rock outcropping while negotiating the forty-five degree slope of the lake was asking too much. Just as I had maneuvered to safety my feet slid crumbled the shale below and I bounced off a big rock outcropping that mashed ribs and robbed me of breath. I did manage to retain my grip on the root despite my sudden full fetal, and gasped out the obligatory, “double f**k me” once I had enough breath …

… Swearing profusely being the aerobic form of walking off a nut shot …

Newly reminded that my streak of poor luck was in full swing and thankful I hadn’t broken another rod, I wobbled up the cliff while wheezing in pain, hoping there had been few witnesses.

Chores being dangerous and fishing being doubly so, I opted for finishing the day afield like a proper dandy, thinking the pursuit of wild flowers couldn’t manifest itself into anything worse than a bee sting.

The idea was sound enough, but all attempts to record the adventure were scuttled by Little Meat, who apparently is just that and all HAM.

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I thought orange flowers were distinctive and represented little chance of malady, he thought they needed watering …

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I thought white flowers would make a pretty picture, and he thought the 2500 pound bull needed exercise … most of that being in my direction.

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I thought yellow flowers was breathtaking, he thought it appropriate to drop deuce, fortunately for all of us, he was discrete …

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I’d throw a stick in the opposite direction and when the shutter clicked the beast was mid-frame and smiling. I think I’ll drive slowly to work tomorrow … with blinkers on …

… or perhaps pull the blinds and simply go back to bed.

Rio Tinto opts out of Pebble Mine

miningThe global mining powerhouse, Rio Tinto, will divest itself of its share of the Pebble Mine, donating its 19% stake in the project to a pair of Alaskan charities.

The Pebble Mine has been the focus of much heat and wrath among the both environmentalists and the angling crowd, given the overall region is responsible for an enormous salmon population and many attendant industries.

All that’s needed is a Toyota Prius Monster Truck

Deer_HAir_TruckAfter multi-million dollar advertising campaigns touting “tax free” zones for New York startups, how Texas is “business friendly”, Massachusetts insists, “Take a Real Vacation”, or Montana’s “Get Lost in Montana”, Michigan has entered the fray by making itself extra appealing to fly tiers …

Fly tiers … because the high dollar tourista have already been lured to larger states. The 20-something social media moguls gravitate to the Big City, the Hip Hop squillionaires insist on similar digs, leaving Michigan attractive only to us economically challenged middle class types, and the the occasional marijuana kingpin whose entourage contains a bevy of canny tax lawyers that minimize their obligation to state revenues. 

… and Michigan’s subtle, yet frugal, message makes me think that California, “the Land of Fruit and Nuts”, might be better served by the sudden exodus of me and the fluttering horde of moths that pursue my collection of animal dander.

Instead of employing the Madison Avenue’s word artists, Michigan opted to exploit its native fauna, by removing any restrictions to Steel Belted Radial season, and adopting an, “if you kill it you can eat it” bylaw governing its roads and waterways.

“While fresh roadkill like deer can be consumed, I introduced this bill at the request of several constituents who have asked to use roadkill for various purposes, such as hunting, composting or salvaging the hides,” Booher said. “This is about reducing regulations and saving taxpayer dollars.”

It’s a match liable to make other states wish they’d pandered to us more openly, given our ranks are swollen with aging and stable taxpayers with a monstrous appetite for asphalt kinetics and deer hair.

All that remains is adding a roll cage to a Toyota Prius so you can sneak up on game like Gunther Prien sliding into Scapa Flow …

Slingblade says, “Like Coors .. it’s the water”

I was asked about the pending Turkey season and what was the local outlook, and while I typically hover around fish I do cover a lot of unkempt and out-of-the-way turf, as getting to the water without being shot, bitten, or arrested takes me all over the drainage.

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This year the quarry is constrained by water, and the above turkey track still had the edges folding into the depression – meaning the bird was braving the exposed bank at midday.

Turkey being notoriously shy creatures and despite your being surrounded by a flock of 15lb birds, can get by you with nary a bush moving to show their passing.

My allergy with “No Trespassing” signs often has me bursting out into their midst without warning – as the circuitous path necessary to give the angler plausible deniability takes me into inclement areas. Avoiding landowners, ambitious dogs, and the 300 beehives I disturbed accidentally – means I occasionally have to move blindly and without benefit of friendly terrain.

… and scaring hell out of the big-arsed birds means I usually emerge with a couple of extra tail feathers given their hasty departure.

Hunt water. Hunt the path between the roost and water – and it shouldn’t be too terrible surprising if the roost tree is closer to the creek than last year.

The lack of water means the ground remains hard and flinty, so I’m not seeing the usual scrape areas they work with them big clawed feet.

The lakes I hit last week had an abundance of tracks near the water’s edge, and that means they covered 300-400 yards in the open to get there.

A canny fellow would take advantage.