FDS: April 2004 Archives

April 30, 2004

The Internet Connection is Godawful, Too.

Down East till Sunday, chasing after trout and spring drum with Woundwort and the jawbreaker. Reports as, and if, they happen.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 29, 2004

Michter Oration

The American whiskey that claims to be the oldest actually has little to do with early American whiskeys. This is a good thing.

By all accounts, the whiskey that Washington drank at Valley Forge would have been made from rye, not corn. And it wouldn't have been aged in charred oak barrels, but would have been largely colorless and netural in flavor. We're talking rotgut.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:02 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Stalking The Elusive Turdfish

It's harder than it used to be in Boston Harbor.

With a good tide, the Bubble would produce a 200-yard-long slick of brown sludge. “I didn’t care that I had to pick turds or bits of toilet paper off my line. There was actually quite a bit of life there, you know.”

Posted by Bigwig at 03:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

No, I Wouldn't Recommend Rubbing Them On Your Privates

Watch out for the Chesapeake Bay stripers, they're infecting fishermen.

Doctors believe rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay are carrying Mycobacterium marinum, a bacterium that watermen call "fish handler's disease." One stricken fisherman saw his hand swell to the size of a pork chop. The lump soon spread to his wrist, and his elbow began to stiffen.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sixty-Five and Rising

One of the most complete temperature pics of the NC waters I've seen. The weekend is looking more and more promising.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Why is the wasted guys catch all the fish?

Posted by Bigwig at 12:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NC Waters

Bluefish Blitz in the Bogue Inlet.

Bluefish, black drum, gray trout and flounder at Ocracoke--not mention five big ass red drum and, offshore, a lot of dolphin and tuna.

Things appear slower north of Ocracoke and at Lookout--there are no reports from most the usual suspects other than "slow," though this audio report mentions sea mullet and blues as well as speckled and gray trout.

Morehead City/Beaufort: Kings and spanish mackerel, gray trout and sea mullet with a few red drum and speckled trout.

Gulf Stream: Dolphins, yellowfin tuna and some big wahoos.

Blues, Croakers, Grays, Mullet, P.Drum, Specks, Spot, and a Big Striper, of all things, at the Avalon Pier

First King Mackerel of the Year off an NC pier at the Ocean Crest Pier.

Spots, blue and flounder at the Sportsman's Pier.

Blues, Spots, Sea Mullet, Sand Perch, Sharks and Sting Rays/Skates at the Triple S.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Angling For The Famed Inland Cobia of Virginia

Fish Farming Cobia.

I'm not sure if any other pelagic fishes are bing farmed or not, but if cobia are farmed successfully, there's no reason why tuna, dophin and even swordfish couldn't also be, is there?

And if they can be farmed in open tanks, they can be fished for in open tanks.

Postscript: Pic of a 45 pound cobia cought this week, again off marco island, here.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Leatherback Turtles are certainly in trouble, but I see no reason why the way in which a circle hook works should change just because it's in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, Leatherbacks in South Carolina seem to be at most at risk from crab traps.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


My God, if it was only a pompano instead of a permit.

Pic taken from a Marco Island, Florida fishing report that aslo has a couple of nice sailfish pictures.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Turn On The WindShield Wipers, Vern. It's Damp Out.

Portrait of a dumbass.

Sunset Beach Police Chief Jay Kerr said Zachary Martin, 20, of Sunset Beach, faced charges of reckless driving and failure to stop for a red light. Kerr said Martin told police he had crossed the swing bridge in Little River, S.C., several times by driving under the guard gate and honking at the bridge tender to let him pass.

He thought the same thing would happen in Sunset Beach, but it didn't. After his friend lifted the barricade to the bridge and got back into the truck, the driver hit the gas and crashed into the water.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Deja Brew

Coke and Pepsi are driving up beer prices in India. There just aren't enough bottes to go around.

It's good for the recycling industry, though.

Unlike soft-drink firms which use glass bottles that have specific brands names either printed or embossed on them, beer bottles are undifferentiated so all players in the industry use the same bottles. On average, one beer bottle gets rotated five-six times a year, including wastage.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Beer With The Taste For Surrender

A review of the Kronenbourg 1664, one of those widely known French Beers.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One Day, Beer Will Need Ice Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle

A blueprint for the self-chilling beer can. It's a big sucker.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Big Black

Pic of an 85 pound black drum caught off Florida's Amelia Island.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 28, 2004

The Hoser News Service

For all the beer industry news junkies out there--that would be......me, an indepth examination of the problems in the domestic Canadian beer market.

For the rest of you, Canadian beer trivia!

1. The oldest brewery in North America is Molson's in Montreal, which has been brewing on site since 1786.

2. The notion that Canadian beer is far stronger than American beer is a fallacy. Canadians measure alcohol content by volume not weight, so when measured equally, Canadian beer is only a little bit stronger than American beer.

3. In 2000, Canadian brewers sold enough beer to fill the SkyDome.

4. The biggest beer drinkers in Canada are the Yukoners. In 2000, they drank the equivalent of 18 24-packs of beer per capita (followed by Quebecers at 11 and Newfoundlanders at 10.5).

O.K., that's also for me.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My God, We Live In A Golden Age Of Man

The perfect complement to the thermo-electric keg blanket--the self-chilling beer can.

Trials showed that on average, the temperature of the liquid in the can fell 16C when the system was activated. Drinks stayed cool for up to an hour. The cans are already being tested by two large British brewers, who hope to have them on sale before the end of the summer.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:08 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Driving Force

The National Park Service's 150 foot driving corridor is still raising a ruckus.

"If one summed all of the economic and human damages of every hurricane to impact the lower Outer Banks in the last 100 years, you would not come close to equaling the damages that would be caused by one single event -- denying beach access to licensed off-road vehicles," the survey by SDR Consulting of Atlanta, GA concludes.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Look Ma, No Reg Enforcement!

Unlicensed foreign trawlers are decimating the fish populations off the coast of Angola, threatening the livelihood of that country's traditional fishermen.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2004

That Makes Me A Sour Belgian

You are what you drink.

You know who drinks Bud? Guys who smoke Marlboro Reds and who think the "new" Lynyrd Skynyrd is good. These are guys who have absolutely no moral dilemmas when it comes to silicone and women.

It’s true. I know all about Budweiser.

And countless other beers.

You see, I’ve been conducting secret research over the last 20 years or so and I’ve learned a lot -- namely, you are what you drink.

Don’t believe me? Read on.

Bud Light: Same as your Bud brethren, except you smoke Marlboro Lights and think 44FF is a tad too big.

Heineken: You know how to pronounce -- and spell -- Dolce & Gabbana. You think you’re much, much cooler than you are.

Corona: You’re cool, laid-back, and love the beach. You also think Sammy Hagar was better than David Lee Roth, which, of course, is blasphemy.

Coors Light: You might as well be wearing a dress.

Any of those new low-carb beers: You probably are wearing a dress.

For some reason he left out Natural Light, probably because people in New Jersey can't imagine that anyone drinks it.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A Sin Tax Backfires

Norwegians have begun hoarding beer.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Penny Wise And Pound Foolish

A few more rescues like this one, and dredging the Intercoastal would have been cheap in comparison.

Not to mention safer.

Posted by Bigwig at 08:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In My Mind I'm Throwing A Carolina

Carolina Rigs, basic and advanced.

Most experienced anglers rely heavily on the standard Carolina rig, which comprises a 1/2- to 1-ounce sliding sinker, a swivel, an 18- to 24-inch leader of 12- to 20-pound mono, and a twist-tail worm or lizard with a rattle insert impaled on a light-wire offset or wide-gap worm hook. Fished properly—basically dragged across bottom structure—this versatile setup will catch postspawn bass under most circumstances, in both deep and shallow water.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Circle Of Life

Circle hooks have been the lazy fisherman's best friend for more than 20 years.

The hardest part, however, is teaching experienced anglers not to set the hook. It even states on most packages of circle hooks, “Do not set the hook.” One must wait until the fish pulls down on the pole hard enough to actually pull the eye of the hook back out of the fish’s mouth, and as he turns to swim away, the hook will catch the corner of its mouth.

The best way to be efficient with circle hooks is to leave the rod in a rod holder until the fish has hooked himself. Setting the hook is a hard habit to break, but with circle hooks, it means better and more humane fishing results.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Fluke Wars: A New Beginning

New York to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission: Drop Dead.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Surf Perch

Surf Fishing for what appears to be Oregon's equivalent of the pinfish--the Red Tail Surfperch.

Highly sought by surf anglers in northern California....


Posted by Bigwig at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Unworthy To Drink His Backwash

Beer is his life

The roar that greeted Jackson's entry into the Rogue pub surprised one of the brewery's just-hired marketing people. " Being new to the industry," said Mike Issacson, "I was totally taken by surprise by MJ's rock star status -- including groupies and hecklers. When I was at Nike working with athletes, I fully understood it, but a beer writer?"

Posted by Bigwig at 11:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Juice Of The Barley For Me

It'll knock you off the barstool.

You didn’t often see the cute bottles in the pub bar, so I asked the boys what it was.

It’s barley wine, they said.

That meant nothing to me, and they didn’t explain, but I did wonder why it came in such a tiny bottle.

“Oh, it’ll do ya,” they all agreed. “Try it, mate, and you’ll find out.”

Posted by Bigwig at 11:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hickory Shad

The Hickory Shad run has come to Delaware.

Hickory shad, a member of the river herring family that rarely exceeds four pounds and 18 inches, is known to battle much like a king-size tarpon. The shad's sleek, flat body has relatively large scales, and when hooked on light tackle, they leap high above the water's surface in a bid for freedom.
The vast majority of the fish caught during the past week were taken on various patterns of small streamer flies tied on size 4 to 6 long-shank hooks. Most productive are flies that are bright colored, varying from neon green to rocket red, colors that stand out even when the water clarity is marginal.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2004


Nicaragua: Tarpon Paradise

Tisseaux has already told me that a good average is one hookup for every three fish that hit the lure. You can’t overpower something as strong as a tarpon on light line. That you can catch Megalops atlantica at all, he says, is because the battle takes place as much in the fish’s mind as anywhere else. There comes a moment in each fight, he believes, when the great fish begins to wonder whether its unseen opponent is stronger than it thought. If you’re bearing down at this instant, you can break the fish psychologically. This is why 200-plus-pound fish are sometimes boated in 15 or 20 minutes. If you are not pressuring the fish at this juncture, however, the fish will fight on. And a defiant tarpon will fight longer than you can. On our fourth pass, the rod with the 43/8-inch redhead Rapala bobbles once, twice, and goes down hard. Elieser shouts. I grab the rod and do the triple hookset while he and Carlos scramble to reel in the other lines. Strangely enough, the fish is swimming toward me, and I have to crank as fast as I can to stay connected. Stranger still, it stays hooked. Elieser watches the angle of my line closely, and when he sees it starting to flatten out, he yells what sounds like “Brita! Brita! Brita!” It’s an unlikely time to endorse a brand of water filter, but then it occurs to me that the fish must be getting ready to jump.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

La Belle Isabel

Hurricanes: Bad for the fishermen, good for the fish.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Trying for Wahoo off the Dry Tortugas.

Posted by Bigwig at 08:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Big Ass Cobia

A picture of the NC state record cobia caught off Hatteras Island last May.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NC Waters

Specks, Grays and Blues in the Bogue Sound.

While running down the waterway just before the Emerald Isle bridge, we came upon a school of bluefish with hundreds breaking water and birds feeding around them like it was a school of albacore. We put on a couple of catch 2000 mirrolures and followed the school for more than a mile hooking up on every cast. We landed 50-70 blues in an hour and finally got tired of seeing them.

Reds, Blues, Blacks, and Sharks at Ocracoke

There was a group out here fishing called the Belpre Gang who kept a score card all week and ended up with 1 39" red drum, 202 bluefish and 126 sharks. They felt good about how the fishing turned out. We also heard of at least a dozen or so citation red drum caught Friday night.

Drum, Mullet, Bluefish and Flounder in Buxton, as well as a citation Wahoo.

Sea Mullet, Black and Puppy Drum, as well as a few Flounder at Hatteras Inlet.

Inshore Grays, blues, bonita, albacore, specks, puppies, and sea mullet at Cape Lookout

Gaffer dolphin and Blues off Oregon Inlet.

Spots and Sea Mullet at the Bogue Inlet Pier.

Blues, Croakers, Flounder, Gray Trout, Mullet, Puffers, Shad, Spot at the Avalon Pier.

A plague of Spots at the Triple-S

Finally, here's an audio report covering the northern area of the Outer Banks

Posted by Bigwig at 11:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Beer Calendar

German Beer Day, celebrating the 488th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot, was this past Friday. It's almost the only German thing left in the German beer market.

The country's fractionalized and provincial attitudes towards brewing -- according to Germany's Federal Statistics office, there were 1,268 registered breweries in 2003 -- has led to the creation of a mindboggling variety of beer.

But it has also made brewers easy targets for large foreign beer conglomerates looking to snap up bargains with growth potential. In particular, Belgium's Interbrew has been actively snapping up German brands, including the proud Bavarian house Spaten, which had been independent for over 600 years. Interbrew also owns Germany's ubiquitous Beck's beer.

Newman Day, which Princeton students celebrate by drinking a beer every hour for 24 hours, fell on Saturday. Thanks to the media coverage generated by the opposition of the man himself*, observance of the tradition this year was subdued.

* reg. req. Use laexaminer@laexaminer.com/laexaminer

Posted by Bigwig at 11:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Restoring Atlantic Sturgeon to the Hudson.

Now, for the first time, the state is catching juvenile sturgeon in anchored gill nets, trying to find out whether a 1998 coastwide ban on fishing sturgeon, which followed New York's ban in 1996, has helped sturgeon recover in the Hudson.

This fall, the estuary program will also release the progeny of sturgeon captured more than a decade ago in the Hudson and kept in captivity in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery in Lamar, Penn. Wild and released fish will be tracked with radio telemetry. Fish movements will be matched to new maps of the river bottom, produced in recent years with sonar, to learn more about which underwater habitats are important to sturgeon survival and how sturgeon move through the estuary.

You can see a photogallery of the gill netting here.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the beluga sturgeon as "threatened, " a move probably preparatory to severely limiting or banning, though the department is not moving nearly fast enough for the folks at Caviar Emptor.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Things Are Shaping Up

Weather, wind and water temps for the upcoming weekend are looking great

Posted by Bigwig at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2004

The Leader Snapped

We've lost a week's worth of posts, though they are backed up. I'm in the process of restoring them.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 21, 2004

Why, Yes, My Beer Is In An Aluminum Can, Mr. Ranger

Development on the holy grail of beach beer drinking has arrived. A Case Western Reserve University grad student is getting twenty thousand dollars to develop a thermo-electric blanket that will, once plugged into an auto's cigarette lighter, keep an entire keg cold.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2004

Put Your Thumb On The Reel!

Let's you and him fight.

At first, the Dugans thought they might have had a skate or drum on the other end. For the first half hour, John Dugan was on the losing end of the fight.

"When I would get two feet on the reel, she would take three to 30 feet out," he says.

Mike was still fishing. "When I looked over, he had just a few wraps of line left. I figured I'd better start the boat and get chasing her."

"He did a great job in letting me get some line back and not giving any slack," says John.

At the 45-minute mark, "My dad was starting to look a little weak in the knees. I asked him if he wanted me to take over and he just glared at me," Mike says, laughing.

Trying to ease the strain on the rod, John Dugan went to back off the drag. D'oh! He punched the free spool button instead. All of a sudden he had a spun mess of 17-pound test line that would have made Rumpelstiltskin proud.

Posted by Bigwig at 08:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gem Of The Ocean

The manta rays are coming, and with them, the cobia.

It is that time of year when the big manta rays start their migration along our beaches to the north. When they move in you can bet some big cobia will be tagging along. Cobia love to ambush any baitfish that is attracted to the rays for protection.

Cobia are really the bull of the oceans. When it comes to a strong fight, they can be real tackle busters. This is one fish you don't want to try to horse in -- they will break your stuff.

Posted by Bigwig at 07:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time To Register FDS Beer

Copyright suits are out of control.

The petition claimed that David Sherman Corp. owns the U.S. trademark for "Yellowstone" and said the Billings brewery's use of Yellowstone will "confuse and mislead consumers" even though they are different products sold in different regions of the country.

The petition asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel YVB's registered name. The St. Louis company also filed a separate cease-and-desist order against the brewery, which is the first step toward a federal lawsuit.

Posted by Bigwig at 07:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

We Could Beat That, Easy

Anglers are getting older and rarer, at least in Virginia. They're still spending a lot of money, though.

About $1.2 billion in economic activity is generated by freshwater and saltwater anglers in Virginia, Martel said, and more than half of that is in retail sales. His department counts about 888,000 licensed anglers, and on average they are spending more money on equipment.

Posted by Bigwig at 07:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2004

Breaking Away

The use of breakaway gear by anglers after tarpon in the Boca Grande Pass has trashed the area so much that Florida Fish and Wildlife has been forced to issue new rules on their use.

During the past two years, pass clean-up events have removed nearly seven tons of fishing debris and litter from the sea bottom, including lead weights, jig heads, fishing line, crab traps and anchors. To help reduce debris, the new rules will prohibit use of breakaway gear to harvest any fish in the pass during April, May and June.

Breakaway gear is defined in the rules to mean any bob, float, weight, lure or spoon that is affixed to a fishing line or hook with wire, line, rubber bands, plastic ties or other fasteners designed to break off when a fish is caught. Under the new rules, it will be possible to continue using a breakaway-style jig, as long as the weight is not affixed to the hook with fasteners designed to break off when a fish is caught.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, Which One Is Mean, Dumpy, And Most Apt To Freeze To Death In A Snowbank?

Smirnoff and Smirnov finally end their fight over which vodka is more Russian.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Further Evidence That the U.K. Really Is The Most Civilized Nation On Earth

Home beer delivery comes to Britain.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Deep

It's possible to toss a line over the side if you work on an oil rig, but you'll see more interesting things spear-fishing.

"The biggest thing was a 500-pound jewfish, it was beautiful," Cater said. "We have some jewfish (which are illegal to catch) around Mr. Gus (oil rig 50 miles southeast of Biloxi) that weigh 300 pounds. There's one that weighs 300 pounds that hangs around one rig by Gus.

"When it comes to barracuda, they will follow you around, but for the most part, they will not mess with you. They will come after a dead fish you shot or a dead fish on a stringer and that can scare you. I've had a a barracuda hit my stringer and I have left is the head of the fish. That will scare you."

Posted by Bigwig at 09:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Of A Fart, Belch And Verp Man,Myself

Punt, Pass and Kick, meet Pitch, Flip and Cast.

Posted by Bigwig at 08:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An Excellent Method Of Appearing Knowledgeable On A Subject To To Memorize What Other People Said About It

Then trust me, there's nothing like drinking
So pleasant this side of the grave;
It keeps the unhappy from thinking,
And makes e'en the valiant more brave.

--Charles Didbin

From The World's Greatest Drinking Quotes.

Posted by Bigwig at 07:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Can See Claret Now,The Rain Is Gone

Claret - The English Wine.

Claret extends a warm and indulgent embrace, renewing the ancient bond between English thirst and Gascon refreshment, soothing our penitent thoughts with its quiet and clear aroma. This is the wine that made us and for which we were made, and it always astonishes me to discover that I drink anything else.

No,I'm not going to start posting about wine. For one, I don't know enough about the subject. Two, how many fisherman have you seen drinking wine on the beach? I posted this because I think the author, the same man who gave us a squirrel recipe, writes well.

Posted by Bigwig at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Too Much Time On Their Hands

The Alabama legislature went to the trouble of naming an official state whiskey, even though no whiskey is actually brewed in Alabama, and they still got it wrong.

Some people are happy with the choice, however.

Posted by Bigwig at 07:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why, When I Was A Child, You Couldn't Get Batter-Fried Chlorinated Pesticides At All

Sure, the Delaware is so polluted that you can eat only one fish from it a year, but it's still better off that it used to be.

In the years leading up to World War II, a 20-mile stretch of the river was so polluted there was no oxygen in the water and no fish or other aquatic life.

At the time, more than 200 industries in Philadelphia discharged 90,000 tons of waste a year into the river without treatment. Philadelphia discharged 350 million gallons of raw sewage a day into the river. Wilmington, Chester, Trenton and Camden used the river for similar waste disposal.

Posted by Bigwig at 05:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Big Hickory

Shad on the Rappahannock.

Today, both hickory and American shad are present in the river, but the hickory populations resoundingly dwarf those of their struggling bigger cousins.

"The hickory shad fishing over the last six to eight years has been phenomenal, and it seems to get better every year," Odenkirk said. "The hickory stocks were never really depressed to the extent the American shad were. Now, the hickories have minimal competition from the Americans.

"I've seen days when it looked like you could cross sections of the river on the backs of hickory shad. Imagine what it was like in Colonial days."

Probably it was a lot like this.

On April 9, two VDGIF technicians - Chip Augustine and Andrew Skelton - encountered more hickory shad than they could put a net on while conducting electrofish sampling from their boat just below the Interstate 95 bridge.

"The water was clear, and they could see schools of fish swimming up through the recently restored rock garden above Embrey," Weaver said Wednesday. "I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to say that in that one area, there were 1,000 hickory shad."

Most of the shad they netted were males, and the females were loaded with eggs. That means they are likely to spawn upriver in their traditional beds

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April 16, 2004

Tastes Great, Gives You The Munchies

A vodka for the multi-tasking druggie in all of us.

Posted by Bigwig at 05:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One Would Think Fish Were Never Caught South Of Cape Lookout

A rare Morehead City/Beaufort fishing report.

Closer to shore, sea mullet (whiting) made a major run, with over 100 boats reported in the Morehead City turning basin and Beaufort Inlet last Saturday. Fishermen were catching them "by the bucketful," primarily on fresh shrimp. Small bluefish, blowfish, skates and shallow-water sharks were caught all along Bogue Banks and Topsail Island. The water temperature in the surf at mid-week was 63 degrees.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

As Candy, It's Dandy

Absolut and Labatt's have teamed up to produce a a new girly drink to compete with Smirnoff Ice - Absolut Cut. They're aiming for the yuppie dollar.

Labatt, which is pushing super premium-priced beer brands such as Stella Artois and Beck's in Canada, says the new product will be priced at the top of the alternative beverage heap at a 5% premium to Diageo Plc's Smirnoff Ice and aimed at those same twentysomething urbanite who made Smirnoff an overnight success.

"If you think about the fastest-rowing [beverage] brands at the moment, they are all in super premium. So it's the more expensive malts, the more expensive wines, it's the Stella Artois of this world, it's the Absolut vodkas," said Mr. Gilliland. "Consumers are prepared to pay for quality if it has the right resonance. The brands out there at the moment are seen to be too mainstream so there's an opportunity to actually trade people up."

Posted by Bigwig at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Drum Kit

Thursday's Ocracoke pics.

And one from Buxton.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Budweiser Advertising Now Competing With Budweiser Beer To See Which Can Be The Blandest

Budweiser tones down beer ads

While the company had not scrapped other advertisements, it is working with its agencies to try to better define its brand of humor without crossing lines of accepted taste, he said.

Plus, it's just plain embarrasing when the commercials about the beer are more interesting than the beer itself is.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Got Your Skirted Ring Tube Right Here, Lady

Larew has released another lure, The Skirted Ring Tube

When fishing depths of 5 foot or less, rig the Skirted Ring Tube Texas-style with a 4/0 or 5/0 hook and a 1/8 ounce worm sinker for a really slow fall, thanks to the skirted head. Use heavier sinkers for deep-water fishing.

For use on a Carolina rig, plug the tube’s opening with a small piece of plastic worm. The trapped air will allow the bait to float a 5/0 hook, providing a particularly realistic swimming action when worked.

Should you happen to catch something with the Skirted Ring Tube, make sure to get it mentioned--here if nowhere else. Ole Gene will send you 100 free baits if the article mentions the company.

Not sure if we qualify as a "major web site," but it doesn't hurt to try.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This Is My Cross To Bear

Drinking beer increases the risk of gout.

The study, published in The Lancet, found two or more beers a day increased the risk, in comparison with non-beer drinkers, by 2 times. Two shots of spirits a day increased the risk 1.6 times, but moderate wine consumption - two glasses daily - had no effect.

Gout, a painful condition affecting one in 500 people in Australia, is caused by a build-up of uric acid in blood. The acid forms crystals around damaged joints, often the ankles, feet or toes, causing inflammatory arthritis.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

#1. Fishing Is No Good Here. It's Much Better In Virginia And South Carolina

Ten tips for freshwater fishing in NC.

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Story Of Our Lives

A Hatteras fishing report from the Richmond Times Dispatch

Leonard Nuchols reported that more than 40 drum up to 53½ inches were caught and released at Cape Point on Sunday evening as a result of southwest wind blowing in the warm water from the Gulf Stream. John Mortensen and Lee Scarborough of Red Drum Tackle in Buxton both caught their first big drum of the season, with both going more than 48 inches. The Point has changed so much that anglers now have to wade out about 300 yards to get to the prime drum fishing. Cape Point also is producing good catches of sea mullet, blow toads, spot, black drum and puppy drum.

Hatteras Inlet also has been having good catches of blow toads, sea mullet and puppy drum, along with a 39-inch striper caught with a two-hook bottom rig by Wendy Rohr of West Virginia. Avon has had catches of puppy drum, sea mullet and bluefish with some of the blues being landed on lures. The Rodanthe and Salvo areas reported some croaker, sea mullet, blow toads, croaker and black drum. Ocracoke Island has had good catches of puppy drum, black drum, sea mullet, blues, flounder and gray trout. The offshore boats out of Hatteras Inlet and Oregon Inlet still are having good catches of tuna, wahoo, dolphin and king mackeral, along with a few blue marlin being landed. With the warmer water now here, the spring fishing is really picking up.

Too bad we didn't have anybody out that way.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 15, 2004

Love to Hook Me A Cracker

Bream: basic fish for beginners.

"Bream" is another name for bluegill sunfish. However, many anglers use the term generically to describe the many species of sunfish that can be caught from lakes, ponds and streams. Redbreast, green, pumpkinseed and redear sunfish that also are called "shellcrackers" are the most common species. All make excellent eating and are easy and fun to catch. For most anglers, sunfish are the first fish they catch as children.

You don't have to tell me.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Slush Baits On The Catwalk

Topwater lures and the changing whims of fashion.

The slushers, or rippers, were a popular choice among the lower coastal aces during the 1970s and early '80s (a time when topwater lures seldom were used for trout and reds along the upper coast).

But, like the floating/diving "broken back" plugs, the slush baits sank into increasing obscurity during the '90s. Ask 10 coastal pluggers today to tie on a floater and I'll bet an Excalibur Super Spook that at least nine will reach for a bladeless, lipless "dogwalker."

The elongated dogwalkers with zigzag action (imparted by a practiced coordination of wrist and reel) dominate the inshore tides. It's as if nothing else exists. We are, if nothing else, slaves to fashion.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Go To Ale

Somebody in Riga needs to sit down and chill--perhaps in one of the readily available beer gardens.

I have seen many hellish things in my time, but not much can compare with the horror that is the Old Town beer garden at the height of summer.
I have never been able to understand what the attraction is with the Old Town beer gardens, other than the fact that they are in the open air. Tourists and locals seem to love them judging by how packed they get. They drink, get drunk, shout, shoot off, occasionally stagger off to relieve themselves in a portapotty, and then stagger back again, as happy as bunnies.

Posted by Bigwig at 01:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Drums Along The Point

According to the Charlotte Observer, the first big spring drum run hit Cape Point Sunday.

This spring's first heavy run of large red drum hit the Cape Point shoals at Buxton on Sunday just before dusk.Approximately 40 of the big reds, ranging from 40 inches to 53 1/2 inches, were beached at the famous fishin' hole near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. They hit cut bunker baits.

Lee Scarborough, 21, a native of Gastonia now living at Buxton, caught three drum in five casts before lightning forced anglers off the beach.

A couple of the Drum taken from Cape Point around then.

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Ask Not For Whom The Beer Bongs

Dammit, what's the point of going out on the river if a man can't bring along his beer bong?

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Fishing, Drinking, Stinking, Cooking

A beef stewed in beer recipe.

Use a dark beer for the most flavorful sauce

An Old Engine Oil would do nicely, I suspect.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Those Who Won't Learn From History Are Doomed To Become Louisiana State Senators

A bill pending in the Lousiana Senate would reopen commercial fishing for Red Drum in the waters of that state, less than 20 years after commercial fishing practices nearly destroyed the stock.

This proposed law comes at a time when it is still illegal to keep a redfish caught with recreational gear in federal waters just three miles outside of the Louisiana coastal zone.

It was in 1991 when Louisiana established "permanent" gamefish status for red drum in Louisiana waters.

The bill is being sponsored by Senator Butch Gautreaux, a Democrat. So much for the party of the environment. Too bad Open Secrets doesn't list state politicians--it might be interesting to see where Butch gets his campaign donations from.

The Louisiana CCA is urging its members to oppose the bill.

This bill is a giant leap in the wrong direction. Sure, redfish are doing better today than they were doing when the commercials fished them to the brink in the 1980s. But they have not fully recovered. Additionally, redfish and speckled trout are the foundation of the billion-dollar saltwater recreational fishing industry in Louisiana.

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Swiftly Fly The Years. One Season Following Another Laden With Happiness And Tears

Sunrise and Sunset times for NC's coastal waters: January - June and July - December

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Rock & Roanoke

Stripers have begun their run on the Roanoke.

Every spring, hundreds of thousands of striped bass make their spawning run up the Roanoke River, and every spring thousands of anglers follow, coming from all over the nation to participate in what has become a world-class fishery.
The boon in stripers has been a boost to sleepy Weldon, dubbed "The Rockfish Capitol of the World." The fish also provided a boon to fishing guides in state, who carry clients on the scenic river.

There's also a guide on the best ways for recreational anglers to help protect the fishery.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beer At The DAP

Got a pleasant surprise at the DAP last night, in between all the hollering and crying, that is.

The Varsity Ale House has taken over one of the food stands, so for the first time it's possible to buy craft beer other than the contract brewed El Toro Lager at the stadium, and locally produced ones at that. I found two of the Edenton Brewing Company's beers on tap, the King David's Red and the Joseph Hewes Revolutionary Ale. Even at stadium prices ($6 for about 20 ounces) they were worth it, and it appeared, to me at least, that the fans appreciated it.

It was a cold night, and there were times when the lines in front of the macro brew vendors were non-existent, but the three Ale House lines were always at least four or five people deep.

The line for coffee was 20+ long, but that's a whole different crowd.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Than One Way To Catch A Cat

Catfishing on the Potomac

There are numerous small tributaries that dump into the river and are rich in food for catfish. In the lower reaches of the river the Machadoc, Nanjemoy, Potomac Creek, and Mattox Creek are but a few examples of great catfishing waters. These waters are good at any time but offer particularly good angling when the wind puts the main stem of the Potomac in a rough slosh. Key areas in the tributaries include deeper holes, logs, treetops and bends in the creeks. Small bridges that pass over the waters and the abutments are not to be passed by. One of the advantages to fishing the smaller tributaries is that less weight is needed to fish them yet the fish are still quite large and with light tackle they can offer up a great fight. Channel catfish seem to be more prevalent in the tributaries as well as bullhead catfish.

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April 14, 2004

Half A Weiss Is Better Than None At All

A review of the König Ludwig Weiss, the only Bavarian royal brew available in the States. (reg. req. use laexaminer@laexaminer.com/laexaminer)

Hefeweizens are great beers to offer folks who insist they dislike beer. It has none of the beery hops aroma that turns some people off. If the sampler is open-minded, the wheat beer -- whether from Bavaria or Shiner, Texas -- might prove appealing.

I still remember the Konig the bartender at Howard's comped me a couple years ago. It was excellent. I look for one on the menu every time I go back.

It's never there.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wokda Iss Werry Poplar

Two reasons why vodka is now more popular than whiskey

Some drinkers, she said, are convinced that whiskey makes you angrier and more prone to violence than vodka.

Also, it's harder to detect vodka on the breath, she said, and people feel they can drink more without getting drunk or getting arrested.

Still has a way to go before it catches beer, though.

In addition to 9 million gallons of spirituous liquor, Ohioans drank 270 million gallons of beer and 11.2 million gallons of wine in 2003.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Snook season in a Florida's Gulf waters closes a month early this year, due to excess fishing pressure.

Some anglers were limiting out on snook two and three times a day. With four to six people in the boat each trip, it does not take a genius to do the math.

I was told the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission logged some of these catches by boarding various boats, taking pictures and names, then forwarding them to Tallahassee. The sight of the snook lined up like a cord of wood had to have an impact on their decision to close May for snook.

You know, as far as I'm concerned, if a fish has any size to it, then one a day is usually more than enough. If it doesn't have any size to it, then I'm tossing it bakc anyway. Those who keep everything they catch, out of some mistaken provider instinct, deserve the limits that get slapped on them as a result.

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Only $249 More Than What Someone Would Pay Me For My Knowledge

Joe Malat has his surf fishing class schedule for the summer up.

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Once More Into The Breach

The breaching of the Embrey dam on the Rappahannock is officially a success.

Fish Passage Coordinator Alan Weaver reported that hundreds, if not thousands, of hickory shad were observed in the waters above Embrey. "They could actually be seen swimming by. The water was churning with migration activity." He added that the fish were in pre-spawning condition (females still ripe with eggs). This is good news because it indicates that they will indeed spawn upriver, utilizing the newly reopened habitat as fisheries biologists had anticipated.

Fish Passage Coordinator - sounds like some sort of fish stewardess.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gonna Whip Me Up Some Old-Timey NC Fugu Soon

How to throw a cast net, illustrated.

Link via the NC Waterman, who points out that you can in fact, eat Blowfish.

What is clear is that many people have been eating the Atlantic northern puffer for years with no apparent ill effects.

In 1940s and 1950s, a lucrative commercial puffer fishery existed in Chesapeake Bay, said Lewis Daniel of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

The fish were marketed then and now as "sea squab," he said.

The N.C. State University Department of Food Science Web site the article mentions can be found here.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And I Was Having Such Good Results With Clorox And Ammonia

Cleaning your casting reel.

Clean off the existing buildup including old lubricant and organic materials like salt crystals and marine life residue. Use a heavy-duty cleaner like Reel Saver cleaner and a cotton swab to free material from metal surfaces.

Soap and water is popular, but it will not get out heavy buildup and it can leave a residue. Reel Saver cleaner emulsifies organics very well and is safe to use on delicate reel components.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Water, Water Everywhere, And Not A Drop Of It Good Enough For My Scotch

Expensive cask whiskies and water. No, not tap water! What are you, some kind of a heathen?

Laphroaig cask strength ($60) is incredibly fascinating in its combination of characteristics. With this whisky, you can add a little water at a time and enjoy how its nose opens and expands until you have reduced the alcohol to half its bottling strength.

Cask-strength whiskies are not exactly a new invention. Many very pricey bourbons are either cask strength or nearly cask strength. An old family favorite, Wild Turkey, is bottled at 109 proof, and while the alcohol is hard to overlook, the whisky itself is smooth and rich. Many upscale Jim Beam products, such as Booker Noe and Knob Creek are also higher in alcohol than the everyday bourbon.

Once you have the right water, neutral, whatever that means--perhaps it's Swedish, you'll need the right whisky, which you should be able to find at any decent whisky auction.

A highlight of the auction is lot 558, a 50-year-old Macallan malt.

Two other "gems" include the 1882 Bushmills Irish whisky in a hand-blown bottle with a driven cork, similar to that found in wine bottles. It is expected to change hands for about £1,100.

One of the most unusual bottles on offer is lot 601, a "black" Bowmore from Islay, a rich, jet-black whisky with infinite character.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Speck populations are on the decline in Louisiana, though that doesn't mean the stock is necessarily in trouble.

The recent run of speckled-trout summers that featured not only plenty of fish, but plenty of big fish, probably is over for a few years. That's because there's little left now of the record-high spawning classes of 1998 and 1999. This was the group that powered 2000's record harvest of 9.6 million specks weighing 11 million pounds, the same group that provided the run of super specks that dominated fishing headlines the past three years.

North Carolina's stocks are also likely to be down this year, though for different reasons.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

And Not An Auchentoshan To Be Found

Forbes has put up a list of the top ten single malt whiskies.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 13, 2004

Dancing A Jig

Jigging for Black Sea Bass.

This is simply glorified trout fishing in deeper water. The fish will normally hit the jig the instant your boat begins to drift and the jig starts to swim a bit. You can jig up and down, but honestly, there is no need to. The drift of the boat will do most of the work for you. You should position your jig just a touch off the bottom while fishing structure. This will prevent losing a pile of tackle and those bass will come a long way for that swimming jig, even in cold water.

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Never Drink Anything Bigger Than Your Head

Finally, a glass that holds exactly the right amount of beer.

Pic via the Tasting Room

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Singing The Blues

The Chesapeake crabbing industry is dying a slow death.

But it's not just the weather that is making the season's regular rhythms drag. April used to be a busy month in Courtney's two stores in St. Mary's County, a time when watermen bought their crab pots, rope and other supplies for the long summer and fall ahead.

Not this year.

"There ain't much to it," he said, waiting for business on a recent afternoon. "Getting slower all the time -- so many watermen quitting."

Posted by Bigwig at 04:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Crappie Cascade

Hot on the heels of Tennessee comes the 2004 North Carolina Crappie forecast!

And South Carolina's!


Man. These look......familiar. I wonder which other states have 2004 Crappie forecasts.

Turns out that Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Missouri all do!

Man, I pity the poor, overworked crappie reporters this time of year.

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Shallow Is As Shallow Does

Shallow water fishing for Red Drum, in Louisiana.

When fishing edges of grass and open flats, the combo of a standard plastic minnow body and a leadhead jig will often prove better than will a live offering. "Shrimp and crabs begin to stir now, becoming the main forage for early-season arrivals," Bourgeois said. "You want to 'match the hatch.' Those bull reds are searching for crabs, which are brown, and shrimp, which are clear with a grayish-brown tint; I go to colors similar to that. I'll throw smoke-glitter grubs like Bass Assassins or the Deadly Dudley Terror Tail. Another great choice is a mullet color, which Bass Assassin calls 'silver mullet.'"

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Paranoia, The Destroyer

The weather's warming up, and so is this year's Beer on The Beach controversy.

I just read a post on another site written by a guy who has been down fishing the Point area for the last week. He mentioned that his cooler was checked a couple of time for undersized fish AND for beer.

He said he was told by the officer that they are writing tickets for drinking in public and open containers, and anyone caught would have to make a mandatory court appearance.

For what's it's worth, we saw the Ocracoke Ranger twice last year at the inlet. On neither time did she appear to bother anyone.

Posted by Bigwig at 01:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Soon To Be Seen On The Rods Of The Classier Alcoholic Surf Fisherman Everywhere

Crown Royal is commemorating the 130th Kentucky derby with a new purple bag.

One might think they're an obvious tip off to the cops on which fishermen to pull over, but the purple reel protectors are still fairly ubiquitous.

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There's No Night Swimming In Salvo

What is the Salvo Hole Monster?

Extra Bonus: What looks like a workable kite-fishing rig.

There's two ways to send the bait out. If you have somebody with you then you can send the bait out with the kite. One person controls the kite rod and the other person controls the bait rod. I wrap the bait line around the release clip instead of just putting the line through it. This helps keep the bait out of the water while it's being sent out, if you drag it in the water a wave could catch it and cause the bait to be dropped before you get it out there. If your alone you can use the release clip as a pulley. The lines on both fishing rods still go out at the same time but you send the bait out after you get the kite out there. Once you get the bait out just yank the bait rod real hard to release the line from the clip to drop the bait.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apu Invades Willie's Turf

A Indian whisky, aged only 4 years, is coming to Scotland to take on the giants of the industry, and no one can tell the difference.

Ken Storrie, owner of the Pot Still bar in Hope Street, Glasgow, has been blind tasting Amrut with his whisky-drinking regulars. “The response is remarkable,” he says. “They all automatically think it’s a Speyside. I think it’s very close to a 10-year old Ben Nevis: similar in flavour, a pleasant whisky, sweet and with a nice nose.”

Earlier blog coverage can be seen here.

Postscript: The Hindustan Times seems a bit confused over exactly what is competing with what - Indian whisky set to compete with Scottish bubbly.

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At Last, A Ray Used For Something Other Than Scallops

Pier fishing for Cobia.

If the pier is crowded and a large manta ray is spotted, prepare to hold your ground because everyone nearby is going to be running to one spot. Cobia love staying in the shade and a big manta ray produces just that. During the months of April and May, I've probably seen 25 manta rays and all but one had a large ling swimming underneath.

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Soon To Be Portrayed By Mickey Rourke In A Major Motion Picture

The visceral appeal of striped bass.

At 10 or 12 pounds it was bigger than any fish I’d ever caught that wasn’t a catfish or a carp. And it fought harder than any fish I’d ever imagined, even without those theatrical pyrotechnics that land the salmonids on so many magazine covers. Stripers are like blue-collar bar fighters who’ll take a long-neck to the head and a cue-stick to the solar plexus, and then get right up and kick you in the ’nads.

And the possibility of another population crash.

Everywhere you look a new generation of striper addicts are enjoying this new bounty. But at the risk of going all Chicken Little and the sky is falling, troubling signs of a future crash loom just over the horizon. In November 2003, the National Marine Fisheries Service declared the striped-bass fishery fully restored and suggested resuming both commercial and recreational fishing for striped bass in the Economic Exclusion Zone, a band of water from three to 200 miles offshore that has been closed to striped- bass fishing of any kind for 13 years, becoming a de facto refuge for the largest and oldest fish—a crucial component in a healthy population.

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Water Rabbit

International catfish recipes. I like the sound of the Bagre en Salsa de Pasas, myself.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Buxton Trip

Curt and I just returned from a trip to the point and the results were not great. The spiny dogfish were still around as were the sand sharks and black tips. There were three puppy drum caught Sunday morning. The weather was better than expected with rain coming Sunday night about 9:00, driving us off the point about 9:30. Had we stayed, we may have found the big drum. Frank, of Frank and Fran's in Avon, reported drum moving around 4:00am Monday morning, but we were obviously not on the beaches then. Like Mason has been suggesting, if you want to increase your chances of landing a big red, fish at night. They seem to come closer to shore to feed. Looks like "pacing" may come into play this fall if we are to be out there at night still able to stand and hold a rod.

Posted by Kevin at 06:41 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 12, 2004

Except On Alternate Tuesdays Not Falling On A Date Ending In "3"

And I thought East Coast regs were complicated.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game manages sportfishing on the Kenai in several ways. One of the most effective ways to reduce the king sport catch is to restrict the use of bait. During the Kenai's "early season" -- defined by ADF&G for management purposes as the period from May through June 30 -- no bait is allowed. Only single-hook artificial lures may be used. Once the bait season opens on July 1, fishing pressure spikes and the Kenai becomes a traffic jam of boaters maneuvering for position in the best runs and holes.

The other way is a regulation establishing a "slot limit" on early run Kenai kings. Now, any kings measuring from 44 to 55 inches in length caught before July 1 must immediately be released. The establishment of the slot limit was a controversial one with local anglers but one that many forward-thinking anglers and biologists believe will help sustain the unique genetics of Kenai king salmon.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's Making Me Wait

Months of anticipation. Days of constant loading and reloading. Finally the waiting is over. The official 2004 Tennessee crappie forecast is here.

You gotta feel kinda sorry for a state where one of the "most sought-after fish" is a glorified bluegill.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If History Is Any Guide, His Friends Now Can't Get Him To Shut Up About It

A citation Sea Mullet at the Red Drum.

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Hold The Fort

The NC Division of Parks and Recreation has closed Fort Fisher to night
time driving and fishing. There's now a group dedicated to getting that access restored.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


A beach report from Ocracoke.

The airport ramp is in the best shape I can remember. The south point road is hard packed until the last ¼ mile and then it is soft deep sand. I have been driving a Subaru on Ocracoke beaches since 1996 and I had no problem at either ramp. I let my air out to 17 lbs. and put it in 2nd gear. On the way back in from south point, a Trailblazer was stuck at the entrance ramp & with all the people standing around I had to come to a full stop in some of the deepest sand I can remember. But to my own amazement, my Outback got me out of there with no problem. The next day at airport beach, I helped push the same Trailblazer out of the sand. Did somebody say it’s not the vehicle - it’s the driver? So please let enough air of your tires – IT REALLY DOES WORK! South point didn’t look much different to me than before Isabel.

As for the ‘controversy’ about the 150’ markers – unless you’re the guy who likes to drive across the flats at 50mph, it’s no big deal – there is plenty of room.

Didn’t catch any fish but saw several drums caught by the guys next to us

Might as well see the fish, too.

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Nice Day For A Beginner

Or for anyone else. A Red Drum and two Specks, all over 25 inches

Posted by Bigwig at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's Just A Fish That Can't Say No.

The baiter and the jigger should be friends,
Oh, the baiter and the jigger should be friends.
One man likes to fish live bait, the other likes to drop a jig,
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends.
Tarpon folks should stick together,
Tarpon folks should all be pals.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

For Lovers. Not Anglers

Seven months after it hit, Hurricane Isabel is still affecting Virginia fishermen.

The waterways are not as free of debris as they appear, and the bay's piers, Buckroe and Grandview are gone. This leaves only the James River Pier in Newport News to the service the 40,000 or so fishermen who don't have boats and can't get to their favorite fish from the shore.

"You can legally fish from any state shoreline," said Lewis Gillingham of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, "but getting access to the shorelines is the problem. For sure, you won't have access to cobia and Spanish mackerel from the shorelines."

Posted by Bigwig at 04:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Here Come The Kings

The Czechs are the beer-drinking champions of the world, consuming 160 liters a year for every man, woman and child in the country.

It has even contributed to the growth in tourism, with beer's cheap reputation helping to earn Prague the dubious honour of Europe's number one bachelor weekend destination.

Few countries can claim a former president who worked in a brewery; playwright president Vaclav Havel also set a play in a brewery and was fond of taking visiting dignitaries such as then-US president Bill Clinton and secretary of state Madeleine Albright down the pub for a pint.

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My SuperGulp Worms, On The Other Hand....

Noise capsules in plastic worms are naught but expensive hokum, according to this Georgia Q&A

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Yes, It's Trash. But It's MY Trash

Evidently some wives don't make their husbands throw away their beloved collections just because they're moving to a new house.

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Strike But One

Fly Fishing for Shad on the Rappahannock post Embrey. The water was full of silt immediately follwoing the demolition, but it has begun to clear up.

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Spoon On!

Snagging for Spoonbills (Reg. req. Use laexaminer@laexaminer.com/laexaminer)

Paddlefish routinely weigh more than 50 pounds and can grow to more than 6 feet. The state record is 121 pounds. They don't bite bait, so you have to snag 'em to catch 'em.

More on paddlefish, a species older than the dinosaurs, can be found here.

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April 11, 2004

Filling In The Ditch

The Bush administration's proposed 2005 budget drops all funding for the Intracoastal Waterway. (Reg. req. Use laexaminer@laexaminer.com/laexaminer)

Ironically, shipping is picking up -- and vexing shippers who cannot move as much traffic as they wish because of depth problems. "We could move more tonnage on the waterway if it was deeper," said Smith of Stevens Towing, which is loading barges only partially so they can move over the shallow places. "They say commercial traffic is declining, but it is declining because of the lack of maintenance, not the lack of shipping."

Posted by Bigwig at 11:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Willie Wants His Free Dram, Ye Blouse-Wearing Poodle Walker!

Free Beer Friday! Every Friday!

There's nothing like a beer directly from the source, that glimmer of stainless steel, that aroma of sweet wort. When, on top of it, the beer is free, there's no stronger magnetic pull on the planet.

That's why every Friday night, when the Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co. opens its doors for beer tasting, this gritty little mining town of 300 experiences a major population surge, with cars, pickups, a few bicycles and one highly motivated cross-country skier converging from all directions.

There's no official name for this Friday night tradition. Some call it "The Fox Social," some "Free Beer Friday." The name is unimportant. What's important is the beer.

Sure, it's an ocean away, and you only get four free beers, but that doesn't stop some nationalities from showing up anyway.

"The beer's brilliant," says Steve Rogers, an Australian biologist who showed up on a recent Friday night to do a little partaking.

God help the place once the Scots hear about it.

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Apparently Some Women Need A Little More Than "Bring Me A Beer!" In The Way Of Communication When Out For A Day's Angling

Why don't more women fish? According to this article, they get yelled at a lot.

Betty Bauman remembers all too well those offshore fishing trips when her husband barked out commands that made absolutely no sense.

Not to her, anyway.

"He's an accomplished tournament angler and he really knows fishing, but I couldn't learn from him," said Bauman.

"He'd holler, 'Let him have it,' and I didn't know if I was supposed to keep setting the hook or hit the fish in the head," she said, laughing.

"I got yelled at a lot."

Posted by Bigwig at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Revenge Of The Osteichthys

Why it always helps to read the entire article, and not just what I post here.

FHP officials are warning boaters who may come across the black drum not to go near it and to call (888) 632-6859.

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Bang The Drum Slowly

A South Carolina hatchery that has released more than 3 million red drum may be closed due to budget cuts.

Stokes said more than just Waddell's 14 employees will be affected.

"Neighboring states don't have facilities like this," he said. "We're kinda unique. We've developed a lot of information to be able to improve recreational fishing."

Fleming couldn't agree more. Last year was some of the best red drum fishing he's seen in years.

"We have noticed a huge increase in the number of redfish," he said. "I don't think it's a huge coincidence that most of the fish we caught were between 14 to 25 inches; I really think there is a huge correlation between that and the hatchlings released (two and three years ago.)"

Fleming said cobia, which the Mariculture Center also restocks, were plentiful last year.

Postscript: South Carolina Fisheries officials are asking fisherman to send in more red drum heads as a way to gauge the success of the hatchery program. Could be they're compiling evidence for a last ditch attempt to keep the hatchery funded.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An Inadequate Diet

Menhaden stocks are falling, and it's starting to affect the striper population.

As an example, there is growing concern about the menhaden stock levels. Menhaden or bunker is the primary food source for stripers, as well as many other species. The menhaden population all along the coast is down but it is having telltale impact in the Chesapeake Bay, the primary spawning grounds for striped bass. Stripers there are developing sores and lesions that some scientists feel is a direct result of a deficient diet, in particular, the lack of menhaden and the valuable nutrients they provides.

These sores have been seen on fish before in the Chesapeake area and have caused some serious health problems with commercial fishermen and other people who handled these sick fish. They developed sores and neurological problems that prevented some from working at any meaningful job. So you see, this as not only a striped bass problem but also one that can impact humans. Like it or not, we are linked, directly or indirectly, to many marine species, including striped bass and the lowly menhaden. What affects all of marine life will eventually affect us.

And in the no surprises here department, The Menhaden Resource Council, an industry groupd funded by commercial fisherman, is of the opinion that everything is just hunky dory when it comes to the menhaden population.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 10, 2004

The Number Of The Beer

Barleywine, the AntiBud.

Most beer is best when consumed as soon as possible after it's made.

Not barley wine. This is a beer that ages. A good barley wine will actually improve over time. The hard part is not opening the bottle once you have it in your house.

Perhaps the best way to describe barley wines is to say they are a cross between a port and an ale. They are less sweet than typical ports, but decidedly malty with hints of fruit.

When served at a restaurant or pub, barley wines are traditionally poured into a brandy snifter. This helps them breathe and release their complex flavors. It also limits the quantity you're getting, which is a smart thing considering some barley wines are as potent as the strongest wines.

Posted by Bigwig at 08:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'd Say It's Georgia's Turn

Initial hurricane season predictions have been released.

The Atlantic will probably see 14 named storms, eight of them hurricanes and three intense hurricanes. The team warns that the chance of at least one intense hurricane making landfall in the U.S. is 71 percent, much higher than the long-term average of 52 percent, according to The Associated Press. And the probability of an intense hurricane making landfall on the East Coast is 52 percent, compared with a long-term average of 31 percent.

Posted by Bigwig at 07:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sir, It's A Tasting, Not A Guzzling

Blind beer tastings make fools of most of the participants.

A blind beer tasting is like any other blind tasting in that you try similar products -- in the case of beer, similar styles -- without knowing which brand is which. It can be a humbling experience that teaches us just how much we depend on clues other than sensory to form our likes and dislikes.

In extreme cases, it can lead to the "everything you know is wrong" scenario. But the rule is that any afternoon spent drinking beer instead of working is a good afternoon, so when Fred Bowman, one of the founders of Portland Brewing Co., invited me to a tasting at the brewery recently, I said yes.

Posted by Bigwig at 02:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Incompleat Anglers

Fishing has apparently been slow in eastern NC for most of April.

There is not much activity in the surf right now, due mostly to the cold-water conditions. This last front really muddied the water, and the high winds from the north made it almost impossible to fish.

So far surf and pier fishermen have only been able to catch less desirable species of fish like toadfish, skates, and little sharks. This pattern should change very quickly with warmer days hopefully right around the corner.

Look for sea mullets to make a move first. Our southern beaches usually expect a major run during the third week in April. Trout should also be moving closer to shore.

Puppy drum should be ready to move into the Hatteras Inlet area at any time. The local fishermen stand ready, and all they need is a good southwest wind.

Ocracoke seems to be the only place getting any action.

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Lessons In Humility

Choosing and using a cast net.

More--How to throw a cast net.

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Anglers Schoolin'

Fishing schools are increasingly popular. Here's some tips from one held at the Neuse River Sport Shop (i.e., Mecca) this past week in Kinston.

- Use light line – 6 lb. or 8 lb. test. You'll catch more and bigger fish.

- For big, "door mat" flounder, forget the inlets. Fish structure, like pier debris, docks or rock jetties.

- When you miss a strike, look at your bait to get an idea of what hit it. A curved cut behind the hook means bluefish. One puncture indicates a speckled trout. A partially scaled minnow suggests it was a flounder.

- Fish live bait slowly and when you feel a bump on the line, lift the rod slowly.

- When fishing on a pier for flounder, try to position yourself just behind the surf line. Most anglers fish too far out.

- Wear dark clothes when trying to catch bait minnows. It makes them less wary.

- Try artificial baits for flounder. A bucktail, tipped with a mud minnow, a commercial Flounder Strip or a rubber grub, is usually effective.

Posted by Bigwig at 01:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Variety Hour

April is the month for Florida saltwater fishing.

Maybe one day, when the kids are grown.

Posted by Bigwig at 01:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, Ye Jigs and Juleps

A mint julep recipe for your Derby party--not that you have to use Woodford.

"It's all about technique. You take equal amounts of granulated sugar and water, and boil it until the sugar granules dissolve -- about a minute. Then take some mint leaves and let them steep in the hot syrup, just like you would with a tea bag, until it cools. You're releasing the essence of mint within the syrup.

"Take a julep cup -- a metal cup or stoneware cup works really well -- fill that with ice, and chill the glass so that the outside of the glass condensates. Having an ice-cold mint julep is essential.

"Empty the cup, and put a few more mint leaves at the bottom. Then 'muddle the mint.' With a spoon, you bruise the mint at the bottom of the cup. You don't want to crush the mint; just bruise it enough to let a little of the essence out.

"Pour an ounce to 2 ounces of your favorite Woodford Reserve in the cup, and one to two tablespoons of your mint syrup. Fill it with crushed ice, and put a mint sprig and a straw in the cup -- any kind of straw. Mint juleps are for sipping. Very refreshing."

Posted by Bigwig at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Improve It Or Lose It

As of today, North Carolina is now one of 21 states that have failed to adopt federal standards on beach water standards. The state now risks losing control of beach water quality monitoring programs to the Feds.

If that increases inshore water quality, why should I care?

Posted by Bigwig at 01:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 09, 2004

Pole Dancing

Push-Poling for Red Drum.

Whether taken on a spoon, jig, topwater plug, live bait or fly, a fat red pulls as hard as any other sport fish. Everybody from novice anglers to veteran guides want to catch their share during the start of the spring fishing season.

On a good morning day a knowledgeable fisherman can set up on a school and catch and release dozens of redfish. But other days, when the tide, moon and wind are working against them, an angler can work hours for a single fish.

Here they come again," Ingram said as the school approached his boat for the third time that morning. "This time we'll catch one for sure."

Ingram tossed a baitfish in front of the school and let it swim without a weight or float to impede its progress. "Free-lining" any live bait requires more skill, but it is the most effective way to catch a skittish fish.

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Twisting The Knife In The Wound

Forget "Shoulda been here last week" it's "Shoulda been here next week."

Ocracoke Island still is the place for big drum. Neil Eppard of Virginia caught and released two last weekend (48 and 52 inches). Larry Ayers also landed two large drum at Ocracoke Island. Ocracoke also reports some sea mullet, black drum and puppy drum.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Keep Your Chinook Up

Spring Chinook Fishing

The bulk of the run is headed for the waters upstream of Bonneville Dam. State biologists are forecasting a return of 360,700 to the upper Columbia and Snake rivers, the second largest run since counting began in 1938.

But if the run's over, there's always the kokanee

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Snook Nooks

Where to find and how to fish for Snook at Florida's Sanibel and Captiva islands.

Snook are coastal-estuary fish that thrive in the presence of a brackish and mangrove ecology. The power source of this area's "brackishness" is the freshwater inflow of the Caloosahatchee River, which runs from Florida's center southwesterly into San Carlos Bay and Pine Island Sound. A lot of the river water also flows under the Sanibel Causeway to mix with the saltier Gulf of Mexico. This provides the proper freshwater-saltwater mix snook like.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Readings From The Book Of Lore

An explanation of the Summer Flounder and Bluefin Tuna quota systems.

The recreational flounder fishery is based on an "allocation" system whereby the federal government tells the coastal states how many pounds of flounder their fishermen may catch each year, and each state is then responsible for designing their own size and catch limits that will achieve the proper level of catch. If a state goes over its allotment of flounder for the year, they do not have to make it up by getting a smaller number of fish the next year, instead they're required to tighten their regulations so it won't happen again. That's why the flounder regulations from state to state are not all the same.

When it comes to never-ending conflict, I suppose bluefin tuna are to the offshore angler what flounder are to the inshore fishermen. But unlike flounder, bluefin tuna are regulated on a "quota system." Since they are considered a "highly migratory" fish and travel through waters that belong to other countries, bluefin tuna management and the U.S. quota, is heavily influenced by an international organization (of which the United States is a member) known as ICCAT. Each year this organization dictates how many bluefin tuna may be taken by U.S. commercial and recreational fishermen. Since bluefin fish are managed on a quota system, if we catch too many one year we have to pay back with a reduction in quota the next year, and that can prove to be a real headache and hassle for fishermen.

Posted by Bigwig at 08:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2004

Kinda Chewy

Larew is marketing a new plastic shrimp, the Shrimp Cock-Tail. It's better than all the others out there--just ask them.

First of all, the tail does have a natural tucked-under or "cocked" position when the bait is at rest. Second, the special shrimp-like "joints" of the tail not only add to this bait’s authenticity, but also serve a function.

The "joints" allow the bait to straighten out when swimming, and then relax to the cocked-tail position when the retrieve is stopped. How about that kind of action in a shrimp bait?

Gonna need me a shrimp tail for fishing off Woundwort's new boat come May. Perhaps I'll try one.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Prepare To Be Assimilated

Watch out, Kahlua. Starbucks is coming.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So You Can Start Drinking That Much Quicker The Next Day

Technology marches onward. Headache-free beer.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Low Carb Horse Urine Is Urine Nonetheless

According to new federal rules, in order to qualify as "low carb," a beer must contain less than 7 carbohydrates per serving size.

The new rules supposedly affect some beers that have previously been marketed as low-carb, so one beer must not be neccesarily be the same thing as one beer. It also can't be marketed as part of a healthy lifestyle.*

Today's ruling, meanwhile, bans even implied claims that low-carb products may play a healthy role in a weight maintenance or weight reduction. The agency said it was concerned that health claims showing up in ads "are misleading."

"Representations that imply that alcohol beverages may be part of a weight maintenance or weight loss plan, or that consumers may drink more of such beverages because of their low calories or carbohydrate content, mislead consumers by presenting incomplete information about the health effects of nutritional content of alcohol beverages," said the ruling.

*Even though moderate drinking is now thought to be good for you.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fresh Horse Urine is Urine Nonetheless

Anheuser-Busch is rolling out a plan to allow beer drinkers to buy their product on the same day it's brewed.

The world's largest brewer announced a promotion this week under which trucks will pick up Budweiser and Bud Light packaged that morning at certain Anheuser-Busch breweries and deliver it to wholesalers to hustle to eateries and retailers for sale to consumers by evening.

Such ``freshness days'' will be scattered throughout the year across the country.

The St. Louis-based brewer says the beer in the promotion will be packaged, shipped, delivered and served within 18 to 20 hours. That's a fraction of the 35-day span between the time Budweiser or Bud Light is packaged to when it typically is bought by a consumer.

There's only one problem. People who really, really care about how beer tastes don't buy Anheuser-Busch beer to begin with. They buy craft brews and imports.

And $5 says those who do buy AB's line of beer won't be able to tell the difference between a day old Bud, a week old Bud and a month old Bud as long as they've all been kept cold and stored correctly.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chasing Chichlids

Netting Blue Tilapia

Lacking status, the highly prolific members of the Cichlid family are not governed by any rules or regulations. However, anglers who catch tilapia are required to immediately kill them according to the general fishing rules outlined in Texas Parks and Wildlife's Outdoor Annual. This provision is to prevent them from being accidentally stocked into other bodies of water.

The net heaved as though it contained something other than a bucketful of shad and I expressed my doubts to dad.

"If this is shad, they are huge," I said.

The net surfaced and I swung it over the side of the boat and deposited the contents onto the floor.

"What the heck are those," my father asked incredulously?

He was pointing to three large purple/green fish resembling bluegill on steroids thrashing around in the bottom of the boat.

"What we have here must be blue tilapia," I replied.

Easier than casting for them, I guess, and it leaves more time for drinking, but it's not really sporting. You can see what they look like here.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Day In The Life Of A Fish Pimp

Head Boat Salmon Fishing. Make that Chick Head Boat Salmon Fishing.

I began pulling the line off my reel, sending the anchovy at the end into the ocean’s murky depths. Its mission was simple: find a salmon and lure it into following her home. I felt like her pimp.

This particular anchovy was named Tulip. I had taken to naming my baitfish about six hours into our tour. Before that, in my eagerness to get my line out and catch my two-salmon limit, I had cast them aside nameless after the ocean’s beatings had rendered them unattractive.

Then came Edgar. He was the first anchovy I had to "string up" on my own, meaning I had to string some line through his frozen body and prepare him to be used as bait. One of the two other females on the boat of about 30 fishermen showed me how to do it. When I was done, I was covered in fish smell and scales, but I was so proud I decided he deserved a name.

Edgar was going to be the bait that was finally going to catch me a fish.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That's A Big Damn Pompano

The North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Records

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Aloha, Alosa

The N&O profiles the American Shad.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lion Of The Deep

The lionfish seems to have firmly established itself in the waters off N.C. They're even being caught by anglers.

Recently, a lionfish was reeled in on hook-and-line.

The angler, John Peel caught one about 55 to 60 miles out of Morehead City on March 2, which may be the first documented on hook-and-line catch of a lionfish along the East Coast.

The angler had a lot of luck that day beyond just getting a bite.

"I think that they were pretty lucky that Milton Mathis, who was the skipper of the boat, actually had an experience with his girlfriend getting pierced by one of these spines in her aquarium. So he knew as soon as he saw it," Whitfield said.

Typical. Not even a word about what kind of bait he was using.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Also, I'd Like The Fish To Be Fully Cleaned By The Time I Land Them

I suppose a glow in the dark fly line is one step close to glow in the dark mono, which is what I really want.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Haddock's Stripers

We met Joey Haddock while fishing Ocracoke's false point last Friday. He promised to send us his striper pictures, and so he has.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:11 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 07, 2004

Time To Cut The Leader

The cunning Sawfish will cut you if he gets a chanve

Don't try this on a big sawfish, because the saw can reach farther than the cutters, slashing a hand or arm.

An e-mail from Naples Pier angler Ken Eberhardt reported that another sawfish with no bill was caught and released at the pier about two months ago. Ken said it was about 10 to 11 feet long, which would have put it at about 12 to 14 feet total length with the bill.

Everyone asks me if I think the ones without bills will survive. I think they have a good chance of making it. A sawfish has a relatively small mouth under its body, much like a stingray. It will attack a school of bait or mullet with its bill slashing side to side, cutting up anything it hits, then circle back around to pick up the pieces. As long as it is able to find enough crabs or small fish near the bottom, it will survive.

Was the pier fish the same one Damico caught? It's a good bet it was. A sawfish without its bill should be having a hard time finding food, so it will have to range out looking for anything it can find near the bottom, including crabs, injured fish or the leftovers of other predators.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Compleat Harpooner

Colonial fishing techniques owed more to brute force than Izaak Walton.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

From Famine To Feast

The Cypress Grill and the Roanoke River herring run make the New York Times.

There are only a handful of places on the planet where herring and hush puppies share space on the plate. Cypress Grill, a weather-beaten wood box here on the south bank of the Roanoke River, is one of them.

Forget what you know, for a moment, about delicatessen herring, which swims in cool pools of sweet cream and onions. Regulars here ask Kelly Gardner, whose grandparents have operated this fish shack for 30 years, to bring herring "sunny side up" or simply "cremated."

Posted by Bigwig at 10:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Falling Off The Edge

A bad review for Aspen Edge.

This is not beer," said my wife, who is not particularly partial to beer, after taking a quick test sip of Aspen Edge. "This is not beer. What is it?"

I had read a news release that detailed how Coors' Belgian-trained head brewer had persevered to create a low-carb beverage with flavor. I've met the man and he is a gifted brewer, judging from the excellent and prize-winning offerings his crew crafts at the SandLot Brewery brewpub at Denver's Coors Field.

But, if taste is the criterion, his talents are not reflected here.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The More Things Change...

Okay, I remember this exact scene from college, except the beer was Heineken.

When the Weinberg senior was planning his birthday party last week, he avoided cheap drinks and sprang for a keg of Killian's Irish Red. But this wasn't just a beer. This was like the bone in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

For hours throngs ambled around the keg out of wonder as much as thirst. Drinkers kept asking, "You have Killian's in the keg? You serious? Oh man!"

The liquor theory is about right as well--except I we drank cheap ass Aristocrat vodka and some ungodly tequilas in addition to the Bacardi and Jack.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Lite In The African Night

Miller Beer: Making South Africans proud again.

When they heard I was from South Africa, not one of the 2 400 distributors I spoke to in New Orleans asked me anything about the country's Aids or crime.

They either knew nothing of or cared nothing for Afropessimism. They weren't waiting for the latest African democracy to falter. They treated me as an equal.

They wanted to know about Miller boss Norman Adami, who is South African, and SABMiller chief executive Graham Mackay.

They wanted to hear about the beer distribution system in South Africa. They seemed inordinately respectful of our business.

They seemed to think Norman and SAB were typical of South African business.

As far as I'm concerned, Adami is to the business world what Charlize Theron is to the entertainment world. I want Adami to succeed with Miller as much as I wanted Charlize to win the Oscar.

More on the Miller/Bud wars here.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Long Leaders Explained

One of our Gulf Coast readers sends in a explanation for the the egg weights and 20 inch leaders used in Texas Carolina Rigs.

The long leader thing is a regionalism. It's the same in Louisiana. He was suggesting the egg sinker to prevent snags where the little fish are targets - off jetties and piers.

Real surf fishing is done with pyramid and claw sinkers here. Kinda moot, because surf fishing here sucks. It involves swimming out to the third bar and casting into water slightly less opaque than milk of magnesia.

A bud did his residency in Galveston - he treated lots of stingray wounded surf fisherman. Not worth it.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Far From The Maddening Crowd

Given this argument, Ocracoke Inlet will always be a better place to fish than Cape Point, and Cape Lookout and Portsmouth are better than both.

As the warm-weather season of peak fishing pressure approaches, I would like to offer another look at the issue of crowded coastal water:

Traffic is inevitable, but I believe certain areas difficult to access should remain that way. The time and struggle -- the "sweat equity" -- to reach pristine locations should act as a buffer from the crush of casual enthusiasts not willing to the extra effort.

Let's define these select locations as "Privileged Waters." They are privileged not through privatization but through the dedication required to reach them.

Which makes Cape Lookout

Posted by Bigwig at 08:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Drum Sounds

This seem familiar?

The sound started in the late 1970s and has been heard regularly ever since. It's heard in many places throughout the Isles but not everywhere at once, and usually it's louder in some areas than others.

It's commonly referred to as the PGI growl, that whooshing noise, the thump. It is a very low frequency sound that you can feel as well as hear, and it repeats itself every four or five seconds, although each occurrence can vary subtly in length, pitch and loudness. Its intensity always varies from one room to another and seems to be the loudest in the master bedroom, which in most houses has at least on solid wall unbroken by windows.

Next, some analysis. Almost everyone agrees the sound originates in the water and is transmitted to the walls of houses by pipes or the ground. It is rarely heard outside of houses but can be heard emanating from the hulls of boats.

Sounds like black drum, to me. You should eventually be able to hear the sound of a Black Drum for yourself here, though the file isn't up yet. Other fish sounds,in cluding those of the oyster toadfish and Red Drum, can be heard here.

Postscript: Found a Black Drum recording,among others, here.

Posted by Bigwig at 08:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Blues schooling off Cape Lookout.

The Drum are nice, too.

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April 06, 2004

A Kayak With A Fish-Finder Might As Well Have A Motor

Those who consider skishing a bit much, but still burn to get off the beach to go after stripers may want to invest in a kayak.

The majority of the bait that stripers feed on are either born or reared in estuaries. If there's food, the omnivorous stripers can't be far behind. These areas are often shallow and marshy and canít be reached from shore or by boat. However, they are easily fished from a kayak. It's almost like cheating. It's amazing how effortlessly a kayak will allow you to gain entry to these areas and allow you to fish them. It's marvelous feeling taking fish from such places.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Uncle Sam Wants You...To Drink!

Sam Adams is brewing 3 beers for summer sales; Sam Adams Light, Samuel Adams Summer Ale and Samuel Adams Hefeweizen.

I'll almost certainly end up trying the Hefeweizen, as that's on of my favorite types of beer, though I really wish the bartenders would quit putting effing orange and lemon slices on the glass.

I'll drink the summer Ale too, should one find its way to my hand. Can't imagine a circumstance where I'd touch the Light, unless that's all the beer there is, and then I'd probably drink wine.

Posted by Bigwig at 04:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

'Tis Better To Light A Bluefish Than Curse The Darkness

Cooking bluefish

Bluefish is not a dish for the wary. If your idea of piscine perfection involves something delicate like sole or scrod, this dark, meaty fish - so oily that a fish-loving friend once observed that it needs only a wick to serve as a candle - might be too much for you.

But if you like rich, robust flavors in food as in wine, this migratory saltwater fish - a cousin of the pompano - is well worth getting to know.

Just make sure your bluefish doesn't hail from the Delaware Bay.

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Spare The Rod

You know, there are certain times in a man's life when he doesn't want a woman touching his equipment.

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The Bourbon King

What to drink when in Louisville: The nation's largest collection of bourbon.

A souvenir menu breaks down a selection of preferred bourbons by taste and helpfully explains just how much you'll be spending per glass ($28 at the top end, but the ice is free). The majority are around $5. A lot of the really good stuff can be had for $6 to $8.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lying To Scale

How to estimate a fish's weight.

My old friend, Dave, has a unique – and for him, practical – way of estimating the size of what he catches. We were fishing for bream one afternoon and I noticed that he was tossing everything he caught, regardless of size, into the cooler. Some of the fish that were going in there were bait-size. When I asked him why he was keeping those miniscule bream, he replied, "I'm gonna eat em."

"You can't eat those fish, they're too little," I countered.

"Ya eat butterbeans, don't ya? Dave asked.

"Well, yea," I answered.

"They're bigger'n a butterbean," Dave explained.

If an angler doesn't have a scale handy and he doesn't want to use my friend's "butterbean" standard, there's an easy formula that will allow him to estimate the weight of his catch pretty accurately.

All he has to do is multiply the fish's length times its girth squared, and divide the sum by 800 (900 if the fish is long and narrow like a Spanish mackerel).

All it takes is a few quick measurements (or close estimates) and some simple math. For example, a bass that was 22 inches long and 15 inches around would weigh just slightly over 6 pounds.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That's Why There Were Hosers All Over The Ocracoke Ferry

Stone crab claws may be all the rage, but for the good of my wallet I'll stick with the blues.

A plate of three jumbo claws set me back a startling $54 U.S. at one of the Fairmont's fancy restaurants.

The crab cake recipe looks tasty, though.

Posted by Bigwig at 03:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Yellow Fellow

Apparently bass comes with the lemon flavoring built right in now.

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Row, Row, Row The Boat

Striper and Shad fishing on the Potomac.

The fish ran deep into the rock-strewn current, but Bailey's heavy tackle was strong enough to turn it. He pumped and reeled, slowly working the fish against the power of the river, and in four or five minutes he had the beast alongside the boat, thrashing wearily. The fish was as long as my leg with a great, bulbous belly full of roe.

Bailey extricated the hook and hauled the striper up alongside the gunwale long enough to snap a picture and estimate its weight at 30 pounds. It was one of only two rock we caught that morning; the other was a 20-pounder. Both were released unharmed to finish their reproductive runs.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

De Bait Debate

Which baits to use.

For panfish, think small. The mouth of a whiting or croaker opens barely larger than a quarter. Baits too large, such as whole shrimp or large chunks of cut bait threaded onto overly optimistic hooks, are more likely to feed the fish than pin them. Instead, such generous offerings will be picked and pulled by several fish until the hook is bared. They get full, and you get nothing.

Downsize to hooks in the No. 4 to No. 8 range, and load them with bits of peeled shrimp no larger than the last joint of an average pinkie finger. That bite-sized meal slips smoothly, deeply into the mouth and should stay there long enough for you to set the hook.

All these fish primarily are bottom feeders. To target them, use the saltwater equivalent of bass fishing's Carolina rig (from the rod tip: fishing line, egg sinker, barrel swivel, 12-20 inches of light leader, hook), with enough weight to anchor the bait but not so much as to make you break a sweat bringing it back.

I am no fan of double-drop leaders, fluorescent beads and unnecessary hardware. Neither are fish. Present your bait accordingly.

Mostly good advice, and there's more on other species in the article, but the choice of egg sinker and the 12-20 inches of leader is just wrong. Egg sinkers won't hold the bottom worth a damn in an area affected by tides, and the longer the leader the more of a helicopter effect one gets when casting. Anything above 8 inches is too long, and there's a lot of people who will say that about anything above 5 inches.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fishing For Blinky

Fishing the power plant discharge waters.

Suddenly, what looked like a series of round boulders quietly rose to the surface in unison, then gently submerged again — manatees, also attracted by the warm water. The old men seemed unfazed, so I took their cue and played it cool.

Just then a rod bent, and a sheepshead of about a pound was reeled ashore by a man bundled against the 65-degree temperature wearing gloves and a wool hat. Sheepshead, too, are best suited for southern waters, though they once were common enough to have a bay named after them in Brooklyn. The man dropped the fish in a bucket and declared to his friend that it would make a nice sandwich.

To the right of where the manatees rose, I noticed a single boat anchored, with two anglers — one in the bow, one in the stern — clutching deeply bent rods. A third stood between them with a landing net.

After a few minutes passed, even the old-timers seemed interested. The fisherman in the stern brought his fish in close, and the netter scooped up a jack crevalle that looked as if it might weigh 10 pounds. Jacks generate the same love-'em-or-hate-'em feelings as bluefish do up north, probably because they fight ferociously but are considered poor eating by most. By the time the second jack came in, the old-timers were not looking.

We could have used a nice power plant on Ocracoke last week.

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Jennette’s Porch

The Jennette’s pier house in Nag's Head re-opens this spring, as a kind of quasi museum/restaurant. The pier itself is not expected to return before next year.

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April 05, 2004

Moon Me

When to go fishing.

73 percent of world record fish have been caught within 3 days either way of the new moon or full moon. These days are referred to as "moon windows". The gravitational pull from the sun is 48 percent as strong as it is from the moon, therefore, when there is a new moon the gravitational pull will be 148 percent more than at other times of the month.

Whether the moon thing is true or not I have no idea. It strikes me as the kind of the thing the author heard once and has believed since.

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One Step Forward, 90% Of One Step Back

The craft beer industry is growing--slowly, but still growing.

Across the industry there were 81 brewery openings and 73 closings.

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Mead: It's not just for people in doublets and hose. There are African recipes as well.

When Garth Cambray, who was then an immunology student at Rhodes University, started keeping a beehive in order to make some extra money to replace a stolen bicycle, he as hit by another theft which led him to where he is today. He is one of the founders of the Makana Meadery, the only factory in South Africa that makes traditional Xhosa mead called iQhilika.

"I became fascinated with bees when I started keeping them to make some extra money. But then I noticed that someone kept stealing the honey," Cambray says. It turned out to be his gardener, the late Goerre Mbali.

"I asked him what he was using it for and he said he was making iQhilika," Cambray says.

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Seventh Son

The origins of the small batch bourbon movement

Noe is a seventh-generation bourbon maker, a family occupation that began with Jacob Beam in 1795. Noe’s father created Booker’s Bourbon in 1988, and, Noe likes to point out, to this day it remains the only unfiltered, barrel-to-bottle bourbon in the world.

“My dad thought it would be cool to have a bourbon like the bourbons they made 100 years ago,” Noe said. “Some people thought he was crazy. They said nobody would buy an expensive bourbon.”

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Drums Along The Intracoastal

There's more than one way to land a drum (Reg. req. use guest23/guest23)

"The radio was on and Tammy's dad is on oxygen, somebody knocked the tank over and it banged on the deck." Middleton said. "I still had the same shrimp on that I'd used at the first spot. I put it in the bait bucket, but when I got it out, it wasn't that lively."

Still, she cast it to the edge of the drop-off and almost immediately felt a tug.

Then her line started disappearing from the reel's spool.

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Undamming the Anadromous

Dam removals are increasingly popular with state governments trying to restore lost fisheries.

A stream develops over time to handle a certain amount of sediment, which helps to establish its channel width and its twists and turns. When they become “sediment starved,” streams begin cutting deeper channels, exposing banks to erosion and creating a gap between the stream and terrestrial habitats.

“If you really want to resolve a lot of erosion problems,” Carney said, “tear a dam out.”

Those conditions are often quickly reversed after a dam is removed. When the state took a dam out on Lititz Run, the water temperature dropped 12 degrees in a single day, Carney said. That was critical to efforts to restore a cold-water trout fishery in the river.

Studies suggest that when dams are removed, biodiversity and population densities of native aquatic organisms increases. Even nonmigratory fish, such as darters, benefit because they gain access to local areas that had been off-limits. In some cases, populations of darters have increased four-fold.

Postscript: More on the Embrey dam removal.

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Shacking Up

Cooking the Roanoke river herring run.*

They line up to dine on these little bounties, because the Cypress Grill is open only part of the year. From some time in January when the herring run in numbers high enough to catch and fry and serve, to some time in April when the fishing has played out, the Cypress Grill serves up fried herring, fried rockfish and other aquatic staples, iced tea, an assortment of trimmings and side dishes and, Lord knows, pies that will make you think highly of the cooks in Jamesville for years to come.

But the herring is the thing. It's a smallish fish, an overgrown sardine, really, full of bones and with a taste that is, well, acquired. Not everyone develops a longing for it, just as not everyone develops a taste for Scotch whiskey. Some won't even touch the stuff.

For those who like herring, though, it's a treat like no other. The cooks know how local folks like 'em: Carefully slice into each side to help the heat distribute evenly, then into the fryer oil they go. When they come out, the herring are crisp, brown and hot.

Only a novice would use a fork to eat a Cypress Grill herring. Experienced herring eaters snatch them up and gobble them down, leaving nothing behind.

Most folks like them crisp, but the Cypress Grill redefines the term. Some get them "sunny-side up." Some order them "cremated." One fellow is said to ask the cooks to make his "a total wreck." Honest.

*Reg. req. Use laexaminer@laexaminer.com/laexaminer

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Ocracoke Fishing Report

If you liked sharks and rays, the fishing was great. Others had better luck. There was a four hour period late Saturday afternoon and early evening where, between the three of us, we were landing on average a shark a minute. Most were smooth or spiny dogfish or sand sharks between two and three feet long, though I pulled out a four-foot blacktip at one point.

Driving on the sand wasn't a problem--the NPS markers were up against the dune line, so we weren't affected at all. It appears as if they're there to keep ATVs off the dunes rather than restrict the 4x4 driving fishermen.

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April 04, 2004

Tired and Laconic

Back. Fishing report tomorrow.

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April 01, 2004

Off To Wet Hooks

I'm off to Cedar Island, to sleep in the car until the 7 am ferry to Ocracoke. Back on Sunday, hopefully with something more than a hangover.

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Circle Of Life

Circle hooks are now mandatory in New Jersy waters.

Why? Here's why.

Old fashioned J-hooks, which are prone to be swallowed or rip soft tissue, were three times more likely to kill than a circle hook, which most frequently lip-hooks a fish. But where a fish is hooked is critical, not the kind of hook used.

The odds are six times greater that a fish won't survive if the hook is swallowed. Every visible bleeder that swallowed the hook died.

Cutting the line because a fish swallowed the hook does little or nothing to save it. The damage already is done.

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Mead Me At The Faire

Markets shift all the time. As more American consumers discover craft beer, will the alcohol geeks abandon it for another niche--say, mead?

Mead is making an appearance on the fashionable side of the pop culture cycle, with meaderies opening all across the country. The International Mead Festival will celebrate its third year this fall in Colorado.

The microbrew and home brewing craze of the last couple of decades has opened up people to new tastes, said Ken Schramm, author of "The Compleat Meadmaker," published last year.

"The market is growing," said Schramm, who predicts mead is at the beginning of an upswing. Like microbrewed beer, he thinks, mead can find a spot in the market and then stick around. "I don't see it as a fad."

I wonder what a Mead/PBR mix would taste like, come October?

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I Sould Be Weighing In At About 450 Right Now

Ah, the 800 calorie beer.

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PBR Poseurs

Another story on the growing popularity of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a popularity that craft brewers feel is all hat and no cattle.

Some beer drinkers say they like Pabst because it's cheap. Others say PBR (that's what you are supposed to call it if you are hip) is nostalgic and cool.

"The whole PBR phenomenon is the classic case of style over substance," said Jim Parker, executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild and editor of The New Brewer and Zymurgy magazines. "People aren't drinking it because it tastes better than other beers; they drink it because they feel cool being seen holding one in their hands while wearing their retro bowling shirts and smoking their Chesterfields."

Parker said PBR drinkers' argument that PBR is cheaper than microbrews – sometimes half the price – doesn't hold water, literally.

"The price argument, I think, is (not) credible," Parker said. "The same folks who say they are drinking Pabst because it is a cheap alternative to craft beer have no problem shelling out a buck for a bottle of water."

Aside from the can it comes in, PBR is no different from Schaefer, Schlitz or Stroh's--all of which, come to think about it, are ripe for similar rises.

Posted by Bigwig at 02:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Canoe Canoe?

Shad fishing on the Roanoke.

Look for the "Happy Shad Roll" to tell where the fish are. When shad are relaxed and in a place they like in the river, they will roll and splash and generally make it known that they are about.

I also have been able to tell when the fish are downstream of me by watching an osprey swoop low over the river. Birds of prey don't bother doing that unless there is something worth going that low for. At this time of the year, shad is what osprey are feeding on.

Postscript: Just that time of year around here. Everyone is fishing for shad.

Found in two basic forms, the hickory and the white or American. The Latin name for the American is Alosa sapidissima, roughly translated, Alosa meaning shad and sapidissima meaning the ultimate in savory or the most pleasing to the taste.

Hickory, also known as shad herring, has a formal Latin name of Alosa mediocris. That translates to "of mediocre quality."

Both normally deep ocean-dwellers, they enter fresh waters only to spawn. A female may deposit from an average of 28,000 to a 156,000 eggs at a time. Although many die in the spawning efforts, a large percentage return to the ocean to repeat the process. Surviving juveniles remain in fresh waters until reaching 4 to 6 inches, before returning to sea and maturity. In reaching maturity in two to four years, they, too, return for spawning.

Except me, of course. I'm off to Ocracoke to try for a spring drum this weekend.

Posted by Bigwig at 02:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Flies On Me

Learning how to fly-fish in Raleigh.

Teaching the fundamentals in a class of mostly novice fly-anglers was essential because of the basic difference between fly-fishing and all other types of rod-and-reel fishing. With conventional gear, the angler casts a lure, dragging the line with it, but when using a fly rod, the angler casts a heavy line, taking the lure with it. Understanding this concept allows the angler to put together a rig in a logical way, depending on conditions, species, size of the quarry and type of water.

I wouldn't mind learing how to cast a fly-rod, but I don't see myself embracing that version of the sport--it's just a whole 'nother area to spend a few hundered dollars on, and I don't get to fish all that much anyway.

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No NC Permits

A pair of nice Permit. Too bad the species doesn't come this far north.

Cause if they did, I know a pompano record I could fake one up for.

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Expect The Virginia Angler To Migrate South This Year

Virginia has finally settled on a flounder limit.

In what appeared to be a compromise between what Chesapeake Bay anglers wanted and what the Eastern Shore's seaside desired, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission last Tuesday voted to adopt flounder regulations that include a minimum size of 17 inches and a limit of six fish per angler.

The flounder season began Monday and will not have a closure while the season is open this year.

No one's real pleased, of course. There was even a flavor of "But mommy, all the other kids are doing it!" in some of the complaints.

Parker feels Virginia gets "the short end of the stick" when it comes to adopting flounder regulations, saying North Carolina and Maryland adopted 14- and 16-inch minimum sizes, respectively.

The possibility that other states might simply be better managers of their flounder populations doesn't seem to have entered into her mind.

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He'll End With His Head Cut Off And His Guts In A Lump On The Ground

If Idaho gets a Salmon czar, we damn well better get a Shad czar, or something.

Hell, let's vote about it.

You just know New York's czar will be in charge of the Coney Island Whitefish.

link via Chirac Rocks!

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