Category Archives: science

It’s time to think about the technology before Popeil does the thinking for us

Enough juice to power a Boom Box There’s great potential in thin film solar fabric for fly fishermen as we’re always the last idiot to head for shade. Rather than sell the extra juice back to the Grid, it makes sense to start thinking about what gadget you want to power, as it’s your cranium that’s baking, it should be your call.

Figure the back of the vest and top of the head would be the likely location for the panels, and in a good day afield you could power some small device for 2-3 hours with what’s collected, so what would it be?

Cell phones are out, as they’re as likely to interrupt the fishing as offer some benefit, and despite the advances of science, we’re still leaving those puppies in the car. Most beneficial may be a lighting system – allowing me to tie on one last fly at the critical hour, and assisting me to find the car again as I tromp my way out of the woods. A distant second may be an electric ice chest – toss your vest in proximity and stop worrying about the mayonnaise…

Wireless power sources could give us “electric hook hones,” unlimited text messaging, a full range side scanning sonar, “hat fans” that cool our fevered brow, and a multitude of electronic gear with questionable value.

The Solar Tent has merit, all we have to do is drop the vest within wireless distance to pull an “all-nighter” flytying session. Stringing Christmas lights on a couple of pine trees would be fun, likely scare hell out of both bears and inquisitive neighbors..

Just shed the taciturn “John Wayne” image for a second, as Dan’l Boone would’ve given his eye teeth for a cold one – what electrical gadget have we always lusted for, but never had?

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If you want me to pat you on the Arse, then the suffering had better be commensurate

It’s like hiring someone else to do your fighting for youI like the idea, but it smacks of a “gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” ecological balance. It’s nice that these issues are slowly being acknowledged, but passing the burden to someone else isn’t deprivation, it’s just making the minimum payment on a credit card.

I’m not an ecology zealot, I still have to drive somewhere to fish and I don’t  blink at the consequences, but if I did, the suffering must be immediate to be rewarded.

The way I see it, there are no points scored for extincting a couple dozen species then feeling bad about it, you don’t wait until they’re all gone to change, if you’re sincere about the issue you have to endure hardship, as anything else is lip service.

So, to offset the effect of the fishing tournament on global warming, its promoters are buying carbon mitigation credits. Previously, after calculating the carbon footprint of the annual Gator-Seminole football game, NWF sponsored the planting of 158 acres of trees that will take 10 years to offset that one game’s carbon output.

On a humorous note, I wonder whether them scientists calculated for the obligatory “jawbone” session post-contest. If you’ve endured a group of anglers reciting feats of prowess, you’ll realize there’s more carbon released in the parking lot than the entire sailfish fleet at full throttle.

Maybe that’s the penance we’re seeking, the immediate carbon payback needed to cleanse ourselves of guilt, us fishermen have to tell the truth – the planet depends on it.

Goddamn scary thought…

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Even if she ties flies I’m not introducing her to Momma

Yes, but can she cook? Singlebarbed has always led the charge on cutting edge technology, willing to suffer the slings and arrows of the path less traveled, allowing readers to giggle at my inevitable pratfall.

My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots.

That gives me 42 years to toast six or seven relationships, due to fishing addiction, and what little cash alimony has spared me may be enough for a down payment on a 2050 Toyota “Galatea” – with the Jessica Alba physique, the Ann Margaret voice, and the Kate Beckensale suspension.

Naturally the MSNBC article dwells a great deal on the mechanics of consummating the relationship, while significant it’s best I avoid that issue entirely..

She’s waterproof and programmed with every David Lee Roth Van Halen album, she can carry a full keg of beer (iced)  and retrieves all snagged flies with a giggle. Real women will be intensely jealous and require her to bunk in the garage, but as I’ll be 90, I’m no longer attracted to anything my age – despite the advances of science. “Grandma” can leave in a huff, while “Galatea” and me do Jello Shooters.

I’m just wondering how much the sonar package runs…

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Adopting a creek may mean adopting the neighborhood

You may need to go further afield Reclamation of natural streams within the confines of Seattle has been an ongoing project for over a decade, results have been released in a report outlining many of the ills, successes, and cost of the effort.

Entitled “State of the Waters 2007,” the report outlines what you may suspect; treatment of the streams and banks can restore some of the balance of nature, but the original problems remain, runoff from city streets carrying a blend of industrial chemicals, and as the surrounding areas are completely paved, the volume of water entering the recovering waterway can scour it clean of life.

With normal rainfall, and 60% of the watershed covered in pavement, the report estimates that the water volume in the creek channel to be 4 to 5 times that of the same watershed if forested. “Bank armoring” to protect homeowners from erosion, add measurably to the problem.

Bank restoration and instream rip-rap have been part of the “restoration arsenal” for many years. Many angling clubs have yearly outings to assist state agencies in cleanup and restoration efforts. The report suggests that many in-stream issues cannot be addressed by working on the obvious stuff; trash removal, adding gravel for spawning, etc. Many issues have roots hundreds of yards from the actual watercourse.

But the creeks and lakes would never be mistaken for pristine, no matter how much time and money are invested.

It’s a subject dear to me as I fish a similar creek nearby. While it is not confined by the city, it shares many of the same issues. An interesting read, especially if your club is considering “adopting” a creek nearby.

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No thanks, I’ll have dinner after I come back from fission

One in every garage I always had a fantasy about a log cabin with a pristine trout stream chaser, I modified that only slightly in the last decade, adding massive Internet pipe to the mix.

Outside of the money part – which still eludes me, the technology will be available next year. Toshiba will be marketing the “mini nuclear reactor” – a full 200 kilowatt reactor measuring a miserly 20′ x 6′ – small enough to put in the garage.

I figure I can get a package deal of the reactor and a big screen TV. Rustic cabin nestled in the pines, lights ablaze and TV loud enough to listen to the game while fishing. Fully self contained with no messy control rods to change or temperatures to monitor, capable of generating 40 years of power for peanuts. Comes with instructions – in English and Arabic.

The Alaskan wilderness will be tamed overnight.

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Even a Brownliner would scream like a little girl

If you want the fly back, you reach in there It’s called “the things you can’t Un-See,” an Internet phenomenon where a buddy sends you a non-descriptive link with some bland come-hither line like, “I thought you would like this…”

Clicking it results in an involuntary gag, or a spouse that thinks she’s married a pervert – now you’re obliged to find something equally gross to return the compliment to this erstwhile friend.

The link I clicked was not so innocent, entitled “The 10 Nastiest Fish in the World,” – and the result would send a hardened Brownliner fleeing in terror. A better descriptor would be “The 10 Fish you’d cut the fly line to Avoid” – featuring lots of teeth, slime, and the urge to go vegetarian.

Fly fishing for the above Goliath Tigerfish is billed as “one of the last frontiers” by the folks at North Wales Flyfishing School, 9-11 weight, with 40lb single trace wire leader required. It looks more like suicide to me, I’d be lucky if I could summon the nerve to stick my toe in the river.

The new measure of success: you still have all 10 fingers

I wasn't paying attention and that last one go me I remember seeing my first leader dispenser wondering why was this gadget necessary? Naturally, I was looking at the “dry” version and had no idea that you had to soak a catgut leader to make it supple.

We’re the “monofilament” generation, and it’s possible some small gadget may linger for your kids to ponder. Synthetic filaments are on the rise from many kinds of unrelated science, many have superior qualities over what we currently use, but none are mass produced, and no “heir apparent” exists to replace nylon and its many variations.

From Japan comes the latest entry, genetic manipulation of silkworms to produce “Spider Silk,” actual spider web that can be spun into threads and fabric.

“Researchers at Shinshu University have succeeded in injecting spider genes into silkworms to create a thread that is stronger, softer and more durable than conventional silk. A Japanese manufacturer is already experimenting with the thread, and spider socks, stockings and even fishing lines are expected to appear on the market within a few years.”

At the moment only 10% of the modified silkworms produce spider web rather than silk, but research continues with the goal of 50% production.

“Dragline silk”, which spiders use to raise and lower themselves and to construct the spokes of their webs, has one of the highest tensile strengths of any natural substance – five times that of a thread of steel of the same thickness. In terms of its ability to absorb impact, it is superior to Kevlar, the plastic fibre used for antistab vests and body armour.”

Anyone that’s worked with Kevlar thread knows its inherent danger; the small diameter opposed to breaking strength means you don’t want it wrapped around flesh if you’re trying to break it. The same would be true for a leader with 15X tippet, but rated at 5lb test – it would slice you to ribbons with a flopping fish on the end.

Fly tiers will lust after it due to the fine diameter and bulk reduction, it may require us to rethink some fly tying mechanics as it may simply slice through material rather than bind it to the hook shank. 40,000 yards of 20lb backing on a trout reel would be interesting, until it crushed your large arbor spool from the pressure…

Yep, you guessed it, they’re going to make us buy all new everything again..

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I’ll stop tying flies if I could get a federal subsidy

recipients of federal farming subsidies in San Francisco Cooperation the key to financial reward? Makes sense for any other industry other than fishing, as getting two fishermen to agree on anything is an exercise in futility.

Nevertheless, the Science journal has published research from Australia that suggests a cooperative system can increase the financial reward and lessen pressure on troubled fisheries.

“We believe these results will help persuade fishers that it is in their interests to take the long-term view — that by reducing their catch now they will more than make up any temporary financial losses with increased profits in the future,” he said.”

In typical fashion, a follow on article written for the Joplin Globe suggests a system akin to student loans, whereby the fishermen could be paid during “rebuilding” years, and the loans repaid once the fishery was reestablished.

To overcome opposition from fishermen, loans could be taken out to pay them for not fishing as the stocks rebuild. The loans would be repaid by the fishermen when the fish were abundant, said Grafton.

I think I’ll take the dim view on this one, as soon as the fishery is closed you buy some rotting hulk in drydock, get your commercial skipper, and slurp federal dollars. In the meantime, you can fish commercially for species that are viable and profitable, or just lounge around after leasing your boat to the Starkist folks, who’ll gladly handle the paperwork and federal stipend.

I’ll admit I don’t have the answer, but the subsidy angle has been abused so often in the past, I’m leery of it’s application to fisheries.

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How big would "too big" have to be

Not big enough Thin the prey to benefit the predator? Somehow it sounds all wrong, but Swedish scientists suggest it’s one way to reestablish a predatory fish whose numbers have dwindled.

Scientists found that culling older, larger prey fish can lead to more small fish for predators to dine on, even though the overall number of prey decline.

Makes a fellow wonder, as with the ongoing issues with Lake Davis and Northern Pike, would the converse also be true? Introduce huge trout too big for the Pike to eat, and their numbers will decrease…

Then again, if there was a decline in Pike numbers it could be because they ate the “too big” trout anyway’s, but ruptured something serious in the process.

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